Though most of my readers already own a website, there are some newcomers who stumble over my content and few of them have asked me to guide them to create their own website from scratch. Some of them already own a domain as they mistook that registering a domain name equals creation of a website! Shouldn’t blame them as some domain registrars advertise falsely that registering a domain name gives you a free website, hiding the fact that either it is a one-page HTML or pay-as-you-go website builders.
There are many people who are interested in digital marketing but they do not own a website. Now, that’s something to worry about. The very first thing you need as a digital marketer is your own website – a place for you called ‘home’ on the internet.
Today, I’m going to go through the process of creating your first website from scratch. Also, I have tried my best to keep things as simple as possible so that it is easy for you to understand.
I will be making use of WordPress to build your website – you will realize why I chose it over other platforms in the long-term. Using WordPress, we can set up your website is less than ten minutes. The time taken by you to install and set up WordPress will reduce every time as you get better at it. Moreover, WordPress is powerful, fully customizable and easy to use.
Hosting Your Website
The first thing your website needs is a place to live, where all your website’s files can be stored safely. Many people do not understand why they need a hosting service for their website. A website is nothing but a collection of files (documents and images) on the internet and these files need a place to reside so that anyone can connect to it and load the files in their browser.
Hosting your website in a server allows users to connect to it through the internet.
Here’s where the hosting companies come into play; they offer you space to host your website on their servers for a price. Once you purchase a plan from them, they allow you to upload your website’s files to their server. After you connect a domain name to your server (Step 2 coming ahead) anyone can visit your website over the internet.
Continue reading how to choose the best hosting for WordPress (along with recommendations).
Registering a Domain Name
It’s time for you to start thinking on what topic your website will be based upon. If you have already decided about it, well and good. If not, have a cup of coffee, sit around and ‘think’. Selecting an apt domain name for your online presence is an important step as it is gonna be your name online. If you are really creative, you can come up with a good name by yourself.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before selecting a domain name
- Keep it short and easy to type
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
- Keep it memorable
- Use appropriate keywords
- Choose a good domain name extension
I suggest you to go with GoDaddy to register your domain name though it really doesn’t matter which domain registrar you choose. Also, you can use tools like NameMesh and Panabee to generate ideas for domain names to select from.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect name for your domain, you need to register it and then point it back to the name servers provided by your hosting provider.
Changing the nameservers for your new domain name is a fairly simple process and won’t take long to figure out. But remember, it may take up to 24 hours for the DNS changes to propagate across the internet.
Building Your Website Using a CMS
A CMS is nothing but an acronym for content management system. It is used to manage the content you will be producing on your website as it makes the job of posting new and editing old content online a whole lot easier. It also allows you to customize your website easily. You can also create multiple user accounts with varying levels of permission for others to contribute content to your website.
Though there are many content management systems available out there, we are going to go ahead with WordPress – the most popular CMS powering around 27% of the web.
Quite some time back, I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to start a blog with WordPress. You can open it up in a new tab and scroll down to the ‘Installing WordPress’ section to find how to install WordPress from your hosting account. Though the tutorial primarily focuses on people choosing Bluehost to host their website, the process is nearly the same with all hosting providers.
Choosing a Design for your Website
There are more than two-thousand free themes and nearly 50,000 plugins available for you to use from WordPress’s official repositories (Theme Repository | Plugin Repository). Moreover, there are also quality commercial themes and plugins available for you to select and use from Themeforest and Codecanyon respectively.
Once you choose a desired theme for your website – you can install, activate and then start customizing it. You should now be having an active website with a good-looking theme on top of it.
Installing Recommended Plugins
Since your website is all new, you should start planning on strategies to gain traffic by optimizing it for both, your visitors and search engines. Moreover, you should extend the functionality of WordPress by installing the recommended additional plugins.
I do agree that not every step was crystal clear for you to understand but I hope you were able to connect the dots and figure out what it meant. It takes some time for you to understand all the steps and once you start creating a bunch of dummy sites, you will be able to master it. Thus I hope you were able to follow the above steps along with me in creating your first website successfully. If you’ve got any doubts or run into trouble, please feel free to leave a comment below.