Losing a loved one is among the most shocking and heartbreaking human experiences. If you find yourself in the situation where you suddenly have to handle funeral arrangements, attend a wake, or plan a memorial, please let me first offer deep condolences for your loss.
It’s difficult to even think about carrying on with everyday life while grieving, let alone being the one in charge of managing technical details like building a memorial website.
If you’re reading this article, it probably means you find yourself in this situation and need a little guidance on how to get started.
To help alleviate some of the stress, I’ll try and make this tutorial as comprehensive as possible. That being said, if you get stuck during the process, please feel free to reach out to our customer support team at any time for help.
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to build a memorial website using HostGator’s Gator Website Builder.
1. Sign up for a hosting account
To create a fully-functioning website, it’s critical to sign up for a web hosting account. As a quick review, web hosting is a service that allows you to rent shared server space for your website.
Hosting with a web hosting company ensures your website will remain up and running, load quickly, remain secure, and that you have 24/7 hour access to customer support.
To sign up for a hosting account, click on the HostGator Website Builder link, and choose a plan that works best for your needs.
In most cases, the best option for memorial sites is either the Starter Plan or the Premium Plan, depending on how much functionality and support you need.
You’ll notice that when you purchase a hosting plan with HostGator, a domain name is included in the price.
2. Choose a domain name and fill out your account details
Once you have selected the hosting plan that works best for you, HostGator will redirect you to a page where you can pick a domain name.
For most memorial websites, it’s recommended to use the name of the person you are honoring. To see if the domain name is available, enter the name and press “Get domain!”
In the event the domain name is already taken, you can always still use the name of your loved one and then choose a different top level domain, or another ending instead of .com.
Next, fill out all the appropriate personal details, including your plan, preferred billing cycle, username and password, payment method, and billing address. Then, press “Confirm purchase.”
Make sure to write down your username and password. This is what you will use to login to the Gator Website Builder. HostGator will also email you your login credentials.
3. Login to the Gator Website Builder
Once you have signed up for hosting and have noted your login details, you’re ready to build a memorial website.
Return to the HostGator main page, and turn your attention to the top right menu bar. You’ll see “Sign In” on the top right of the menu bar. Hover your cursor over this menu option and choose “Website Builder.
From here, you will enter your email address and password and log in to your account.
4. Select the “Express” Website Builder
On the next page, you have two different HostGator Website Builder options, Express and Traditional.
The Express Website Builder is an intelligent, automatic editor that will help you create a beautiful memorial website in no time. For the purposes of a memorial website, most people opt for the Express Website Builder.
5. Follow the steps to customize your design
The Express Website Builder uses AI to build your website, and needs a bit of information up front to help you create the right type of website for your needs.
On the next page, simply tell HostGator what your website is about by typing in “Memorial” into the category section, and pressing “Continue.”
On the next page, you will have the option to name your website. I picked “Memorial Site for John Doe” as an example. As you type in the name of the website, you’ll see HostGator automatically fills in the name in the header.
When you’ve finished naming your site, press “Continue.”
On the next page, HostGator will prompt you to pick a cover image. You can use one of HostGator’s images (provided by Unsplash), or you can upload an image of your own. A picture of the person you are honoring may be a good option in this situation. Once you have settled on a picture, press “Continue.”
The next page will ask you for a logo. If you are representing an organization or have a nice logo image, you can upload that image here. If not, you can just press “Continue” and HostGator will disregard this step.
The next page is where you select a font for your page. You can click through all the different options to preview what they would look like on your memorial site. Pick whichever one you like best, and press “Continue.”
The next page will let you pick a theme and color combination. As with the fonts, you can click through various options and decide which combinations you like best.
Once you’ve settled on a color scheme, press “Continue.”
The next page provides different navigation styles. You can choose from top or left-hand navigation styles. Press “Continue” when you’ve found the perfect style.
The next page of the Express Website Builder will ask you to fill out relevant contact details.
When you’ve completed all your contact details, press “Finish.”
Once you’ve pressed “Finish,” your website will have the basic information and a basic structure.
HostGator will also then take you to a more robust page where you can continue to build and customize your new website.
6. Tour the advanced website builder options
If this is your first time using the Express Website Builder, it’s smart to take a quick tour of the software. HostGator will display a pop-up that shows you how to perform various functions in the website builder.
All you have to do to get started is click on one of the relevant links, including:
- Page overview
- Add sections
- Section layout & settings
- Theme & settings
- Selling online
- Publishing & domains
You also have the option to skip the tour completely and get to know the website builder yourself.
To go through the whole tour, click “Take a quick tour.”
7. Customize other important elements of your memorial website
Once you’ve completed the quick tour, you’re ready to start customizing the rest of your website to fit your needs.
What you end up customizing will depend on how you want your website to function and what you want it to look like.
Here is a quick overview of some of the basic things you can do in the website builder. Remember, if you need help at any time, you can contact a member of the HostGator customer support team for help.
Add or edit content
Adding or editing your website content is as easy as hovering your cursor over the area where you want to change the text and clicking.
For example, when you get to this page, the generic heading will say something like “Welcome to our website.” You could click on this and change it to something more appropriate like “Remembering Jane Doe.”
You can change any text on your website, even the buttons.
Add a page
If you would like to add additional pages to your memorial website, it’s easy. All you have to do is turn your attention to the left sidebar menu, and click on “Pages.”
From here, click on “New Page” at the bottom of the screen and fill out the page details.
Once you have filled out all details, press “Apply.”
Once you have added your page, you can return to the main page. If you look at the top left screen of your page, you’ll see a drop down that says “Page.” From here, you can switch between your various website pages and customize them just like you would customize the home page.
Customize your settings
The left menu also has an icon called “Settings.” If you click on this button, you can customize a lot of information, including information about your site like the name, logo, favicon, SEO info, and more.
If you’ve set up any social media accounts honoring your loved one, you can connect them under the “social accounts” tab under the settings section.
Other things you can do include adding your Google Analytics tracking code, legal information, and adding HTML.
Once you’ve customized your settings, press “Apply” and the website builder will save your changes.
Add a blog
If you plan on doing any blogging, it’s easy to add a blog. Simply press the “Blog” button on the left navigation bar, and HostGator will add the following:
- A Blog section to your homepage
- A Blog page to the navigation of your site
- Blog management so you can write posts
Once you’ve added a blog, you can click “Create post” and start writing. Once you’re done with your post, click “Publish blog now.” You can add as many blog posts as you want to your website at any time.
Preview Your Memorial Website
As you can see from the advanced website builder features, there are several other things you can customize on your website. What you end up changing will depend on how you want your website to look and what you want it to do.
When you are done customizing your site, you can click on the “Preview” button on the top right section of the screen to see what everything looks like. When you’re satisfied, press “Publish,” and your site will be live.
To get started with your website, please check out HostGator’s intuitive website builder today.
Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.