Having your own website is vital when you’re trying to establish a brand these days. Whether you’re a small business owner or a freelancer, websites provide an easy way for potential customers or interested fans to reach out and find out more about what you have to offer.
But it’s not always easy knowing where to begin. It can seem overwhelming at times if not mysterious. As it turns out, knowing how to build your own website is a lot easier than you might think. Not only is it actually possible to build a website for free but you can build one with virtually no coding experience. It’s true. Here’s how to make your own website today.
How to Make a Website by Understanding Your Brand
A quality website provides an experience focused on a specific message. This message is something you need to create before you design a single page, create content, or even select a name. Essentially, you need to understand what your goals for the site are and use those to guide all future efforts.
In comparison, a site dedicated to sharing information doesn’t need functions like shopping carts. Instead, you need to be able to post and organize your information in an attractive manner. You may also need multiple methods for sorting the content and making it searchable.
Once your priorities are set, you can move on to the next step of the process.
Organize Your Content
Your website is only as strong as its content. Whether that is product pictures and descriptions, blog posts, news articles, or cat videos, you need to know exactly what you have and how they fit together. Then, you can use that information to envision how you would like the pages to look and how the content will be displayed.
You don’t have to understand any of this from a technical sense. This part of the process is pure design and inspiration, but it is critical for moving on to the next step.
Choose a Website Builder
Website builders allow you to define how to create your own website based on your preferences. A variety of software solutions are available on the market today, and they are aimed at designers with a wide range of skills and understanding of the web development field.
Some of the easiest ways to create a website are with website builders that offer interfaces geared towards beginners. One of the most popular options is those featuring drag-and-drop tools.
How to Build Your Own Website With Drag-And-Drop Tools
While many people still build websites from the ground up (that is to say with code alone), there are a number of services out there that will show you how to make a website with simple drag-and-drop tools.
Knowing how to build a website from scratch isn’t something that comes naturally to a lot of people and so a number of web-builder sites are here to make it easy for just anyone to build a beautiful site in a matter of moments.
And what you pick depends on how much you know about coding and designing a site. WordPress, for instance, is especially beginner friendly. Many people who design sites through the service have never even typed a single line of code. In fact, a report by OpensourceCMS showed that roughly half of all new websites built this year were made with WordPress.
There are templates you can use if you’re not sure what design will work best for you. If you’d like to add new features to your site (such as Yoast SEO, where you can grade your site’s SEO ranking), extensions are simple to install with just a couple clicks. Knowing how to create your own website is often as easy as just figuring out what kinds of extra features you want and letting a drag-and-drop tool do the bulk of the work.
And best of all, WordPress is free, though you will need to pay to host the site somewhere. Sites like Weebly and Wix follow a similar drag-and-drop model, though not all are free to use. Wix is especially beginner friendly and features plenty of templates that can help you build a website that is most appropriate for your needs.
However, a drag-and-drop website isn’t your only option.
How to Create a Website Using More Technical Approaches
In fact, many of the best offerings in the market today support the addition of traditional code as well as some other user-friendly options. Often, these systems allow you to shift between visually-oriented design methods and more technical approaches.
For example, one view of the developing page will work similar to drag-and-drop. You can add different “boxes” designed to hold specific types of content, such as text, images, or videos. However, some of the box types support the entry of standard code like HTML and XML. This allows both techniques to be used in a single view that produces a fairly accurate rendering of the site’s appearance as you move forward.
However, you can also shift to views that support traditional text-based approaches. This means you can view the entirety of the site in code instead of a visual representation. Many of these tools are ideal when wondering how to create a website because they can give you additional control. Additionally, you can begin using more technical approaches as you become more comfortable with the system.
If you do know how to code a little bit, you may want to consider sites like Drupal and Joomla, which can be customized with coding and are more technical-oriented. It’s the closest you’ll come to an extraordinarily personal experience without knowing how to build a website from scratch.
Of course, if it’s in your budget, hiring a freelance web designer is on the table too. However, we’ll assume that you are, for the most part, on your own and want to know how to make a website without paying someone else. Once you have a website builder selected, it is time to move to the next step.
Finding a Host and a Domain Name
Your next step is to find a place to host your website.
Most of the drag-and-drop website builders we talked about above offer hosting services built into their tool. Wix and WordPress are among them. But even if you use one of these services, you don’t have to stick with their hosting service (though if you choose to move elsewhere, you may need help migrating your site to a new host).
There are many services out there, such as GoDaddy and Bluehost, who allow you to host your website.
Though, of course, you can host your website yourself…if you have servers and the technical know-how. But we don’t recommend it if you have limited resources. By having someone else, like GoDaddy, host your site, they’ll keep your site online and provide needed support. Many services will also offer free domain names.
Many hosting services are inexpensive, often costing less than a cup of coffee every month. Knowing how to make your own website is one thing but knowing how to host a site is a much more involved process. And picking your own domain name is key. This is, of course, the name of your site and how customers can find you online. Ideally, your domain name should be the name of your business (or yourself if you are making a website all about you).
Most domains end with .com, .org, or .net but there are other domain extensions out there. Make sure if you do use a domain extension that it’s one you can easily remember.
Having your own domain, as opposed to having a domain through WordPress, not only looks professional but it enables customers to more easily find and interact with you.
You’ll typically be able to have your own email address with your site’s domain, which will look considerably better versus having an address like email@example.com.
But make sure that your hosting service offers email. Not all web hosting services are created equal and so it’s always worth doing extra research to find a host that offers email and everything else you need to run your business or brand as smoothly as possible.
Not Sure What to Call Your Website? Here are Some Tips
When considering how to create your own website, you like gave some thought about finding a great domain name, or even naming your website. But, when it comes time to choose, you may find that you aren’t as in love with the name, or that another site already owns the domain you wanted.
First, you need to name your brand. If you are already selling a product or service, this step may already be done. However, if you are creating a venture from scratch, then this may still be on your to-do list. You need to think of something creative and original, but you don’t want to choose anything that is hard to attach to your offering. It may take some research, but it is well worth it.
Next, when exploring domain names, you want to pick something as close to your brand name is possible. And, in an ideal world, it should also be short. You want it to be memorable and something that people can easily type to get to your site. And, this should always take priority over getting keywords into a domain. While keywords are helpful, they aren’t everything.
When choosing an extension, see if a .com version is available. Though some people think this is a mistake since it is so highly used, it is often the first thing a potential customer will think of.
Site, Meet Webhost
You’re almost done. But now it’s time to get your website online. Through your website builder, you should have the option to download your site and upload it onto your host through one-click installation.
If you chose to have your website builder tool host your website (such as WordPress), feel free to disregard this step. This is only if you designed your website through one tool and chose another site to host your website.
But with that being said, you are ready to go. Knowing how to make a website can be a lot easier to understand than you might think at first. Get out there and start building.