How to Setup and Build Your Own Website

build-websieOver the last few years building your own website has become much easier.

When I first built this site over ten years ago there was only one way to build it- Using an HTML template and a Web Editor.

A good knowledge of HTML, basic web design, and a web page editor like Dreamweaver or FrontPage were essential, and it wasn’t easy for beginners, and the less technically minded.

Today using Content management systems (CMS)  like WordPress there is no need to:

  • Become a web designer
  • Purchase expensive software
  • Become an HTML or PHP guru

You can create and setup your own website quickly and easily just using a web browser.

Why Learn to Build Your Own Website?

Building your own site has several advantages:

  • The DIY (doing it yourself) approach is cheaper.
  • You can make changes to your site whenever you want.
  • You have complete control over the site.
  • It’s a useful skill to learn

About This Site

The purpose of this site is to provide a step be step guide for complete beginners wanting learn how to setup and build their own business ,hobby or personal website or blog using WordPress. 

What you will learn:

  • What Website building Options are available
  • What website hosting and Domain names options are available
  • How to Install and Setup a WordPress Website
  • How to Administer, Maintain and update your WordPress website.
  • How to Customise and add new features to your site.
  • How to Optimise your website, get listed and found  in the search engines.

Starting Your Own Website or Blog

Getting started with any new endeavor is the most difficult part as your knowledge level is very low and so choosing the best approach can be difficult.

start-website-diagram-flowchart
click image to enlarge

Before you can build a website there are several important things to consider, and choices that you will need to make. They are:

  1. Decide what type of site- standard website or blog?
  2. Do you want to build a totally free website.
  3. Decide on the site building technology to use.
  4. Decide on the Domain Name.
  5. Choose a web hosting provider,purchase hosting space and register the domain name.

Should you build a website or Blog?

step1

Many people get confused between websites and blogs.

This is because they are essentially the same thing.

A blog is a website. but with the content arranged by date. It is the online equivalent to a newspaper.

So if your content is news type content then you need to setup the site using the blog format.

If your content is not news type content e.g. the content on this site, then you should setup the site using a standard website format with the content arranged by topic rather than by date.

Should I Setup a Free Website or Blog

step 2There are many companies offering totally free blog/website solutions.

This type of solution is OK for personal or maybe hobby websites, but should never be used for business or non profit websites.

WordPress.com offer free websites using WordPress, and is probably the most popular free option.

Choosing the Right Site Building Technology

step 3In my opinion this is the most important step, as choosing the wrong option could cause you to spend a lot of time, effort and money without a result.

Over 50% of the new websites being built today will use WordPress .

Over 76 Million websites run on WordPress, including this one.

Well known brands like CNN and UPS use it as well as over 50% of the top 100 blogs on the web are built on WordPress.

What is WordPress? WordPress is a free open source CMS (content management system) designed originally for bloggers and content creators, to be easy to setup and use. 

This website is focused on Building websites or blogs using WordPress, but it isn’t the only option.

You can find a summary of the other main options and their pros and cons in the  website building options tutorial.


Domain Name and Host

step4-5Once you have decided on the technology you will need a domain name, and hosting account to host the website.

WordPress requires Linux based hosting  with PHP and at least 1 MYSQL database.

For ease of install look for a hosting provider that supports scripted installs.

Personally I use shared hosting on a UK hosting provider ( 1&1-UK) for my UK sites, and shared hosting on Blue Host for all other sites.

Here is my  1and 1 UK review and my Bluehost review.

Because most hosting providers will provide a free domain name with their hosting package it it normal to use the hosting provider as the domain name registrar. See Choosing a Domain Name  and the website hosting options tutorials for more details.


Building The Site Using WordPress

WordPress-setup-blueprint

Although WordPress was originally designed for building blogs it can be used to:,

  • Create a standard blog
  • Create a standard website
  • Create a website plus blog combination

WordPress can also be used for creating ecommerce sites (shops), membership sites, social networking sites and much more.

Once you have a domain name and hosting account then it is time to start building your website.

The basic building process is:

  • Install WordPress
  • Examine and Change WordPress Settings
  • Select and activate theme
  • Add Basic Plugins
  • Add Your Content

Installing WordPress

This is probably the most difficult part, but it has become much easier as most hosting providers provide simple install scripts that make the install process a simple matter of completing an online form.

The following guides show you how to Install WordPress on  Bluehost and how to Install WordPress on 1and 1 using a scripted install.

If your hosting provider doesn’t support scripted installs then you can do a manual install, but beware this is much more difficult.

Setting Up  WordPress

Once installed you will need to login, examine the settings and make some changes to WordPress to get your site looking as you want.

For Example, you will need to choose a theme,set up permalinks and more.

The  How to Setup a WordPress Website guide will show you how.

Now you need to start adding content to your site. The how to use WordPress guide will show you how.

Other Related Tutorials:


Common Questions

How Much does it cost to setup a Website? – There are two main costs involved.

1. A domain name which costs around £10 per year for a .com domain name. This is often included with the hosting cost.

2. Hosting costs, which are approximately £60-£80 per year.

Can I use a Free Host and Domain Name? – Yes WordPress.com and blogger.com are popular choices for starting a personal/hobby websites. Business sites should always use their own domain name and hosting.

Do I need to Learn HTML? – Yes and No. Having a basic understanding is necessary regardless of what most other sites would like you to believe.

However you don’t need to be an expert. My starting HTML course covers all you really need to get started.

Do I need to Learn Web Design?– No -There many professional designs available in the form or themes( WordPress) and templates (HTML/PHP).

Providing you don’t want a completely bespoke design, then It is simply a question of choosing a design for the site rather than creating a new design from scratch.

I’m Not very Technical Can I still do it myself? – If you can use a modern Word processor like Microsoft Word then you should be OK.

Technical aspects like installing WordPress, backups etc have become much easier, but you don’t have to do it all yourself if you don’t want to. You can always outsource more technical tasks if you need to.

Can I really Create a Professional Looking Website myself with WordPress? -Yes because you will be using a theme from a professional web designer.

When Will by website appear in the search engines? – Websites aren’t automatically added to the search engines when they are built See How to Get Your Website Listed In Search -Google,Bing and Yahoo

What about building a shopping Website ?– Shopping websites are more complicated than standard content based sites. The building an ecommerce website options article should provide a good introduction to get you start.

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Questions?

The Website Building questions and answers page is updated frequently and tries to answer the most common questions.

You can also use it to ask your own questions.

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