You want to make a website. You know you need a website, but your just not sure where to start. In this page I’ll introduce you to the best tools and methods to help you easily get started making your own website.
The opportunities that a website offer are so exciting. A website allows you to connect with the world, reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Your website can be the only place that your business lives, or it can be an extension of the physical location of your business. The opportunity is huge! So finding the right way to start making your website is so important.
It can be confusing to know where to start. There are so many options and so many tools that you can use to build a website with. Finding the right way of makinging your own website that will be easy, but still give you the maximum amount of flexibility isn’t easy. I know from my own struggles getting started building my first website.
What Is This Post All About?
In this article I’m going to share with you the best way that I have found for most people to easily make a website. You can do it all without needing to know how to code!
I’ve created this website Real Website Hints and my YouTube channel to help people just like you figure out the best and easiest ways to get started building a great website.
I test and review website building products looking for what will help you find the best and easiest ways of building websites. In this article I’ll recommend products that I have tested and like. All of the opinions are my own. If you find this information useful, you can use the links provided in this article which will cost you nothing extra and provide me with a commission that helps me to keep testing and creating free content like this!
My Rough Start Building My First Website
The first website I created was a frustrating experience. I made a lot of mistakes, and made it a lot harder on myself then it needed to be. What I discovered over the course of several months of trial and error, was how important choosing the right tools to build your website is.
The first tools I picked looked great in their demos. And seemed like they would work for my project. It was only after I actually purchased them and added my content to them I realized that they wouldn’t work without making some modifications.
That’s when I realized how inflexible so many WordPress themes are. Most themes require that you know how to code to make even the most basic modifications to layout and colors. I felt like without learning how to code I wouldn’t be able to get my website to look and feel the way I wanted.
This was a real low point. I thought that I would either have to spend several months learning enough code to make the modifications myself, or spend $3,000 to $10,000 to hire a professional web designer and web developer.
Fortunately, that’s when I discovered WordPress page builder themes. These themes make it really easy for you to make modifications and design the layouts of your WordPress webpages. I found out that getting the right tools can make a massive difference in your experience making a website.
That is also when I decided to start Real Website Hints, to help anyone else who is looking to make a great website easily, and avoid getting frustrated.
The Right Tools Make A Difference.
When you’re making a website on your own, your tools are your website development team. You want to choose the right team that will work for you, and not a team that will limit what you can do.
So what’s important in the website tools that you choose?
Your tools should do the heavy lifting of helping you get the layout and design of your website. They should also grow and continue to improve over time.
The tools that I recommend later on do both of these. They make it easy for you to design your site and have proven over time to continue to improve and get better.
What types of tools should you choose to make a website?
Open source platforms are a good choice. They offer a lot of flexibility. Open source platforms allows anyone to add-on or expand the functionality base platform. This means that developers can design plugins and themes to expand the base functionality of an open source website platform.
Another benefit to an open source website platform is that you aren’t dependent on or tied down to just one website hosting solution or just one company to provide additional functionality for your site. There are many companies that provide hosting and offer themes and plugins to expand the capabilities of your site.
After learning about and testing a few different open source website building platforms I settled on using WordPress. WordPress is one of the most widely used website platforms with a huge range of plugins and themes to add functionality to your site. There is strength in numbers 🙂
What you need to make a website using the WordPress platform:
- A download of the WordPress software itself. ( Most hosting companies can install this for you )
- Website Hosting this is how you get your site on the internet.
- A WordPress Theme, this gives your site a look.
- Plugins which are bits of software that you add to your site to provide more functionality.
Check out my beginners guide to getting started with WordPress.
Benefits of choosing an open source website platform:
- Move your site to the hosting you want.
- Choose thousands of plugins to add functionality to your site.
- Availability of easy to use tools to help you build your site.
Getting Started With WordPress
Making a website with WordPress can be easy or it can be frustrating. It’s all about how you get started.
WordPress by itself is like a computer operating system, or the drivetrain for your car. It’s the main part of the system, but it’s not complete on its own. WordPress by it self is a content management system. It is essentially a database program that stores all of the information about your website.
To make a WordPress website complete you need to add a theme. A theme gives your website it’s design. It creates, or allows you to create the user interface that your website viewers will see.
There are thousands of WordPress themes out there. Choosing the right one can be the difference between a good website building experience and a bad and frustrating experience.
It’s not hard to find a theme for WordPress that looks great. The key is will it fit your content and how easy will it be for you to make the pages look the way that you want?
Most WordPress themes have ridged static designs. The demos often look great, but when it comes time to add in your own content it might not look right. There might be some formatting or colors that you want to change. It can be impossible to know what you can and can’t change without actually getting the theme and trying it.
There are themes that give you lots of control over the layout and design of your site. These are often referred to as page builder themes. Each one has it’s own set of capabilities but in general they make it easy for you to design and modify the look of your pages.
So choosing the right theme and a flexible theme is really important.
Choosing a theme that gives you flexibility
The type of themes that I recommend people start with are page builder themes. Page builder themes allow you to design and build your own pages. The best page builder themes not only allow you to build and design your own pages but make it easy to do so.
My current favorite page builder theme is the Divi theme.
I have a full review of the Divi theme that will show you all of the benefits of the theme. The main thing that Divi does is allow you easily build and design your pages using a great front end page builder.
You can easily modify the text. Change the colors of elements on your page. Add a background image or even a background video.
It’s also easy to create or import page templates from other sites. I actually have a listing of over 40 different free Divi page templates and designs that you can use on your own site.
I’ve also created some of my own free Divi page templates. I have a tutorial that will show you how to load these free page templates on your own WordPress site with Divi.
Building a website with WordPress and Divi is a great way to get started. One of the things that I have really grown to like about the Divi theme over the years is the theme developers commitment to continual improvement. It’s really a theme that will grow with you as you grow your website.
When you purchase the Divi theme you also get access to a few helpful plugins for building your site. There is the Bloom email opt-in plugin which will help you build you email mailing list and the Monarch plugin which will make it easier for your website visitors to share your content on social media.
Of course you also have access to the thousands of other plugins available for WordPress like Woocommerce for building an online store.
The bottom line is WordPress is a great platform and Divi makes it easy to use.
Choosing a place to build and host your website
In order to make a website, you need a place to build it. You also need a way for visitors to be able to view your site. Hosting companies provide the service of offering you a specialized computer systems that are connected to the internet and world wide web. These hosting computers are configured to allow you and your visitors to access your website 24/7.
Choosing the right hosting company makes a difference. There are many hosting companies and fundamentally they are all the same. They all give you a place to build your website as well as serve your website to the world.
The main thing that’s different between different hosting companies is the price of hosting, quality of hosing and how easy each hosting company is for you to use. All of these have an effect on your start. If it’s too expensive you might not want to start because of the cost. If it’s too difficult to setup that might slow you down until you figure it out.
I have tried and tested multiple hosting companies. Here are a few of my favorites. Each one offers a unique set of features depending on your needs.
SiteGround offers low introductory priced hosting plans; helping you start without the need to put a lot of money up front. With SiteGround you get quality hosting at a lower price. They are able to do this by offering any additional services as a la cart. For example with the base plan they will make a daily backup of your site with 1 days worth of backups available. If you require more backup days for example 30 days of backups then you can add that to the base hosting plan or move up to a higher plan.
What I really like about SiteGround is their customer service. In my experience it has always been quick to connect with a customer service representative by chat and I have found them to be quite helpful.
SiteGround is a great way to start with quality hosting at a lower price.
If you want to make a lot of little sites, check out Dreamhost. With Dreamhost’s base plan you can host an unlimited number of domains. Of course there are some limitations but as long as you don’t have giant sites or tons and tons of traffic this hosting is a great choice. It’s one of the best choices for many small sites for a low price.
If you do find that one of your sites is gaining in popularity you always move to Dreamhost’s managed WordPress hosting called Dreampress. next level WordPress hosting. With this service you site will run faster and be able to add more traffic. If you start out with a basic Dreamhost plan, and want to move up to Dreampress, all you need to do is call them up or send them a message and they will be glad to move your site to their Dreampress servers.
If you interested in Dreamhost I have a tutorial that will guide you through how to setup WordPress on Dreamhost.
With this link get $25 off of your hosting with Dreamhost.
Flywheel is the first hosting company that I am actually excited about. They have taken something that is traditionally difficult and confusing and made it as easy as possible. Flywheel focuses on just one thing and that’s WordPress specific hosting.
Their hosting interface is also perfect for non-techies. They have found a way to make managing your hosting super simple. Many hosting companies have lots of complicated settings and things to configure. With Flywheel it’s really easy and intuitive.
When you first look at the pricing for Flywheel you might think that it’s expensive. But with everything that they include I think that it’s a really great value. With Flywheel you get fast hosting. They also offer free backups included with all of their plans. If something goes wrong with your site you have 30 days of backups that you can use to restore your site. Flywheel also includes security monitoring by Succuri. If you haven’t heard of Succuri they are the biggest name in WordPress security and hacker monitoring. If something gets found on your site the team at Flywheel will help you fix it… for free. If you had to pay for that service on it’s own that would actually be almost as much as the base Flywheel hosting plan.
With Flywheel collaborating on your site with other people or get outside assistance with your site is really easy. Flywheel offers a very simple way to give someone else access to your site and just as easy to take it away.
If you build sites for other people Flywheel is a great choice. It’s actually designed for professional website designers. You can build your site on a development location and then Flywheel will give you two weeks to demo it for your client before they charge you. Flywheel also makes it really easy to transfer the hosting from you to your client.
Flywheel is a great quality hosting choice, and it’s an amazing value when you factor in everything that they include. One thing to note about Flywheel is that it is a US based company. They offer their main technical support only during daytime hours in US with emergency service at night. That’s something to keep in mind when making your decision.
If you’d like to build you website with Flywheel I have a tutorial that will show you how to set up WordPress on Flywheel hosting.
Click here to learn more about Flywheel hosting on your own.
Why You Should Start Making Your Website Right Now.
If you know what you want to build. Even if you have just the basic idea, now is the time to start. One of the factors in getting traffic to your site and getting people to find it is how long your site has been up on the internet. The sooner you start the sooner you will start building your traffic.
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
You don’t have to know everything or have everything planned out to get started. Just getting a basic website up, even if it’s just one page will be a great start. Start with just with the basic information about your business or organization. Then grow your site from there.
With a website you can and you will be always adding to it. A website is a fluid thing that you grow, and that will continue to grow with you.
How To Get Start Building Your Website Right Now.
If you’re ready to dive in and start building your site. Let’s do it! I have a free step by step tutorial series to help you build a website in under 2 hours. In the series I will help you think about how to design your website and then will guide you thru how to make a website step by step.