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How to Make a Website: Your 12-Step No-Stress Beginner’s Guide

I remember when I had no idea how to make a website. It was when I founded my first startup and really needed one but

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I remember when I had no idea how to make a website. It was when I founded my first startup and really needed one but had no money to hire a web developer. So I did what every strappy founder does: I taught myself. By learning WordPress and some CSS, HTML, and PHP, I managed to start my first online business.

This was a good twelve years ago, and not only have I learned a lot since then, but technology has also improved much during that time. So much so that it is now easier than ever to create your own website. New and powerful tools like the WordPress Site Editor mean you can now design and build websites faster and without learning how to code.

However, if you attempt to do it for the first time, it can still feel daunting and overwhelming. But since here at WordPress.com, we believe that everyone should have a website, this beginner’s guide aims to help you get over that feeling. Below, we provide step-by-step instructions on how to make your own website – from start to finish – even if you have no prior web design or development experience.

Just follow along, and you, too, will have your own website online in no time.

1. Determine What Type of Site You Will Build

The first step in creating your own website is to decide what kind of site you will set up. You see, there are many different types of websites that all come with their own goals, requirements, and differences. Examples include:

  • Business websites – In this case, the website belongs to a corporate entity. It aims to provide information about the company and its services or products. These sites also usually have a business objective such as selling, lead generation, newsletter signups, etc.
  • Personal websites – There are many good reasons for creating a personal website. It can be to establish a profile for potential employers, build your personal brand, consolidate your web presence, or find clients. Since they are personal, they also come in many different varieties, from static brochure sites over portfolios to one-page websites.
  • Blogs Starting a blog comes with many benefits. For example, they are an excellent tool to attract more users to your website (hey, you are here, aren’t you?), show off your expertise, and help your audience. You can also simply start a blog to practice writing or pursue a hobby. Plus, they can be standalone or part of another type of website, e.g., a blog for your business.
  • Online stores – The goal of an online store is pretty straightforward: selling stuff. It’s a place where you advertise your products and offer customers the possibility to purchase them. This, too, can take many different forms, e.g., a shop selling digital products only is usually very different from one that deals in real-life merchandise.
  • Newsletter websites – As the name suggests, the purpose of a newsletter site is mainly to collect subscribers for an email newsletter. You can grow your email list through popups or subscription forms. There are many topics for newsletters, so you can go wild with ideas.
  • Podcast sites – The final example of a website you might want to build is a podcast website. You can use it to host your podcast episodes as well as provide additional information around them and about yourself. You can even collect payments for exclusive content and earn money. What a concept!

Of course, it’s also possible to combine several website types with each other. For example, you can sell products on your personal blog and send your latest posts via a newsletter. Distinctions are pretty fluid, and many websites use somewhat of a hybrid approach. However, it helps to clarify this for yourself in the beginning, as it shapes a number of decisions down the line.

2. Pick a Domain Name

As an absolute beginner in creating a website, your first thought might be, “What even is a domain name?” That was surely a question on my mind the first time around. Yet, even if the term is unknown to you, if you use the Internet at all (which you do, seeing as you are reading this), it’s something you are definitely familiar with.

The domain name is the address you type into your browser bar to access a website. For example, google.com is a domain name, wordpress.com as well, as is wikipedia.org. If you want to learn more about how domains work on the technical end, refer to the article above.

Why Do You Need a Custom Domain Name?

Of course, there are ways to have a website without your own domain name. For example, you can use a local development environment on your computer. We even offer an option here on WordPress.com. With the free plan, you can have a website running without paying for it by placing it on a subdomain. That means something like yourwebsite.wordpress.com.

This option can be completely sufficient for the beginning and to get your feet wet in the website-building game. It allows you to try out what it’s like to run a website without any financial commitments.

However, domain names like this, which essentially contain the name of another website, are not really suitable for any professional purposes. It’s like using a Gmail address for your business email; it just won’t get you taken seriously.

Thus, if you want to seem professional, especially as a business, you need your own domain name. It allows you to build your brand, build trust with users, and also use custom email addresses. In short, a custom domain is a big part of your online identity.

How to Pick a Domain for Your Website

I remember absolutely agonizing about what to call my website and which domain ending I should go for. If you are in the same position, use these guidelines to make it easier on you.

First of all, choose something relevant to your site or brand. What that is depends on your kind of website. If it’s a company site, you usually simply use the company name because that’s what people will naturally assume they can find you under.

However, a domain name can also be topical, e.g., brittanyskitchen.com, for a food blog. In that case, users can easily understand what kind of website they will land on just from the domain name.

What’s most important is that your address is easy to remember and distinct. So, avoid things like foofy77695.xyz. Plus, while you are at it, check if the respective social media handles are available to ensure brand consistency.

As for domain endings, you can usually go for the .com extension unless you have a good reason not to. For example, maybe you operate in a specific area or country, so a local domain ending like .de for Germany or .co.uk for the United Kingdom can make sense. There are also specific extensions for certain industries and types of business, like .org, .app, or .ai. For more information, we have an entire article on how to choose a domain name.

Once you’ve brainstormed some ideas, a second important step is to make sure your desired domain is even available. For that, input it into a domain search tool (that one is ours). It will tell you if you are able to purchase the domain, how much it costs, and it will also provide you with alternative ideas if it’s not available.

Why Consider a WordPress.com Domain?

As you have seen above, WordPress.com also offers the possibility to purchase domains as part of our service. There are, of course, other providers for this, called domain registrars. Their only job is to sell and register domains, and they are pretty good at it, too!

However, please allow us to give you a few reasons to consider us for your domain:

1. Affordable pricing – Get started with standard domain endings for just $12/year with hundreds of other options and frequent deals on chosen domains. Most importantly, if you decide to host your website with WordPress.com, you actually get a free domain thrown in for the first year! How is that for an offer?

2. Reliability  – We’ve been in the domains business for over ten years. Our domains come with free privacy protection, SSL certificates, and a fast and secure DNS infrastructure.

3. Great customer support – You can reach our domain experts via email and live chat for advice on everything from transferring domains to managing multiple at once.

Finally, with your website and domain hosted with the same provider, you get simplicity. You can manage your domain and site from one dashboard and don’t have to deal with connecting your domain to your hosting account manually.

3. Choose Your Website Hosting Provider

Speaking of hosting providers, picking one is the next step in making a website.

What is a hosting provider, you ask?

It’s a company that rents out server space where you can place your website files so that others can access them (and thus your site). If a domain name is like your website’s address, think of your hosting provider as the plot of land to build your house (i.e., your website) on.

What Types of Hosting Providers Exist?

The first consideration here is that there are different kinds of hosting providers. For example, there is shared hosting, where your website is on the same server as many others, and they all have to share the same resources (hence the name).

This can often be enough for very simple sites with little traffic, such as brochure websites. However, the shared resources can become a speed bottleneck if one or more websites on the server start getting decent traffic and hog all the processing power. If speed is a concern, it can make more sense to go for something like VPS hosting or even rent your own server.

Yet, all of the above options come with a lot of additional responsibility. All they get you is server space; everything else related to site management is up to you. That means security, speed optimization, backups, and more. The hosting provider only provides the infrastructure but doesn’t take any active role in running your site.

If you want a more hands-off approach, your best bet is managed hosting. Here, many of the day-to-day tasks of keeping a website running mentioned above are taken off your hands. For example, with a website hosted on WordPress.com, besides making sure it’s fast, secure, and backed up, we also keep it updated, offer top-notch support, and provide an optimized environment. 

The advantage is that you can fully focus on the parts of running a website that can make the most difference for its success and your business goals. That means content creation, marketing, outreach, etc. Everything that pushes the needle forward instead of being mere busywork.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

When first looking for WordPress hosting, something that a lot of people get confused by is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While the two websites are intimately related, they do very different things.

To understand that, you first have to know what WordPress is. It is an open source content management system or CMS. That means a piece of software you can use to build and manage websites and web content.

The open source part refers to how it’s made. WordPress is not a commercial venture but something built and maintained by a large group of global volunteers who contribute to it for the good of everyone. As a consequence, it’s free to use.

WordPress.org is the website for that project. It’s where you can download the program to install it on any server you like and run a website. The site also offers extensions like themes and plugins for download, allows you to read the documentation, and is also where a lot of the organization of the project itself takes place.

WordPress.com, where you are right now, is a managed hosting provider that uses the WordPress software to allow people like you to build websites with it while we take care of all the technical parts. WordPress.com also contributes to the WordPress project on WordPress.org; however, the two are very different websites with different goals and outcomes. Read more about the differences.

4. Decide on a Website Building Software

The next step in your journey to make your own website is to pick software to assist you. In the past, you would have to build them by hand coding HTML and CSS files and uploading them to servers (luckily, I started well past that era).

This is still possible; however, these days, many people opt for website builders like content management systems instead. They make the process much easier because you don’t need to have coding skills. Instead, you can take care of your website, change settings, create content, and do everything else from a graphical user interface.

As mentioned above, WordPress is one of those website builders and our weapon of choice here at WordPress.com. Whatever plan you sign up for (including the free one), it is automatically included in your account and set up for you. No need to install anything manually. When you create an account, you will automatically land on the WordPress user interface. Therefore, it’s also what we will focus on for this tutorial.

Of course, you are also free to go for any other website builder of your choice. Just know that WordPress is both powerful and beginner friendly (as you will see below), which is why we prefer it for our systems. It also runs more than 40% of all websites on the Internet, and there are good reasons for its popularity.

5. Pick a WordPress Theme or Website Template

Once you have set up your site, the first thing you probably want to do is decide on its design. WordPress uses so-called “themes” to control this part. They include colors, fonts, layouts, and more – in short, everything that makes a difference in the appearance of a website.

In addition, they often come with specific design elements for whatever websites they are built for. Plus, you can change themes at will and completely modify the way your website looks in literally seconds. For example, look at the website below.

Here it is again, with only the theme changed.

Quite the difference, huh?

Other providers might call this feature a “template” instead of a theme. In WordPress, templates are what control the layout of single pages, and you can customize them the same way you can do with themes. In the end, these terms mean the same things; they are just different names.

What Kind of Themes Exist?

The good thing about using WordPress is that it has themes for pretty much any purpose. No matter what kind of website you are building, there is likely a suitable one already out there.

For example, here at WordPress.com, we divide themes into the following website categories:

  • Blog – These are perfect if you are planning to start blogging. They contain page templates that allow you to easily display and showcase your writing. Some of them are further niched down, such as for a travel blog.
  • Business – Our business themes aim to help you set up your business site in the easiest way possible. You can choose from different industries like restaurant websites, gym sites, tech companies, and more. Each also comes with common design elements for that particular business type.
  • Portfolio – Are you an artist, photographer, or painter? Then, portfolio themes are the perfect tools to show off your work. They are focused on drawing attention to photos, illustrations, and other creative works.
  • Store – If you are going the e-commerce route, these themes will give you a leg up in creating your store, offering your products, and attracting customers.
  • About Me – If your goal is more towards creating an online profile, check out the about-me themes, which aim to help you do just that.
  • Link in Bio – Similar to the About Me category but even more focused on simply creating a business card or brochure online.

It’s important to note that there are free and premium WordPress themes offered in a variety of places, with more than 11,000 in the WordPress.org directory alone. So, you have a lot of design ideas to choose from. Note that you need to be on the Business plan to install third-party themes.

How to Install and Apply Themes

Changing your theme and, thus, your website design in WordPress is very easy. You will find the option under Appearance > Themes in the WordPress user interface. When you click it, you automatically come to a menu with a number of theme options.

You can filter what you see by category at the top or search for specific keywords or theme names. If you see something you like, click on it for additional information.

Try out the style variations and read the theme description. Should you want to see it in action, click the Demo site button at the top right. This allows you to surf a site with the theme active as well as try out its mobile view.

When you’ve made a decision, click the pink button to activate your theme. Some will automatically change your homepage content, so you have to confirm that you understand that. When you do and look at your site afterward, you can see it in its new clothes.

6. Make Use of WordPress Plugins

Besides design, a website lives off of the functionality it offers to users. However, not every website needs the same types of features. For example, if you are not going to sell anything, you don’t need e-commerce capabilities.

Thankfully, WordPress has a great solution for that: plugins. If you don’t know what WordPress plugins are and how they work, they are little (and sometimes not so little) additional programs that you can install on your website to add specific features and functionality to it. This can be small stuff like the ability to change usernames or big things like online store capabilities or entire page builders.

The neat thing is that this way, WordPress offers a great base product that you can extend and customize for your specific needs. This keeps it lean and without features that a lot of people have no use for.

What’s also cool is that there are literally tens of thousands of plugins available for all kinds of purposes. Created by individual developers as well as companies, you can find many of them in the WordPress plugin directory but also third-party stores and sold on websites of individual developers. Like themes, there are free and paid plugins.

On WordPress.com, you need a Business plan or higher to be able to install your own plugins. However, websites on all WordPress.com plans come with two plugins installed by default:

  • Jetpack – Jetpack is more of a plugin collection than a singular plugin; it has features for many important parts of website management like speed, security, and growth.
  • Akismet – Our anti-spam plugin. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to sort the spam comments your site receives from the real deal.

How to Install and Activate Plugins

Using plugins is pretty much as easy as using themes. You simply go to the Plugins menu and use the search bar to look for what you need by name or keyword or click through the categories.

When you see something you like, click on it to learn more and then on Install and activate.

The plugin will automatically download and become active on your site. Afterward, you can start using its functionality. You can manage all the plugins on your site as well as deactivate and delete them under Plugins > Installed Plugins.

If you don’t know which plugins should install on your site, let’s go over a few popular examples

  • Yoast – The most popular WordPress SEO plugin. It allows you to add important information for search engines, such as SEO titles and descriptions. It also has an analysis module where it tells you what you need to do to optimize your pages and much more.
  • Gravity Forms – This is a plugin to create contact forms on your site so that visitors can get in touch with you. It has features for all sorts of forms, including payment options. Alternatively, consider using the Form block.
  • ShortPixel Adaptive Images – Images can be an obstacle to website speed because of their size and longer download time. This plugin helps out with that by converting your visuals to file types with a smaller footprint, compressing them, adding lazy loading, and much more.
  • Post SMTP – A plugin that allows you to send emails from inside WordPress and has some advanced functionality to make sure they arrive.
  • MonsterInsights – Easily connect Google Analytics to your website (more on that below) and display website data in your WordPress dashboard.

For more input and ideas, read our article on must-have plugin recommendations.

7. Determine Which Pages Your Site Needs

With basic design and features out of the way, it’s time to think about what will show up on your website. The first step here is to decide on the basic pages you will need. Thinking through your pages and how they relate to each other also helps you determine your website structure.

As before, this depends on your type of website. If you sell something, it will likely need a shop page (if not the homepage itself); however, you don’t need a blog page if you are not going to write one. Yet, there are certain pages that almost every website needs:

  • Homepage – This is the page that every visitor lands on when they enter your domain into a browser. It can have all types of content, including a blog. The main thing is that anyone who lands on the homepage should immediately get a good understanding of what your site is about.
  • About page – A central page for any website. Visitors are usually keen to learn more about the company or people behind sites they like. Consequently, the About page is one of the most frequented pages, so make sure it’s impactful and clearly communicates who you are.
  • Contact page – The next step after learning who you are and what you do is getting in touch. The contact page should clearly list all the ways you can do that or even come with a contact form.
  • Product and service pages – Naturally, if you offer any services or products to purchase on your site, you need pages where visitors can take advantage of that.
  • Blog – Unless your homepage itself is a blog, you are going to need a separate page to show off your writing. The blog page usually lists articles in chronologically descending order and also has extra information such as the most popular content, categories, etc.

How to Create Pages in WordPress

Creating pages in WordPress is pretty easy. On the dashboard, simply go to Pages > Add New.

WordPress.com will automatically propose pre-defined layouts for different kinds of pages that you can choose from.

However, you can also start with a blank canvas. Either way, the next step brings up the WordPress block editor.

It’s pretty easy to use. Enter a title for the page at the top and write your content below. Content is created in the form of blocks, which can be anything from paragraphs and headings over images and image galleries to layout elements like columns and even forms and widgets.

Paragraphs are the most simple; they just appear as you write and insert line breaks. You can see everything else that is available when you click the big plus button in the upper left corner or in the editor itself..

Click on any of the block names to add them to the page and format and configure them through the settings bar and options in the sidebar.

You can also add more blocks by typing a slash forward (“/”) and searching for the name of the block you are looking for.

When you publish or preview a page, the blocks you added appear on the front end.

We will talk more about what kind of content to add soon. 

Create a Menu for Better Navigation

Once you have set up your pages, you need to find a way to make them accessible to your visitors. The most common way to do that is to use a navigation menu.

Usually, it contains links to all the most important pages on your website for easy access. This, too, is easy to create and modify in WordPress. You do so in the Site Editor under Appearance > Editor.

The screen you land on looks similar to the block editor used for pages; however, instead of a single page, you can make changes to the entire site layout.

The block that is responsible for navigation menus is itself called Navigation, and you usually already find it in the top section of your theme.

Here, you can easily add or subtract menu items, change their order, or modify the entire look of the navigation. All of that happens with the help of the settings bar and menu in the sidebar. Learn more about how to add a menu to your site in our dedicated help section.

8. Create Your Website Content

Once you have your pages in place, it’s time to fill them. We have already covered the basic ways of creating content, so let’s use this section to talk about what content exactly makes sense to put on your website.

Headlines, Body Copy, and Calls to Action

Unless you have a photography website or similar, your main content is likely going to be written. Either way, there are some things that basically every web page needs.

One of them is the headline or title, which, as we already covered, you can add at the top of the WordPress editor.

The title not only appears on your own website but also in search engines.

That’s immensely important because it’s one of the main elements people use to decide whether or not to click on a link or check out a page. So, it has to be both informative and alluring, which can be a difficult balance to strike.

After that is the body copy. That’s what appears in the body of the page (as you might have guessed) and contains the main information of each page or post.

This can be a list of your services, your About page, or a blog post about how to raise guinea pigs. It’s really up to the page in question.

Important: Don’t forget your calls to action. You see, every page on your website should be there for a reason and have a particular function. A product page tries to sell, a blog post might encourage readers to comment or jump on an email list, and a contact page invites visitors to write you a message.

Whatever you are trying to get visitors to do, it’s important that you tell them clearly. That’s what calls to action are for. They prompt people to take a particular action.

They can appear as a heading, button, or in another form. You can also have more than one call to action on a page. The important thing is that you have them and that they are clear.

By the way, if you are struggling with the writing part, you can get assistance from the Jetpack AI Assistant. It can write content for you, propose headlines, check spelling and grammar, adjust the tone of your content, translate it into other languages, and more. Feel free to check it out! (See, that was a call to action.)

Images and Other Visuals

Besides text, visual elements are important content types. They are popular because they can clarify or underline points you are making in your writing, break up the monotony of large text blocks, and generally make online content more pleasant to consume.

The most common visuals used in online content are images. They are also easy to add to your website with the WordPress image block.

However, you have many more options to present images, such as in the form of a gallery, slideshow, or cover.

Therefore, an important consideration when creating your website content is how you will support it with visuals and collect those beforehand. For example, for tutorials like this, it’s common to use a lot of screenshots in order to show readers exactly what you are talking about. However, for a homepage or team page, you need different kinds of visuals that might need a camera and/or graphic design.

If you don’t have design or Photoshop skills, tools like Canva, Stencil, or Snappa can help with basic tasks, especially featured images, graphs and charts, infographics, etc.

Other sources of images are stock photo sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, or Pexels. You can also consider using Openverse, which is a free stock photo service directly integrated into the WordPress.com editor.

It enables you to search and directly add images from a collection of more than 700 million options.

Consider Using Videos

Videos are quickly becoming the most popular form of online content. Just look at the success of sites like YouTube and TikTok. Therefore, it can be a good idea to use this medium to make your content more engaging. 

One of the easiest is to simply embed videos in your website content. In WordPress, that is as easy as copying and pasting the URL of a YouTube video into the editor. When you do, it automatically embeds the video in the place where you put the link.

WordPress also offers automatic embeds for many other services, so you can also spruce up your content with posts from social networks and more.

Secondly, there are a bunch of blocks in the WordPress editor that allow the use of video, such as a moving background in certain blocks.

Finally, you are also able to post animated GIFs (which are nothing but short videos in image form) as either uploaded images or embedded from somewhere else.

Suspicious Mr Johnson GIF by ABC Network - Find & Share on GIPHY

9. Add Headers and Footers

In case you are not familiar with these terms, they are easy to explain. A header is the top part of a website. It usually contains things like the logo, navigation menu, or search field.

Its main functionality is branding and helping people get around your site.

The footer, on the other hand – you guessed it – is the bottom part of a website. It, too, has common elements, which include things like the copyright notice, extra menus, or your business address. Its goal is to invite people to stay longer on a website and explore other options when they reach the end of a page.

Chances are, your WordPress theme already has a header and footer by default. If not, let’s quickly go over how you can create them.

In order to add a header or footer, you have to make changes to page templates. These basically control the layout of your pages, and you can make changes to them in the WordPress Site Editor that we already talked about (Appearance > Editor, remember?).

If, as in the case above, it doesn’t have a header, you have several ways of creating it. One of the easiest is to open the list view by clicking the icon at the top left. Here, click on the three-dot icon of the topmost element and then on Add before.

This will create a paragraph element at the top of the page. Here, you can then add a header element via the Block Inserter, the Add block button, or by writing a forward slash and typing header.

Depending on your theme, you might get options for several different kinds of header elements. If you are not sure what they are, simply pick any of them. Then, once on the page, click on the new header, then use the three-dot icon in the options bar to pick Replace Header.

When you do, you will see a menu that has pre-made header options included in your theme.

Pick any of them to insert it into the editor. Adding footers works the same way, only that you add them to the end of the page.

If you want to make changes to the information, design, and elements in your header and footer, there is nothing easier than that! You can edit them like any other page element in the Site Editor.

Add layout elements like columns and rows, fill them with menus, social icons, text, or widgets. You can also change background and font colors, sizes, and more in the sidebar menu.

Check out our post on how to customize your header for more ideas.

10. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Search engines are one of the main sources of traffic for most websites. However, in order to earn visitors from there, you need to make sure your site is configured in a way that Google and other search engines can understand its topic correctly.

The good news is that if your site is running on WordPress, it is automatically digestible for search engines. The CMS is configured in a way by default that makes it readable and well-structured.

Yet, there are still a few things that are necessary on your end to give it the last bit of polish. The best way to get started is to install an SEO plugin like the aforementioned Yoast SEO. This gives you additional options to improve your site’s appearance in search engines.

Write Title Tags for Each Page

We have mentioned the importance of headlines further up on the page. With an SEO plugin, you have the possibility to customize them just for search engines, e.g., to make sure that they are short enough to appear in search results. Yoast SEO and other such plugins offer additional options for that in the WordPress editor.

As you can see, there are fields for the title tag and other elements, plus a preview of how the page will look in search results. This way, you can make sure it appears the way you want it to. In addition, it’s imperative that you use your main keyword in your title, as it is one of the most important markers for the topic of your content. For more details, check our article on how to write title tags.

Add Meta Descriptions

A meta description is another part of your pages that appears in search results. It’s the text that you see below the links and URL.

This, too, you can configure with SEO plugins in the same place as titles. If none is provided, Google will either use the beginning of the post/page or a random passage from the content that it deems relevant.

In fact, it will often do the latter, even if you have included a meta description. However, writing a custom description allows you to control its content for those cases when it does show up. Make sure to include your main keyword and a call to action.

Use a Search-friendly URL Structure

The URL is another element that search engines look at when figuring out the topic and ranking of your website. There are several options for how you structure links on your site, and you can configure all of them in WordPress under Settings > Permalinks.

The most important part is that you show the post name at the end of the URL (also known as the slug). That way, you can configure it to include your topic. The good news is that WordPress is automatically configured to do so. So, this part is usually already covered.

Aside from that, you also have the option to display categories in the URL structure. You will notice that this is the case, for example, on this blog. If you look at the browser bar, you can see the category part in the website address.

This makes especially good sense for online shops, where grouping products is imperative. However, it can also make sense for content-based sites such as this one. It helps further clarify the broad topics of your site.

Finally, you have the possibility to include a date in the URL so that people can see when a particular post was first published. This makes the most sense for websites where this information is important, e.g., news websites. It’s not recommended for sites that aim to provide more evergreen information, as it will automatically date your content.

Also, unless you have a completely new site, don’t change your URL structure willy-nilly! It can make you lose search traffic because it breaks the links already indexed by Google. This kind of thing needs careful consideration and planning to not ruin your hard work.

Include Relevant Keywords

The final part of search engine optimization that we want to talk about is keyword placement. We have already mentioned that it’s important to put them in the title, URL, and meta description.

Besides that, you should also include them in your written text, the file names of your images, and their ALT text. If you don’t know what the last part is, it’s something you can configure in the editor sidebar when you click on any image block.

It should be a description of what the image is about. This is used by search spiders and screen readers of people who are visually impaired to figure out the content of an image without being able to see it. Therefore, it is very important for accessibility, not just SEO!

That leaves the question, how often should you place your main keyword in those places? Luckily, if you are already using an SEO plugin, you don’t have to find that out manually. If you use something like Yoast SEO, you can enter the keyword you are targeting into the analysis module, and the plugin will give you a checklist if you have used it enough and in the right places.

11. Set Up Analytics

Another important step when you first create your website is to set up some sort of analytics solution. They allow you to track website metrics and goals so that you know if you are going in the right direction. They also help you figure out what’s working on your site, if there are any technical problems, and which content is popular. Let’s go over some standard solutions for this.

Google Search Console

Search Console is what Google calls its webmaster tools. It’s free to use, and you can connect your site to it to find out how your content is performing in the search engine. It tells you what search queries you are ranking for, the number of impressions, clicks, and your click-through rate.

This is very important information to help you understand your search performance. You can see your best-performing pages, find related keywords, and see the countries you are most popular in. You can also find out what queries individual keywords rank for and take action when the performance starts to get worse.

Besides that, Search Console tells you if there are any technical problems on your website. You can find out your indexing status (and submit a sitemap to help Google discover your content), page experience, core web vitals, and mobile usability. This helps you make sure your search performance is not hurt by a technical glitch.

Google Analytics

Another free tool by Google that you can connect to your site is Google Analytics. Instead of ranking in search, it is more concerned with what is happening on your website once visitors get there.

The tool shows you how many visitors are on your site, where they come from (both the medium and locality), what content they look at, how they move through your site, where they drop off, how long they stick around, and a lot more. It also lets you track conversions for custom events and shopping activity (if there are any).

This is perfect to understand what pages and content are most attractive and how you can improve the experience on your site in order to move visitors towards where you want them to go. It’s a treasure trove of information and deserves its own tutorial.

Jetpack Stats

The final analytics solution we want to recommend is our own Jetpack Stats. It is present on any WordPress.com website by default, and you find it in the Stats menu.

Jetpack Stats tells you the number of visitors, page views, likes, and comments. You can filter it by different timeframes, see your most popular posts and pages, who refers visitors to you, where they come from in the world, search terms, most clicked links, and a lot more.

There is also the Insights tab that gives you a yearly overview of how much you posted, your visitors per day, the most popular posts, and more information.

Finally, there is also information about your WordPress.com subscribers.

12. Website Building FAQ

We are finishing off this tutorial on how to make a website with some frequently asked questions.

How much does it cost to build a website?

Website costs are variable and depend on your needs. Two of the most basic costs are domain and hosting. You can figure these out from our pricing information.

[Table with WordPress.com pricing and features]

However, there are other costs involved with building and running a website. You can incur additional costs from buying premium themes and plugins, and tools. Yet, as mentioned, a lot of that is optional, and you can forgo some of the bells and whistles to make the process more affordable.

How hard is it to actually build your own website?

As you have hopefully seen above, getting started is very easy. All the parts to build a website already exist; you only need to learn how to put them together. WordPress helps with that as it is super user- and beginner-friendly.

You can achieve most things in the same editor, and a lot of it is point-and-click. In addition, there are many tools, themes, and plugins specifically created to help users without technical knowledge build their desired websites.

Finally, if you do struggle, there is so much helpful content out there on pretty much any question you might have about WordPress. There are tons of blogs just like this one with detailed articles, there are the WordPress.org support forums, as well as – not to forget – our own WordPress.com support.

When should I hire a WordPress developer to build my site?

With a bit of elbow grease, you can build an entire website all by yourself. The WordPress ecosystem is so advanced that there is a solution for almost anything – often for free!

However, there are also cases where it can make sense to hire a professional:

  • Creating a custom design
  • Building custom functionality
  • Further improving your website security
  • Saving time by outsourcing the work

If you are considering working with a WordPress developer, read our article on if you should hire one. When you decide to take the leap, check out Websites Built by WordPress.com.

How long does it take to build a website?

This, too, doesn’t have a cut-and-dry answer. The amount of time will depend on the type of website you’d like to build, your level of expertise, how much time you are able to commit to it, and more.

Generally speaking, you can start a basic website with WordPress.com in a weekend. As you have seen above, it’s enough to simply slap on a design, create pages and content, and put it out there. If you need something more elaborate, it will, of course, take longer.

Want to set a new speed record? You can get up and running in under an hour with our getting started guide.

How do I keep my website secure?

Website security is a very important issue. You don’t want to have your site hacked, defaced, and spreading malware without your knowledge.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to prevent that from happening. Your number one responsibility is to keep your own user account secure. You can do that by using strong passwords and setting up two-factor authentication (2FA).

Aside from that, the hosting provider where you keep your website is another crucial factor. That’s why WordPress.com offers world-class security and keeps your website safe without you having to do a thing.

How do I make changes to my website once it’s live?

Changing things on your website works basically the same way as creating them in the first place. You can always edit the content and design of your site in the respective editors.

However, if you are planning to make bigger changes than fixing a typo or updating text and you don’t want to do it in public, you can consider using maintenance mode. This hides your site from view with a message that it will be back soon so you can work on the changes without anyone seeing the work in progress.

How do I get more website traffic?

Traffic is what makes a website alive. It’s what brings in leads, clients, readers, discussions in the comment section, and more. However, traffic needs to be earned; it usually doesn’t come by itself. Here are different ways to get more visitors to your site:

  • SEO – Make sure your website is optimized in order to give yourself the best chance of earning organic traffic from search engines.
  • Content – Blogging or content marketing goes along with SEO. Publishing articles allows you to rank for more keywords and build an online portfolio and brand to attract more visitors.
  • Social media – With a good strategy, you can build a following on social networks and bring some of them back to your website.
  • Newsletter – Your own email list is a formidable tool to get people to return to your site and breed loyalty.

For detailed tips, we have a whole article on how to increase website traffic.

Create Your Website With WordPress.com Now!

Building your own website can feel intimidating at first. If you don’t have development skills, you might think that it is not for you. Thankfully, with tools like WordPress, now almost anyone can create their own website quickly.

As you have hopefully seen above, the process is quite linear. You first need to set up the infrastructure to host your website and make it available. Then, choose the software solution to build your site. After that, add design, functionality, and content. Finally, optimize for search engines, add some analytics, and you are good to go.

Of course, there will be some things that will take longer to understand than others. Take your time, look for help, and you can learn it step by step. If I can do it, so can you.


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