You want to build a website. What’s next?
Building a website is like climbing a mountain. From the far end, it seems natural and accessible, but the closer you get, the harder it takes to achieve. Additionally, falling rocks hold you back.
I will walk you step-by-step through a process on how to build a website. I will highlight the main rules, steps to follow, and pitfalls you need to avoid. At the end of this post, there is a bonus – an ultimate answer to the question: “How do I get a website up and running so that I can start my business?”
As of now, we will follow the framework below:
- Avoid third parties, so that your page is fast.
- Your page needs the right soil to grow, it is web hosting.
- Choose a name for your website.
- Build a website and edit your page using the Content Management System.
- Fix the basics so that search engines can track you.
Ready? So, let’s start.
Step 1. Avoid third parties, so that your page is fast.
Probably, you have seen a lot of ads like: “Create a website by pushing a button!”.
Most of them are dedicated to bloggers, and you are not interested in them because your business needs to sell. Your page needs to generate traffic and sales; therefore, you need much more than just a blog.
Sites like: WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr, or Wix can be tempting to the first-time website owner, but you should avoid them.
Unless you want a blog as your hobby, feel free to use these template-based sites. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Here are the main reasons why you should avoid the “one-click solutions”:
- They are not cheaper – within the time, you will see that their offer is getting bigger with each click and your requirements much broader. Enough to say that you probably would like to avoid random ads to be displayed on your page.
- They are much more limited or restrictive if you like – you have minimal options in terms of web themes, functionality, file access, support, or the ability to customize your site according to your brand guidelines.
- The solutions are not much more accessible – in my opinion, they are not. If you use one of the CMS solutions I will show you later, after enough practice, you will be able to set up such a “one-click page” within a few minutes. What is more, having dedicated CMS, you will be able to expand your business and adjust the website according to your needs.
Step 2. Your page needs the right soil to grow (also known as web hosting)
When you build a website, hosting is the first component of a website that you need to consider. If you wondered what the web hosting is, imagine the site as a bunch of files keeping your copy, graphics, videos, podcasts, themes, buttons, and more. Imagine that you store them on your computer – they will be accessible only to you. In case you would like to grant access to them to thousands of users, your computer would stop working, your page would not load, and probably your machine would get hacked sooner or later.
To handle this situation, you need an external provider of your file storage and a traffic handler, so your page is running 100% time, is secure and fast. We call this provider “a host”.
When searching the best web hosting, you want to look for in:
- Uptime reliability – look for 100% up-time.
- Customer service – should be 24 7, where phone or chat is a must. Email takes too long in case of an emergency.
- Speed is king – this is tricky. You never know unless you try, but there are two things you can pay attention to:
- Avoid shared hosting.
- You get what you pay for. It means that you cannot expect fast servers for pennies.
Take your time and visit web hosting forums, until you find a few web hosts that you are comfortable with trying.
Be careful of affiliating bloggers who can write anything about hosting providers like Bluehost or Hostgator. I am not saying they are wrong but do not finish your research on the first two search results.
Step 3. Choose a name for your website
Let’s assume that you have a pretty good idea of what your domain name might be.
It is okay if it matches your business name, but there is no issue, if not.
First of all, there is no perfect domain name. Search engine algorithms consider much more than a domain name. What counts is content, speed, and traffic.
I am telling this, so you do not spend hundreds of dollars to get the domain name you wish.
Remember that currently, your domain might have different suffixes like .net, .io, .app, and many more. The domain “.com” is not the only available solution.
DO NOT OVERPAY FOR A DOMAIN NAME
You will get tons of suggestions, including pricing. Be aware of auctions! If your business model is not about selling and buying domains, then avoid them. You can overpay for the name. Please do not do it; it is not worth your money.
Connecting your domain with your hosting account
Once you have a domain name registered, you need to point your domain name to your hosting account. When you build a website it is easy to forget what is what. Below you will find a picture that explains the difference between so-called DNS hosting, Web Hosting, Email Hosting.
DNS hosting (usually the same as your domain name registrar) acts as a post office that tells where the given packages should go.
Let’s imagine the following situation:
- yourbusiness.com is registered on GoDaddy
- yourbusiness.com pages are stored on wordpress.com
- you are using an email email@example.com provided by google email service
The picture reveals the riddle, who does what.
- Some types in the Chrome: yourbusiness.com and click Enter
- The DNS server keeps the name of your domain. What is more, it keeps it in the digit format.
- In your DNS server, there is information that once someone types yourbusiness.com then display the page stored on the wordpress.org server
- If someone writes an email to you on firstname.lastname@example.org, then point it to the email service provider Google and resolve it there according to the configuration done on google side.
DNS hosting acts as a dispatcher. That’s it!
The majority of domain registrars and leading web hosting providers will support you in a proper configuration if you ask for their support. And don’t go nuts, dependently on the domain provider, it might take even up to 48 hours to observe the results.
Step 4. Build a website and edit your page using Content Management System
You store your website’s files on your hosting server. A CMS helps you edit and publish your website. Later, log in to the domain and customize your layout, settings, and content. You can create new posts and pages, often using website templates that are easy to use.
There’s no perfect CMS, but I will focus on the WordPress.org as a top-notch choice for our purpose.
Just to avoid confusion: WordPress.com is the third party site where you can create free blogs, whereas WordPress.org is a CMS that you can download as software and install on your website.
WordPress is said to be the king of CMSs. It is the most popular option, and it’s user-friendly business website templates, and ease of social media sharing makes it number one so far.
WordPress has over 52000 plugins in its library – it’s enormous.
WordPress does almost anything that you want it to including using social media to drive traffic to your business website.
However, because everyone can write a plugin and upload it without any approval brings the following risks you need to consider:
- They can bloat your site
- They can be security risks
You are just a few steps away from having your website
Step 1. Install wordpress.org
Go to wordpress.org/download and follow the installation instructions
Step 2. Get familiar with a WordPress dashboard
Using your admin name and password, you will be redirected to your WordPress dashboard. On the left-hand menu, you will find all the standard options:
- Posts – you can browse your posts, edit them and create new ones.
- Media – here is the place where you store your pictures, videos, and other kinds of media. Feel free to add media directly to this folder as a standalone action, or while writing a post or page.
- Comments – from this place, you manage and moderate comments left on your site.
- Appearance – includes functionality used for managing and customizing your site theme. Here you organize your sidebar widgets, create menus, and access the theme’s editor. You define branding here.
- Plugins – from here, you will receive access to over 50000 plugins. You can add, delete, and update them from this place. Some plugins add menu features directly to the dashboard menu, while others get added as a submenu item under Tools or Settings.
- Users – did you ever thought about having a virtual assistant managing your site? Manage the permissions of those to whom you give access from here.
- Tools – Some plugin settings are also accessed here.
- Settings – this is a spot where you define, how comments are posted, how your permalink structure looks. Many plugin settings have their related attributes here.
Step 3. Choose a theme
To build a website you need a nice theme that resonates with your business. WordPress offers default themes, or you can browse and install themes from the WordPress theme library.
To get the theme you want:
- Go to “Appearance”, then “Themes” in the side menu and then click “add new” at the top:
- You can sort themes by any advanced “feature filter”.
- If you like the look of the thumbnail, click anywhere on it to display a preview window.
- If the preview is for you, click install. Otherwise, click the “X” button, and you will go back to your search screen.
- After installing a theme, you need to activate it for it on your website. Please perform this from the successful installation screen.
- The other way around is to go back to your main themes page and find your new theme as an option.
- This time you will see an “activate” option and a “live preview” option, just in case you are not sure that you want to activate it.
Step 4. Setup Sidebar Widgets
Widgets are shortcut buttons that perform a function, like the automated generation of your latest posts grid or signing up for an email list. You cannot build a professional website without having well organized and configured widgets. Under “Appearance” and then “Widgets,” you’ll see a list of widget options.
There is also a “Text” widget that allows you to add whatever you want, including code.
GREAT HACK – HOW TO ADD TO YOUR SITE A SIGN-UP SCRIPT OR AFFILIATE PRODUCT CODES
Great hack – This is a place for adding your email list sign-up script (for instance, coming from an external provider like MailChimp) or affiliate product codes.
Step 5. Set up Your Plugins
Plugins are functionalities packed into modules that you can embed into your website. Remember that when you build a website too many plugins will slow your upload times, which is not preferable, but when properly chosen, they might speed up your site performance, increase security, and give an additional boost.
I will present to you seven vital WordPress plugins your page should have.
- Jetpack for WordPress – it helps you design your site, track statistics, improve social sharing, and prevent attacks.
- Yoast SEO – it assists you with real-time feedback about your content. It suggests to you what you should correct in your copy, so it is optimized from the SEO point of view. With this plugin, your page will be displayed in search results as a perfectly tailored snippet.
- Akismet Antispam – you do not want to risk losing readers and potentially damaging your brand. This plugin will either automatically remove inappropriate content in your comments but also suggests the comments for your review before publishing them.
- WP Super Cache – creates static pages of your site. These pages are then served instead of processing the full PHP scripts. It results in reducing page-serving times.
- Google XML Sitemaps – It helps to generate so-called dynamic sitemaps of your WordPress website, which is compatible with Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Without one, your ranking might suffer, and the information search engines display might become outdated.
- WP Forms – Probably, you want people to contact you. Make it simple so they can quickly email you, especially on a mobile device.
- Google Site Kit – you need professional analytics to measure how people react to your content, what they click, how it converts to your set goals. You want to understand who is your visitor, how often he or she visits and re-visits your page. Install this plugin provided by Google and discover a new dimension of analytics.
Step 6. Add content to your page
You build a website not for the sake of building. You need content. Once you have installed your plugins and themes, there is a time to add content. To begin with:
- Add “About me” page – simply click “Add Page” on the left-hand sidebar of the WordPress menu. Fill the content.
Mark the page that should be a homepage – the page that is seen as first when a user types your domain address. To do that, go to “Settings,” then “Reading,” toggle “Static Page,” and select a page or a post you consider to be your homepage.
Do not forget to publish the pages once you are ready.
Step 5. Fix the basics so that search engines can track you and you are compliant with Privacy Policies
- Install analytics Install Google analytics code into your website so that you can track any visitors.
- Plan your marketing strategy: We will talk about next week, but to tease you, please try QuickSprout.com to get the online analysis and tips.
DO NOT BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST ILLEGALLY!
You cannot build your email lists and sell without having your visitors’ permission. If you are not sure how to write this, you can visit Websitepolicies.com to have this generated for you.
As it is impossible to cover all the nitty-gritty things, your task will be to do the job and, if needed, take additional tutorials on the specific topics. I have shown you the framework and the most vital points you need to cover. According to my experience, if you are nimble you can have two days dedicated to building a website, take your time to build proper foundations, so your business can run smoothly.
I have promised you bonus information.
If you want to build your website fast, plan to do e-commerce only, and would like to avoid at least the majority of hustle related to setting up your page and plugins, you should try clickfunnels.com, builderall.com, or kartra.com.
These are the all-in-one platforms for leading sales. However, their pricing varies what might be the primary decision point for you. Please check their webpages to check what fits you the most. I promise you that you will be astonished!
P.S. In this article, we have presented a lot of valuable content. Nevertheless, let me summary what was this article about.
- Firstly, you have learned why to avoid “one-click” solutions in terms of creating your website
- Secondly, you know the difference and relation between a domain registrar, DNS hosting, and Web Hosting.
- What is more, you know what the most critical aspects are when choosing Web Hosting
- Furthermore, you have learned that to display your page, you need to connect your domain with your hosting account.
- You know the basics when creating your website
- Even more, you understand how important good plugins can be and you know them
- You can install analytics and make your site visible to search engines.
- You are familiar with at least four all-in-one platforms ready for e-commerce business that can act as a sole standing gig or can support your site created with “wordpress.org” software.
SHARE THIS POST WITH FRIENDS SO THEY CAN AVOID OVERPAYING FOR BUILDING A WEBSITE
Please, leave a comment and share, so you and your friends know how to avoid overpaying when starting your website.