How to Build a Website
A Simple 5-Step Guide for Beginners
Table of Contents
So you’ve decided to build a website. Well, you’re in the right place! We created BuildAWebsite101.org as a free resource for people that are just starting out in the digital world and need a helping hand to guide them through the process of building a website.
Whether you’re looking to build a site for your new business, for a personal blog or for any other reason, this guide will help bring you from total beginner to building a website you can be proud of. I’ve broken the process down into 5 easy-to-follow steps. I recommend scanning through this page from start to finish then starting with step 1. You can always go back to the section you were working on by clicking the step in the table of contents at the top of this page.
Make sure to bookmark this page for quick reference and click the share button on the left hand side of the screen to share with friends, family, colleagues or anyone else you think might find this guide helpful.
So, are you ready to begin? Then let’s get started!
Things You’ll Need to Build a Website
First, there are a few things to go over so you have an understanding of what you’ll be doing. Here are a list of items that you should familiarize yourself with before we begin:
1. Domain Name: This is your custom website address (www.yoursite.com) where people can find your website.
2. Web Hosting: This is where all of your website files are stored. When somebody visits your website they are interacting with the files stored on the web hosts servers.
3. WordPress: Wordpress is a CMS or Content Management System. This enables you to easily modify your website without any coding or technical skills. The web host “hosts” the WordPress files on their servers.
4. Theme: Themes are premade web design templates. Themes are easily installed in WordPress with a couple clicks and give your website a professional look.
The first step is to choose a name for your website. Choosing your domain name is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as it has a direct impact on the branding of your website. Most business owners choose to use their business name as the domain name in the format [businessname].[com]. If your unsure what to name your business check out this awesome guide to naming your website.
Above you’ll find a free tool we created to show if your desired domain name has already been registered.
1.1 Enter your Desired Domain Name
Enter your desired domain name in the free domain checker tool above. After typing the name in the search bar click the “Check” button. Our tool will now check and see if your domain name can be registered.
If you receive a congratulations message like the image below then your domain is available. Proceed to Step 2.
If you receive a sorry message like the image below that means your desired domain has already been registered. Try to find another suitable name for your website.
The second step is to get hosting. Hosting is where the your website files are stored. When somebody visits your website they are accessing the files stored on your web hosts server.
There are many web hosting companies that offer different types of hosting depending on the needs of the website. For instance, some websites with large volumes of traffic may need dedicated servers with best in class speed. This type of advanced hosting is expensive and isn’t needed for most beginners.
We’ve found that Bluehost offers the best value by delivering fast, easy to use hosting at a great price. They also offer a FREE domain name for the first year! How cool is that?!
Follow the steps below to sign up for Bluehost and get your free domain:
2.1 Click the “Get hosting & Free Domain” ButtonClick the “Get Hosting & Free Domain” button below or in the step header. When you click this button you’ll be brought to the Bluehost signup page. This is the page where you’ll begin your journey of creating your website. Also, we receive a small commission from Bluehost when you sign up through our link. It does not cost you anything and this is how we are able to keep this free resource on the web.
2.2 Click the “Get Started” ButtonThe next step is to click the “Get Started” button on the page that you see below. This will bring you to the page where you will select your hosting plan.
2.3 Select Your Hosting PlanThere are various premium features that come with the higher priced plans. These are all great features but for now, just go with the “Basic” plan. You can always upgrade your plan later when your website traffic begins to grow. Click the “Select” button for the Basic plan.
2.4 Enter Your Domain Name from Step #1The next step is to choose and register the domain name you created in Step #1. Simply enter the domain name you came up with and click the “Next” button.
2.5 [BONUS] Use This Secret Hack to Save Money!The next step is a trick that allows you to save even more with Bluhost and to get the hosting down to $2.65 per month. After creating you new domain you’ll reach a screen where you can add your information for billing. Before you fill out the information, move your cursor toward the “back” button of your browser as if you were going to leave the page. This will trigger an automatic pop-up with an offer for $2.65 hosting if you sign up today. Click the “Clam Savings” button and your discount will automatically be applied!
2.6 Enter Your Account Details
The next step is to add your details in the account information section. This is the information that will be used to create your account.
2.7 Select Your Plan Duration (Longer = Cheaper!)Now you’ll select the plan duration from the drop down menu. We recommend going with the 36 month package as this will save you the most money in the long run.
2.8 Choose Your Package Extras (Hint: You Don’t Need Any!)After choosing account plan, its time to select your package extras. These are all good options but for first time website owners its best to just get your website up and running. You can always sign up for these extras at a later time. For now, go ahead and un-check all of the options.
2.9 Enter Your Payment InformationThe last step is to enter your payment information, check the box and click the “Submit” button.
2.10 Nice Job! Your Done With Step #2!Congratulations! You’ve now signed up for hosting with Bluehost! Now it’s time to move on to Step #3 and install WordPress.
Now that you’ve created a domain name and purchased hosting, it’s time to install WordPress in your Bluehost account. Basically at this point you’ve paid Bluehost to host the files for your website. Now we will install WordPress which is a the world’s most popular CMS or content management system. A CMS allows you to easily install themes and edit your website without knowing how to code or having to hire a developer.
We’ll start where we left off in step 2 where you just purchased hosting from Bluehost.
3.1 Create an AccountNow that you’ve purchased hosting from Bluehost, the next step is to click the “Create Account” button.
3.2 Create a PasswordYou’ll now create a password for your website. This will be used to log in to WordPress so you can access the backend of your website and make edits. After entering your password you’ll click the “Create Account” button.
3.3 Go To the Log In PageYour account is now created and you can log in. Click the “Go to Login” button...
3.4 Log In To Your HostingNow you’ll log in to your hosting. Select the “Hosting Login” selector and enter your login information that you created in step 3.2. Then click the “Log In” button.
3.5 Name Your WebsiteEnter the name you’d like to use for your website. Usually this is the same as domain name and will be displayed in search engine results, browser tabs and in your WordPress dashboard. Keep in mind, this is NOT the same as a domain name! This is basically used for search engines and for displaying your information in web browsers. After entering your site name click the “Continue” button.
3.6 Continue to Theme SelectionFor this step you can leave all of the goal options un-checked and select your comfort level buidling website. We recommend selecting “A Little” from the selector. Then click the “Continue to Theme Selection” button.
3.7 Skip this StepWe’ll be selecting a theme at a later step so go ahead and click the “Skip this step” button.
3.8 Click the “Get Started” ButtonNow click the “Get Started” button.
3.9 Skip the Domain Privacy Pop-UpTo keep things simple we’ll go ahead and skip this pop-up offer for domain privacy. You can always sign up at a later time through your Bluehost dashboard. Select the “No charge” options and click the “I Do Not Want Privacy” button.
Then click the “I’m sure. Turn Off Domain Privacy” button.
3.10 Launch WordPressNow click the “WordPress” button and you’ll be brought to your WordPress dashboard.
3.11 Nice Job! You’ve Installed WordPress!Hey, great job! You’ve now successfully installed WordPress. You should now see a screen that looks like the image below. This is your WordPress dahsboard. It is through this dashboard that you can create and edit your website. WordPress gives you full control over every last bit of your website. WordPress is a very powerful platform yet very user friendly. Go ahead take a look around and I’ll see you in Step #4.
Now that you’ve installed WordPress you are ready to install a theme. A theme is a predesigned web design template. By using a theme you skip that hassle and expense of having to hire a web designer and developer to create your site. With WordPress, using themes is a breeze.
We recommend using Neve theme as they have a wide selection of free theme designs to choose from. Another option is to use a premium theme. Premium themes are paid themes that designers have created that are built for specific businesses and are generally better looking than free themes.
If you’d like to browse some amazing premium themes we recommend checking out StudioPress and Astra. They both offer a side selection of free and premium themes for you to choose from . Simply click the button below to start browsing.
If you do choose to select a theme besides Neve, you can still follow the instruction in Step #4 of this guide to install your theme. you’ll just have to skip steps X and X as they are specific to the Neve theme.
4.1 Go to the Themes Dashboard
The first step is to go to the themes dashboard. To do this simply hover your mouse over the appearance tab and click “themes”.
4.2 Click “Add New” From the Theme Dashboard
Click the “Add New” button. This is located near the top of the themes dashboard.
4.3 Search for “Neve” and Click the “Install” Button
In the top right side of your screen you should see a search bar. Enter the word “Neve”. You wont need to click anything as the theme should appear as you type.
You’ll see the Neve theme pop up. Click the “Install” button.
4.4 Activate the Neve Theme
After clicking the “Install” button and waiting a few seconds, another button will appear that says “Activate”. click this button and Neve will be activated.
4.5 Click “Neve Options”
So now that the Neve theme is installed we’re going to select a prebuilt website from their collection. Hover your mouse over the “Appearance” tab and click “Neve Options”.
4.6 Click “Sites Library” From the Neve Options Dashboard
Now click the “Sites Library” link on the right hand side of the Neve options dashboard. This will allow you to view all of the different pre-built websites that they Neve offers.
4.7 Select a Elementor Pre-built Website and Click “Import”
The first step is to select Elementor as the page builder. Simply click “Elementor” if it isn’t already selected. Now all of the pre-built themes will be based on the Elementor page builder which will allow you to easily edit your website.
Feel free to browse the themes until you find one that closely relates to your business or website topic. In this example I’ve selected the Web Agency theme. Once you find a theme that suites you click the “Import” button.
4.8 Make Sure the Selectors Are On and Click “Import”
Make sure the selectors are all turned on then “Import”.
4.9 Your Pre-built Website is Now Ready to Use
Your pre-built website will now be intstalled. It may take up to a few minutes for the pre-built website to install.
This finishes the installation process! You now have Neve theme and a pre-built website installed in your WordPress. The next step is to take a look at your website!
4.10 Click “Visit Site”
It’s time to take a look at your website and see the pre-built website you installed. To view your website anytime, just hover your mouse over your website name in the upper left hand corner of the WordPress dashboard then click “Visit Site”.
4.11 View Your Website as a Visitor
That’s it! Now you can see what your website looks like to somebody who visits your website. In Step#5 well go over how to customize your website to get it looking just right for your brand.
Wow, you’ve come a long way already! So far you’ve created a domain name, signed up for hosting and installed the Neve theme. The last step is to customize your website. In this fifth and final step I’ll show you how to:
- Edit your website using Elementor
- Upload your logo
- Change the website color scheme and font
- Create a menu
- Add content/pages to your website
- Add blog posts to your website
- Add plugins to extend functionality
Ready to learn how to use your new website? Lets get started!
5.1 Click “Edit with Elementor”
The first thing I’m going to show you is how to edit your website using the Elementor page builder. If you remember back to when you installed the Neve theme, the Elementor plugin was installed at the same time automatically. With Elementor you are able to every part of your website without touching a single line of code.
So you can edit a page anytime by clicking “Edit with Elementor” button at the top of the page.
You’ll now see a screen that looks like the image below. Notice the toolbar on the left side of the screen. This is how you are able to make edits to your website. Elementor is what is known as a visual page builder. What this means is that you can click on any element and edit it directly.
For example, if you want to edit the headline simply click the headline and the cursor will pop up. You can then simply type whatever text you would like to see. This is the same for every element on your website. Pretty cool, huh?!
5.2 Add an Element
To add an element to the page, simply drag the element into the desired location. You can access the elements anytime by clicking the grid icon in the upper right hand corner of the Elementor side bar.
5.3 Add a Logo
Next we’ll add a logo to the page. You can do this by going to “Appearance → Neve Options” then click the “Upload logo” link.
Now click the “Change logo” button.
Your logo should now display on the upper left hand corner of your site
5.4 Setup a Navigation Menu
Now we’ll create a navigation menu. Menu’s are used in WordPress to create the navigation links in the header as well as in other location like the footer. To create or edit a menu click Appearance → Menus.
To add a page to a menu, select the page, post, link or category that you would like to add them click the “Add to Menu” button.
You can nest a page under another page by dragging it to the right while underneath the main page. This will create a dropdown menu in the header as you can see in the image below.
To change the name of a menu just type the name you want in the “Menu Name” box.
To create a new menu just click the “create a new menu” link.
5.6 Change the Header and Footer
You can easily change the header and footer with Neve’s built in editor. Simply click Appearance → Neve Options. You’ll then see a screen with multiple options. click either the “Header Options” or “Footer Options” depending on which one you want to edit.
To add an element to the header or footer just click the blue cross button and select which element you would like to add.
5.7 Add Pages
Pages that appear on your blog are called posts. These are the pages that you create to blog about a topic. When you here the term “blogging” this usually refers to creating blog posts around a certain topic.
So let’s go ahead and get start creating a page! The first step is to click Pages → Add New.
Now enter a name for your page. In this example we typed the words “Sample Page” into the editor. Next you’ll click the “publish” button.
Next click “Edit with Elementor”.
Now just drag and drop the elements that you’d like to use on the page. In the example below we’ve added a title and are just about to add an image to the page as well.
After creating your page just click the green “Update” button in the bottom left hand corner of your screen and your all set. You’ve now created your first page!
5.8 Create a Blog
The posts page is where all of your blog posts can be found. This is sometimes called an “archive” page or “blog” so if you see this term used somewhere it’s the same thing as a blog page.
When you installed the Neve theme the blog page was automatically created for you. Just click “Pages” and look for the page that has the label “Posts Page”. This is your blog page.
5.9 Add Blog Posts
Blog posts are sometimes alternatively called “posts” or “blog pages”. These are the posts that show up on your blog page. If you’ve ever read a blog before the page you were reading was a blog post.
To add a blog post, simply click Posts → Add New.
Enter a title for the blog post then click “Publish”. After publishing you can edit the page by clicking the “Edit with Elementor” button. You can then edit the po
Using the Elementor elements you can add section. elements and other enhancements to your blog posts. Make sure to click the green “Update” button when you are finished!
5.10 Add an Online Store/Ecommerce (Optional)
If you sell phyicsal products you will excited to know that you can sell directly from your website! There is a free plugin called WooCommerce that can turn your WordPress website into an Ecommerce store. While the information below can get you started, the topic of Ecommerce and WooCommerce specifically is best left to an in-depth post that we plan on creating soon. There are also many helpful resources on how to get the most out of your WooCommerce store. For now this guide will get you started but consider looking at additional resources out there!
So, to get started we’ll go ahead and click Plugins → Add New. Then search for “woocommerce” in the search field. This will pull up the WooCommerce plugin. Go ahead and click the “Install Now” button.
Then click “Activate”.
You’ll then be presented with a screen that will walk you through the sign up process.
After completing the activation process all of the pages will be automatically created for your site. Here is a run-down on all the pages that have ben installed and what they do for your site:
Cart: The cart page is used to display the products that a customer has added to their cart. This allows customers to see the items they’ve added and make any adjustments such as quantity and deleting products.
Checkout: This is the page customers will see when they click the checkout button from the cart page. This is where customers enter their payment details and shipping information.
My Account: The My Accoutn page is used for customer accounts and stores information such as past orders, shipping addresses and other personal information.
Shop: This is the page where people can view the products in your store. Customer can browse products, filter by criteria and add products to their cart.
Below you’ll find an example of a cart page:
You now have a fully functioning online store! Just add your products and you’ll be ready to start selling. If you want to check your orders simply click on WooCommerce → Orders.
Congrats! You’ve built a website! This is the point where you get to take a moment to be proud of the fact that you were able to create your very own website. Nice job!