Want to learn how to create a website so professional your friends will think you hired a fancy web designer? Without experience or programming knowledge, it’s no problem in 2022.
Hi, I’m David. I’m a full-stack marketer, pro blogger, YouTuber, and top-rated user experience consultant who makes high-quality website tutorials. I’ve helped tens of thousands of people create a website for various purposes, from blogs to drop-shipping e-commerce websites to personal resume sites or online portfolios.
With the right tools and guidance, you can get started yourself without needing to pay for freelancers or expensive design agencies. Creating a website is now easier than ever, and I’ll show you how from step 1 to step one.
What do you need to make a website?
You only need three things to create a self hosted website:
- Domain name (the web address, example.com)
- Web hosting (to host your website so it’s live on the internet)
- Content management system (CMS)
These three things work together to create your website. The first thing I suggest doing is getting your domain name from a domain name registrar. A domain registrar is an online business that is ICANN certified to register domains. You can, however, get your domain name directly at the web host.
Next, you will need to get a web host. A web host is a company that provides powerful web servers 24/7 so your website is live 24/7. You can get started with a low-cost shared hosting account, and as your website grows, you can upgrade your hosting.
Last is the content management system or CMS. To publish content online, you need an easy way to create pages, add images, videos, and links. One of the best and most popular CMS is WordPress, a free and open-source CMS. Not to be confused with WordPress.com, which is a website builder.
What about using a website builder like Wix or Squarespace?
Website builders are an easy to use, all in one solutions ideal for anyone looking for a non-technical solution. With a website builder you’re paying for the CMS and the hosting with your monthly subscription.
I like website builders, but the advantage of learning how to create a self hosted website is that it’s more cost effective and you have more options, tools and flexibility with what services you want to use.
Create a Website in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a website requires you to get a domain name and a hosting plan, and then you need to point the domain to your hosting, and lastly, install a content management system.
Once you have a content management system set up, it’s then time to start creating content for your website, blog, or online store. Here are the steps we’re going to follow:
Get a domain name and hosting
Domain names are the web address of your website. They comprise two parts, the actual name, and the extension. Extensions are the .com, .net, .org, .co part of a domain name.
You can get a domain name at an ICANN-certified domain registrar like Namecheap or purchase it through the web host. Going through the web host is more expensive but easier to set up. Going through a domain registrar is more cost-effective and gives you more flexibility.
So in this tutorial, we will use Namecheap as our domain registrar.
Get a .com domain name if possible.
The .com is the legacy extension of the internet and the ideal extension for almost any type of website. However, if your .com is registered but not in use, it’s OK to go with an alternative.
Not only is Namecheap cheaper than GoDaddy upfront, but their renewal prices are also lower too. GoDaddy is great for a lot of things, just not domain registration.
Head over to Namecheap.
I strongly suggest Namecheap, but if you want to keep things simple, please continue down to the hosting section below,
Step 1: Search for your domain name using the search box on the Namecheap homepage. If the domain name you want is taken, consider a different combination.
Step 2: Once you find an available domain, add it to your cart and proceed to checkout.
Step 3: Once you’ve finished creating an account, it’s time to confirm your order. Here you can choose how many years you want to register the domain name for:
Domain privacy, also known as WHOIS protection is included free of charge with Namecheap. You can also lock in the low domain price for up to 10 years in advance.
Get a shared hosting account at Bluehost.
A web host is what makes your website live and available for everyone to visit. It’s where all your files and information is stored and without a web host you can’t have a website.
Bluehost is the #1 recommended web host by WordPress and for good reason. They have an easy to use interface for beginners, good customer support, good hosting speeds for your new website, a low introduction price and a low renewal rate.
Bluehost Pricing Plans
Each plan comes with a great introduction rate that you can lock in for up to 3 years. Web hosting is a cost everyone with a website pays so consider getting an account for 2 or 3 years in advanced to lock in a good rate.
After your first contract the prices are:
- Basic: $9.99 a month. Expensive and can only have 1 website on the account.
- Plus: $13.99 a month. Good for a 1000 visitor a day website, 30k pageviews.
- Choice Plus: $18.99 a month. This is the one I suggest getting. It’s perfect for growing a medium sized website.
- Pro: $28.99 a month.
With Bluehost you get a domain name for free for the first year but after you’ll have to pay a higher rate than you would at Namecheap.
I suggest getting the plus plan or the choice plus plan as that plan provides the resources to grow a high traffic website. On the next page you’ll have to set your primary domain name for your hosting account.
The #1 recommended web host for WordPress. A great host for creating your first self hosted website. Get a free domain name with your purchase.
Setup your domain
If you want to register a domain through Bluehost, click on “create a new domain” and your account will be setup properly. You get your domain fee waived for the first year, but then pay a high renewal rate after.
If you get your domain at Namecheap select “use a domain you own” and follow along with the next steps to setup Nameservers.
On the next page, fill out your billing detail and select a hosting plan for 12, 24, or 36 months. I suggest 24 months, which is enough time to grow your website.
You can also ignore any upsells, so go ahead and uncheck any checkboxes, as all you need to get started is a hosting account. Once you submit payment, you’ll be taken to an onboarding process that you can skip if you like.
Next, you will be in your Bluehost dashboard:
You have your hosting account, and you have your domain name. Now it’s time to connect the two by editing your name servers at Namecheap to that of your web host. It takes just a few minutes.
What you’re technically doing is that you’re mapping your domain name to your hosting account. You can skip this step if you bought your domain through the web host.
Find your nameservers
You can find your name servers in your hosting account or the web host’s welcome email. Check your email. All web hosts send a “welcome” email. In this email will be your name servers.
For Bluehost, your nameservers are ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com. These are the Name servers for your account. What you need to do is simple. Change the name servers for your domain name to that of your hosting account. Very simple. Let’s do it.
Log into your domain name registrar
Log into your domain name registrar. In this tutorial, we use Namecheap, so log into your Namecheap account. In your domain name list, click “manage” for the domain name you want to edit.
Find where it says Nameservers and change it to “custom DNS.” Input your web host’s name servers and click the green check mark to save.
Done! Name servers are setup, now it’s time to install a content management system.
Install a CMS (WordPress)
Now you need to have some content management system powering the back end of your website so it’s easy to create content and add pictures, links, and videos to your website. You’ll also want something that allows for easy use, is highly supported, and is simple to customize.
WordPress is ideal for beginners and advanced users alike and is currently the most popular CMS in the world for a wide range of reasons:
Very easy to setup
WordPress is widely used, so much so that all web hosts now come with a simple 1-click install of WordPress. You can install WordPress and, in 5 minutes, create content for your website in the time it takes to make coffee.
Easy to use
WordPress makes creating content and adding products, pages, images, videos, email forms, and links to your website so easy. WordPress is user-friendly, unlike other platforms where you must know HTML and CSS.
Total control over your website.
Unlike a website builder, you’re limited in how your website looks and operates. With WordPress, you have complete control over the look and feel of your website through the use and installation of different themes and plugins.
This is essential for anyone serious about internet marketing and making money with a website.
Excellent support community
WordPress has a thriving community, so you can always get help and advice for any aspect of your blog. If you want to hire a service to custom design a theme for you or have a quick “how do I do this” style question, you’ll find an answer within the WordPress community.
WordPress is secure
It’s constantly updated and supported so you never have to worry about running software that is out of date.
E-commerce and affiliate marketing
With WordPress as your CMS, adding e-commerce functionality for selling digital and physical products through your website is easy. You can also easily integrate 3rd party options instead if you don’t want to deal with the technical details of setting up a store because of the open-source nature of WordPress.
Last, a wide array of plugins help you with affiliate marketing. Everything from cloaking ugly affiliate link URLs to something more attractive and logical to tracking how many clicks an affiliate link received. WordPress has you covered for monetizing your website.
Create a new site with Bluehost
Installing WordPress and creating a self hosted WordPress website is fast and easy with Bluehost.
In your dashboard simple click on “my sites” and click on “create site.”
Now it’s time to set some administrative settings for your website:
With creating a new WordPress website you can set the name of the site and tag line. Both these items can be changed later.
Also make sure click on the “advanced” tab where you can enter an email address of your choosing which will be your recovery email as well as an admin user name and password of your choosing.
If you leave this blank, the install process will create a admin name for you and your email will be the same email for your Bluehost account.
Install on the root directory.
Next you will be able to choose where you want to install WordPress.
To install WordPress on the entire website simply leave the directory option blank and click next.
The WordPress installation process will begin and takes a few minutes to complete. Upon completion you’ll get a verification that WordPress has been installed and your ready to launch your website.
When you’re ready go ahead and click on “next” which will begin the WordPress installation process. Upon completion you’ll be presented with:
How To Log Into WordPress
You can log into WordPress from your Bluehost dashboard or you can log in via your WordPress installation.
To log into your website now, all you have to do is go to example.com/wp-admin and put in the user name and password you made when installing WordPress.
This is how you will log into your website from here on out. Welcome to WordPress.
Check to make sure your SSL certificate is working
With your Bluehost account you get a free SSL certificate installed on your website. That means you should see a little “lock” icon in your web browser. If not, contact Bluehost support and they will fix it quickly and easily.
In order to check your SSL certificate:
- Log in to your Bluehost portal.
- Click on the “my sites” tab.
- Find your website and click on “Manage Site.”
- Go to the “Security” tab.
- Under “security certificate,” you will find your “free SSL certificate” status.
If everything is setup correctly you should have a secure website. It sometimes takes an hour or two for everything to get working correctly. But you can still edit and design your website.
Add essential pages
Your website is going to need some basic, core pages. Let’s talk about how to set them up. To create a new page go to page >> add new when in the WordPress dashboard.
About Page – This page is designed to tell why the website exists and why you are qualified to create it.
Contact Page – This page is what people will use to reach out to you.
Blog – This is the blog section on your website. If you’re wanting to blog you should create a blog post page.
Homepage – A good starter homepage should be to design it so it is a visual menu for your website, showing off all the different features and aspects of your website.
How to create a homepage in WordPress
I strongly recommended you create a blog post page and a homepage for your WordPress website. To do that you’ll need to navigate to “pages” in your WordPress admin and then you’ll have to create two blank pages.
Name one page “blog” and the other page “frontpage” or “homepage.” The name is not that important, it’s just for your internal use. Once you have these two pages, navigate over to “settings” and then click on “reading”:
Here you select the page you want as your homepage and posts page. As you have a blank page for the homepage, you’ll need to design it using your WordPress theme and the block editor.
Permalink structure for your site
Permalinks are the URL structure of your pages and blog posts on your website. WordPress by default has a really weird default structure: example.com/?p=123.
To change it go to “Settings” in your WordPress dashboard and click on “permalinks.” Select the permalink structure ideal for your website. Below, “custom structure” is selected and “blog” is added to the URL.
/Post-Name – The ideal choice for websites that will have 1000 blog posts or less.
/Category/Post-Name – Perfect for larger websites that will have 1000+ pages of content and multiple categories.
/Date/Post-Name – Perfect for time sensitive content like news. If you’re not a news website, having dates in the URL is the worst structure.
/blog/Post-Name – A good URL structure for any website that has a core offering that is not the blog itself. Like an online store or software business.
Here at DavidUtke.com I use /post-name because I don’t see this website ever going beyond 1000 blog posts. Whatever you decide, choose correctly because changing your permanent links on an established website is ill advised because you will hurt your rankings.
Design Your Website
SEO, content creation and good design are essential for building a profitable website that gets traffic. we will cover:
- What will my website look like
- How to install a WordPress theme
- Important WordPress plugins
What will my website look like?
Your website can be designed using various themes. Some themes have a pre-built look where you can only change a little; others are designed with a drag-and-drop editor, making creating any website easy.
Most tend to overcomplicate things from a design perspective. From a practical standpoint, your design and layout should depend on what you’re trying to create.
An e-commerce website will have a different layout than a business website with a blog or a real estate website. Regardless, your website’s look, design, and structure depend on the WordPress theme and design choices.
How to Install a WordPress Theme
You created your WordPress-powered website, and we went through a few design layouts. You will first want to design your website so it looks the way you want. For that, we will need to install a WordPress theme.
For themes, you have two options, free and paid.
How To Install a Free Theme
To install a free theme, please navigate to your WordPress dashboard’s “appearance” tab. Here you can select any theme you like from the WordPress directory.
It’s best to sort by popularity or the most downloaded as these two metrics help find good free themes are usuTo install a theme, click on the theme of your choice and click install.
How To Install A Paid Theme:
Paid themes, or as they are known, “premium” themes, are downloaded as a zip file from the marketplace or creator. As purchased from a developer, they must be uploaded directly to your WordPress installation, as they will not be found in the free WordPress directory.
To begin the installation process, navigate back to appearance, click on “themes,” then click on add new and click where it says “upload theme.” When you purchase a theme, you can download it to your computer as a ZIP file. This ZIP file is what you will be uploading.
After you click install, your theme will be installed. The next step is to “activate” the theme and you’re all set. You’ve just install a premium theme. Now it’s time to read up on the documentation for your premium theme to learn how to design it or to watch one of my tutorial videos for how to use your theme.
Install WordPress Plugins
A plugin is a a piece of software that acts as an extension for WordPress, giving it new features and functions. There are thousands of plugins you can install.
To install a plugin works in a similar way to themes. You have free plugins that you can install by navigating to the “plugins” tab in your WordPress dashboard or you can upload and install premium plugins.
So what are some decent plugins to be aware of for your own website? Here are few important suggestions to get you going with optimizing your website properly:
- Rank Math
- Smush Images
- W3 Total Cache
Rank Math – The best SEO plugin for WordPress
Rank Math is an on-page SEO plugin. Installing this plugin lets you adjust the meta description for your blog posts and pages.
This is important when creating content targeting a keyword phrase you wish to rank for, as you can now “optimize” your content to have the best chance of ranking.
With it, you can give a dedicated SEO title and a meta description, enable breadcrumbs on your website, and Rank Math will provide you with an overall score on how well-optimized your content is for a specific keyword.
Smush – Image optimization
Smush It is a WordPress plugin that compresses your images upon upload to your website. It reduces the file size and thus makes your website load faster.
While you should use a .webp image format, sometimes you’ll need to upload .jpeg or .png files. This plugin is beneficial and makes your website load quickly.
W3 Total Cache – Increase speed
W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your website by increasing the performance of how quickly your website loads while reducing load times for different aspects of your website.
A cache plugin is a must-have for all blogs. Your website needs to load as quickly as possible, and that’s exactly what this plugin helps to accomplish.
Woo Commerce – Add e-commerce functionality to your website
Now you can build out an online store with WordPress. Woo Commerce lets you sell digital products and drop-ship your physical products and bundles.
Manage inventory on the backend, customize your emails sent to customers, and integrate multiple payment gateways for credit cards, PayPal, and even cryptocurrency.
Create Content for Your Website
Now it’s time to create content for your website. Within WordPress, you have blog posts and pages. From an SEO perspective, there is no real difference between the two; it’s more for you as a content creator to organize your content.
Blog posts are found under WordPress’s “post” tab and organized into categories. You get to choose the categories, so it’s a good idea to start with four keyword-rich categories related to the topic of your website.
Categories do not organize pages by contract. They are more static and much better suited for things like your About page, contact page, etc. You can also make pages into child pages. For example, if you have a Woo-Commerce-powered store, you may want a page called store (/store) and a child page for a product (/store/product).
Tags vs. Categories
In WordPress, you can also “tag” a blog post. The idea behind tags was to create a way to organize a piece of content in a particular way. For example, if you have a ” Europe ” category and write a few posts about France, you could tag that handful of posts as “France.”
In general, tags could be more helpful. Focus your efforts on putting your blog posts into one relevant category.
What to blog about?
With writing a blog, you have two options. Use your blog for casual, company, or status updates or engage in content marketing. Most individuals and companies blog to get free search engine traffic and convert that traffic in some meaningful way.
To get traffic, you must build a website with relevant content, build links, have a high-quality design, and create best-in-class content.
Interlink your content and link out to other websites
You should review your older content and link it to new content as appropriate. It would be best to link to other websites as needed. A good website structure helps your website and visitors from an on-page SEO perspective.
An excellent premium plugin that helps does this is Link Whisper. It’s a plugin that tells you what blog posts to interlink to, 404 errors, and how many inbound and outbound links a page or post has. This is a paid plugin and is totally optional, but very helpful for building out a good internal link profile.
Last are header tags, also known as H1, H2, H3 tags, and so forth. For blog posts and pages, your title will be H1. Subheadings should be H2. Sub heading for anything under H2 should be H3, and so forth.
Headers are essential because it is how search engines can help understand the content and structure of your blog post. It’s valid for visitors because it makes your content scannable and easy to read.
Blocks – Media, pictures, video and more
The WordPress editor, sometimes called the Gutenberg editor works by way of blocks. You can install additional plugins to add on more custom blocks (see Stackable above) as well.
Blocks are quite helpful as they allow you to add videos, images, call to actions, feature boxes, HTML code injections, tables and so forth in addition to simply writing text blocks.
How to Create a Website Conclusion
So that’s it for this complete guide to how to create a website from step 1 to done with WordPress, Namecheap and Bluehost. You should now have the ability to create a well structured, well designed website with WordPress.
You can now take this and create any type of website you want from a blog, online store or a personal website. When you’re ready, I suggest getting your domain name and hosting account.
The #1 recommended web host for WordPress. A great host for creating your first self hosted website. Get a free domain name with your purchase.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!
What Legal Pages Should a Website Have?
What legal pages should a website have? In general, there are five very important legal pages you'll want to create for your website.
What is a Blog? A Blogging For Beginners Guide
Find out what is a blog exactly and why individuals and companies leverage blogging for content marketing for organic search growth.