It’s the new year. Time to honor your resolution and start that D&D forum you’ve been meaning to get going. Or are you getting with the times and creating an online hub for your small business?
There are plenty of reasons to create and run a website these days. But how do you build your own website from scratch? It seems like such a pain.
Luckily it’s 2019 now, and you don’t have to spend 6 months learning HTML code to be the owner/operator of a pleasant looking and easy to use website. There are website builders and domain hosts that do this for you.
Soon you’ll be staring at traffic numbers for your site searching for an instructional blog on how to get visitors. Here’s a 10-step guide on how to build your own website from scratch.
1. Have Ideas
If you’ve been thinking of building a website for some time now, then maybe you have lots of ideas for what you’ll be putting out to the world. If you’re a business owner finally succumbing to modern pressures, then maybe you need some suggestions to get started.
- Make your website the hub for all your customers’ needs and questions.
- Come up with different categories for your products or services and have an idea of how you want them laid out on the site.
- Research blogs and look at other websites to get ideas and advice on how to best design your site.
- If you’re not a business owner, try looking at ways to monetize your website. Research companies and other sites that may have common themes with yours.
2. Time To Build Your Own Website From Scratch
Using either a paid website builder (Wix, Squarespace, Joomla) or WordPress.
Unless you have some time to learn how to use HTML, CSS, or Python programming, we’re going to stick to website builders.
Website builders are those things that you see and hear commercials for that basically do all the work for you. They provide you with templates which you can customize using drag and drop. In short, they do the technical stuff so you can focus on the site’s content.
The difference between other popular website builders and WordPress is that WordPress is free and the others are not. This makes it the most popular of all the website building platforms. Over 50% of websites are built using WordPress.
This might make this a very easy decision for you.
3. Pick a Host
You’ll notice that there are loads of hosting options. Since WordPress is so popular, almost all of them will be compatible with it. But it’s good to look at the finer details when choosing a host.
The other thing to look at is cost. Don’t pick a host that’s costing you too little or too much, expect to be paying somewhere in the $60-$80 range per year for a domain name.
There will be different hosting plans at different price points. Have an idea of how much traffic you expect to be dealing with and pick the one that is best suited for your site right now.
4. Now a Domain
Now that all the logistics are settled, the fun can begin.
Choosing a domain name can be a fun, creative part of starting a website, but you should also do some research to come up with the most suitable option.
In general, keep it short and catchy. Long domain names, as you probably know, are annoying to type into an address bar. Use relevant keywords for searchability, and if you’re a business, check other domain names for something that may be too close to the one you’ve come up with.
Also, try and have your domain be consistent with your social media handles so they can find you on everything.
5. Get Designing
Woot. You can start designing now. Install whichever website builder that you’ve chosen and start customizing.
If you’ve never used WordPress or any of the other website builders before, you should probably poke around and get to know the program a little bit before you really dig in. They make it simple for you, but there are lots of blog and video guides to give you a hand.
6. Choosing Themes
In WordPress, go to your new friend the “Dashboard”. This is where you do pretty much everything in WordPress; manage your pages, posts, comments, install plugins, etc. You also choose your theme here.
There are over 1500 free website themes in WordPress so you can spend all day finding the perfect one if you wish. It’s really easy to do, and you can change it whenever you want without altering the content on the site.
You can also choose “responsive” themes that respond well to mobile use.
7. Customize It
Once you’ve selected your template, you can begin to change things around a bit. Add pages, change font size and color, rearrange the menu, add tabs, and embed your social media accounts.
Again, website builders make it really easy for you to customize your website, so you can do pretty much whatever you want.
While you’re in the process of customizing your page, it’s good to have some idea of what function you want the menus and landing pages to have. This is where all that planning from step 1 comes in.
Elements are the different things you see when you go to a website. If you’re running a business you should be cognizant of what potential customers will see when they arrive at your page.
It’s important to have something that tells a customer what your business offers visible on the home page. There should be a contact section so the visitor knows how to get hold of you. Also, stay ahead of other business or websites of the same type using the latest SEO practices.
Your website is ready to go now. You can start creating your content immediately. Add your pages, pictures, videos, blog posts, and set your front page. Don’t clutter your website, you just got it. But have fun with it.
Installing plugins that help you keep track of analytics, arrange images in galleries, find out how your SEO can be better, and fill out forms.
You’re just about done now.
All you have to do now is give your new website a quick preview before you launch the thing. Here, you can see what your website will look like when it’s live. You can make changes and fix mistakes at the click of a button.
Now just hit publish!
Tell all your friends that you know how to build your own website from scratch and that your new website is live. Post it to all of your social media accounts, text it to your family, and wait for all of that glorious feedback. In time, all of your hard work here will pay off.
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