How to Make a Website: A Step by Step Beginner’s Guide (2022)

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By Abhishek R
How To Make A Website

Wondering how to make a website but don’t know where to start?

You have come to the right place.

We will show you how to create a website in under an hour, without writing a single line of code.

You will learn how to build a website for less than the price of a coffee.

Whether it is a static website, blog, forum, ecommerce or online store, our guide will help you build it step-by-step.

In fact, I followed the steps in this guide to build this website that you are on right now.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive right in.

1. Decide The Website Type

Before you make a website you need to decide what type of website you want to make. There are five types of websites: 

1. Content websites or Blogs are websites where you write articles to get search engine traffic. Traffic is monetized with ads, affiliate links or digital products. Our website Passive Book & recipe blog Pinch of Yum are examples of content websites.

Pinch Of Yum Recipe Blog Website

2. Membership website restricts access to content. Only paying customers can access the members area. Neiru is a membership website that offers Japanese nail art lessons. 

Neiru Japanese Nail Art Membership Website

3. Ecommerce website is an online store like Amazon where you can sell physical or digital products. ReddBar sells energy bars through their ecommerce website. 

Reddbar Ecommerce Store

4. Static websites are used by local businesses to have an online presence. It is rarely updated and contains a business address, contact info, photo gallery and product offerings. New Eco Landscapes is an example of a static business website. 

Static Website Example

5. Forum website is a place where people can have online discussions around a topic. Blood Sugar Diet Forum is an example of a forum.

2. Choose a Website Builder

A website builder lets you create a website without knowing how to code or learning web design. You can be a complete beginner and still have a website setup and running in under an hour with a website builder.

Which is the best website builder?

WordPress is the most popular content management system, letting you build any type of site imaginable. WordPress powers 42% of websites on the internet. That is nearly half the internet. Our website PassiveBook.com is also built on WordPress. 

Website Builder Used By Internet 3

Why use WordPress to Build Your Site?

  • Cost: There are no recurring subscriptions to use WordPress. Other website builders are more expensive. 
  • Highly Customizable: Over 58,000+ free WordPress plugins will help you build any type of website imaginable. Other website builders are not so flexible.
  • Beginner Friendly: You don’t need coding skills and you can get comfortable with using WordPress in a few hours. 
  • Complete Control: Website builders show their ads on your website. With WordPress, your content cannot be deleted or modified by anyone other than you.
  • Portability: WordPress lets you change web hosting companies whenever you want. Changing providers with other website builders mean rebuilding the site from scratch.

What is the cost of making a website?

To create a professional website you need a domain and hosting. It will cost you around $12 per year to register a .com domain name with NameCheap. It will cost $2.95 per month to get WordPress hosting with BlueHost.

So in total it will cost you $3.95 per month which is less than the price of a Starbucks coffee.

Website Cost 2

Can you create a website for free?

You can build a free website but here are the main drawbacks:

  • Custom Domains Cost Extra: Free website builders do not let you add a custom domain name unless you get their paid plan. To replace passivebook.wix.com with a custom domain like passivebook.com, it will cost you $14 per month in Wix. Additional features cost as high as $49/month. Compare this to a WordPress website costing $3.95 for unlimited features.  
Wix Premium Plan Custom Domain
  • Limited Features: All free website builder options are greatly limited in features. Even if you upgrade to the paid plan, you won’t get half the features of self-hosted WordPress website.
  • Ads on Your Website: Free website builders make money from the free plan by showing ads on your site. They don’t share the profits with you so it just makes your website look spammy. 
Paid Plan Required To Remove Ads
  • Difficult to Drive Traffic: Search for anything on Google and try to find a .blogspot.com website ranking on top. You won’t find any. Even if your content is great your competitors can easily outrank your free website, stunting your site’s traffic & revenue.
  • You Don’t Own Your Content: Your website can be taken down without notice. Even if you upgrade to their paid plan, you don’t own your content, your website builder does. Here is an example of what you will see when your free website is banned by Blogger:
Website Has Been Removed

What is the difference between WordPress.org & WordPress.com?

WordPress in this guide refers to self-hosted WordPress.org. In a self hosted WordPress website you can install plugins for free, but you must get web hosting separately from another company. It will cost you $3.95 per month to self host WordPress. 

Some people make the mistake of using the hosted WordPress.com. In Wordpress.com, you don’t have to get separate web hosting, but you must pay $45/month to install plugins. 

Avoid WordPress.com. Follow this guide and install self-hosted WordPress on your own server. It will cost you less money.

Wordpress.org Vs Wordpress.com

When to Consider Other Website Builders?

Dropshipping: Consider Shopify if you want a dropshipping site that integrates with all third party tools. It costs more than having an ecommerce store on a WordPress website. But the dedicated dropshipping features make it worth considering.

How Dropshipping Works

Static Websites: If you just want a static website for your local business or portfolio, you can use Google sites which is completely free. But the functionality and customization options are extremely limited. Your website will look and feel like every other google site because of the limited template options. 

3. Register a Domain Name

Before you create your website, you will need a domain name. The domain name is the address that people type in their browser to find your website. Usually, it is the name of your website. For example, the domain name of this website is passivebook.com. 

Choosing a domain name

Changing domain names once your website becomes popular is painful. So getting it right the first time is important. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Choose a .com domain. 
  • Have brandable domain names (like chewy.com) instead of keyword stuffed domain names (like bestdogfood.com).
  • Avoid hyphens & numbers in domain names (like 2-create-a-website.com).
  • Shorter the domain name better. Try to keep it under 12 characters. 
  • Try to use two word combinations. Example: Name Cheap, Passive Book & You Tube. 
  • Avoid words with multiple spellings. Example Colour vs Color. 
  • Spelling should be easy and intuitive. Tell the name of your site to your friends and ask them to spell it.
  • Pronunciation should be easy and intuitive. Spell the name of your site to your friends and ask them to pronounce it.
Com Domain Statistics

If you are stuck you can use a domain name generator like Lean Domain Search, NameMesh & Instant Domain Search.  

Use Namechk to check if your domain is available along with the associated social media profiles. Register a domain name that has both social media profiles and .com domain available.

Namechk Example
In the above example, although the domain name androiddog.com is available, the Facebook and Pinterest username is not. So it might be worth considering another domain name.

How to Register a Domain Name

Once you decide your domain name it is time to register it.

You should register your domain with NameCheap because you will get domain privacy for free. Other providers charge $12 per year for domain privacy. Without domain privacy, your name, home & email address will be accessible to the public.  

Step 1: Go to NameCheap. Enter your domain name with the .com extension. 

Namecheap Step 1

Step 2: Select the .com extension and click the Add to Cart button.

Namecheap Step 2

Step 3: After adding the domain to cart, click on the Checkout button.

Namecheap Step 3

Step 4: Enable Domain Privacy that comes for free & Auto Renew. You don’t need any other paid addon.

Namecheap Step 4

Step 5: Click on Confirm Order. Pay to complete your purchase.

Namecheap Step 5

Step 6: Login to Namecheap and click on Domain List in the left sidebar and then click Manage next to the domain you just purchased.

Namecheap Step 6

Step 7: Under Nameservers section, select “Custom DNS” from the dropdown . Then enter the following two nameservers ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com as shown in the image. Then click the green tick to save. If you use a hosting provider other than Bluehost, enter their nameserver values in this step instead.

Namecheap Step 7

4. Choose a Hosting Provider

Web hosting is an account on a computer (aka web server), that hosts your site’s data. Your visitors type your domain name in a browser. The DNS (Domain Name Server) converts the domain name into the IP Address of your web hosting account. Your website is downloaded from your web hosting server and displayed in your visitor’s browser. 

How Domain Hosting Works

If your domain name is the “address” of your business on the internet, then hosting is the “land” or space where your business (aka website files) resides. You need website hosting to install WordPress & publish your website on the internet.

What are the Types of Hosting

When it comes to choosing a hosting provider there are thousands of options available. But not all hosting companies are the same. There are different types of web hosting available:

Shared Hosting is the cheapest hosting. In shared hosting, you share resources with other websites on the same server. The downside is your website will slow down or crash if the other websites are overloaded. Choose shared hosting if you are on a tight budget (Recommendation: BlueHost).

Cloud Hosting stores your website data across multiple servers which work together. We recommend cloud hosting for most users because it has the best performance for the least cost. Passive Book uses cloud hosting (Recommendation: Cloudways).

Dedicated Hosting is the most expensive hosting. You have a server all for yourself. If you have a high traffic enterprise website, use a dedicated server (Recommendation: LiquidWeb).

Types Of Hosting

Virtual Private Server or VPS Hosting share the server with other websites like shared hosting. But you will have dedicated server resources which improves reliability. But cloud hosting offers better performance for lower cost than VPS hosting (Recommendation: BlueHost).

WordPress Hosting can be shared WordPress hosting or managed WordPress hosting. Shared WordPress hosting is shared hosting with WordPress pre-installed (Recommendation: BlueHost). Managed WordPress hosting offers extra features like security and caching but costs more (Recommendation: WP Engine).

Recommended Hosting Providers

When it comes to choosing your ideal hosting providers you have to choose two from the following three:

  1. Cheap: Price you pay
  2. Easy: A user friendly interface that is non-technical
  3. Fast: How fast your website will load

You cannot have all three together.

Cheap & Easy But Not Fast: If you chose this option, then go with BlueHost. In fact this is what we recommend to beginners who want to build a website in the cheapest possible way with a user friendly interface. You will be sacrificing performance but it should not make a big difference to websites which are just getting started.

Cheap & Fast But Not Easy: If you have a little extra budget and you are not technically challenged, you can get top performance using Cloudways.

Fast & Easy But Not Cheap: If you want high performance along with a user friendly interface you can use WP Engine but it will cost significantly more than the other options.

5. Set Up WordPress

For this guide we will use BlueHost as our web host. It is a cheap hosting that is extremely easy for beginners to setup. If you use any other web host, the steps will be the same but the user interface may be slightly different.

1. Go to BlueHost using this link to get a special discount. Select WordPress > WordPress Hosting from the top menu.

Bluehost Step 1

2. Click on the button you see on this page and you will be taken to the pricing section.

Bluehost Step 2

3. Select the Basic Plan. You can upgrade your plan as you grow.

Bluehost Step 3

4. If you already have a domain name that you purchased with Namecheap you can put that in “Use a domain you own” section. If you don’t have a domain name yet, choose the “Create a New Domain” to purchase a new domain.

Bluehost Step 4

5. In the next screen, enter your information. Uncheck all package extras. If you are purchasing your domain through Bluehost instead of Namecheap, you may want to enable Domain Privacy. You won’t see the Domain Privacy option if you purchased your domain through Namecheap because Namecheap gives you this Domain Privacy for free.

Bluehost Step 5

6. Once you have successfully paid, you will be prompted to set a password. Click on “Create your Password” button.

Bluehost Step 6

7. Enter your password and create your account. If you lose this password, you can reset it.

Bluehost Step 7

8. After you set your password, login to Bluehost.

Bluehost Step 8

9. Click on the Create your website button in the following screen. This will start a Bluehost Wizard, just click Skip this step wherever possible.

Bluehost Step 9

10. In the following page click on “No help needed” or “Skip this step”. We don’t want Bluehost to limit our customization options.

Bluehost Step 10

11. In the next page, you will be asked the purpose of your website. You can choose from any of the available options.

Bluehost Step 11

12. In the next page, click Skip this step.

Bluehost Step 12

13. In the following page, enter blog’s name and tag line. You can change this later so feel free to click “Skip this step” or enter something as a placeholder and click Continue.

Bluehost Step 13

14. Finally you will be asked how you want to build your website. Choose Limitless customization to have all the options.

Bluehost Step 14

15. Go to the Bluehost dashboard and click on the My Sites tab in the left sidebar and click on the Manage site button .

Bluehost Step 15

16. Your WordPress site has separate login credentials different from the one you use to log into Bluehost. You can use this to login to the WordPress dashboard directly without logging into Bluehost. To get this:
Click on Users on top.
You will be able to see your username and email that you can use to login to WordPress.
If you click on the three dots you will see the option to Reset your password.

Bluehost Step 16

You can log into WordPress from the Bluehost dashboard by clicking the Log into WordPress button . But it is not recommended you rely on this as your primary login method because you will get locked out of your site if you ever change hosting providers.

17. You will be taken to the WordPress dashboard where you can reset your password . If you don’t like the username Bluehost created for you, you can Add a New User .

Bluehost Step 17

18. If you are adding a new user make sure you specify the user role as Administrator . You can login as the new user and safely delete the default user created by Bluehost.

Bluehost Step 18

Congratulations! You have successfully setup WordPress.

6. Configure WordPress

Your WordPress website installation is barebones and comes with the default WordPress theme and plugins. In this section we will set up your WordPress website and customize it so that it looks and functions the way you want.  

Login to WordPress Dashboard

Once you have successfully setup WordPress, you will be able to see your website with the default WordPress theme at yourdomain.com.

Visit yourdomain.com/wp-admin to access the WordPress dashboard and admin area where you can install themes & plugins.

Wordpress Login

Use the Email and Password you provided during WordPress installation to login. If you don’t have the password, use the “Lost your password?” to generate a new password.

WP Themes

A WordPress theme is a website template that make it easy to customize how your site looks without learning web design.

There are thousands of themes available for free in the WordPress theme directory, accessible from the WordPress dashboard.

To install a new WordPress Theme:

Go to Appearance > Themes > Add New in your WordPress dashboard.

Install Wordpress Theme

Use the search to find a theme that you like . Before you install the theme, you can see a demo of the theme and learn about its features from the preview screen . If you like the theme, you can install it by clicking the install button . You can also upload a theme from a file in your computer .

Install Wordpress Theme Step 2

Once installed, click the Activate button to enable the theme. 

Activate Wp Theme

Here are a few considerations when choosing your theme:

  • Use mobile responsive themes so your website looks good on both a desktop & a mobile device.
  • Don’t use feature rich themes because it will slow down your site with bloat
  • Don’t use fonts that are difficult to read
  • Use Theme Check plugin to see if your theme meets the latest standards. 

Premium Themes for WP

Although free themes are great, they have a few problems:

  1. The theme author may abandon the project.
  2. The code is usually bloated slowing your down site.
  3. Limited or no support to customize the theme. 

Premium themes have none of these problems & also makes it easy to pass Core Web Vitals which is a SEO page speed metric. Passive Book is able to pass Core Web Vitals because we use the premium theme GeneratePress.

We recommend the following premium WordPress themes:

WP Plugins

A WordPress plugin expands the functionality of your site. For example, WordPress is not an ecommerce platform, but you can make it one using the WooCommerce plugin.

Too many plugins can slow down your site. So before you install new plugins, it will be worth clearing out any existing plugins that your hosting provider installed by default.

Plugins first need to be deactivated before they can be deleted.
Go to WP Admin > Plugins > Installed Plugins
Click on the checkbox to select all plugins.
Select Deactivate from the drop down.
Click Apply
Repeat the above steps but select Delete instead of Deactivate from the dropdown in Step 3 to delete all the deactivated plugins.

Delete All Default Plugins

To install new plugins go to the WP Admin > Plugins > Add New.

Install Wp Plugins Add New

In the plugins page:

Search for the plugin you want in the search bar

Click Install Now. Once you install the plugin, you must also activate the plugin for it to be enabled. 

If you are installing a paid plugin you can upload the plugin instead. 

Install Wordpress Plugins

Here are the WP plugins you may want to consider. Just install the ones you need to avoid bloat:

Backup Plugins helps restore your website in case of a hack or a crash. Recommended Plugin: WPVivid (paid) or UpdraftPlus (free). 

SEO Plugins lets you do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website so you can get search engine traffic. Recommended Plugin: SEOPress (paid).

Analytics Plugins allows you to use Google Analytics to track your website traffic. Recommended Plugin: SEOPress (paid) or GA Google Analytics (free).

Cache Plugins reduces website load time improving user experience & also SEO. Recommended Plugin: WP Rocket (paid). 

Image Optimizer Plugins compresses your images to decrease web page load time. Recommended Plugin: ShortPixel (free). 

SMTP Plugin eliminates all problems with sending emails from WordPress. Recommended Plugin: FluentSMTP (free). 

Page Builder lets you visually create any type of web page or landing page imaginable with a drag and drop interface. Recommended Plugin: Thrive Architect (paid) part of Thrive Suite subscription.

Security Plugins help protect your website from hackers. Recommended Plugin: Wordfence (free). 

Ecommerce Plugins helps convert WordPress into an ecommerce & online store. You can sell both digital and physical products. Recommended Plugin: Woocommerce (free). 

Forum Plugins lets you create a community for online discussions. Recommended Plugin: bbPress (free). 

Membership Plugins allows you to create a gated members area, where access can be sold for a recurring or one time fee. Recommended Plugin: WishList Member (paid). 

LMS Plugins lets you create a dedicated course area for students of your digital courses. Recommended Plugin: Thrive Apprentice (paid) part of Thrive Suite subscription. 

Social Share Plugins lets you show social media buttons from different social networks like Facebook & Twitter. Recommended Plugin: Easy Social Share Buttons (paid). 

Form Plugins allows you to create contact page and other types of forms. Recommended Plugin: Thrive Architect (paid) or Fluent Forms (free). 

Create Posts & Pages

It is difficult to customize a site with no content because you can’t see the changes you make reflect in the front end. Once you have installed your theme and plugins, start creating the essential pages, before customizing your site further.

The following are the important website pages to consider creating. 

  • Home Page
  • About Page
  • Contact Page (use page builder or a contact form plugin)
  • Privacy Policy Page
  • Terms & Conditions Page
  • Blog Page
  • Product/Pricing/Services Page

You can create content as pages or posts. If you want to make a static page, create pages by going to WP Admin > Pages > Add New. If you want to create a blog post instead, then create posts instead of pages by going to WP Admin > Posts > Add New.

Add Wp Page

The interface is similar for both posts and pages:

Write the headline
Write body content
Click the publish button. 

Create Wp Content 2

Customize Branding & Design

After you create the essential pages, you can start customizing your site further. Get inspiration from other sites that you like and try to replicate the design on your own website.

Color, Fonts & Spacing 

You can choose colors, set the font and adjust the spacing of your website by going to Appearance > Customize from the WordPress blog dashboard. 

Customize Theme 2

Get the logo for your website designed cheaply on Fiverr. Most themes let you set the site logo in Appearance > Customize in your WordPress blog dashboard.

Fiverr Logo Gigs Example

Favicon

A favicon is the image that appears in the browser tab and bookmarks. In most themes, you can set the Favicon in the Appearance > Customize section in your WordPress dashboard.

What Is A Fav Icon

The header and the footer menu can be set from the Appearance > Menus in the WordPress admin dashboard.

Customize Wordpress Menus 1

You can nest menu items so that it appears as a dropdown menu . You can use the menu as your primary or secondary navigation menu .

Wordpress Navigation Menu

Widgets

If you decide to have a sidebar or a large footer, you can create widgets from WP Admin > Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress admin area.

Customize Wordpress Widgets

Title & Tag Line

The next step is to change your General Settings. Go to Settings > General in the WordPress Admin area.

Wordpress General Settings Navigation

You can set your Site Title & Tagline and also set your Time Zone from this screen.

Wordpress General Settings

The most optimal URL structure for your website for SEO is domainname.com/post-name. You can set this in Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress blog dashboard area. 

Wordpress Permalink Settings Navigation

Select the “Post name” radio button and save changes.

Wp Permalinks Settings

Enable Search Visibility

Chances are you want your site to show up in Google so people can find you. Go to Settings > Reading in your WordPress dashboard.

Wordpress Reading Settings Navigation

Make sure the “Disable search engines from indexing this site” is Unchecked if you want traffic from Google. Most of the time this should be unchecked by default but if it is not, then uncheck it to ensure your site gets traffic from search engines.

Wordpress Reading Settings Enable Indexing

Comments

Next you will want to change the Discussion Setting (aka Comments). Go to Settings > Discussion in your WordPress admin area.

Wordpress Discussion Settings Navigation

1. You may want to enable or disable comments in this page. You can also disable pingbacks and enable comment moderation.

2. You can also set comment approval settings.

Wordpress Discussion Settings

Get Optional Add-Ons

You should now have a fully functional website. But some website owners may want a few things extra. 

Custom Domain Emails

Instead of abhi@gmail.com, creating an email under my domain like abhi@passivebook.com makes my business communication more professional.

Some hosting companies allow you to create a domain email, but they tend to have deliverability issues. Use Google Workspace or Yandex instead to create your professional emails. 

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDN compliments caching in speeding up your site. When you use a CDN your website files are replicated in multiple servers across the world.

How Cdn Works

If a visitor in Germany and wanted to view a website hosted in New York, the data has to travel across the Atlantic Ocean. A CDN will load a cached version of the New York website from a CDN server located in Europe, making it load faster.

Our recommendation is BunnyCDN which is dirt cheap. Your CDN can be configured in WP Rocket

7. Grow Your Website

Congratulations on making your new website. Making a website might seem hard but is actually simple when you know how all the pieces fit together.

If you are having trouble anywhere along the way as you make your website, drop a comment below and we will help you out. 

Once you have a website it is time to get traffic to it. The best way to get traffic to your website is through blogging and SEO and convert them into email subscribers so that you can do email marketing.

What is the goal of your new website? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About the Author
Abhishek R
Hey, I'm Abhishek. I am a data scientist by day & an online entrepreneur by night. I started Passive Book to help you generate passive income & make money online by building a six-figure online business from scratch.

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