I remember when I wanted my own website years ago, I had no idea of where to go or how to build one. And I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this but it took me almost 2 months to build my first website. Yeah, 2 months. I mean that’s crazy, considering that today you can build one within minutes!
Today, I am going to show you how to build your own website from scratch. And it will only cost you a few dollars. And it will only take up about 30 minutes of your time from start to finish. It’s super simple.
Today there is absolutely no reason why any person or company should not have their own website. Especially if you want to do business and have an online presence. We know that social media accounts are not equivalent to having a website because you don’t own those channels. However, a website is your own personal thing. You have full control over it. It’s your house on the Internet.
Buy a domain using Namecheap
I recommend buying your domain name (your website’s name) from Namecheap. This is a great service because it’s got great discounts, stellar support and an easy payment gateway. Go to Namecheap and type your domain in the search bar. Namecheap will tell you if it’s available or not. If it’s available, go ahead and click Add to cart and then View cart. Your purchase includes the domain, which is typically ~$12 including the ICANN fee.
Namecheap also gives you a free Who is guard subscription for every new domain you purchase. This subscription is free for the first year and only costs about ~$3 subsequently. Before you confirm your order, you can use a discount coupon to further reduce the price by a few dollars. Most coupons are updated monthly and it’s likely you’ll find one to use at the beginning of the month rather than later. Copy the coupon code and go back to your Namecheap cart.
Paste the coupon code in the Promo field of your Namecheap cart. If your coupon is successful, you’ll see it reflected in the price, which will immediately drop lower. Click Confirm and fill out your Payment details. You can use PayPal or your credit/debit card to make the payment. Once your order is confirmed you’ll receive an email with your domain details. Scroll up to the main menu to where it says Hi [username] and from the drop down menu, click on Manage domains.
On the Manage domains page, find and click on your newly registered domain. The system will prompt you to fill out registration details for your site such as name, address, email, etc. Go ahead and do that. From the left sidebar, Click on Transfer DNS to Webhost. This will take you to a page to fill out DNS (domain name system) information. We will leave Namecheap open on this tab and return to it once we have purchased hosting so we can put in the DNS server names here.
Get hosting from Bluehost
You need a webhost to house your newly purchased domain. Hosting servers are the place where all of your website’s data resides. So all the files you upload, blog posts you write, images you upload are housed on the hosting server. You want to choose a webhost that’s reliable, affordable and has great customer support. I like to use Bluehost for shared hosting services. It’s a great choice if you are just starting out and their customer support is awesome!
Go to Bluehost and click Get started now to make an account. I recommend that you choose the Plus Plan which costs $5.45/month at the time of this writing. You get unlimited space and unlimited websites with this plan, which makes it a really good deal. Since you’ve already purchased a domain name, go ahead and click on I have a domain name and put in the name you just registered.
Once you’ve completed all payment details, you can log in to your account. As soon as you log in, you’ll be taken to the home screen. From the top menu, click Domain, wait for the new screen to load and then click Assign from the sub-menu. Assigning the domain name is a quick 4-step process.
In Step 1, put in the domain you want to assign and let the system verify it. Once your domain is verified, Step 2 will give your nameservers to point your domain to. At this point you want to back to the Namecheap page you left off at, and go ahead and cope/paste both nameserver details into the field on Namecheap. In steps 3 and 4, leave the default settings for add-on domain, directory and sub-domain. Scroll up the top menu and from the top menu click Domains > Domain list. This page will show you the registration details of your newly hosted website.
Install WordPress with one-click
Now we want to get your website into a state where you can easily add content to it. And we’ll do this by installing a Content Management System (CMS). The world’s most popular and easiest to manage content management system is called WordPress. WordPress lets you have a fully customizable website that you 100% control.
WordPress is easy to customize and add content to. You can install WordPress on your new website using Bluehost. So let’s go ahead and do that now. Log in to your Bluehost account and click Hosting from the top menu. Scroll down to the Website section and click Install WordPress. Click Install again on the site when it asks you if you want to do a free WordPress install. Type in the domain you want to install WordPress on. The system will check and verify the domain.
Click the checkbox next to Terms and agreements to how that you agree and click Install now
WordPress will start installing. This process will take a few minutes depending on your internet speed. Look at the green progress bar at the top to see your install progress. Once installed, click View credentials and then scroll down and click View again. This will bring up your administrative information for your WordPress account. You’ll be able to see the URL, your username and a system-assigned password. Use these credentials to log in to your new WordPress website!
Customize the look and feel of your website
Now that your site is up, you can go ahead and change the appearance of your site to make it custom to you. Log into your WordPress back-end by using your admin password. You will now be in the WordPress dashboard with a menu on your left. Click Appearance > Themes from the left menu. Scroll down to the big + button that says Add new theme. Click it. Type the name of your theme into the search bar OR alternatively search WordPress’s theme directory for thousands of customizable themes for free!
In your WordPress dashboard, choose a theme, click Install and then click Activate on the next screen. Once it’s installed click Customize. Type in the new site title and tagline and click Save. At this point some themes allow you to choose a number of customizable options, such as color schemes, fonts, and much much more. If you are a designer you can customize your site yourself. If you like an existing theme’s graphics, you can use them. If you’d like to hire a web designer to design your website, you can do that too. You can also purchase paid themes that allow more custom support and options.
Write your first blog post
Now that your site is up and looking spiffy, it’s time to get to the meat of it all. It’s time to get to the entire reason you built a website of your own in the first place – so you can put whatever content you like on it! To write your first ever blog post, log in to your WordPress site and follow these steps.
On your WordPress dashboard look at the top bar where it says + New. Click + New and choose Post from the drop-down menu. This will open up WordPress’s editor for you to type. Write your headline and the body of your blog post. Click Insert media to insert an image to go along with your post. On the right hand sidebar, you can add Categories, and Featured Image to make your post look attractive. Click Publish. You’re done! View your new post on your new website by clicking on the Home icon and then Visit site from the WordPress dashboard menu.