How to Make a Website — Beginner’s Guide for 2017

You know you need an online presence for your business. But, you’re not sure how to make a website and how much tech will be involved.

Don’t worry – making a website is easy in 2017 and it doesn’t require much tech knowledge at all.

In this guide, we’ll go step-by-step through everything you need to know to make a website for your business.

Here are the basic steps to getting your website online:

  1. Choose your platform (we recommend using WordPress)
  2. Choose a domain name
  3. Choose your web host (we recommend using SiteGround)
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Customize your site to your liking with plugins and a theme
  6. Publish content on your site

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Website?

Starting a website doesn’t need to be expensive. Especially if you’re doing it yourself.

If you’re on a budget, at a minimum you need:

  • A domain name
  • A web hosting plan

The cost of your web hosting will depend on which hosting company you use and what level and type of plan you choose. For basic hosting with SiteGround, prices start at $4.95/month.

You can also get your domain name through SiteGround, or alternatively you can purchase through a company like NameCheap or GoDaddy.

Can I Use a Free Website Builder?

You can. However, we don’t recommend this if you want to use your website for business or if you intend to make money with it. A free website looks less professional and credible than a self-hosted website.

In this guide, we’ll show you exactly what to do at each step so you won’t be left wondering what’s next.

1. Choosing Your Platform

The only platform we recommend using, even for beginners, is self-hosted WordPress.

WordPress is easy to use, extremely customizable, and popular. In fact, it powers 26.7% of all websites. That means it’s:

  • Easy to find support
  • There’s plenty of third party applications and plugins
  • There’s a lot of different themes you can use to change the appearance of your site

2. Choosing Your Domain Name

If you have a business, you’ll probably want to use your business name as your domain name. If you don’t have a business name, think this over before making your purchase.

Some tips on choosing a domain name:

  • The best domain name to use is the name of your business. Your visitors are more likely to search for you via your business name than anything else.
  • While you could choose a .org or a .net, the best type of domain name is a .com. It’s simply the most popular and the default for most web browsers. You may want to buy the other common variations of your domain name too if you want complete control of your online presence.
  • If you decide to change your business name or domain name later, you can redirect your previous domain to the new one.

What if my preferred domain name is taken?

If your domain name is taken you have three options:

  • Contact the owner and make them an offer.
  • Use your preferred domain name, but add your country code to the end (for example, .uk or .au), or use a .co or .net.
  • Choose another domain name.

Domains are like real estate and there are people who invest in them as part of their business model. If you have your heart set on a particular domain, you might need to pay a premium for it.

3. Choosing Web Hosting

There are a lot of web hosting options. We recommend using SiteGround because they have:

  • 99% uptime.
  • Fast hosting – average of 554ms loading time.
  • Quality support – SiteGround support is fast and helpful, often going above and beyond to assist with your enquiries.
  • Inexpensive plans with several levels so you can choose the right one for your business.

SiteGround has everything you need to get your website started at an affordable rate.

Ready to get started? Here’s how to set up hosting with SiteGround:

  1. Click here to go to SiteGround.
  2. Choose your plan option. SiteGround offers a range of plans to suit your business needs.

    1-siteground-plans

  3. Choose your domain name. Make sure Register a New Domain is checked and enter your preferred domain name into the box. Click on Proceed.

    2-siteground-choose-domain

  4. Create your account. Enter your details to set up an account with SiteGround and fill in your payment details to purchase your hosting plan.

4. How to Install WordPress

Installing WordPress on your new site is easy. SiteGround gives you the option to install WordPress with one click.

  1. Select Start a New Website and then select WordPress from the list of software.3-install-wordpress
  2. Click on Confirm.
  3. Create the login details for your website and click Complete Setup.

You’ll then be redirected to your user panel where you can start working on your site.

5. How to Change the Look of Your Site With a New Theme

Now that you’ve got WordPress installed on your website, you’ll want to change the appearance of your site to suit your business.

There are plenty of themes available that can change the look and add features to your site. WordPress offers many themes for free, or you can purchase a premium theme.

Free Themes Premium Themes
· Free

· Can be a good option if you want to trial different themes before deciding on the right one for you

· No support offered

· More functionality

· Often better quality coding

· Includes support

 

To change your website theme:

  1. Click on Appearance > Themes.4-siteground-appearance-theme
  2. Now click on Add New.
  3. Browse through the hundreds of free themes available. Once you’ve decided to install a theme, click Install.5-siteground-install-theme
  4. To activate your new theme, click Activate.
  5. If you want to use a premium theme, Theme Forest is a great place to find them. To install a premium theme, click on Upload New. Browse to locate the theme download on your computer and upload the .zip file. Click Activate to activate it.

If you want to customize your theme appearance, you can do this in Appearance > Customize.

6. How to Customize WordPress With Plugins

If you aren’t comfortable adding code to your website to add features and functions, don’t worry. There are over 50,000 plugins available that you can add to your site.

There are plugins that do everything from add social media sharing buttons to speeding up your website!

Here’s how to install plugins on your website:

  1. Navigate to Plugins > Add New. 6-plugins
  2. Choose the plugin you want and click Install. To upload a premium plugin, click Upload Plugin and upload the plugin .zip file.
  3. Click Activate to enable the plugin on your website.

But, with so many plugins available, how do you decide which to install on your site?

Some of the most popular plugins you might want to install are:

  • Akismet – stops spam and malicious comments.
  • Jetpack – a multi-purpose plugin that provides you with security, email management, website analytics, and more.
  • Contact Form 7 – simple contact forms so your audience can get in touch with you.
  • Yoast SEO – helps you optimize your posts for search engines

7. How to Set Up Your Pages and Create Content in WordPress

Now that you’ve decided on the appearance of your website, you need content. The first thing to add is pages. Pages form the basic structure of your site. For example, you might want to add “Start Here”, “Privacy Policy”, and “Contact” pages.

Here’s how to create pages in WordPress:

  1. Navigate to Pages > Add New.

a) Enter your Page Title here

b) Write your Page Content here

c) Add code in this tab

d) Add images or other media here

e) Control the look of your content with these options

f) Save your page without Publishing it

g) Preview what your Page will look like

h) Publish your page

Setting Up Your Menu

Now that you’ve created your pages, here’s how to display them on your menu so your visitors will be able to navigate your site.

  1. Navigate to Appearance > Menus.
  2. Select a menu to edit from the dropdown box or click on Create New Menu.
  3. Add pages to your menu by checking the box and clicking Add to Menu.9-menus
  4. Drag your pages into the order you want them to appear on your site. Choose where this menu should be displayed by checking the box for Primary, Secondary or Footer menu.
  5. Click Save Menu.

Setting Your Home Page

What do you want the first page of your site to look like? This is the one your visitors will see first, so you want to welcome them and direct them to your best content or your offers.

Here’s how to set a page as your homepage:

  1. Navigate to Themes > Customize. 10-static
  2. Click on Static Front Page.
  3. Choose to display either your latest blog posts on your front page or a static page.
  4. If you choose a static page, select your desired page from the dropdown box. Select the page your blog posts will appear on from the Posts Page dropdown box.
  5. Click Save & Publish.

Creating a Blog Post

Creating a blog post is very easy – it’s almost identical to creating a page!

  1. Navigate to Posts > Add New.
  2. Create your new post and hit Publish.

Posts have two additional features to pages – categories and tags. This allows you to set categories and tags for your content to help you visitors find the posts that they’re interested in.

Click on Posts > Categories (or tags) to set up categories and tags for your blog posts.

11-categories

8. The Best Resources for Learning WordPress and Getting Support

Now that you’ve got your basic website up and running, where should you go if you need more support?

For learning WordPress:

For Support:

  • For issues with your website (for example, getting it set up, conflicting plugins), contact your web host provider.
  • If you’re using a premium theme, contact the seller for support with any theme issues.

Conclusion

If you want to make your own website – you can! It’s not too hard and there’s plenty of resources available online to help you get it done. You don’t need to know any code to make a simple website and bring your business online.

Over to you – have you created your own website yet? What’s stopping you?