How to Make a Website – Complete Guide

Web designing is a very simple thing. And there are several ways to do it. If you are looking to create a website for yourself or your small business, it is not a big job. But if you are looking for fancy, stylish, unique design then, that’s where it gets complicated.

We will be talking about the first category, how will you build a simple website for yourself or your business!

There are several ways to create a website for eg:

  1. Using website builders like – Wix or Squarespace
  2. Using CMS (Content management systems) like WordPress
  3. Using existing templates/themes 
  4. Custom coding simple HTML files

Before we get into which method to choose let me give a very very quick understanding of how websites work.

How does a website work?

When you go to the browser and hit a website – www.google.com, what happens? How does Google’s website come up?

Simple, a website contains 3 basic parts (super basic – we are talking about bare necessities)

  1. The domain – this is the address that you give to people to type in to reach your website. Normally it should be something on the lines of www.YourDomainName.com
  2. The hosting space – so basically on the internet every website is kept in a computer/server that is 24 hours on and connected to the internet. so anytime anyone searching for your website is taken to that computer which then shows them your website. This computer, in other words, is called a server. Some companies sell this server space for monthly/yearly charge and you buy from them
  3. The website itself – the content. This is the actual website that has the information. It is comprised of the structure (theme/template) and the content (text / images/ videos). 

When three of this is put together – you get a website!  Here’s an image to illustrate the same for better understanding:

Congratulations! Now you have just learnt the technicality of a website. Wasn’t that tough, was it?

Now, let’s get to the four methods of building a website that I am going to talk about:

  1. Using website builders like – Wix or Squarespace
  2. Using CMS (Content management systems) like WordPress
  3. Using existing templates/themes 
  4. Custom coding simple HTML files

Website Builder Method

Website builders are ready available platforms which let you build a website using simple drag and drop tools for a monthly subscription fee.

Of the three things required for a website, website builders take care of two and a half things:

  1. If you have a domain, you can connect it to them or you can buy a domain through them. 
  2. The website is hosted by them in best of servers and so all the hosting and security is taken care of.
  3. The third thing is the actual design and content. Now the actual website, they come with hundreds of readily available themes for all different kinds of businesses. You can just pick one and your design is sorted. Now if you are a picky person and needs to makes something custom, you can use their drag and drop tool to put together a layout. Finally content is the part which you have to take care of. You have to write your content and replace it with default content.

Three popular website builders in the market are Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. Let’s discuss each of them.

WIX -Website Builder

Wix has been there for over many years. I created my first Wix website in 2014. Back then it was small, however, now Wix has emerged into the industry leader of website builders. Lately, they have been doing a lot of aggressive advertising as well. 

Some of their features are:

  • Over 500 Templates to pick from
  • A marketplace for apps to enhance Wix’s features
  • Advanced layout editor 
  • Professional mailbox
  • Analytics

Cost-wise Wix has two kinds of products. First one is the website and the second is Business & eCommerce. Their website plans start from 4$/month to up to 24$/month. Whereas their business plan starts from 17$/month to up to 35$/month. And they do offer 14 days money-back guarantee. Click here to see Wix Pricing.

Squarespace – Website Builder

Squarespace is another great tool to build a website quickly using a drag and drop interface. It is also a SaaS model platform where you pay a monthly subscription fee to use their platform. All the other hosting and security-related tasks are on them. The thing that stands out about Squarespace is that they stand out from others with their sleek and modern designed templates.

Cost-wise Squarespace is pricier than Wix. The sleek and modern designs are indeed better and so the price is high. They have four levels of pricing each offering more features than their lesser tier. The pricing ranges from 12$/month to 40$/month if you pay annually. But if you are opting a monthly payment plan than the prices will range from 16$/month to 46$/month. Click here to see Squarespace Pricing

Weebly – Website Builder

Weebly is more like Wix than Squarespace. Featuring a powerful drag and drop building interface to create perfect websites. It comes with a mobile application so you can build, edit and manage websites from your mobile device.
Weebly comes with two kinds of products. The first one being websites and the second one being online stores. Website pricing ranges from 0$/month to 25$/month. Online stores, however, come with three tiers each tier offering a certain set of features. Pricing ranges from $12 – $38/month. Click here to see Weebly pricing.

Which website builder to go for?

If you are looking for an all-round builder you could go for Wix. If you want a very trendy, modern design and is willing to pay a little more you can go for Squarespace. If you are on a budget, You can choose Weebly.

How to build a website using a website builder?

All three platforms are extremely simple to use.

  1. Login
  2. Select a theme or template that you like
  3. Replace the words/content in the template with your words
  4. They also have a very simple drag and drop page builder where you can create any kind of page you want by simply dragging and dropping elements to a page.
  5. Subscribe to their plan. Make Payment.
  6. Connect the domain

Tada! your website is ready!

CMS Method (WordPress)

WordPress is a website building package. These are called content management systems (CMS). There are several CMC’s available. undoubtedly WordPress is their king. Approximately 35% of all websites are built using WordPress.

WordPress has everything you need to create a website/blog inbuilt in it. You do not have to code. That is the primary advantage. 

How to make a website using WordPress?

Section 1: Buy and Set up

The first thing to do is to buy a domain and hosting. Click here to do it. They will give you a free domain with a one year plan.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon
Hostgator hosting plans
  • Every hosting company will have multiple packages to choose from. We are beginners, let’s stick with the basics. In this particular example, choose the Hatchling Plan.
  • Also, note that the prices they mention on the main page can be slightly confusing. In this particular example, they say $2.75 / month. But that is if you are buying 3 years of hosting together. Once we go inside the prices will change.
  • Click on the plan of your choice.

Search and select your domain name

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon
Choose a domain
  • Here you can search for your name and choose one that’s available. You don’t have to write ‘www’ at the beginning. Only the name.
  • If the name is available it will give a bunch of options to choose from. Choose ‘.com’. That’s the best.
  • If the domain name you are searching is not available, it will show an error.
Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon
Error message if the domain name you selected is not available

If you scroll down, you might see that they have added domain privacy protection. (Screenshot below). It is an additional 14.95$ / month in this case.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

Every domain registered in this world is recorded in a publicly accessible database known as Who.is. It stores Name, Address, Email Address and Phone Number of all registrants. Anyone can access this. By adding this protection features your details will be kept hidden.

The only problem that I face if I keep information open is that I start getting a lot of spam emails and marketing calls from web design companies trying to sell me their services. So I usually don’t mind paying extra to hide my information.

It is optional. If you don’t mind having your data displayed public you can uncheck the tick box to skip paying.

Select a plan

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon
Select Package type and Billing Cycle

Select your preferred package type and period. I am selecting the package type as Hatchling and Billing cycle as 12 months. You get a free domain only with 12 months + plan. Type in a username and security pin of your choice.

Enter your credit card information in the next section.

In the next section, there are a bunch of addons automatically selected. Read through what these add-ons are. Keep what you want and remove what you do not want.

Pay and Checkout. Congratulations! you just have bought yourself a domain and hosting.

You will receive an email with login details. Use that details and login. It will take you to their customer portal.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon
Hostgator Customer Portal

Section 2: Install WordPress

Click on Launch cPanel as indicated in the above screenshot. It will take you to Cpanel which will look something like below screenshot.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon
Hostgator cPanel

There you can see the WordPress installer. Click that. 

It will ask you do pick a domain and a directory. Choose your domain from the drop-down list and leave directory blank. Click Next.

Fill in Blog Title (Your website name), Admin user (username), First Name, Last Name, Admin Email, Check Terms of Service Agreement. Click Install.

Give it a few minutes. It will automatically install WordPress. After installing it will display your username and password. Copy and keep that information safe.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

Click Login.

Enter the username and password from the previous page. Click Login.

It will ask you to confirm the administrator email. Click – The email is correct. You will be logged into WordPress. Your screen will look like the below screenshot.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon
WordPress Dashboard

On Top left, you can see the WordPress icon. Next to that is a home icon with your username. Hover your mouse over that and it will drop down an option called Visit Site. Click that, you can see that your website is not live.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed WordPress.

But the website does not really look like a website. Its empty isn’t it? Don’t worry, we will fix it in the next section.

Section 3: Install Theme (Astra)

On the left sidebar, go to plugins > Add New

It will take you to plugin market place. Scroll down a little to find the search bar. Search for Astra.

Find from search results – ‘Astra Starter Sites – Elementor, Beaver Builder & Gutenberg Templates’. Normally, it is the first item.

Click Install Now.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

After installation is done. The button will change to Activate. Now click Activate.

Once it is activated it will take you to the installed plugins page. You can see ‘Astra Starter Sites’ in the plugins list.

Now go to left sidebar > Appearance > Astra Starter Sites

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

It will ask you to select page Builder. Select ‘Elementor‘. Click Next.

It will take you to a list of themes to choose from. Filter them by selecting ‘Free‘ on the top.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

Click on any theme to preview it. If you like the theme. Click Import site to install it.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

It will take a while to install it. Once done, it will show a button – ‘View Site‘. Click it to preview the website you have just installed. You can see the theme live.

But sometimes, it might look a bit odd. Like this screenshot below:

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

That is because your theme template might not be active. To fix this we need to make some edits.

Section 3: Edit theme

Click Edit Theme from the top menu options.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

It will take you to the page editor. On the right side menu, click Page Attributes > Template Elementor Canvas. Click ‘Update’ on the top. Click preview.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

You can see that the website now looks like the theme you have selected.

To make changes to your home page, select Edit with Elementor on the top menu.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

It will open the Elementor Editor. Click on an item you want to make changes to. On the left side, you will get options to make the edit.

Make a website - Complete Guide | Lucid Polygon

Make the changes you want. Click on the update button.

That’s all it is. Make as many changes as you want and publish. Your website is ready. Go to www.YourWebsiteName.com and see the website that you have just built. It was quick, wasn’t it?

Now you might get a bit stuck while customizing your website using the Elementor page builder. It is quite normal. You are new, it will take some time to get a hang of this. But stay on it and keep trying you will get used to it.

  • How to change the colour
  • How to add links to button
  • How to change the text
  • Background text

so on and so forth. Over the period you will get used to how to do everything you want to do. Here’s a link to my another tutorial where I explain how to edit pages using the Elementor page builder.

Apart from this, there are other things like how to add more pages, how to write blog posts and so on. That is a tutorial on WordPress itself. Like I mentioned before, WordPress is a beast. I just covered how to create a basic website using the most basic tools of the platform. If you want to go deep into it, I’ll write another tutorial in future which will explain the same. 

If you have got any questions, ask in comments and I’ll reply.

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