In 2021, anyone can make a website without knowing anything about web development, design, or coding.
To set up a website is much easier than you think. More and more people want to have their own online presence. You don’t need to depend exclusively on an Instagram profile, a Facebook page, or a Twitter account.
Whether you want to create a website for yourself or for your business, you can easily do that by using the right tools and resources.
This how to make a website guide will help you build a website from scratch without having to spend money on freelancers, agencies, or website builders.
All you need to set up a website is a few hours of your free time to complete the guide.
Here is an overview from start to finish of all the steps we’ll walk you through in this guide.
- How to find and register a domain name
- Choosing the best web hosting
- How to install WordPress
- Installing a template to change your site’s design
- Creating pages in WordPress
- Customizing WordPress with add-ons and extensions
- Resources to learn WordPress and get support
- Taking it further, building websites with more features
Before we start creating a website, let’s cover some of the most commonly asked questions that we get.
1. Choose a Domain Name
In order to build a website, the very first thing you’ll need is a domain name.
The domain name is your website name and address. That address is used by visitors when they try to find your site through their web browsers.
This website’s domain name is designersgalaxy.com. Yours can be anything.
Domain names can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 a year. The usual price tag is around $15.
If you haven’t registered or chosen a domain name for your website, here are some tips to help you out:
- If you’re making a website for a business, your domain name should match your company name. For example: YourCompanyName.com
- If you’re planning to set up a personal website for yourself then YourName.com can be a great option.
- Use a “generic” domain name extension such as .com, .net and .org if your goal is international or US visitors. Use a “local” domain name extension such as .de, .r or .ru if your goal is country-targeted visitors.
Don’t worry if your preferred domain name is already taken. There are more than 300 million different domain names registered, but there are a billion other possibilities that are still available.
2. Register a Domain and Sign Up for Web Hosting Account
If you don’t want to use a free domain name (which looks quite ugly as it will have the name of another company in it), you need to purchase your own domain. This will then look like www.mycompany.com. Usually, it’s best to get the .com extension unless you are strictly operating in one country like Canada (.ca) or the UK (.co.UK).
There is no shortage of so-called registrars that sell domain names. We ourselves mostly buy them at namecheap.com they are, well, pretty cheap but the differences are not that significant as they range from $9-18 per year.
But depending on where you set up a website, you can get it also included in your website builder package. Wix and Weebly, for example, all have the domain name included for free in the first year. In the following years, they charge slightly more than Namecheap, for example, but the added convenience of only having to deal with one company is normally worth it.
If you are using WordPress.org or build the website yourself, you will also need to organize your own web storage. This can be bought at the same place where you get your domain name from or at yet another specialized company like Siteground or WPEngine. But if you are only starting out, this won’t matter too much for now.
In addition to having a domain name, you’ll also need website hosting (web hosting).
Web hosting is a service that hosts and stores your website files (content) on a secure server that is always up and running. Without a web host, your site will not be accessible for others to read and browse.
Affordable and reliable web hosting for new websites costs usually between $3 to $10 a month. Less than a cup of coffee, but an important investment for your website’s success.
Whichever web hosting company you sign up with, make sure it has the following features:
- FREE domain name with SSL (for security)
- One-click-install for WordPress (free)
- Custom email accounts
- Unlimited or unmetered bandwidth (no traffic limitations)
- Customer support, preferably 24/7 live chat
If you find a website hosting that offers all of the things above, you’ve likely found a good provider.
1) To get a web hosting account, simply visit Bluehost and click on “Get Started Now”.
2) Next, choose your web hosting plan to set up a website (choice plus is fully unlimited, while basic is best for new sites):
3) Next, choose and register a domain name (free for the first year):
3-Designing and planning of a website: Set Up a Website in wordpress
Design and planning of a website
Just like it isn’t always a good idea to start cooking without following a recipe, at least if you have no experience, the same goes for creating a website. Here, improvising is not a good idea. Planning will help you decide what sections you need, the content that works best for you, and how your website should be designed.
Mind map for an online shoe store
A good way to start is by creating a mind map with the ideas of what your website will need. The main items of this mind map can be used for your navigation.
We recommend choosing WordPress since it’s easy to use and comes with thousands of free designs and add-ons that make your website look professional and unique.
Setting up your WordPress website is easy, and your web host mostly does it for you, so you don’t really have to get your hands too dirty.
If you don’t use Bluehost as a web hosting, don’t worry. Many web hosting providers have “WordPress install” located somewhere in the hosting cPanel. If you are dealing with a web host that doesn’t provide “one-click installs“, try setting up WordPress
Tips for planning to set up a website properly:
- Use a paper and a pen and write down everything you want on the website. Brainstorming and creating a mind map are the perfect ways to organize your thoughts.
- Take a look at other interesting websites both in terms of design and content. Note what you like and what you don’t.
- Once you have a draft of what you want on your website, ask people you trust what they think. You’ll certainly find some interesting perspectives you can incorporate.
- Create a list(e.g. in Excel) with all the pages that your website will have. Note down the title, what kind of content you’ll have, keywords, the purpose, the kind of page and their importance.
- Bonus: If you want to position yourself well in search engines, this is when you should find out what keyword each page will have, and add them to the list in point 4.
1) Installing WordPress Website on Bluehost
- Log in to your Bluehost account
- Click on “My Sites” and then on “Create Site”
- Provide some basic information about your site, and the WordPress installation will start. It will all happen on autopilot.
- When the setup is done, Bluehost will show you the installation and login details. Be sure to save this information somewhere safe.
2) Test Your Website By Typing in Your Domain Address
With WordPress installed, what you should do next is test if everything works.
The easiest way to do that is to type in your domain name into the web browser.
With WordPress correctly installed, the thing you’ll see is a very basic website like this:
If this doesn’t look too attractive, don’t worry, you’ll soon learn how to change the design to something more appealing.
3) Verify SSL/HTTPS Settings
In short, an SSL certificate makes sure that your website is delivered to your visitors securely.
Bluehost automatically adds an SSL when you create a new website or install WordPress. To check your site’s SSL status, do these steps:
- Log in to your Bluehost portal
- Click on “My Sites”
- Find your site and click on “Manage Site”
- Go to the “Security” tab
- Under “Security Certificate,” you will find your “Free SSL Certificate” status
If everything went well, you should see a lock icon next to your domain name in the web browser.
It may take a few hours before the SSL is set up completely, but that shouldn’t stop you from continuing to build your website.
What about the website design?
Creating visual web designs is no easy task. In fact, I’d say that online, there are more examples of terrible designs than good ones. Don’t let your website be one.
Just like bell bottom jeans were stylish in the 70s, they were ridiculous in the 80s and 90s. The same happens with web design. You have to remember that what was considered good practice 5 years ago, can now seem kind of old or out of date.
This is not a guide for professional designers, but it will give you some tips that I think always work:
- Try to use a light (or white) color for the background.
- Choose attractive colors that complement each other. Use Adobe Color if you need help.
- Keep the design clean, simple, and leave white space between the elements.
- Don’t use too many fonts: one for the titles and another for the text is usually enough. This guide will help you choose.
- Keep consistent style and format. The users should not notice any differences between your pages.
- Your website should also be perfectly adapted to mobile devices.
- Any images you add must look professional. Don’t upload a selfie you took in front of a bathroom mirror. Keep in mind that today’s smartphones take very nice photos. If you plan right, you can get great headshots.
- Less is more. When in doubt, go minimal.
4. Customize Your Website Design and Structure
With your bare website alive and kicking, it’s now time to make it feel more like your own by picking a nice design, customizing it, and adding branding elements.
1) Choose a Theme for Your Website
WordPress themes are out-the-box design packages that change the way your entire website looks like. WordPress themes are interchangeable – you can switch from theme to theme easily.
What elements do good websites have in common?
1. Great-looking artwork
The logo and image selection are crucial to getting a professional-looking when you set up a website. Today you can easily find loads of free stock photos: the best is to check out Creative Commons.
It is important to make sure you understand the available image formats: .gif, .jpg and .png are the main formats. Plus, you have to optimize the size and quality of the image to the web standard browser. Everything you need to know about this topic can be found here.
Most importantly, there are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available on the web.
If you want to get a free theme – which is where most people like to start – the best place to go is the official theme directory at WordPress.org. Particularly, the section for the most popular themes.
All themes you see there have proven to be of great quality and have large user bases behind them.
You are free to browse through that list and pick any theme you fancy but to speed things up for you in this guide. It’s a versatile theme that comes with a handful of starter sites (design packages for different niches and types of websites).
We’re going to use that theme in this guide going forward.
2) Install the Theme You Like
Go to your WordPress admin interface. You can find it at YOURSITE.com/wp-admin. Use the username and password you got during WordPress installation.
- From the sidebar, go to “Themes → Add New.”
- In the search box, type in “Neve” and click on the “Install” button next to the theme’s name (you need to hover the mouse over the theme box):
- After the installation is done, click on the “Activate” button that will appear in place of the “Install” button.
- You’ll see a success message, which lets you know that the installation went as expected.
3) Import a Design (Only for Neve Theme Users)
Although the theme is active at this point, there are a couple more things you should do to make it look right.
You’ll see this welcome message:
One of the great things about Neve is that you get not just one design with it, but a whole range of different designs that you can pick from. Click on the big blue button to see them.
There are more than 20 designs available for free, and they cover most of the popular website niches, like business, restaurant, fitness, music, food, wedding, photography, eCommerce, portfolio, and more. Basically, no matter what the topic of your site might be, you’ll find a design package that fits.
For the purpose of this guide, we’ll pick the first one on the list – called “Original.”
You’ll notice that this installation process takes care of all the elements you’ll need on your site – you get the design itself, all the plugins required to make it work, and also demo content that you can later modify.
Click on the “Import” button to get everything going. After a minute or so, you’ll see the success message.
Next, go to “Appearance → Neve Options” to see what else you can do with the theme.
We’re going to explore some of these options below:
4) Add a Logo
The first thing that most users want to do is upload their logo and have it displayed in the top left corner of the site. Let’s do that now.
You can DIY a logo. Here are some of the tools you can use to create a logo yourself.
Once you have a logo ready, you can add it to your site. Go to “Appearance → Neve Options” and click on the link labeled “Upload Logo.”
Here’s what you’ll see:
This interface is called the WordPress Customizer, and it allows you to edit various aspects of your website’s appearance. For starters, you can upload your logo. To do that, click on the “Select Logo” button that’s near the top left corner.
WordPress will give you an option to crop the logo, but you can skip that.
You should see your logo in the corner of the page shortly.
Additionally, you can choose if you want to display the site name and tagline alongside the logo, and set the max-width of the logo. Experiment with these settings and pick what works best for you.
Click on the “Publish” button when done (the top left corner), and then click on the “X” button to exit the Customizer.
5) Change the Website Color Scheme and Fonts
Another thing you can experiment with is changing the color schemes and fonts used on the site. As you’re learning how to create a website, this is an easy fix to make your site more unique and more in tune with your brand identity.
- To begin, go to “Appearance → Neve Options” again. We’re going to focus on the following two options:
- First, click on “Set Colors.”
- Most WordPress themes are defined by the color scheme they use for various elements of the design.
- Most commonly, those are the colors of the links, texts on the site, and backgrounds.
- You can change the color assignments for the Neve theme via the Customizer.
- To switch any of the colors, just click on it and pick a new color.
- Click on “Publish” and “X” when you’re done.
Changing fonts works similarly:
- Click on the “Customize Fonts” link in the “Appearance → Neve Options” panel.
- Neve lets you pick from a whole catalog of system fonts and Google Fonts.
- Just click on the “Font Family” box and select the font you like.
- After that, you can fine-tune the individual fonts used for your headings.
Experiment with these settings to see the effect they have on your site.
- To customize the font used for the body section of your site, click on the arrow button near the top left.
- Click on “General.” This will take you to a similar options panel, but this time you’re adjusting the main body font.
- Click on “Publish” and “X” when done.
6) Add a Sidebar
Another thing you can do in the “Appearance → Neve Options” panel is set how you’d like your sidebar to look. Click on “Content / Sidebar” to begin.
You have three main options here: no sidebar, sidebar to the left, or sidebar to the right. The sidebar to the right is the classic layout for most websites. You can also set the content width. After doing your changes, click on “Publish” and “X.”
7) Add Widgets (Free WordPress Add-Ons)
Widgets are those small content blocks that usually appear in websites’ sidebars. Since we’ve just set the sidebar in the previous step, let’s now customize it with widgets.
To configure widgets, go to “Appearance → Widgets.” You’ll see this:
On the left, you can see all the widgets available; and on the right, there are all the widget areas supported by your current theme. To add a widget to the sidebar, all you need to do is grab the widget from the left and drag and drop it onto the sidebar area.
For example, if you want to list all your pages in the sidebar, grab the “Pages” widget and drag it onto the sidebar section. You can also configure some basic settings of the widget.
8) Experiment With the Theme You Built
What we’ve covered above will be enough for you to figure out how to create a website that stands out and looks original, but there are many more options available.
To see them all, go to “Appearance → Customize.” This will fire up the main interface of the Customizer with all its settings and presets.
We encourage you to browse through what’s available there and play around with some of the options. You’ll likely stumble upon some customizations we haven’t discussed here.
5. Add Content/Pages to Your Website
Pages are the essence of your website. It’s hard to imagine a website without any pages on it, right?
From a technical point of view, a web page is just a document on the web. It’s not very different from your traditional Word document apart from it having your website’s branding elements such as the header and footer.
Web pages are easy to create in WordPress. But before we get into the how-to, let’s discuss what pages you should create in the first place.
Most websites will find the following pages essential:
- Homepage – it’s the first page that your visitors see when they go to your website
- About page – a page explaining what your website is about
- Contact page – a page letting visitors contact you
- Blog page – a listing of your most recent blog posts; if you’re not planning on blogging, you can use the blog page as a place for your company news and announcements
- Services page – if the website you’re building is for a business, use this page to showcase your services
- Shop page – for companies that want to launch an eCommerce store
Many of the pages above will be very similar in structure – the only difference being the content on the actual page. Basically, once you learn how to create one page, you’ll know how to create them all. With that, there is some nuance here, so let’s now cover how to create a couple of basic types of pages:
1) Creating a Homepage
If you’re using Neve, your homepage looks something like this:
You can edit the structure of this page as well as the elements on it (all texts and images).
To do that, just click on the “Edit with Elementor” button in the top bar.
What you’ll see is the interface of the Elementor page builder.
Elementor is what we call a visual page builder. This means that you can click any element that you see on the page and edit it directly. For example, if you want to change the main headline, just click on it and start typing.
If you take a look at the left sidebar, there’s a whole customization panel there. You can adjust the structure and the styling of any content block. For example, here’s what you can see when working on the headline:
Another cool thing is that you can grab onto any element on the page, and drag-and-drop it somewhere else.
To add new elements, click on the small square icon in the top left corner.
You’ll see a list of all the content blocks available.
Grab any of the blocks and drag them onto the page’s canvas.
The best way to work on your homepage is to go block by block and edit the demo content that’s on the page.
Type in new text content, realign some of the blocks, delete the ones you don’t need, and add new ones accordingly.
This whole interface is quite intuitive to use, so just spend an hour or so using it and experimenting with different things.
2) Create Pages Such as “About”, “Services”, “Contact”
Creating classic web pages is even easier to do in WordPress than working on your homepage. Go into “Pages → Add New.” You’ll see this interface:
Every page needs a title, so start by adding one where it says “Add a title.” For example, “About Us” or “Contact.”
Next, pick a page layout. If you’re creating a standard page, you can go with the first one on the list – “Single Row.” But to speed things up, you can choose from the template library. For that, click on the blue button.
You’ll see a window letting you pick from a range of pre-made page sections. If you’re working on your about page, for example, you can quickly find and use the following blocks:
Just click on the “Insert” button next to the block you like, and it will be added to the page. From there, you can further customize it, change the texts, or replace images.
When you’re done, click on the “Publish” button in the top right corner of the screen.
You can follow the same process when working on your contact page or services page as well.
Just pick different page blocks from the template library. For example, these should work great on a services page:
If you want to add new page elements by hand – instead of using the templates – click on the “+” icon that’s in the top left corner of the editor interface.
Any block you select there will be added at the bottom of your page. Here’s what a new heading block looks like:
As you can see, you can edit it freely, change the properties of the text, plus there are color settings in the right sidebar.
As always, remember to click on “Publish” when you’re done.
3) Create a Blog Page
The blog page is where the listing of your most recent blog posts can be found.
The good news is that the blog page has already been created for you. This happened when you installed WordPress and the theme. You can see that page by going to “Pages”:
Click on the “View” link to see your blog page in action.
Adding new blog posts:
To add new blog posts, simply go to Go to “Posts → Add New.”
Does this interface remind you of anything? Yes, this is the same editing environment that we used when creating standard pages. Easy!
6. Set Up a Navigation Menu
With a range of good-looking pages created, the next step in our quest to create a website is to set up your navigation (a website menu). The menu is what your visitors will use to go from page to page on your site.
Go to “Appearance → Menus,” and from there, click on “create a new menu.”
Here’s how to create your first menu step by step:
- Start by adding a title. The menu title doesn’t really matter, but it helps to recognize your menu among other menus (yes, you can have more than one).
- Select the pages to be added to your menu. You can also add other items to the menu – like posts or custom links.
- Click on the “Add to Menu” button to add the selected pages to your menu.
- Drag-and-drop menu items to arrange the links in order of importance.
- Select a menu display location. This differs from theme to theme, in this case, set your menu to the “Primary” location will display the menu in the header.
- Lastly, save your menu.
At this stage, you’ll see your menu on the homepage in all its glory.