If you don't have a website then you don't exist. That's how things work in today's world. In other words, how can a customer find you if you don't have a website? If you don't know how to create a website from scratch, the whole subject can seem complicated: hosting, domain names, coding… It can all be extremely confusing.
For starters, these are the things you'll need to know:
- How to buy a domain
- How can you buy hosting
- How to write in HTML
- How to style in CSS
First, let's define what a simple website is. So the purpose of this tutorial is to create a small website announcing what you do and providing contact details for future customers. It is supposed to answer three questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- How to get in touch with you?
One to three pages will be enough to give the visitor all this information. Using HTML and CSS, you can not only make the website have simple functionality, but make it look good.
If you want to know how to create a website from scratch that has functions like providing some kind of e-commerce functionality or hosting a blog then you will need to learn more about web development, including a back-end programming language, we'll talk more about that ahead too. Let's tackle one subject at a time.
Buttons, images, text – this is front-end. The way your website processes an order for a special Lego Darth Vader watch? That's the back end.
How to create a website from scratch
A simple website, however, is a different matter. You can do this yourself. That said, let's dive into how to create a website from scratch.
How to buy a domain?
Before we tell you how to buy a domain, it might be a good idea for you to learn what a domain is.
Just as you have a real-world address, your website must have an Internet address too.
First, you need to think of some possibilities that represent who you are and beyond that, what you do. So don't forget that the name should relate to what you do and who you are.
When you settle on some domain name options then you will have to check which ones are available using a domain availability checker. Once you've established the name you want, you'll have to buy the rights to the domain you want.
It's the first step in how to create a website from scratch. Typically, your chosen hosting provider will allow you to purchase the domain as part of the hosting setup process.
How to find hosting when creating a website from scratch?
There are hundreds of providers of web hosting, offering services around the world. So choosing one can be a tough decision. So here's a list of the most popular ones for you to look at, search for, and decide:
No matter which website you choose, it should have many guides on how to start a website from scratch using its platform. If they don't, then avoid using it.
Once you have a hosting solution and the domain name taken care of, it's time to start developing your website.
With most website builders, you can either register a domain name when making a website (that way you can keep everything you need in one place) or you can purchase it separately with one of the domain registrars.
Choosing the wrong web host can seriously degrade your website's performance and functionality.
Storage space shows how much space you can use for your website as well as media files. Bandwidth is the amount of data your website can transfer to visitors. So these two parameters are important when your website starts to grow and get more traffic.
Hosting plays an important role in the process of launching a good website and ensuring that it is always available online.
When it comes to reliability, the most popular hosting companies are Bluehost, Dreamhost and Hostgator.
What is HTML?
HTML (or HyperText Markup Language) is not a programming language, despite what many people seem to think. HTML is responsible for making your website elements work. It's like the scaffolding you build your website on is an essential tool to master on your way to learning how to create a website from scratch.
HTML tells your site what text should be on the page, where the images should be, where the links, if any, should redirect the user.
To see what HTML looks like on a website, open the website in your Google Chrome browser, right-click anywhere on the page, and click View Page Source.
What is CSS?
You just can't read a “How to Create a Website from Scratch” guide without CSS. Although we have explained that HTML is responsible for your content that appears on the website CSS is there to style it.
Of course, some may think that it is now vital for a website, but think about it, do you really think a website that has plain text is worth visiting? I do not think so.
If you want to develop a website, you need to learn CSS. Most of the time, learning CSS is offered alongside learning HTML. To learn both, I suggest going to Udacity and checking out their html and CSS course.
How to Create a Website From Scratch: Website Building Software
This will not make your site magically appear out of nowhere. You will need to write the code in .html, .css and .js files and upload them to your website through the hosting provider.
If you are a beginner, choose the basic plan as it will cover all the fundamental needs of running your website.
Once your site takes off and starts receiving heavier traffic, you might consider upgrading to the prime version of your hosting plan, which offers advanced features better suited to handle a higher flow of traffic.
But what happens if you decide to add a blog? Meet WordPress
Yes, you can add a blog.html and link it with the rest of the site, but posting new information will be extremely boring without some sort of back-end solution, which makes it easy to add new content.
There's a reason most of the Internet is built on WordPress. It is a content management system with a rich library of templates and plugins. If you need your site to do something, chances are there is a WordPress plugin for it.
Configure your website using the WordPress it's 100x easier than writing it yourself. All major website hosting providers have tools to automatically configure your website on WordPress. When it's done, you log into WordPress and can change themes, add plugins and add whatever content (images, text, video) you want.
If you tried to learn how to create a website from scratch and gave up using WordPress, your knowledge will not be wasted at all. After all, you can take a WordPress theme and customize it yourself, using the CSS skills you've learned.
WordPress can be installed with one click on many popular hosting sites. No matter which hosting company you use, setting up a WordPress website is very easy (similar to website builders).
BlueHost is the most recommended web hosting company on the official WordPress.org website. For this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to create a WordPress website with Bluehost. If you choose to go with another hosting service, the process may be slightly different, but the main steps will be similar.
The section below explains how you can register with BlueHost and install the WordPress software using their 'one-click install' process.
Images and loading time
Keep in mind that newer site trends tend to rely heavily on images. You will likely need a lot of high quality, professionally taken photos.
Fast loading times are very important for the User Experience. The common logic is that the faster your site loads, the more likely it is that a visitor will stay and browse around.
Most people assume that building a website for the first time is going to be difficult and complicated. Let me assure you that with today's technology anyone can create a website from scratch.
You just have to follow some simple but essential rules to get it right.
But, how to choose a good tool/software?
To select the right software, you first need to determine what kind of website you want to make. After that, you will decide which platform is the best option for setting up your website.
If you are planning to start a blog or have a blog section on your website and post new content regularly. If you are planning to create a static website such as a portfolio, small business, product brochure sites, etc. which will simply have a few pages where you add content to showcase your business, so you might want to use a website creation.
As WordPress CMS is the most popular software and can be used to create any type of website, we will share here how to build a WordPress website.
Planning your website setup and structure
This step is often overlooked by people who are deciding to create a website for the first time, but I think it's very important that you spend some time and plan your new website.
If you're making a website for personal use, you don't need to complicate things. It doesn't have to be a detailed plan. You can even draw it on a piece of paper.
Your plan will help you decide on things like the structure of your website and determine what content, assets and resources you need to prepare.
Having a plan will give you a better understanding of how to create a website from scratch.
- What pages will your site have;
- What content do you need to prepare;
- What additional assets or resources do you need; and
- What software or website creation will serve you best.
If you decide to stick with WordPress, be aware that it works in two ways:
As the name suggests, this page will be visible to your visitors whenever they access your site. Tasks typically performed on the backend such as plugin functionality enhancements and customizing your theme will be visible to you and your visitors on the front of your WordPress site.
It also allows actions like comments and shares on other social media to be performed from the front by you and your incoming visitors as well.
This is commonly known as the WordPress dashboard – where you can oversee and manage all aspects of your website's content, functionality and web design.
If you want to access the WordPress dashboard, type “yourwebsite.com/wp-admin” into your search engine's address bar. Here you can login using your WordPress username and the password you set for your account.
The left-hand column is the center of all administrative options and is the source of your site structure.
Site structure origin
- Home – the home button takes you back to your main panel.
- Updates – This area informs you if there are new plugins or themes available that need to be updated or installed because a new version has been released. If so, you'll see a red circle with a number on it, which indicates the number of updates that are needed.
- Media – All videos, files or photos you've uploaded, either as a separate item or as part of a post, will be shown in this section. You can also upload directly to this section.
- Comments – These are the comments your visitors leave on the content on your site. If you have any new comments that you haven't seen, their number will be shown in a red circle over that item in the left-hand column.
- Appearance – This section will show you all the options related to WordPress website design, ie all the features, themes and designs available.
- Pages – You can manage all pages on your website, for example the “Contact page” or the “About page” of this section.
- Plugins – These mini-programs are integrated into your website and help increase its functionality. You can use them to convert your site into a members site or do something fancy like add social media icons for social sharing.
- Settings – this is where you go when you want to make technical changes to your website. For example, if you want to add a feature to your hosting plan, this is where it will happen.
By now, you should know how to set up a website. Then I'll show you how to select the right theme for your needs and customize your site.
choose a theme
The importance of a visual effect is no secret. We all like things that are well designed. The same applies to website design. Your visitors will stick around if they like the look of your site or leave in seconds if they don't appeal.
Nowadays, you don't need to be a professional web designer or developer to make your website look beautiful!
Platforms like WordPress come with many Topics pre-designed designs that you can choose from based on your preferred layout and color scheme. And you can make site design changes, add your own content, and create mobile-friendly sites.
If you're not sure how to build a website from scratch, you can turn to a professional web developer or designer if you have the budget. The costs of professionally made websites depend on the scope of the project.
finding the right theme
Your theme should fit the style and personality of your company's brand. For example, a pink theme might be free to use, but it wouldn't be the right fit for a steel manufacturing company's website.
If you use WordPress to make your own website, then you will have access to a wide variety of themes to choose from. On the WordPress dashboard, under the "Appearance" tab, click on "Themes." You will see some popular options. You can click the WordPress.org Themes button and search for free themes. There are over three thousand themes available on WordPress.org.
It's important to have an idea about what features you want to incorporate into your site, as this will help you filter out irrelevant topics.
Here are some essential points to focus on as you make a list of your most important features.
It's vital to have an accessible website where your visitors can find and access the information they need quickly. To achieve this goal, you need to have a clear vision of the type of navigation you want – 'Top Navigation' is the most popular. Also, be aware that your chosen theme may not include the type of navigation you need.
Social media integration
Social networks can bring traffic to your website. It is essential to embed sharing icons on your webpage which may not be compatible for all themes.
Form of counted
If you want to collect leads and contact information from buyers, you can add a contact form to your contact page. This will make it easier for visitors to contact you on the webpage.
This section can help audience and audience engagement as it allows them to voice their opinions and interact with your brand after reading your content. Most sites have a comment section enabled in the blog area to facilitate dialogue.
Having a search bar on your website helps your visitors to easily navigate your site by doing a quick search query. So, if your site has a lot of content and you want people to easily find what they need, a search bar to your site. Again, if you don't want this feature built in, be aware of themes that don't.
Branding should be one of your top priorities when making your website, because the faster it conveys your company's identity, the better.
If you want to brand a website with your company logo and its color palette to provide an enhanced and more personalized user experience, then you should choose from themes that support such customizations.
With the increase in the use of smartphones, there is a great chance that your user is opening your website on their mobile phone. That is, a design that doesn't fit well on a mobile screen can lead to a high bounce rate.
Therefore, you should make a website using a mobile-friendly theme as it is a standard in the modern digital industry. When you choose a theme, you'll define that it looks good on all sizes as well as screen types.
font and color
The design as well as the color aesthetic of your brand should also be used on your website. For, these factors keep your visitors relevant in browsing the content on your website. If the same fonts and cores are used consistently, they can make your branding efforts more effect