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An easy, step-by-step guide from a web developer
Ive been helping people build websites since 2004.
I wrote this FREE guide to help anyone from bloggers to business owners make their own website without having to learn code.
So far, this guide has helped people build over 250,000 new websites, and you can do it, too.
One of the best, easiest yet most comprehensive guides on setting up your new wordpress website.
Starting your very 1st website or helping someone who is?has some great walkthroughs for domain, hosting & CMS!
@RobMening Thank you, thank you thank you! Just usedto set up a site for my new venture. You made it easy (,)
Every month 370,000+ people use WebsiteSetup to build a website.
The guide is very detailed, yet very easy to follow even if youre not very technical.
Other guides can be outdated or misleading. I update my guides every month.
Your website will be set up the right way on the right platform for what you need.
I offer free help and consultation via email. Im more than happy to get you answers and clear up any questions you might have.
If you want to build a good, mobile friendly and functional website quickly, youll need to choose a platform (also known ascontent management system).
Well, back in 2004 when I got started with web development, most sites were built using HTML (code), CSS and even Flash. These took a lot of time to learn and were tricky to master.
Thats why most people still think creating a website from scratch is difficult or requires a lot of coding and design skills but thats no longer true. In 2018, content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have made creating a website accessible to everyone.
To put simply, a content management system (or website building platform) is a user-friendly platform for building websites and managing your own online content, instead of using a bunch of loose HTML pages.
In recent statistics made byW3Techs,WordPress is the most popularcontent management system (55%) followed by Joomla (20%) and Drupal (11%).
WordPress vs. HTML & CSS: Learning HTML from scratch can take 6+ months, let alone CSS and PHP. Having a basic knowledge of HTML can help you gauge things more quickly, but if you want to create a website within a day or two, learning HTML isnt a viable option.
WordPress vs. Website Builders: Website builders are expensive and often very limited. They are good for one-page websites, but not more.
WordPress vs. Joomla/Drupal:Drupalis a very powerful platform that is popular with web developers and experienced coders, but it comes with a very steep learning curve that makes it a bad choice for beginners.Joomlais similar to WordPress and works great for online stores, but youll need at least a little bit of technical coding to make it work the way you want.
If you want more details, Ive put together a prettycomprehensive comparison between WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
If for some reason you dont want to build your site with WordPress, check out my Drupal, Joomla and HTML5 guides as well. They are all FREE to use.
Its the easiest platform Ive ever worked with, but its flexible enough to suit everyone from small business owners, and freelancers to creative artists and bloggers.
Choose a platform to build your website.which is free to use and easy to understand. In this guide, Ill be showing you how to create a site using WordPress, too.
At this point you dont need to install/download anything. Ill show you this in the next steps.
In order to get set up your WordPress (or any other type of websites), youre going to need two things:
The WordPress platform itself is free, but a domain name and hosting will cost you around $3 $5 a month. However it costs less than a coffee, so it wont break the bank.
Owning your own domain name looks far more professional than having your site on someone elses domain (like m), and its super affordable, too.
Plus, having your own hosting will also make sure your website loads quickly and wont go down for hours at a time (pretty important for everyone who visits your pages.)
Ive mostly used a web hosting and domain registrar.
Theyre really affordable, have good customer service, and theyre currently throwing in a domain name for free so its worth checking them out.
When you get a domain name, youll also get a personal email account(s):[emailprotected] way more professional than a generic Gmail or Yahoo address.
Already have a domain name and hosting? Go ahead and skip ahead tostep 3, where Ill explain how you can set up your website.
Remember: Since Im using Bluehost myself, Ive negotiated a special discount for visitors (67% OFF).
Once you click get started now, youll be taken to a page to select the hosting plan of your choice.
I went ahead and selected their basic option, which is a great choice for new websites. Plus, at the moment theyre running a special discount of $2.75/mo (usually its $7.99/mo)
The plus and prime plans are great, but you dont really need all the extra bells and whistles they offer unless there are millions of people flooding your site each day.
Save your hard earned cash and opt for the cheapest package to start out with.
If youre making a website for your business, your domain name should match your company name. For example:
If youre planning to set up a website for yourself, then
For this site (WebsiteSetup), I chose
Domain names usually end with .com, .org or , but in recent months, a huge amount of domain extensions (the end part of the web address, like .com) have come out, ranging from .agency to .pizza.
My best advice?Avoid the weird extensions and go with .com, .net or .org unless they perfectly describe what you have to offer and even then, see if you can find a more common name.
If youve already got a domain name, just enter it in and click Next on the I have a domain name form.
If you arent ready tochoose a domainright off the bat, you can do it at a later point in your website setup.
To create your account, just enter in your personal information on the create your account page.
Youll need to add in your first name, last name, country, street address, city, zip code, phone number, and email address. Your receipt will be sent to the email address you enter here.
Its optional to also add in your business name within this form.
Then, enter in your payment information to continue.
The next step in registering for a Bluehost account is to select you plan and package.
These are the last steps youll go through before your account creation is complete, so pay close attention to the extra options available, like Domain Privacy Protection.
Domain Privacy Protection is only $0.99 cents more per month, and keeps your personal information under wraps such as your name and address.
If you want to keep your website and domain information anonymous, go ahead and spend the extra $0.99 per month. If you dont, be sure to uncheck this box.
Once paid and registered, youll be able to create your password:
Do some brainstorming to come up with a unique domain name that reflects your future website, business or blog.
Secure your domain name and web hosting. For this I , but you can pick any other web host as long its reliable and simple.
UPDATE: I made a simple guide for Bluehost (which package to choose & how to install WordPress).
Once youve bought your domain name and set up your hosting, youre well on your way!
Now its time to get your website up and running. The first thing youll need to do is install WordPress to your domain.
There are two possible ways to install WordPress, one MUCH easier than the other.
Almost every reliable and well-established hosting company has integrated 1-click-installation for WordPress, which makes getting going a snap.
If you signed up withBluehostor any other similar hosting company, you should find your 1-click-installation in your account control panel.
Here are the steps you should follow (should be similar/same on all the major web hosting companies):
Look for the WordPress or Website icon.
Choose the domain where you want to install your website.
Click the Install Now button and you will get access to your new WordPress website.
If youre unable to locate it, look here:How to Install WordPress on Bluehost.
If for some odd reason (some hosting companies dont provide one-click-install for WordPress) you dont have the option to install WordPress automatically, look thismanual guidebelow:
Installing WordPress Manually (Click to expand)
2) Create a new folder on your desktop and unzip WordPress in it
3) Look for a file namedwp-config-sample.phpand rename it to:wp-config.php
4) Now open the wp-config.php (with notepad for example) and fill the following lines:
define(DB_NAME, database_name_here); Database name (if you dont know it, ask this from your hosting support)
define(DB_USER, username_here); Your hosting username
define(DB_PASSWORD, password_here); Your hosting password
After you have filled the gaps, save the file.
5) Now log into your hosting ftp (download FileZilla for that). The FTP address is usually , username and password are the same that you used to register to your host.
6) If there is any file named index delete it. After that upload all the files from your WordPress folder to your FTP server. I believe you can use drag n drop function in FileZilla.
7) Once you have completed the previous steps, go the URL:
Just fill in the forms and you are ready!
Pssst if they dont have 1-click-installation, maybe youre dealing with a bad host!
Once you have successfully installed WordPress to your domain, youll see a very basic yet clean site:
But you dont want to look like everyone else, do you?
Thats why you need a theme a design template that tells WordPress how your website should look. See a sample version below:
Heres where it gets fun: There are thousands of awesome, professionally designed themes you can choose from and customize for a site thats all your own.
If youre not sure how, type in:(replace yoursite with your domain).
This is what the WordPress dashboard looks like:
Everything is easily labelled. If youre feeling a bit overwhelmed, dont sweat it Im going to show you where to go next.
Once youre in the dashboard, youve got access to over 1500 free themes! Just look along the side bar for Appearance, then click Themes.
Ive even compiled a list of15 most popular free WordPress themes.
If you want something more professional or elegant than what you find here, you can head over where theres a HUGE library of themes to pick from at varying costs.
But before you do that, I really suggest you at least try spending some time browsing the free themes. Many of them are actually really professional and well made; so dont write them off.
As you can see above, installing a new theme for your website is very easy.
You can search for specific keywords and/or use filters to find themes that suit your style. Finding the perfect theme can take a while, but its worth it.
You should also look for themes that are responsive, as this means they will look good on any mobile device.
Just punch it in as one of your keywords, and youll be all set!
Once you have found a theme you like, installing it is as simple as clicking Install followed by Activate.
IMPORTANT: Changing themes wont delete your previous posts, pages and content. You can change themes as often as you want without having to worry about lose what youve created.
With your theme installed, youre ready to start creating content. Lets quickly run through some of the basics:
Want a Services page, or an About Me page (like I have on my menu at the top of the site)?
1. Look along the sidebar in the WordPress Dashboard for Pages – Add New.
2. Once youve clicked, youll find a screen that looks a lot like what youve maybe seen in Microsoft Word. Add text, images and more to build the page you want, then save it when youre done.
If you want your new page to be linked to in your navigation bar,
1. Save any changes youve made to the page by clicking Update
2. Click Appearance – Menus in the sidebar of the WordPress Dashboard
3. Find the page you created and add it to the list by clicking the checkbox next to it and then Add to Menu.
If you have a blog on your website, Posts will be where you turn to next. You can use different categories to group similar posts.
If you want to add a blog to your website, you can use different categories and posts. Lets say you want to create a category named Blog. To do so, simply add it to your menu and start making posts.
a. Create a new category by going to Posts – Categories
b. Create a blog post by going to Posts – Add New. Once youve finished writing your blog post, you need to add the right category for it.
Once youve created your category, simply add it to the menu, and youre in business!
In this section Ill cover some of the basic things Im asked about all the time that will help you to tweak your website.
Page titlesexplain to searchers what your website is about, and theyre also a big part of how search engines determine your rankings, so you want to be sure theyve got the keywords you want to target in them (but in a natural way, written for real people).
You should use a unique title on every page of your site. For example, my sites title is How to Make a Website.
(Cant find it? Just hold your mouse over the tab at the top of your web browser).
Taglinesare added at the end of titles across every page. My sites tagline is Step by Step Guide
In order to change the title and tagline on your website, go to Settings – General and fill in the form below:
Some websites (business/organisation sites mostly) dont want their visitors to be able to comment on their pages.
Heres how to shut comments off on WordPress pages:
1. While you are writing a new page, click Screen Options in the top right corner.
2. Click the Discussion box. The Allow Comments box will appear at the bottom.
Want to disable comments on every new page by default?
1. Go to Settings – Discussion and untick Allow people to post comments on new articles
Some people contact me saying theyre frustrated that their home page looks like a blog post. You can fix that by making your home page static.
A static page is a page that doesnt change. Unlike a blog, where the first new article will show up at the top every time, a static page will show the same content every time someone comes to the site like a home page youve designed.
2. Choose a static page that you have created. Front Page denotes your home page, Posts page is the front page of your blog (if your entire site isnt a blog).
If you dont choose a static page on your own, WordPress will take your latest posts and start showing them on your homepage.
Most WordPress themes have a sidebar on the right side (in some cases its on the left).
If you want to get rid of the sidebar or edit out items you do not need like Categories, Meta and Archives, which are usually pointless, heres how:
1. Go to Appearance – Widgets in the WordPress Dashboard.
2. From here, you can use drag and drop to add different boxes to your sidebar, or remove the items you dont want.
Theres also a HTML box a text box where you can use HTML code. For beginners, dont worry about this bit just drag and drop the elements youd like in your sidebar.
Plugins are extensions that are built to expand WordPress capabilities, adding features and functions to your site that dont come built-in.
Theyre shortcuts to getting your site to do what you want to, without having to build the feature from scratch.
You can use plugins to do everything from adding photo galleries and submission forms to optimizing your website and creating an online store.
To start installing plugins, go to Plugins – Add New and simply start searching.
Keep in mind that there are over 25,000 differentFREE plugins, so youve got a LOT to choose from!
Installation is easy once you find a plugin you like, just click Install.
BUT before you go and install every single one, I suggest you read this article:Things you need to know about using WP plugins.
To save you some time, Ive put together a list of the most popular plugins that webmasters find useful:
: My website has a contact form on my
page. Its an awesome feature to have, as people (like you!) can fill in the form and send me an email without logging into their own email provider. If you want to do something similar, definitely get this plugin.
Heres a step-by-step guide for setting it up
: If you want to make your WordPress site even more SEO-friendly, this plugin is a must-have. Its free, and its awesome. Youll be able to edit your title tags, meta descriptions and more, all from within the page itself no more fussing with WordPress settings.
: Interested in tracking your visitors/traffic and their behaviour? Just install the plugin, connect it with your Google account and youre ready to go.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg! Heres alist of recommended plugins by me.
If youve followed the steps in this guide, you should now have a fully-functional WordPress website! That wasnt so bad, was it?
Last but not least, keep improving your website.
As I mentioned earlier, WordPress is highly customizable. If you want to trulymasterWordPress, look no further than this comprehensive guide below:
Beginners Guide to Customizing WordPress: Learning WordPress
Best FREE WordPress themes for your new website
Best FREE WordPress plugins for your new website
How to add Contact Form to your WordPress website
How to Increase Website Traffic for FREE
if you still have any questions, dont hesitate toget in touch with me.
P.S. If you find my guides useful, please share my page below. This keeps me motivated to keep all the information on this site up to date and accurate.
Last update: 22nd of November, 2017.
Check out my other guides, too (theyre free)!
WebsiteSetup is afreeresource site for creating websites. WebsiteSetup was founded in 2013 byRobert Mening. The main goal of this website is to provide step-by-step instructions for setting up a website, blog or e-commerce site.
We also cover WordPress related questions, such aschoosing the best WordPress hostingor how tospeed up WordPress.
Were looking for web development experts to join WebsiteSetup. Were mostly interested in content that helps people buildbetterwebsites. If youre interested in contributing for WebsiteSetup, contact us.
Want to create your own website? The easiest way is to start it with WordPress. Just go to our homepage and start fromStep 1.