Let me guess, you want to discover how to create a WordPress website without forking out tons of money? But you’re a complete beginner and have zero coding experience whatsoever? In addition, you are confused with all the overwhelming information out there, the endless tools, plugins, website platforms, and you just don’t know where to start right?
Well look no further. This information is for you. I’m going to teach you how to create a WordPress website from scratch without any coding whatsoever. And you’ll look like an absolute pro doing it too. I guarantee at the end of this guide, your confidence will skyrocket and that website you’ve long desired will all of the sudden be within your reach. Tune in.
Hi everyone, Mark here from Making Websites Easy. If you don’t know who we are, we make making websites easy for the uninitiated. We provide guides, tips and tricks in order to make your process efficient and as trouble free as possible.
Anyone Can Create A Website. No Coding Required.
Have you ever stared at a multitude of websites and wondered “how on Earth did they make that website?”. Well usually, the answer is more than likely, that the creation was outsourced to a professional that makes websites for a living. This usually means spending money and lots of it, and let’s face it, the majority of us don’t have that sort of money when we’re just starting out. Right?
My Website Creation Journey Is Like Yours
When I started, I didn’t have the tools or the technical know-how to make websites. And I still don’t. I can’t code if my life depended on it! But I discovered how to build my websites without needing to code. But because I couldn’t code, it meant that I was left with a mediocre looking website. I would then buy pre-made WordPress themes that I could tinker with using clunky website builders (which mind you slowed the website right down). It only offered limited customization though, since I was restricted in what I could actually edit. It lacked the full control that I needed without having to code.
Writing custom code for your website was becoming obsolete and completely unnecessary for the uninitiated
But as timed progressed, so too did technology. More and more website builders were being created and the existing ones being fine tuned. All of the sudden, making beautiful websites from scratch was becoming a whole lot easier. Contrary to popular belief, writing custom code for your website was becoming obsolete and completely unnecessary for the uninitiated.
Yes, having coding knowledge can be useful if you want to create your own theme or plugin. But I’m pretty sure you’re not here to do that, you’re here to find out how to make a WordPress website with the same quality and craftsmanship as a professional who does this for a living. Which means none of that technical knowledge matters. Especially today, where new would-be website creators have plenty of tools at their disposal, and I’m here to tell you exactly which ones you should be using.
Really? It’s That Easy?
You betcha. If I had to choose between starting a website in this day and age versus when I actually started many years ago, I would actually pick today. Simply because of those reasons. There’s just simply no reason to know how to code, and the barrier to entry is so much lower.
I’ve developed a proven step by step set of instructions, which has constantly been revised through years of experimenting. Through a myriad of templates, themes, plugins, different website platforms, you name it. I’ve finally figured out the best formula for making your own website and the best thing is, anyone can easily follow this. You no longer need to stare blankly at your screen and wonder where to start. We’ll show you exactly how!
Why You Need A Website
Do you need a website? I assume because you are here, that you do. But do you really need one? If you can answer yes to all the following questions then yes you really need one.
Question 1: Do You Want More Exposure?
No matter what industry you’re in, the business that you own, the interests and hobbies that you have, a website will bring what you have to offer to more people. For example, you may have a cafe/gym/chiropractic business that would obviously benefit from more customers. A website will enable you to reach more people locally.
Have a hobby collecting stamps or have an expertise in the subject of butterflies? No problem, show off your skill and knowledge to the masses with a blog. A blog is just a moniker for ‘web log’. Each post or article is a journal entry into your online diary.
Are you a retailer with products that are currently only selling locally? With a website, you can think globally using the power of an e-commerce website to sell your products. An e-commerce website is just an online storefront for your products. It is just like any other website.
Are you a photographer or an artist and would like to showcase your portfolio? A website is a great way to build your reputation and receive more enquiries for any potential future work.
Lastly, are you looking for a job and need a creative way to display your CV instead of writing a boring Word document? Enter the flexibility of making your own website. The added benefit to this approach is that you can show your prospective employer just how competent you are with website creation!
Question 2: Do You Want Something Low Cost?
Think about how much you would spend hiring a ‘professional’ website developer to create your WordPress website. Think in the high hundreds and even thousands. The result is something you would get if you follow my step by step method that I will reveal later. This is because they are most probably doing the same thing! They’re just hoping that you never find out, otherwise they’d be out of work.
Now think about this. If you are told that starting your own website can be done on the cheap without any coding, for less than $50, would you do it yourself? Heck yeah! Why pay thousands of dollars for something you can accomplish yourself with little effort? Later you’ll find out just how much money you can save.
Question 3: Do You Want Something That Works Around The Clock?
In Question 1 I mention the importance for businesses like cafes, retail stores and photographers to acquire their own online presence. Normally, without it, their exposure is limited to the 9 to 5 work day. However, a website is constantly up and running tirelessly continuing to work away 24 hours a day, every single day. It continues to serve information to your audience. They can come and visit you even while you’re asleep!
Question 4: Do You Want Something That’s Low Maintenance?
This follows on from Question 3 above. The upkeep and general maintenance required to continually work around the clock is virtually next to none. Apart from updating and adding new content, there really isn’t much else you need to worry about. Not that creating content is something to be worried about. Once you’ve settled for a look and feel, the only thing that is really maintained is the web hosting server on which the website is hosted. But that’s the job of the web hosting company altogether, which I’ll cover later on.
How Do Websites Work?
Before I reveal my step by step method, let’s have a bit of fun first and look at how websites work. I think it will help you, especially if you’re just starting out. It will help you understand the bigger picture and allow you to piece all the different things together, so that the next time you hear about a particular term like ‘hosting’ or ‘plugins’ or ‘database’, you’ll be like “hey I know what that is and what it’s for!”.
Don’t let me scare you off here. Although most of the things I’ll be talking about are quite simple in their function, don’t think for a minute that you need to know what they are and how they work. I’m simply going to explain the different cogs that make websites work as background information, and it is certainly not a prerequisite in creating your own. All you need to know is that they are needed for your website to run. That’s all.
A Website Is Like A House
I like to explain things with analogies because I believe that it facilitates for better understanding. For example, if you look at the infographic below, I explain the world in which websites exist.
The world is the World Wide Web, the Internet.
A house is a website
The land on which the house is situated is the web hosting
The address of the house is the domain name
Lastly, the house builder is the website building platform
If you would like to see a more in-depth explanation into each of these pieces and how they interconnect with each other, read the article from which the above infographic originated, How do websites work?.
But Where Does The Website Live?
In order for the house to exist, it needs land for it to sit on, right? The same thing for a website; something needs to host its existence. And that’s where web hosting comes in. We’ll talk more about hosting later, but my personal favorite would have to be Bluehost, as they provide the best web hosting services in my opinion.
What Is The Domain Name For?
If we wanted to visit someone’s house anywhere in the world, what would you need in order to find it? A car, yes. A map, yes. But in order for those things to work, the house needs an address. Similarly, in order for us to find a particular website on the Internet, we need its address, and that’s where domain names come in. For example, my website domain name is makingwebsiteseasy.com. It provides the address that people type into the Google address bar.
Usually, domain names need to be bought and registered under your name. These places are called registrars, and they behave like real estate agents, brokering the sales process. Registrars, nowadays, don’t just sell domains, they include other services as well, like web hosting for example, as the space is highly competitive.
Bluehost of course is one such place; primarily a web hosting company, they also make the process of registering a domain name very easy. You’ll see in step 1 of the guide that Bluehost conveniently sets up your domain and web hosting all in one step. In fact, the domain you choose comes free with the web hosting, something other web hosts do not provide.
What Is A Website Building Platform?
When you want to build a house, you need to hire a home building company to build the house for you. They are responsible for building your home to your exact specifications. Whether it’s a single or two storey house, whether it’s a townhouse, whether you want floorboards, carpet or tiles, the number of bedrooms, the sort of lighting you desire, whether the master bed includes an ensuite, you get the idea. You direct the home builder to do those things for you.
Similarly, you have to choose a website building platform that you will use to build your website. This is where WordPress comes in. WordPress is without a doubt, the most user-friendly and most flexible platform to build your website with. The platform powers about 27% of all websites that exist on the Internet.
Content Management System
WordPress is also known as a CMS, which stands for content management system. That basically means that it gives us the tools to create posts and articles that the platform will manage for us! These tools that are under the WordPress hood come in the form of code, plugins and themes. The theme allows us to change its look and feel; the paint color and the structure of the sections on the website if you will. Plugins add features and function to the website, similar to a washing machine or an air-conditioner adds function to a house.
Step By Step Method
Well I think it’s time to begin! Let’s create our WordPress website. The step by step guide has been designed to allow anyone without any coding knowledge the ability to build their own website fast, easily and as cost effectively as possible. Here is an example of a website I built using this exact same method. It took me less than 30 minutes to go from having nothing, to a live website set up with a domain name and web hosting. Pretty cool hey?
I know! You’d think some professional web developer did it right? Wrong!
Step 1: Domain and Hosting
More likely than not, when you create a WordPress website or any website for that matter, step number 1 is to figure out what your domain name will be. Whilst there is no prescribed way of choosing your domain name, I would recommend choosing something that obviously resonates with the subject of your website. If it was going to be a blog about beautiful travel places, then something like beautifulplaces.com would be my first option. However, ‘good’ domain names are hard to come by; you have to be extremely unique whilst still representing the topic your website will be about.
Domain Name Checker
Use Bluehost’s domain name checker below to check availability:
Again, the domain you register with Bluehost is absolutely free. The process I would take is to first check whether your preferred domain is available, turns out beautifulplaces.com is taken. I would always recommend registering a .com over say .net or .org as they are usually more sought after. If you are struggling to think of a suitable domain name, I would head over to thesaurus.com and look for synonyms for either the word beautiful or places. Then I might even interchange and play with the order of the words, aiming for no greater than 3 words within the domain name.
For our example, scenesofgrandeur.com is a clever domain name. It has 3 words, and contains the well known “of grandeur” phrase.
Once you’ve settled on your domain name, we proceed to the next screen where Bluehost provides options for web hosting packages. For 3 years, they charge a measly $3.95 per month, paid on an annual basis, so just under $48 per year!
If you were to opt for just 1 year, it would come to about $71 annually, which is still a great deal, but of course you save more if you register for more than 1 year. Seriously, I cannot understand how Bluehost can charge so little for services that are extremely amazing and competitive.
The only other option I would recommend is domain privacy protection. This basically protects the identity of the domain owner from anyone wishing to run a whois search against your domain.
To demonstrate, navigate to whois.domaintools.com on your browser address bar, and search for michaeljordan.com, you’ll notice details revealing the contact information of the person who registered the domain which quite often includes their residential address. And it doesn’t even belong to the basketball legend himself!
If you don’t opt for domain privacy protection, this information becomes public by default and can easily be retrieved using this method. Google also indexes this information as well, meaning if someone searches for your domain name, it’ll show up in Google’s search results.
Let’s look at another example. Search for my website’s domain and you’ll find my details have not been revealed. What you will find is generic information detailing that it is under domain privacy protection. The service only adds 99c to your monthly fees and is well worth the value.
And that’s it, once you’ve purchased hosting, you need to:
1. Set your Bluehost password:
2. Skip selecting a theme:
3. Your WordPress website is set up! Easy peasy!
Bluehost will begin setting up the server for your website and may take a little time before you can access it from your selected domain. In the meantime, you can still begin working on your website via a temporary Bluehost generated domain. Once your server is ready, the migration to your domain name will happen automatically.
Step 2: Start Building Your WordPress Website
Sweet, we’re in the WordPress dashboard! I know it looks a little overwhelming, but you’ll be using WordPress a lot. Like most things new, everything has a learning curve. The more you acquaint yourself with each of these elements, the more they will make sense, if it doesn’t already. Each dashboard item is quite self-explanatory the majority of the time.
Once you have had a taste for how to create posts or pages, or even install themes and plugins, the easier it will be to navigate. Trust me, creating your own WordPress website will become second nature, especially when coding isn’t involved.
From a technical standpoint, a website is quite simple. Remember it is made up of content, images, and code. We will of course be dealing primarily with content and images. And WordPress makes it easy to organise and manage the content you create. All websites are unique and each have their own flavor. However, regardless of this, each one manages their information very similarly. Let’s break it down and examine the items you will be interacting with the most.
More than likely, your website will have a homepage, a contact page, and an about page. We refer to these pages as static pages, simply because you create them once and rarely change them in the future. Of course, if your details change, say you’re business has moved premises, or your phone number has changed, or perhaps you want to expand on your website description, then these static pages would need to be updated. The Pages menu allows you to easily manage them.
Now characteristic of pretty much all websites you encounter on the Internet, the static pages are usually accompanied by dynamic posts. The term is quite confusing since the post’s content isn’t dynamic in that it is always changing. Of course, visitors can interact with the author using the comments section but that’s as dynamic as it gets. Instead, these posts usually fall under a blog structure where posts are created and published on a regular basis. The fact that the blog is constantly being populated with new posts suggests that it is in fact that one that exhibits the dynamic behavior. Check out the Posts menu.
Each post can be categorised and tagged. The domain we purchased would be in the travel industry, and thus you could have categories ranging from travel tips, flights, destinations, countries, hotels, restaurants, to sights. For example, let’s say you wanted to create a post on the topic of “How To Upgrade From Economy To Business Class”. You could add it to multiple categories, say travel tips and flights. Categories are like folders in a filing cabinet; they help you organise your posts. It also easily allows you to display only certain categories on different pages of your website.
In addition to categories, WordPress also provides the ability to tag your posts. Similar to hashtags on Facebook and Instagram, tags allow you to identify the main talking points associated with the post. With our previous example, your tags could be points, frequent flyers, overbooking, bidding, etc.
Step 3: Install A Theme
Now our pages and posts are currently presented to our visitors using WordPress’ default look and feel, otherwise known as a theme. At the time of writing this article, the default theme is Twenty Nineteen, which I regard as just a placeholder theme until you decide how you want your website to look.
In saying this though, I would recommend avoiding having to create your theme from scratch as this will consume valuable time and effort. Instead, what I would recommend is to download and install pre-made themes that can be customized to your liking, of course without having to code.
Now whilst there are a multitude of available themes out there, the majority of them are very difficult to customize using their bundled editors. Astra however, in combination with Elementor, which we’ll see very soon (so excited to show you this by the way), allows us to edit any element of a website with ease, with on-page editing and drag and drop. Astra provides a convenient starting point without having to start from a blank slate, but still gives us 100% flexibility to create any kind of website we want.
If we navigate to Appearance and then click on Themes, you’ll see a default set of themes that WordPress provides, with Twenty Nineteen currently activated. Let’s search for the Astra theme and install it.
Once installed, we can activate it and check out the new look of feel that’s applied to the website as a result.
As you can see, it is not in a state that is worthy of publishing just yet, but soon enough we can turn this into something beautiful in a matter of minutes.
Let’s head over to the Customize menu under the Appearance. Here we can play around with different aspects of our website.
Step 4: Install A Plugin
Now remember our discussion about a website being analogous to a house, and that fact that we described the furnishings coming in the form of code, content and images? Well, we’ve dealt with half of the code in the form of themes, now we need to look into the other half, that is plugins.
Plugins provide a way for you to extend the functionality of your WordPress site. They help you achieve something you would otherwise not be able to without them. For example, if you wanted to place an email submit form on your website and have that email sent directly to your list managed under MailChimp, there is a plugin for that.
Now of course, you’re not just here to use the default WordPress themes, with a simple layout change here and there. Imagine another website using the same theme, resulting in the same look and feel. The last thing you want is a website that doesn’t have a unique look.
This is where the Elementor plugin comes in. It adds the useful feature of being able to perform WYSIWYG edits to your website. It stands for What You See Is What You Get, meaning, you can drag and drop and create new row and column sections.
You can make quick edits with a click of a button directly on the page! You get to see how your changes look like immediately. In other words, Elementor is a page builder that makes customizing your website an absolute cake walk! Let’s walk through the video below to show how you can get a whole lot more from your website without writing a single line of code.
Checkout the amazing Elementor features you can create yourself with the least amount of effort!
1. Text Animation
3. Share Buttons
4. Price Table
5. Contact Form
6. Media Carousel
Another useful plugin that we want is one that allows us to create a unique theme within minutes. Luckily for us, the people who created Astra, also created a plugin called Astra Sites which allows us to import an entire website at a click of a button.
This includes a contact page, about page, home page etc, all pre-designed with a particular theme in mind. Best of all, we can 100% fully customize it.
Astra Sites contain both paid and free themes ranging from blogs, business to ecommerce themes. For our example, we’ll be building a website dedicated to beautiful butterflies, so a nice free website we can begin with is Sierra Nature.
The website itself is already pretty awesome, however as mentioned previously, we don’t want to run the risk of having someone else use the same theme and consequently having a similar look and feel. We want to customize this to match the subject of our website.
Watch the video below to witness how we took the Sierra Nature theme to another level and made it our own.
Can you see now the power of WordPress and Elementor working together? I wish I had these tools when I started because they would’ve saved me plenty of money and headaches working through lines of code getting the height of a section just right for instance. Has this given you newfound confidence and belief to create your own WordPress website?