Would you like to have your own beautiful, custom website in just 30 minutes, with absolutely zero coding required?
Whether you’ve thought of starting your own blog or even creating an online business, having your own website is one of the best investments you can make for yourself today.
And, lucky for you, it’s now 2017, and the process is easier than ever before. In this article, I’m going to walk you step by step, so you can have your own website up and running by today!
Layerbag.com, is your number one online resource for lifestyle, fashion, all things WordPress & helping you create your first website both easily and affordably. So, if you guys, have some feedback, thanks in advance for it.
For those who don’t know me, I’m the founder of Layerbag.com, a website which I built using the exact same platform and techniques I’ll be teaching in this article. So, whether you’re already interested in making a website, or maybe you’re still on the fence about spending the time and money, I’m going to tell you why you need to have a website in today’s day and age.
First off, websites are extremely versatile. You can make a fun travel or food blog for sharing your thoughts and experiences.You can create a personal branding page with your portfolio or resume to help you land that dream job. And you can even create an entire online business, which generates passive income every month. Second, websites are so easy and inexpensive to create these days, that you simply can’t afford not to make a website.
There’s absolutely no excuses. If you’re wondering how we’re going to be able to make a website with zero coding, the answer is a little platform called WordPress.
You’ve probably heard the name before, but I’ll give you some more detail into how it works. WordPress is known as a Content Management System, or CMS. Basically, WordPress is a powerful platform that allows you to create and customize a website with several different themes and plugins, so you can create virtually any website you think of without ever having to touch a line of code. It makes making websites easy and even a little fun. Did you know that 25% of the web now runs on the WordPress platform? Check out all the companies that use WordPress for their websites, such as TechCrunch, The New Yorker, the official Star Wars blog, Beyonce, and much, much more.
So, now that you’re ready to get started, here’s a list of what you’ll need. First you’ll need a domain URL, which is simply the name of your website. For example, layerbag.com is my website’s domain. Domain names are usually paid for annually, and are pretty cheap at around $10 a year. Second, you’ll need to buy web hosting, which is where you pay a company to use their servers so you can store your website’s data online and have your website live on the Internet. Web hosting is advertised at a monthly price ranging from $4 to $8 a month, but is usually paid for in annual installments. So, instead of paying web hosting every single month, you pay once for 12 full months of web hosting.
Third you’re going to need a copy of WordPress, which is totally free and is available from wordpress.org. Now, there’s a difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com. We want wordpress.org because it offers the open source version of the WordPress platform that allows us to really customize our website to our liking. WordPress.com is sort of a lite version of WordPress, that is much more limited in functionality.
Just these three things will get you a full custom website up and running in no time. Now, here’s the best part. Before, you used to have to get all of these things separately and then connect them all together. Now, in 2017, the process is a lot more streamlined, and all you really have to do is just sign up for web hosting, and the rest will be automatically included. It doesn’t get any easier than this, folks.
Okay, so now, we’re going to get into the real step-by-step walkthrough from purchasing web hosting to setting up WordPress, and to customizing your website.
If you need help with any step along the way, please feel free to comment any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to help you out.
First step, type in your desired website name into the domain name checker to see if it’s available. If it’s not available, you can always try changing the extension to one of the others, like .co or .net. My personal recommendation is to always go for .com if possible, as this is the most familiar extension to people. Once you find an available domain, this will take you to a sign up page for Bluehost, which is the web hosting provider we will be using for this tutorial.
Now, if you’re wondering why you should choose Bluehost as your web host provider, let me give you my top three reasons for why I’ve chosen to go with Bluehost for my own websites:
- If you go to the official WordPress website, they actually have their own web hosting recommendations. And at the very top of that list is Bluehost.
- Being at the top of that list, it goes without saying that Bluehost is extremely WordPress friendly, and even includes a feature called the WordPress Auto-Install, meaning that you can have the WordPress platform installed at the click of a button. A lot of other web host providers aren’t as WordPress friendly, and you would have to install WordPress yourself, which requires a little technical know-how and can get a little too complicated for many people.
- Bluehost’s pricing is very competitive, starting at just $2.95 per month for a three year plan, or just $4.95 per month for a one year plan. Please note that this pricing is exclusive to Layerbag.com. Regular pricing starts at $3.95 per month for non-Layerbag visitors.
Also, if you sign up as a new customer today, you even get your desired domain name completely free. If you were to buy your domain name from WordPress, for example, they would charge you $18 for the year. Best of all, there’s no hidden fees that other providers like to sneak in as extra services and charges. So, all in all, you can have a beautiful custom website for about the price of one fast-food meal a month.
I think that’s a price anyone would be willing to pay. Fill out all of your account information, then choose what you want from the package information section. Here you can select how many years of hosting you want to buy, and the more years you sign up for now, the cheaper the monthly rate.
My personal suggestion is to go for as many years as you can afford, as this will save you the most money in the long-term, and also, it’ll help you to stay committed. But if you just want to try it out for one year, then choose the basic 12-month plan for $4.95 per month. As far as the extras are concerned, if there was one I would recommend it would be the Domain Privacy Protection for $0.99 a month.
This just hides your Who Is personal information if someone were to look up your domain. Lastly, fill out your billing info to complete the checkout. Also, if you have PayPal, then you can click the More Payment Options to pay via PayPal as well. After you’re done, check the last box to agree to the Terms and Agreement and hit Submit and then you’re all set. Once the order successfully goes through, you’ll be taken to a Thank You page where you’ll need to set a password that will be used for logging into your Bluehost account.
After you’ve set your password and opened up the Welcome email from Bluehost, you should be able to log into your account. After logging in, click hosting on the top left of the navigation bar which will take you to the Bluehost home screen. Now I know it can look a little overwhelming at first, with all the buttons and options, but all we’re going to do now is install WordPress. Since we’re using Bluehost, luckily they have a one-click WordPress install.
Just scroll down to the website category and click the Install WordPress button. It will then take you to this screen. So just click the green Install button. It will then ask you which domain you would like to install WordPress on. And since we only have the one domain which we signed up with, all you have to do is click Check Domain. On the next page, you don’t need to touch the advanced options, but you do have to check the Terms and Conditions box at the bottom. Then click Install Now. You might get a pop-up, so just click out of that, and you’ll see a loading bar for the install progress.
Now you can just sit back and relax until WordPress is installed. After it says your install is complete, click the “View Credentials” button so we can get the login information for your WordPress account. When you click to view your credentials, you’ll get the Admin URL, your username, which is usually your email, and the password.
Click the Admin URL to be taken to the WordPress login on your website and fill out the login info by copying and pasting from the credentials page. Once you successfully log in, you’ll be taken to the WordPress Dashboard. Welcome to WordPress. So the first thing you’ll see each time after logging in to WordPress is the Dashboard.
This page just summarizes your website, and also includes the latest updates and news from WordPress. At the top, we have the Admin bar, which we won’t use too often except to view our website by hovering over the name. Now, this sidebar on the left is going to be our main navigation for customizing our website and its appearance, adding separate web pages and blog posts, and changing our account settings. Let’s start with customizing the look of your website by clicking Themes from the Appearance tab.
Themes determine the overall look of your website from layout to color scheme to fonts and more. WordPress does come with some free default themes, so if you click into Live Preview, you can see how your website would look with each theme.
Now the beauty of WordPress is that there are thousands of other themes you can choose from to really spice up your website and make it unique. Click the Add New Theme box at the bottom to be taken to a page where you can browse and search for virtually any theme you can think of.
Some themes are free, some may have a small one-time cost, and others are Freemium, which means you can a limited version of the theme for free. So, go ahead and choose a theme you like then click Install. If you’d like to use the theme used on this website is Stature from myself. After installation, click activate to make it your current theme. To see how your website looks, hover over your website’s name on the admin bar up top, then click Visit Site. You can customize your theme by going back into the Dashboard and choosing Customize from the Appearance section.
Here you can really make your website unique by adding a logo or header image at the top and also changing your site title and tagline. As you can see, the default home page shows the sample post entitled “Hello world!”And this is known as a blog front page.
Every time you create a new blog post, this front page will automatically update with your latest post at the top. So, if your website is mainly going to be a blog, then you’re pretty much set already at this point. Now, if you wanted to make a more traditional business website, I’ll show you how to make a regular home page in a second. But first, let’s talk about posts versus pages. Two of the most important functions on the sidebar are Posts and Pages. Posts simply refers to blog posts, which are usually in a news article format and have a title and a date. Pages refers to an individual page on your website, that is usually part of the core website, such as a Home page or About Us page. You can add a new post or page by hovering over it and clicking Add New. This will reveal the general WordPress text editor where you can draft up your post or page just like any regular word processor, such as Microsoft Word.
In this editor, you can also include images by clicking the Add Media button, then drag-and-dropping your files or selecting it from your computer. You can save your progress by hitting the Save Draft button, and also preview the page by hitting the Preview button as well. When you’re ready to post to the actual website, click the blue Publish button, and your new post or page will be live. Now, if you want to make a traditional home page that isn’t a blog, you can add a new page and make this your home page. Put whatever information and pictures you want into the text editor, then hit Publish. After we have a home page ready, we need to jump into Settings on the sidebar and go into Reading. At the top it says Front page displays, and by default it’s set to Your latest posts, which is why the blog shows up. Instead, click A static page, and choose the home page we just created from the drop-down, and then hit Save Changes at the bottom.
Now that we have the basics down, we can start building out the website further by adding more pages or posts. For example, just like we did with making a Home Page, we can make an About Us page the same way, and any other page you can think of. Once we have multiple pages, it’s time to make a Navigation Bar so people can access the pages from the Home page, or whatever page that they’re on. Go to the Appearance section once again, and click Menus. Here we can create our Navigation Bar. First give a name to your menu, like Navigation Bar, for example. Then, simply choose the pages you want to include in your navigation by checking the boxes on the side and clicking Add to Menu.
You can arrange the order which the pages will appear in and even rename the section as well. At the bottom, check the Primary Menu box under Theme Locations so your navigation bar shows up for your website. Once your done, click Save Menu and you should be set. Now the last thing I want to introduce you guys to when building your website is the wonder of plugins. We’ve already seen how simple it can be to change the look of your website using themes, but plugins are what really can take your website to the next level.
Plugins expand the functionality of your website to allow you to make virtually any kind of website you can think of. Plugins are coded by professional and indie developers, then packaged up so the average user can use the functions without having to mess with the code. For example, you can download an e-commerce plugin to completely transform your website into a web store that accepts customer orders, online payments, and customer info.
The best part is that most of the plugins are completely free to install and use. With that said if you get the chance, please try to donate to the developers who sacrifice their time to not only create these wonderful plugins, but also continuously update them to fix bugs and make them even better.
Now, I’m going to show you an example of how to install a plugin and implement it onto your website. The example we’re going to do now is make a Contact Us page with a simple contact form. First, go to Add New from the plugins tab. You can click the Popular tab and scroll down to find the plugin called Contact Form 7, which is the most popular contact form plugin with over one million installs.
Then click Install Now. After the plugin installs, click Activate Plugin, which will take you to your Installed Plugins page. Now click Settings underneath Contact Form 7, where you can view and customize your contact form. There’s already a basic contact form in here, so what we can do is implement it onto a page using what is known as shortcode.
Shortcode, as the name implies, is a shortened version of code that you can copy and paste into a page to implement the plugin. So go ahead and copy that shortcode from the Settings page, then let’s create the Contact Us page. Just like before, go to the Pages tab and click Add New. Then title the page Contact Us. After that, just paste in your shortcode into the text editor and hit Publish. After the page publishes, click View Page to see the finished result. As you can see here, we now have a Contact Us page with a simple form.
It’s that simple. After you make a new page, make sure to add it to your Navigation Bar under Menus to update your site. Now, as an update for this 2017 tutorial, I noticed that the number one question that people had for last year’s article is that they wanted to learn more about plugins, or which were the top recommended WordPress plugins.
So I created an article of my top-five must-have WordPress plugins that I install on every website. Best part of all is that these plugins are all completely free.
If you’d like to read that post, I’ll link to it here and at the end of the post as well. Well, that wraps up this tutorial.
Now that I’ve given you the tools to make the website of your dreams, it’s time for you to get out there and experiment with all the themes and plugins you can find. I hope I was able to convey the limitless potential of WordPress.
But we honestly have barely even scratched the surface today. Once again, if you have any questions or need help with building your website, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out as soon as possible. I respond to all comments and questions, so don’t be shy. Lastly, if you enjoyed this post and found it useful, please comment letting me know.
Also, make sure to subscribe below , because there will be a lot more tutorials on the way. As one final update to this tutorial, we have just recently launched a brand new service, which is a free professional WordPress blog setup. If you read through the entire article and want to make a website, but are still on the fence about getting started, we will personally help you set up your WordPress blog by installing WordPress with a beautiful theme of your choice, and then making it more secure while improving performance through a hand-selected bundle of plugins.
We will even add a working Contact Us page for you linked to your email. As someone who was once in your shoes, I know that the hardest part is just getting started. So we’re here to make that easier than ever before. To learn more about this service, click here to watch the video explaining how it works and how to sign up.
Thanks for reading, guys.
And good luck, stay Awesome.