Beginner's Guide

How to Make a Website from Scratch? (EASY Guide 2020)

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How to Make a Website Step by Step Guide for Beginners

Do you want to make a website? Want to create a great online presence?

But not sure how to get started? For a beginner, it may sound like an impossible high-tech task.

Even so, you don’t need to panic! With a proper guide, anyone without any coding skills can create a website. Yes, anyone including you can design a fully functional site on your own.

Lucky! You’re on the most beginner-friendly guide now. Below, we’ve discussed the whole website building process in 10 easy steps. You don’t need any coding skills or hire a developer, you can make a website on your own, from scratch.

Let’s get started!

Step 1. Choosing a Website Type (Niche)

Having a website helps you build a professional identity online for yourself as an individual or for your organization. But that’s just a basic function of a website.

In actuality, there’re a wide variety of websites and they serve a multitude of functions.

For example, a business website helps to better connect with your customers globally and increase your company sales. An eCommerce site lets you sell products and earn money online. Blog site allows you to share your thoughts, ideas, visions, and provide information, etc.

Besides these, there’re dozens of other website types but you just need one to get started. So, your first task in making a site is to choose a website type that suits your purpose.

Different Types of Websites
Types of Websites

For that, you’ll need to do a little research on the popular types of websites. As each type of website has its own features, purposes, and benefits, you have to carefully look at them and find out which kind is the best for you.

To help you out, we did the research and picked some of the most popular website types you can build in 2020. Let’s take a look at them.

i. Portfolio Website

Mitchell Starc Online Portfolio Site Example
Mitchell Starc Portfolio

A portfolio website is where you can showcase your skills, abilities, and expertise online. It is the best option for professionals wanting to have an online presence.

In other words, a portfolio website acts as your resume on the internet. It’s where you can showcase,

  • your contact address and current projects
  • your past works
  • achievements and awards
  • testimonials (feedbacks from past customers)

With that, you’ll have opportunities to meet tons of enthusiasts who love your work. Also, you’ll have a better chance to get in touch with potential clients and work with them. After completing the projects with your client, you can further add that detail to your portfolio.

For example, you can take a look at these real portfolio site examples.

  • tonydorio.com
  • verenamichelitsch.com
  • garicruze.com

In conclusion, it’s the best kind of site for professionals. If you also want to promote your professional skills and get hired, you should make a portfolio website.

ii. Blog

Star Wars Blog
Star Wars Blog

A blog is a type of website commonly used to publish written articles on the web. An individual or a group of people team up to create content for the blog website. The content on a blog is called a blog post.

To start blogging, you can think of any type of content. You can simply write about your daily life activities, personal thoughts, ideas, or other topics that you’re interested in like technology, sports, movies, etc. If you’ve expertise in anything, then you can also write guides, suggestions, in your blog.

Although it started as a means of keeping a daily journal, the blog is now used for a variety of purposes and different types of blogs are in use. To name a few:

  • personal blog to share personal opinions, experiences
  • a business blog for promoting products by a business
  • fashion blog to provide information about fashion products

Suppose you might like to write in general or want to spread thoughts and ideas to the like-minded people. Anyway, the blog is the type of website that suits your purpose.

For example, you can see our blog (www.sitesaga.com) itself. Some other examples of popular blog sites are:

  • CopyBlogger
  • TechCrunch
  • Mashable

On top of everything, you can also earn money from blogging. If your blog gets a good number of visitors, you can add advertisements on your site. Also, you can earn by affiliate marketing i.e. earning commissions by selling others’ products.

Choose to start a blog if you like writing, love sharing ideas through articles.

iii. eCommerce Website

Walmart eCommerce Website
Walmart Online Store

An eCommerce website is a medium where you can sell goods online. For example, amazon.com, alibaba.com, or apple.com. You can also set up a website like these and sell your own products or others’ products.

If you have a physical business or shop, then also having an eCommerce website is crucial nowadays. As the online shopping trend is getting popular, many physical stores are badly hit. The only way out is getting online with your own eCommerce store.

If you’re planning to start a new business, then also making an online business is a better idea. 

  • First, it’ll cost you less in comparison to renting and decorating a physical store.
  • Second, your online store becomes accessible from all around the web.
  • Third, it remains open all the time of the day. Your customers will also enjoy searching and purchasing products easily anytime and anywhere.

The bottom line, if you’ve got a business plan, then building an eCommerce website is a cool idea.

iv. Business Website

Mangolia Business Website
Mangolia Business Website

A business website lets you present your business beautifully on the internet. Be it a physical business or an online business, a website is essential for every business nowadays.

That’s mainly because people rely heavily on online suggestions (specifically Google results) when making any purchasing decision. If your business isn’t online, people would barely care if you exist. 

A business site helps you mainly with the communication and marketing of your company. It provides an easier way to communicate with your customer. And, you get discovered online. 

A business website mainly aims to:

  • showcase your products and services
  • contact details, and other important information about your business
  • your past projects, clients, and testimonials
  • shop page to sell your products online.

A business agency seems more credible to its customers if it has an online presence. With that, you’ll gain more reputation and make your business or brand recognizable.

If you’re doing or thinking to do any business, a business site is the must.

v. Photography Site

Photography Website Example
Photography Website Example

A photography website is an online showcase to display your captured images. If you are a professional photographer, then you might need a photography website to display your best images.

It lets you add and display a gallery and images as you want. You can use animations, sliders, banners, etc. to portray your images elegantly on your web pages.

Having a photography website is a must for every photographer today. If you have it, then your potential clients and customers can easily locate you and view your works.

Similarly, there are other various niches of websites like brochure website, news/magazine website, forum website, and so on. To know in detail, you can check our article on the most popular types of websites in 2020.

How Much Time Does It Take to Make a Website?

The time to make a website depends on various things.

Firstly, it depends on the method you use to build a website.

  1. Learn to code and build your site: You can choose to learn complex coding languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, .NET, and more. It takes several months or years to master them all and develop a fully functional website.
  2. Hire a web developer to make your site: Another way, you can also hire developers who can do it for you, but that’s a costly approach. Plus, they’ll charge more if you want your website delivered fast.
  3. Build your site yourself with a website builder: Or, you can do it yourself easily with the help of website builders. Just use the available website platforms, and you’ll be ready to launch your site in no time.

Also, the type of website you are making matters a lot. Using website builders, a simple static site can be made within a few days up to some weeks. While it takes up to a few months to completely set up a complex working eCommerce store.

Some of the website builders claim to make a website in a matter of minutes. That might be true. But, it’s rather impractical to launch a website in such a short period.

Instead, we suggest you take some time to build a professional website. Even after making your site ready, go through and check every web page, link, buttons, and functions thoroughly to make sure they’re working excellent.

How Much Money Do You Need to Create a Website?

As we’ve already mentioned, hiring web developers costs you some large sum of money. So, we advise you against it.

And if you’re using a website builder, then it’ll cost you much less. So, you should use website builders if you want to save some money.

Mainly, you’ll have to pay for 3 things while building a website. They are;

  • Website software
  • A domain name
  • And a hosting account

Among the popular options, WordPress is a free content management system (CMS) software. You can download the WordPress software free from the official WordPress.org site and use it on as many sites as you want. 

Next, you need to buy a custom domain and hosting.

In simple terms, a domain name is your website’s name and address on the internet. For example, sitesaga.com is our site’s domain name. Whereas web hosting is a type of service that provides connectivity and storage space for your site to appear online.

Best WordPress hosting companies like DreamHost, Bluehost offer web hosting as low as $2.59/month and provide a domain name for free. This means that you can start a WordPress site as low as $2.59/month.  

Best Web Hosting Companies Dreamhost
DreamHost Website Hosting

Other types of fully hosted website builders provide all of these (software, domain, and hosting) as a package. Thus, it happens to cost less than purchasing them individually.

But again, the type of website determines how much your website really costs. Complex websites with lots of functionalities have many more requirements like premium themes, add-ons, etc. So, they cost more than simple websites like a portfolio or a blog.

For the record, some website builders like Wix and Weebly let you create a website for free also. But, those websites usually have lesser functionalities and hosting features. Along with that, you can’t use a custom domain name with those free websites.


Step 2. Choose a Right Website Building Platform

As we’ve mentioned above, there are various ways to make a website.

The first one is the conventional method: building your website manually by coding with complex programming languages. Another way is to hire someone with programming knowledge and get your work done.

But, those methods are not preferred nowadays. The reason is the complexity and time consumed in learning those codes. Plus, hiring a developer requires you to pay a large amount of money.

And finally, there are online tools called website builders, which we’re going to talk about here. With a website builder, you can build a website on your own. No coding required!

Website Builders for Building Websites Easily
Website Builders for Building Websites Easily

You might be thinking how? Well, these are the smart tools designed for the same, ease of use. Most of them have a drag-and-drop editing feature which makes it easy to customize the web page elements.

Also, they offer tons of pre-designed themes and templates with beautiful design and powerful options. To add more features, there are also plugins and addons. 

However, every website builder has its own features and specialties. And, some of them are specialized in building a particular type of website. For example, Shopify is dedicated to building an online store.

So, you have to make sure you’re using the right platform that has everything your website needs.

Here are some of them.

i. WordPress.org

WordPress.Org Website Builder
WordPress Most Popular CMS

Used by more than 35% of all websites on the web, WordPress.org is the official website of the powerful, open-source WordPress software. WordPress is the most flexible and intuitive platform which you can use to build a wide variety of websites.

The WordPress software is absolutely free to download and use. It provides tons of website building services for free. In fact, you can even set up a fully functional website for free with WordPress.

However, open-source WordPress is a self-hosted service. It means that you’ll have to manage the domain names and hosting by yourself if you make a website. It may cost you a little amount of money. But still, it’s nothing compared to what developers and other platforms charge.

Pros:

  • WordPress.org is a highly powerful and flexible platform. Lets you build any type of website, a professional blog, portfolio, to an eCommerce store.
  • You can get plenty of resources for free. Over 7,500+ free WordPress themes for your site’s design, 55,000+free plugins for adding functionalities, free support via the forum on WordPress.org site.
  • There are plenty of WordPress guides and tutorials available for free on the internet. You can get an answer to your most queries, without paying any penny.
  • You’ve full control of your site. You can choose a web host as per your needs and build the site your way. No restrictions.

Cons:

  • Setting up a WordPress site may take some time for absolute beginners. Because you have to choose a domain, hosting and install WordPress.

In a nutshell, WordPress is the best platform for building professional websites. If you’re a newbie, follow the steps below one by one patiently. You can make your first website yourself.

ii. Wix

Wix Website Builder
Wix Website Builder

If you’re an absolute beginner and want to start quickly, Wix is the right platform for you. It is a beginner-friendly platform i.e. anyone without no technical skills can also make a site with it.

Unlike WordPress.org, it’s a fully hosted platform that cares for everything you need to make a site, including software, hosting, and domain. You just need to sign up to get started.

Pros:

  • Wix is a fully hosted website builder that provides everything you need to get started, including domain and hosting. Easy to start a site.
  • Offers a fully drag-and-drop interface. You can easily design beautiful webpages by dragging and dropping content elements.
  • There are 100s of predesigned templates to choose from. You can make an attractive and visually impressive site.
  • It has a free plan with its.com subdomain.

Cons:

  • You’ve limited options, actually only option to rely on Wix for all the resources. Your site uses Wix’s servers, so resources like storage space, bandwidth will be as per their plans.
  • There are limited themes and addons for your site’s design and features.

In the nutshell, Wix is suitable for small scale websites like blogs, portfolios, brochures, etc. If you’re running small businesses like café, restaurants, trainers, tours, etc., it’s great for you to get started, like over 100 million websites already using it.

iii. Squarespace

Sqaurespace eCommerce Platform
Sqaurespace Site Builder

Squarespace is a visual website builder that uses an intuitive drag-and-drop editor to design web pages. It is based on the DIY (Do It Yourself) model for building websites.

It provides 100+ elegant, customizable themes and templates that are optimized for mobile devices too. Plus, various add-ons and outstanding features help to give a nice edge to your website.

Pros:

  • Like Wix, Squarespace is also a fully-hosted platform that provides you domain name and hosting to host your site. You just need to sign up in a few steps.
  • It includes an SSL certificate, maintenance, backup, and good support facilities.
  • Dedicated customer support by the team of experts.

Cons:

  • You’ve limited options in comparison to WordPress. You can use only the Squarespace provided resources including hosting features, templates, add-ons, and third-party integration, etc.
  • The Squarespace plans get costlier when you start getting more traffic.

In the nutshell, Squarespace is a good platform for personal websites and small businesses. Also for starting a blog, it has a lot of blogging features like comment, multi-author, scheduling posts, etc.

iv. WordPress.com

WordPress.com Website
WordPress.com Website

Like Wix and Squarespace, WordPress.com is also a fully-hosted platform that facilitates website building and includes domain names and hosting plans.

You might confuse it with WordPress.org described above. It uses the same WordPress software but it’s a different business. In brief, it’s another flavor of WordPress. 

With open-source WordPress, you should find hosting and domain yourself. But with WordPress.com, everything is taken care of. You just need to purchase one of its plans. For more details, read our article on WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly platform. Simply sign up with your email address and some details about your website, your site will be ready in just some time.
  • For your site’s web design, it provides about 250 themes, a handful of plugins, and various useful features.
  • The WordPress.com platform provides you technical support along with sites’ backup and maintenance. With that, you can focus on your business and care least about the technical aspects.

Cons:

  • Unlike WordPress.org, it has a definite number of themes. You cannot use custom themes and plugins from outside the platform.
  • WordPress.com plans cost more than normal hosting plans.

In the nutshell, this platform is perfect for starting a blog for beginners and professional bloggers. However, you can make other various types of websites by expanding its features. You’ll have to upgrade to a higher plan to expand your website into a business or eCommerce website.

v. Shopify

Shopify Website Builder
Shopify eCommmerce Platform

Specifically designed for eCommerce websites, Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms. It specializes in building powerful eCommerce sites without coding.

The platform is suitable for all kinds of eCommerce solutions ranging from small to large scale stores. Also, it’s scalable i.e. you can tune up and down the storage, hosting, and other requirements as per your need.

Pros:

  • It’s an all-in-one eCommerce solution that includes everything you to start an online store. Provides domain, hosting, backup, updates, maintenance, and security.
  • Shopify provides huge options for transactions and payment methods. So, it can be used for your online shop targeting customers anywhere in the world.

Cons:

  • Shopify is a little costly platform; setting up a website on this platform takes a huge portion of your budget.

In the nutshell, Shopify is a user-friendly eCommerce platform. If you’re looking for an easy and quick way to start an online shop, then this site is for you.

vi. BigCommerce

BigCommerce eCommerce Platform
BigCommerce eCommerce Site Builder

Yet another eCommerce site builder, BigCommerce is a big brand you can trust. It lets you set up an online shop, add products, details, and then, sell products online. With tons of BigCommerce themes and tools, you can design and give functions to your online store as you want.

As the name suggests, BigCommerce is specialized in building BIG online stores. Thus, it can let you add tons of products and host a large number of visitors. Also, you can easily scale up your requirements if you want to grow your business.

Pros:

  • As BigCommerce is a fully hosted platform, it provides domain name, hosting, maintenance, backup, and security by itself.
  • With BigCommerce, you can integrate your site with other platforms like eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, and Amazon to sell across those platforms.
  • BigCommerce is one of the platforms that don’t take transaction fees. So, it can be a little less costly.

Cons:

  • BigCommerce pricing plans start from $29.95$/mo. which is costlier than other website builders.

In the nutshell, BigCommmerce is for medium-sized businesses which want a powerful platform to sell their products online.

Besides, there are many more like SiteBuilder, Site123, Jimdo, Gator, etc. You can read our article on the most popular website building platforms in detail.

Our Recommendation is WordPress.org!

We’ve tested and analyzed all these website building platforms based on ease of use, features availability, cost efficiency, web design, and users’ review. Then we came up with the conclusion that the free open-source WordPress aka WordPress.org is the best choice.

No matter what type of website you’re going to make, you’ll be capable of doing it with WordPress. From a simple blog site to a complex eCommerce store, it has the solution for you.

On the other hand, WordPress gives you a huge collection of both free and premium themes for every type of website. You can select and use the appropriate one for your particular niche.

Similarly, WordPress plugins add or extend the functionalities on your site. There is an abundance of plugins on the WordPress plugin directory and other third-party stores.

In fact, there’s a plugin for every function you want to add to your site. Which means, the WordPress plugins allow you to do pretty much everything.

Not to mention, WordPress plugin WooCommerce is the most widely used eCommerce software. Using WordPress, creating eCommerce sites is also easy. 

So, we recommend you to use the WordPress platform for building your website.

And also, the steps below are for building a WordPress website.


Step 3. Get a Domain Name & Web Hosting

As we’ve mentioned above, WordPress is a self-hosted platform. The advantage of choosing a self-hosted platform is that you can choose a domain name and hosting plan by yourself.

First, let’s understand in brief what domain name and web hosting are.

i. What is a Domain Name? (Explained)

A domain name or simply, a domain is a unique name of your website. It is the name by which users can locate your site. When people want to visit your website, they can just type your domain name in their web browsers. As a result, your website will be displayed on their screens.

For example, SiteSaga.com is the domain name of our website (the website that you’re currently in).

Custom Domain Name Example (sitesaga.com)
Domain Name Example (sitesaga.com)

A domain name provides you with an identity on the internet. It’s the name by which people will know you or your company. So you must be very careful while picking a domain. 

Here are some of the most important things to consider while selecting a domain name.

  • Get a short and catchy domain name.
  • Get a domain name that describes your websites’ purpose.
  • Try to use .com extension.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens.

If you have a domain name idea, you can check for its availability on domain name registrars. Some of the popular registrars are GoDaddy, Domain.com, DreamHost, NameCheap, etc.

Otherwise, you can use domain name generators to come up with unique and clever domain name ideas. 

ii. What is Web Hosting? (Explained)

Web Hosting Service
Web Hosting Service

Now, let’s talk about web hosting. In simple terms, web hosting is the service that allows you to upload your website on the internet. Without hosting your website, your site can’t go live and be available to the viewers.

Web hosting is carried out by hosting service providers, also called web hosts. They are the companies that store and facilitate your website by providing the required technologies. The major technologies that web hosts provide are storage space, processor, bandwidth, and database to get websites online.

Web hosts stores your website codes, texts, images, videos, etc. in special computers called servers. They are present in a remote location.

It’s not a secret that you’ll have to get a hosting service to make your site go online. So, you’ll have to get an appropriate web hosting service depending upon the type and size of your website.

Here are some of the things to remember before selecting the best hosting service for your website.

  • Estimate the expected traffic that visits your website. Then select the bandwidth as required.
  • Estimate the storage space you need to store all your website files.
  • Compare the hosting cost among different hosting platforms. And select the one that gives the best value for your money.
  • Make sure that the host provides adequate customer support.
  • Select the server in a nearer location. Having the server near your physical location enhances your website speed and performance.

Some of the most popular and best hosting services in the business are DreamHost, Bluehost, SiteGround, WPEngine, HostGator, etc. For more information, see our review of the best web hosting companies.

iii. Where to Buy Domain Name and Hosting From?

There are plenty of options for purchasing both the domain name and hosting service. You can get them separately from different platforms that we’ve mentioned above.

Also, some platforms provide both domain names and hosting from one place. So, if you’re a beginner, then getting both from one place is a better idea for you.

Doing so, you’ll save some time and effort. And more importantly, you’ll save some money too.

Some companies which provide cheap web hosting and free domain are:

  • DreamHost
  • Bluehost
  • SiteGround

Purchasing a Hosting Plan and Domain from DreamHost

For this tutorial, we’ve picked DreamHost web hosting. It’s one of the cheapest available hosting services. The basic shared hosting plan costs only $2.59 per month.

Here are the steps for purchasing a hosting plan along with a free domain with DreamHost.

Step 1: Go to www.dreamhost.com. It will take you to the homepage of the official DreamHost.

Step 2: Click on the Get Started button in the banner section or at the top right corner. Or you can click on the Hosting menu at the header.

Web Hosting with DreamHost
Starting Hosting with DreamHost

Step 3. Both buttons take you to a page containing different pricing plans. There are mainly 3 types of web hosting services offered by DreamHost: Shared, DreamPress (managed WordPress hosting), and VPS.

See the plan details carefully and pick a suitable plan. Features like how many sites the plan allows, free domain, storage space, bandwidth, etc. are important.

Sign Up With DreamHost Shared Starter Plan
Sign Up With DreamHost Shared Starter Plan

For starters, we suggest you choose the ‘Shared Starter’ plan. It’s economical and consists of the best deal for a single website.

To get started, click on the Sign Up Now button at the end.

Step 4: Now, you’ll see the Sign Up page with 3 steps. First, you can choose a payment plan; Monthly, Yearly, or 3 Year.

With the yearly and 3 year plan, you can get a free domain name, and the cost is comparatively lower than the monthly plan.

If you pick a monthly plan, then you should pay $4.95/mo. whereas $3.95/mo. with a yearly plan and just $2.95/mo. with the 3 year plan. Simply select a plan suitable for you.

Choose a Payment Plan for DreamHost Shared Hosting
Choose a Payment Plan for DreamHost Shared Hosting

Next, you can see domain name options on the same page. For new domain registration, click on the ‘Register a new domain’ option.

Step 5: After that, enter your domain name in the search box. If the domain name is available, then you can add it to your plan by clicking the ‘Add for $0.00’ button. Try another name if it’s not available.

Register New Domain With DreamHost Hosting
Register New Domain With DreamHost Hosting

Step 6: On the next screen, you’ll see the checkout page. First, you have to select a payment method and enter your account details. You can use a credit card or pay via your PayPal account.

Payment Methods to Buy DreamHost Hosting
Payment Methods to Buy DreamHost Hosting

Step 7: Next, you should set up your DreamHost account. Simply, enter your email address or click on the ‘Sign up with Google’ button if you want to use Google account for your hosting account.

Setting Up Your DreamHost Account
Setting Up Your DreamHost Account

Step 8: Below the account setup box, you can see additional options you may want with your hosting plan. Select the options that you need. Don’t forget to check the ‘Pre-Install WordPress’ option.

On the left, you can see your plan details with the total cost. Confirm your domain name and other details that you selected. Once done, click the Submit Order button at the bottom of the page.

Order Your DreamHost Web Hosting Plan
Order Your DreamHost Web Hosting Plan

Once you submit your order, DreamHost will process it and send you an email in the address you had set up your account with. You’ll get setup instructions in the email. See the next section below for step by step guide.


Step 4. Set Up Your Hosting Account and Install WordPress

After purchasing the domain and hosting, your next job is to set up your hosting account and install WordPress to get your site running.

But to start the website setup process, your hosting account order must be approved by the hosting company first. And, you should get an email notifying that with login credentials. So your job is to keep an eye in your email inbox because you may get an email anytime.

i. Logging Into Your Hosting Control Panel

In the case of DreamHost, you’ll get the email within 5 minutes of the order. The email will contain the message your hosting account is approved, instructions, and credentials to log into your hosting control panel.

DreamHost Web Hosting Account Approval Email
DreamHost Web Hosting Account Approval Email

As shown in the screenshot above, you can now log into your DreamHost control panel by going to the URL: https://panel.dreamhost.com/. DreamHost control panel login page looks like the screenshot below. Use the credentials sent to you via email to login.

DreamHost Login Page
DreamHost Login Page

After you log into your DreamHost account, you’ll see a simple hosting control panel page which looks like the the screenshot below.

DreamHost Hosting Control Panel
DreamHost Hosting Control Panel

While most web hosting providers use cPanel to manage the hosting, DreamHost offers a custom-built control panel for ease of use. The control panel includes most of the tasks offered in cPanel like managing websites, domains, databases, emails, etc.

Following the account approval email, you may get some more emails in the row notifying domain registration. As we’d chosen to register a new domain free, DreamHost will automatically process domain registration for you. Once done, you’ll get an email.

Domain Registration Success Email by DreamHost
Domain Registration Success Email by DreamHost

As we’re using both the domain name and hosting from the same place, you don’t need to do anything to link the two. DreamHost takes care of it all.

ii. Adding an SSL Certificate to Your Domain

The next important thing you must do is to add an SSL certificate to your domain.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology to establish a secure connection between the web hosting server and the browser. It ensures that the information passed between your site visitors and the site is encrypted and safe.

An SSL-enabled website’s URL will have a secure padlock icon and ‘https:’ when viewed on the browser. See the example below.

SSL Enabled Secure Site Example SiteSaga
SSL Enabled Secure Site Example SiteSaga

Whereas there will be a ‘not secure’ message if your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate.

Not Secure Website Example
Not Secure Website Example

Generally, an SSL certificate comes with some cost. But, with DreamHost, you get it for free with the hosting service. Follow the steps below to add SSL to your site.

Step 1: Go to your DreamHost control panel (panel.dreamhost.com).

Step 2: In the left sidebar, under Domains, click on SSL/TLS certificates. Then, a page with your domain name will show up. Click on the Add button next to your domain name.

Adding SSL Certificate to Your Domain on DreamHost
Adding SSL Certificate to Your Domain on DreamHost

Step 3: On the next screen, it’ll show 2 options:

  • LET’S ENCRYPT SSL CERTIFICATE (free)
  • COMODO DV CERTIFICATE (costs $15 per year)
SSL Certificate Options on DreamHost
Adding SSL Certificate to Your Domain on DreamHost

Step 4: You can choose the free Let’s Encrypt SSL for your site. You can just click on Select this Certificate below it.

A success message will display afterward. You’ll also get an email. Your site URL will now have the secure padlock icon and ‘https’, like our site (https://www.sitesaga.com).

iii. Install WordPress on Your Hosting Account

Installing WordPress is super-quick and easy with modern WordPress-specific hosting plans. Most of the top hosting companies have WordPress hosting plans which are optimized specifically for WordPress.

They usually offer these features so you can get started quickly and easily.

  • Free WordPress pre-install – You don’t need to install WordPress at all because your web host does that for you.
  • One-click install – You can install WordPress with just a single click.
  • Some essential plugins – Installs some essential plugins also, saves your time.

The DreamHost ‘Shared Starter’ plan also is one of the WordPress-optimized hosting plans. So, you’ll get all of the features but you should check these options when buying the hosting.

In case of this example, we had checked ‘Pre-Install WordPress – free’ option while purchasing the hosting (above in Step 3). So, DreamHost will automatically install WordPress for you. Once done, you’ll be notified via email.

WordPress Installation Successful Email by DreamHost
WordPress Installation Successful Email by DreamHost

WordPress is installed on your site, so you can now simply log into the WordPress dashboard.

As shown in the screenshot above, you should set your password first by clicking on the link in the email. Always choose a strong password.

Installing WordPress Using One-Click Install Option

Did you forget to choose the ‘pre-install WordPress’ option while buying the hosting? No worries, you can still install WordPress easily with just a click.

So, here are the steps for the one-click installation of WordPress with DreamHost.

Step 1: Log in to your DreamHost dashboard by using the login credentials provided to you by DreamHost via email.

Step 2: From your DreamHost control panel, go to One-Click Installs from the left sidebar. A list of several programs comes up. From there, click on WordPress.

One-Click Installation Apps on DreamHost
One-Click Installation Apps on DreamHost

Step 4: After that, a box pops up where you can fill your information. Fill in the fields:

  • Install to: Here, you should enter the domain name of your website that you want to host. In this case, select the domain name you registered earlier during the hosting account setup process.
  • Select Database: It is for adding a database if you have one. At default, it displays “Automatically Create Database”. So, you should leave it as it is and let DreamHost create a new database for you.
  • Deluxe Install: If you want some additional features, then you can check this box. The additional features include free themes, plugins, and security settings. Or, you can uncheck the deluxe install box. Those free sources will be available afterward too.
One-Click WordPress Installer on DreamHost
One-Click WordPress Installer on DreamHost

Once done, click on Install it for me now button.

Within a few minutes, you’ll receive an email with your WordPress username and a link for creating your password.

Step 5: Follow the link to create a password. Remember! Always create a strong password. Or, use an auto-generated password.

The username and password are useful for logging in to your WordPress dashboard. Once the password is set up, you can log into your WordPress dashboard and start designing.

Logging In to Your WordPress Dashboard

To log into your WordPress dashboard generally, go to your browser and type:

         ‘Your domain name’ followed by ‘/wp-login.php’ or ‘/wp-admin/’

For example: www.example.com/wp-login.php

or www.example.com/wp-admin

Note: Don’t forget to replace ‘example.com’ with your domain name.

Then, you’ll come across the login page. There, you have to enter the username and password that you set earlier. Then, click on the Login button.

WordPress Login Page
WordPress Login Page

After that, you’ll get access to your WordPress site dashboard. The dashboard is the back-end of your website where you upload files, create pages, write articles, etc. to appear on the frontend for users to see. It’s the admin area for managing your WordPress website’s content, design, and functionalities.

WordPress Dashboard
WordPress Dashboard

Next, you can start designing and developing your site. You can add desired themes, necessary plugins, available tools, settings, and so on. We’ll explain that in the steps below.

iv. Check Your Site Status

Once you’ve successfully set up your domain on hosting, and installed WordPress, your website should be live on the web. You can check that by quickly typing your domain name into your browser.

If your site is online, then the browser displays your site. If it doesn’t appear, then there must be something not set up properly. In such a case, you must go back and check your hosting control panel. If you still can’t find any issue, then contact your hosting provider company to check it.


Step 5. Choose a Theme and Customize Your Site Design

Now that your WordPress site is completely installed on your web host, it’s time to pick a suitable theme. When WordPress is installed, it also installs some default themes with the latest one activated. For example in the screenshot below, Twenty Twenty theme is active, with 2 other default themes

Pre-installed Default WordPress Themes
Pre-installed Default WordPress Themes

You can easily change the theme by installing a theme of your choice. We’ll show the step by step process of changing a theme below.

A theme is a design component of your WordPress site. A WordPress theme provides an overall outlook for your site. It works like the skeleton of a WordPress website. 

In WordPress, there are thousands of themes available for you. The official WordPress theme directory alone provides more than 7,500+ free themes. Moreover, you can look onto marketplaces and themes stores like ThemeForest, TemplateSell, etc. for free and premium themes.

i. Choosing the Best WordPress Theme for Your Site

The first step to selecting the best theme is considering your website niche. That means you should choose a theme that has enough features to build the type of website you want to build. Easily without having to customize a lot.

For example, if you want to create an eCommerce website, then you should choose a WooCommerce ready theme. If you picked a simple blog theme by chance, then it’d be really difficult adding eCommerce options you want on your site.

Luckily, there are plenty of WordPress themes specifically developed for almost all types of websites. You can easily find a theme for any type of site you may want. Here are some popular theme categories and the best themes in those categories.

For more ideas, you can take help from our article on how to choose a perfect theme for your site.

For this tutorial, we’ve chosen free Astra theme which is the #1 most popular theme ever on WordPress theme repository.

Astra Free Responsive WordPress Theme
Astra #1 Popular Free WordPress Theme

It’s a free multipurpose theme you can use for business sites, blogs, as well as eCommerce sites. Built with powerful page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, it’s a highly extensible and user-friendly theme.

Now, we’re taking you through the steps of installing a WordPress theme. From the available resources, you are free to use any theme you want. But here, we’re using the most loved multi-purpose Astra theme for demonstrating the process in detail.

ii. Installing a WordPress Theme

Step 1: Log into your WordPress admin area by going to ‘your domain’ + ‘/wp-login.php’ on your browser. For example, www.example.com/wp-login.php. Enter your username and password and click Login.

Once you’re on your WordPress Dashboard, go to the Themes option under the Appearance menu.

Dashboard >> Appearance >> Themes

WordPress Themes Option in Dashboard
WordPress Themes Option in Dashboard

Step 2: On the next page, you’ll see the already installed themes and buttons to add a new theme. You can simply click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top or ‘Add New Theme‘ box after the installed themes.

Add New Theme in WordPress
Add New Theme Option in WordPress

Step 3: Next, it’ll open the ‘Add Themes’ page with theme options from WordPress.org. As on the WordPress.org themes page, you’ll see featured themes and categories ‘Favorite’, ‘Popular’, ‘Latest’, etc. You can also add the feature filter and search the themes by typing a name or keyword.

Search WordPress Themes to Install
Search WordPress Themes to Install

Step 4: Browse through the categories, preview, and pick a theme. If you’ve already chosen a theme, then simply search it by its name. For example, we searched Astra. When you find the theme, simply click on the ‘Install‘ button.

Installing Astra WordPress Theme
Installing Astra WordPress Theme

Step 5: After the installation is complete, click on the Activate button.

Activating Astra WP theme
Activating Astra WP theme

After that, the theme will be activated on your site. You’ll see ‘New theme activated’ message and your new theme as the ‘Active’ theme.

Astra WordPress Theme Activated
Astra WordPress Theme Activated

You can see the changes on your site by visiting your site.

Don’t worry if you see your website a little bland after just activating the theme. That generally means that you’ll now have to customize your site and give it a fantastic look.

iii. Customizing the WordPress Site

Customizing your site feels really interesting. It’s because of the control you get over designing your site. And the thrill increases if the theme has lots of design and custom options.

In case you’ve installed a theme like Astra, you’ll have tons of things to do with your site. Like, you can customize the layouts of the header, footer, sidebar, page elements, colors, typography and so much. Also, you can add menu items, widgets, buttons, etc. and place them anywhere you want on the page. 

Adding a Coming Soon Plugin

Remember! You wouldn’t want your visitors to see your site before it’s ready. So, when you start designing your site, install and activate a ‘Coming Soon’ plugin on your site.

Having a coming soon plugin, your visitors will see a page that notifies your site being under development. Behind the scenes, you can carry on the designing task without any trouble.

To install a coming soon plugin, go to ‘Plugins >> Add New‘ from your WordPress Dashboard first.

'Add New Plugin' Option in WordPress
‘Add New Plugin’ Option in WordPress

On the next screen, you’ll see the ‘Add Plugins’ page with plugin options from WordPress.org. Search ‘coming soon’ in the search box and then plugins matching the keyword will appear.

Click the ‘Install Now‘ button to install a plugin. For this tutorial, we’ll install ‘CMP – Coming Soon & Maintenance Plugin by NiteoThemes‘.

Install CMP Coming Soon and Maintenance WordPress Plugin
Installing CMP Coming Soon and Maintenance WordPress Plugin

Next, you must activate the plugin. Once activated, you just need to turn on maintenance mode.

Enable Coming Soon Mode in WordPress
Enabling Coming Soon Mode in WordPress

Adding Your Site Logo and Title

Now, to start the customization, go to Appearance, and click on Customize on your Dashboard. The Customize section is the area where all the modification and customization happens.

Customize in WordPress Dashboard
Customize in WordPress Dashboard

The first thing you can do with your site is to add a suitable logo and Title. For that, go to Header on the Customize Menu.

Header Option in Astra WordPress Theme
Header Option in Astra WordPress Theme

Then click Site Identity. There, you’ll see a section to add a logo and favicon.

Adding Logo and Favicon in WordPress
Adding Logo and Favicon in WordPress

If you’ve got a logo predesigned, then you can simply upload the logo and crop it to the required dimension. Similarly, you can add the site icon, the icon displayed in the browser tab. If you don’t have a logo, then you can easily design one using logo maker tools like Canva.

Below that, you can see 2 fields: site title and site tagline. You can keep your business or site name as the site title. For the tagline, you can add your business motto or a catchy phrase.

Set Your Site Title and Tagline in WordPress
Set Your Site Title and Tagline in WordPress

You can see the changes on your site simultaneously during the time of editing. It is an important feature of WordPress and called ‘live customization’. 

To permanently save the changes, click on the Publish button at the top left.

Changing Color Schemes

Having a combination of appropriate colors in your website is really important. The colors should match and speak for your brand or business.

To change the primary colors of your theme, go to ‘Appearance >> Customize‘ and click on the ‘Global‘ option.

Global Option in Astra WordPress Theme
Global Option in Astra WordPress Theme

After that, click on ‘Colors ‘ option.

Colors Option in Astra WP Theme
Colors Option in Astra WP Theme

Next, click Base Colors‘. From there, you can change the color of texts, themes, links, headings, backgrounds, etc.

Customizing Base Colors in Astra Theme
Customizing Base Colors in Astra Theme

Changing Fonts

Same way, you can change the font style, size, weight, etc. of different texts in your website. In a more technical term, it is also called typography.

For typography customization options, go to ‘Appearance >> Customize‘ and click on the Global option. Next, click on Typography.

Typography Option in Astra WordPress Theme
Typography Option in Astra WordPress Theme

Now, there are further 2 options available: Base Typography for normal text and Headings Typography for 6 heading types (H1 to H6).

Under these options, you can select appropriate fonts for text and headings. Also, you can set font size, weight, case options, etc. for those fonts.

Customizing Base Typography in Astra Theme
Customizing Base Typography in Astra Theme

Like these, there are tons of other customization options. In fact, there are lots of customization possible with WordPress themes. So frankly, it’s quite impossible to list out and guide you through all the available options.

But good news! It’s easy to customize your site. So, why don’t you experiment with it yourself? Be playful and give it a try? Maybe you can come up with some cool designs and use them on your site.

Note: Remember that the number of customization options on your site depends upon the theme you’re using. Also, different themes may have customization settings under a different name or heading.


Step 6. Configure Your WordPress Site Settings

Configuring your site means adjusting your website entities to function better. WordPress allows tuning your website’s internal settings to specify how it functions. Also, you can set how your website elements and pages appear to the visitors.

You can find WordPress settings under the ‘Settings‘ menu in your dashboard admin panel.

WordPress Settings
WordPress Settings

Here, we’ll talk about some of the important settings. Then, you can try others on your own according to your likes. To start off, you can work with the general settings in the beginning.

i. Configuring General Settings

When you click on the General button under Settings, you can see tons of fields and options.

General Settings in WordPress
General Settings in WordPress

As you can see on the figure, the things you can do from here are:

  • Edit your site title and tagline
  • View your website URL, email address, etc. (You can also edit your website URL and WordPress URL but it’s not recommended because it can crash your site.)
  • Enable or disable user registration
  • View site language (You can also change your site language but it can cause errors on your site.)
  • Change your site’s timezone, date and time format, etc.

If you changed anything, then you should click on the Save Changes‘ button at the end to save your settings.

ii. Disable Search Engine Visibility Until Your Site is Ready

Another important setting is Search Engine Visibility. By default, your WordPress site is visible to search engines after it’s published live. But you may not want that when your site is in development (maintenance) mode and no useful content is displayed.

In WordPress, you can easily disable search engine visibility and stop search engines from crawling your site until your site is ready.

Go to ‘Settings >> Readings’ from your WordPress dashboard and locate ‘Search Engine Visibility’ option. You can see a small check box for disabling your site to be visible on search engines.

Discourage Search Engine Visibility for WordPress Coming Soon Page
Discourage Search Engine Visibility for WordPress Coming Soon Page

Check the box and click on the ‘Save Changes‘ button at the bottom.

Note: Please don’t forget to remove the check as soon as your site is fully ready with actual features and content. You can save a note for yourself to do this later.

iii. Configuring SEO-Friendly Permalinks

Permalink is a unique link that appears on your browser’s address bar when you open a particular web page. It’s the full URL of any page on the web, also called the ‘permanent link’.

A permalink is normally composed of 2 parts: domain name and slug. Slug is the part of a permalink that comes after the domain name.

For example, the permalink of this article is: https://www.sitesaga.com/how-to-make-a-website/. In this link, the first part (https://www.sitesaga.com) is domain and the other part (/how-to-make-a-website/) is the slug.

In WordPress, there are different options for your permalink structure. You can choose a plain link with post ID, show date or month and name, post name, post number, etc.

However, it’s best to choose the ‘post name’ for better search engine optimization. The permalink is what search engines and your site visitors use to view your site, so it’s best to create a simple and easy to understand slug.

To set a simple and SEO-friendly permalink, go to ‘Settings >> Permalinks’ from your WordPress dashboard and choose ‘Post Name’.

Setting SEO-friendly Permalink Structure in WordPress
Setting SEO-friendly Permalink Structure in WordPress

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes‘ button at last.

With this setting, WordPress will automatically create short and descriptive URLs with your post name. You can edit the slug further from your post settings before publishing.

iv. Configuring Discussion Settings

Basically, discussion settings in WordPress are for managing comments on your blog posts. They are to help you approve comments, set comments validity, get notification of comments, control comment spam, and more.

To adjust these settings, you can go to ‘Settings >> Discussion’. There, you’ll see lots of checkbox options. You can tick and untick the boxes according to how you want the comment settings.

Discussion Settings in WordPress
Discussion Settings in WordPress

Some important settings you should look for are:

  • Other Comment Settings: Check ‘Comment author must fill out name and email’
  • Before a comment appears: Check ‘Comment must be manually approved’ 
  • Comment Moderation: Hold a comment in the queue if it contains (1) or more links.

With these settings configured, you’ll protect your site against comment spamming, however, that’s not enough. You must use comment anti-spam plugins like Akismet or Antispam Bee. We’ll explain about must-have plugins in Step 8 below.

Likewise, there are many more settings under the Settings section of the dashboard. For instance, you can go to the Media section to control the dimensions of images. You can take a look yourself from your own WordPress Dashboard.


Step 7. Start Adding Content on Your WordPress Site

In the beginning, your WordPress site would look blank no matter which theme you install. It’s your job to add content to your site. You should add the type of content that you want your users to see. 

There are mainly 2 types of content you can add in WordPress: 

  1. Pages 
  2. Posts

The main difference between the two is what they’re used for. Pages are mainly designed for static content like about us, contact page, home, etc. Whereas posts are used for dynamic content like blog articles, news, and reviews which tend to change with time. 

Besides pages and posts, other content elements commonly used in WordPress sites are menus and widgets. We’ve shown the step by step process for creating all of these below. 

Getting Started with WordPress Block Editor ‘Gutenberg’

When you start to add a page or post, you’ll get a similar type of editor interface. The editor is commonly called ‘Block Editor’, ‘WordPress Editor’, ‘WordPress Block Editor’, or also ‘Gutenberg Editor’. Gutenberg is the code name of the new WordPress block editor. 

As the name speaks, the block editor is an entirely block-based editing area. Every piece of content is a block, like ‘Paragraph’ block for a paragraph, ‘Image’ block for an image, ‘Heading’ tag for the headings or subheadings, ‘List’ for list items. 

WordPress Block Editor
WordPress Block Editor AKA Gutenberg Editor

Adding content and editing with the WordPress block editor is easy and user-friendly. Anyone without technical skills can also easily make beautiful pages and post articles with this. 

The step by step process to using the Gutenberg editor is shown below in Creating Pages and Posts sections below. 

Note:  If you’re using an older version of WordPress, then you’ll find the old Classic editor instead. You can use the Classic editor also with the new WordPress version (WordPress 5.0 and later versions after) if you want. But you need to download and install the Classic Editor plugin for that.

Now, let’s see how you can add content to your WordPress site.

i. Creating Pages in WordPress

Most of the websites have a similar structure of web pages.  Pages are usually more static types of content that you don’t often change. They consist mainly of Homepage, About Page, Contact Page, Blog, Service Page, etc.

In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Pages and then, Add New.

'Add New Page' Option in WordPress
‘Add New Page’ Option in WordPress

With that, you’ll come across ‘Add New Page’ with the modern Gutenberg block editor. It has the 2 main sections: ‘Main content area’ in the middle and ‘Settings panel’ in the right sidebar.

All the content like text and images should be added to the main content area. And you can configure and customize the content from the Settings panel on the right. 

To start, you can add the title in the ‘Add Title’ section. For example, we’ll create an ‘about us’ page.

Adding Page Title in WordPress Block Editor
Adding Page Title in WordPress Block Editor

Below the ‘Title block’, you can see ‘Start writing or type / to choose a block’. 

Now you can start typing into that field if you want to add text content there. As you start typing, you’ll see the ‘Paragraph’ block settings in the ‘Settings’ panel on the right sidebar. 

Adding Paragraph in WordPress Block Editor
Adding Paragraph in WordPress Block Editor

But if you want to add some other type of content like image, audio, list items, etc. then you need to type ‘/’ and choose the right block. 

Gutenberg Editor Adding Block With Slash
Adding Block With Slash (/)

Or you can click on the small ‘Plus button’ at the right end of the block to add a new block.  On clicking, a number of block types will pop up.

Gutenberg Editor Adding Block With Button
Adding Block With Button

Let’s say you want to add an image to your page. Just click on Image from there. Choose an image by dragging, uploading manually, or from the WordPress media library (if you already have images in the library).

Adding Image in WordPress Block Editor
Adding Image in WordPress Block Editor

After uploading the image, be sure to insert image title, caption, and alt text from the Setting panel.

Adding Alt Text and Caption to Image in WordPress
Adding Alt Text and Caption to Image in WordPress

Similarly, you can add various types of content elements like a gallery, buttons, lists, headings, etc. with the blocks and create a beautiful page. Combine them in your own unique way. Feel free to use the settings to make tiny adjustments.

In fact, a lot of settings and controls are available with the Gutenberg editor to design your page. It’s actually up to you how you decide to create one.

After everything is done, click on the ‘Publish‘ button at the top right corner of the page.

Choosing Homepage for Your WordPress Site

In WordPress, you can choose either a static page or show the latest posts to your site’s front page. For your information, both of these homepage types are equally popular.

If you want to make a static home page, then you can create a stunning static page using the steps mentioned above. Try adding different available blocks, experiment with them. Use images, icons, forms, tables, widgets, sliders, media, etc., adjust each block with the setting panel and create a homepage your own way.

Designing a homepage may take some time. But if you like your theme’s demo site, then you can import it on your site with just a few clicks and customize it. Most themes nowadays provide one-click demo import feature.

Demos are the premade templates that you can import and set on your website. In Astra, you can see hundreds of beautiful demos in Demo Pages on their official website. To add a demo to your site, you’ll first have to install their Starter Templates plugin.

For that, you need to go to the Plugins > Add New on your dashboard. Search ‘Starter Templates’ from the search bar, install, and activate it.

Astra Demo Template Importing Plugin
Astra Starter Templates Plugin

Then, go to Appearance > Starter Templates. After that, you’re asked to choose a page builder (choose Gutenberg for now). And then, choose an appropriate template from the list.

Astra Starter Demo Templates for Importing
List of Importable Demos

On the next page, you can see all the webpages of the template separately. And at the bottom right of the page, there are buttons to import the web pages. You can import the whole site if you want. But for now, let’s only import the home page.

Astra Theme Demo and Site Import
Importing Demo Pages

Importing the web page may take some time. After it’s done, you are free to make modifications, use your own images, texts, add or remove blocks, etc.

Now to add it to the homepage, go to Settings > Reading Settings from your WordPress admin. On the next page, you’ll see an option to select your homepage. There you can tick on the static page and below, select the page you’ve created.

Choosing Static Home Page
Choosing Static Home Page

ii. Creating Posts in WordPress

Posts are the informative content of your website. Posts are dynamic types of content like articles on your website. Unlike pages, posts are for timely articles which you can update often. They usually appear in the Blog section of your website.

To create posts, just go to Posts >> Add New from your Dashboard.

'Add New Post' Option in WordPress
‘Add New Post’ Option in WordPress

On the next page, you’ll come across the Gutenberg editor. Now, you can start by adding your post title. The process of adding content in a post is same as on a page that we explained above.

Creating Post with WordPress Gutenberg Editor
Creating a Post in WordPress

After that, you can add paragraphs, images, media, tables, widgets, and so on. For that, you can use the Gutenberg blocks the same way we’ve shown you above.

Once you’ve added all the content elements you want on your post, you need to configure some options from the Document Settings. Click on the ‘Document’ tab inside the Settings panel. 

Configuring Post Settings From Document Tab
Configuring Post Settings

From there, you can choose the visibility option – make it public or private, publish option – publish immediately or schedule. Besides, you can edit your post permalink, set a featured image, add or choose an article category, enable or disable comments, etc.

When everything is set up, you can publish the post by clicking the ‘Publish’ button on the top right corner.

iii. Adding a Navigational Menu

The navigational menu is the area on the top of your website that guides visitors to other pages. You can add links to your important pages like blog, contact, about, product pages, pricing, or specific articles in the navigation menu. 

To have a menu, you should first have web pages for each individual menu item. So, the first step is to create web pages that you want to add on the menu.

List of Pages in a Site
List of Pages

We’ve already talked about creating pages, posts in the previous steps. So, you can follow the same procedure for creating pages.

Now, to add those pages to your navigational menu, go to ‘Appearance > Menus’ from your WordPress admin panel.

After that, follow the following steps on the next page.

  1. Under the Menu Structure heading, add a Menu Name.
  2. Select the pages that you want to add to the menu.
  3. Click on Add to Menu.
Selecting Pages to Add in Header Menu
Adding Pages in Menu

Arrange the menu items in order by dragging and dropping.

You also need to choose a display location for the menu. Normally, the options are shown in the ‘Menu Settings’ at the bottom. Choose where you want to display the menu. 

Finally, save the menu by clicking the Save Menu button.

Arranging Menu Structure by Drag-and-Drop
Arranging Menu Structure

After completing these steps, quickly visit your site from the dashboard to see the navigation you added just before.

iv. Adding Widgets to Sidebars & Footer

Widgets are small code snippets that are used to add features or content to your website’s sidebars and other widget areas. Some of the commonly used widgets are search box, calendar, gallery, audio, etc.

The places on your web page where you can add widgets are called widget areas. Generally, every website has widget areas in places like in sidebars and footers. 

Note that the widget areas may vary in every theme. So, we can’t exactly affirm where you can add the widgets. Also, the modern block editor Gutenberg as well as page builders like Elementor let you add the widgets in your main content area too.

Also, WordPress offers a handful of basic widgets at default. Plus, the themes and plugins you install may also provide some widgets. 

For example, if you install WooCommerce, the eCommerce plugin, then widgets like Product Search, Product Filter, Cart, etc will be available to use on your site.

Now, to add and manage widgets, you can simply go to ‘Appearance > Widgets‘.

There you can see a number of widgets on the left. The newly installed widgets will also be displayed there.

While on the right, you can see 8 areas listed out where you can place your widgets.

Available Widgets and  Widget Areas in WordPress
Widgets and Widget Areas

Let’s say you want to add a search bar in the header.

Simply, you can scroll below to find the search bar widget. Then, click on it to select the area where you want to place it. In this case, select Header and then, select Add Widget.

Adding Search Widget in Header
Adding Search Widget in Header

You can give the widget a title from the right widget area if you like. Or, you can just leave it empty.

Then, the widgets will be added to your header.

Similarly, you can add more widgets in other areas too. Also, you can install other widgets like live chat, social share button, maps, forms, etc. if not available in the collection already.


Step 8. Add Essential Plugins and Tools

Your site may not have all the functions that you want in the beginning. But, you can always add the extra features you like. Adding features on your WordPress site is facilitated by WordPress Plugins.

A WordPress plugin is a software that you can add to your WordPress site to add a feature. Each plugin serves a unique purpose on your site. For example, WPForms is a plugin for adding contact forms on your site.

You can select and use from more than 57,000 free plugins from the WordPress.org plugin directory only. Plus, you can download and install the best plugins manually on your site from third-party sources.

i. How to Install & Manage Plugins in WordPress?

To manage the plugins on your site, go to ‘Plugins > Installed Plugins‘ from your WordPress Dashboard. On the next page, you’ll see a list of installed plugins which you can update, activate, deactivate, and remove.

Installed Plugins Page in WordPress Dashboard
Installed Plugins Page in WordPress Dashboard

To install a new plugin, click on the Add New‘ button at the top of the Installed Plugins page or visit ‘Plugins > Add New‘ from your WordPress admin area.

'Add New Plugin' Option in WordPress
‘Add New Plugin’ Option in WordPress

On the next screen, you’ll see plugins from the official WordPress plugin repository. From here, you can search for a plugin by its name or a keyword and directly install it to your site.

But if you want to install a premium plugin or pre-downloaded plugin (you’ve plugin file on your local device), then you should click on the ‘Upload Plugin‘ button first, and then install it.

For example, we searched the ‘contact form’ keyword and plugins like Contact Form 7, WPForms appeared. Of them, we’ll install WPForms by clicking on the ‘Install Now‘ button.

Installed Plugins Page in WordPress Dashboard
Installed Plugins Page in WordPress Dashboard

After that, you can click on the activate button, if you want to start using it right away. Or, you can also activate it afterward from the Installed Plugins page.

ii. Best Must-Have WordPress Plugins and Tools

Now, we’re going to discuss some important and best WordPress plugins that you should install for a start.

1. WPForms

WPForms Free WordPress Plugin
WPForms WordPress Form Plugin

WPForms is a simple and user-friendly WordPress contact form plugin with an easy drag-and-drop form builder. With WPforms, you can create various types of forms like contact form, sign up form, suggestion, etc.

With a variety of options provided, you can add tons of fields and edit them as you like. You can use fields like text, dropdowns, emails, sliders, checkboxes, and so on. Also, you can drag and drop the fields to set them in the order you like.

Pricing: Free (paid version also available)

2. Akismet Anti-Spam

Akismet Free Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin
Akismet Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin

Every blog on the web is prone to spam comment issues like comment flooding, link advertising, etc. And, your website is no exception to that. So, you should use a plugin for blocking spam comments on your site.

For that, the Akismet Anti-Spam plugin is the most recommended. It’s the most popular spam preventing plugins with over 5 million downloads. It is developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. And, it’s one of the 2 plugins that comes installed with WordPress.

Pricing: Free for personal sites only. If you need a free alternative for your commercial site or blog, then you can use the Antispam Bee plugin.

3. UpdraftPlus

UPdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin
UpdraftPlus Free WordPress Backup Plugin

Backing up is the first and most important step for securing your website from data loss. It is the process of creating copies and saving your website files in remote locations.

In WordPress, UpdraftPlus is the most popular plugin for backing up your website files. Also, you can easily restore the backup files and migrate your website files if required.

Pricing: Free (paid version also available)

4. Wordfence

Wordfence WordPress Security Plugins
Wordfence Free WordPress Security Plugin

Your website is vulnerable to various kinds of threats if you haven’t taken any security measures. For example, a forcible attempt to sign in to your admin panel, flooding your comment with spam, unusual visits, etc.

So, you need to have a security plugin to keep safe from these kinds of threats. Among tons of plugins available, we recommend using the Wordfence Security plugin. It is the most used and high rated security plugin in WordPress.

For more information, please check our detailed guide on website security.

Pricing: Free (paid version also available)

5. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO Free WordPress SEO Plugins
Yoast SEO Free WordPress Plugin

A website is useful only if it reaches the targeted visitors. Here’s a fact, websites get most of their visitors from search engines. So, you should make your website discoverable from search engines, mainly Google.

Technically, the process of using measures for making your site visible in search engines is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

For your WordPress site, Yoast is a very useful SEO plugin. It provides you SEO guidelines, checks SEO scores, checks readability, etc.

Pricing: Free (paid version also available)

6. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache Free Caching Plugin
WP Super Cache WordPress Plugin

Caching is the process of saving the web pages as static pages so that it would load faster whenever people visit your site. Caching results in increasing your website speed and enhancing users’ experience on your site.

So, using caching software is crucial for your site. Also, you may already know that site speed is an important factor for ranking your site on Google.

For that purpose, we recommend using the WP Super Cache plugin. It is a popular plugin that offers lots of caching functions for free. It is easily available from the WordPress Plugins section in the Dashboard.

Pricing: Free (paid version also available)

7. Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons

Social Media Share Buttons and Sharing Icons
Social Media Share Buttons and Sharing Icons

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. are the most popular websites people are engaged with nowadays. To grab people’s attention on social media, it’s essential your website has social media integration.

Social Media Share Buttons and Sharing Icons is the most popular social media plugin on WordPress. It lets you add social share buttons on your pages, posts, and other areas of your webpage.

Just install it from the plugins section of the dashboard and see all the options it has to offer.

Pricing: Free (paid version also available)

8. Site Kit by Google 

Site Kit by Google Plugin for Analytics and Search Console Integration
Site Kit by Google Plugin for Analytics and Search Console Integration

Now, your site needs a traffic analyzing plugin, no matter what kind of website it is. The most popular website analytics tool is Google Analytics. It’s a free tool from Google. 

To use the service, you must create a Google Analytics account and connect your WordPress site with it. 

In WordPress, it’s easy to add Google Analytics with a plugin. Site Kit by Google is a free plugin by Google company itself which helps you through the entire process of creating an Analytics account and connecting with your site.

Once the setup process is complete, you can view the analytics result easily from your WordPress admin panel.

Pricing: Free

9. Mailchimp for WordPress

Mailchimp for WordPress Plugin
Mailchimp for WordPress Plugin

Every website should adopt an email marketing strategy to grow their site. It involves collecting email addresses and sending out emails about new products, posts, updates, notification, etc. Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing services.

In WordPress, you can use the plugin ‘MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress’ to integrate Mailchimp to your site. The plugin lets you easily connect your WordPress site with Mailchimp and increase your email subscribers.

Pricing: Free (Paid add-on also available)

10. WooCommerce

WooCommerce Free WordPress eCommerce Plugin
WooCommerce Plugin for eCommerce

If you want to sell things via your site, then WooCommerce is the best option. Developed by Automattic, WooCommerce is the most popular plugin to set up an online store.

It provides a complete set of eCommerce solutions like adding products, adding carts, choosing payment and shipping methods, searching and filtering products, etc. If you need more features, then you can find tons of addons and extensions both free and premium.

Pricing: Free

So, these are the most useful plugins that websites generally use to keep their site running. However, you might not need all of these plugins on your site i.e. some of them are optional too.

For example, you don’t need to install the Akismet plugin for a static portfolio that doesn’t have the comment section. So, be sure of which plugins you need and then, install them accordingly.


Step 9. Check Everything and Publish Your Website

After effectively completing the above steps, you’ll have almost everything in place and ready to publish your site. However, we suggest that you check your site once top to bottom.

It’s just to make sure that your site has no defects; and you’ll have everything in order. And also, your visitors will have an excellent experience browsing through your site if it’s optimized.

After all, a website is the foundation of your business growth and credibility. So, you should spend some time checking and fixing the issues on your website.

So, here are the things to cover before finally publishing your site.

i. Proofread all the Content

Sometimes, little blunders go unnoticed during the writing and editing of content. There may have left some faults in grammar, spelling, or formatting. So, you should proofread your posts and pages to get rid of those things.

You can take help from online tools like Grammarly. You can simply add its browser extension and it automatically tracks grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, unwanted phrases, etc. on your webpages. Plus, it provides the appropriate suggestions that you can use and make your content better.

Grammarly
Grammarly

ii. Check WordPress Settings Again

Re-check your WordPress settings and ensure that everything is in place. As already discussed above, you can regulate your sites’ adjustments from the Settings menu in your dashboard. And some alterations may be required in the plugin’s settings too.

Mainly, you have to make your site visible to search engines. You can manage it by going to ‘Settings > Reading‘ from your dashboard. On the page, make sure that the ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’ option is not checked.  

Enabling Indexing from Reading Settings
Enabling Search Engine Visibility

But most importantly, you have to configure the Yoast SEO plugin at its best for better search rankings in search engines.

Similarly, you can check the configuration of discussion (comments), media, and permalinks from the Settings under respective sub-menu names. And, fix if there are any issues left.

iii. Test All the Links

Sometimes, your website may have problems with broken links (dead links). They are the links that don’t work and show an error when clicked.

Your website may have broken links due to many reasons like change in URL, deleted webpage, etc. Also sometimes, links don’t work when you accidentally alter the URL characters.

To solve the problem, you can use free online tools like the Broken Link Checker. Just insert your website URL and find if there are any broken links. Then, you can edit your content pages and fix the issues by redirections.

iv. Check Images on Your Site

Images are the important assets of your website. So, you should use images on your site after optimizing. Image optimization means reducing the image size without reducing its quality. This way, your image looks great, loads faster, and minimizes server storage.

To minimize the image sizes, you can use various online tools like TinyPNG, Compressor.io, etc. There are a lot more like these on the web.

However, there are lots of plugins for minifying the images in WordPress itself. Most of the popular ones are Smush, Imagify, etc.

Image Optimizing WordPress Plugins
Image Optimizing Plugins

And, don’t forget to check titles and alt tags of each image. These tags help Google and other search engines understand what the image is about. So, it would rank better in search engines’ image search.

v. Test Your Site Speed

Website speed is associated with your site’s growth in lots of ways. Faster websites rank higher in Google and provide a better user experience. Also, studies show that people tend to quit websites that take a longer time to load.

So, you should optimize your site speed. You should try various methods to speed up your website.

Also, you can check your website speed with tools like PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, Pingdom, etc. They not only give speed insights but also provide feedback on things to improve to speed up the site.

GTmetrix Speed Testing Online Tool
GTmetrix Speed Test

vi. Test Your Site for Mobile

Make sure that your website runs fine on small screen devices too. You may be amazed to know that more than 50% of users surf the internet through smartphones and tablets. So, you should have a responsive website that runs seamlessly on all the devices.

To test the responsiveness of your site, the easiest way is by restoring your browser. First, open your site on a browser, and then click on the restore button. Then, narrow down the screen to see how it looks with small screens.

Besides, you can check the mobile-friendliness of your website using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Just input your URL and get your result instantly.

Google Mobile Friendly Test
Google Mobile Friendly Test

vii. Check Your Site on Different Web Browsers

You might know that Google Chrome is the most popular browser with over 60% of the market share. However, if your website is only accessible with Chrome, then you’ll be missing out on the rest of 40% of users.

So, you should make sure that your website runs well in other major web browsers like Opera, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.

To check the browser compatibility of your site, you can use online tools like Browsershots, Turbo Browser Sandbox, Browsera, etc.

Browsera Browser Compatibility Testing Tool
Browsera Compatibility Checker

After checking everything, your site is ready to go live. You just need to disable the ‘Coming Soon’ plugin if you’ve set it earlier (as suggested in Step 5). After disabling it, your site will be published and available for visitors.


Step 10. Continue Improving and Marketing Your Website

After publishing the site, you’ll have reached a milestone. It’ll be ready to host web traffic and provide your services to the visitors.

However, your duty as a website owner won’t end here. You should realize that launching the site is just the beginning.

Here’s an obvious fact, users won’t visit your website until they discover it. Also, they won’t stay long if it has dull design and boring content. So, you should work on constantly improving and promoting your site.

To improve your site, here is the list of things you should take care of.

1. Improve content

You should keep on uploading more content to keep your site running. This will keep a steady flow of visitors to your site.

Moreover, consider providing more interactive and interesting content like videos and podcasts. And also, update your previous posts timely with fresh information that your visitors can rely on.

Create YouTube Videos
Create YouTube Videos

2. Improve design

Design is what attracts the users’ attention on your site. If your website has an appealing look and easy interface, then your visitors are likely to come again. So, you need to keep improving your website design.

You can work on making navigation easier so that the visitors can easily move through different pages. Also, choose your website color combination that is easy on the eyes.

3. Enhance Security

Your website may be a vital part of your business and earning. Thus, you must keep it safe from cyber-attacks and data breaches.

To increase your WordPress site security, it’s compulsory to use security plugins. They allow you to set the 2-step verification login, locking multiple failed logins, blocking unusual visiting patterns, and so on.

Two-Factor Authentication Website Security
Two-Factor Authentication

For a WordPress site, the maximum threats come from plugins as it’s provided by external parties. So, you should check the background of plugin authors, reviews, ratings, etc. And, install only the trusted ones.

Besides, back up your website files and data from time to time in case it gets hacked. Check out our complete website security guide to keep your site secure.

4. Add features like chat, forum

If you offer products and services with your site, then it’s important to provide your customers with good support.

For that, you can integrate a live chat facility to your site later on. This enables your customers to contact you easily for any help or suggestion. To add a live chat facility, you can use various WordPress plugins available at WordPress.org.

WordPress Live Chat Plugins
Live Chat Plugins

Also, you can add a forum on your site. Having that, you can allow users to conduct discussions on various related topics. It can help you to gain reviews and feedback from users.

We suggest using the most popular bbPress plugin to add a forum to your WordPress site easily.

5. Make Your Site Multilingual

Upgrading to a multilingual site lets your website translate to different languages. Having that, you can gain visitors, clients, or customers from all around the world. Thus, having a multilingual website helps your business grow.

WPML WordPress Multilingual WordPress Plugin
WPML WordPress Multilingual WordPress Plugin

In WordPress, it’s more than easy to enable the multiple languages of your site. Plugins like WMPL, Polylang, etc. enable translation so that your site can go multilingual.

6. SEO

You need to keep improving the SEO of your site in order to reach more users. More visitors mean more potential customers and eventually, more revenue.

You should work on various on-page and off-page measures of SEO. Mainly, you should work on using keywords, optimizing URLs, internal and external linking, speed, security, etc. to improve SEO score on your site.

If you want to do better SEO to your site, then you can check our definitive SEO guide for beginners for best SEO tips.

7. Social Media Marketing

According to stats, about 3 billion people are active on various social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. That’s why; social media marketing can be an effective strategy to derive more traffic to your site.

To begin, you should necessarily have a social media presence. And then, you’ll have to get in touch with the targeted audience, and then publish your content and provide links to your website. There, you’ll have to engage and interact with your audience to gain trust and build the credibility of your business.

If you are willing to spend some money, then you can also run sponsored advertisements to be discovered by more people.

8. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most popular ways to lead traffic to your site. Also, it’s been seen effective since the past.

Many big companies adopt this method for updating people about their products, services, updates, etc. You can make similar efforts to gain visitors by promoting your content over emails.

It involves gathering a list of email addresses and then sending them mail in a group. You can take advantage of the free plugin Mailchimp for running email marketing campaigns.


Conclusion

Let’s wrap up.

We hope that you understand how to make a website using WordPress. Also, we’re sure that you’ll be able to build a professional website on your own. Following this guide step-by-step, you’ll have your website ready in no time.

Still, having some confusion? Or need any kind of help with website building? Then, please comment below. We’ll be happy to help you.

Also, if you want to gain more visitors to your site, then you can check our beginner’s SEO guide.

If you like this article, then please share it with your friends and colleagues.

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SiteSaga Editorial is a team of highly experienced writers, marketers, and web developers. We're here to help beginners get online with their self-made websites or blogs and succeed.

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