Whether you want to create a website from scratch or simply improve the old one, you’ll have to follow some simple yet essential rules of how to make a website.
Some people assume that building a website for the first time is going to be hard and complicated.
That’s why I’ve written this free guide where you’ll find step-by-step instructions to help you go through the entire website set up process. I will cover everything from the type of software you should use to the web page design to the final touches before the successful launch of your site.
Additionally, you will also learn how to use WordPress or Squarespace (depending on your choice) and make your own website look polished and professional.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to create a website from scratch using the two most popular methods:
- The most popular content management system (CMS) – WordPress.org. If you are familiar with WordPress and want to build a website using it, use the link below.
- Also, another popular option – Squarespace website builder. If you are familiar with Squarespace and want to build a website using it, use the link below.
Creating a website using any of the above options is a straightforward task and you can do it in 20-30 minutes. This tutorial is designed for Beginners (no technical or coding skills needed). At the end of the day, you will have your own domain name and a fully functional website.
Exact steps to creating your own website
- How to make a website using WordPress
- How to make a website using Squarespace
- Prepare website content
- Optimize your website for SEO
- Test your website
- Promote your website
- Monetize your website
A quick primer – Building a website for beginners
Before we start the steps of how to make a website, let me quickly explain some valuable facts about choosing the right software for your new site.
Select the right tool to launch a website
Websites are a crucial part of your online presence but with so many popular platforms out there, finding the right one can be challenging. You are going to use this software to host your site for a long time – so choose carefully.
When making a website, you have a wide variety of platform options such as WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly. You can even learn how to code a website from scratch!
First, you need to determine what type of website you want to make. After that, you will decide what platform is the best fit for setting up your website.
- If you are planning to start a blog or to have a blog section on your website and post content regularly, then I recommend building a website with WordPress.org CMS. We used it to create FirstSiteGuide.com and it’s recommended by 90 percent of the experts we’ve surveyed.
- If you are planning to create a static website, such as a portfolio site, small business site, products brochure site, etc. which will have different pages to showcase your business and you just plan to add or update content on these pages, then you should use a Squarespace website builder.
Note: You don’t have to make a decision about your platform quite yet! Keep reading and I will show you how to build a website step-by-step using both WordPress and Squarespace below.
How to make a website using WordPress
Now let’s learn how to make a WordPress website using an easy one-click install process:
Step #1: Choosing a domain name and web hosting
Apart from selecting the right tool, you understand the importance of picking the right domain name and website hosting provider.
Your domain name should represent your business and brand appropriately because it is the first thing customers and prospects associate with you. It could be your name or your business name i.e. yourname.com or yourbusiness.com.
I recommend BlueHost.com to check the availability of your chosen domain name – get the “.com” extension if possible.
Web hosting service
Choosing a reliable web hosting provider is essential, as this service will make sure that your site and the contents on your site are available to readers round the clock.
Picking the wrong web host can seriously downgrade your website’s performance and functionality. It’s a lot like choosing a mobile SIM company – buying the cheaper one could also mean weak and unpredictable service, making it completely useless.
Hosting is a major part of the process of making your website and content available online.
When it comes to reliability, the most popular hosting companies are Bluehost, Dreamhost, and Hostgator.
I recommend checking the comparison table below. Prices presented are special deals that we have negotiated with these companies for our readers only. Make sure to use our links to claim more than 50% Off Discount Offers.
How much does it cost to host a website?
Below is a 1-year starter plan pricing comparison table of the 3 most popular WordPress hosting services offering a custom domain name.
|Hosting services price||$4.95 per month
(billed for 1 year)
|$3.95 per month
(billed for 1 year)
|$4.03 per month
(billed for 1 year)
|Domain name registration (.com)||First year free,
$17.99 per year renewal price
|First year free,
$15.99 per year renewal price
|First year free,
$17.99 per year renewal price
|Custom professional email||Free
(4 email accounts)
|$19.99 per year
(per email account)
|Storage space*||50 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Total for the first year||$59.40||$47.40
+ $19.99 per email account
* Storage space shows you how much space you can use for your website and media files. Bandwidth is the amount of data your website can transfer to visitors. These two parameters are important when your website starts to grow and get more traffic.
Step #2: Getting started with WordPress
WordPress.org is the most popular online CMS (content management system) with a market share of 47% usage in the top 1 million sites on the internet.
Creating your web hosting account
WordPress can be installed with a single click through many popular hosts. No matter which hosting company you use, setting up a WordPress website is very easy.
BlueHost is the top-recommended web hosting company on the official WordPress.org website. For this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how to create a WordPress website with Bluehost. If you choose to go with another hosting service the process might be slightly different but the main steps will be similar.
The section below explains how you can register with BlueHost and install WordPress software using their ‘one-click install’ process.
1. Visit the Bluehost site
Go to Bluehost.com and click on the “Get Started Now” button.
2. Select a hosting plan to start a website
If you are a beginner, choose the basic plan as it will cover all of the fundamental needs of your site’s functioning.
Once your website takes off and starts receiving heavier traffic, you can consider upgrading to the prime version of your hosting plan, which offers advanced features better suited to handle a greater inflow of traffic.
3. Input your website’s domain name
The domain name for your site has a significant part to play in its success. So, before you master how to create a website, make sure you invest enough time and effort to come up with a unique and catchy domain name.
Once you’ve decided on your new domain name, type it into the “new domain” box, after which BlueHost indicates whether your desired domain name is available or not. If it is not available, BlueHost will provide you with a list of alternatives that you can choose from instead.
4. Register for Bluehost
BlueHost will then take you to the registration form, where you’ll fill in your billing details along with your personal information.
- Select your hosting package – The 12-month package offers the basics at the lowest price. But you can also consider the other two packages – after all, hosting is a long-term investment in your site’s development.
- Package extras – You can remove unnecessary extras from your package in the initial stages of your site launch and add them back later, if and when you feel the need. I do suggest adding or keeping the option of Domain Privacy + Protection. This service will hide your personal contact information from the global database.
- Payment information – Enter your payment information, check the box that you have read and agree to the TOS (Terms of Service), and click on the green “Submit” button.
Bluehost will send you a confirmation email when the payment goes through.
Next, you will set up the Bluehost account. You are one step closer to launching a website!
Create your account
Let’s create your account with Bluehost.
- Step 1. Click the “Create your account” button.
- Step 2. Enter your password and complete the account set up.
- Step 3. Your account is ready to go. Click the “Go to login” button.
- Step 4. Login to your account by entering “Email or Domain Name” and “Password”.
Next, you will start working on building your website.
Installing WordPress with Bluehost
After you log in to the account, Bluehost will offer a 4-step process to help you create a website. I suggest you follow that process if this is your first time creating a WordPress website.
You can also click the “Skip this step” button if you are familiar with the website building processes and you can install WordPress software yourself inside your Bluehost account.
- Step 1. You will start the process by answering 3 questions: What kind of site? What type is it? And who is it for? In my example, I selected: Business, Personal, Myself. You can select the same choices or pick what fits your individual case.
- Step 2. With this step, you can pick what else would you like to add on your site. Bluehost gives you a few options to choose from. There are five choices: Blog, Store, About Me, Resume, and Custom logo. In my example, I will select Blog, About Me, and Custom logo.
- Step 3. In this step, you’ll need to answer a few questions such as the name of your blog, tagline, and how comfortable you are with creating websites. Note: you can always change this later.
- Step 4. Picking a theme: These are pre-designed templates that you will use to build your website. You can check out the available options and see if you like any of them (if you don’t see a theme you like, skip this step). You can always change it and use a different one later. More information on this further on.
Once you complete these 4 steps you will be taken to your Bluehost account page. At this point, the WordPress software is installed!
Right now, if you enter your domain into your web browser you will see a “Coming soon” page. Let’s finish the process together and launch your website!
Launching your website
Inside your Bluehost account, you will see options to further customize your website based on Bluehost’s recommendations. These options are here for you to do some pre-launch customizations.
After you click the “Launch My Site” button, your website will go live!
If you open your website URL (Uniform Resource Locator) inside a web browser don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look quite right. This is just the default theme of your WordPress website. You can change this theme at any time. Plus, you will have to apply a few changes and add content to make it look complete.
You can access the WordPress dashboard from your Bluehost account by clicking the blue “WordPress” button in the top right corner of your screen.
Managing a WordPress website
WordPress works in two ways:
The front end
As the name suggests, this page will be visible to your visitors whenever they access your site. The tasks usually performed in the back-end like the plugin functionality enhancements and the customization of your theme will be visible to you and your visitors on the front-end of your WordPress website.
It also allows actions like commenting and sharing on other social mediums to be performed from the front-end by you and your incoming visitors as well.
The back end
This is commonly known as the WordPress dashboard – where you can oversee and manage every aspect of your site’s content, functionality, and web design.
If you want to access your WordPress dashboard, type “yourwebsite.com/wp-admin” into the address bar of your search engine. Here you can log in using your WordPress username and the password you set for your account.
The WordPress Dashboard handles your website’s administration.
The left-side column is the hub of all of the administrative options and is the place from where your website’s structure originates from.
The left-side column
The components of the left-side column include:
- Home – the home button takes you back to your main dashboard.
- Updates – this bit informs you whether any new plugins or themes are available that need to be updated or installed because a new version has been released. If so, you’ll see a red circle with a number in it, which indicates the number of updates that are needed.
- Media – every video, file or a photo that you’ve ever uploaded, either as a separate item or as part of a post, will be shown in this section. You can also upload directly to this section.
- Comments – these are the comments that your visitors leave on the content on your site. If you have any new comments that you haven’t viewed, their number will be shown in a red circle over this item in the left-side column.
- Appearance – this section will show you all the options related to your WordPress website’s design, i.e. all of the features, themes, and designs.
- Pages – you can manage all the pages of your site, for example, the “Contact Us” page or the “About Us” page from this section.
- Plugins – these mini-programs are integrated into your website and help to increase its functionality. You can use them to convert your site into a membership site or do something fancy, like adding the social media icons for social sharing.
- Settings – this is where you go in case you want to make technical changes to your site. For example, if you want to add a feature to your hosting plan, this is where it’ll happen.
Next, I’ll show you how to select the right theme for your needs, and customize your website.
Step #3: Selecting a theme and designing a WordPress website
The importance of a visual effect is no secret for anyone trying to attract online traffic and increase their conversion rates. Your visitors will leave your site within seconds if their first look doesn’t appeal to them.
That’s why, when building a website from scratch, it’s essential to work on its web design while keeping in view the general aesthetics of your brand – this is what keeps a visitor hooked to your site.
Web design best practices mandate that you:
- Use a clean, structured design.
- Ensure that your web design is optimized for a mobile device.
- Make sure that your web design fits your business’ objectives and its niche.
- Make sure that your plan makes navigation easy.
- Enrich the web design with unique elements.
If you’re unsure about how to build a website from scratch yourself, you could turn to a professional web developer or designer if you have the budget for it. Costs of professionally done websites depend on the scope of the project. They can start at $1,000 and go as high as $100,000.
However, I’ll show you how you can do it for free on your own.
Finding the right theme
Your theme should suit the style and the brand persona of your business. For instance, a pastel-pink bakery theme might be free to use, but it wouldn’t be the right fit for the site of a steel manufacturing company.
If you use WordPress to make your own website, you’ll have access to a wide variety of themes to choose from. Inside the WordPress dashboard, under the “Appearance” tab, click “Themes”. You will be presented with some popular options. You can click on the WordPress.org Themes button and search for free themes. There are more than three thousand themes available on WordPress.org
It’s important to have an idea about which features you want to incorporate into your site as it will help you to filter out irrelevant themes.
Here are a few important points to focus on while you make a list of your important features.
It is vital to have an accessible site where your visitors can find and access the info they need quickly. To achieve this aim, you need to have a clear view of the type of navigation you want – ‘Top Navigation’ is the most popular. Also, be aware that your chosen theme might not support the kind of navigation you need.
Integrating social media
Social media can bring traffic to your site. It’s essential to incorporate sharing icons onto your website which, again, might not be supported by all themes.
If the purpose of your site is to collect leads and contact info from potential buyers, you’ll have to put up a contact form. This also helps your visitors to get in touch with you while you fill your email lists effortlessly.
This section can help to improve viewership and audience engagement as it allows them to express their opinions and interact with your brand after reading your content. Most sites have the comment section enabled in the blog area to facilitate dialogue.
Having a search bar on your website helps your visitors navigate your site easily by showing them results specific to their search query. So, if your site holds a lot of content, a search bar will prove very useful. Again, if you want this in-built feature, be watching for themes that don’t offer it.
Logo and favicon
Branding should be one of the top priorities when creating your website because the faster it conveys your company’s identity, the better.
If you wish to brand your website with your company’s logo and its color palette to provide an enhanced and more personalized user experience, you should choose from the themes that support such customizations.
With the increase in the usage of smartphones, there is a high chance that your visitor is opening your site on their mobile phone. A design that doesn’t fit well on a mobile screen could lead to a high bounce rate.
Therefore, you should make a website using a mobile-friendly theme as it’s an industry-standard in the modern digital age. When you choose a theme for your site, make sure that it looks good on all sizes and types of screens.
Font and color
Your brand’s design and color aesthetics should be used on your website as well. These factors keep your visitors interested in browsing through the content on your site. If the same fonts and colors are used consistently, they can make your branding efforts more effective.
So, while creating your own website, ensure that the theme you choose offers you:
- A choice of customized fonts and color palettes apart from the built-in ones.
- An option to manage colors separately for different sections of your website.
You may not require this feature initially, but you might decide to convert your site into an online shop later. So, to be on the safe side, choose a theme that can provide e-commerce support to your site.
Test it out
The best way to check whether a theme works for you or not is to test it. So, set up your website and let it go live – now take your time to go page by page and check if the plugins, design elements, content, and other aspects of the site are working well. Additionally, you’ll be able to see the final finished look of your website with all of the uploaded content and decide whether it suits your brand aesthetics.
Moreover, you can also check some pre-built demo sites with the same theme. Or, you could go to the theme author’s web page, and from there, visit live sites that have used the same theme you’ve chosen to see their functioning and their final outlook.
Read more: The Best WordPress Themes for 2020
How to make a website using Squarespace
Unlike WordPress, Squarespace is a fully managed website building solution. That means that you do not have to worry about web hosting or installing anything. You just need to create an account before you start to build your first Squarespace website.
Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan, but there’s a 14-day risk-free trial. Users can sign up to test their website before making a decision. Beyond that, there are four packages:
- Personal – $12 per month (pay annually)
- Business – $18 per month (pay annually)
- Commerce basic – $26 per month (pay annually)
- Commerce advanced – $40 per month (pay annually)
All plans come with a free custom domain, web hosting, and award-winning 24/7 customer support. You can change or cancel your plan at any time.
Now let me show you how to build a Squarespace website step-by-step
Step #1: Getting started with Squarespace
Squarespace is a premium service. And while you don’t get to build and launch new websites freely, you can try it for 14 days. So before committing to the subscription plan of your choice, you have a chance to turn over each and every corner of the famous website builder to see if it’s well-suited to your needs.
1. Visit the Squarespace site
Open the Squarespace homepage. Find the “Get started” button in the top-right corner of the screen and click on it.
2. What’s your site about
Choose what your website is all about. There are more than enough categories to describe your site, but if you have something completely unique, just write it down. Click the “Next” button.
3. Choose interests
Among a dozen interests, choose a few that apply to you. This will help Squarespace to offer you things you might need, so don’t worry. You can’t go wrong here, and this won’t define your site forever. Or, you can skip this and go straight to building your site.
Let Squarespace know at what stage you’re at and click the “Finish” button.
5. Choose a template
According to your answers, Squarespace will offer you a set of templates. If you skipped any of the previous steps, you will be shown the most popular options. You can browse through them all and find one that you like. This will be your starting point. While you should take your time and find one you actually like, don’t worry about it too much because you can easily change your template later.
Choose one, preview it to see what it looks like, and click the “Start with Template” button to continue to the next step.
6. Create your account
You can register your account with Google (if you’re already logged in to your Google account), or you can proceed with registering with your email. For the purpose of this guide, we selected the email method.
7. Enter the details
Type in your name, email, and password you want to use with Squarespace. Click the continue button.
8. Log in
Once you have a valid account, you can log in to Squarespace and start your free 14-day trial.
Maintaining a Squarespace website
Squarespace works in two ways:
When you select a website to edit, the front-page will display, with the main menu displayed on the left side of the screen. From this menu, you can control the entire site:
- Pages – add new, edit, or delete pages. Here you can manage all of the pages, including the front one and blog. You can also change settings like SEO, images for specific pages, etc.
- Design – choose fonts, colors, animations, spacing, buttons, and many other options that affect the entire website. You can even use custom CSS here.
- Commerce – control inventory, orders, customers, discounts, and everything else that defines your online store.
- Marketing – set up email campaigns, choose if you want to use pop-ups for promotions, show Instagram stories, add share buttons, and much more.
- Scheduling – schedule daily tasks and make the entire experience more enjoyable.
- Analytics – see how many people visited your site, how the store is doing, and multiple other statistics that will help you to manage the site.
- Settings – control the main settings. Add business information, connect domains, change billing, etc.
- Help – access the knowledge base, hire an expert, or contact support.
In the top-left corner of the previewed page, you will see an edit button. Once clicked on, the main menu will be hidden, and the focus will be placed on your website. Start moving your mouse around the page to activate the editor’s options.
By clicking any of the elements, their settings will display. Here is where you can start really customizing your website.
Step #2: Designing a Squarespace website
Squarespace is well-known for its gorgeous design, as well as the powerful site editor that allows you to customize your website without writing a single line of code.
While in the edit mode, you can hover your mouse over the website elements. On the top and bottom of each, you will be able to see a blue line with a plus symbol in the middle of it. It represents a section that you can quickly insert above or below the currently selected segment.
- Headlines – a headline is a piece of a short text that is supposed to attract your visitors’ attention. Whether it’s the name of your site, a slogan, or another important piece of information, you can quickly add it. Choose text formatting, determine the position of an image, or add a call to action button.
- List – create a list of two or more items. Whether it’s just text, image, or a combination of both, you can quickly insert a list with this section type.
- Gallery, images, and videos – images have always been an important part of websites. If you need to display an entire gallery with Squarespace, you just need to select what it’s going to look like. If you only want to display one image, choose the section below your text, which allows you to handle single images more easily. If you need a video, you can place one with the video section.
- Text and quotes – there are several styles you choose from when it comes to text and quotes. Whether it’s left or right alignment, big or small print, you have multiple options.
- More than 20 sections – besides these listed above, there are eighteen more sections. Each comes with variants, so the design options are practically unlimited. There’s one additional section type that allows you to start with an empty sheet that you can additionally control as you wish.
Starting a blog is as simple as creating a new page. You will choose the layout of your blog, while Squarespace handles the rest. You can then put your energy into writing new content, adding images and videos, and start engaging the audience.
With Squarespace, you will not need any additional plugins or 3rd party services when it comes to search engine optimization.
All the important parts of the site, like content and images, have essential settings that affect SEO. Also, you will be able to change titles and meta descriptions, change the way Google and other search engines see your websites and do everything that will help you place your website among the top entries of search results.
In the modern world, you must design for portable devices. It doesn’t matter if your website looks good on a desktop if it’s not looking good on mobile. Luckily, Squarespace is completely equipped; you’re only one click away from switching to mobile view, so you can always see what the site is going to look like on your smartphone.
If you opt for one of the more expensive Squarespace plans, you will also be able to place a mobile notification banner that can show phone numbers, addresses, and similar short information to your mobile users.
Prepare website content
The word ‘content’ can refer to everything visible on your website. That’s why it is essential to create unique, SEO optimized, creative content to convey your message to your visitors. Badly-created content frustrates and confuses the visitor and compels them to leave your site.
Before you start writing, ask yourself the following questions when creating new content:
- Will it be relevant and exciting for your targeted audience?
- How should it be presented to your targeted audience?
Moreover, do you know that search engines reward sites that produce top content by ranking them higher in their search results?
This is why businesses allocate quite a lot of their time and resources to create quality content that is not only informative but also relevant to their audiences. Unique, up-to-date, and relevant is what your content should be!
Writing essential content
Once your website’s framework is created, it’s time to work on the content before your launch. It’s perfectly fine to have the necessary information and a few blog posts on your site when it goes live – but the best way to build your site up is to continue creating quality content that can increase its rank, the engagement on it, and its visibility.
It depends on what kind of website you are making, but below I’ll talk about the most common pages people have on their websites.
About us page
If a visitor wants to know about your company’s business and the type of products or services it offers, they will be visiting head straight to the ‘About Us’ page on your site. That’s why it is important to use this page wisely and put all of your essential information here. The ‘About Us’ page introduces your company to new visitors – the right content here can help you to build viable relationships and instill trust in your audience.
Here, you can be candid about what your company does and its plans for the future. If your website sells something, make sure you mention those products and services here, as well.
Everything you write here should be easy to understand because your prospects may not be aware of the technical jargon of your industry. Furthermore, try to keep the content creative and use the page to portray your company’s persona and brand rather than treating it as another sales pitch.
Use a more conversational tone to increase your conversion rate as this will help increase the chances of your visitors responding to a CTA (call to action). If you wish to put a face to your cyber identity, i.e. your website, you could also upload pictures of yourself and your team, introducing them all one by one. This will help build trust amongst your visitors as it gives your site a more personal touch – in effect, this will give your credibility a significant boost.
Contact us page
This page serves two purposes:
- Firstly, it is used by visitors that want to get in touch with you.
- Secondly, it serves as proof to visitors that yours is a legitimate business with an office and an actual point of contact.
So, mention your contact information and your company’s address here, to assure your audience of your reliability and the fact that you can cater to their needs. Apart from the regular contact form, the following information should also be mentioned on this page:
- The name of the contact person along with their role in the company.
- Your company’s name.
- Your company’s email address.
- The address of your company (if you have a physical building).
- Your company’s legal information.
- The privacy and support policy your company follows.
- The business days and hours for your company.
If your theme allows for it, add a map that shows your location to visitors as well.
The blog section has the potential to attract leads and convert them as well. But most website owners have difficulty deciding on blog topics – I recommend that you let your company’s objectives guide you on that front. You can also share your insights related to topics that will interest your readers and your industry at large. Your blogs can be comprehensive guides or about technical data and trends, etc. – providing your readers with detailed information that they won’t be able to find anywhere else online or on your site.
As discussed earlier, an essential step in increasing the popularity of your website is the quality of your content. As blogs are a type of long-form content, polishing them with relevant information, infographics and images enhance their visibility.
Furthermore, because blogs are more like an informal conversation and education for your readers, it will be fruitful to add a comments section where you can respond to your reader’s comments and resolve their queries.
Of course, a successful blog takes a considerable amount of planning.
Your blog content plan:
Creating content for your blog is a difficult task on its own. But you also need to consistently write, publish, and share your blog posts to see any worthwhile results. For this, a content strategy and content planning are necessary. When you plan your blog to provide quality content, it will result in increased traffic to your site and ultimately improved sales.
So, let’s see what this plan should include:
- Pick a topic for your blog – usually of a general nature.
- Choose the topics and sub-topics to cover in your blog.
- Write your blog posts.
- Create a schedule for the blog posts and stick to it.
This page is mainly used to list and describe your products and services – consider it an online catalog for your business. To ensure that the page content is effective and accurate, you will need to:
- Post high-quality pictures of all your products from various angles for your customers to see.
- Post a convincing description of your product, one that covers all the critical details, in the description box.
Furthermore, if your website supports various options of payment, mention them clearly to inform your customers. Any information regarding your return policy, the rights and liabilities of both parties in the transaction, and return or exchange options can also be mentioned here.
Optimize your website for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of those areas that many people take for granted. One might think it is something you do not have to worry about, while others think it’s something you can’t do on your own. The truth is that even if you’re a complete beginner, you can make your website accessible to search engines by applying basic SEO techniques.
You can improve your website’s SEO by following a few simple steps.
Get to know the Search Console
One of the first steps toward creating better SEO is connecting your site to the Search Console.
This robust set of instruments created by Google will let you monitor your website at all times. You will get to know what your site looks like in Google’s eyes. You will see if there are any errors you should worry about. It is also possible to have Google alert you when someone mentions your site on the Internet.
For starters, it will be enough just to connect everything and start with the basics. As your website grows, you can learn more about Search Console and improve SEO even further.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Google Search Console
Apply title tags on all pages
Most beginners will simply give a name to their new website and write content on the page. While the name and content are important, it is also crucial to know that search engines check the title tags of each web page to understand what it is about.
A title tag is an HTML element that serves Google to recognize your site. Title tags are used on search engine result pages and social media, as well as web browsers that read this information to provide you with the correct data.
It’s essential to write compelling SEO title tags. You should include your targeted keywords with the title tag and it should be 50-60 characters long because that is the length Google can correctly display on the search engine results page.
According to Moz.com, the ideal title tag should be:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
Write unique and fresh content
Content is not optional when running a website. While it is true that some websites can make it without a blog, those are rare, and usually run by professionals. Most websites should not avoid content.
But when it comes to content, you have to be careful. Google, as well as humans, do not like copycats. Make sure that you write unique content, and that it is relevant to what you do. If you have an online store where you sell shirts, you do not want to write about cats. You want to generate content related to shirts, and that content has to be good.
Speed up your website
Website speed is one of the factors Google considers when ranking you on its search page results. Since there is so much content out there, Google will give advantage to websites that load faster.
Let’s say you have content similar to your competitor. Both articles are unique and well-written, but your site takes five extra seconds to load. Who do you think will rank higher on Google’s search page results?
So make sure you’re hosting your website on a reliable hosting service like Bluehost. Good hosting can do wonders for website speed. Optimize images, and if you’re using a CMS like WordPress, make sure you’re using a quality theme that does not load unnecessary files.
Read more: How to speed up your website
Optimize your website for mobile
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. Almost everything is dedicated to this technology. Even Google has started prioritizing mobile sites, so having one is something you must have if you want good SEO results.
Using a website builder will be helpful in this case because you will be able to build a mobile site quickly (unless it is automatically created for you).
Read more: How to make your website mobile-friendly
Internal and external links
Links are an essential factor. Not only in SEO but for your entire website business. Without links, there probably wouldn’t be the Internet. That means you should carefully link inside your site, and link one article to another when appropriate. But don’t overdo it. An average article of about a thousand words should have 1-3 internal links.
You should also start linking to high authority sources and try to get backlinks to your website. You can begin by writing guest posts, posting on social media, forums, or leaving relevant comments on other websites from your niche.
Read more: The Definitive Guide to Link Building 2020
Don’t expect quick results
SEO takes time. And we are not talking about hours or days, but weeks and months. Whatever you do SEO-wise, you will have to be patient. While many try to predict how Google behaves, the truth is that no one actually knows its next steps and the way it functions.
So even after making changes, Google might need up to a month to recognize those changes. Just be patient and keep your eye on the site.
Test your website
Testing your site before launching is crucial to ensure its success. Here are several types of tests:
With all of the work involved in making your own website, the prospect of a test run can be quite overwhelming. However, testing your site before its launch is essential. Below are a few points that you should check before launching your website:
- Site content for spelling or punctuation mistakes.
- Design-based elements like the alignment of images and the fonts used.
- Site development issues such as broken links.
- SEO details like optimized meta titles and proper usage of primary keywords.
- Inspect administration areas including your back-up systems and any issues related to your hosting.
Once you’ve launched your site, you need to have a firm strategy in place regarding the next steps for your website’s growth and maintenance. Some areas that should be covered include the following:
- Adequate backup.
- Collection of visitor’s feedback.
- A maintenance team should be available as and when needed.
- Preparations for promotion and measurement of various metrics.
Promote your website
Once your website launches, your work doesn’t stop here. You will have to work hard on your new site to get it in front of people.
Even if you have money, promotion campaigns have to be planned and executed. You can pay for advertising and start counting new visitors on a daily basis. But chances are you can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars per month for paid advertisements, so let’s see what you can do to promote your website for free.
If you have not done this already, start following your competitors. Read what they write about, and instead of cursing them for their success, try to benefit from their exposure. If you know information about your shared field, you can write about it. So, do not be afraid to get their contact information and ask for a guest post.
By writing something unique, you will provide value to the other blog. In return, you can ask the blog admin to have your author biography printed at the bottom of the article. Hopefully, you will even be allowed to mention your business or website. This will allow you to expand and reach new people that you couldn’t reach before.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and the other dozens of social media networks out there are great promotional platforms. Let people share your content, and don’t forget to contribute as well.
Follow others, and others will follow you. Show them your website, and do not forget to have social media icons on your site. Also, adding a social media bar on your site will prompt people to share your content more easily. 54.08% of bloggers in our 2020 blogging study say that they get the most traffic from social media.
Use a personal email signature
If you’re sending a lot of emails, make sure that you include a signature. A simple email signature can be expanded with links to your latest blog articles or specific items from your site. Some people will ignore this, but some will remember your site name or click on the link to read more.
If you have ever tried searching for an answer, the chances are Google has returned a link to Quora.com. This platform connects people, where one side asks something, while the other side gets an opportunity to provide an answer.
This is your opportunity to shine. Start following questions on Quora, and sooner than you think, you will get a chance to write answers. Here you are allowed to mention your business and share your articles, but you are not allowed to spam.
So, for example, if you have an article that answers a part of a question, make sure to link to it when writing a unique answer on Quora. If it was helpful, and if you’re lucky enough, this answer will be among the top ones that will also show on Google, and that will help you to promote your website.
Numerous content aggregation platforms work similarly to social media. You create an account and start following people who share interesting articles. While this is great, what you want to do here is share your content. So if you don’t already have a blog, start one now and start producing articles that you can share with others.
If you’re good enough, people will start following you, and post/share your articles through the network.
Start commenting on other websites
Comments are a strong promotional platform. Due to how common spam has become, the value of real comments has become even higher. So while reading other articles, don’t forget to leave valuable feedback. When possible, mention your blog or even include a link to a resource from your site. But be careful; there’s a thin line between sharing a resource and spamming people.
Similar to guest posting, you can start collaborating with other people. This doesn’t have to include only posting. You can help each other by word of mouth, social media, and comments. Maybe you will exchange ads, banners, or help each other in some unique way.
If you put effort into creating content, it is just a matter of time when others will realize that. Having a piece of content that’s valuable to others will hopefully make them link to you for free.
This is often easier said than done because among millions of new posts that go live online daily, it can be hard to stand out. But once you start building an audience, your world will change.
Read more: How to Promote Your Website and Its Content
Monetize your website
Now that you’ve learned about making a website, populating it with the right kind of content, and promoting it, it’s time to monetize your efforts. You can make some real money via your site using the following tactics and strategies:
Affiliate marketing can help you earn commission by letting other brands and companies use your website and blogs for marketing their products. Many online businesses and advertisers are on the search for relevant sites and blogs in the same niche as them to help them sell their products across their audience.
When you build your own website, consider this strategy for making money through your site.
This refers to the white space on your website where Google Ads can be posted. When your website’s traffic skyrockets, you can turn this space into a money-making machine in two ways:
- Use Google AdSense to start, handle and maintain a flow of revenue, or;
- Sell this white space on your site directly to other brands and companies to display their ads on your website.
Many sites have an “Advertise With Us” page where they sell spaces at fixed prices to other brands – you can do that as well. Advertisers might want to see your website’s statistics – you can generate these with various tools like Google Analytics to help your ad clients make an informed investment based on your viewership and engagement numbers.
Selecting a theme that provides e-commerce support can later help you turn your site into an online store. If you are a business that’s already selling a list of products and services, you can use your website to target online customers as well. For this to work, you’ll need to:
- Increase your site’s security.
- Invest in a secure and reliable payment gateway.
Creating an online store with WordPress using WooCommerce
The most famous WordPress plugin for online businesses is WooCommerce.
It offers many extensions and themes that are either free or come at a premium charge – all of which can help you create an online store. WooCommerce enables you to create an online shop, upload your products and services, manage and modify them as well as handle all of your payment and shipping methods. Due to its popularity, easy usage, and multiple extensions, WooCommerce is a part of more than 30% of all online stores.
Combining WooCommerce and WordPress can help you to create your own website and convert it into an online store in a matter of days. Fortunately, because of their friendly user interface, these tools also save you from a steep learning curve. It’s easier than ever to design your store, update your product list, and add all of the attractive features to entice your customers and have them revisit your website.
Note: WordPress is widely used because it is user-friendly and versatile – you won’t need to spend a lot of time to learn the mechanics of how to start a website with WordPress. Numerous developers, coders, and programmers work with WordPress so that you don’t have to worry about how to code your own website. People constantly design themes and develop e-commerce plug-ins along with new features that you can add to your WordPress site. The sky’s the limit to what you can do with WordPress as it can help you to create large commercial websites, small portfolio sites, and everything in between.
Read more: Getting started with WooCommerce
Creating an online store with Squarespace
Squarespace works well with e-commerce. Whether you need to sell one simple item or perhaps start a larger online store that will have multiple employees, you can build it with Squarespace.
All options and settings are pre-loaded, and you can even begin to sell in person with the help of the Squarespace Commerce app or the Square reader. However, you will need to be located in North America for the latter to work.
Read more: Getting started with Squarespace e-commerce
Frequently asked questions
Can I create a website for free?
Yes, you can create a website entirely for free. For example, you can start a free site at Wix, WordPress.com, or Squarespace and explore the online world. It is even possible to find free hosting, and choose the CMS you wish to install. Note that free hosting services are often not great and that free websites will come with huge limitations and advertisements that you won’t be able to remove until you decide to start paying for your site.
Which is the best free website builder?
Squarespace and Wix are definitely among the top candidates selected when people choose a free website builder. However, they can’t compare to self-hosted WordPress, which gives you complete freedom. WordPress per se is free. However, it requires hosting, which you have to pay for. However, since you can have one of the best hosting services (Bluehost) for less than $4 per month, this is something you should consider.
Is WordPress better than Wix or Squarespace?
Since WordPress is the most popular option, it means that there are more themes and extensions available. And since those allow you to do more with your site, the natural conclusion is that WordPress is better than Wix and Squarespace, although it can be harder to learn.
Which is the best way to create a website?
The best way to create a website is to start with a strong hosting service like Bluehost. Then you should click a button that will install WordPress, so that you can login and start crafting your site with the most popular CMS in the world.
Bluehost will make sure your site is always up & running fast, while WordPress’ popularity will enable you to build your site the way you have always wanted, even without technical knowledge.
How much does it cost to start a website?
It depends on various factors, but if you choose to create your own website with WordPress, then it would cost you less than $50 – hosting with BlueHost will only be $2.75 a month, which includes a custom domain. But if you wish to go premium, then investing in a theme will cost you about between $40 – $120. Also, you might want to splurge on a few premium plugins that could cost you a few hundreds more.
If you choose to go with Squarespace, you can start your site at $12 per month, which makes it about $150 per year.
Alternately, a custom site could make you dig deep into your pockets. For a custom site, you could be required to pay somewhere in between $1,000 – $3,000 for a custom design from an expert, and going with a web development agency could cost even more.
How do I learn WordPress?
As one of the most widely-used CMS systems out there, WordPress has a library of tutorials and guides that will teach you how to create a WordPress website. As far as research about how to build a website is concerned, you won’t have to look anywhere else since we here at First Site Guide can provide you all the information you need about WordPress.
What to do if your domain name is taken?
Thousands of businesses have gone online so there is a high chance that the domain name you want is taken or the “.com” extension isn’t available. If this happens, then:
- Search if your chosen domain name is on sale. You can access Domaintools to check whether it is available.
- Go for Domain monitoring which will alert you whenever your desired domain name becomes available.
- If “.com” extension isn’t available, buy a different extension.
- Try different keywords. If your primary name isn’t available, you can go a different related name or maybe a different keyword (can even be a slogan or catchphrase).
BlueHost allows you to skip registration of a name until later so you can focus on creating your website.