Last updated: August 10, 2022
Creating a website from scratch isn’t as difficult as you might think.
About ten years ago, website building was still pretty much in its infancy. Nowadays, even a complete beginner can learn how to create a website without any basic computer skills.
Whether you’re a tech-savvy person or a novice, this guide will help you get started and build your own website.
I have also covered the most common mistakes people make when building a website, so you can avoid them.
If you ever get stuck setting up your website, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Full disclosure: I’m partnered with some of the tools and services that are listed on this page. I’ve used most of them for my own purposes. This helps me to provide free help via email and keep this guide up to date.
Step 1: Register a Domain Name
(If you already own a domain name, you can skip this step and move to Step 2.)
First things first: every website needs a name.
Without a name (also known as a domain name), your website simply cannot function. Think of it as a street address for a house, where the address is the domain name and the house is your website.
By owning a domain name, you’ll always have full control over your website, no matter what happens. Domains cost around $10/year and renew automatically until you decide to cancel.
When choosing a domain name, there are a few rules you should keep in mind:
- If you’re setting up a business website, your domain name should match your company name, for example, YourCompanyName.com
- If you’re planning on making a personal website for yourself, then YourName.com is always a great option
- Don’t dwell too much. Most of the best and unique domain names were bought up decades ago. Go with something that matches your website.
When registering a domain name, which domain extension should you use (.com, .org, .net)?
There are hundreds of different domain name extensions (TLDs).
The most common ones are .com, .net, and .org. These domain extensions are best suited for websites that want to get visitors globally (not just locally). For this site (WebsiteSetup), I chose WebsiteSetup.org, since .com was unavailable. You can get a .com, .org, or .net domain name from Domain.com.
However, if your goal is to only target customers in your local country, for example, in the UK, Canada, or Germany, go with the local extensions like co.uk, .ca, or .de. You can get local domain extensions through GoDaddy.
Whichever domain provider you use to register your domain name, make sure they’re accredited by the ICANN.
The domain registration process is quite simple. It takes less than five minutes to buy the domain and complete the registration, but it’s an important investment in your website early on.
Step 2: Choose a Website Building Platform
Your next step is to pick a platform that your website will be built on.
However, there are hundreds of different tools (and ways) to build a website. And the first mistake that most people often make is they pick the wrong platform to create their site.
If you choose a platform that isn’t good or flexible enough, you’ll need to start all over again with another platform. It’s doable, but not recommended (since it’s a waste of your time and money).
How websites are being built in 2022
This data shows the market share percentage of 200+ different website building platforms (known as website builders and content management systems).
Two website building tools, Shopify and WordPress, are the most commonly used.
And they’re the most popular for a reason.
WordPress is the most flexible (free) tool to build any kind of website, from small to large, and it’s suitable for beginners.
Shopify offers a website building service to create your own website and online store. This is ideal for smaller brands, businesses, and individuals who need a simpler site.
The other ones aren’t bad either, but since I’ve used them all, I know that I’d still use WordPress or Shopify over any of the others.
Step 3: Start Building Your Website
Now for the exciting part.
In the next hour or so, you’ll have a fully working website on your own domain. Do not skip any steps, otherwise, your website might not function as it should.
Remember: I’m here to help. If you have any questions about the guides or simply need some help, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll do my best to support you.
Setting Up a Website
I’ve made two different guides on creating a website. If you are unsure, go with web hosting + WordPress as it’s cheaper and more flexible.
However, if your goal is to build an online store, Shopify is a better solution.
Add the most important pages, content, and customization
By now, you should’ve set up a WordPress (or Shopify) site.
The foundation of your site has been built; now it’s time to really start building it out.
The first step is to build out the pages that you’re going to need the most. I’ll throw in the most popular pages that most websites have, so you can pick out the ones that you will add as well:
- About us
- Contact us
- Our services/products
- Hire us
If you’re unsure what your website should include, read this article about the 12 critical elements that every website needs.
Once you’ve decided which pages you need, it’s time to start adding them to your website and set up your website navigation.
Fine-tune, test, and launch
Now that you’ve added the content and pages you need, it’s time to start preparing for the launch.
We’ve listed 30+ things you should check before launching a website, but some of the suggestions aren’t always necessary for WordPress and Shopify users. But it wouldn’t hurt to double-check.
In order to make sure that everything works as expected, be sure to do the following:
- Browse all your pages one by one, and make sure all the links and pages are working
- Proofread your content and copy
- Check your website on mobile devices
- Make sure your SSL (https) certificate works
- Create social media accounts (if you don’t have them already).