How to Create a Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

Studies show that between 70 and 80% of consumers research a business online before visiting in person or making a purchase. This means that a website is just as necessary for businesses today as a phone number.

Maybe you are starting a new business or developing your own personal brand. Or you might want to update your company’s outdated website. Either way, creating a new website can feel overwhelming, especially without any technical expertise or a web developer budget.

To avoid any potential frustration, we’ve put together a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to create a website. Best of all, you don’t need a programmer, web designer, or a huge budget to create one. All you need to do is follow the nine steps below.

How to create a website

  1. Choose your website platform.
  2. Choose a hosting plan.
  3. Get a Domain Name.
  4. Choose a theme for your site.
  5. Customize your theme and templates.
  6. Add pages to your site.
  7. Write content.
  8. Fill in the general settings.
  9. Install add-ons.

1. Choose your website platform.

First, you need to decide whether you want to build a website using a website builder or a content management system (CMS).

Both offer the out-of-the-box features, pre-made templates, and extensions necessary to create a custom website without coding. However, they offer different experiences in creating and maintaining a website.

Website builder Have everything you need to start a site ready. Get tools for website building, hosting, domain registration, SSL certification, templates, and support in one place, often for one low monthly price.

This ease of use and pricing appeals to many website owners. However, free website builders and the more expensive alternatives tend to have limited flexibility. For example, you can’t add your own custom code or use a website builder to drag and drop items anywhere in your posts and pages.

If you want more control over the functionality and appearance of your website, use a CMS. A CMS provides the content management, advanced features, and customization options necessary to create larger, more complex websites.

Once you’ve decided that a CMS is the best option for your business, consider the software, ease of use, customizability, security, and pricing of various platforms to narrow your choices down.

The best CMS system for your business depends on the needs and goals of your site. For example, do you need a platform where you can add your own custom code or one that supports multiple languages? Would you like a proprietary CMS to share responsibility for protecting and maintaining your website, or do you want an open source CMS? You can also narrow your list down by comparing the selection of templates and add-ons offered by each system.

WordPress, for example, is a popular open source CMS that provides thousands of themes, plugins, and modules to customize your website. In return for this flexibility, you will have to spend more time and money downloading, installing, and maintaining these extensions. On the downside, WordPress alternatives like the CMS Hub offer more built-in features, app integrations, and security features, so you can focus on creating web content and generating leads.

Skip to step 2 once you have selected the best CMS platform for your needs.

2. Choose a hosting plan.

Web hosting is A service that enables individuals or businesses to operate a website on the Internet. The service provider known as the web host stores your website files on a secure server that they keep running and then delivers that web content to visitors who enter your URL in their browser.

The steps for choosing a hosting provider differ depending on whether you chose a proprietary or open source solution above. A proprietary solution will include web hosting in the pricing package. So, all you have to do is choose the plan with the bandwidth, storage, and other features that suit you best.

For example, Wix offers limited bandwidth and storage on its free plan, so you’ll need to upgrade to its unlimited plan for unlimited bandwidth and 10GB of storage.

Once you have chosen an open source solution, you need to find your own hosting provider, which takes time and a lot of research. There are hundreds of web hosts out there. Each may offer different types of hosting, including shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated hosting. Let’s take a quick look at the differences.

Virtually every web host offers shared hosting. Shared hosting is the most popular type of hosting, especially with new website owners, as it is the cheapest option. However, because your website must share the same server with many other websites, it cannot support high traffic and is the most vulnerable to hackers and other security threats.

VPS hosting is a more expensive alternative because it isolates server resources specifically for your site. This means that your site can handle a higher volume of regular traffic. If you’d rather not share a server with another website, you can upgrade to dEdicated server hosting.

Once you’ve decided on a type of hosting, it’s time to choose a provider. DreamHost, Host Gator, and Bluehost are some of the most popular third-party providers and offer free domain registration for the first year. This simplifies the next step in creating a website.

3. Get a domain name.

Regardless of what type of website platform you have chosen to build your website, you will likely need to purchase a domain name. Some website builders, such as Weebly, offer a free subdomain for your website. However, you want to upgrade to a custom domain.

One of the easiest ways to appear more professional and legitimate as a business is to pay for a domain name. Imagine that you are looking for a freelance writer. Are you more likely to hire me if my website address is carolineforsey.weebly.com or carolineforsey.com? An extension like weebly.com can confuse visitors and dilute your brand identity. Worst-case scenario: a visitor may assume that you cannot afford a premium hosting service or custom domain and conclude that your business is not fully established.

Fortunately, buying a domain name is usually inexpensive – even for those signing up for a hosting plan that doesn’t include free domain registration for a year. There are two different approaches.

You can visit a domain site, buy and register a domain name there, and then link it to your hosting account. Both Godaddy.com and Namecheap.com are cheap, safe, and effective options for buying a domain name with added perks like SSL security and Office 365.

Or, you can complete the entire domain name search and registration process on your hosting provider’s website. For example, after signing up for a Bluehost plan, you’ll be directed to this page to sign up with a domain name.

Bluehost login page WordPress website

source

It gets difficult here. You need to choose a domain name that is as similar as possible to your company’s name. With over 1.8 billion websites today, your company name may already be taken.

If your ideal domain name is already taken, consider using a different extension. I would advise you to use one of the three most common extensions if you can: .com, .net, or .org. However, if it makes sense for your business, consider trying an alternative extension like .us or .shop.

Play around with it. Once you’ve chosen and paid for a domain name, personal email accounts are usually attached as well. So make sure you like to use your domain name as your main online identity.

4. Choose a theme for your site.

Now for the fun part.

Themes are an easy way to change the look and feel of your website without having to recode HTML and CSS from scratch. Themes consist of templates, modules, images and global content that drive the overall design of your website.

On the platform you choose, take the time to browse the selection of topics available. Many come with a directory of free topics where you can use filters or the search bar to find topics related to your industry, a specific layout, and much more.

There are some must-have features that every subject should have. For example, it is important that your topic is responsive so that your website looks the same on all devices. You should also stay away from hard-to-read fonts or flashy backgrounds that could deter a consumer from understanding your core message.

Other considerations are specific to your business and location. For example, you might be looking for a static header or a slideshow header. Or, you need a theme that comes with a front-end builder. Here are some questions that you can answer to help you find the right topic for your website:

  • Do you need a variety of layouts or just one?
  • Are you looking for a theme with built-in social media widgets or other features?
  • Do you want to install a demo site or start over?
  • Would you like to purchase a theme that has its own theme builder?

Ultimately, nobody knows your business better than you. Take the time to consider which topic best represents your brand and is most likely to appeal to your ideal demographic.

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong choosing something clean with straight lines and a limited amount of text. If you need inspiration, check out 27 of the Best Website Designs to Inspire You in 2020.

If you can’t find a free theme that is exactly to your specifications, check out third-party marketplaces for premium themes.

When you have selected and installed a theme on your site, proceed to the next step.

5. Customize your theme and templates.

Once you’ve chosen a theme, take the time to customize it and its custom templates. The design and functionality of your website are your chance to convince an audience to take a closer look. It’s imperative that your design make sense to your ideal consumer and that it enhances the success of your product rather than hampering it.

Because of this, you should think of your theme and templates as a starting point, rather than a final look. Depending on the website platform you used to build your website, you have different levels of control over the appearance of your website.

On most platforms, you can cChoose a template, then change the color palette, rPlace the pictures, mensert social media icons, add personalized forms and menus and cChange the size, colors, and fonts of the buttons.

On more flexible platforms like the CMS Hub, you can edit your theme’s global settings to make changes across the website. That means you can make changes to your font and other elements in one place and they will be implemented on all pages of your website.

HubSpot CMS hub theme editorsource

6. Add pages to your site.

It is important to plan carefully which pages to include on your website. While this varies from company to company, you will likely need at least a home page, an About Us page, a Services / Product page, and a Contact Us page.

You should also add a blog homepage. I may be biased, but there are serious benefits to business blogging. For example wWebsites with a blog are 434% more likely to rank high on search engines.

While every platform is different, it’s usually easy to add and remove pages on the platform you are using. For example, let’s take a closer look at the process in WordPress.

  1. First, log into your WordPress dashboard.
  2. On the left side of the screen, click Pages> Add New.
    Create a new site in WordPress
  3. You can add text, insert pictures, embed videos, and make any other changes you want.
  4. When you’re done, click Publish.

Add a page in WordPress gutenbergsource

Once you’ve decided which pages you need on your website, be sure to add them your site’s navigation bar. You can Rearrange or combine page themes however you want.

You can visit other company websites in your industry for ideas on how to organize your navigation bar or how to include and exclude pages if you are not sure.

7. Write content.

This is arguably the most important step. What will you put on it after you set up your pages?

I would suggest doing rough drafts for pages like your About Us page and your landing page. Talk to colleagues and stakeholders – what message would you like to get out there? Which tone do you want to set? Should you be joking and be funny or be more inspiring?

If your online audience stumbled upon your website, what questions would they have first?

Imagine your website is your only chance to have a full-length conversation with a prospect. The homepage is the preliminary introduction: “Hey, we’re doing XYZ.” Your About Us page goes deeper: We are XYZ. And your product or service pages are your big step towards the goal: “Would you like to work with us? Great, this is how you benefit. “

It is at this stage that it is imperative to do your keyword research.

For example, if you sell glasses and find that “retro glasses” have higher monthly search volume than “vintage glasses”, you can use this research to control the direction of content on your website.

If you get stuck, check out competitor websites to see what other companies in your industry are doing.

8. Fill in the general settings.

Once you have your pages filled with the most important content, you can increase the visibility of your search by adding SEO elements to each page.

You should include the following on your pages:

  • Page title
  • headlines
  • Meta descriptions
  • Image-Alt-Text
  • Structured markup
  • Page URLs
  • Internal link
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Website speed

Make sure to include a site title and tagline in the “Settings” of your website building platform. Go through and check the URLs – are they optimized for searching?

Each of these elements are essential to your on-page SEO. Not only do they help inform Google about your website and how you add value to visitors and customers, but they also optimize your website for human eyes as well as search engine bots.

Any platform you build your website on should make it easy to tweak these elements for each post and page. With Wix for example yYou can add picture alt text, meta descriptions, headings and custom urls right in your content editor.

Configuring SEO Settings on the Wix Sitesource

9. Install add-ons.

Finally, take a look at your website and find out what you’re missing. Ideally, your platform has all of the add-ons you need to expand the functionality of your website.

It is important to note that these add-ons can be referred to as apps, extensions, modules, integrations, or plugins depending on the platform used.

For example, if you run an ecommerce website on HubSpot, you can use HubSpot’s Shopify extension. Or you want to make sure your WordPress website is secure to keep customer data safe. In this case, you can download the Wordfence Security plugin to protect the firewall from attacks, malware and other threats.

If you don’t have out-of-the-box security, SEO, image compression, and social media features, see if your platform offers an app or integration to add that functionality to your website. It is much easier to do all of this work in one place than having to log into multiple separate platforms.

Let’s say you’ve scoured your platform’s directory or marketplace and selected some add-ons that you think will take your website’s effectiveness to the next level.

The installation of these add-ons varies from platform to platform. To give you an idea of ​​how long the process will take, let’s go through the process of installing an app from the HubSpot marketplace.

  1. In your HubSpot account, click Marketplace symbol in the main navigation bar.
  2. Marketplace symbol Marketplace in the main navigation bar. Under Manage, select the option Connected apps. “}” data-sheet-userformat = “{” 2 “: 14337,” 3 “: {” 1 “: 0},” 14 “:[null,2,0], “15”: “Arial”, “16”: 10} “Data sheet formula =” = “” “style =” Box size: frame box; Structure: 0px! important; Border: 0px; Padding: 0px; Border: 0px; Font: inherit; align vertically: baseline; Color: inherit; “> Under Manage, select Connected apps.

When you have completed these nine steps, simply click publish and your website is ready to go.

Finally, let’s take a look at how to use the CMS Hub to create a website. If you’re already using HubSpot’s CRM, it probably makes the most sense to create a website in HubSpot to bring all of your sales and marketing needs into one place.

HubSpot CMS offers a variety of plugins and extensions, theme templates and sophisticated tools for SEO analysis.

If you want to build a website with HubSpot, it’s easy and intuitive. Here’s how:

In your HubSpot portal, click Content on the dashboard at the top of the screen. Then click on “Landing Pages”.

Then click the orange “Create Landing Page” button and name your page.

You will now be redirected to this “Select a template” page. Scroll through your options, browse page templates, or visit the marketplace. When you’ve found a template that you like, select it.

This is your landing page. You can scroll over text boxes, images or other modules to edit them. In the following picture I scrolled over the banner text “See The World”. When I click on it, I can edit this text.

You can also click the Edit Modules tool on the right side of your screen and edit from there. For example, I selected “Service 2 Text” which led me to the “Do it yourself” paragraph on my landing page. You can add text, images, sections, forms, and more in the “Edit Modules” section.

When you are happy with your landing page and want to continue, return to your dashboard and click “Content” at the top of the screen, then click “Website Pages”.

Here click the orange “Create Website Page” button and name your page exactly like your landing page. You will then be guided through a similar process of choosing a template and adding content. For a more in-depth tutorial, check out a brief overview of the web pages.

If you want to integrate your social media accounts, click on “Social” in your dashboard. You can monitor all of your social media accounts and post tweets, Facebook status and comments, Instagram images and other content right from your HubSpot dashboard.

If you want to review your site analytics, go to Reports, then Analytics Tools. You need to install the tracking code. This is easily done on the HubSpot platform by clicking the orange “Install Tracking Code” button. If you’re still not sure, see how to install the HubSpot tracking code.

To blog, go to Content> Blog on your Dashboard to create, publish, and monitor your website’s blog posts.

This is a pretty broad and general overview to start building a website with HubSpot. However, there are many more in-depth features and tools you might want to explore with a HubSpot specialist or by reading some articles on akademy.hubspot.com.

Once you’ve finished building a website through the CMS Hub, the next thing to make sure is that you don’t miss any important elements or go live with obvious errors. If you’ve looked through this list above and feel like you are about to launch a website, check out this blog post for a detailed list of things to check before going live.

And don’t forget to visit our CMS Hub as mentioned above. It will help you get most of the things on your website startup checklist done without you even knowing.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for completeness.

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