Whether you want to create a website from scratch or simply improve the old one, it’s important to follow some simple yet essential rules to guide you on how to make a website.
Some people assume that building a website is complicated, so they can’t do it themselves.
That’s why I’ve written this free ultimate guide where you’ll find step-by-step instructions to help you go through the whole website set up process. It’ll cover everything from the type of software you should use to design a web page and 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 beautiful.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to create a website from scratch using two popular methods:
- The most widely-used content management system (CMS) – WordPress.org. If you are familiar with WordPress and want to build a website using it, use the link below.
- 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). You will soon 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 go into the action steps on how to make a website, let me quickly explain why it’s essential to choose the right software for your new site.
Select the right tool to make 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. But you are going to use this software for a long time – so choose carefully.
When making a website, you have a wide variety of options: WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or Joomla, and 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, decide what tool is the best fit for setting up your site.
- 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 build a static website, such as portfolio site, small business site, brochure site, with different pages to showcase your business and you just plan to add or update content on these pages, i.e., something like these sites: Architecture in Formation – an architecture firm, Studio Joho – an animation studio, Kipferl – restaurant, then you should use a Squarespace website builder.
Note: Don’t get caught up with software. Keep reading, and I will show you how to create a website step-by-step using 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 WordPress recommendations, you should know about 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, respectively.
I recommend Bluehost to check the availability of your chosen domain name – get the “.com” extension if possible.
Here’s a bonus for my readers: an exclusive offer a free domain name along with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
Disclosure: Our website receives compensation from the companies whose products we recommend and because of it, we are able to provide help with setting up your blog. We tested and used most of the web hosting sites and domain registrars recommended here.
Web hosting service
Choosing a reliable web hosting provider is essential because it makes your site available to the readers round the clock, ensuring that all your contents, videos, and images are available to them.
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 also means weak service, making it completely useless.
Hosting is a significant part of the puzzle that is making your website available online. When it comes to reliability, Bluehost’s popularity matches no other.
Step #2: Getting started with WordPress
WordPress – the most famous CMS (content management system), has been used to build 49% of the world’s biggest websites. As far as WordPress is concerned, there are two ways to install it:
Installing WordPress step-by-step
WordPress can be installed with a single click – and it even comes pre-installed with many hosts. No matter which hosting company you use, setting up a WordPress website is very easy.
Bluehost is a web hosting company that is recommended by WordPress as one of the best hosts.
The section below explains how you can register with Bluehost and subsequently install WordPress using the ‘one-click install’ button.
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 the fundamental needs of your website’s functioning.
Once your website takes off and starts receiving heavy traffic, you can consider upgrading to the prime version of your hosting plan, which offers advanced features better suited to handle the massive inflow of traffic.
3. Put in 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 upon your domain name, type it into the “new domain” box, after which Bluehost indicates whether your desired domain name is available or not. In case it is not possible, it’ll also provide you with a list of alternatives that you can choose from.
4. Register for Bluehost
BlueHost will then take you the registration form, where you’ll fill in the billing details along with your personal information.
5. Select your hosting options
The 12-month package offers the basics at the lowest price. But you can also consider the other two options – after all, hosting is a long-term investment in your site’s development. You could always remove unnecessary features from your package in the initial stages of your site launch and add them back later, whenever you feel the need.
6. Set your password
You’ll set your password after you’ve entered your payment information, as the final step in registering yourself with Bluehost. This same password will be used for verification purposes.
7. Login to your new account
Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a brand new website.
Login to your Bluehost account to proceed with the setup.
8. Choose your WordPress theme
Now you’ll be given an option to choose a WordPress theme – pick one that suits your brand and represents your website in the best way.
If none of the displayed options work, visit WordPress.org repository to choose a theme from the choices shown there.
9. Welcome to WordPress
You’ll be greeted by a “Welcome” message once you’ve logged in after which, Bluehost will guide you on creating a website for your business. In case you don’t need supervision when setting up a website, it also offers you the option to continue on your own.
Your site is ready for launch once this step is complete.
Maintaining 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 result in changes that are 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.
The back end
This is commonly known as the WordPress dashboard – this is 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 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 administrative options and is where your website’s structure originates.
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 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 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.
Recommended tutorial: The Beginner’s Guide to Managing WordPress Website
Step #3: Designing a WordPress website
The importance of visual effects is no secret to anyone trying to attract online traffic and increase their conversion rates. Your visitors will leave your site within seconds if the 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, keeping in view the general aesthetics of your brand – this is what keeps a visitor hooked to your site. It depends on the type of website you’ll make and if you are using a web builder or any other CMS as that would limit your options to a specific number of pre-made themes and templates.
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, 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; it can start from $1,000 and go as high as $100,000.
Finding the right theme
Your theme should always suit the style and 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 a steel manufacturing company.
What’s more, it needs to impress your visitors and convince them to spend time on your website as they browse through your content. If your site doesn’t evoke confidence and trust, it can suffer from high bounce rates as visitors won’t take long to exit your site.
If you use WordPress to make your own website, you’ll have access to a wide variety of themes to choose from. It’s essential to have an idea about which features you want to incorporate into your site as it will help you filter out irrelevant themes.
Here are a few crucial points to focus on while you make a list of the features:
It is vital to have an accessible site where your visitors can find 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, know that your chosen theme might not support the kind of navigation you need, so choose carefully.
Integrating social media
Social media can bring traffic to your site, making it essential to incorporate sharing icons into your web design, 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 as well. It also helps your visitors get in touch while you fill up your email lists effortlessly.
This section can help 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. But then again, if you want this in-built feature, be cautious of the themes that don’t offer it.
Favicon and logo
Branding should be one of the top priorities when creating your website – because the more it relates to your company’s identity, the better.
That’s why many corporate sites use the company’s logo and its color palette to provide an enhanced and more personalized user experience; you should choose from relevant 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 non-responsive design won’t fit well on the mobile screen – which might 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 digital age. When you choose a theme for your site, make sure that it looks good at 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 both 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 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.
You’ll be able to see the final finished look of your website with all the uploaded content and decide whether it suits your brand aesthetics.
Moreover, 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 theme you’ve chosen to see their functioning and the final outlook.
Premium vs. free themes
Given the number of WordPress themes out there, the whole process of designing a website can become quite overwhelming. The toughest decision would be choosing between free or premium.
Though the free themes offer all the essential features required by your website to function smoothly, which makes them very tempting and cost-effective, it is the premium ones that contribute significantly more advanced features and are visually more appealing. If you wish to build a simple site initially and save the expenses for later when you need a professional design, choosing a free theme is a right fit for you.
But do bear in mind that free themes come with little or no support.
However, premium themes offer complete support and a variety of advanced features for which they charge a reasonable price. The support includes assistance on issues like bugs fixes and the installation of plugins etc.
Another advantage of choosing a premium theme for your website is its updates continuously, which means that they will offer better security and regular bug fixes.
In short, choosing a premium theme provides an overall better experience than a free theme for you and your visitors alike.
Recommended reading: The Best WordPress Themes for 2020
How to make a website using Squarespace
Unlike WordPress, Squarespace is a fully managed website building solution, so 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, 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 for free, you can try it for 14 days. So before committing to the subscription plan of your choice, you have a chance to turn over every aspect of the famous 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 unique, just enter that. Click the “Next” button.
3. Choose interests
Among a dozen interests, choose a few that apply to you. This will help Squarespace offer you new ideas and resources that may be a good fit for the site. You can’t go wrong here, and this won’t define your website forever. You can skip this as well and go straight to building a site.
Let Squarespace know what stage you’re at and click the “Finish” button.
5. Choose a template
Squarespace will analyze your answers and then offer you a set of templates. If you have skipped previous steps, you will be shown the most popular ones. You can browse through them all and find the one you like. This will be your starting point. While you should take your time and find the one you like, don’t worry too much because you can easily change templates anytime you want.
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 your email. For 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 14-day trial.
Maintaining a Squarespace website
Squarespace works in two ways:
When you select a website to edit, you see the front-page, with the big menu displayed on the left side of the screen. From this menu, you can control the entire site via the following options:
- Pages – add new, edit, or delete pages. Here you can manage all the pages, including the front one and blog, change settings like SEO, social 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, if the store is holding up, and many other statistics that will help you 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.
Click on any of the elements to see its details. Here is where the magic begins, so you can start customizing your website.
Step #2: Designing a Squarespace website
Squarespace is well-known for its gorgeous design options as the powerful editor 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.
A headline is a short text that is supposed to attract your visitors’ attention. Whether it’s the name of your site, a slogan, or another critical piece of information, you can quickly add it. Choose the formatting, position of the image, or add a call to action button.
Create a list of two or more items. Whether it’s 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 essential 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 that allows you to handle single images easily. If you need a video, you can place one with the video section.
Text and quotes
There are several styles to choose from when it comes to text and quotes – whether it’s left or right alignment, big or small font, you can have it all.
More than 20 sections
Besides these, there are eighteen more sections. Each comes with several variations, 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 change as you wish.
Starting a blog is as simple as creating a new page. You get to 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 content and images can be optimized for search engines. 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 top search results.
In the modern world, you must design for portable devices. It doesn’t matter if your website looks good on the desktop if it doesn’t scale well to tablet and smartphone screens.
Luckily, Squarespace is completely equipped; you’re always one click away from switching to mobile view, so you can always see what the site is going to like on your smartphone.
If you opt for one of the more expensive plans, you will also be able to place a mobile notification banner that can show your phone numbers, address, 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.
If ignored, 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.
Writing essential content
Once your website’s framework is created, it’s time to work on the content before the 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 always build your website up is to continue creating quality content that can increase its rank, engagement, and 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 the visitor wants to know about your company’s business and the type of products or services it offers, they will head straight to the ‘About Us’ page on your site. That’s why it is vital to use this page wisely and put all your essential information there.
It introduces your company to the visitors – the right content here can help you 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 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:
- It is used by visitors that want to get in touch with you.
- 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 designation 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
And if your theme allows for it, add a map that shows your location to the visitors as well.
The blog section has the potential to attract leads and convert them as well. But most website owners have difficulty deciding blog topics – I recommend that you let your company’s objectives guide you on that front.
You can also share insights related to topics that can interest your readers and your industry at large. Your blogs can be comprehensive guides 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 can 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 posts to see any worthwhile results.
For this, it’s important to have a viable content strategy in place, making content planning 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 shall 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 content on-page is up to the mark, 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 methods of payment, mention them clearly to inform your customers. Any information regarding return policy, the rights and liabilities of both parties in the transaction, and return or exchange can also be mentioned here.
Recommended reading: The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Great Content
Optimize your website for SEO
Many website owners take Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for granted. Some even think it’s something that can’t do on their own when nothing could be farther from the truth.
Even if you’re a complete beginner, it is possible to 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 better SEO is connecting your site to the Search Console. This robust set of instruments created by Google lets you monitor your website at all times.
You get to know what your site looks like in Google’s eyes as you explore any errors or other issues that are keeping your website from leading the search results.
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.
Recommended reading: 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 essential, 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 helps Google 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-friendly title tags. Include your targeted keywords and limit it to 50-60 characters long because that is the recommended 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 something you can’t do without when running a website. While it is true that some websites can make it even without a blog, those instances are rare.
But when it comes to creating content for your site, 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 the 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 sites have articles that are unique and well-written, but your site takes five extra seconds to load. Who do you think will have it better?
That’s why it is important to make sure you’re using 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.
Recommended reading: How to speed up your website
Optimize your website for mobile
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. Even Google has started prioritizing mobile-optimized sites, so it should be a must-have for you if you want good SEO results. Using a website builder will be helpful because you will get to build a mobile site quickly.
Recommended reading: 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 an Internet.
That means you should carefully think about building links within your site, connecting 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.
Also, build external links 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.
Recommended reading: The Definitive Guide to Link Building 2020
Don’t expect quick results
SEO takes time. I’m 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 even up to a month to recognize those modifications. Just be patient and keep your eye on the site.
Test your website
Testing your site before launching it is crucial to ensure its success. Here are several types of tests:
With the long process and technicalities involved in making your own website, the test run can be quite overwhelming – you won’t be able to pick a point to start.
Nonetheless, testing your site before its launch is essential. Don’t worry; I’ve compiled a few points that you can check before launching your website:
- Your content for spelling or punctuation mistakes, etc.
- Design-based elements like the alignment of images, the fonts used, etc.
- Site’s development issues like broken links, etc.
- SEO details like optimized meta titles and proper usage of primary keywords, etc.
- Your backup systems and any issues related to your hosting, etc.
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:
- 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.
You can pay for advertising and start counting new visitors on a daily basis. But the 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 blog.
If you are an expert in your field, you can write about it. So, do not be afraid to get that contact information and ask for a guest post.
By writing something unique, you will provide value to the other blog. In return, you should ask the blog admin to add your author biography to the bottom of the article wherein you can mention your business or website. This will allow you to expand and reach new people that you couldn’t have found before.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…or hundreds of social media networks out there are great promotional platforms that let people share your content. So, don’t forget to contribute.
Follow others, and they 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 to each page will make people share your content more easily.
Use a personal email signature
If you send many emails, make sure that you include a signature. A simple signature can be expanded with links to the latest articles from your site. Many recipients will probably see through this, but some will remember your site name or click on the link to see where it goes.
If you have ever tried searching for an answer, chances are Google has returned a link to Quora.com. This platform connects people with questions with those willing to provide the solutions.
This is your opportunity to shine. Start following topics on Quora; you will soon get a chance to write answers and show off your expertise.
Here you are allowed to mention your business, share your articles, but don’t spam. So, for example, if you have an article that answers a part of the question, make sure to link to it when writing a unique answer on Quora.
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. If you already don’t have a blog, start one now and write articles that you can share with others. If you’re good enough, people will begin following you, and keep/share your content through the network.
Start commenting on other websites
Comments are a great way to promote your online presence. While many site owners are wary of the spam involved, quality comments are always welcome.
So while reading other blogs, 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.
This one’s similar to guest posting, but it goes a step further. Find others in your industry with the same ambitions and an audience that could be the right fit for you.
You can help each other by word of mouth, social media, and comments. You could also 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 your website offers value. Having a piece of content that’s valuable to others will make them link to you for free. Hopefully.
However, this is easier said than done because, among millions of new posts that go live daily, it is hard to stand out. But once you make it, nothing will ever be the same again.
Recommended reading: 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 all your efforts. Let’s make some real money with your site using the following tactics and strategies:
You can 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.
So when you build your own website, consider this strategy for making money through your site.
Recommended reading: What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?
This refers to the white space on your website where 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 find these with 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 might be free or come at a premium charge – all of which can help you create an online store. This plugin enables you to create an online shop, upload your products and services, manage and modify them as well as handle all 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 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 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 you won’t have to worry about how to code your own website. People consistently design themes and develop e-commerce plugins 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 create large commercial websites, small portfolio sites, and everything in between.
Recommended reading: Getting started with WooCommerce
Creating an online store with Squarespace
Squarespace goes well with e-commerce. Whether you need to sell one item or start a larger online store, you can build it with Squarespace.
All options and settings are here, 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 the US for that to work.
Recommended reading: Getting started with Squarespace e-commerce
Frequently asked questions
Can I create a website for free?
Yes, you can create a website for no cost at all. For example, you can use Wix, WordPress.com, or Squarespace and explore the online world.
It is even possible to find free hosting and choose the CMS. Note that free hosting services are not the best choice and that free websites will come with limitations and advertisements you won’t be able to remove until you start paying.
Which is the best free website builder?
Squarespace and Wix are definitely among the top candidates for a free website builder. However, they can’t compare to self-hosted WordPress, which gives you complete freedom.
WordPress is free, per se. However, it requires hosting, which you have to pay for.
Is WordPress better than Wix or Squarespace?
Since WordPress is more popular, it offers more themes & extensions for you to use. And since those allow you to do more with your site, the conclusion is that WordPress is better than Wix and Squarespace. However, it is harder to learn.
Which is the best way to create a website?
The best way to create a website is to start with excellent hosting services like Bluehost. Then you should click a button that will install WordPress, so you can log in and start shaping your site with the most popular CMS in the world.
Bluehost will make sure your site is always up and running fast. At the same time, WordPress’ popularity will enable you to build your website the way you 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/month a month, which includes a custom domain.
But if you wish to go premium, then investing in a theme will cost you about $40 – $120. And you will probably want to splurge on a few premium plugins that could cost you an additional few hundred.
If you choose to go with Squarespace, you can start your site at $12 per month, which makes it almost $150 per year.
On the other side, a custom site will make you dig deep into your pockets. Expect to pay somewhere in between $1,000 – $3,000 for a custom design from an expert, whereas going with a web development agency will cost you way above that.
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 as we at First Site Guide will provide you with 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.
How do I switch from HTTP to HTTPs on Bluehost?
Running a secure website only requires you to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Fortunately for you, BlueHost has made it easier than ever to make the switch. All you have to do is log in and secure your site with an SSL certificate, all in one click:
- Log in to your account
- Check “My Sites” in the menu
- Click on the “Manage Site”
- After that, click on the “Security” tab
- Enable the “SSL Certificate” by clicking on its switch