Building a website used to be something reserved for only the most advanced tech geniuses.
Code was difficult to learn, computers were expensive and hard to come by, and to build a website was far beyond the reach of the average web user.
Fortunately, times have changed!
Today, it’s easy to build a beautiful website in a matter of minutes, even if you’ve never done it before.
Whether you dream of starting your own online business or you simply want to build a personal website that will give you a place to blog and share things you love, starting a blog and building the website of your dreams has never been easier.
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Why Build a Website?
Today, everything is online. Whether you’re trying to sell a product or connect with friends, everything relies on the Internet. And sometimes, a Facebook page just isn’t enough!
While social media is a powerful tool for connection, a website is a different animal entirely.
Think of a website as your home base and everything else you do online as icing on the cake: a website gives you a place to land, collect content, and make a name for yourself.
Choosing the Right Platform
Just a few years ago, people who wanted to build a website had to know code, which was challenging at best and impossible at worst. Today, however, there are a variety of website design platforms that allow you to build a website with minimal financial investment and just a little bit of time.
My personal favorite of all the website design platforms on the Net is WordPress. Here’s why:
- It’s free. WordPress is totally free to install, and it comes complete with dozens of beautiful templates, which makes it easy to build a great website without breaking the bank.
- It’s easy to use. Even if you’ve never built a website before, WordPress won’t make you want to tear your hair out. Thanks to the hundreds of plugins offered by WordPress, it’s easy to customize your website so that it meets your unique needs.
- It’s scalable. The website you build today will be different from the website you need in 10 years, but no worries – WordPress will grow with you. Used by companies like Facebook, CNN, NASA, and eBay, WordPress is capable of scaling to accommodate every website– big or small.
- It’s powerful. Don’t let its beginner-friendly status fool you – WordPress is one of the most popular platforms in the world. In fact, the service currently supports about 25% of the websites on the Internet.
- It offers a great support community. As with anything, building a website involves a learning curve. Fortunately, WordPress boasts a huge support community filled with tutorials, videos, and personal chat assistance, so you can always find answers to your questions.
While there are dozens of other website builders on the web today, I recommend WordPress. It’s quick, easy, and beautiful. What more can you ask for?
Setting Up Your WordPress Website: 5 Steps
Once you’ve decided on your platform, it’s time to get to work actually building your site. Follow these steps:
Choose your domain name
When you set up a WordPress site, you’ll want to make sure to register a domain (unless you already have one). The address will look something like this:
While many people choose to stick with their free WordPress addresses, your website will look much more professional if you purchase your own domain name.
I recommending doing you own research and find a WordPress web hosting provider that you can trust.
Find a web host that offers affordable prices, great customer service, simple WordPress installation, and an easy purchasing process. As an added bonus, purchasing your own domain name also allows you to create a personalized email account (example: email@example.com), which can help boost the authority of your site down the road.
If you are from Canada and want a full list of WordPress hosting providers that I recommend for Canadians you can check out my Canadian review of top cheap hosting providers.
When choosing a domain name, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:
- Keep it memorable. Short, clear, to-the-point domain names are easier to remember and longer lasting than obscure ones (cindyscookies.com vs com). Keep the spelling simple for maximum effect.
- Keep it catchy. You don’t want to change domain names like you change shoes, so dedicate some time to coming up with one you like. A catchy domain name will serve you well for years.
- Keep it personal. Remember: a domain name points to your website, so you want it to be original. Consider using your name for maximum personalization.
Once you’ve decided on the domain name you like, purchase it and get ready to move onto the next step.
Establish your WordPress Site
The first step in actually building your site is installing WordPress. Most web hosting providers will have a one-click installation process available for installing WordPress.
If you choose a cPanel host then installing your blog platform will be super easy but if you get stuck just contact your web hosting provider and they will be happy to help you.
Once you have WordPress installed the next step is to pick a theme.
Choose a theme
Once you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll want to personalize your site. The basic WordPress site is clean and simple, but many people want to jazz it up with a fun theme.
To find themes, locate the “Appearance” tab in the sidebar of your WordPress dashboard, and then select “Themes.”
This will take you to the library of free themes, which should be sufficient to get your site started.
If you crave a more unique design down the road, you always have the option to purchase a theme through the WordPress platform or from an independent designer. Once you’ve found a theme you like, click “Install Now.”
Add content and pages
Your site is beautiful and ready to go, so let’s add some content! If you’d like to start by adding a “Products” or “About Me” page, you’ll find them located the “Pages” section in the sidebar of the dashboard.
From there, select “Add New.” Enter your page text, images, and detail, and click “Save.” Repeat for subsequent pages. If you want your website to feature a blog, then head to the “Posts” section and enter and edit your text.
Your WordPress website is now up and running, so all that’s left to do is to customize it. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add Plugins.
Plugins are WordPress extensions that are designed to provide new capabilities or features (such as an embedded Instagram feed) to your site.
To browse plugins, head to “Plugins” -> “Add New.” This will give you access to the WordPress library of 25,000 free plugins.
Don’t rush to install them all at once, though. Instead, spend some time browsing, using your site, and deciding on which ones you truly want and need.
Congratulations! You’re now a brand-new website owner. It wasn’t as bad as you thought, was it? There’s no limit to what you can do with your new site, and I’m here to help you every step of the way.
From blogging to website building, TheBloggingBuddha is your go-to for information and tutorials.