How To Make a Website in 5 Easy Steps: Complete Guide

David Utke •  Updated: April 2, 2024 •  Website Tutorials

Want to learn how to make a website so professional your friends will think you hired a fancy web designer? It’s possible, even without experience or programming knowledge.

Hi, I’m David. I’m a blogger, YouTuber, and top-rated user experience consultant who makes high-quality website tutorials to help out people just like yourself.

With over 10 years experience, I’ve helped literally tens of thousands of people (seriously) make 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 in order to make a website?

You only need a few things to make your very own website from scratch:

  1. Choose a domain name (the web address, example.com).
  2. Purchase web hosting (to host your website so it’s live on the internet).
  3. Install a content management system (CMS) to publish content.
  4. Design your website.
  5. Add additional content (pages, blog posts)

Domain name – A web address so people can find you

The first thing I suggest doing is deciding on what yur domain name will be.

You can get a domain name from a domain name registrar which is a business that is ICANN certified to register domains. You can also get your domain name directly at a web hosting company or website builder as well.

Web hosting – So your site is live 24/7

Next, you will need to get a reliable 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, but I suggest getting quality mid-range host that provides excellent support for beginners and more reliable hosting.

WPX Hosting

My current host. They are a managed WordPress and make everything easy.

They provide reliable hosting, great support and staging for design work.

Content management system

The content management system or CMS is needed to publish content online (pictures, videos, gifs, text), you need an easy way to create pages, add images, videos, and links easily. 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.

Design your website

Today there is no need to know how to code, you can design a website without needing any technical skills today. All content management systems offer themes that you can install and customize at the click of a button.

Add additional pages

Once you make a website, you’re going to need to add additional pages like your about page, contact page, specific legal pages and so forth.

What is the difference between a web host and a website builder?

Web host

A web host is a company that maintains powerful computers known as servers. When you purchase a hosting account, you’re renting a piece of that server space for your website(s).

With your own dedicated web host, you can install a wide range of software and are not limited in any real way.

Website builders

Website builders by contrast are web hosts who have their own proprietary CMS that they bundle together as a service. The unique selling point of a website builder is that they are an easy to use, all in one solution ideal for anyone looking for a non-technical solution.

The downside is that because they have a proprietary CMS, it’s very difficult to move away from a website builder. Website builders also tend to be much more expensive than running a self hosted website.

My top 3 recommended website builders

I like website builders for their easy of use. If you’re not interested in learning how to create a self hosted website and prefer to use a website builders then here are the website builders I recommend:

Google Sites – Google Sites is the best free website builder I’ve used. Perfect for a club, personal site or education. You will have to purchase a domain name (I suggest Namecheap), but apart from that, Google Sites is totally free. The only catch is that it’s not designed for commercial use.

Squarespace – Squarespace is the best general purpose website builder and the best alternative to WordPress. You get an easy to use, drag and drop website builder, support for unlimited traffic and you can even add on email marketing to your account.

Shopify – Shopify is my go-to choice for anyone looking to build an online store. Shopify provides powerful ecommerce features, high converting themes and a large support community.

Let’s Create a Website in 5 Easy Steps

I’m going to show you how to create a self hosted website. We’re going to get a domain name, web hosting account and install a CMS so we can publish content.

The CMS we’re going to use is WordPress because it’s free, open source, feature rich, has a large development community and you can create any type of website you want. From a blog, business website or online store, you can make it with WordPress.

Step 1: Choose your domain name

Domains are made up of two parts, the name and the extension (.com, .net, .org).

The most popular and valuable extension is .com so I strongly suggest you get a .com if possible. Your domain name is your web address and brand name, all websites need a domain name so take the time to choose carefully.

Here are some tips:

There are also country code specific domain names like .ca for Canada or .de for Germany. These extensions are perfect if you’re targeting a specific country.

Need more help? I have a guide on how to choose the best domain name.

Step 2: Purchase a hosting account

WPX Hosting is my current web host, I use and highly recommend them. Domains through them are affordable and you get free WHOIS protection.

With your hosting account purchase you get:

Visit WPX Hosting and get their “Business” plan.

If offers more than enough resources to run a high traffic website, you can have up to 5 websites on your account and the support is the best I’ve experienced.

wpx pricing

Once you select “buy now” for the Business plan you’ll need to register a domain name:

Select “I am launching a new website” and register a domain name. This domain will be the “primary” domain name on the account.

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.

Get a .com domain if possible as it’s the most popular and valuable.

Next, you’ll need to choose your data server location:

Pick the data center that is closest to where most of your traffic will come from. Finally, purchase your hosting account with either PayPal or a credit card.

Step 3: Install WordPress

Once you finish purchasing your hosting account with WPX, it’s time to install WordPress.

Navigate to “Manage Websites” in your account dashboard:

Click on “manage WP” for your website and then click on “install WordPress on website.”

To install WordPress you’ll have to set an admin user name, admin email and password.

Once you’re all set go ahead and click on “install WordPress” and the installation process will begin. When finished you’ll get a “WordPress successfully installed” message:

How To Log Into WordPress

Once the installation of WordPress is finished, you can log into your website to begin designing it.

To log into your WordPress powered website go to example.com/wp-admin. This is how everyone with a self hosted WordPress installation logs into their website.

🎉 Congratulations! You just created a website. 🎉

WPX Hosting

My current host. If they’re good enough for me, they’re good enough for you. T

They are a managed WordPress host and provide excellent, reliable hosting and superior support.

Check to make sure your SSL certificate is working

With your WPX Hosting account you get a free SSL certificate installed on your website.

That means you should see a little “lock” icon in your web browser when you visit your website after installing WordPress..

If for some reason the SSL is cert is not working, contact WPX support and they will fix it quickly.

Step 4: Design Your Website

Now the fun part, it’s time to design your website. Your website can be designed using various themes for WordPress.

Some themes have a pre-built look where you can only change a few elements; others are designed with a drag-and-drop editor, making creating any website easy.

Once you log into your WordPress website (example.com/wp-admin), navigate to the appearance tab in the left hand sidebar.

Choose a theme you like from the selection of free themes by clicking “Install” and then “Activate.”

You can always change your theme later without issue. Themes only control the look and feel of your site and changing the theme won’t delete your content.

How to create a homepage in WordPress

To create a dedicated homepage with WordPress, 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 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.

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.

Install WordPress Plugins for additional features

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.

Rank Math – My recommended 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.

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, physical products, drop ship and even setup product bundles.

This plugin also allows you to manage inventory on the backend, customize your emails sent to customers, and integrate multiple payment gateways for credit cards, PayPal, and even cryptocurrency.

Add a logo and a favicon

You’ve now setup the basics of your website setup with a theme selected. Now is a good time to add a logo for our website.

The log and favicon can be accessed through the “Site Identity” menu which is found when you navigate to “Appearance” in the left-hand menu and then click on “Customize.”

Under the Logo section, click in “Select Logo” and choose your logo file from your images or upload it. Once done, your logo will appear automatically on your website.

Next you’ll want to upload a favicon for your website (that tiny browser icon websites have). To do so select “Site Icon” in the “Site Identity” menu.

If you need a logo and favicon you can make one yourself using Canva or your can hire help on a freelance website like Fiverr.

You can also create a favicon by using a favicon generator, my top choice being Favicon.io. This website can also convert your logo into the right shape and size for use as a favicon.

Step 5: Add additional content

Your website is going to need some basic, core pages and overall site structure. To create a new page click on “Pages” in the left-hand sidebar and click “add new.”

These are the pages I suggest adding for any website:

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.

Legal Pages – Your website will need a few legal pages, specifically a privacy policy and terms of use page at a minimum.

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.

WordPress block editor

Once you open up a black page, you’re now in the WordPress block editor. On your first time opening up the block editor, you’ll be given a quick, visual, step-by-step on screen tutorial.

It’s very easy to work with, just click to add blocks from the left hand side menu, then the specific customizations options for each block are on the right hand side.

On the top of the right-hand menu, you can click on the “Block” tab and customize the settings for each block you’ve selected.

The “Post” tab is where you can set the URL structure, category, preview changes and publish the page. Another useful feature is that you can make pages public, private or password protected. Privat

Adding pages to your navigation

Once you’ve created your pages, you can go ahead and add them to your menu navigation for your website. The menu is at the top of your website that allows visitors to navigate your website.

To customize the menu for your Website in WordPress, clicking the “Appearance” tab on the left-hand column then select  “Menus. 

After you’ve created the menu, you can start adding to your menu item and moving items around.

You can also create drop down menus as well that are show when a website visitor hovers their mouse cursor over them.

How to create content

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 vs tags

In WordPress, blog post must be organized into a category. You can also “tag” a blog post as well. This is not the same as hashtags for social media.

Tags are a way to organize a piece of content in a specific and helpful way.

For example, if you have travel blog with “Europe” as a category and write a few posts about France, you could tag those handful of posts as “France.”

Interlink your content and link out to other websites

A good website structure helps your website and visitors from an on-page SEO perspective. This includes linking out to external websites you find helpful as well as internal links to your own content.

An excellent premium plugin that helps with internal linking 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.

Header Tags

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.

Your website is ready to go!

That’s it for this complete guide to how to make a website from step 1 to done with WordPress, and WPX Hosting.

You should now have the ability to create a well designed website with WordPress. If you need help feel free to reach out to me and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

WPX Hosting

My current host. If they’re good enough for me, they’re good enough for my audience.

They are a managed WordPress host and provide reliable hosting, great support and staging for design work.

It's all my fault

Hey I'm David. I'm a blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated UX consultant on Fiverr. My writing, videos and courses have helped tens of thousands of people make their first 1$ online. I write this blog to show you the "how to" for turning knowledge into income so you can live life on your terms.

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