This tutorial will walk you through the exact process to make or create a website and is written specifically for beginners who have no experience or knowledge of websites whatsoever.
Creating a website is so much easier than you think, and in less than 30 minutes you can have your first website online and ready to add content to.
Create your website in 3 steps
The basic process below will explain how to register a domain name (i.e. iannuttall.co.uk), how to pick the right hosting account (which is how your site is viewable online), and actually making the site itself.
Here’s the basic steps broken down:
- Step 1: Register a domain name. A domain is the address of your site (eg
www.mysite.com) and costs $10-15 to buy. If you choose the right web host you can get a free domain name when you join as a new customer.
- Step 2: Sign up for web hosting. A web host is a place to store your website files so that they are viewable online 24/7. Most plans cost $10-50+ per month but for a first site you can expect to pay around $5-10 a month.
- Step 3: Build your website. You can either build a website yourself or use a website builder (not recommended). Using the free software WordPress, you can have a full website online in 5 minutes that is easy to update.
Now you’ve seen the process I’ll show you step-by-step how to create a website and get it online!
Registering your domain name
Before you can create a website you’ll need to register an actual domain name for it. An example of a domain name would be
http://www.yourname.com. Your domain name could be compared to your home address in that it is simply a way for your website to be found online.
Your domain represents your website and is how people will view it online by typing into their web browser or searching for it in the search engines.
You can register your domain through a domain name registrar or through a web hosting company (which is where your actual website will be created) and they typically cost anywhere from $10-20 per year.
For complete beginners, it is usually better to register your domain when you join a web host (see below) because many offer a free domain for new customers.
- How to Register a Domain Name. If you need help when registering a domain name and want to make sure you’re doing it the right way, this detailed guide will help you get the domain registered quickly! It should take no more than 10 minutes to buy your domain name.
- Choosing a Good Domain Name. If you need help when registering a domain name and want to make sure you’re doing it the right way, this detailed guide will help you get the domain registered quickly! It should take no more than 10 minutes to buy your domain name.
Signing up for web hosting
If a domain name is like your home address then web hosting is like your house and all of your belongings. It is where your actual website exists and where you store all the files and images that are displayed on it.
A web host is basically a company that will let you use their computer space to store your website for a low monthly cost. Signing up is very easy and you can get pretty huge amounts of storage space for $6-10 a month.
There are hundreds of hosting companies to choose from and it is important that you pick one that is reliable and has good customer service. You know, just in case you get stuck!
- A List of Budget Web Hosts. I recommend Web Hosting Hub as the best web host for beginners (see below) but if you want to find a cheap web host of your own then this article lists the best and most affordable web hosts.
- Which Web Host Do I Recommend?. I often look at the web hosting used by sites I trust and respect. If you want to know which web host I use for SiteBeginner.com and recommend then this article is for you.
Hosting Tip! Web Hosting Hub are one of the most reliable web hosts on the web and they offer a free domain (worth $15) for every new customer that joins. All for the beginner-friendly price of just $3.95 a month. Click here to register a domain with Web Hosting Hub.
Building your website
The actual process of creating your website can be as easy or difficult as you want. There are “free” website builders out there which will make a website for you, but there are a number of problems with them.
One of the absolute easiest and quickest ways to get a fully functioning website set up in mere minutes, is a piece of free software called WordPress.
WordPress is a Content Management System that lets you add new pages with a click of your mouse and you don’t need any knowledge of websites to use it. It’s so popular that any reputable web host will have an auto-install option that takes one minute to run.
- How to Start / Create a Blog Using WordPress. A step-by-step guide to installing WordPress in as little as five minutes.
If you want to actually create a website by hand then the process is a little longer but no less difficult once you understand the basics. In fact, it might be a good thing for beginners to have a good understand of how web pages work.
- Free Website Templates to Download. This gallery has a collection of free-to-download website templates that you can use to instantly build a simple HTML website. Once you get more comfortable you can modify them to fit your own website as well.
- A Guide to HTML Editors. An HTML editor is simple a free or commercial piece of software that lets you easily create and publish websites. This guide covers everything you need to know.
Using free website builders
You might come across a number of free website builders that will claim to get your site up and running in mere minutes. I believe that wherever possible you should avoid these and create a website using either a CMS like WordPress or a web/text editor like Dreamweaver, KompoZer or Notepad++. Here’s why:
- They are often poorly coded. Sure, the site might look good but if the website is not usable or search engine friendly, you will struggle to promote it and get traffic.
- You get locked in. Many of these free website builders will lock you into their platform and make it very difficult to switch away if you change your mind later.
- They don’t write your content. The way in which you display the content on your site (be it website builder, a CMS or plain HTML pages) is secondary to the actual content. Content takes time and should be the focus. Pick something easy to set up and build your content!
The primary exception to this rule is WordPress.com. This uses the same core as WordPress which can be installed on your web server and is very secure and easy to transfer to your own hosting later.
I’ll cover website builders in more detail soon but rest assured, if you follow my the simple website setup steps in this article you will be far better off in the long term.
The 3-step-process outlined in this guide is the absolute fastest way for a beginner, intermediate or even advanced web user to create a website and publish it online.
In less than 30 minutes you will have a fully functioning website online and ready to add content too. Using WordPress you will be able to add new pages, images and more with little work and it has a very low learning curve so you will be up and running in no time.
Of course, this only covers the initial website setup and there are many, many more considerations and things you will need to do with your website but it is a fantastic start to the wonderful world of websites.