How to Make a Website in < 5 Minutes
Why make a Website?
A website is a valuable asset and can be used for a variety of purposes.
It can be blog where you document your thoughts or post your travel photos. It can be a professional niche site such as a travel guide blog or a site where you grow traffic by offering advice in your area of expertise and monetize it by driving ads or selling courses. It can be a passion project where you focus on a subject you are excited about and are in it for the long run because it is something you enjoy. It can be the face of a business, it can sell a service or product, and it can be a promotional tool for a local business. A website or blog can be anything you want it and envision it to be, and more importantly, it can enable you to pursue a personal passion or even become a small source of income with unlimited earning potential once you focus on growing and monetizing it.
Websites can change Lives
Websites can change lives and businesses. Half of the world’s population, have internet access, meaning anything you put online has the potential to be accessed by over 3 billion people. There are so many people who could benefit from your knowledge, enjoy looking at your site, or become potential customers of your business, and creating a website is the first step to get there.
I used to have so many business and website ideas but would feel so frustrated and hopeless because I didn’t know how to code and couldn’t create my own sites without paying someone a lot of money or convincing them my business was a good idea. I even convinced a few people to start building a site for me, but then they would lose interest and the site would never get finished. Now, I make websites for my ideas all the time, without having to code or spend exorbitant amounts of money. Websites can be for fun, and if it’s a focus, they can also make you money. Last month my portfolio of blogs made a total of $1,065.14 on ad revenue alone. See my August 2017 income report for details.
You can make a Website too
Creating an elegant, professional website is now something people of all ages and technical skill levels are are able to do. It requires a minimal amount of technical knowledge, which I will walk you through in the following steps, and the best part is you definitely don’t have to know how to code or be a developer to make an amazing site!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a simple website building platform that uses prebuilt elements and an intuitive interface that makes site-building simple. It’s my personal favorite platform that I use for all my sites, and its ease of use and customizability makes it one of the most popular sitebuilding platforms with over 25% of the world’s sites built on the WordPress platform.
How do you learn best?
Are you a visual and auditory learner? If yes, watch the video below to learn how to set up your site in under 5 minutes.
Do you learn better by reading? If yes you can read the steps below to walk you through how to quickly set up your site.
You can choose to watch the video below to get a step by step walkthrough as I talk you through setting up your site while you watch a screenshare of my computer. Or, feel free to read the step by step walkthrough I’ve outlined below instead.
How to Make a Website in 10 Steps:
How to pick a domain name, how to get your hosting, how to install wordpress, how to pick and install your first theme
1. Pick your website niche
Do you want to make a personal site or a business site? What topic will your site be focused on?
Choose something you are interested in and then move onto step 2 where you will brainstorm a list of domain names based on what you want your site to focus on.
2. Brainstorm a list of domain names
A domain name is what people will type into the internet address bar to visit your site.
What type of site do you want to create? Do you want to create a personal site, a business site, a niche site, a passion project blog, or a different type of site.
You’ll want to pick a name that fits the type of site you want to create. In step 3 you will be choosing a specific domain name, so take the time right now to write down a list of 10 possible names for your site.
Think creative, short, and brandable when brainstorming your list of possible ideas. For example, I want to start a local dogwalking business, so I want a short, fun, dog-related domain name.
To give you an idea of how you can get creative and think of different types of names, here is an example of my brainstormed domain name ideas:
I have found, the more general a name can be, and the shorter a name can be, the better it is. I have picked domain names that are way too long and I regret those names. I’ve also picked names that are way too specific, and I regret those when I decide to go in a slightly different direction with my site.
Based on my experience my best advice is to pick a short name that is as general as possible. Interestingly enough, my favorite domain names have also not included the keyword I am targeting so don’t be afraid to be creative and not include your target keyword in your domain name.
3. Set up hosting
b. There are 3 plan options, the basic, essentials and pro plans. Choose the basic plan if you want to make 1 site.
Plan difference summary:
Choose the essentials plan if you want to make more than 1 site right away.
Choose the Pro Plan if you want to make an ecommerce site because it comes with an SSL certificate, which makes your site more secure and allows it to process credit card payments.
If you want to make an ecommerce site, consider using Shopify instead, since it is my favorite ecommerce-specific platform, requires less customization to sell products, and is built specifically for ecommerce stores.
4. Pick a domain name
Use your brainstormed domain name list above as a starting point to choose your domain name.
Domain name facts:
Every website has a domain name which is what you type into the internet address bar to visit a site.
Every domain name is unique which means once it is taken it can’t be used again unless the owner decides to sell it.
Since every domain name can only be used once, this means many domain names are already taken by the current 644 million websites in the world. This means you have to be creative and flexible when picking one, since your #1 desired name may not be available.
Some domain name choosing tips:
Choose a short, brandable name
Go for 2-3 syllables
Try first for a .com because users are familiar with .coms and it increases user trust with your site
If the .com you have your heart set on is unavailable, look to see if the .org or .net version is available, for example if you wanted furryfriend.com and that was unavailable, try furryfriend.org or furryfriend.net to see if those are available instead.
If you’re having trouble finding an available name you like, try adding a the to the beginning of your domain name or a place or shop to the end
Play around until you find a name you like that is available
Play around and type your domain name ideas into the ‘Enter Your Domain’ field to see what is available. The following example shows that my first idea, dogwalk.com is unavailable:
Uncheck the domain privacy protection box as you scroll down:
5. Choose a hosting plan
Pick the 1 month plan unless you’re sure you want your site for more than one month, then feel free to choose a longer plan
6. Make sure you uncheck all additional services.
In the following image, the additional service box ‘Back Up Your Hard Work’ still needs to be unchecked:
7. Use a coupon code.
The two best coupon codes are
PENNYSAVE11 and CUTCOST25
Enter the coupon code PENNYSAVE11 to get your first month of hosting for one cent.
Enter the coupon CUTCOST25 to save 25% off a longer plan.
You can choose the coupon that works best for you. If you are choosing to get more than 1 month of hosting up front, CUTCOST25 will save you more money, and if you are starting with 1 month of hosting, then PENNYSAVE11 will be the best deal.
8. Review your order details.
If you are starting with 1 month of hosting and used the PENNYSAVE11 coupon your total order should only be $12.96 with $.01 for the first month of hosting and $12.95 for one year of the domain name.
If you’re purchasing more than 1 month of hosting up front, the cost may be higher.
***Either way, scroll back up and make sure all additional service boxes are unchecked, because you don’t need any of the additional services and they will add to the total cost.
Once you’re sure only the hosting and domain name boxes are checked, you can proceed.
Hostgator will process your order, which may take a few minutes
9. Install WordPress on your site
Now, we will install WordPress on your site, which is the free platform that makes it easy to build and customize your site.
Click the ‘Hosting’ tab:
Click ‘Get Started With WordPress Today’
Select your domain from the dropdown menu, click ‘Next’
Fill in your blog title, username, first name, last name and an email address then click install to install wordpress
10. Type your domain name into the address bar to look at your site.
Congratulations, you have a brand new site!
11. Login to your site
Now for the fun part, we can login to your site.
Go to your email and click the WordPress install complete email from Hostgator. Copy the username and password from the email:
To login to your site, type your domain name into the address bar and add /wp-admin to the end.
For example, my domain name is favpuppy.com, so I am typing favpuppy.com/wp-admin into the address bar. This will bring you to your site’s login page
Now enter the username and password from Hostgator’s WordPress Install Welcome email to login to your site
12. Change your theme
If you want to change your theme, you can click ‘Appearance’ then ‘Themes’ to see the different theme options:
Then click ‘Add new theme’, and choose a new theme for your site:
13. Add your first post
Click ‘Posts’ then click ‘Add New’:
Add a title to your post and add in some content. Then hit ‘Publish’ to make your post visible.
Type your domain name in the search bar to check out your new post.
Here is what my first post looks like after I type in my domain name ‘favpuppy.com’.
Great job, now you’ve created your first website and post. Now that you have the basics set up, you probably want to customize your site even more and keep learning.
Customize The Sydney Theme:
Feel free to watch my video on how to choose and customize a different theme. In this video I specifically go over how to completely revamp and customize the Sydney theme: https://youtu.be/3VKZVlJiVAI
Here are some more resources on how to take the next steps with WordPress and customize your new blog further:
Make The Sydney Theme Front Page Static
These blogs and videos explain WordPress plugins, which allow you to do amazing things with your site. Plugins are addins to your site that can do almost anything. My favorite free plugins are:
The Google Analytics plugin, which allows you to see visitor statistics including how many people visit your site and on what pages.
The Sumo plugin, which allows you to collect emails using simple popups.
The Simple Social Icons plugin, which allows you to insert your social media accounts as icons for visitors to easily access as they browse your site
The Yoast SEO plugin, which sets your site up for SEO success and allows you to easily edit your site meta title and meta tags without touching the code as well as guides you through setting your site up with many SEO best practices
All the above plugins are free, which is awesome! The following plugin is the only paid plugin I use and I would recommend it for anyone who has a business site or wants to create a beautiful landing page. Sign up for Instapage here.
- The Instapage plugin, which allows you to create beautiful custom landing pages with an intuitive drag and drop interface. The Instapage plugin is the only paid plugin I use, there is a free 14 day trial, but is worth the cost because the pages are so easy to make and convert so well.