Building a website can seem like a ton of work, especially when you’re in the beginning stages; a lot of people simply hire a web designer to do the heavy lifting for them. However, with the numerous tools and tutorials available any person can build a high quality site from scratch, in minimal time.
There are distinct advantages to working with a professional web designer, however a lot of us don’t have the budget to hire out from the very beginning. Once your site is profitable you can then invest into a hiring out for a website redesign if you choose.
If you’re looking to have a professional website up and running as soon as possible, then keep reading. Below we walk you through the process of building your very first website and showcase the tools we recommend.
First, Setup Your Hosting and Domain
The first step towards building your website is making sure your domain is purchased and your hosting is all set up. You can purchase your domain from a variety of sources, including HostGator. The same goes for hosting, as HostGator is a great hosting choice for beginners as it’s very easy to setup.
Once your website and hosting are good to go you’ll have your basic framework setup, so you can begin building your new website.
Second, Choose the Right Framework
There are numerous website frameworks and builders that you’ll be able to choose from. We highlight a few of the most popular choices below:
1. Use HostGator’s Site Builder
HostGator provides you with a Weebly site builder that allows you to easily setup a website in a matter of minutes. If you have a shared hosting plan through HostGator, then this service is included for free with your hosting package.
There are a variety of templates to choose from within the site builder. Just choose a template that you feel is in alignment with the goals of your website. Customize it to your liking and save your website. For a full list of Weebly customization options, you can check out this link.
2. Use a CMS like WordPress
If you have a little more technical know how and want to use a full-fledged content management system, then we recommend giving WordPress a go. If you have HostGator hosting, then you can use the QuickInstall process that’s located on your cPanel, to install WordPress for free.
Once you have WordPress installed you can customize your site by choosing from the plethora of paid and free themes. Just download the theme, and upload it by navigating to Appearance>Add New>Upload Theme.
You can then customize your theme by navigating to Appearance>Customize within the WordPress dashboard.
3. Build One From Scratch
Creating a website from scratch will take a lot of experimentation and trial and error. However, this can truly be worthwhile process if you’re up to the learning curve. If you enjoy doing things yourself and getting your hands dirty, then you’ll want to teach yourself the basics of coding.
W3Schools and CodeAcademy both have a set of great resources to help you learn how to code. The languages you’ll need to learn to get your website up and running include HTML, CSS, and PHP. This will allow you to build a website exactly how you see fit.
It can be beneficial to pick up some basic coding skills, even if you aren’t thinking about building a site from scratch. Having basic coding knowledge will enable you to become more comfortable with customizing and maintaining your site, regardless of platform. Check out our HTML cheat sheet for a quick primer.
Which Should I Choose?
The route you go down will depend upon the overall goals of your website. For instance, if you want a website that acts more like a virtual business card, then you can use the Weebly website builder tool provided by HostGator.
If you’re looking for a full-fledged website suite that will enable you to build and grow an online business, then WordPress is a great choice, as it can grow with your company.
If you’re truly a do-it-yourself person and want to know the inner workings of your website, then you can build one yourself. Just know that this will take a lot of time and it might even be a few months before a basic version of your website is live.
My personal favorite is to use HostGator’s hosting, coupled with the QuickInstall of WordPress. Then, pick up some coding knowledge so you feel comfortable customizing your WordPress theme to your liking.
Of course, there are dozens of ways to build a website. The three mentioned above are some of the most common ways HostGator users choose to build out their sites. Click the button below to get started making your website!