Everyone can build a website. If you don’t know where to begin, this free guide can show you the proper way how to make a website – from start to finish.
Want to know an interesting fact?
The World Wide Web is the home of over 1.87 billion live websites. And this is continuously growing every second.
Its consistent growth is average since more people are adapting to digital transformation. But the pandemic sure speeds it up by 100%.
This is the very reason it’s essential to create your website from scratch.
It allows you to create a unique user experience. At the same time, customize it according to your goals, passions, and visions.
6 Easy Steps How To Create Your Website
I’ve compiled an easy-to-follow guide on how to make a website from scratch this 2022. Let’s dive right in.
1. Understand The Different Types Of Websites
Before jumping to site creation, you must first decide what type of website you want to build.
This is a crucial step because this will later help you determine the right tools and features to build your website.
How many types of websites are there?
There are approximately hundreds of website types that exist online, and each holds a unique function. Understanding their respective functions will allow you to identify which one best fits your needs.
Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with long details. I will only discuss the three most popular types:
Initially, this type of website is used for documenting milestones and sharing valuable tips (DIY projects, recipes, etc.).
However, in recent years, this website type has evolved as an effective marketing tool. This is a great development because you can also use your website to earn money online by writing quality affiliate reviews.
If you’re a business owner, this is an excellent platform to do the following:
- Spread awareness of your brand or product in a conversational and friendly manner.
- Create fresh contents that provide value to your audience.
- Build a community.
|Use a blog to inform and inspire your audience.||Hard selling approach drives your audience away from your website, probably forever.|
2. eCommerce websites
As the name implies, this website is designed for entrepreneurs with small to massive volumes of products and services to sell.
An eCommerce website also called an online store, is today’s most profitable website to build. Google supported it by showing the total purchases made online worldwide (47%).
So, there’s no better time to start your online store.
Just make sure to research and understand the important online business laws and requirements before you start:
- Applicable taxes based on your and your customer’s location
- Payment service providers to use
- Rightful use of copyrights, patents, and trademarks
- Age and shipping restrictions
- Types of business insurances to add
- Products’ licenses (if there are any)
- PCI compliance
|Use the eCommerce website to attractively display your products and make them accessible to customers 24/7.||Gather personal data and sell them without the customer’s permission.|
3. Educational websites
If your primary goal is to help students with their studies at their own learning pace, educational websites are the ultimate choice.
This type of website is commonly used to inform visitors about the institution’s vital information, courses offered, achievements, and more.
But with the latest developments, educators and e-learning providers can now transform their websites into virtual classrooms.
You can make it fun, even the complex lessons, by adding engaging games and quizzes.
The key to achieving success is creating the best user experience for students and teachers. This means you need to include the following:
- Easy navigation of the site
- Strong call-to-actions
- Build well-structured content flow
- Sufficient communication links or features
|Use the educational website to bring the latest academic programs and resources to students.||Inclusions of irrelevant and low-quality content can stimulate confusion and distrust.|
2. Plan Your Website Structure
Planning your website structure is the step where you determine how you will present and organize the site’s content.
Due to the large volume of tasks that are needed to work on, this step can easily get out of hand.
I suggest you divide all work into smaller parts and accomplish them one at a time. Here’s the planning strategy I’ve used to give you an idea:
I. Choose the type of website structure to apply
There are different types of website structures, but the most common is the hierarchical model.
Its simplicity and on-point design make it easier for everyone to create a visual presentation of their site workflow. This model starts with the home page (treated as the parent page), followed by multiple sub-pages (child pages).
This is an effective method to filter all the information stored on your website while maintaining flexibility in the search function.
Other types of website structures you can use are listed as follows:
- Sequential Model: This model is perfect for anyone looking for a simple way to organize their content chronologically or logically. Since it can only work forward and backward steps, you need to add links on each web page for quick access to other information.
- Database Model: This is a more complex model that uses logical structure to quickly determine how the information can be manipulated, accessed, and stored.
II. What pages should I include on my website?
Most websites contain multiple web pages and organize them into categories.
Though there are standard pages available online that you can use, it’s recommended to create your own based on the following factors:
- Identify your target audience: A website is all about reaching out to your desired audience market. Answering the question ‘who is this web page for?’ helps you create content that they will find valuable and engaging.
- User intent: Understand the type of information your audience is searching for – are they more on informational content, entertainment, or likely to make a purchase? You can use Google and social media channels to find these answers.
- SEO goals: The search engine plays a vital role in your site’s performance and visibility. So, it only fits to create the best SEO strategy to ensure your site will achieve authority, relevance, and user satisfaction.
Upon getting all the information you need, start listing down all the web pages your site will have. Make sure to pick a name for each that directly describes its purpose or the content it holds.
Two of the must-haves are the about and contact page.
About page is the section where you can introduce your website and the story behind your brand. On the other hand, the contact page provides your audience with all the methods to get in touch with you.
This step can immediately turn into a complicated matter as you add more pages and content.
My advice, think about organization and accessibility. These elements help visitors to easily navigate your website and find the information they’re looking for.
III. Plan the website layout
The goal of the layout is to highlight your message/story and deliver it effectively to your audience.
Of course, you have to make it visually appealing to ensure you’ll get them hooked.
How can you do this?
First, you need to come up with a skeletal framework for your website. This will contain the content and visual elements placement within the website.
Here’s one example of what a website layout should look like:
- The header serves as a top navigation bar. This is where you will line up all the vital web pages such as the about, contact, services offered, and blog pages.
- The body’s layout is designed for skimmers. All content included, including images and text, is organized in a way it is easy to digest.
- The footer usually includes the copyright information, but others use it as well as a navigation bar. This is commonly used for lengthy web pages.
Next, balance it with visual elements like colors, images, videos, and shapes.
The general rule of thumb, you must only use three colors per web page. Also, it’s ideal to use color schemes that promote any of the following:
- Natural and earthy
- Cool and fresh
- Clean and stylish
- Vibrant and inviting
No matter what layout you decide to use, make sure the important information should be at the front and center. Also, the website must remain responsive.
3. Prepare Killer Content
Content preparation and creation are tasks that can be accomplished at any stage of website creation. It’s entirely your preference.
But in my opinion, it’s preferable to do it at an early stage.
The first reason is that you finish planning the website structure and pages. This means that your creativity is still flowing out of you, which is great to take advantage of.
Another reason is, website creation can consume most of your time.
Therefore, you might end up being too exhausted to plan killer content.
Remember, good content requires a lot of time to prepare and strategize. There’s no shortcut for it.
Here’s how you can prepare your content:
I. Organize the research information
Since you did the heavy research on part 2 (under plan your website structure), you just need to organize them.
This will help you focus on the topic and the most important aspect of the content. Not to mention, easily discover and address content gaps.
II. Match content with goals
Create your content in a way that will produce the result you want to achieve.
For example, you’re creating a business website. You need to incorporate your marketing plan to guarantee that your products and services will satisfy your target market’s needs.
It’s also advisable to focus on pain points and provide solutions for each.
This is an effective way to make your brand more relatable to your audience. Do this properly, and you’ll gain their trust as a result.
However, if you’re creating a personal website, your values and missions are best to showcase in your content.
III. Create a content strategy
Heraclitus once said, “the only constant in life is change”.
So, it’s wise to create an ongoing content strategy.
Not only will this continuously make your website competitive, but it also grows your audience engagement and relevance on search engines.
4. Pick a Web Host Provider & Domain Registrar
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Relax. This step is a lighter task.
I even find it enjoyable because you’ll bag a web host, domain extension, and your very own domain name at the end of this task.
Let’s start by picking a web host provider.
The web host provider is the type of service that connects your website to the internet. They provide you with the following:
- Dependable servers to keep your website up and running 24/7
- Storage space
- Bandwidth (data transfer capacity)
- Strong privacy and data security
- Firewall protection on servers
The exact number of features included varies on the website hosting provider you’ll purchase. So, you have to check and compare every offer to find the best fit for your site.
What is the best web host provider? Bluehost is on top of my list.
It’s proven to be the best overall website hosting provider with superb uptime, security, and speed. It’s a bonus that it also includes the following perks:
- SSL certificates (security)
- Professional email account
- Generous storage space and unmetered bandwidth
You can get all these starting at $2.95 per month.
The best part of Bluehost is they provide a free domain for 1 year and registration. This saves you time from endless searching for a domain registry.
Not fully sold on this web host provider?
Or maybe you have a not-so-good experience using their service?
If that’s the case, you can always find the best Bluehost alternatives.
On the other hand, the domain defines your web address.
What kind of domain extension should you pick?
The domain extension must coincide with your website’s purpose. To have a better understanding, here are the top-level domains (TLD) you can choose:
- Commercial (.com): This is a generic yet popular domain extension you can use if your website works as a commercial business, networking, and email.
- Organization (.org): This domain extension is initially used for non-profit entities. Today, it is also open to using for building communities, open-source projects, and other profit-based entities.
- Country code: This domain extension is perfect if you only want to target local audiences.
- Modern TLDs: If your website only works for a specific purpose (blog, shop, or app), this is the domain extension you need to purchase.
Most web hosting providers offer a domain search and registry. But you can also purchase them from different service providers like GoDaddy.
The choice is yours.
5. What Website Building Method Should I Use?
Building a website from scratch is often avoided because it’s an intimidating task. Some even believe that they are no match with professionals who can make top-notch website design.
In the older times, these statements were factual.
However, we’re now living in the digital era. Technology evolves significantly and now offers simple and more efficient solutions to make a website quick and easy.
Since people have different skill sets, I’ll show you three methods that can suit each:
Beginner Option: Website Builder
The website builder is the ultimate choice for beginners because it allows them to create a website without writing a single line of code.
It commonly includes a library of pre-built templates, built-in elements, and simple integration of third-party apps. All play a vital role in the success of your website.
Wix is the popular choice because its unstructured-designed website editor provides the user tons of design flexibility.
This means that it gives you the freedom to customize your website with simple dragging and dropping of visual elements.
You can also easily add a specific page or function without leaving the website editor, such as:
- Stream video by adding video players
- Start a blog
- Provide a self-serve booking system
- Add a membership site
|Best for||Small business website and creative projects|
|Cons||Wix has a 100-page limit (not counting blog posts), and templates are not interchangeable.|
There are more website editors available in the market today, both free and paid.
One key to getting the best fit for your website is looking at what type of website it’s best to use.
Intermediate User Option: Open-Source CMS Platform
If your goal is to create a website with impressive functions, the CMS platform is an excellent choice.
Just like with the website builder, this platform provides a WYSIWYG editor where users can easily add their content without coding.
So, why did I consider this option for intermediate users?
For simple reasons, it is also built with a coding area where you can write or copy and paste your code (HTML, PHP, and other coding languages). This is used for full customization.
Another great advantage of the CMS platform is its content storage.
Its content, design, and function are stored in a separate file. This is an excellent feature because you can edit any of them without damaging the others.
WordPress is people’s favorite open-source CMS platform.
Upon signing up, it will give you a personalized dashboard where you can customize your website and manage your content.
It’s built with a guided design to walk you through every step.
Since the CMS platform has a collaborative nature, you can add team members and assign roles for each.
Aside from coding, you can also add functions to your website through plugins. A few of the plugin functions available are listed as follows:
- Site analytics and tracking
- Page builder
- Contact form
|Best for||Blog and small business website|
|Cons||Require manual updates and backups|
You can check my best WordPress alternatives post for more options.
Experts Option 3: Code Editor
Coding remains the most effective method for creating a website that looks and works exactly the way you envision it.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the popular computer language combination for website-making.
HTML is used to build the website structure to see how a browser will display all text, links, and visual elements added. CSS, on the other hand, is used to style the layout and presentation of web pages.
The code editors support all these.
Compared to the two previous site-building tools, code editors are text-based and support over 80 programming languages.
It’s also open-source, so it’s entirely free to download and use.
Its interface is built with a tabbed design, allowing you to work with multiple files in a single window.
Other excellent features included are the following:
- Auto-completion to prevent mistyping long-form codes
- Macros for easy task automation
- Multi-editing mode for simple editing within rows or columns
|Best for||Web developers and programmers who want a code editor with less distraction.|
|Cons||Run on MS Windows only|
If you want a more flexible code editor, I recommend Atom.
Atom can handle more complex coding and runs on Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems.
6. Create a Pre-Launch Checklist
After putting all the pieces together, it’s tempting to hit the publish button.
Unfortunately, you can’t do that without running thorough checking. Here’s a sample checklist that you can follow:
- Check text-based content for errors: Look out for misspelled words, grammatical errors, and alike.
- Check image quality: Most audiences scan rather than read. So, make sure to use high-quality images with straightforward meanings.
- Configure website settings: Make sure the time zone, SEO, analytics, and other important website settings are correctly set up. This task is applicable only if you use a website builder or CMS platform.
- Test links: If you include links (reference or other web pages), make sure they are working properly and heading to the right page source.
- Test website overall performance: Use third-party tools to check the web site’s speed and compatibility with different browsers and devices.
Getting the attention of billions of internet users is not an easy task.
The only chance to get a competitive edge is to invest time and effort in creating an organized, attractive, and accessible website. Don’t forget to make it simple to use.
If there’s one thing people hate, that would be taking too much time to figure out how the website works.
When it comes to content, you have to make sure that they meet the following:
- Write it in a conversational manner
- Avoid the use of complex and technical words
- Highlight the most important content
Making a website from scratch indeed requires hard work. But with the right tools and knowledge, everything can go as you plan.