I’ve been getting a lot of requests asking how to build their own website, but I’m only one person who wouldn’t be able to provide personal support to everyone, especially for free. So this guide is to help with this and hope that you’ll be able to get your website up and running without too much trouble.
If you still are though, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will provide basic support to those who use my links to sign up for the different services.
Note that this guide is intended for you to use a computer. You can read in on a phone but you’ll need to copy over this link to your computer if you’re reading from a mobile device.
I recommend skimming through the entire guide to get an idea of the general idea of what I’m talking about, then going back over again and set things up. Also, don’t be afraid to watch a video twice, prioritize understanding and not breezing through content. This is a skill you’ll have for the rest of your life, so take some time to learn it properly.
Table of Content:
Quick Tip: If the pictures look too small, you can right click>open image in new tab to see the full-screen version.
Before going any further, I’ll give you some advice to help you learn faster: Experiment with stuff. Generally, experimenting with most things won’t break the website, and if you’re unsure, Google it. And if (when) things do break, just contact support. Whether it’s the theme’s support or your hosting support, one of the two should be able to fix your website. Curiosity goes a long way when it comes to learning a new skill and this is no different. Don’t be afraid to play around with unfamiliar options and edit the website, just make sure you keep backups just in case.
What’s in it for me?
Why am I doing this? Well it’s simple:
- Because it helps people without me having to physically be there
- I will be able to earn from affiliate links (This redirects to neilpatel.com to explain affiliate marketing)
Since I’m not getting paid directly for this unless you need direct help in setting up your site, I get supported passively. When you purchase your hosting and your theme through my link on the article, I get some money for it. With so many people clicking on it, it adds up and encourages me to create more free content for everyone. So, if you like the guide and want to support me, just click on the links in the guide and you’ll be helping me out a ton! Thank you!
You will need about $100 – $150 to get started if I round up. A rough breakdown is as follows:
Hosting: $50 for 1st year (will pay more after, make sure to check prices)
Domain Name: $10 – $20 /year
Theme: $40 – $80 (One-time fee)
SSL: Free – $20 /year
Other Stuff: The rest of the money. This may be plugins, advertising tests etc.
Total: $100 – $150
So, to start, you’ll need to understand the basics as to how a website works. This video by Google sums up the basics you’ll need to know in 3 minutes.
So now you know what a Server (Hosting) and a domain name is. It’s time to get your own!
I’ve been searching around for a great priced hosting platform that’s newbie friendly, and in my opinion, We have two options:
Siteground is the best beginner-friendly choice because of its user interface and one main factor – you can purchase your domain straight from the site, unlike cloudways. So if you really are new to making websites, this is the easiest option for you, you’ll be able to skip a few setup steps that might have annoyed you if you’re not computer savvy or really good at following technical guides.
Clouldways is the best speed for your buck, though it’s not by much. The reason I recommend it second is because it is just slightly more technical that Siteground for the reason that you can’t just purchase a domain in-house. You’ll have to purchase it from a domain name provider such as Namecheap, GoDaddy, or any other one that allows you to purchase domains then link it to clouldways. It’s not hard, but it’s not as easy as siteground for obvious reasons.
If you prefer to use that. It’s not hard once you follow the guides and only needs to be done once.
For this guide, I will be using Siteground.
Look for the cheapest plan under Managed WordPress Hosting.
Next up, purchase your domain and you’re good to go.
Pro Tip: If you’re seriously serious about your site, I would recommend taking advantage of the sign-up opportunity and register for 1 year at least. You save A LOT of money in the long run. Also, you don’t need the domain privacy and SG site Scanner. Don’t worry about it.
To finish it off, check out this video. It automatically starts at 5:26 as that’s the part you need to see. The video has a long ending of him just talking about his course so you don’t have to watch after that.
Great job! We’re now onto the next step! Getting your website looking pretty!
Choosing your theme
To make a beautiful website without having any coding skills simply means to have someone else do the heavy lifting for you! With the use of themes, you’ll be able to create professionally done websites that require little input from you to function well.
The first step is getting the theme you want. The largest place to find a variety of themes is ThemeForest. You can find a theme for any type of blog or business you want.
Make sure you choose WordPress when looking for themes. If you want to be double sure you can type in ‘WordPress’ at the end of whatever type of theme you’re looking for. If you purchase a theme for the wrong platform it can sometimes be difficult to get it refunded. It’s better to just not make the mistake in the first place!
As you can see, I’ve gotten quite a few themes for different projects. If you haven’t downloaded the theme you’ve purchased yet, you can do so from the downloads panel in the top right corner under your account details. Choose All files & documentation for the first time you’re getting the theme. You can choose Installable WordPress file only when you need to update the theme.
Extract the archived file.
The theme’s folders might look different, but generally have the same aspects as shown below.
The documentation and uploads sections are most important and are self-explanatory. We’ll be using the files in the uploads folder soon. And if your theme/plugin needs a license code, you can find that in the Licensing folder.
Logging into WordPress
To log into WordPress, you can either access it from the Siteground control panel if you search around or through [yourdomain.com]/wp-admin. Enter your credentials and log in.
The WordPress Menu
Above is the WordPress menu, the part of your website you’ll be interacting with the most. I’ve highlighted the most important aspects and will give you a quick rundown of each:
Posts: Pretty self-explanatory. You manage your blog posts here. If you’re not making a blog or don’t plan to blog on your site then you can mostly ignore this.
Appearance: Where you manage the selection of your themes. You can customize your theme through the sub-menus I’ll explain later. Themes may also have an additional menu header for additional customizations you can play around with.
Plugins: The extra arms and legs of a WordPress website. Plugins offer a lot of different functionalities from developers worldwide. Some are free and others are paid. You can use plugins to add things you wouldn’t normally be able to do.
Settings: Pretty self-explanatory. You can look around and change what you like more or less.
Pro Tip: How to allow anyone to comment
In Settings>Discussion, you can uncheck “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” to allow anyone to comment on your posts.
Installing the Theme
Under Appearance>Themes, you can add your new theme. Then Upload Theme and choose your theme file from the uploads folder or equivalent.
What’s the Difference between a regular theme and a child theme?
Basically, when you’re installing a theme, you’ll need to install the actual theme first. After that, you have the option to install a child theme, which is the exact same theme; the only difference is that if you made custom changes to the theme’s files, it would not be reset if you update your theme.
So for you, you don’t have to worry about installing a child theme, but you can if you want. It makes literally no difference right now.
How to customize your theme:
This is where things get a bit trickier for me to explain. This is because every theme is unique so the developers will have their own set of options and ways to customize. Some themes allow you to do most of the editing through the customize option under appearance while others only have limited functionality there, while a lot more through webpage builders such as Elementor or their own custom editor.
Before I go through the general stuff that you’ll be able to edit no matter what theme you have. I’ll take some time out to go through the general idea of customizing your theme and how to get good at navigating the different theme builders you may face.
Let’s say you’re making a consultant agency and you search around ThemeForest for a good theme and stumbled across these three:
You check out the previews and you like how they look. You go into each individual one to find out more information.
First: As you can see, they use a page builder called King Composer Pro. If you’re interested in seeing how it works you can always look it up on youtube.
Second: This theme can use either Beaver Builder or Elementor, whichever you’re most comfortable with as both are great visual builders.
Third: This one seems to have its own custom editor. You’d probably have to switch between this and the editor in Appearance>Customize to properly edit the pages.
How to use the theme builders:
The good thing is about page editors across the board is that they generally have the same options. There’s only so much you can do, so once you get more familiar with how page editors work, it’s not hard to switch between one or the other. It’s just that things may be in different places.
Each theme is different. So there will be different things that might interest you. As you can see from these three snapshots of three of my websites, I’ve highlighted any option or plugin related to editing the theme. We can go through some basics about what to look out for now.
Options like Nexio, Malina Header & Footer, Listeo Core & Editor are all theme editing plugins that come with the theme itself when you activate it.
As you can see, there are a quite a few options under the Nexio customizer. I won’t go through what exactly is in each part because it varies from theme to theme, but the general idea is in the headings. You can look through and see what you want to change. Explore and play around with the options!
Then there are Webpage builders such as WP Bakery and to an extent Slider Revolution. There are also other popular ones like Beaver Builder, Elementor, etc. These are nice because the visual builders allow you to edit your content in real-time and see its effects. It is usually a bit easier to make visual changes with them as well. However, the backend editor is very good in other situations too, when you become more proficient at understanding how it all works, you’ll most likely be using a mixture of both to edit or build your website.
With Slider Revolution, it’s more of a plugin for Sliders, the slideshow effect you sometimes see on a website. However, you can actually make entire websites with their themes that offer some excellent unique looks. I will do a guide on how to use slider revolution in the near future.
With WP Bakery, we enter the editor through Pages>Clicking on edit with WP bakery option on the page you want to edit. It will be similar to other page builders, but you can fiddle around with it. Be sure to reference the documentation if you have any trouble.
For a quick understanding of how a page builder works, and learn how to create your own custom webpage if you need, check out this 20-minute video on WP Bakery. It gives you the basic idea of how webpage builders work across the board as well as the backend and frontend editing of a webpage.
Lastly, there’s the Appearance>Customize Menu which was mentioned earlier. From there you can change certain settings you can’t change anywhere else.
Quick Guide: WordPress Menus
Pretty much all themes have demos you can import to your site to get started! After importing the data, you then have an almost done website where you’ll just have to edit the different pages to add your own images and text or maybe do a few more changes. But it saves us lots of hours and hundreds (to thousands) of dollars to get someone to build a website for you instead.
It might be located in different areas, so check around the documentation and see.
MAKE SURE YOU READ THE THEME’S DOCUMENTATION!
Pro Tip: Read, Read and Experiment
Your number 1 asset when learning how to customize your WordPress theme will be the documentation. I will never be able to fully explain how to use your theme with the level of variety each one has, but the documentation will be able to.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS, CONTACT SUPPORT.
Most themes offer free support for 3-6 months after purchase, with the option to pay to extend it. Since you’ll be doing most of the setup part within the first few months it usually works out well. There’s been a lot of times when I was first learning how to make and tweak websites where I had to email or live chat with support. And of course, they’re very helpful.
How to Set up your online store (Ecommerce)
To set up an online store, you can use a plugin such as Woocommerce. This is the largest eCommerce plugin on WordPress and will make setting up any sort of shopping experience on your website very easy. Any store themes or themes with some sort of shopping functionality will have Woocommerce integrated to make your life easy!
Recommended: Site Security. How to Protect your site. Also, how to create your own email from your domain.
To ensure your site is safe and secure, you’ll need to install an SSL Certificate on your website. Basically, it’s your website’s personal encryption to ensure any data on it is safely transferred and cannot be attained by hackers.
To set up SSL on Siteground, Here’s a video by Nayyar Shaikh. This video also goes into other more advanced WordPress features such as creating subdomains. Custom emails etc. So if you’re interested, it’s worth checking out.
SSL is at 6:00
Creating a custom email address at 6:40
So, in Summary.
You’ve learned the basics as to how to get started in creating your own website. This is definitely not a guide where you’ll learn EVERYTHING there is to know about building websites, but I hope it gets you started on a great foot.
If you want to learn more about website building, use youtube. I can’t recommend anything in particular, because I don’t know where you might be stuck or what you want to learn more about. I’m doing this because I want you to learn how to do research for and effectively teach yourself. I’m also just a lazy bum who doesn’t want to look up somewhat relevant youtube videos.
If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to send me an email at email@example.com. And if you simply just want someone to set all this up for you without the hassle, hit me up too. I’m pretty affordable.