Creating a website is super easy these days. You don't need to be a technically savvy person to make your dream website or even have any coding experience. All you need are the right methods, tools and an appropriate platform. Once you follow these carefully, it’s fun all the way! Not only will you be able to make a website that’s visually appealing, but also a quality one that works efficiently. Thankfully, you’re living at a time when you have no excuse not to have a website for your business. Owning one nowadays is as vital as having a phone number. Without it, you’re effectively cut off from the rest of the world.
It doesn't matter how awesome your goods and services are; without a well-optimised and fully-functioning website, your customers won’t be able to access you, including those in your locale. Here, we’ll provide a step by step guide on how to create your dream website from start to finish. The guide is divided into three major components: choosing a website platform; getting a domain name and hosting; and finally, set up.
Choosing a Website Platform
Building a quality, mobile friendly and responsive website will require procuring a website platform. This is what allows you to manage your online content. Such platforms are Content Management Systems (CMS) that are designed to be user-friendly, unlike their predecessors HTML, CSS and Flash – each of which are difficult to master. However, website creation has become even easier thanks to these Content Management Systems. Firstly, you’ll need to choose a platform, for which we recommend WordPress. This is free, easy to use and has thousands of features and themes at your disposal. It is much better than using the usually expensive web builders, who are better at constructing one-page websites. It is currently the most used Content Management System in the world, followed by Joomla and Drupal. Studies show 55% of websites are build using WordPress, with Joomla (20%) and Drupal (11%) further behind.
Drupal is only really popular amongst web developers and trained coders, but it is notably difficult for beginners to learn. Joomla on the other boasts a design that’s ideal for store owners and other businesses. However, it requires a fair amount of technical skills to master and manipulate to your liking. WordPress allows a beginner to build a good website within just two to three days. This is opposed to HTML, which would require months of training and tricks to master. Meanwhile, CSS and PHP are even more difficult. However, it’s important to take note of what you need in order to make an informed choice with regards which platform is best for you. For the sake of this guide, we'll be using the WordPress platform to design your website.
Getting a Domain Name and Website Hosting
Although downloading and installing WordPress is free, domain names cost roughly $14.99 per year, while hosting it will set you back $7.99 each month. Your domain name is effectively your website address, like www.Google.com. Meanwhile, web hosting refers to the service of connecting your website to the internet. Both these aspects are important for your business, as having your domain name makes you look more professional and competent, while having it hosted provides your business with a workable and efficient website.
These days, procuring a domain name and hosting services isn't too expensive. Some hosting companies even offer free domain names. The process is fairly straightforward:
- Go to the website of the host company you’ve decided to use. Some site will even provide you a generous first month discount on hosting.
- Click on the ‘Get Started Now’ button, which will direct you to the most suitable hosting plan. If you’re still starting out, it’s recommended to opt for the basic package. Other more advanced packages are also available. However, those are mainly applicable for websites that are already attracting a high volume of traffic.
- Pick a domain name; if you already have one, enter it and click on the ‘I have a domain name’ form. When choosing, opt for common extensions like .com, .net, or .org. Fortunately, at this stage, you won't need to worry too much, as you can always skip this and do it at a later date, during the course of your setup. The important thing is to choose a domain name that best describes your business.
- You will then be presented with a ‘Create your account’ page. There, you’ll need to enter your personal details on the form that appears on the page. These include your first name, last name, phone number, zip code, email address, country, street address, city and state.
- Once completed, select a plan and package by checking all the options available. Pick those you want added to your plan. These could include Domain Privacy Protection, as well as Search Engine JumpStart (at minimal costs), amongst others.
- When this is completed, you'll then be able to create a password for your account.
Install WordPress and customise your Website
Gurus at domain names co nz say that Once you’ve completed the purchase of your domain name and set up hosting, you will now own a website. The next step is to start uploading content and personalising it. The first thing to do is to install WordPress on your website. This is easy, because WordPress has a one-click installation feature that allows you to cover the entire installation process with just a single click. You’ll find this in your account control panel. Simply log in to your hosting account to access your account control panel; then find the ‘WordPress’ or ‘Website’ icon, from where you can choose the domain name you want to install to your website. However, not all hosting companies provide a one-click installation option. This is usually a sign that you’re dealing with a disreputable hosting company. However, don't despair, just make sure to read up a WordPress hosting guide whenever you’re stuck.
After completing this process, you’ll then need to choose a theme for your website and start customising it to suit your brand. On WordPress, there are thousands of pre-designed themes to choose from; simply log in to your WordPress dashboard and locate the ‘Appearances’ option. From there, you will find ‘Themes’, from where you can access over 1500 free WordPress themes. If you know the title of any theme, you can enter it in the search field or use the filter feature to locate those ideal for your particular industry. Click on ‘Install’ and ‘Activate’ to apply your chosen theme.
Next, you’ll want to create content, which is made up of various pages and posts. For instance, posts comprise content posted on your blog, while pages include your ‘About Us’ and ‘Services’ information. From your dashboard, you can access ‘Pages’ to create a new page by clicking on ‘Add New’. Once this is done, you can include this page on your navigation bar via ‘Appearance’. Ensure you click on ‘Update’ to save each change. If you want to add new blog posts to your site, click on ‘Posts’ and follow the prompt.
WordPress allows you to customise and tweak your website as much as you want. In fact, the changes you can make are close to infinite. From customising titles and taglines to disabling comments for various posts and pages. It is much simpler than it sounds and you needn’t finish it all in one day. If you want to disable comments, click on ‘Screen options’ whilst on the post creation page and access ‘Discussion’. From there, you will need to untick the ‘Allow Comment’ box.
WordPress allows you to do so much more with your website and is always improving. For instance, if you want more features on your website, just install some plugins, which is simple to carry out. Just go to ‘Plugin’ on your WordPress and click ‘Add New’. From there, you will be prompted to search for the one most suitable for you. There are over 25,000 plugins available on WordPress for you to choose from.