So – you’ve decided that you want to make a website, but you’re not really sure how to proceed?
No worries – you will find all your questions answered in this friendly and easy to understand, step-by-step website creation tutorial!
By the time you’re finished reading this tutorial on how to make a website, you’ll be able to have your site up & running in less than an hour.
Before you can create a website you have to make sure you find an appropriate domain name and a reliable web hosting service. You have to be very careful when deciding what services to choose, as this can play a big role on the overall performance of your website (stability, speed, up-time…). We will show you exactly where to find the best deals as we go along.
In case you are not familiar with the terms above, a domain name is the primary address of your website, also known as the URL (www.example.com). It is essential to understand that the domain itself (although an important part of the website) does not represent the actual website. Instead, it only serves as a pointer as to where your site is located (Hosted).
This is where a web hosting service comes in. Web hosting provides you with the web-space necessary to support your content. It serves as a skeleton for your site.
After you’ve successfully set up your domain name and web hosting service (which only takes about 5 minutes), it all comes down to configuring your website. We will be using a free software platform called WordPress. It is a very simple platform that enables users to build professional looking websites within minutes!
Are you ready? Alright – let’s get started!
STEP 1 – Choose Your Domain Name
First you will need to decide what domain name you want for your website. Obviously, this depends on what the site is about, whether it is a personal site, business site, a blog, etc.
There are no “Rules” to what domain name you should choose, but here are a few ideas that might help you choose a suitable domain:
- Try to make it relevant to the content of your website,
- Make it simple and easy to remember,
- Make it as short and descriptive as you can,
- Use the right extension (preferably .com/ .net / .org)
For example, if you’re going to build a site about »relationship advice«, you could pick a domain name like: www.relationshipadviceonline.com – this is just off the top of my head…
Once you have an idea of what domain you want to use, enter it into the domain name availability tool below to see if it is available.
If your first choice of domain name is already taken, you can usually just a add a word or two to the beginning or end of it.
For example, if your first choice was DogTraining.com and it was taken, you could try, DogTrainingGuide.com or SimpleDogTrainingTips.com or something like that.
Once you have found a domain that you like, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2 – Set Up A Web Host Account
I recommend using a company called GreenGeeks.com to register your domain and host your website, they are an American company and have great services & support at a very competitive price.
So head on over to GreenGeeks.com:
When you get there, you should see something like this:
Once you can see the screen above, click on the “Order Now” button and you will then see the page below:
You will need to enter your desired domain in the box to the left and then click “Continue”. (If you already have a domain name, then enter it in the right hand side box.
Quick Tip: If your first choice of domain is not available, you will see an error message, if that happens then just keep trying different variations until you find one that is available.
Once you have found a domain name that you are happy with, you should see the Secure Order Form below. Simply fill out the Order form with all your details, and choose a suitable plan.
Quick Tip: I usually try to pay for at least 12 months in advance, not only will you save a heap of money, but you also get your domain registration for free.
So once you have chosen your plan and filled out the rest of the Order Form, click on the “Create My Account” button at the bottom.
Next you will just need to wait for a confirmation email to come through with your login details. It can sometimes take a few hours to come through, but it generally happens pretty fast.
GreenGeeks may also call you to confirm your order, they have strict security measures in place to protect you (their clients) and their network, So they will just you to confirm a few things, and you will be on your way.
Once you have received your confirmation email from GreenGeeks.com you can continue with Step 2.
Step 3 – Setting Up Your Website
Remember when I told you that you don’t need any programming or graphic design skills in order to make a clean, professional looking website in a matter of minutes?
Well, it’s all thanks to a free CMS platform called WordPress. This platform actually makes the website for you and all you need to do is to customize it to your own preferences!
Thanks to GreenGeeks’s built in WordPress installer (Fantastico), we can set up our site in less than 5 minutes. That’s one more reason why I always recommend this host.
So without further ado, fire up your browser and open up the GreenGeeks Account Manager (the link is below, but you will also find it in your email).
It should look something like this:
Simply enter your email and password (that will be in the welcome email you received from GreenGeeks, and then click Login to Account Manager.
Next you will see a screen where you can manager your website:
Click on the blue “cPanel Login” button.
Once you’re logged in, you will be astonished by the number of features that you can use, but for now, just focus on finding the blue smiley named »Fantastico De Luxe« and click on it.
In the newly opened window, in the left sidebar under the column entitled »Blogs«, click on the link »Wordpress«.
Once you’re here, there are just 3 steps to do:
1) Click on »New Installation«
2) Select your domain in the drop-down menu, leave the »Install in directory« field BLANK (this is very important!) and fill in the details (username, password, site title…)
3) Click Install WordPress!
Once you do that, you will be given some information about your database (which you typically won’t need right now), just press »Finish Installation«.
See how easy that was? I told you a 10-year-old could do it! Now wait a couple of minutes and try accessing your URL, you should see a default (twenty-eleven) WP theme installed:
Congratulations, you’ve now got a real, professional website!
To configure your site, type /wp-admin after your url and press enter:
Once again, you will be asked to login. Simply use the information that you chose yourself while using Fantastico Deluxe (in the previous step).
Welcome to the WP dashboard. This is the main control panel of your entire website.
Everything you will do, you will do it from here. Adding new content, images, videos, installing themes, plugins – it’s ALL done in the WP dashboard.
Let us check out some of the main features of WordPress:
1) Posts and Pages
WP allows you to create 2 different types of web pages: Posts and Pages. Posts are commonly used when you wish to host a blog (instead of an ordinary website).
This means that you can have post previews on your pages, so users can click on the link to read the entire post (this is a default blog layout).
On the other hand, you can also just use ordinary pages and have links to them from your »homepage« (the first page that is displayed once a visitor comes to your site).
Either will work, however, if you’re creating a blog, you will want to get familiar with posts.
This is an area in which all of your uploaded images and videos will be stored. You can upload media either here or directly while creating a page, it’s entirely up to you.
Personally, I upload my media right on the spot, and then I can review my media here.
WP also allows you to create various link categories which you can then populate with all sorts of links of your own choosing. This tool can be very useful when creating widgets.
You can enable or disable for people to leave comments on your website, which is absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend you enable people to leave a comment, as it encourages them to come back and participate in a conversation – this is how you build a community!
Of course, you can also set up comment restrictions, moderation, etc – totally flexible.
This is one of the best features of WordPress – its ability to change your website’s look entirely in just a few clicks! There is another free tutorial on our website that goes into this in deep details, so be sure to look for it.
Another brilliant feature from WordPress. If you ever need anything for your website, you can bet that there’s a free plugin for it – whether it be visitor counter, image slideshow, anything!
Simply search for what you need and install them with a single click – easy peasy.
Once again, all of this and more about how to set up WordPress after the initial installation is explained in our other free website tutorials – so be sure to check them out!
We would love to hear your feedback, did you like this tutorial? is there anything you didn’t understand, or needs to be explained better? We want to make this site and these website tutorials the best they can be, so we value any and all feedback from our users. Just post any comments you have in the comments form below.
Also, if you are interested in learning how to start a blog, click here.