Note from the editor:
We’ve tweaked and fine-tuned this tutorial multiple times over the last five years based on the questions and suggestions we’ve received from our visitors.
If you have feedback for the guide, please contact us – we are always striving to provide the best content. Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links which we use to monetise our website and offer free support.
Before your start, read this
This free, step-by-step guide walks you through every step you need to create a website (or a blog) for your business or brand in 30 minutes or less.
Table of Contents
- How to register a domain name
- How to find a web hosting company
- How to set up a website using WordPress
- How to add pages and further customisation
- How to monetise and grow your website traffic
Don’t know any code?
No problem – you don’t need to. We wrote this guide specifically for beginners. However, if you have an interest in learning code, read this guide too.
Scared to make a mistake?
We have covered the most common mistakes people make when building a website, so you can recognise and avoid them. Though, if you ever get stuck setting up your website, we offer free help via our contact page (we read and reply to every email we get about our guides).
Worried it’s a waste of money and time?
In this example, we will be using WordPress, a free website-building software with additional web hosting capabilities. Domain names cost only $10/year and web hosting is $5/mo, but refundable within the first 30 days. In the worst-case scenario, you will have spent $10 developing a new skill set.
The average time to set up a website using this guide is approximately two hours – most manage to build a strong foundation within that time. Another worst-case scenario: you’ve spent roughly two hours learning a new craft – creating a website from scratch.
Ready to get started? Grab a coffee or a tea and let’s get started!
Step 1: Register a domain name (www.)
(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.
This website address is https://www.websitesetup.org. We also own websitesetup.com as a backup.
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 entire website, no matter what happens.
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 or a personal blog for yourself, then YourName.com is always a great option
- Don’t get too complicated – most of the more unique domain names were purchased decades ago. Go with something that matches the tone and purpose of your website.
You can use this tool we made to check if your domain name is available.
Check Domain Availability
How much does a domain name cost?
As mentioned earlier, domains cost around $10/year and renew automatically until cancelled.
For example, Domain.com offers .com (Global), .net, .org, .co.uk (United Kingdom), .ca (Canada), .de (Germany) domain endings.
If you want your domain name ending to be aimed for global population, try getting a .com version. If you are targeting local visitors from Canada or Germany, then choose the .ca or .de extension etc.
P.S. Before you check out on Domain.com, use the coupon code “WEBSITESETUP25“. Using this code you can get a .com domain name for $7.99/year ($9.99 normally).
Please note that there are over 100M+ active domain names, so all the best ones are already taken long time ago.
Step 2: Sign up with web hosting company
Congratulations! By now you should have your own domain name.
Don’t worry that it’s not working because you don’t have a website yet.
In order to fix that problem, we’ll need a web hosting that offers for “one-click-install” WordPress.
Now, you may think, what exactly is WordPress? And what is web hosting? Let us break it down for you:
- WordPress is the world’s most popular free website builder, powering over 40% of all websites on the internet. We’ve compiled the statistics (1, 2, 3) to exhibit and analyse how websites are being built – WordPress is the clear winner.
- Web hosting is a service that connects your website to the Internet and subsequently allows you to manage a WordPress website. Entry-level web hosts can cost anywhere between $5/mo to $10/mo – these options are more than sufficient for building out a new website.
Part 1. Sign up with web hosting provider
Alternatively, if you bought your domain name elsewhere, you can use Bluehost web hosting (Comes with 30-days money back guarantee).
They’ve been around for a while and host both small and large websites. We’ve been using Bluehost internally for years without any considerable problems or hiccups, so we can recommend it.
Their plans start from $5/mo, but with this link you can get it at a discounted rate ($3/mo). Keep in mind that you cannot pay month to month.
Bluehost will activate your hosting account immediately and you can start using your domain name and WordPress website the registration is completed:
Once you arrive at their homepage, click “Get Started Now”. From there, you’ll be redirected to their hosting plans page.
Step 3: Set up WordPress website through web hosting
If you used Domain.com for WordPress hosting, you can follow this step-by-step guide to set it up.
If you used Bluehost, you need to first log in and you you should a page like the following:
Now, all you have to do is click the “Create your website” button.
The next step is to decide the purpose of your site.
You can choose between Blog, Store, Business website, or Portfolio site/Resume. If those don’t quite fit your vision, you can select an option in the “Other” dropdown list.
Next up is to choose how you’d like to build your website. Bluehost offers two options: using Bluehost’s own website builder, or WordPress.
Since we want to focus on theme-based site building, we have chosen the latter.
Click “Get started” and your WordPress installation process starts.
Once the installation is completed, you need to log in to your WordPress dashboard.
Right now, what’s important for us is to start customizing the new WordPress site and for all you need to do is click on the “Customise site” button.
On the left sidebar, you’ll see options that will allow you to modify your website’s design, such as:
Note: the options that appear will vary depending on which theme you’ve installed.
We recommend playing around with the drag-and-drop editor and experimenting with different fonts and colour schemes to hone your desired aesthetic.
Once you’ve tweaked your site’s design to perfection, it’s time to move on to pages and content.
Step 4: Add Pages and Customise Your Website
By now, you should’ve successfully set up a WordPress site – the foundation of your site has been built, and now it’s time to really start fleshing it out.
The first step is to build out the pages that you’re going to need the most. We’ve thrown together a list of the most popular pages most business websites have:
- About us
- Contact page – here, you can add your social links (Facebook page, Twitter, etc.)
- Our services/products
- Frequently asked questions
If you’re unsure what your website should include, read this article about the 12 critical elements that every site needs.
Once you’ve decided on your pages, it’s time to start adding them to your website. For this, you’ll also need to set up a navigation system for your site.
Part 1. Add new pages in WordPress
A blank website without any pages or content isn’t of much use to anybody, so in order to make the website accessible and interesting, we need to add some pages and blog posts.
To add pages to your WordPress site, navigate the left-hand menu to “Pages”, and from there click the button “Add New”.
This will take you to the WordPress block editor – also called the Gutenberg Editor.
If it’s your first time visiting this, then it will display a quick step-by-step tutorial on how it works and where certain functions are located.
It’s quite easy to work; everything is block-based, which means if you want to add something to your page, you simply need to choose the correct “block” from the menu and fill it in.
On the left, in the content block section, there are multiple content options to choose from. Each serves a different purpose and adds a different visual element to the page.
Alternatively, the right-hand menu allows you to change some page-wide settings, like the author, the page’s permalink (URL), the featured image, and more.
Or on the top of the right-hand menu, you can click on the “Block” tab and customise the settings for each of the blocks you’ve selected on the page.
Once you’re happy with the page, you can either choose to make it public or private. The former will make the content visible to any visitor, while the latter means that it is only visible to you via your website dashboard – this is a useful option to use when still working on a particular page.
There’s also an option to preview the changes you’ve made or to schedule a date and time for the page to be published.
Part 2. Organise your website navigation
Now that you’ve created the pages, you need time to add them to the navigation bar.
This is the menu located throughout your website that provides visitors with access to the rest of the content.
To customise your navigation system, click the “Appearance” tab on the left-hand column followed by “Menus”.
The name of the menu doesn’t matter since this is only visible to you, but be sure to tick the box stating that this is your primary menu.
After you’ve created the menu, you can start adding and organising the pages there.
You can also create sub-items, meaning that pages will be revealed when a user hovers their mouse over them.
For example, here, we’ve done that by adding “About Us” and “Contact Us” under the “About” category.
Part 3. Change/Add new themes and layouts
To customise your site, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and select “Appearance” from the left-hand menu.
Here, you can tweak your website’s theme, add and change widgets, customise your menu’s structure, and so on.
Essentially, every change that you want to make on your website can be done through the “Appearance” tab.
Also, if you feel comfortable with coding, you can even add custom CSS to fully personalise your site.
Part 4. Adding blog posts (optional)
While adding a blog is optional, creating one is often a good idea. It provides a channel in which to publish fresh content, demonstrate your professional expertise, and provide additional value to your website’s visitors.
It’s also a good idea to have a dedicated blog page and keep your homepage static.
To do that, create an empty page (Pages > Add New), name it “Blog” (or a suitable alternative – “Blog” makes sense because it will automatically create the address: yoursite.com/blog), and publish it.
Then, pick it as your “Posts Page” either under Appearance > Customise > Homepage Settings, or under Settings > Reading.
Your chosen page will automatically display all blog posts when you save them – be sure to include the page in your navigation menu.
Once set up, you can start creating your blog posts. This can be done via “Posts” and “Add New”.
After you click “Add New”, you’ll be redirected to the editor page where you can start writing and customising your content.
Add images, writing, a title, and anything else needed for the blog post. In the right-hand sidebar, you’ll also find options to apply categories and tags, define an excerpt, and set up a featured image – these functions improve your page’s discoverability and categorisation.
Once you’re done, click “Publish”, and your post will appear under the dedicated blog page.
Step 5: Growing your visitors and monetising your website
Congratulations. The easiest part is done.
You’ve managed to set up your website for others to browse and read. Congratulations!
If you’re stuck or something doesn’t seem to be working on your website, do not hesitate to reach out. We read and reply to every question we receive.
Now it’s time to increase the visibility of your new website.
Part 1. Connect your website to Google Search Console
Google Search Console allows you to track visitors to your website from the search engine, and also gives you a better idea of what kind of content is most popular.
GSC also gives you an overview of your website’s health. It’s a helpful, free tool for gaining insight into your website.
Setting up the tool shouldn’t take more than ~20 minutes. Here’s a step-by-step guide for that.
Part 2. Set up social profiles
Next, pick two to three social channels where you want your brand to be present and active. These will often depend on your website niche – here are just a couple of popular media outlets to consider:
Part 3. Make a content plan
This is one of the most important parts of getting more visitors to your website.
To start off, come up with ~30 keywords that relate to your website, business, or target audience. For example, if your business is about fitness: you could feature the word “anaerobic”. For this, write content that includes that keyword, such as “5 ways to train in an anaerobic state”. You can either write the content yourself or hire a dedicated professional.
Remember: the more accurate and in-depth the content, the higher chance that you will receive more traffic from Google and other search engines.
If you are unsure what to write about, this article can help you get started.
Part 4. Monetise your website
Every website and small business needs income. Luckily, there are dozens of ways to make money off your website visitors.
- Leads and requests – people connect with you for a physical or online service
- Online store – here, you can sell physical or digital goods
- Affiliate marketing – you can refer people to buy or use another company’s product and make a percentage from the sale
- Adverts – there are many different ad networks that can place ads on your website and you can earn money from it.
This list can be longer, so if you are interested in reading more – see this article.
Part 5. Build an email list
Last, but not least (this stage is often overlooked) it’s important to start generating connections from day one.
Collecting the email addresses of your website visitors helps to build a large client base. These databases can accumulate over the years and become a very valuable asset.
Finally, understand what works best for you and focus on that one channel. In the internet marketing world, there is no one recipe for success – what works for the law industry won’t necessarily succeed for an online store that sells footwear.
If you want to learn how to build an email list – read this article.