Every business needs a website, it’s 2020 if you don’t have a website then you better get started now!
Gone are the days when you had to be a serious coder to create a website, with so many options and tools out there anybody can create a website.
I am going to share with you a step by step guide on :
How to create a website. (Even non-techies can do this)
This tutorial is going to be split up into 5 sections:
1) Domain Name
2) Web Hosting
3) Install WordPress
4) Install a Theme
5) Add your content
1) Domain Name
A domain name is the web address that users type into a browsers URL bar.
Examples of domain names:
A simple explanation is: if your website were a house than your domain name would be your address.
You don’t want your domain name to be too short or too long, you want your domain name to explain what you or your website actually does if possible.
If we are targeting a South African Audience then we would choose a .co.za domain name, if we were targetting an International audience then we would choose a .com domain name. There are other types of domain names e.g .co, .net, .org etc. but for this tutorial, we are going to choose a .co.za domain name.
I use domains.co.za for all my domain names so for this tutorial we are going to use them as well.
We are not going to purchase a domain name now as domains.co.za offers a free domain name with their hosting.
2) Web Hosting
Just as we explained earlier if your website were a house than your domain name would be your address, using the same narrative we know that a house needs land to be built on so your hosting is similar to a plot of land.
Web hosting is where all our files for our website will be stored. We need both a domain name as well as web hosting to build a website.
There are many hosting providers from super cheap to super expensive, just like with anything in life you get what you pay for. Going for super cheap is definitely not the way to go, your web hosting is so much more than just storing your files as it affects website speed which in turn affects user experience which in turn affects SEO. A cheap and unreliable host will also easily attract hackers and spammers.
Understanding the importance of web hosting is imperative in creating your website, it could literally make or break your website.
As I stated earlier I use domains.co.za I have tried and tested them and use them on my own website. I have used other local hosts as well as international hosts and I can safely say that for a South African website domains.co.za is your best choice.
Firstly you choose the dedicated wordpress hosting package you want, the basic package is more than enough for most, this is ony R99.00 per month without any email addresses but you can add email of 5 gig storage for 10 email addresses at a reasonably priced R29 per month, then you add your domain name so this way you get your domain name for free for the first year, after that it will be R79.00 per year depending on any increases. You can always start on the lowest package and upgrade later depending on the success of your website. Dedicated WordPress hosting also comes with a free SSL Certificate, an SSL certificate will display a green lock in your browser URL bar as well as the words “secure”. An SSL certificate ensures that any info transferred from users on your site to you is encrypted.
Below you can see examples of a site that has an SSL certificate and one that does not.
3) Installing WordPress
Updated for 2020
Previously we had to install WordPress ourselves now because we have chosen our host to install WordPress for us.
WordPress currently powers 37% of the internet with some 19,545,516 sites built on WordPress.
Data Source: https://trends.builtwith.com/cms.
There is a reason why it is so popular and the main reason is its ease of use, basically, if you can use Microsoft word you probably will be able to use WordPress but don’t let its ease of use confuse you, WordPress is also a powerful platform that powers some of the most influential companies websites, for example :
- BBC America
- Swedens Official Website
- Microsoft News Center
- The Walt Disney Company
Just to name a few and the list goes on and on. Due to its popularity you can find help and support easily and the WordPress community, in general, is just a great community to be a part of.
4) Installing a Theme
A WordPress theme is what beautifies your website and gives it a more professional look, there are many themes out there some free and some premium I personally use the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes, Divi is the No.1 WordPress Theme out there, I use Divi on all my websites and Divi has literally changed my life and my business. In my opinion, Divi is so much more than just a Theme, it makes it easy to create a simple website yet it is also packed with features that make it possible to create robust feature rich websites. Their support and huge community also makes this Theme my go to Theme, as you will see shortly you can create a fully functional website in no time. In order to use Divi you first need to purchase Divi. At the time of writing, you can get a yearly subscription for $89 and a lifetime account for $249 and you can create as many websites as you want just from one single subscription.
Once you purchase Divi you will be able to download Divi, head over to your WordPress backend, anytime you need to access your website backend you will go to yourdomainname.co.za/wp-admin and enter your username and password, once in your WordPress backend you will go to “Appearance”
choose the Divi file you just downloaded and click on “Install Now” once it is fully installed you will be asked to activate the theme. That’s it you now have Divi installed, now the fun part begins we are going to beautify our website.
5) Add your content
If you have reached this far pat yourself on the back and well done to you, you are now going to start the fun stuff, let’s do this.
In our WordPress dashboard go to “Pages” click on “Add New” enter your title “Home” then click on “Use the Divi Builder” then “Load Layout” as you can see Divi comes pre loaded with many layouts and they are adding to it every week, for this tutorial I am going to choose the “Plant Nursery” layout, then I am going to choose the “Home” layout and click on “Use this layout” the home page layout will load and then make sure to click on “Publish” this has now created our Home page.
Now click on “Add new” and in this same way, we will create the “About” page, “Services” page “Contact” page and “Blog” page, as you can see there are other layouts but for this tutorial, we are just choosing these 5 pages.
Here you can view the complete documentation of how to use the Divi Theme:
You can also click the help button in any module to view video tutorials.
Now that we have our pages set, let’s head over to our settings in our WordPress dashboard and click on “General”, here we are going to set our time zone and our date format, then head over to “Permalinks” and change it to ” Post name ” this will set the look and format of our URLs, then click on “Reading” here we are going to set which page is our Home Page, click on a static page and then set “Home” as your home page.
Now we need to create our Menu, head over to ” Appearance ” add a menu name and then we are going to set it as our primary menu, now we need to add pages to our menu and then we can order our menu as we want it to appear on our front end, let’s look at our site, as you can see we already have a fully functional website up and running.
Now you can head over to “Divi” “Theme Options” here you can add your logo and enter your social media URLs, in “Appearance” “Customize” you can change the colors, typography, menu colors etc. We can also change the footer text to show off your company name and personalize your site.
Now let’s see how easy it is to edit the dummy content that our layouts come with, head over to your home page and click on “Enable Visual Editor” now you can either follow the tour to get used to the Divi Builder or you can start building immediately, I am going to choose “Start Building” you can always go through the tour and start building later. here you can see how easy it is to edit text or anything else you want on the page and all your changes can be viewed instantly, remember to always click “Save” when you are happy with the changes you have made.
You can have a look at the end result here: dezignitinaday.co.za
Congratulations, you are now the owner of a shiny new website!
As you can see in just a few steps and a few minutes you can have a website up and running, and we did all this without writing a single line of code.
Total cost = $89 (R1246.89) per year for the Divi Theme and R99 per month for your hosting at the time of writing.
Now you can start adding your own content to your website.
If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments below.