Although it might seem a little daunting to start with, building your own website is actually pretty straightforward. Just follow the steps here and you will have your site up and running in no time.
We’ll guide you through the steps of choosing your domain name, hosting provider and installing and using WordPress.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, WordPress is a ‘content management system’ which basically means it’s a tool for creating and updating web pages. It’s a very popular choice and is used by over 75 million websites worldwide.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to create an online shop, a blog or a simple website with just a few pages: WordPress can do it all.
Although the WordPress software is free, you will have to pay for web hosting and a domain name in order to put your website on the internet.
Choose a domain name
Before you start you will need to decide on a domain name for your website. The one you are reading right now has the domain name www.techadvisor.co.uk.
Ideally you want to keep your domain name simple. It’s best to use your business name where possible. If you find someone has already registered your chosen name then you will have to find an alternative.
Every domain name comes with an extension – the part after the full stop/period. The best choice is either .com or the specific country code for where you are (in the UK that would be .co.uk) There are other domain extensions but the ones we’ve mentioned here are the ideal.
Recently, new extensions have been introduced which can be helpful if they’re specific to your location or business type, such as .tech and .yoga.
Choose a web hosting provider
Every website needs to be hosted and you should choose the most appropriate hosting for your website. For most people the three main considerations are: how much space you need for your website on the server, how much bandwidth you will use (the amount of traffic your site will get) and, of course, the cost per month or year.
For your first site, most web hosting companies’ starter packages will be adequate and provide the option to upgrade as your site expands. We’re using Hostinger’s Premium Shared Package for this guide as it provides plenty of space, the facility to host multiple websites and a free domain name.
Most web hosts make it really easy to install WordPress, either when you set up the hosting or in the control panel when you first log into your account. Hostinger gives you the option to install WordPress as part of your account setup, alongside WooCommerce and Joomla.
You may want to pick WooCommerce with WordPress if you’re setting up an online shop.
Once installed, everything you need to make a website can be accessed from the WordPress dashboard (shown below). There you can add posts or pages, change or customise the design, and add and configure plugins.
Choose a theme
WordPress will be installed with a default theme or design already in place. This will either be one you chose at set up or the default WordPress theme. If you want to change theme there are thousands of free themes to choose from.
At the WordPress dashboard just go to “Appearance” and then “Themes” in the left panel and click “Add New”. You can now scroll through available themes and choose the one you want. Having selected your theme you can then add items such as logo, header image or change font face or colours through the “Customise” button on the left of the dashboard.
Plugins offer extra functionality for your site. As a minimum you will need an SEO plugin such as Yoast, a contact form plugin and a cache- and speed-optimisation plugin such as WC3. You can add further plugins later as you need them. If you are intending to run an online store then you will also need a plugin for that, and we mentioned WooCommerce earlier.
To install a plugin, in the left-hand column of the dashboard navigate to “Plugins” and “Add New”. Now you can search for a plugin by name or its function and then select from the plugins available. Then click “Install Now” and “Activate”.
How to make a web page
By and large, the majority of the content of your website is going to be in the form of posts or pages. Posts include a date and time of publication and are best for blog posts and articles and content that will generate comments. Usually they are displayed in reverse chronological order so the latest is displayed first. Pages are more for timeless content – for instance information about you or your business or your privacy or cookies policy.
Both Pages and Posts can be accessed from the WordPress dashboard. To add a new post or page just click on “Add New” or to edit an existing page or post click “Edit”. WordPress now comes with its own drag and drop interface called Gutenberg. However some people like a more traditional interface in which case you should install the “Classic Editor” plugin which we are using here.
You can type and edit your text using the simple editor and add video, photos and images to your posts by clicking “Add Media” and following the simple instructions to add pictures from your computer or other device. Make sure you always click “Publish” or “Update” when you have finished editing your page or post.
So now you have your first WordPress site up and running you can build out your site with more posts and pages and dive in deeper and add other custom elements to enhance your website.
WordPress isn’t the only way to make a website, and you might like to read about other website builders that are available.