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how to create a website

How often have you thought about creating a website for your business, but procrastinate it because of the funds you’d need to invest or because you’re just not sure where to begin?

If you are also one of these, this blog post is right here to help you create a website without spending a single penny on a developer! This is a complete step-by-step guide on how to create a website from scratch (without knowing anything about web development, design, or coding)!

Most of us have thoughts like:

  • I don’t have coding knowledge/experience, so will I be able to create a website..
  • Website creation is expensive, will think about it later..
  • What domain name and hosting service should I purchase..
  • Should I go with a CMS or a website builder..
  • Should I go with a free or a premium website theme..
  • What all settings I need to set for no future problems..
  • Will I be able to create a professional website..
  • How to launch a website..
  • How to earn from a website..
  • And many more!

Here, you will get answers for all of this with an in-depth understanding of what is best for you. You’d need the only computer with a good Internet connection and an hour or two of time.

If you have any questions along the way, leave a comment below in this article and we’ll do our best to help you out as soon as possible.

A Guide on How to Create a Website on your own, Step-by-Step

Quick Review? Here are your action shortcuts to get your site built:

  1. Choose a platform for your website (We recommend WordPress)
  2. Find a domain name for your site.
  3. Sign up for web-hosting (We recommend Bluehost).
  4. Install Your WordPress Site With One Click
  5. Pick a responsive WordPress theme (We recommend Astra)
  6. Customize the account and theme settings
  7. Get some must-have WordPress plugins that will help with your site growth.
  8. Start creating your pages and blog posts.

Whenever you’re ready to create a website, make sure you use one of the recommended links on this page. Going through them will result in two things: 

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(1) they are the affiliate links, meaning, we receive a small commission if you buy through them

(2) it will unlock a discounted price for you. You won’t get this discount if you visit the recommended sites/products in any other way.

We won’t be focusing much on the “Make Money Online” section in this guide. But we have other resources for that. Check them out!

Step-1: Choose A Platform For Your Website

On the entire internet, the distribution of websites are made using different CMS technologies, and choosing the right-one can feel a bit overwhelming.

WordPress, Wix, Drupal, Squarespace and Joomla are just a few examples.

Should You Choose a WordPress or Website Builder?

Getting online has become easier than ever. There are now more than 200 million active websites, and a lot of them were made by folks from non-technical backgrounds like you and me.

Today anyone can make a website, regardless of skill level as there are tools available today that makes the process easy. This blog post will drive you through making a website from scratch step-by-step.

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Website builders let anyone get online. They’re easy to use, don’t require any coding knowledge, and come with loads of templates to make your website stand out, but you cannot customize it 100% as per you. Whereas, WordPress is an open source platform. WordPress gives you total freedom in terms of creativity, but demands more technical skill than website builders.

According to W3 Techs, WordPress is one of the most popular CMS, holding a monstrous 62.6% share of the market.

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Why do we Recommend WordPress?

# User-Friendly & Beginner Friendly: It is easy to use and can be easily customized with plugins, that can pretty much do anything to your site and make it exactly how you want it.

# Powerful CMS: WordPress is extremely powerful and can run most types of sites. It’s a trusted platform for many of the websites in the world.

# Websites Are Responsive & Mobile Friendly: It’s really become important to have a site that is responsive on multi-screens as the number of smartphone users are increasing daily, and WP can help us handle it.

# It won’t cost you a thing: WordPress installation is free. All you have to do is buy your domain and hosting and then you’re up and running with a one-click installation from your host.

# Amazing Customer Support: WordPress is blessed with a helpful community of developers who are happy to help you out whenever you get stuck with anything on your WordPress site.

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Step-2: Choose and Register a Domain Name

Every website needs a domain name as this is how people will remember your website and your brand name. Ours is theblueoceansgroup.com, similarly, our other travel website is yourtravellingstory.com. You can get a domain name directly through some hosting providers (like Bluehost), or otherwise, you’ll need to get it from a domain registrar like Domain.com

Choosing a great domain name

There’s no secret formula for choosing a good domain name, but there are some thumb rules worth sticking to, while you start to create a website.

# Relevant domain name
# Easy to say and spell
# Short and sweet
# Keep extensions to .com, .org, or .net
# Use your brand name
# Avoid numbers and hyphens

I recommend you brainstorm ideas and create a list of 5-10 domain names until you do find an available domain as getting a domain name of your choice is difficult now. 

Bluehost saves your money as you get a domain name for free along with hosting. To make it even easier for you, if you have still not decided, what your domain should be. You can enter your ideas right below for free, to check if they are available 🙂

Once you do that, let’s jump into Website Hosting.

Step-3: Select the Right Hosting Plan (We recommend Bluehost)

If you’re building a website with WordPress, you’ll need to sign up with a hosting service (it’s your virtual “plot to space your database”). For new websites, you can start off with a Shared Hosting, then upgrade later as required (Note*: Dedicated hosting is always a solid option as you will not require to shift or upgrade later). Hosting plans can cost between $3 and $500+ per month.

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There are a few things that you want to look for in web hosting.

  • Uptime Reliability
  • Customer Service
  • Site Speed based with server

We have a complete guide on WordPress Hosting along with the Comparisons and Reviews

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Choosing a Hosting Provider

We’ll be going step-by-step with web hosting company “Bluehost” as an example as it is also one of the services recommended by WordPress. It performs extremely well for Shared WordPress hosting, which is ideal for beginners. 

Note**: Siteground is also on my second highest priority list of WordPress Hosting. Check out our Siteground Review.

Find-out more:

Best WordPress Hosting Services: We have compared 10 best hosting service companies and concluded the best hosting company based on the research and review from other market leaders.

Bluehost Review: We have explained all it’s pros and cons of this WordPress-recommended hosting

Quick understanding on why Choose BlueHost:

  • It is one of the few companies that is recommended by WordPress.
  • It is budget-friendly (Use my link, we will get additional discounts automatically)
  • It is user and beginner-friendly
  • You get a Domain Name included with Hosting Plan 

Show Me Bluehost Features

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Pick a plan

Before you can start building your WordPress website, it’s important to purchase a hosting plan. As you cannot begin with it without this step. 

Signing up for a hosting plan is very easy. But, Signing up for the right hosting plan is where things get a bit trickier. Lots of bloggers, beginners make a mistake and then suffer because of the incomplete/wrong information.

Based on your business requirement, you can select a hosting plan from a range of hosting types. Click here to see all the Bluehost’s hosting Plans.

Along with all the hosting packages, you’ll also get unlimited email addresses assigned to your domain name! For Example: [email protected]

Black Friday Deal Alert! We’ve spotted Bluehost is currently offering some great discounts, meaning shared hosting prices now start from just $2.65 (original price: $8.99 per month). But, these offers expire soon!

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Did You Spot a Hosting Plan?

Some of the main types of hosting are as follows.

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  • Shared Hosting
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS)
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • WordPress (Shared or managed WordPress hosting) – It comes with extra features to help WordPress Users, like one-click WordPress installation and automatic software updates. 

If you’re just starting a website, you can initially go with shared hosting. If a shared plan proves inadequate after sometime, you can simply upgrade. 

Here’s how, you can purchase your hosting plan with Bluehost:

# Open Bluehost.com

# Select the type of hosting from your Menu Bar (I assume, you are selecting a WordPress Shared Hosting)

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# Click on Select and hence, the Screen opens to set up your domain. You can book a new domain from this screen or can even use a domain you may have purchased earlier (Click on Next). You can skip for now, if you’ve still not decided the domain name. You can set the domain even later.

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# Now, the screen opens to enter all your details and the payment information. Fill your details, Select your account Plan (1,2,3 Years), Complete your payment information, Read and Check Mark the Terms and Conditions. Now, cross-check all your details and Click on Submit.

Hence, you have successfully purchased the Hosting Service and you are ready to install wordpress.

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Step-4: Install Your WordPress Site With One Click

With most hosting providers (like Bluehost), WordPress can be installed with just a single click. You just need to open an account that is made for you automatically and set up WordPress with your new username and password with just a click. 

In order to install WordPress, Open Bluehost Account, go to ‘My Sites’ on the dashboard and Click on “Create Site”.

Now, Bluehost requires the name of your new site and the username/password that you want to use when managing WordPress. Once you’ve completed the wizard, your site is installed and ready to go!

You can open your WordPress account from yourdomainname.com/wp-admin

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Step-5: Choose a Theme For Your Site’s Design

Now, it’s time to pick your WordPress theme!

Theme affects on site looks, responsive site and user friendly architecture. There are both, free themes (WordPress) and paid themes (can buy from third-party sellers and marketplaces) available, and you can change your website’s theme as often as you want. Also, the best part with WordPress is you can switch the way your WordPress website looks with just one click. Also, for your information, themes don’t change the contents of your site but only alter the design.

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Note**: I know “free” seems really amazing, but I would like to tell you. You don’t build a site every day, right? So, why not create a best in one shot? I have made blunders, I created a site on a free theme for the first time, but I faced a lot of problems in terms of site functionality.  I would rather suggest you select a premium theme and purchase it for a lifetime. (Theme once purchased can be used unlimited times on different sites as well). 

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After in-depth research and comparisons, we have restructured and redesigned our site on Astra theme (the best theme I have come across), even WordPress Website is on Astra. 

There are of course, other best premium themes like Genesis, StudioPress, Divi Theme, ThemeForest. Premium themes can be a great investment if you want a high-quality design and ongoing support from the developer, which is usually included in the purchase price.

For example, open a site yourdomainname.com in your browser. This is what a WordPress website looks by default, right after the installation:

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Install your theme

With just a couple of clicks, and with a popular free theme called Astra, for example, we can get it to look like this:

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Steps to install a free theme:

Go to Appearance in the WordPress Dashboard>Click on Appearance> Themes> Click on Add New> Search Astra and Now, Click on Install and Activate Theme

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When you purchase a theme, it is usually delivered as a .zip file, which you can install easily through your WordPress dashboard.

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In order to install a premium theme, Just follow the steps: Go to Appearance > Themes from your WordPress Dashboard and, click on Add New, and then click Upload Theme. Or If you get a plugin to access a premium theme, Click on Plugins > Add New and then, click Upload Plugin.

From there, just need to upload (drag and drop or by selecting a file from Browser) the .zip file, and you’ll have the option to preview or activate your new theme/plugin right away.

For instance, you get some useful modules for the prebuilt websites with a homepage, a template directory that will be helpful when building your sub-pages (such as “about” or “contact”), and custom menu icons. Out of numerous pre-built templates, you can select a template of your niche/market.

At this stage, your new theme is active on your site. You can see it in action simply by going to YourDomainName.com.

Customize the theme

While the look of your theme would be nice and set, you should still do some basic customizations to make it look resemble your brand. 

To begin, Go to Appearance > Click on Customize. (Now, You’ll see the WordPress Customizer interface)

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From here, you can tune things like Logo, Colors, Header, Menu, Typography, Spaces, etc. for different screens like Desktop, Tables and Mobile.

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Now, we’ll start with the Settings on the entire website:

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Adjusting the typography.

Here, it would take care of your site’s typography – the fonts used throughout the site.

You can do that by going to Appearance Settings > Global> Typography from the WordPress Customizer sidebar. In there, you will be able to pick a font for headings and body content and see it on your site immediately.

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Setting the Colors.

Out the box, your new theme is going to use a couple of primary colors for active, background, text and hover effect that define its default color scheme. You can change that setting in the WordPress Customizer>Global> Colors in the main sidebar.

After doing the above, your website will start feeling like it’s truly yours. You will have made all the necessary tune-ups and customizations to make it fit with your brand.

Note. There are many more settings in the WordPress Customizer like, you can:

  • Pick the default layout of your website
  • How you want the blog listing to be displayed
  • Whether you want a main background image for the entire site,
  • The shape of the buttons
  • Breadcrumbs settings
  • Your posts listings

Once you select your WordPress site you will find yourself in the WordPress dashboard. This will be your online control room from now on, and it’s here that you can manage themes. A handful of default themes are waiting for you when you arrive, and adding new ones only takes a few minutes.

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How to use every single feature has been explained in Complete Astra Tutorial: Step-by-Step

Step-6: Get familiar with the WordPress UI

After you log in successfully with yourdomainname.com/wp-admin, you’ll see the main WordPress interface as:

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  • Posts – You create or update blog posts, categories, tags here
  • Media – You upload/manage images and other media files here
  • Pages – You add and manage pages and sub-pages
  • Comments – This is where you can moderate comments.
  • Appearance – Here you change your site’s design and customize how certain things are displayed on the current design.
  • Plugins – You install or manage plugins here.
  • Users – You manage user accounts that can access the admin panel of the website.
  • Settings – Set the main settings as per your requirements

At this stage, it’s good to take care of some basic getting-started WordPress settings that will improve your experience further down the road.

Permalinks define how the individual web page addresses – URLs – are structured within your site.

The most optimized structure is to have the page’s title in the URL. For example, your “about” page (more on that page later on) should be available under something as simple as YOURSITE.com/about. Setting the permalinks correctly will allow you to achieve that.

To set your permalinks, go to Settings > Permalinks from the main sidebar in your WP dashboard.

Once there, select this setting:

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Making your site public

I guess you want Google to be able to find and index your website. To make sure that’s the case, go to Settings > Reading, and make sure that the box labeled “Discourage search engines …” is unchecked.

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Set your website title and tagline

Go to Settings > General and set the Site Title and Tagline fields to what you want.

Your site title and tagline might appear in various places throughout the site. Some WordPress themes display those on the homepage and in the SEO description – which Google uses when listing your website on the results pages.

The tagline is optional, you can leave it blank if you don’t have a tagline for the site.

Allow or disable comments

Whether or not you want to accept comments on your website is up to you.

On the one hand, letting readers leave their opinions and questions under your articles/pages can be great for building a community around the website. But, on the other, you’ll also have your hands busy dealing with spam and making sure that there’s no trolling.

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Whether you’ll end up allowing or disabling comments, it can be done in Settings > Discussion.

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Set your time zone

Setting your time zone correctly will make publishing new pages and posts more predictable.

Generally, you want to set the time zone to either where you’re at or where your target audience is at. Whichever makes more sense.

You can set the time zone in Settings > General.

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With the basic settings out of the way, we can get to the fun stuff:

Step-7: Choose and Install Useful Plugins

With a huge number of plugins (both free and paid), you can easily get your site working the way you need it to. The WordPress plugin directory makes it super simple to find what you need. Plugins are easy to install as well as uninstall.

Plugins are bits of software that can be added to WordPress to improve the functionality of your site. Default features offer enough to make a perfectly good website, but plugins are often necessary to take it to the next level.

WordPress has numerous plugins for everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to image compression. Browse the WordPress plugin directory and you’ll soon get a sense of how vibrant and creative a community is. Each plugin has its own page with descriptions, screenshots, user reviews, and more.

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Installing plugins is simple. If it’s a free plugin that we’re dealing with, then all you need is the plugin’s name.

Go to your WordPress dashboard and then to Plugins>Add New. From there, input the name of the plugin that you want into the search field, and then click on “Install” and “Activate.”

You manage your plugins in the ‘Installed Plugins’ section of the ‘Plugins’ tab. There you can edit plugin settings and toggle installed plugins on or off.

Step-8: Create basic pages on your website

There are some pages that all websites should have, regardless of their purpose or goal.

To do that, simply go to your WordPress dashboard, and then Click on Pages > Add New.

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  • A place for the headline of the page.
  • The body section – the main content of the page. The interface is very similar to MS Word. You get all the basic text formatting features (like bold, italics, aligning text to left/right/center, creating lists, etc.).
  • You can add images by clicking this button.
  • Switch between the Text and Visual editors. Use the former only if you’re at least vaguely familiar with HTML code.
  • The Publish section. This is where the main Publish button is.
  • Discussion. Decide whether or not you want to allow comments. The “trackbacks and pingbacks” setting you can leave unchecked.
  • Featured image. Most WordPress themes take that featured image and display it somewhere in a prominent spot alongside your page.

When you’re done editing the page’s content, click on “Publish.”

Step-9: Consider starting a blog

A blog (as well as marketing through content “content marketing” in general) is among the most effective ways to promote not only your website but also any products that you might want to sell through that website.

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And it’s not just me saying this; there’s raw data proving that blogs are a superior tool for marketing online, with 55% of marketers saying that blogging is their top inbound marketing priority.

Running a blog is a straightforward concept. What you do is publish articles related to the topic of your website and do it regularly.

From a technical point of view, WordPress has blogging tools built right into it from the get-go. In fact, WordPress started as a blogging platform.

To create a new blog post, all you need to do is go to Posts → Add New (from your WordPress dashboard).

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The process itself of creating a blog post works nearly the same as creating a new page. The editing panel looks nearly the same (the screenshot below), and the options are mostly the same as well.

Here, the posts page look similar to the normal page, One of the few differences is that you can also assign your posts to categories and tags.

Once you’re done working on a blog post, click on “Publish.”

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To make your posts easily accessible, you should designate one of your pages to serve as the main blog listing for the posts.

At this stage, you can navigate to that new page and see all your recent blog posts there.

Of course, the tough part about starting a blog is to write blog posts regularly and to make them attractive for people to read.

Step-10: Adjust your site navigation

With all your key pages online (and perhaps your blog started as well), it’s now a good moment to adjust your site’s navigation and make it overall easier to consume for the visitors.

We’ll focus on two elements here:

Menus

Menus are the primary vehicle through which visitors navigate your site, thus they’re crucial when figuring out how to make a website.

Depending on your theme, you will have a couple of options to choose from regarding menu settings. Here’s what you can usually do:

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First, go to Appearance >Menus in your WordPress dashboard.

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You’ll see this default panel:

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To the left, there are all the pages you can choose to add to a menu. To the right, you can see the menu structure itself and all its settings.

Let’s start by selecting a couple of key pages and adding them to the menu. A good idea is to pick About, Contact, plus whatever other one or two pages you consider to be important, and add them to the menu.

The great thing about this whole panel is that you can drag and drop the menu items to reorder them.

When you’re done, select the menu location at the bottom. Usually, selecting the location labeled “Primary Menu” will result in showing the menu in the top section of the website. This is probably what you want for your main menu. Click on “Save Menu” to save the settings.

Note. You can create additional menus as well. Just click on the “create a new menu” link that’s visible in the screenshot above. This will show you the same menu creation panel. Each menu needs to be displayed in a different location. So, for this new one, you can assign it as the “Footer Menu.”

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When you go to your site now, you’ll see the menu in place.

Widgets

Widgets are an old-school feature in WordPress. In simple terms, a widget is a small block of content that can be displayed in various places around the website.

The usual placement of those blocks is in the sidebar or the footer of the site.

To see what this might look like and to set your widgets, go to Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress dashboard.

Step-11: Verify SSL/HTTPS Settings

An SSL certificate makes sure that your website is delivered to your visitors securely.

With Bluehost, the best thing is, it automatically adds an SSL when you create a new website or install WordPress. In order to check your website’s SSL status, just follow the steps:

  1. Log in to your Bluehost portal
  2. Click on “My Sites”
  3. Find your site and click on “Manage Site”
  4. Go to the “Security” tab
  5. Under “Security Certificate,” you will find your “Free SSL Certificate” status
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If everything went great, you will see a lock icon in the web browser. Also, sometimes it may take a few hours to set up SSL completely (automatically), so you can proceed with further steps to create a website. 

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Keep Improving Your Website on a Regular Basis!

Congratulations! You’ve completed the guide on how to create a website all on your own!  

Now, you can start monetizing your site with different methods including products/services

Have you built your own website? Have any tricks or tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Please note the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. We’re glad to answer any questions you may have about this article. For further information, please contact The Blue Oceans Group directly via email at [email protected]

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