There are many reasons why you may want to have your own website. In addition to sharing your ideas and thoughts with the world, having your own webpage can help you out professionally as well, because it is a lot more dynamic and holds a lot more information than your average resume or LinkedIn profile, in case a potential employer wants to know more about you and your skills. Programmers, designers, photographers, writers, content marketers, and plenty of other professionals can benefit from having a great website.
And there are plenty of options you can explore if you want to build it. You can choose from thousands of different pre-made templates online, rely on proven blogging platforms such as Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, or Medium, or even hire a web designer to build it for you, by reaching out to someone you know, or by finding a freelancer online.
However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t build that website yourself. Although the prospect of doing that might seem daunting and intimidating for most people, you don’t have to have extensive knowledge of web design, HTML, CSS, or Java to be able to build it. Here I will share are all the steps you need to take to accomplish that.
1. Choosing Hosting and Domain Name
As I’ve pointed out previously, you can choose to create a blog using WordPress, Blogger, or just about anything else, and use it as your website, but there are so many benefits you can count on if you decide to build a self-hosted website. First of all, you will be able to get it to look and function just the way you like, you will come off as more professional and skillful, because you have put in the time and effort to make it. You have no idea how easy it was for me to create my website.
Before you can start doing anything, you need to decide on a domain name for your website. If your goal is to build a website that will present you and your skills, the most obvious and reasonable option would be to use your name, followed by .com. However, if your name is John Smith, that domain will probably be taken already, but you can add the initial of your middle name, or create a word play with your name.
Please avoid using stuff like numbers of dashes, and words that are too long or too difficult to spell. You need to think about SEO and search visibility too, which is why coming up with an original name can also work in your favor, since it will launch your website at the top of Google Search.
Next up is buying your domain name and choosing a hosting service. Now, while there is nothing wrong with choosing a free WordPress website if you are short on cash, but choosing paid hosting, such as HostGator, is a much better option, because it’s cheap, reliable, and you can use it to install WordPress, which is really popular right now.
2. Installing WordPress and Creating Your Website
Although most people think of WordPress as one of the most popular blogging platforms, its versatility and power make it the perfect solution for building websites as well. On top of it all, it doesn’t require you to know HTML or anything like that, although it’s even better to use if you do, and it takes about 5 minutes to install, or even less if you use HostGator’s quick-install feature.
As for WordPress itself, its very user friendly and simple to navigate, since everything revolves around it famous dashboard. Once you install it and log in, you will notice a bunch of links of the left. Let’s check out some of those for a moment.
- Dashboard – you will rely on this section a lot, since it has just about any widget you will ever need to run your website.
- Posts – if you want to change your existing content by editing posts that are already published, or create completely new ones, this section is where it all happens. You will be using it a lot.
- Media – this segment acts like your website’s media library, containing all media files you have uploaded so far. You can easily upload new items and add them to your posts with a single click.
- Pages – Whereas you will use Posts to create new blog entries, you will use this feature to create more permanent sections of your website, such as Home, About Me, Contact Info, News, and other pages that will make up the website’s navigation.
- Comments–of course, having comments on your website is optional, but if you decide to have them, this is where you can view them.
- Appearance – all of the options and settings you will need to customize the look and functionality of your website, such as themes, widgets, and menus, can be found in this section.
- Plugins – what makes WordPress such a popular platform is its ability to handle a wide variety of plugins, which can help you expand the functionality of your website and transform it into something completely different.
- Settings – this segment contains all major settings you will need to set up your website.
Now, let’s get cracking. Go to the Pages section and click on the button named Add New. It’s as simple as that. Enter the desired title and your page is now created. As you can see, WordPress also provides you with lots of editing tools which work in pretty much the same way as your Microsoft Word tools, so you will be ready to edit and shape your content right away. You can also insert media files by clicking on the Add Media button. Once you are happy with the way your page looks like, simply click on Publish, and that’s it.
3. Choosing a Theme
One of the reasons why you don’t need to know any HTML or CSS is because there is a large number of already designed themes for WordPress, both free and premium ones, which can be installed easily and customized endlessly, so that you can build a website just like you imagined it. Personally, I think that premium themes aren’t always the way to go, since there are plenty of free ones out there that are beautiful and functional at the same time. But, it all depends on what your niche is and what you want to achieve with your website, so some themes are going to work better than others.
As you can see, creating a website on your own is no longer reserved for computer geeks. You can now build a functional and great-looking website with every little effort, which you can then expand and improve as your knowledge of web design grows. And I promise you, once you get into it, you won’t be able to stop.