How to Make a Website

1-Stop Guide for All Levels of Website Makers

Select Your Experience Level

Just starting, needs basic learning.

Has a website and internet comfortable – ready to refine and add features.

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Just Starting

If you’re new to web development, or find it difficult to use the computer, here’s where you should focus your time.  When you have a website setup and feel comfortable you graduate to the medium difficulty section.

6-Step Quickstart Guide

So you want a website right now?  Like right now?  Here’s the fastest and easiest in only 6 steps.

1. Pick a Platform

2. Choose a Domain Name

3. Buy Domain & Hosting

4. Install WordPress

5. Add a Theme

6. Add Your Content

1. Choose Your Platform

WordPress is by far the best platform to build a website on in terms of ease and power.  You can see by percent usage it’s the most popular, and has been for a while.  You can get started easily, the software itself is free (though you pay for hosting and domain names), and has huge flexibility and robustness in what you want to build it into.  If you’re a technophobe or have difficulty using computers, WordPress will probably be too difficult, and I’d recommend Wix in that case.  Wix is about as minimal as possible while maintaining a good site.  You may also want to experiment with WordPress.com, which is a freemium platform for WordPress, it’s less powerful than self hosting WordPress.org and looks worse than Wix.com, but it may be enough if you’re not looking for much.

2. Choose a Domain Name

Most domain names that come to you naturally will already be taken, so unless you can pay a premium ($1000) be prepared to try many domain names.  My go-to site to find a domain name is leandomainsearch.com, which will take a keyword you give and gives you many dictionary keywords.  You can also try panabee.com which will give you some creative versions of your domain.  You might need to use a trick to make a domain work, like using a less than desirable extension, or a strange spelling; don’t use more than one.

Attributes of a good name:
1)  simple
2)  natural spelling
4)  short
5)  brandable

3. Buy Domain and Hosting

GoDaddy and Bluehost probably represent two of the largest and user friendly hosting and domain name services.  Both offer starter packages that includes a free domain name.  GoDaddy is more well known for its domain registration, while Bluehost for its hosting.  Both services are more similar than different in that they offer everything you need; however I would say the key tradeoff between the two is commitment length and price.  Bluehost has a year long commitment (30 day money back), but is cheaper while GoDaddy offers monthly plans but at a higher price.  If you think there’s a high chance you’ll give up (self-developing a website is very time consuming the first time), GoDaddy monthly plan will save you from losing out on high upfront costs.

You’ll want to make sure get the following:

SSL – This lets people access your site with https vs http, chrome will give a warning when you visit a non-https site.
Domain Name Privacy – This keeps people from knowing your address and phone number as your domain’s info is public information, there are also sites that store the historical information of all domain information, so it may be accessible even if you add domain privacy later.
cPanel manager – This is a tool kit for managing servers, BlueHost and GoDaddy offer WordPress packages, but cPanel comes with a lot of tools and features that will come in handy.

4. Install WordPress

Installing WordPress should be a simple 1 click process if you’re on the right hosting platform.  WordPress is the most used website builder, and is also catered towards newbies, so most host platforms will have some kind of very simple installation process.  Normally the process is very straight forward with you needing to enter a title, email, username, and password.

5. Pick a Theme

The power of WordPress only manifests itself after getting a good theme.  When you login you can go to the appearance tab, try out as many themes as you want, there are many.  To get a really professional look, and ease of development, I highly recommend Divi as a theme, you can import prebuilt themes which look extremely professional, and give you a good starting point when building a theme.  DIVI has one of the easier interfaces, so you won’t need to learn any coding.  Instead, you’ll be tweaking values, moving slider values, and dragging and dropping design elements.

6. Setup Your Content

You’ve got a great site and now you’re ready to populate it with your content.  Your choices here widely diverge depending on what the goal of your site is.  For example, you can build a company website with a few pages of information, or build a blog, the approaches you take with each will vary accordingly.  Plugins will be your next question, and there are 100s of legitimately and valuable plugins to consider, and will take time for you to figure out what you want.  Generally speaking, if you’re running a blog you’ll want to make your post page the homepage, and for business site a single page as your landing page.

WordPress is easy to get started, but can be a long journey to master.  Remember though, it powers a huge percentage of the web and has done so for a very long, and in my opinion for the foreable future, so the learning you do now will be usable for a long time.

If you’re comfortable with computers / internet, you can check out my advanced wordpress setup guide, the main difference is that it offers more bang for the buck.

WordPress Video Tutorials

These tutorials are for the premium WordPress.com service, but still applicable to self-hosted WordPress websites.

Divi Theme Video Tutorials

These guides are on DIVI WordPress theme.

Learning

You’ve got your site’s basics up, now get ready for the marathon run of refining and perfecting what you have.  I’ve assembled resources on many of the important topics.  If you have any suggestions feel free to contact me, list is still growing.

Link Experience Level

Beginner
Medium
Advanced

WordPress Introduction Videos

How to choose your website theme
How to update your title and tagline
Changing a static homepage
How to setup a website in five steps
How to setup a blog in five steps
Do I need a website, a blog, or both?

How to Customize Your Site

How to add a site logo
How to enable related posts
How to add a site icon
How to add a custom background
How to add a widget
How to add a custom header image
How to use a custom menu in a widget
How to create a custom website menu
How to customize your content options
How to add a gallery widget
How to change your site fonts
How to use Featured Content

How to Add Content

How to set a featured image for a post or page
How to add a contact form
How to add a photo gallery
How to create a post
How to create a page
How to create a landing page
How to schedule a post
How to add a testimonials to your website

Divi General Guides

Adding a custom logo image
Keyboard shortcuts
Adjusting button styles in the theme customizer
Divi layout & typography customizer settings
Rows & row options
How to create a new project
How to create one-page websites
Overview of Divi sections
Saving and loading custom layouts
Divi library
Design settings & advanced module settings
Module customizer
Right click controls
Using header & navigation options
Using premade layouts
Using selective sync
Using mobile customizer settings
Using role editor
How to update the theme
Getting started with divi builder
Using the Divi theme and module customizer
Theme options
How to install the Divi theme
Using Divi’s blank page template
How to use Divi blog post formats
How to use divi leads
Importing and exporting Divi builder layouts & library collections

Divi Modules

Design settings & advanced module settings
Countdown timer module
The audio module
The blog module
The button module
The call to action module
Comments module
Contact form module
Divider module
Code module
Filterable portfolio module
Slider module
Email optin module
Fullwidth header module
Fullwidth map module
Fullwidth menu module
Image module
Login module
Accordion module
The bar counters module
Fullwidth portfolio module
Fullwidth slider module
The circle counter module
Map module
Number counter module
Person module
Post navigation module
Post slider module
Pricing tables module
Search module
Blurb module
Portfolio module
Post title module
Shop module
Sidebar module
Social follow module
Tabs module
Text module
Video module
The gallery module
Video slider module
Toggle module

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