Don’t have any experience of making websites? This step-by-step article will guide you through the process of website creation and educate on useful plugins and practices for making your project successful.
You’ve got a plan of a new website you want to fulfill? Thanks to advanced technologies and programming, it’s much easier than it was in the beginning of 21st century, especially if you select the right platform for that. How to make a website in 2018? This Step-by-step guide will teach you to create your online project using convenient platforms and advanced technologies.
Today, you don’t need to know coding with PHP and HTML to create a website, though the skill of programming will be useful down the road when you decide to customize your website. If you are a novice web-master, this article will guide you through the steps of website building with the help of the best tools available in the Net. When the last step is finished, your project will already have online presence ready for viewers.
1. Select a Website Building Platform
A platform for website building, or a content management system is what saves your time eliminating the need to code manually. There’s a plethora of platforms allowing you to construct a website without inputting a single line of code.
Aspects to Consider When Picking Up a Platform
The choice of system for website creation should be based on your requirements and desires. Are you going to make an eCommerce project to sell goods? Want to share knowledge and cool content with others in your blog? Think what you want to share with visitors: that should be the first cut-off point.
Here are the things you need to pay attention to:
- Mobile Integration. Since over 50% of users access websites via mobile devices, your website should be ready to be surfed from smartphones and tablets. Some website builders provide ways to generate sites for both mobile and desktop devices.
- Your knowledge of coding. Some content management systems are suitable for tech-savvy users only, while others are suitable for amateurs and beginners who are in the dark about coding. Your skill of coding is another critical point you cannot ignore.
- Customer support. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, if you ask someone to help you with building your website. Everyone starts from the scratch, and sooner or later assistance is required even to the smartest developers. Platforms for website creation may have different levels of support service, and different ways of connection with their customers. You should get the information about these services beforehand.
The Most Popular Platforms Available
There’s the whole gamut of different development platforms for web-masters, and the choice can be very confusing. Of course, it’s better to work with well-established and trusted systems that provide a decent set of features, flexibility and advanced customer support. Here are the most widespread website builders that have gained acclaim and props from millions of users.
- WordPress is the most widely used content management system so far. It allows creating blogs, eCommerce websites, or even community hubs for those who plan to organize a social channel.
- Joomla provides almost the same level of flexibility as WordPress. However, users of this platform need to possess basic knowledge of coding to make some certain adjustments.
- Drupal is a convenient and reliable service, though it provides less support than WordPress does, so you need to know the nuts and bolts of coding to get your website up and running. It’s a bit more difficult in setting up.
- Prestashop is a platform created particularly for eCommerce website building. Basic features of the system are free, but you may need some paid additions down the road.
- CubeCart is another platform for eCommerce website building: it provides a lot of flexibility and a wide set of options for starters. Just like in Prestashop, extra features come at extra cost.
This is only a handful of content management systems you can exploit. Softaculous, Wix, Weebly and many other CMS also provide a plethora of cool features.
If you are a starter in the field of website development, it’s highly recommended to use WordPress: it’s a piece of cake in navigation, and allows for fast creation of projects. You can customize the website and make it exactly what you want it to be. High flexibility and simple navigation are the main reasons why WordPress accounts for 60% of marketshare in the sphere of content management systems.
WordPress automatically adjusts websites for resolution of visitor’s screen, so you don’t have to make any significant changes in the appearance of your website for it to be displayed perfectly on a smartphone or tablet. There are many free WordPress themes that possess this feature.
In order to shape up your website, you don’t need to enter any code lines. All necessary adjustments and manipulations can be done via plugins and themes. However, programming geeks can easily customize their WordPress websites, if they have necessary knowledge – WordPress is suitable for all skill levels.
Since WordPress is highly popular, you can get help and support for any aspect of the application. Online tutorials, FAQs, forums, and guides – there’s literary ALL necessary information in the Net. WordPress is the platform that never lacks support thanks to contributions of ever-growing communities.
Another pleasant fact about WordPress is that it’s totally free. Once you install it, you’ll have a powerful, feature-charged tool for creation of a website of your dream.
2. Choose Domain Name and Hosting Provider
The next thing you’ll need to do is to select a worthy hosting provider and come up with a decent domain name. These aspects are also important, if you want your website to win fame.
It’ll Be What You Call It
A domain name is a unique address which points visitors to your content: it helps users to find your website and explore its pages. For your website to be easily found and memorized, you need to make up a truly good name. When musing about a name, ask yourself a few questions:
- Is the name related to the content? There must be at least some logical correlation, because it helps visitors to identify what the project is about, and gives Googlebot the idea about what your project is.
- Brevity the soul of wit. The shorter your name is, the easier it is to type. Long names are hard to keep in mind, and visitors can easily misspell them. Just think of it: a simple misspell of a word can cost you precious traffic going to competitors!
- Do you use the right domain extension, like .com or .net? Depending on your location, some extensions may not be available to you. Anyway, today there’s a bunch of extensions that are available depending on the industry, so be creative.
Making up a name for your website is a fun, though the task can be quite challenging. Every time you think of some good idea – it may already be used by someone. Use your imagination and think out of the box! If you hit a roadblock in the process of name creation, try using synonyms in the name. Sometimes abbreviations are also efficient.
Just keep in mind that the domain name should be related to your business: all in all, this is what visitors see first before landing on your pages.
Hosting Plans Matter
The choice of a hosting plan is another crucial step for building your online project. Hosting defines the performance and speed of your website and, consequently, user experience. There’s the whole gamut of solution at the web for running a simple blog or developing a more complex corporate website.
Beginning developers can start with a cheap hosting package, for instance a shared server. It can be a cost-efficient solution that provides you with necessary amount of bandwidth and resources, and doesn’t require much participation from your side. A hosting package on a shared server can also include a free domain name, and starts from a couple of dollars per month.
Other hosting solutions can be considered, if you have a deeper pocket. For example, specialized managed WordPress hosting may start from $10-15 a month: in this case, you’re provided with a decent amount of resources and 24/7 customer support for solving all issues with your WP-based website. VPS (virtual private servers) and dedicated servers are more advanced solutions that come with a higher amount of resources and better flexibility.
When picking up a hosting plan, don’t hesitate to ask providers about additional payments for some certain features. Web space, bandwidth, personalized email and some other features should always be available and included in the price.
Since you’re only starting, you can order a cheap hosting solution, but it’s better to future-proof your website, because one day you may realize it has outgrown the possibilities of the current hosting package. Therefore, scalability is another critical feature. Search for a provider that allows extending beyond your plan and can help you to upgrade the package and scale to your needs. It’s crucial to be able to accommodate your visitors, so you definitely need a solution that can grow together with your website.
3. Install and Configure WordPress
As soon as it’s decided on the domain name, and your web hosting account is set up, it’s time to install WordPress. Here you can select one of two ways: manual and automatic. Beginners should use the automatic methods: it’s quicker and faster.
Automatic WordPress Installation
To install WordPress, or any other content management system in a couple of clicks, you can use Softaculous – a user-friendly system that does a great share of work when setting up a platform. It will generate databases and grant you the control over accounts and passwords.
Manual Installation of WordPress
If you’re sure you can handle it on your own, install WordPress manually. You need to download WordPress, upload it to the server, create your database and run the install app. Although it takes a bit more time than with Softaculous, it’s still not a brain cracker. Manual WP installation is an easy process, if you follow all necessary steps strictly. In fact, the time it takes to download and upload WordPress depends on your Internet speed.
4. Select a WordPress Theme
A theme is what defines the appearance of your website. It allows you to select such things as colors, location of blocks with content, and other visual aspects. Some themes come with tools for customization. When creating the look and feel of your website, consider the following points:
- What your website focuses on? Niche websites often have the highest rate of success among specific audience. When you specialize on some particular topic, you need to find a layout to accentuate the content. Images, colors and font create the impression your website makes.
- Premium or free? As a WordPress user, you have access to a great amount of free themes. Many of them are rich in features and simple in management. However, paid-for layouts and themes come with a wider scope of tools and functions and enable more customization options.
In the beginning, you may choose a free theme, and once you learn all nooks and crannies of website creation and customizing, you may buy a theme to engage your viewers even more.
Installation of a New Theme in WordPress
Working with WordPress is easy, especially if you manage it via admin panel. With a couple of clicks, you can make your website’s appearance, and if you don’t like the theme, you can easily change it back. Theme management is quick and simple, when done via your admin panel.
5. Time For Plugins
Another thing making WordPress popular is abundance of plugins available: they can broaden your website’s functionality considerably. For example, you can install a FAQ addition to create a professional-looking page of Frequently Asked Questions. There are thousands of plugins available, each with its specific purpose for maintaining your project. Here are Top-5 plugins that can be recommended to every web-developer:
- TinyMCE. Although WordPress already has a good system for text editing and content creation, TinyMCE expands the set of features available for writing. It turns WordPress editor into something more like a word processor providing you access to over 30 text tools.
- Jetpack. This plugin requires a free activation of WordPress.com account, and it comes with many useful modules, for example, proofreading. There’s an option for sharing your content in social media, and a bunch of other great functions.
- Wordfence Security provides you with essential tools for keeping your website safe. It checks outdated plugins, blocks access from blacklisted IP addresses, and works as a firewall to protect your data. It’s totally free.
- YoastSEO. As a website owner, you should take care of search engine optimization. This is what defines how your content is found in the Internet. YoasSEO not only helps you to score well in search engines, but also provides recommendations on how to create a more engaging content,
- Google Analytics for WordPress. This tool allows tracking how visitors view your website displaying the traffic in your WordPress admin panel in real time (information is gathered by The Google Analytics Dashboard). It’s a useful tool, if you want to elaborate content strategies and check how people will be accessing your content.
6. Add Content to Your Website
As soon as WordPress is installed, you are ready for viewers. Now it’s time to upload your content. There are three important parts of writing content in WordPress: posts, pages and menus. If you know all these three functions, you’ll be able to create your website smartly. There’s a big difference on how they are shown on your website.
The pages in WordPress are better for static information, for instance “About Me”, “Contacts”, “Terms” and so on. It’s separate from a regular content you write, and are often located in the navigation menu. Consider pages as the content that doesn’t change.
Your website will mostly consist of posts – articles that you create for users. They can contain text, media files and some other elements to engage your audience. If you’re going to write once per day, posts are exactly what you’re going to create.
Choice of Menu Elements
WordPress also has a handy tool for customizing menu items. Using drag and drop tool, you can put your pages and posts into the navigation bar of your website for quick access. Some also include outbound links to their websites. While elaborating the menu, don’t clutter it: too many elements and links will distract users, and may affect website’s performance.
7. Additional Settings
Now when your website is almost ready, it’s time to think of some extras you may need. You can operate your website as you like, but there are some ideas for getting started.
Tweak WordPress Settings
To make your WordPress website perfect, you should tweak the settings: this thing controls many aspects including time zones, how comments are treated, time formats, and so on. You can go through each tool in the Settings of WordPress and adjust it as you like.
Even if you don’t know what certain tools do, don’t despair. You can leave the settings and get back to them as soon as you want. Most of them, however, are understandable and user-friendly.
Monetize Your Site
There are many ways to make money from your website, and WordPress easily supports most of them. Pretty often, users integrate AdSense and affiliate marketing links. You can start making a good income, if you attract visitors to your website.
Another great method of earning from WordPress is starting an online store and turning your website into an eCommerce project. With various plugins, you can easily sell goods today.
Market Your Website
You can’t expect people to visit your website, if they simply don’t know about its existence. Reap benefits of marketing! Of course, you can have a few visitors coming based purely on your content, but with marketing tools the audience can be greatly enlarged.
Social media is one of the most widespread ways to gain traffic. Use Facebook and Twitter to convince people to visit your website. In fact, social media allows reaching better results than you can imagine.
Email is another efficient form of content marketing. You can connect with a wide audience with little effort and attract a crowd with the right campaign. But you need a really good email marketing campaign to expand your presence and draw viewers.
Creating a website in 2018 is pretty simple. Thanks to WordPress and suitable hosting, your success is only limited by your motivation. Since you can get qualified assistance and recommendations, you can easily build a worthy website within a day and quickly turn it into something you will be proud of.