How To Create A New Website
Need a website for your small business or new pet project but feel a little put off by the technical stuff?
Relax, we’re about to walk through the simple steps that will have your new website up and running in under 10 minutes. Even if you’re a complete beginner.
Yes – 10 minutes and you’ll be surprised at how straightforward it is to firstly create your new website and then make any changes whenever you want.
Also, I’ll be explaining each of the terms that you may not know down below.
An Overview of the Process & Terms Explained
There are just three very simple steps you need to follow in order to set up a working website quickly and the good news is that you need very little technological knowledge in order to do this:
1. Choose a domain name
2. Get hosting for your domain name
3. Install your website live on the Web
The first two steps of the process are often linked together and can be completed easily within five minutes. You need to decide on a suitable domain name for your site and choose an affordable, high quality web hosting service.
Having a domain name such as marysitalianrecipes.com or johnscarproject.com, or whatever you choose that fits your project, is the first step but won’t make your site live on the Web until your domain name is hosted somewhere but we’ll get to that.
“It’s just important to know that a domain name is kind of like registering a business name and the hosting is like actually renting a shop on a street where people can see it.”
If you are already worrying about the terms used above then don’t – a “domain name” is simply the term used to describe a website address, and it is also known as the URL (for example as in www.thisismywebsite.com).
“These are domain names you might be familiar with: facebook.com, amazon.com, google.com and yahoo.com. You get the idea.”
Your domain name is very important because it’s how people searching for you will find you and clicking on the domain name when it appears in a search on Google, for example, takes them to your actual website.
So try to make it clear what your site is about with your choice of domain name.
Of course, you need to find somewhere to place your site online and this is where a web hosting service comes in. What these companies do, for a very small monthly or annual fee, is provide you with the space on the web where you can build and store your site, so that the whole world can see it and access it from anywhere.
” Hosting for your website is like renting a shop on a busy street except that web hosting is much much cheaper than renting a shop!”
The third and final step then is to simply create your website and to create a very professional looking site that is very easy to manage and change whenever you want, we are going to use a free software platform called WordPress.
WordPress is actually used by almost 1/3 of all websites in the world, mainly because it’s so easy to use. This website that you are reading right now is a WordPress site.
So that’s the overview, now let’s go through the exact steps and get your new website up and working.
Step One: Choosing & Registering Your Domain Name
Choosing a domain name for your site is a personal and important decision, partly because you could be promoting that website for many years.
And you should also consider the purpose of the site: is it for selling something? Or building a community of like-minded people? What’s the main goal of your new website? Knowing what that clearly is will help make the domain name choice easier.
You can select almost any name you like for your site, and while there are virtually no rules regarding what name you can choose, it’s good to keep in mind these things when choosing your domain name:
• Your domain name should be relevant to the content of the website. It sounds obvious, but the more relevant your domain name is to the primary purpose of your website, the better.
• The shorter and more memorable your website address is the better. People tend to forget websites with vague or long names, so keeping your address short and to the point will help people remember your site, even when they are not actually online.
• It also helps if your domain name gives the user a clear indication of what your site is about. Try to avoid names that could be misconstrued for another type of site. A good example of this is a site with a name like www.keyboards.com, which could be about computer keyboards, or music keyboards; both have the same name, but both contain very different subject matter.
• Ensure you pick a suitable extension for your site. .com, .org or .net sites are the most popular as they are global extensions, though other, cheaper options are also available.
So if you were going to set up your website about electronic music keyboards, then you may wish to select a domain name like www.musickeyboards.com or similar.
Of course, there is always a chance that someone else has already selected this as the domain name for their website, but fortunately there is an easy way to check for this by using a Domain Name Availability Search.
So if you have picked a name for your site, enter it into the box below and the Domain Name Availability Search will see if the name has already been used, or if it is free for you to use for your site.
If the search comes back that your domain name is already taken and is unavailable, you can either elect to choose a domain name with a different extension (so if .com is taken, you could try .net, or .org or .co.uk or similar, or you can elect to add another word to the original domain name).
So if the domain name www.musickeyboards.com was already taken, I could try www.musickeyboards.org, or www.musickeyboards.net or even www.electronicmusickeyboards.com instead.
You will quickly find a domain name that is free for you to use and once you have decided on which of the available domain names you would like for your site, you are ready to progress onto step two.
Step Two: How To Set Up A Web Hosting Account
There are lots of different companies that offer web hosting and a quick search of the Internet will bring up a whole host of options, but experience has shown me that for a high quality service, excellent customer support at a very good value price, a company called GreenGeeks.com is well worth considering.
GreenGeeks is an established American company with a proven track record in excellent service and support.
You can create your hosting account at GreenGeeks here:
Best of all, if you head on over to GreenGeeks.com using this link you can get 20% off your hosting costs!
Once you have loaded up the website click the orange Sign Up Now! button and this will bring up the secure order form.
If you require a domain name, enter your choice of domain name in the box on the left. If you have already pre-purchased a domain name, then enter it in the box on the right.
If you’ve followed this guide through, then you won’t own your domain name as yet, so you’ll need to use the left hand box. Remember to check you select the right extension (.com, .org etc) using the drop down box on the right.
If your domain name is not available, then you can try different variations until you find one that is. However if you’ve used the domain name availability search on this guide above, then you should have a domain name that should be available to hand.
Once you have your desired domain name, click the blue Next button and the next part of the signup form will load up:
In this section you enter your personal details, how you would like to pay and the web hosting plan that best suits your needs. There are a range of plans available and some even include the cost of the domain name as part of the plan, so check through them to find one that suits.
• A good tip here is to pay for at least 12 months of web hosting in advance, this is because it is usually much cheaper than paying monthly and you also get the cost of registering your domain name for free with GreenGeeks.com.
Once you have selected your payment method, plan and entered in your details, click the blue Create My Account button.
Once you have clicked that button and your order is accepted, you have now got yourself a domain name and a place on the web within which you can build your website.
All you need to do now is wait for the confirmation email to come through from GreenGeeks.com which will confirm your domain name and hosting plan. This can take anything from a couple of hours to process at the busiest times, to just a few minutes when it is quieter.
• It’s worth noting here that GreenGeeks.com have very strict security measures in place and that as part of this, they may call you to check your details with you. If this happens, you will just need to confirm a few details with their customer services representative and once the brief phone call is complete, you will be ready to take the next step!
When you’ve received your confirmation email, you are now ready to move onto the third and final step of the process; building your website!
Step Three: How To Build Your Website (Using WordPress)
Step Three: How To Build Your Website (Using WordPress)
This put many people off from building their own sites due to the knowledge, time and expertise required to make it look professional. Maybe it put you off too.
Nowadays though, things are very different and it’s pretty easy for a beginner to build a top quality website in just a few minutes, chiefly thanks to the development of the WordPress platform.
WordPress is a free software that makes it very easy to build and manage your website.
- Part One : Installing WordPress
Essentially, WordPress builds the website for you – all you need to do is customize the site with your own content and preferences and WordPress does the rest!
Of course, you need to now install WordPress onto your website so you can use it in the design process and if you have registered with GreenGeeks.com, then this is a very simple process thanks to their own WordPress installation software, Fantastico.
In fact, installing WordPress on your site ready to use will take less than five minutes!
Enter the email address you signed up with on the site and the password GreenGeeks sent you with your confirmation email into the account manager.
When you have successfully logged in, you will then be taken to a screen that shows you the basic details of your website.
To the right of the information about your site you will see a blue button labelled “cPanel Login”. Click on this.
This brings up a screen of different software and services available at GreenGeeks.com that allow you to add different features to your website. What we are looking for is Fantastico De Luxe, which has a blue smiley icon. When you have located this in the software window, click on it.
A new window will open which will show the different types of Blogs available in Fantastico. In the Blogs section, you will see WordPress listed. Simply select it ………
then follow the three steps below:
- Click on “New Installation”
- This will bring up a Drop down menu in which you should find your domain name. Select your domain name and then enter a username, a password and site title information, however remember to leave the Install in Directory field blank (this is important).
- Once you have completed this, click “Install WordPress” and the software will download onto your domain.
Once the download is complete, you just need to press “Finish Installation”. WordPress then completes downloading to your site and sets up a default website on your domain name (called the Twenty Fourteen Theme):
All you need to do is wait just a couple of minutes for the changes to take effect.
After that, believe it or not, you now actually have a website running on the domain name you have chosen, now it is time to configure your site to your chosen theme!
- Part Two: Configuring Your Website
I bet you never thought creating a website was so easy and now you can go and configure the site so that it looks and says what you want it to.
Editing the site is easy, just type in your internet browser your domain name and add the suffix /wp-admin at the end. For example for our music keyboard site listed earlier, it would be www.musickeyboard.com/wp-admin
When you press enter, you will be taken to the WordPress log in page, use the username and password you used when installing WordPress from Fantastico previously and click the Log In button.
You will then be taken to the main page of WordPress, which is called the Dashboard and it is from here that you can access, edit, create and delete everything to do with your website.
WordPress has several key features which are all accessed from the front end of the Dashboard and these features are used to do everything you could possibly wish to do on your site, from adding videos and images, to installing a theme or a plug in. Everything is accessed from this one place.
A brief list of WordPress’ main features, together with an outline of what they do, is shown below:
- Posts and Pages
With WordPress you have the flexibility to create two types of website pages: Posts or Pages.
Posts are more frequently used when you wish to host a blog, rather than a typical website. The main difference with these types of pages is that there is usually a preview of the post on the page, so users can click on it to read the post in full.
Websites that do not hosts blogs tend to use pages, though these can be flexibly set up to link to blog posts if required. You can link to other pages in your site from your homepage (which is the first page a visitor sees when they visit your site) and of course, you can create these pages here too.
If a blog is going to be a key part of your site however, and on many sites they are, it is important that you gain a good understanding of how to use posts.
If you want to enhance your site by adding your own images and videos to it (which is a great idea) then the Media section of WordPress allows you to upload these images and even edit them before you include them on a page or post.
WordPress is flexible so you can either upload media directly to a page or post while you are creating it, or you can upload your media here and then simply access them from a page or post. The choice is yours!
With WordPress you can create categories for links and then add to these categories with a host of links that you choose and which, ideally, link and enhance the content of your site. The links pages can be very useful for people who create their own widgets (though this is not necessary for a beginner user).
Copy the link you would like to appear on your site. Go back to your WordPress Edit Page and choose place where you would like to add it by selecting a word or a phrase. The insert/edit link button on top of your work area will now appear available to use.
The following screen will open.
Paste the link of you choice in the URL box (make sure http:// at the begging of the link it’s not typed twice) and fill in the tittle box (optional). Here you also have an option do choose if you would like your link to open in a new window by selecting the Open link n a new window/tab box. Click on Add Link and the previously selected by you area will turn blue and will now forwarding to the chosen link.
If you want people to leave comments about your posts and site then you can enable these here. There are a number of options you can have, such as whether comments should be moderated or not before being shown on the site, which are customizable.
To avoid lots of spam comments though, a spam checker, such as Akismet, may prove to be a useful add on.
If you don’t like the overall look of your website on WordPress then you can change it with a single click of a button! The Appearance section allows you to select from a huge number of free to use themes which can alter the look of your site with a single click. To learn more about how to change the themes on your site click here.
WordPress “plugins” are extra pieces of software that add certain features or functions to your website.
There are lots of little additions you can make to your website to give it a unique feel, from visitor counters (counting the number of people visiting your website each day), to slideshows. Almost all of these are free and can add nice unique features to your website.
You can easily access them from the plugins menu. It is well worth perusing this aspect of the site when you have nearly finished your initial web design to add a few nice touches to the pages using these plugins. For more information on plugins click here.
If you have any feedback about this article, or if there is something you would like explaining more clearly, then please do get in touch using the comments form below.
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