If you are currently researching on creating a WordPress website from scratch, you probably are aware of its significant benefits. You may also have come across several platforms that can help you build a website.
Creating a website can be a scary thought for someone who is not tech-savvy. If you want to build a website by yourself, this is a great place as to start as we will cover the basics of building a website from scratch.
With these skills, we believe that anyone can create a business website in 2021 without learning how to code. In our experience whatever your website project is, it will be within reach with this step by step guide.
Why choose WordPress as a website platform?
For most users who are just beginning to explore developing websites from scratch, a self-hosted WordPress website is a great place to start.
With WordPress, you do not require advanced coding knowledge to get started. It’s probably why it is currently powering over 64 million websites worldwide.
You’ll also be a part of the ever growing WordPress community and Facebook groups that support each other. Also, there are thousands of designs and addons available to help you easily get started with building a fully functional website.
This guide will be written in detail and broken into the stages of website building on the roadmap.
Step 1 – Choose and register a domain name
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. Think of it as a name and physical address you would give your customers to locate your brick-and-mortar store. Just like how you would have to register your business name with a registrar, you will have to do the same with a domain name.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a domain name:
- Keep it simple and predictable;
- If it’s for a personal blog or a business, consider .COM first as it’s the most popular one;
- Avoid numbers and hyphens – they can easily confuse your visitors;
- Make it brandable, i.e. something short, specific and easy to communicate;
- If your potential audience is location specific, consider a local domain extension (eg: .ca – Canada, .co.uk – UK, .sg – Singapore, .my – Malaysia, .au – Australia)
Once you’ve picked a name and domain extension, it’s time to register. There are many domain registrants to choose from but the one I would recommend is Namecheap simply because it’s cheap (yeah, I knew you’d figure that part out!). Depending on the extension, domains can be purchased from as low $0.88/year. However, the more popular extensions such as .COM, .CO, .ORG average at approximately $9.99/year for the first year and a renewal fee of $14.99/year. Use the search bar below to find prices of the available for your chosen domain name.
Step 2 – Sign up for a webshost
Once you have registered the domain, you will need a space to store the files that make up your website on the internet. In other words, you will need to register with a hosting provider.
Yes, this might sound intimidating at first. But it really shouldn’t be. True enough, there are quite a few things to consider when choosing a website host, but if you’re just getting started and creating a WordPress website from scratch, you really shouldn’t be worrying too much.
At this stage, you’ll want a hosting provider that:
- is cheap and provides great value for money (you wouldn’t want to spend too much on this to get started);
- has a good support team should have someone to help you 24/7;
- has a control panel/dashboard that lets you easily install WordPress;
- SSL certificate to ensure you have a secured browsing environment;
- offers other essential features such backups, speed optimizations, caching and HTTPS support;
The above list can seem quite overwhelming. But here’s the good news! We’ve got two website hosts listed for you that checks all the points mentioned above.
Since we hope to use WordPress as our platform for building the website, there are hosting providers that provide support for WordPress installation. One of them is SiteGround. I have found SiteGround to be better in terms of loading speed, customer support and other technical features.
To set up WordPress hosting with SiteGround, the first step is to choose a plan. You will see 3 plans to choose from and your choice very much depends on your requirements. If you are just setting up a blog or a small website that requires basic features that are necessary for hosting a website, SiteGround’s StartUp plan will have you covered and is the one I’d recommend you go for.
Assuming you already have a domain, choose the “I already have a domain” option, type in the domain that you own and click “Proceed”. You will then be prompted to fill in your details and proceed with making the payment of $59.88 for one year.
Step 3 – Install WordPress
Once you have successfully registered with SiteGround, you will be given access to the Siteground dashboard.
If you want to create a new website, simply click on “Setup Site” and you will be prompted to choose between setting up one from scratch or migrating an existing WordPress website. Click on Select under Start New Website.
Next, you will be prompted to choose an application. As we’re creating a WordPress website from scratch, we’d select WordPress from the options listed at the bottom.
Ignore any extra features you want to include for the moment and that’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application.
Make a note of the nameservers that you will be provided with.
Note: At this stage, you will be provided with a set of Nameservers that you will use to point your domain towards. The steps involved can vary depending on your domain registry. Here are some guides provided by popular domain registrars:
Step 4 – Choose a page builder (we choose Elementor)
To provide added functionality and make the design process much quicker, I would proceed with installing the Elementor Page-Builder plugin. It’s a WordPress Page-Builder which has grown in popularity due its robustness yet a simple tool to build pixel-perfect websites. I personally am a big fan and have this blog dedicated to providing content relating to Elementor. Besides, unlike most other Page-Builder’s in the market, Elementor is free for basic use!
On the WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins and search for “Elementor Page Builder”. Once you install and activate, you will be prompted with a page guiding you through the steps to setting up Elementor.
Step 5 – Choose a theme and import Demo Content
Upon a fresh installation of WordPress, by default, your website will currently have “TwentySeventeen” theme installed. It’s a good, lightweight theme but for our purpose however, it may not the perfect one since it lacks flexibility and options. Since we hope to use a page builder, ideally, we should choose a theme specifically supports it. This could be in terms of add-on features, customizability etc. There are many themes that specifically support Elementor but I’ve chosen WPAstra to build this blog.
Whether you are using the free or pro version of Elementor, it comes down to three popular themes, namely WPAstra, OceanWP and GeneratePress. The video below from ThemeIsle provides a good comparison of three themes.
However, for the purpose of this tutorial, I will be using WPAstra to demonstrate how you could import the demo content to build a fully-functional website in minutes.
- Click “Appearance” on the WordPress dashboard which will show you the themes currently installed on your website.
- Click “Add New“
- Search for “Astra”, click Install and Activate.
- Once activated, click “Astra Options” under the Appearance tab
- Click “Install Import Plugin” on the right-hand sidebar which will then give you access to their Starter Site library.
- Select Elementor and choose a Starter Site that you will like to import (Note: If you are using Astra free version, your choices will be limited. To access a full list of demo sites, you will need Astra Pro)
- You will be prompted to install the required plugins (if any), and once that’s done, click “Import This Site” and you’re done!
Note: if you choose to use Elementor Pro version (which I would highly recommend that you do!), personally, I would install the Page Builder Framework because it is less bloated and more lightweight; allowing for faster page loading speeds. Besides, with Elementor Pro, you can customize all parts of a theme such as the headers, footers, blog archive pages etc.; thereby eliminating the need for the customisation abilities provided by the other themes. However, the theme does not provide demo content unlike Astra, OceanWP or GeneratePress. So this option would require you start from scratch with your own style & content.
Alternatively, you could use Envato Elements plugin to download templates to help speed up your design process.
If you do have any questions, shoot them to me on the comments section below.