WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS GUIDE
Perfect for BeginnersThis guide is easy to understand for everyone.
Fast SetupYou’ll make a gorgeous website in less than 60 minutes.
Powered by WordPressYour website will be made with the world’s most powerful, free platform.
No Coding NeededYou’ll be creating beautiful, responsive websites without writing any code!
3 EASY STEPS TO MAKING YOUR WEBSITE
1. Choose a platformChoose what you want to build your website on. We recommend the most popular: WordPress.
3. Setup & CustomizeSetup your site, choose a theme, and customize the look. Make it yours.
Pick a platform to build your website on
Before you can give your site a name or design it, the first thing you’ll need to do is choose what platform you want to use to make your website.
What is a “platform”?
In the past, people made websites mostly by writing a bunch of code. It was long, tedious and required a lot of time to learn. Today, there are platforms, also called “Content Management Systems” (CMS), that allows you to make websites with a user-friendly interface. With these platforms you can manage your entire website. You can make pages, upload your pictures, post blogs and much more–all without having to know any coding. CMS like WordPress makes it extremely easy for anyone to make a website.
The three most popular platforms today
Most websites today are made with one of the three main platforms: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. And although there have been new platforms popping up lately such as, SquareSpace, Wix, Zenfolio, Slide22, Weebly, Shopify, and so forth, Wordpress is still by far the most popular and powerful to date with 74+ million websites made. Here is a quick diagram to show the popularity:
Why is WordPress better?
What makes WordPress the go-to platform? Why is half the internet’s sites made with it? Here are 5 reasons you’ll love WordPress:
1. 100% FREE
Certain platforms will charge you a monthly fee, a domain name, and hosting. With WordPress it’s completely free and you only need to pay for a domain name and hosting. Also with WordPress there are hundreds of amazing themes and layouts for you to get started fast. With so many designs to choose from, your website will always be unique.
If you’ve used Microsoft Word (and who hasn’t?) you’re already more than halfway there on learning how to use WordPress. There’s also “plug-ins” that you add to your WordPress site for more functionality. Almost anything you can think of, whether it’s a contact form, a booking calendar, a photo gallery, or a membership only section–there’s a plug-in for that.
Big or small, WordPress can do it all. It’s powerful enough to create sites like The New Yorker, Tech Crunch, ESPN, Ebay, Times Inc, The Walking Dead, The Dallas Mavericks, and Fortune. So if you need a simple blog or a full blown online store WordPress is the platform to use.
4. Responsive & Mobile-friendly
Tablets and smartphones are being used more and more to view websites. Making your website on WordPress will make it look perfect on both the desktop and mobile devices instantly. Plus Google will ding you if your website is not mobile-friendly. Don’t take that risk!
5. Lots of help from lots of people
There are no other platforms that will have a bigger community of people ready to help. With so many users, you’ll be able to find quick support for any problems you may run into. Just head over to their support forums.
Name your site & give it a home
Now that you know why we’re using WordPress to build your website, the next thing we’ll need to do is give your website a name and find a place to host it. Hosting just means that you’re paying a company to use their space to have your website on.
Let’s start with a domain name.
Where do I get a domain name?
You get a domain name from a “domain registrar.”
BlueHost is a technically a hosting company, but they also let you to register a domain name.
The best part?
If you register using the link below, you’ll get a discount and your domain name for FREE:
If you would like to check to see if the name you want is available you can do so below:
If you want just a domain name here are some popular domain name registrars:
What should I name my site?
There are a few best practices to keep in mind when naming your site. Follow these tips and you should be good to go:
- Keep it short. Make it easy for people to type out.
- Easy to remember. The easier it is to remember, the more likely people will come back.
- Unique to your brand. Let people know what your site is about. For example, AvantPhoto.com is about photography.
- Use dot com. Always use dot com if possible. There are .net, .co, .gov, and nowadays even a .pizza! Stick with the most popular: .com.
- Copyright Infringement. Although rare, it’s still possible to infringe on copyrights. Make sure your domain name isn’t doing so.
Now that you have a domain name. We need to get you a place to host it.
Where should I host my website?
There are plenty of hosting companies out there, but the two we highly recommend are:
- BlueHost – perfect for small personal sites.
- WP Engine – perfect for power users who plan on receiving a lot of traffic.
Why use BlueHost?
If you are an individual or a small to medium brand, BlueHost is a great hosting company to put your website on. Here are a few of the benefits that led us to recommend their service:
- Free domain name. Save money and manage both domain name and your hosting in one convenient spot.
- 24/hour USA-based support. Get the help you need any time of day.
- Make multiple websites and have many domain names. With BlueHost you can make up to 100 WordPress sites all under a single account. This makes it extremely easy to manage everything.
- Unlimited space. Never worry about running out of space. Upload as many photos or files as you want.
- WordPress-friendly. They have a one-click install feature that let’s you set up your WordPress with a simple click. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
- Reliable support. There are over 1+ million accounts on BlueHost and they run with no problems. They operate with a world-class data center.
- Price. Their hosting price is highly competitive at only $5.95/month
There are tons more features, however those are the ones that stood out the most. Head over to Bluehost using the link below to get the free domain and take advantage of a summer sale ($3.49/mo):
Why use WP Engine?
If you’re more serious about your website and imagine you’re going to get some heavy traffic, WP Engine is much better in terms of speed and reliability. With that said, you will get what you pay for so their plans are not as cheap starting at $29/mo. There are some key benefits to using WP Engine for your hosting:
- It’s fast. Really fast. WP Engine was made specifically for WordPress. They have tailored technology that will make your sites load much quicker than the competitors. If you want to rank well with Google, page loading times are very important.
- Security. They run a security scan on your site in the background to protect your website from being hacked. If they do find any hacks, they will fix it–for free.
- Proactive updates. Also done for you is keeping your WordPress up to date. You will get all the latest features and security updates without having to do it manually.
- Automatic backups. Your website is backed up every day so that if anything ever happens, it can be restored instantly. With other hosting companies, this is something you’ll need to remember to do.
- Excellent support. Since WP Engine was made specifically for WordPress, their technical support team are all experts on WordPress. Other hosting sites support multiple platforms, so you may get a support tech who is not a WordPress expert.
- Staging Area. This feature allows you to make changes and test your website without potentially breaking your site or bringing it down.
- Reliable. They are used by over 50,000 customers in 120 countries. Some of those customers include HTC, FourSquare, SoundCloud, and Balsamiq.
These features are tailored for the power users and big brands. They are made to handle more traffic and provide greater stability. Check out the rest of their plans and sign up for their hosting.
Quick recap of step two
- Brainstorm a good domain name for your website making sure to use the best practices.
- Register a domain name and get hosting from www.BlueHost.com.
Setting up your new website
After you have purchased your domain name and hosting, the last step is to set up your website with WordPress.
If you signed up for BlueHost or similar hosting companies, you will find a “one-click” installation for WordPress which lets you install WordPress in a snap. BlueHost partnered up with a company called MOJO Marketplace to bring you this feature.
Here is a short video to walk you through the process. Although the layout is different, the steps are essentially the same:
Or if you prefer, here are the steps with the 2016 BlueHost layout:
- Log into your BlueHost account and go to the CPanel.
2. Click Install WordPress:
3. Click Install:
4. Pick the domain you want to install WordPress on and click Check Domain:
5. Click Install Now:
How to login your WordPress site
Once you have installed WordPress, on the next screen you’ll get your username and password for your new WordPress site. Go to your browser and type in the following and enter in your username a password to log into your WordPress Dashboard:
Once you login you’ll see your dashboard:
At first the dashboard can be overwhelming, but if you spend some time playing with it, it’s all very intuitive. The main thing we want to do right now is check out your current theme.
Click on the house icon in the very upper left corner (next to the “W” logo), it will show you your current theme. WordPress automatically starts you off with a basic, minimalistic theme called Twenty Sixteen. Here’s what it looks like:
Giving your website a new look with themes
The default theme is okay, but it’s less than stellar. To change up your website, you can install brand new themes. There’s a HUGE collection of amazing and free themes that you can use right away. Or if you’d like you can also purchase premium themes at ThemeForest.net
Browsing free WordPress themes
In your dashboard, on the left, hover over Appearance then click Themes. Towards the top click Add New.
You will see all the available themes that you can use for your website:
You can search for any style theme you’d like to use or use the filter button to help you narrow down your selection:
Installing a free WordPress theme
Once you find the theme you like, it’s as easy as clicking Install and then Activate. Refresh your website and now you should have a brand new theme in place!
NOTE: You can change themes as often as you like without worrying about your pages and posts being deleted. They will remain there despite the theme you’re using.
Adding pages to your WordPress website
In your WordPress dashboard sidebar click on the Pages section. Then click Add New. You will see a screen that looks similar to Microsoft Word and works similarly too. Here you can add text, images, videos, shortcodes, and a lot more content.
Once you’re done adding your content, you can click Save Draft then Preview on the left side to see what it looks like. Click Publish once you’re happy with the final look:
Giving your WordPress website a menu
After you have made a few pages (and saved them), you’ll want to let users navigate your site by creating a menu. On the left sidebar, click on Appearance then Menus. Find the pages that you’ve just made and add it to the list by clicking the checkboxes next to them and then clicking Add to Menu.
Creating a blog post
Creating a blog post is very similar to creating a page. On the left sidebar click on Post then Add new. You will see a similar screen as making a page. Add your contest as before and click Publish when you’re done. One extra thing you can do with posts is that you can categorize them. To do that, click Add New Category on the left, give the category a name such as “tutorials” and check the box. This will add that post to that new category.
Add more functionality to your WordPress site with plugins
As we mentioned earlier, WordPress is an extremely powerful platform. This is in part due to the ability to add plugins to your site. What is a plugin? Think of it as an app for your website. Just like how you can add apps to your phone to enable it to do more things, you can add plugins to your WordPress site to enable it to do anything you can imagine. Here’s how.
On the left sidebar click on Plugins then Add New. This screen should look similar to how we added a new theme before. From here you can search for certain plugins, click Install and then click Activate. There are over 25,000 plugins to choose from! These plugins can transform a simple blog into a full blown ecommerce store with a forum, photo gallery, and anything else you can think of.
NOTE: You can easily remove any plugins you don’t like. Be mindful of what you install. Installing too many plugins may slow down your site or cause problems!
Sign up with a host below and make your site today.