The best part about the internet is that anyone can build and create their own space. Traditionally building a website took a robust understanding of web design, development and coding.
But today, there are dozens of website building platforms and services available that make it easy to get started without a ton of technical knowledge.
Simplified platforms like Wix or Squarespace offer extreme user-friendliness at the expense of complete customization. Other builders like Drupal are extremely customizable but incredibly complex.
Start With WordPress
Most people, both at the beginner and enterprise level website builds, rely on WordPress. Roughly 33% of websites on the internet are on WordPress. As someone that has very little website build experience I have had very little trouble navigating WordPress throughout the years — and there are a ton of resources and educational content pieces available for you to learn from.
It’s really flexible as well. Anything from online shops to large business websites can be created through WordPress.
If you’re reading this I’m going to assume that you’re a beginner (since you are probably sitting on your couch scratching your head about getting started). If this is you, I would strongly suggest starting with WordPress.
- Hosting and Domain Name
Your first step on the website creation journey through WordPress will be hosting and receiving a domain name.
Domain Name refers to the web address of your website
Website Hosting is a service that connects your site to the internet and stores your files
You might read somewhere that you don’t actually need a domain name and that the website builder you use can supply one. This is especially true for sites like Wix or Squarespace, but it looks very unprofessional.
You’ll end up having something like yourbizname.a-free-website.com
Website hosting is a necessity. Without hosting your website will not exist on the internet because there is nowhere to store your website files, content or imagery.
I would recommend a hosting service like Bluehost — it allows you to kill two birds with one stone because you can also register your domain name. Once you have picked out a plan, a domain name and filled out all the necessary account information you can start setting up your website.
- Set Up Your Website
Now that you have purchased your domain name and hosting plan it’s time to start setting up your website.
If you took my suggestion and went with a hosting service like Bluehost (or another reliable hosting service) then you are going to have a pretty easy process for installing and setting up WordPress.
Nearly every reputable hosting service has what is called “one-click installation.” You’ll find this option in your Bluehost account control panel.
If the hosting service you picked doesn’t have this feature, it may be worth revisiting using that service. This may not be a reputable or trusting hosting service.
- Start Designing
Finally, onto the part that you were probably most excited about — designing your website.
First things first, you will want to pick out a theme. This is a template that will determine how your site will look and feel.
There are literally thousands of themes, all of which have a unique appeal and approach to the end-user. This is definitely the fun part but also one of the most challenging. The most creative template may be visually appealing but not work so well for the user experience (UX).
There are a bunch of FREE themes available from the jump and it’s worth exploring these before you spend money on a theme you may want to change later on. Installing a theme is a breeze and is pretty intuitive, you can search by keywords or just peruse while you’re on the couch.
If you’re interested in purchasing a more professional and custom theme, I would recommend checking out ThemeForest.
The key factor in determining your theme is the user, never forget that. It’s difficult to give a crash course on the importance of seamless navigation, ease and user friendliness. If you’re looking at building a website for your business I would recommend getting help from a web design expert like Straight Line Web Solutions.
- Start Filling Your Website With Content
Now that you have the theme picked out and your site is looking the way you like, it’s time to start plugging in some content.
Take a look at the sidebar of your WordPress Dashboard. There you will find “Pages” — Click Add New.
From here it’s pretty much plug and play. Titles, images and anything else you need to add has simplified instructions built in so that you can start filling in your pages with ease.
Titles and Headlines are an important nuance of building a website. There are practices that are standard, tried and true for structuring your website and preparing it for the SERP’s (Search Engine Result Page). Optimizing your website for SEO takes some skill and technical knowledge, so if you are interested in learning more about the basics of Search Engine Optimization give this a read.
Installing Plugins will help give you even more customization and control over the direction of your website. Functionality plugins allow you to stand out from the competition and provide real value to your users.
These can include features like:
- Contact forms
- Pop up CTA’s
- Subscription plugins
Here’s a good source for great plugins as well.
Congratulations, you’re ready to launch!