Step #1: Choose Your Website Platform
In order to build a website, you first got to decide what platform you’re going to build your website with.
What do I mean by “platform”?
Well, back in 2005 when I got started with web development, most sites were created using HTML (code), CSS, and PHP. Each of these took a lot of time to learn and were difficult to master.
That’s why most people still think setting up a website from scratch is difficult or requires a lot of coding and design skills – but that’s no longer true.
In 2022, content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have made creating a website accessible to everyone.
To put it simply, a CMS (or website building platform) is a user-friendly platform for building websites and managing your own online content, instead of creating a website from scratch using HTML, PHP, and other coding languages.
Popular Site Building Platforms in 2022
As you can see, nearly half of the websites on the Internet are running on the WordPress website platform.
But what makes them a better option than others?
Why use WordPress and not website builders?
- 1. It’s FREE (no recurring subscriptions, open-source)
Unlike website builders or web design software, WordPress doesn’t cost a dime to download, install or use. It’s built by web developers and there’s a large developer community who have designed beautiful free themes and templates, making it easy to get going fast.
- 2. It’s highly customizable and user-friendly
If you know how to use Google Docs, you already know how to add your own content. WordPress can be easily expanded with free add-ons to handle just about any site you can imagine – from small business websites to e-commerce sites. With WordPress “plugins” you’ll be able to add contact forms, subscription forms, image galleries, stores, and so on for your website. And it’s all pretty simple.
- 3. Your site will be ‘responsive’. Meaning it’ll work on smartphones & tablets, too
The website you build will instantly be responsive, looking great on every mobile device, smartphone, and tablet. No need to hire a web developer for that.
- 4. Help available from the community
With so many people using the platform (webmasters, small-business owners, bloggers), it’s easy to find fast help when you need it. You can get help from here for free or you can hire thousands of WordPress developers from here.
In fact, I builts hololatikom.com using WordPress, too.
Are there any good alternatives for WordPress?
There are some.
But, I would still use WordPress.
- Wix is an easy-to-use website builder with a simple drag and drop interface, but it has a higher cost, is not suitable for larger sites and it’s impossible to migrate your website out if the need should arise.
- Squarespace is a very aesthetically beautiful website builder which makes creating beautiful websites easy, but it comes at a higher monthly cost and doesn’t have a function to migrate your website out.
- Drupal is a powerful platform that is popular with experienced coders and web developers, but it has a high learning curve that makes it not the best option for beginners.
- Joomla is almost like WordPress and is a good tool for website building, but it does require at least some basic understanding of how to write code to make things work the way that you want.
If you want more details, I’ve put together a comprehensive comparison between WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
If for some reason you don’t want to build your site with WordPress, check out my Drupal, Joomla, HTML5 and website builder guides as well.
At this point, you don’t need go looking for WordPress. Right now, you don’t need to to install it nor download it.
To make sure your website is set up the right way, it’s important to complete the following steps below:
In Step 2, I’ll walk you through the process of choosing a domain name and finding a space to host your site.
In Step 3, I’ll show you how to install and customize your WordPress website. Don’t worry – I’ll walk you through the process, with lots of images as a reference.
Step #2: Find a Domain Name and Host
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In order to get a new website online, there are two things that you’re going to need:
- A domain name (a web address like yoursitename.com)
- Website Hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet)
The WordPress platform itself is free, but hosting and domain name are not. However, the combined cost is still less than a coffee, with around $3 – $5 a month.
In order to look professional, you need to have your own domain name, instead of having a free domain that belongs to someone else (for example, yourbusiness.my-free-website.com.)
And, having a quality hosting service will also help you make sure that your website won’t go down and that it loads quickly (very important for everyone who visits your pages.)
Where do I get a domain name and hosting?
I’ve mostly used www.Bluehost.com as a web hosting and domain registrar for myself and for my web development projects.
Their website hosting costs less
Their website hosting costs less than a movie ticket ($2.75/mo) and they throw in a FREE domain name (a nice perk to have).
Of course, you can try other web hosting providers and even try to host your site by yourself, but it’s a very complicated process and often wouldn’t be capable of serving your website visitors. So save yourself some money and get a proper web host.
With your own domain name, you are also able to get a professional email account(s) like, yourname@YourWebsite.com – this is much more professional than a regular Yahoo or Gmail address, especially if you need multiple email accounts.
Already have a domain name and hosting? Go ahead and skip to step 3, where I’ll explain how you can set up your website.
What kind of domain name should I pick?
When you’re choosing your domain name, there are a few rules you should keep in mind:
- If you’re setting up a business website, your domain name should match your company name. For example: YourCompanyName.com
- If you’re planning on making a personal website for yourself then YourName.com can be a great option.
For this site (WebsiteSetup), I chose WebsiteSetup.org
Domain names usually end with .com, .org or .net, but in recent times, a large number of domain extensions (the last part of the web address, like .com or .org) have come out, ranging from .blog to .party.
My best advice? Avoid the unusual extensions and go with .com, .net or .org unless they precisely describe your website – and even then, it is usually better to go with a more common extension.
Any additional tips for choosing my domain name?
There are a few things that can help you choose your domain name:
#1 Is it brandable? For example, if you make a site about poetry then best-poetry-website.net is not a good choice: poetryacademy.com or poetryfall.com is much better.
#2 Is it memorable? Short, punchy and clear domain names are much easier to remember. If your domain name is too fuzzy, too long or spelled in a strange way, visitors may forget it.
#3 Is it catchy? You want a domain name that rolls off the tongue, describes what you (or your business) does and sticks in the head. Coming up with a cool name can be a bit tough since there are more than 200 million active domain names in the world right now – but don’t give up.
There’s one rule that always applies to domain names: If you like it, go for it.
Do some brainstorming to come up with a unique domain name that reflects your future website, business or blog.
Secure your web hosting and domain name. For this, I recommend using Bluehost.com, but you can pick any web host that’s reliable and trustworthy.
UPDATE: I made a simple guide on how to get started with Bluehost (which hosting package to choose & how to install WordPress).
Step #3: Set Up a Website and Start Designing
If you have any questions/suggestions for this guide don’t hesitate to contact me. Remember: I’m here to help!
1. Install WordPress Site
There are two possible ways to install WordPress, one MUCH easier than the other.
1. TO CREATE A WEBSITE WITH WORDPRESS, USE ONE-CLICK-INSTALLATION:
Almost all well-established and reliable web hosting companies have integrated one-click installation for WordPress these days.
If you chose to sign up with Bluehost or any other similar hosting company, you should find your “one-click installation” either in the account creation process or in your account control panel.
For example, these are the steps you need to follow to install WordPress on Bluehost (the process is very similar or even the same on all the most popular web hosting companies):
- Go to Bluehost.com
- Choose your hosting plan (cheapest plan is fine)
- If you already have a domain, type it there
- Fill in your information and choose your hosting length (you can remove the “Extras”).
- Go through the payment process and create your account
- Log in to Bluehost use “one-click WordPress install” to Install WordPress
If you’re unable to locate it, look here: How to Install WordPress on Bluehost.
2. MANUAL INSTALL (if your web hosting provider doesn’t have an easy way to do it)
If for some odd reason (some hosting companies don’t provide one-click-install for WordPress) you don’t have the option to install WordPress automatically, look at this manual guide below:Installing WordPress Manually (Click to expand)
2. Choose a Theme for Your Site (Free or Premium)
For the next step, we’ll be diving into WordPress themes and how to use and customize them.
WordPress themes are design templates that make changing your site’s looks a lot quicker and easier.
Luckily, WordPress has loads of themes to choose from. The official WordPress theme directory alone contains more than 8,000, which are completely free to use.
You can access themes directly from within WordPress without having to navigate to an external site.
For that, simply go to Appearance > Themes, and click the large + sign that says Add New Theme.
Then use the search bar to find a theme that suits your site.
You can click on any theme in the listing to view a demo of it and read more about its features on its Details & Preview screen.
Once you find a theme you like, install it by clicking the Install button in the Details &