So let’s get this started then. We are going to use WordPress to make a website as it is easy to set up and use along with a strong developer community that provide professional themes and plugins, and many of them are free of cost.
I am going to keep this short, sweet and straight to the point. Also, I will be using screenshots as a visual aid but just read the instructions in detail and you will do fine. Once you have followed all the given instructions in this guide, you will have your website online and accessible over the internet. I will be posting additional guides on this blog to further enhance the functionality and security of your website but first we need to learn exactly how to make a website, so here we go.
I have broken this down into three main steps, so go through these one by one.
Table of Contents
1. Get web hosting and register a domain
You will need a domain and a web host to get your website online. Your domain (for e.g. https://yourwebsitename.com) is what your visitors will enter to reach your website, and it will point to your web host where you will have your website files hosted, so the visitors can access the website. This is how all the websites are accessible on the web right now.
So lets start by getting your web host first, I will use Dream Host but you can use any other web host and the process will be more or less the same. Reason I am choosing this particular web host is because they are reliable, offer a free domain with their web hosting plans and provide automatic installation of WordPress so you don’t have to go through the hassle.
Full disclosure: Note that I receive a commission if you sign up on Dream Host through my referral links given in this guide, this helps me keep this blog running and up to date.
Go to Dream Host by clicking here and select Shared Hosting for WordPress under the WordPress menu.
Next, you will be given an option of choosing one out of the two shared hosting plans i.e. Shared Start or Shared Unlimited, just click Sign Up Now for the Shared Starter plan as that would be enough for now, you can upgrade your web hosting plan later if required.
Next you will have to choose a domain name, this part might be a lot of fun but also a little frustrating as million of domain names have already been registered so far and it is likely that the first domain that comes to your mind might already be taken up. On this page:
- Selected either the Yearly plan or the 3 Year plan as you are only eligible for a free domain if you choose one of these two plans.
- Click Register a new domain
- Enter your preferred domain name (for e.g. website.com) and click the search icon to check whether or not the domain is available. If you have chosen a popular / common name as your name, then chances are that it has been registered already but you will be given suggestions that are similar to the name you have chosen, you can go with any one of those or repeat this step to check availability of an entirely different domain name.
- Note that some domain names might not be appearing as free, these will be the ones with domain extensions other than the common ones (like .COM, .NET, .ORG etc.) so I would suggest you ignore these and just scroll down to the Popular that will contain domain name suggestions for only the most common domain extensions and all of them will be free with your web hosting package. Click Add for $0.00 button and you will be taken to the billing page.
On the billing page:
- Fill in the required information, this will include your first name, last name, street address, apartment, city, state, postal code, country, phone and email.
- Uncheck DreamShield Protection and Mailbox for now as you won’t need these right now and you can always add these later. Note that you are keeping the Pre-install WordPress checked as this will automatically set up WordPress on your account as soon as your account is created, without any additional steps at your end.
- Scroll down further and you can select a payment method. If you chose a credit card then you will be asked to add a credit card, and same will be used when you submit the order. If you choose PayPal then you will be taken to the PayPal checkout page when you submit the order.
- Click Submit Order to complete the process. If you had selected PayPal as the payment method then also complete the PayPal checkout.
Once the payment is processed you will be prompted to select a password. Enter it and click Continue to Your Control Panel to finish this step.
2. Set up your website
You now have a domain and a web host, also you have set up WordPress automatically on your web host as part of the process. All you have to do now is to log in to your WordPress admin panel, select a theme (design for your website) out of the thousands of themes available for free and you’ll be ready to add content to your website (the final step).
Look for an email from Dream Host with your WordPress login information. Reset your WordPress password through the link provided in that email, the email address you used during the registration process for the web host will also be your WordPress username. Alternatively you can use the username provided in the email.
Once you have reset your password, you can access the admin panel from https://yourwebsite.com/wp-login.php (replace yourwebsite.com with the domain name you chose during the registration process). Enter your WordPress username and password to log into your admin panel.
Your admin panel will look something like this:
At this point, you can try accessing your website but it will look very basic, something like this:
Clearly, you wouldn’t want it to look that way. As I mentioned earlier, there are thousands of professional looking themes that are available for WordPress free of cost, you can always go for premium (paid) themes at a later stage but for now lets head towards WordPress repository and go look for a free theme that you like.
You simply need to select Themes under Appearance menu in your WordPress Admin Panel.
On the the Themes page, you can see all the themes that are already installed for your WordPress. You can either:
- Activate one of the already installed themes by pointing over it and clicking Activate. The design of the activated theme will now be used for your website instead of its earlier design.
- Or, click Add New to go to WordPress themes repository and choose a new theme to install on your WordPress from there.
If you have chosen to activate one of the already installed themes then you can go ahead and check your website again to check how it looks with the new design. Otherwise, if you have chosen to install a new theme then you will be taken to the WordPress themes repository where you can:
- Install one of the themes that are appearing in the repository. You can also look at the preview of the theme before installing it. Once you install a theme, you can activate it as well from the same page or you can go back to the Themes page and your new theme will appear alongside other themes that were already installed, you can activate it from there instead.
- Going through the huge repository of themes might seem a bit overwhelming, so you can always use the search function to filter out themes that are closer to what you have in mind.
You can visit your website again after activating the theme to see the new design. Now, the final step is to add content to it.
3. Finish by adding content
Your website is up and it has a nice design now, but it doesn’t have any content yet, so let’s get to adding content to it then.
- Select All Pages under the Pages menu to see a list of all pages that are already present on your site for editing or deleting them. Otherwise, if you want to add a new page to the website then just select Add New (note that there’s an Add New button on the All Pages page as well).
- Point over any of the existing pages on your website and you will see options to Edit, Quick Edit, Preview and Trash (Delete) them.
Whether you choose to add a new page or edit an existing page, you will be taken to the WordPress Editor and working with it is not that different from working on a text editor like Microsoft Word; you can add images, text, videos and more on your page.
- Any single paragraph, list, image, audio, video etc. on your page is called a block in WordPress Editor, click Add Block (plus icon) to add new paragraph, headings, lists, audio, video and more on your page.
- Once you have inserted some content on your page, it is ready to Publish, you can also preview the page before publishing it.
Once you have published the page, it will automatically appear in the main menu of your website. In case you would like to change the content of your website’s menu then select Menus under Appearance and:
- Add new pages to the menus that are already present on your website but not added to the menu yet.
- Delete pages from the menu or rearrange the sequence of how pages appear in the menu by dragging / dropping the menu items.
- Click Create Menu to save this menu configuration.
- Notice that additional menu settings are now showing up. I prefer adding any new pages that I add to the website to automatically show up in the menu (default WordPress behavior) so I have kept this option checked, you can choose to leaving it unchecked if you’d prefer it that way. Also note that I have checked Primary as the Display location since this determines that the menu setup will be used for the main menu of the website, in case your website has multiple menus then all of the menu locations (for e.g. primary, footer etc.) will show up here and you can choose to select multiple locations for a single menu configuration.
- Click Save Menu to save changes you have made to the menu settings and any changes you’ve made to the main menu will now be visible on your website.
- Remember that you can also add additional menu configurations if there are multiple menus available in your theme and you’d like to use different menu configuration for different menu locations (for e.g. primary, footer etc.).
And you’re all set!
If you’ve followed all the instructions that I have given in this guide then chances are you have a fully working website now!
But keep adding content to the website and keep improving it. There’s so much more that you can do with WordPress and I’ll be adding guides to customize your website more, enhance security and improve speed etc. so I would highly recommend signing up for my newsletter so you receive an update every time I add something new over here.
I truly enjoyed writing this guide and if you liked it then do share it with your family, friends, work colleagues and anybody else who might be interested in creating their own website. If I can be of any more help then please feel free to get in touch with me.
All the best!