Technology has come so far that making a website or blog can be done without the technical knowledge that was once required.
In fact, everything that you’ll learn through this two part web creation tutorial is exactly how I created this website.
Follow along with my quick video tutorials to setup your own mind numbing Wordpress website using Bluehost’s one click installation. This video will help you get your website live in less than 8 minutes and 17 seconds.
If you’re sitting nice and cozy, then let’s jump right in to the definitive guide on how to make a website or blog in less than 5 minutes.
A heartfelt note for you keeners out there: I wrote nearly 5000 words if you want all of the nitty gritty details on why we’re making our own self-hosted website. Yes, it is quite the feat to get to the bottom of this page, but I can guarantee you that you will see the value in owning your own power house website instead of another one of those “too good to be true” website builders.
The Most Detailed Guide on Creating a Website
Creating a website is the stage in your business development where you get to see your visions and plans come to life and grow to be your evergreen tree – big, bold, consistent and lasting.
To clarify the word “free” – I don’t mean that your domain and hosting are free. This is just a small expense that we all have to suck up and deal with. But you WILL NOT have to pay out tens of thousands of dollars to a person or company. Through this series, I hope to equip you with all of the tools and knowledge you need to take a 5 minute WordPress installation into a full blown professional looking and functioning website. The best part of it all is that you will have visual affirmation that you made it all on your own.
Here’s what we’ll cover now in part one.
Part One – How to Build a Website
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform. You would create a free account and be given a subdomain:
WordPress.org is a free website software that you can host on your own web server. You will need to purchase your domain and hosting account which should run you about $10 for the domain/year and $3.95/month for hosting. I’ll have more information on this later when we talk about getting a free domain and web hosting. Instead of username.wordpress.com, you would be able to use:
whatevernameyouwant.com or .net or .org or .ca or .me etc.
Free Website Builder and blogs – Why you should never use them
Chances are, you’ve probably fallen upon one of the following websites that offer a free blogging service like:
Or maybe you found a free website builder like:
They all seem appealing at first, but like anything else in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to using these. My list of advantages and disadvantages might be a little different than what others out there are writing about. Please understand that I come from a place where I have learned most aspects of creating and operating an online business from scratch. These are my thoughts based on what I know about programming, web design, search engine optimization and scaling a business. I’ll let you be the judge.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Free website Builders and Blogs
The advantages are pretty obvious but slim.
- It’s a free website (kind of)
- Website builders have a drag and drop interface which makes it easy for most people to use.
The disadvantages are a long list. I’ll keep it as short as possible since I can write an entire post about the disadvantages of using free website services. Here’s a list of the drawbacks.
- It’s not necessarily free. For example, Wix offers 5 different packages at this time – VIP, eCommerce, Unlimited, Combo, and Connect Domain ranging in price from $4.08 – $24.90/month. Their selling point is sheer convenience, but it is only convenient if you do not know how to create a website. That learning curve should be resolved here.
- As crazy as it sounds, you don’t own your website nor will you ever. For sites like Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress, the free accounts are always “[your_desired_name].tumblr.com”. They create sub domains to ensure that you don’t hurt their root domain. On top of this, if their system flags your website, or if you are violating one of their 101 policies that you probably haven’t read through, they can delete your website at the click of a button.
- Inability to scale your website easily. This is one of the most overlooked factors that people do not think about before creating one of these free websites. Free website builders and blogs lack the functionality that you will most likely need in the future. For example, let’s say that you are a well established fashionista on Tumblr. You might have thousands of people following you while you post pictures of what you wore today. What if you wanted to create a guide on how to dress, or you wanted to start your own clothing line? You would either need a website that supports eCommerce (shopping cart and payment terminal), a third party website to handle payments or a third party marketplace like eBay. You can pay for extensions for Tumblr like Shopify that charges $79/month and recreate your entire site all over again. The problem is, there are some extreme limitations on how you can make it look or function. If you decide to use a third party company that can host and sell your eBook for you, you’re looking at another expense. If you sell your clothes on eBay, you’re looking at a 6-10% commission that eBay will take and a 2.9% commission from PayPal as well. If you were to own your own website, there are an endless amount of ways that all of the above can be achieved without the extra commissions that you should be pocketing yourself.
- It appears to be unprofessional and lacks branding capacity. There have been a couple of occasions where people have given me a business card with their website reading “mycompany.wordpress.com”. Beyond first impressions, I could smell the embarrassment and always, without fail, would be given some kind of justification as to why they don’t have their own website.
- These free websites lack design and functions. Generally speaking, with any free blog builder or website builder, you are stuck with the preset themes. You might be able to change a color here and there, but what if you don’t want to have a banner at the top? Some themes will not allow you to change this whether you know how to code or not. Functionality is much more important. WordPress.com lacks in the ability to be able to add your own custom plugins. There is a huge developer community who creates plugins specifically for WordPress.org configurations. There are presently 34,554 plugins (and growing) available when using WordPress.org. You will be missing out on all of these great features and widgets that make website owners’ lives easier.
- Your website may have ads on them that you don’t want. Since they are hosting the site for “free”, some free website building companies will add advertisements on your website where you would not like it. They are most common in the top header, side bars or sometimes plastered all throughout your text. In addition to this, you will not be able to add your own advertisements that you can monetize through. A lot of free website builders limit you from adding your own affiliate links and/or Google Adsense implementations. If you’re not paying them, they probably don’t want you to get paid either.
- You can’t migrate your data easily. As I mentioned, you do not own your website or the content that you’ve spent countless hours building. Let’s say you’ve built a great audience, so you want to build your own website. If you contact your free website builder company and ask for help, chances are, you’re not going to get it for free. They own the content that you’ve written and possess all the website data and traffic for it. You’ve essentially lost everything unless you want to go the manual route of transferring it over to your new site. The worst part about this is that the search engines already know where the content was published first. You mind as well start from scratch at this point since any SEO value that you have built over the years has now gone to waste.
It seems pretty obvious to me that free website builders are not for building a lasting online business. There are far too many drawbacks using these kinds of services. I would encourage you to continue this series in building your first website so you don’t have any regrets later. Having your own self hosted website will provide infinite potential in what you will be able to create.
Your website is your virtual real estate
If you’ve invested in a home before, there were probably certain factors that you looked at before purchasing.
- Affordability (mortgage, down payment etc)
- Will the value appreciate or can we do renovations to increase its value?
Building a website can be compared directly with purchasing a home.
- Affordability = How much will it cost me to make a website?
- Demographics/community/neighborhood – Who is your audience?
- Will the value appreciate – Can I profit from my website? What if I sell it?
Believe it or not, there are websites that are sold for well over the value of any residential or commercial property. With my first online business, I created an eCommerce website selling an intangible service in the mobile niche. It was tough to start since I didn’t have the knowledge or resources to kick start it, but I eventually renovated the website, built a strong audience and sooner than I had expected began making a passive six figure income. My initial investments into the business were:
- A domain name – thenameofmywebsite.com ($9.99)
- Hosting account (~ $4/month)
- My time (Priceless)
- Total initial investment for the first year was a whopping $57.39
When I saw a downtrend in my niche, I decided to get out while it was still at its peak. I sold the website for far more than my initial investment which gave me financial capital to start other businesses and to take a couple years off from working. The story itself sounds nice and dreamy, but there was a lot of work that went into learning what I now use. I’ve had a lot of fun building online businesses, and it’s time for me to pass the knowledge to you all. My hope is that you will have an enjoyable experience building, renovating and nurturing your virtual property. With that being said, let’s start building your website.
Step #1: Get your web hosting with a free Domain
Domain Name: Your domain name is your dot com, dot net, dot org or any other. For example, my domain name is moneyjournal.com. Web Hosting This is a service provided by companies that allows you to have your domain name accessible across the World Wide Web. It is what brings life to your domain name. Without a web hosting account, no one would be able to view your website. Without a domain name, no one would know where or how to find your website. For full disclosure, the Bluehost links provided in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you decide to purchase through my link, I will get paid a commission from Bluehost. This doesn’t come at any extra cost for you, in fact, I used my link to take all of the screenshots below which are showing hosting plans starting at $3.95. If you purchase through my affiliate link, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post after you’ve set up your site. I would love to thank you personally. If you chose not to, then no worries. I won’t take it personally at all and I honestly hope that this series will help you just as much as the others.
Bluehost – My recommended hosting company
My preferred hosting company is Bluehost with all things considered. Here are some key points on why I chose this hosting company.
- Their quality is greater than the price you pay. There are other cheaper options out there, but hosting is one thing that you don’t want to cheap out on. Bad hosting creates a slow website load, inconsistency and horrible support. Bluehost offers the opposite.
- 30 day money back guarantee.
- No contracts or commitments. So if you decide to cancel your hosting, then Bluehost will refund you a prorated amount.
I presently own 22 active domain names with 2 active hosting accounts. I’ve tried out 6 different web hosting services over the last 8 years, so I’ve had some experience in this field.
If you’re starting out a new website, chances are, a shared hosting account will be sufficient for your needs. Two of my websites are hosted on a dedicated server with Inmotion hosting where I pay about $300/month, but the rest of my websites are hosted on Bluehost where I pay $6.95/month. I have every intention of moving my two larger websites over to one of Bluehost’s higher dedicated hosting plans upon expiration since my other 20 sites have been running flawlessly on there with plenty of traffic.
If you clicked on any of my links above, you should be brought to this page.
Selecting your Hosting Plan
If this is your first website, my recommendation is to go with Bluehost’s Starter Plan which is presently advertised at $3.95 a month through my link. If you want to host multiple domains, you can always upgrade to the plus plan later. The reason why I went with the plus plan is because it includes hosting for:
- unlimited websites
- unlimited website space (images, videos, downloadable MP3s etc)
- unlimited bandwidth and a whole bunch of others.
I wouldn’t recommend getting the business pro plan unless you know what the added bonuses are.
Choosing your Free Domain Name
With all new Bluehost accounts, they give you a free domain name which is awesome. If you already have a domain name, then you can put it into the appropriate box, but you mind as well get a free one anyway.
When choosing your domain name, take a second to think about it. Your domain name is what people are going to type in to get to your website. You probably want a domain name that kind of describes what you’re doing. For example, moneyjournal.com should tell you right away that my website deals with money and journaling. If you thought that when you first heard of my site, then the domain name suits my content well.
You also want to think of a domain name that people can correctly spell, say and remember. I’ve chosen way too many domain names that I thought were clever, but only a handful of people can actually remember what they are called. There were even times when I would forget my own domain name because it was so bad. I would recommend a dot com simply because they’re the easiest to remember.
If this is your first time choosing a domain name, then chances are, your first few stabs at a website name will already be taken. Here’s what happens when I try to register amazon.com which is already taken.
Bluehost tells you that the domain is not available, and then gives you some suggestions. If you don’t like any of the suggestions provided, you can either click on show more suggestions, or scroll down to the bottom of the page and try a new domain.
For the purpose of my examples, I’m going to register a new hosting account and domain name and call it watchmemakeawebsite.com. From the domain alone, you can guess that I’m going to be showing people how to make a website.
Here’s what the next page should look like if your domain name is available.
After you’ve filled out the information and clicked the Next button, there will be some additional purchase options that you can make. I wouldn’t recommend going for any of these since my tutorials should be more than enough for you to get your website up and running.
If you’ve completed your registration successfully, you should get an e-mail as well as a confirmation message that looks similar to this. Before you can login to your account, you have to set a new password. Your Bluehost username will be your domain name. Click on the create your password button.
After you’ve set your password, you will need to login to your Bluehost admin. Enter your domain name as your username and your password as the one that you just set.
Step #2: How to Install WordPress in a few clicks
After you login you should reach your Bluehost Cpanel. You can verify that you’re on the Cpanel if the top left menu panel is highlighted in green. Your Cpanel should look like this. To start your WordPress Install, you’ll have to click on the WordPress icon under the Website Builders category. You should be up in a flash from here. After clicking on Bluehost’s WordPress website builder, you’ll be brought to a screen where you can either install or import a previous WordPress installation. If this is a new WordPress installation, click on the Install button. Your domain name should appear here in the drop down menu. If you have multiple domain names, then select the one you want to install WordPress on. You can install WordPress anywhere on your domain using this tool. Most of us will want to install it directly on the root of the domain, which means we will want people to see our main WordPress site when they visit www.yourdomain.com. If you want to install it on a different part of your domain – for example, www.domain.com/blog, then you can type in your extension “blog” or whatever you want to call it in the directory text box. After you’ve decided on where you want to install WordPress, click on check domain. It may take a minute or so for it to complete checking. If it fails on you, then you can try again. Click on the show advanced options tab, and fill out your new Website name. The default name is “Site Name”. Your WordPress Admin username will be the e-mail address you used to register with Bluehost and the password will be an automatically generated password.
Note: Do not change the username or password here. For some reason, there have been some problems with the software where it will not let you proceed when changing these values. You can change these values later once we’re in the WordPress admin. Make sure you copy the password somewhere safe so you can login to the WordPress admin after installation.
Change your site name to whatever you want it to be. The final steps will be to click on the agreement box and click the Install now button. This might take a couple minutes to complete the installation. There will be a progress bar in the top right corner of your page. Once it’s complete, you should receive a message showing you that your WordPress Installation is complete. You can head on over to your website now by entering in your website URL in the address bar. The one that I created for this example is called watchmebuildawebsite.com. Here’s what your website should look like after installing. I know it doesn’t look pretty, but I promise you that we’ll make it look amazing by part two where we will design your website. You can either click on the Log in link on the left side bar under the meta category, or if you want to access your WordPress admin dashboard directly, you can access it directly by visiting:
You’ll be prompted for your username and password which should be your Bluehost e-mail address and the random generated password that you should have saved before. If you didn’t save it, then no worries. You should have gotten an e-mail after you installed WordPress where you can find your password by following one of the links in there. Take note that the password is only available for 12 hours, so we’ll change your WordPress password in the next couple of steps. After you login, you’ll be brought to your WordPress dashboard. If you’re new to WordPress, then it will all look a little overwhelming, but it just takes time to get used to. We’ll change the password and add a nickname before we go any further.
How to Change your WordPress Password and add a Nickname
Once you’ve logged into your WordPress admin, you should be brought to your dashboard. Click on the tab Users located on the left menu bar.
At this point in your WordPress installation, there should only be one user which is the one that you just created. Click on your username which should be your Bluehost e-mail address.
From here, you have the option to update your profile. Under personal options, you can add your first name, last name, nickname and the name you would like to use publicly. Add whatever nickname you would like your audience to see.
For my test website, I chose the name Sam.
In the Display name publicly as: select your new nickname. You probably won’t want your visitors to see your e-mail address on every post you make. This will hide it from the general public and should get you on your way.
If you scroll all the way down to the bottom, you should see an area for your New Password and Repeat New Password.
Simply type in a new password that is easier for you to remember and repeat the same password in the box below. After you’ve completed this step, click the update profile button. Your new password must be at least 7 characters long.
Posts vs. Pages
We’ll dig into a few of the different functions of the WordPress admin in part 2 of this series when we begin designing our site. For the purpose of this part, the only thing you need to understand at this point is the difference between a post and page in WordPress. Posts are entries listed in reverse chronological order. They are generally used for blogs, portfolio items and other WordPress features where new entries are being updated. On Moneyjournal.com, this article that you’re reading is considered a post. Pages are static pages that have no order and are not reliant on the date it is published. Some common examples of pages in WordPress are an about page, services page, contact page or anything else that will likely serve the same purpose over and over again.
Making your first WordPress Post
If you click on the posts tab on the left sidebar, you’ll notice that there is already one post there called “Hello World”. This is installed by default and should be deleted before you launch your website. For demonstration purposes, we’ll leave it there so you can see how posts work. Click the Add new button either from the side bar or at the top of the page. In my first post, I’m going to add a title, image, use the bold function, and add some content with a link to moneyjournal.com. Here’s how I did it. Title: Type it into the title field Image: Click on the add media button. Then drag and drop your image into the open box. Select the insert media button. Bold: Highlight your text in your content and click the B icon, or press CTRL + B or CMD + B while the text is highlighted. Add Link: Highlight the text that you want to be linked to your destination. Click on the link icon and enter in the URL destination. By the end of this, here’s what my content post looks like from the WordPress admin. If everything looks good, then hit the publish button. After your post is published, you now have 3 options to view your post/page. The first option is in the top left corner where your site name is. By clicking on this link, you will be able to see what your entire website looks like. The other two options are beside your post success message and by the URL. The site looks kind of bland right now, but I promise it’ll look great by the time we’re through part two of this series. Part one is almost done.
Step #3: Protect your Website Pre Launch
The majority of people who make websites don’t think to protect their website before they launch. The fact of the matter is that a beautiful website isn’t going to be up and running the same day. We get busy, things come up and most people don’t have hours upon hours to work on their website in one sitting. If you missed my post on writing content for search engines and people, then you should know that search engines dig through every single website looking for new content. If your website is incomplete and has some of the default posts and pages that come with the WordPress installation, you don’t want search engines to associate “Hello World” or “Sample Page” with your new website about cooking and recipes. What we’re going to do to prevent your website from getting indexed before the search engines find it is forbid anyone from viewing your website until you’re good and ready. If you’re using Bluehost , here’s how you do it: Login to your Cpanel. You can get there by typing in the address bar [Yourdomainname.com/cpanel] You’ll either get a pop up asking for your username and password or you’ll be brought to this screen to enter in your domain/username and password. After you’re logged into your Cpanel, look for file manager. Click on File Manager and you should see a popup like this.
It is very important that you have the “Show Hidden files (dotfiles) checked.
A new tab should open where you can see the files associated with your WordPress installation. You want to look for the file called .htaccess. Your screen should look something like this. After you have selected the .htaccess with a single left mouse click so it is highlighted in blue like the image above, click on the edit icon above the files pane. It should look like this: A new window should open and you are now officially in the editor. On a clean WordPress installation, it should look something like this. If yours looks a little different, then no worries. What we want to do is to start a new line at the bottom of the editor. Before we add in the extra code, you will need to know what your IP address is. You can find that by going to whatismyip.com. Copy the section where it says “Your IP”.
Now insert the following piece of code to the bottom of your .htaccess file.
&lt;files *&gt; Order Deny,Allow Deny from all Allow from YOUR_IP &lt;/files&gt;
What this piece of code is saying is, deny all people who try to access this website, except, allow people from this IP address. This way, no one will be able to see your website until you remove the above snippet of code. Your final .htaccess file should like this after you’ve added the code except your IP address will be different than the one I put in here.
&lt;files *&gt; Order Deny,Allow Deny from all Allow from 192.168.1.1 &lt;/files&gt;
Hit the save button in the top right corner and try to load your website again. If your website doesn’t load properly, then there’s a chance that you either entered in the wrong IP address or the code was not copy and pasted properly. Keep in mind that if you decide to work from another location, then you will have to add another line of code with a new IP address. Under the Allow from line, simply add another line that has a second IP address. Your code will look something like this if you want to have multiple IP addresses accessing your content.
&lt;files *&gt; Order Deny,Allow Deny from all Allow from 192.168.1.1 Allow from YOUR_SECOND_IP &lt;/files&gt;
Also take note that sometimes Internet service providers change IP addresses if they work under dynamic IPs. If your site is showing you a 403 forbidden page, then your IP address has likely changed and you can check your IP address again with whatismyip.com.
Congratulations: You’ve made your own website
A special congratulations to you if you’ve made it this far. If you’ve followed all of the instructions above, you’ve accomplished:
- Resisting the temptation for a so called “Free” website. You should know why never to use a free website builder.
- Registering a domain and hosting account.
- Making your own website. Yes it looks a little bland now, but after you’re done with part 2 of this series on how to design a website, your website will look and function amazingly.
- Created your first post.
- Protected your site from search engines indexing it before it’s ready and other viewers randomly finding your production prelaunch.
If you wanted to make another website, you can probably do it in half the time you just spent. The first time always takes the longest, so if this took you a while to get through, then no worries.
Your website is almost live and ready to be viewed by 7.125 billion people. Let’s get cracking on designing your WordPress configuration to look absolutely stunning.
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