Over 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
However you still need to be be prepared to learn, and making a website or blog isn’t for everyone!
Why Build Your Own Site or Blog?
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 to start building their own website or blog using WordPress. What you will learn:
- How to Install WordPress and Setup Your Website
- How to Administer, Maintain and update your website.
- How to Customise and add new features to your site.
- How to Optimise your website and get listed and found in the search engines.
Making 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.
Before you can build a website there are several important things to consider, and choices that you will need to make. They are:
- Decide what type of site- standard website or blog?
- Do you want to build a totally free website
- Decide on the site building technology to use.
- Decide on the Domain Name.
- Choose a hosting provider,purchase hosting space and register the domain name.
Website or Blog
Many people get confused between websites and blogs. 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 use the blog format.
If your content is not news type content e.g. the content on this site, then you use a standard website format with the content arranged by topic rather than by date.
Completely Free Website or Blog
There 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 option.
Site Building Technology
In 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.
This website is focused on Building websites 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
Once 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 provider that supports scripted installs.
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 for and the website hosting guide tutorials for more details.
Building The Site Using WordPress
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
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.
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.
Other Related Tutorials:
- Migrating to WordPress From a Static HTML Site
- Understanding and Using WordPress Themes
- Beginners Guide to Installing and Managing WordPress Plugins
How Much does a Website Cost? – 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 £50 per year.
Can I use a Free Host and Domain Name? – Yes for a personal/hobby websites. WordPress.com and blogger.com are popular choices. 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? – 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? -Yes because you will be using a theme from a professional web designer.
What about building a shopping Website ?– Shopping websites are more complicated than standard content based sites. The building an ecommerce website article should provide a good introduction to get you start.
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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