Website Building 101: From Build to Launch

Introduction

If you have never created a website before today, then you've come to the right place. As someone who has built a variety of websites throughout the years, I can assure you that the process is actually quite easy and a lot of fun. You simply need to know what you are doing.

The following is a step-by-step guide detailing everything that goes into creating a quality website. And yes, I mean everything. This is the guide you will want to follow if you are serious about building a website that you can be proud of.

So, where do you begin?

Have an idea

Before doing anything, you will need to have an idea — something interesting enough that you're able to create an entire website about. This can be anything that comes to mind. 

Perhaps you're looking to sell products in an online store, or maybe you would rather publish a daily blog. Whatever you choose, be sure it's something that you feel can grab the attention of others. After all, you will want to build traffic as your website grows and matures. We can talk about that more in a bit.

Choose a reliable web host

At first, trying to find a web host that's perfect for your needs can seem a little overwhelming. And you know what? I don't blame you, because there are literally thousands to choose from. There is no exact count, but apparently the total is well above 17,000.

Because your time is valuable, I'm going to recommend going with Bluehost, which ties in well with everything explained herein. Bluehost is the perfect choice if you are looking to build a website powered by any of the Internet's most popular content management systems (CMS). This includes Joomla, Drupal and especially WordPress.

For pretty much 99% of website ideas, I can almost always recommend going the WordPress route. WordPress is not only open source (meaning it's constantly being updated), but best of all, it's completely free to use!

Of course, you'll still have to pay for web hosting, but prices are very affordable. Signing up for the cheapest annual package on Bluehost costs just $3.49/month. That includes an easy 1-click WordPress install, 24/7 support and even a free domain name.

You can even host multiple websites on one Bluehost account, which I've successfully done in the past. This alone can save you quite a bit on costs. Check out this article to learn more.

As a longtime Bluehost customer, I can definitely recommend their services with confidence. Sign up here and tell them I sent you!

But what about WordPress?

Assuming you go the route of Bluehost, installing WordPress is extremely easy. The initial process takes just one click and only a few minutes to complete. If you find yourself needing help, you can always refer to here for the official support page.

Once WordPress is installed and ready to use, you will want to dig around in the settings and customize everything to your liking. Once that's complete, you can begin to think about choosing a WordPress theme that works for you.

Finding the perfect WordPress theme to use for your website can be one of the most frustrating things you'll ever have to do in the creative process. There are simply too many themes to sort through, many of which are free and premium.

If you don't feel like Googling endlessly, then I recommend trying either of these two services that I have found to be pretty useful: Elegant Themes | Theme Forest

Elegant Themes allows you the convenience of paying an annual rate (only $69) and having the option of choosing any theme you desire. This means that you are able to pick and choose as time goes on. This is especially useful if you find yourself often changing your mind.

On the other hand, Theme Forest's theme selection seems to be a little more on the premium side. However, you're required to pay as you go, which can certainly add up rather quickly. Still though, it's an excellent service with a ton of value to offer.

No matter which route you decide to take, you will want to take your time in finding a theme that accurately reflects what your website is about. It's also important to remember that you can find the perfect theme that just happens to be free. But actually doing so is easier said than done.

Once you find a theme, you will want to install it by going to your WordPress Dashboard. This can be done in a variety of ways. Personally, I prefer to upload the .zip file and be done with it. That seems to work best.

Build your website

This is where the real fun begins. Building a WordPress website can be a lengthy process, depending on how much time you put into it. Of course, no website is ever truly complete, but it doesn't hurt to get as much done as possible before launching to the public.

To make the building process easier, I like to begin by creating my website's primary pages. This includes my homepage, an about page, and a contact page. These three pages are what you will want to focus most of your attention on — especially the homepage.

Your website's homepage can be the deciding factor on whether a new visitor chooses to stick around. Be sure it clearly explains what your website is about, as well as its overall focus. This can be achieved by designing a clean layout that is easy to navigate and understand.

If your website is on social media, then make it obvious. Include social media buttons wherever necessary. Common locations can be a website's header, footer and sidebar. I have found that all three of these work quite well.

Building a new website can take a while, so don't feel the need to rush through it all. And plus, there's a lot more to the process than just building. You will want to properly set up your website for traffic analytics and search engine optimization.

Search engine what?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most critical things you will want to consider when building your website. SEO determines how your website is ranked on popular search engines like Google and Bing. In other words, if your website's SEO is not properly optimized, then it might as well not exist.

Learning about SEO and how to apply it to your website can certainly be complicated, as there is so much information to take in. Seriously, it's huge.

Thankfully, you don't need to worry about most of it, but that's only if you keep one very important factor in mind: You need to create quality content.

Search engines crave good content. It's as simple as that. If your website has something valuable to offer, then it will organically work its way toward the first page of Google. Just don't expect results overnight. 

To learn more about SEO and how it works, click here. This is an in-depth guide that should help you better understand the incredibly huge topic.

Continue to page 2 >