How to build a Website for Dummies is your guide to create your own website in as little as a couple of hours, even if you’ve never built anything online before.
There are a lot of ways and tools to build a website, and a lot of different kinds of websites if you want to specialize.
Here, I’ll explain the easiest way possible to launch your own website, which you can use for any purpose.
Follow these easy steps and you’ll build your website in no time
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This has no cost to you and I only recommend tools that I use or have used myself and that are within the most useful, to the best of my knowledge.
What’s a Website?
We all visit websites on a daily basis but most of us don’t understand what they are.
A website is a virtual space for something.
Out in the real World you can have a space for lots of different purposes. You have a home where you live, you can have a shop where you sell products to customers, an office where you offer your services, etc.
Online, you serve any of these purposes and many others through a website.
First, let’s outline what composes a website.
Just like in real life, your space needs an address, a space to ‘live’ and a design.
On the web, we call these:
Domain Name – This is your address, the name people can type onto their browsers to reach you.
Host – This is the space where your website exists. You can hire a hosting company which also sells you the Domain Name and integrates with a website building platform such as WordPress.
Content Management System (CMS) – Let’s just call this a website building tool. This is the platform you will use to build and manage the design and content that will go in your website.
Now let’s dig deeper into each of these…
The 4 Steps of How to Build a Website For Dummies
1. Choosing a domain name
The first thing you’ll need before building any website is to choose a domain.
A domain is like the address of your business. Except that instead of having to physically move to that address you ‘navigate’ towards it through the internet.
Let’s use this website as an example. If you typed www.createandearn.com or just createandearn.com in your browser you’d land in this website’s Home Page. We’ll talk about Pages later.
So you can see how important a domain is for your business.
Whenever possible, the domain name should match the person or business it represents and use the ‘.com’ extension. These are the Branding best practices transmitting credibility.
In some cases, one of the two might have to be forfeit.
Here are my recommendations to deal with an unavailable domain:
1 – New business: Adjust the business name to the available domains. If you’re building for someone else, you can give them a list of available domains similar to the name he likes/wants.
2 – Established local business: Look for the domain name with a local/national extension; such as: ‘.us’ for a US-based business or ‘.co.uk’ for a UK based business
3 – Established internet business: If the business has been previously established, doesn’t own a domain name and is meant to be global, or for any reason, there’s no way to get the domain name changed, you can try other extensions; such as: ‘.co’ ‘.net’ or ‘.org’. These are the main recommendations, however, there are a lot of new extensions available that might fit the business description, i.e. ‘.tv’.
In this last case, I still recommend checking that the ‘.com’ extension of the sought-after domain is not being used, and especially not by a similar business. This could lead to the business ‘offering’ visitors (and possible customers) to someone else.
Ok, now that you know how to choose a domain name, where can you buy it? This leads us to the next step…
2. Hosting your Website
The host can be looked at as your landlord, but instead of paying thousands per month in rent, you’ll be paying less than 100 per year, in most cases.
You should also purchase the domain name through your chosen host. All of them provide that service.
There are plenty of hosting companies. My personal preferences and the ones I use are:
Bluehost – I am currently running a couple of websites hosted at Bluehost. They have a very easy-to-use platform, contrary to other Hosting Companies I worked with in the past; great pricing, especially for beginners; and an excellent customer support.
Wealthy Affiliate – WA is not a solely a hosting company, but they provide that service along with everything else. This website is hosted with WA, and the entire platform is a World of opportunities. You get an excellent training and become part of the best, most helpful community I’ve been a part of in this business. And the best thing is, you can join for Free for an unlimited time. Of course, you won’t get access to all the services on the Free Starter Plan but I do recommend you to sign up and have a look around.
I have also used a few other hosting companies but I will not mention them here as I haven’t had a great experience with them and cannot recommend.
3. Designing your Website
Now, for the fun part. Building your Website.
The construction of your website can be a lot of fun or full of headaches, it can be a smooth ride or a very bumpy road.
So which ones would you choose? Smooth and fun or bumpy with headaches?
Yeah, that’s what I thought…
So, How to build a Website for Dummies?
Let’s make this easy.
Either you chose to go with Bluehost or Wealthy Affiliate, the next step will be choosing a Theme. That’s what will allow you to design your website without coding.
One very important note to keep in mind to remain on the smooth and fun road is that you don’t need to be a programmer to build a great looking website, but you MUST accept the limitations of the Theme you are working with.
You can start with a simple Free Theme from the WordPress Library that won’t require much customization but won’t allow for it either. Free Themes are a great way to start if you don’t want to lose time designing your website.
You can change themes anytime, in case, later on, you want a bit more control over the looks of your site and the content you have will just be displayed with the new layout.
If you wish to have some more control over the way your website looks, I recommend going with the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. It comes with a plugin called Divi Builder that will provide you with the capability of designing your site with an easy drag-and-drop technology.
If you’re reading ‘how to build a website for dummies’ than this is probably your best option since this is the easiest Theme to work with that allows for the most amount of customization. It also has a good amount of pre-built, awesome looking Layouts that you can start using straight away while you learn how to design yours.
If your goal is to build websites to sell, you’ll be able to save your own layouts for later usage and re purpose for similar clients. I don’t recommend that you sell the same website to different people, but you can use the same basic layout to start building a website for a similar business. This will increase your productivity by 10x.
The best thing about the Divi Theme is that you can purchase a Lifetime Access which will, give you access to all the Elegant Themes and Plugins and can be used in an unlimited number of websites for a one-time fee of $249.
This is an incredible bargain for a tool you’ll be using for the rest of your career if you’re choosing to do this for a while.
If you’re not ready for such a compromise, Elegant Themes offers also a yearly subscription of $89, which is little more than $5.
4. Website Structure
Alright, now your website’s hosted, you have a great domain name and an awesome design, but something is still missing…
Yes, the content.
As much as your website’s design rocks, if you don’t have content in it, it won’t look any good or be of any use to anyone.
So, what’s content?
Well, everything that fills up your website is called content. Ideally your content should be of help to someone, that’s what will make people want to visit your ‘online home’.
Content can be in the form of text, audio or video and it can be contained within the two main structures of your website. Pages and Posts.
Posts are interactive (allow for comments from visitors) and are composed of fresh and updatable content. In other words, the content you publish regularly onto your website should be in Post format Examples are regular blogging, vlogging or even podcasts, or any kind of informative article like this one.
A website that doesn’t receive regular updates or fresh content is like a boat adrift in the ocean.
When I built my first website, I didn’t know which pages to create and when to create a page or a post and stared at the empty structure for a few days.
A website needs both, and to avoid feeling lost like I did, build the basic Pages I mentioned first and then start Posting about what you want to share with your visitors (adding content).
How to Build a Website for Dummies in Summary
1 – Choose a domain name that people will type to find your website.
2 – Choose Hosting Company. I advise you to go with Blue Host for the ease of use or to create all your website through the Wealthy Affiliate, in which case you have tutorials, guiding you step-by-step how to create your website and monetize it.
3 – Design your Website through a CMS (WordPress) and using Themes. Free Themes are easy to use but can’t be changed much. If you want to make an awesome looking website from the first moment try the Divi Theme, this is the easiest to work with.
4 – Create Content and your Website Structure – Start with the main static Pages that compose a basic website and then start Posting content in a blog, vlog or podcast format.
I’d like to mention that you can also create an entire website and host it completely for Free. I will be writing an article on how to do that soon and what are the limitations. In the meanwhile, you can create a Free account in Wealthy Affiliate and follow the step-by-step tutorials.
Finally, if you need any help, leave a comment below or contact me and I’d be happy to help.