Building your own website isn’t as hard as it used to be, even if you’ve never touched a piece of code in your life.
If the simple thought of building a personal or business website sounds intimidating, we have good news: it’s something that you can easily accomplish.
There are multiple approaches you can take to build your own website or blog, even as a complete beginner. Building your website can actually be fun!
This step by step tutorial will guide you through the process of selecting the best website building route for you and show you exactly how to do it.
In our website building for beginners guide, you’ll learn why building your own site is easy, the most popular methods for building a site today, and the step by step approach to building your first site.
Are You Sure I Can Build My Own Website?
To create a website you used to have to possess certain technical skills, or you had to hire someone that did. But, with the revolution of website builders and beginner-friendly CMS, it’s become easier than ever to learn how to build a website, in record time.
No longer do you have to spend years educating yourself on web design best practices and teaching yourself how to program. There are tools available today that can help you build your own professional looking website or blog, all without having to touch a line of code.
Of course, there are other things you’ll need as well, like registering a website domain name and finding the right web hosting. There are a few different approaches to acquiring these, depending on which approach you’re taking to build your site.
For example, if you’re using a website builder, you can probably purchase web hosting and a domain name at the same time. It may even be included in the monthly price.
If you’re using a CMS like WordPress hosting to build out your site, then you’ll need to purchase these separately. However, with some companies, like HostGator, you can get all of these in the same place. It’s as simple as adding a domain name to your order when you purchase hosting.
If that sounds confusing, don’t worry, we’ll cover this in-depth below.
The Most Popular Approaches to Building a Site Today
There are three common ways for creating a website today. Of course, there are variations of all these methods highlighted below, but beginners will want to stick to one of the three approaches.
Some are easy and some require more technical skills or even patience. We’ll start with the easiest approach, and each option will get more complex as the list goes on.
1. Build Your Site with a Website Builder
The easiest approach is going to be using a website builder to build your website. Website builders provide everything you need to build your own website. You can think of them as one-stop shops for all of your website needs. Instead of having to get your domain name, hosting, and website tools from various sources you can do it all from one place.
Plus, website builders are created for total beginners. These tools are designed to have little to no learning curve. You simply decide on which website builder you want to use, select your theme, use the included tools to customize your site, and you’re all set.
You also have the benefit of all your website maintenance, updates, and security completely handled for you.
However, there are still some downsides that you’ll want to be aware of. When you decide to use a website builder you do sacrifice some flexibility, as you’re limited by the templates and features offered by the tool. Usually, website builders aren’t used to create very complex websites either, such as sites that require using a database.
But, if you’re looking to build a simple website that looks professional, and in record time, then consider using a website builder.
2. Build Your Site with a CMS
The next option you have is using a CMS, or content management system. There is a steeper learning curve for building your site using a CMS, but you also gain more control and flexibility over the final web design of your site. Plus, websites built with a CMS like WordPress also offer you a greater ability to scale your site.
There are tons of different CMS available like, Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress. However, WordPress is the most commonly used CMS and currently powers around 30% of the internet. Not only that, but installing WordPress on your site can be very easy too, thanks to the one-click install software that a lot of hosting companies offer.
If you’re going to build your site with a CMS you’ll also need to acquire your hosting and a domain name separately. Fortunately, this process is very straightforward (as you’ll learn below). Once you install WordPress you’ll have access to a library of thousands of themes, and even more popular WordPress plugins , which let you add more features to your site.
You can technically build out your entire WordPress site without having to touch any code. But, the process is a little more technical in nature.
With WordPress, you get the freedom to choose your own hosting provider,, along with a nearly unlimited ability to build your site as you see fit. However, it can get more expensive with paid themes and plugins. It also requires more technical knowledge, or at the very least a willingness to learn the ins and outs of WordPress.
3. Build Your Site From Scratch
The final option is undoubtedly the hardest. It involves either learning how to program yourself, or hiring someone else to do it. This process is possible, but it’s very time-consuming. Becoming a web developer will take a lot of time and effort on your part, but with the vast amount of educational resources out there, it is possible to learn how to code and build your own website.
Teaching yourself how to program will give you a nearly endless ability to build your website as you see fit. Beyond education, the only other investment you’ll have to make is in a domain name and your website hosting.
This path isn’t recommended for beginners unless you’re looking to build up a career in web development.
If you want their website online as fast as possible consider using a website builder. If you want more creative control and don’t mind a steeper learning curve, then consider using a CMS like WordPress.
What Else Do I Need to Get My Website Online?
You’ll also need a domain name and a web host if you want a website that’s live on the internet. Your domain name is what visitors will type into the web browser address bar to visit your site. And your host is where you’ll store all of your website’s files.
You can either purchase these together or separately. Most people who are just starting online will purchase them together as it’s easier and you’ll only have to deal with a single platform for any support issues.
The Website Building Tutorial for Beginners
Now that you have a better understanding of the approaches you can take to build a website, and what you need to actually build one it’s time to show you how to do it.
For the sake of the tutorial below, we’ll walk you through the first two approaches highlighted above, using a website builder, and installing a CMS like WordPress on your site.
Ready? Let’s jump in.
1. Purchase a Domain Name and Hosting
The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase your domain name and hosting. There are a ton of different providers you can use, but to keep things simple we’re going to use HostGator.
First, head over to this page and select your web hosting package. A basic shared hosting package is fine for those just getting started. In addition to shared hosting, HostGator offers other options including WordPress Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Dedicated Server Hosting.
Next, you can add your domain to your order.
Type in your domain name of choice to see if it’s available. You might have to try a few different domains until you find one that’s available. If you’re having trouble thinking of a domain, then check out this post about finding the perfect domain name.
Then, complete the rest of the steps to finalize your purchase.
2. Choose Your Website Building Platform
Now, it’s time to decide how you want to build your personal or business website. Here you can decide to use the bundled website builder, or install a CMS like WordPress.
The first thing you’ll need to do is login to your web hosting account control panel. You should have received a link to your cPanel, along with your login info upon registering your web hosting account.
Once you’ve logged into your cPanel you’ll be able to get started with the included website builder or use the app called ‘QuickInstall’ to install WordPress.
3. Building Your Site with a Website Builder
If you want to use the included website builder then click on the icon called ‘Website Builder’ from within your cPanel.
On the next screen, you’ll be able to choose from different website templates by category, keyword, or just browse through the entire library.
Once you’ve found a template you like click ‘Select’. The website builder will load, and you can start customizing.
There’s a built-in tutorial which will walk you through customizing your site, or you can jump right in and figure it out as you go.
You’ll be able to change things like your page text, add new pages, change colors, font choice, add page sections, create a blog and a lot more. Have fun exploring and once you’ve satisfied just click the ‘Publish’ button in the upper right-hand corner.
4. Building Your Site with WordPress
If you want more creative freedom over the process of building your site, then here’s how you can install and start building your site using WordPress.
To do this head back over to your control panel and search for an app called ‘QuickInstall’ that looks like the one below:
On the next screen select the WordPress option.
Then, choose which domain you want to install WordPress on and leave the directory option blank.
On the next page, you’ll enter the name of your website, as well as all the details for your admin user, which will probably be you. Once you’ve done that click ‘Install’.
The installer will do all of the hard stuff for you. Once it’s complete you’ll receive an email that contains all your login information. It could take a little while, so be patient.
Once you’ve received the email click on the link that says something like “yoursite.com/wp-admin”, and enter the login information contained in the email.
After you’ve logged in you’re now in the backend of your WordPress site, aka your Dashboard. Navigate to Appearance>Themes, then select ‘Add New’. Now it’s time to select your theme that will form the foundation for your site.
All of the themes listed here are free WordPress themes. But, there are also thousands of paid themes you can install on your site as well. Some of the most common places to purchase a paid theme include StudioPress, ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, or the WordPress Premium Theme marketplace.
But, to keep this simple we’ll just go with a free theme. Browse through the list until you’ve found a theme you like. Then hover over it and click ‘Install’, then ‘Activate’.
To customize your theme go to Appearance>Customize. On this screen, there’s a left-hand sidebar where you’ll be able to make basic modifications to your theme.
If you want to add more pages to your site then navigate to Pages>Add New. Likewise, if you want to add blog posts to your site navigate to Posts>Add New.
There’s a ton more you can do to customize your WordPress site. Now you at least have a solid foundation to work from and can start exploring!
How Will You Build Your Website?
By now you understand everything you need to know about website building. You also know that today it’s easier than ever to get a website online.
Whether you’re looking to showcase your creative work, bring in leads for your offline business, or create an entirely new stream of income a website can help you get there.
Remember, if you just need a simple site online as soon as a possible, then use a website builder. But, if you don’t mind a bit of a challenge and want more control and freedom over your site, then use a CMS. Where if you’re serious about creating websites as a career, or you just want the challenge of learning a new skill, then the option of teaching yourself how to program is always an option.