Whether you're a professional, own a physical store or provide services, a website is a must to build your online presence. Not only it makes you look more competent but reliable as well. Also, websites help you draw traffic to your project.
After all, social media marketing is not everything.
However, building a website from scratch does sound intimidating - developer's rates, hosting, business name, etc. come to mind.
Bu what if I told you how to make a website from scratch in 5 simple steps? You'll only need:
So without any further ado, let's begin building your website!
#1: Get Web Hosting And A Domain Name
In order to even start, you will need two things - some server space and a domain name.
But first, what is web hosting?
Hosting can be compared to a house where all of your information (your website!) can be stored. You may own a lot of furniture and have a lot of great posters to hang up - but you need a house first. You can buy that house from companies known as hosting providers. Essentially, they own a lot of servers where they store loads of websites and provide server space for whoever buys it.
However, there are many different web hosting types. Though for your first website, shared hosting might be just right.
Shared hosting is the most economical option - it's cheap and can provide enough resources to host even a small online store. Shared hosting refers to the server resources being shared by multiple different users. That's why it can be so affordable.
The second question is, what is the domain name?
Domain the address of your home, the one people will type in order to find your website. It's a brand name, which can be attached to any website in the world.
So it's important to choose the right hosting and a domain name.
However, not all hosting providers are equal. We've put a list of the web best hosting providers in the industry. You can take a look at that, or choose your own.
For the sake of this tutorial, we've chosen one of the best and cheapest providers around -.
It has a beginner-friendly platform, a bunch of plans to choose from, and offers a free domain name.
For shared hosting, you get 3 choices, the cheapest of which costs $0.80/month. I went with the Premium plan as it offers unlimited websites, email accounts, free domain, and weekly backups.
Once in a shopping cart, you'll see that the cheapest pricing is available with the 48-month billing period. I also recommend the SSL installation, though you can do it yourself if you have time and patience to install it. Also, Hostinger sometimes offers the SSL installation for free. You just need to catch the offer.
As you can see, at the bottom you can take your free domain.
If you want, search for your desired name in the Hostinger platform. But, you are not limited to that. It's possible to buy domains from any provider or registrar.
Unlike a server, a domain name isn't something that has different stats or performance - if you have it and it's registered, you're fine. The things you should be looking for in your domain registrar are price and enough TLDs (Top Level Domains eg: .com, .eu, .net, etc.).
In terms of price, many providers tend to offer a free domain for a certain time period when purchasing hosting - as Hostinger does. So when buying hosting, you may as well save money and bundle a domain name together.
Of course, domain names have been around for several decades, which means that many good ones are taken. Luckily, companies also provide tools which may offer you some good options that haven't been taken by everyone just yet.
(happycats.net is still available!?)
One of the better options to pick is a .xyz domain. They may not be as popular as .com or .net TLDs, but that may also work to your advantage. There are many great names still available, and those names only cost $0.99 a piece!
Still keeping up? If you followed me, now you should be increasingly close to having some server space and a personal domain - key parts of your website!
#2: Set Up Hosting And Domain Name Info
Once you purchased your hosting and domain, you'll need to set up your hosting account and the domain. That ensures that you can reach the hosting management panel and your website is accessible through the domain name you've picked.
With Hostinger, that's really easy. You'll need to follow the steps it has prepared for you.
For the domain name registration, you'll need to fill in your personal details. This way, you claim the ownership of the domain and the website.
When the information is put in, you will finally merge the hosting account and domain together - that means proudly attaching your address (domain name!) to your house (server!)
After the domain is freshly registered, it might take a little bit of time for it to activate - the process is pretty much unavoidable, so just kick your feet up and relax.
While the domain status page says "Activating", you can explore the panel and plan how your website is going to look like. Sometimes, the process can take as little as a couple of minutes, but it rarely takes longer than 24h.
However, maybe you won't need to wait for a domain to activate. Maybe you had purchased a domain ages ago! In that case, you will simply be picking from one of these two options:
- Transfer the domain. By transferring the domain to your hosting company, you will have to deal with one less bill. This will mean you will change your pricing plans as well - a transfer may either save or lose your money.
- Point the domain. Keep your domain with the company you purchased it from, just have it attached to your own server.
If you choose to transfer a domain, a hosting provider can help you with that. Hostinger gives you the option to do it just before you start building a website. So do many other providers.
If you choose to simply point a domain to your shiny new server, just log in to the account of the company you purchased the domain from.
There, you'll be granted an opportunity to change the nameservers - switch them to the ones of your hosting provider and connect your domain without transferring it!
At this point, you should have a working server space and a domain connected to it. In the next step, you will have a chance to see whether all of that really happened. If not - contact your service provider and demand answers.
Most of the providers have support teams working 24/7 and they are ready to help you with any problem related to domain name transfers.
#3: Choose A Platform
For the next step, you'll need to choose a platform on which you can build your website. One of the most popular choices is WordPress CMS allowing limitless possibilities.
In our case, Hostinger has over 100 auto-installers for different content management systems and eCommerce platforms. You can also choose Zyro drag and drop website builder, or upload files directly.
The selection is vast. The easiest way is to use drag-and-drop website builder, though it might not be the smartest choice, as WordPress can provide you with the same functionality and a lot more.
If you're building an eCommerce, there are platforms like PrestaShop or OpenCart as well.
In all cases, if you need to have a foundation for your website, any CMS is often the best choice.
In terms of easily-accessible and simple to use CMS'es, you will keep hearing the main 3 names. Here's what they are:
WordPress - by far the most popular CMS in the world, used by Forbes, CNN and only the other 30% of the Internet. It has plenty of applications and is easy for beginners to handle, especially if they don't yet know how to make a website!
Joomla - great for eCommerce but requiring some at least basic coding skills, this CMS may be challenging to master but it pays its dividends once you do.
Drupal - difficult to work with at first but incredibly customizable, this CMS often still remains a weapon of choice for many website developers. Recommended to take if you really plan to become a professional developer - but don't blame us for stressful days if you do.
For this particular tutorial on how to make a website from scratch, I used and recommend to use WordPress. It is incredibly easy to master and the amount of applications/tutorials is way above any other platform available.
You may choose something else - and it's not a big problem if you do. There are plenty of tutorials showing how to use tools to, for example, migrate from Joomla to WordPress. So install whatever you see fit - either in the pop-up menu or your hosting dashboard.
Type in all of the crucial information, like your admin username and password, email, website title, the whole lot. Make sure to memorize the login information! Once you go, just click "Install" and you're en route.
Once everything is installed, the "Details" section (or something very similar in other providers) will show you how to access various areas, like the admin area. If you're using WordPress, it's actually very simple. Just type the URL:
And you'll get to see this:
If you do, your domain and server are all working in perfect unison. And now, the fun part starts - it's time to make your website pretty!
#4: Design And Customize Your Website
To make your website useful, you'll need to create a design for it. WordPress has a bunch of both free and premium themes you can choose. You can also upload any WordPress theme you find online. So the choices are limitless.
Some of the themes have their own drag-and-drop or live editors, so, if you creating a simple website, there's no need to code.
So head to the "Appearance" menu option and find all the themes available. Choose one, click "Install" and you are ready to customize it.
Another option for customization is adding plugins. WordPress has thousands of them.
You can start browsing through them by answering a few questions:
- Do I plan to sell online? If so, consider using WooCommerce, which is a powerful tool that may turn your teeny blog into a dazzling online store. There are plenty of WooCommerce tutorials available, too.
- Do I plan to post regular content, or is it more of a static page? Not all templates are made equal, often they're suited for specific purposes.
- How reliant are you on specific types of media? Things like video header backgrounds, slideshows or auto-playing content can either be enabled in certain templates or require plug-ins.
WordPress has a lot of templates and plugins that may come to your aid. Make sure to do your research and choose the right ones. There is no one correct answer as to which options you must pick but there are plenty of lists of best WordPress plugins or templates that may help.
#5: Run your website!
Once you have your theme and plugins ready, you can start uploading the content. So go ahead, create a page, write the first blog post, or upload the image gallery. Now, it's up to you!
Writing a post or creating a page is easy with WordPress.
Hover on to "Posts" menu item and click "Add new." You'll be redirected to the editor where you can write a post or upload pictures - whatever you prefer.
Once you're done editing, simply press "Publish."
Congrats, your website is live with its first post! Now you can continue publishing and further customizing your site.
Was our tutorial on how to make a website from scratch helpful? If you have any questions, we'll gladly answer them in the comment section down below!