A lot of people are interested in making their own website but have the fear that it is too difficult to create one. This is false. Anyone can make a website if they follow this simple step by step guide. Creating your own website gives you a sense of empowerment, whether it’s just to express your views and opinions in a blog, or if you want to start your own internet business. The possibilities are endless. Back in the earlier years of the internet age, creating a website required writing code and much more time and skill. Today we have several different user-friendly platforms that help creating a website an easier process. There are 4 main stages of creating a website that we will break down in this guide.
The 4 Stages of Creating a Website
- Selecting and purchasing a domain name: A domain name is the website’s name. For example, this website’s domain name is “MakeAWebsite.org”. In this guide, we are going to show you how to find and purchase a domain name using an Internet domain registrar company called “GoDaddy.com“.
- Selecting a hosting plan: Web hosting allows your website to be accessible on the Internet and provides storage on the web hosting company’s server. GoDaddy.com also provides web hosting.
- Installing your hosting plan to your domain name: Once you have purchased both your domain name and hosting plan, you are going to have to install your hosting plan to your domain name.
- Customizing your new website: Now that your website is up and running, it’s time to customize your site so that it looks and functions the way you would like it to.
How to Purchase a Domain Name on “GoDaddy.com”
The first step is to choose a domain name. Another option is a website called “Sedo.com“, this website is very useful for buying and selling domain names. When selecting a domain name, you are going to want to keep several things in mind:
- It is important that you keep the domain name short and simple, this prevents users from mistyping your website address.
- Avoid hyphens and numbers within your domain name.
- Be sure to select keywords that are relevant to your business or services. For example, if you want to sell sunglasses online, you may want to choose a domain like “buysunglasses.com”. This will increase your ranking on the major search engine websites.
- Be sure to research your desired domain name first to avoid selecting a name that has already been trademarked.
- The top three extensions for a domain name are .com, .org, and .net. This is something to consider when when creating your domain name. The most popular search engine “Google”, views these three extensions equally. Selecting one of those three extensions will increase your chances of ranking high on search engines.
- Go to GoDaddy.com: If you do not have an account with GoDaddy, you are going to need to create one by clicking ‘Sign In‘ towards the upper right hand corner of the homepage. A box will drop down with several different options, click ‘Create My Account‘ (If you have an existing account, sign in and skip to step 3.).
- Select whether you would like to sign up with Facebook or with email: The following page gives you the option of creating your GoDaddy account using your Facebook profile or simply providing your email address. If you would like the first option, just click ‘Continue with Facebook‘ to advance to the next step. If you would like to sign up with your email, simply enter your email address, create a username and password, then select a 4 digit “Support PIN”. Once you have input all the following information, click ‘Create Account‘.
- Search for a domain: Now that you are signed into your GoDaddy account, it’s time to search for your desired domain name. Enter your desired domain name in the search bar located towards the top of the homepage and click ‘Search Domain‘.
- Viewing the results of your search: You will then be directed to a page that provides results for the domain that you just searched. For this example, I chose to look up “WebsiteExample.com”. As you can see, that domain is listed at a decently high price of $2,395.00. If you scroll down, you will see that there are similar domain names with different extensions. Instead of spending all that money for the .com, I can purchase the .org for a fraction of the cost. Keep searching different domain names until you find one that fits your needs and budget. Once you have found a domain name that you would like to purchase, click ‘Select‘ to the right of the price (This will add the domain to your cart), then click ‘Continue to Cart‘ to proceed. (If you select a one year hosting plan, they will offer you a free “non-premium” domain name with the purchase. If this interests you, you may want to purchase your hosting plan first. View details under the “Hosting” section.) Click here for more information on “How to Search for a GREAT Domain Name”.
- GoDaddy will offer several different features for an annual fee. The first feature they offer is “Privacy Protection”. Privacy Protection basically just makes it so nobody can see your personal information. GoDaddy replaces your information with theirs. There are 2 plans listed under this feature, one is just the basic privacy protection plan and the second one is catered towards businesses. If you do not find it necessary to purchase this feature, click No Thanks. (You can always add these features to your account at another time)
- More feature options: Below the Privacy Protection options, you will be offered GoDaddy’s “Website Builder” and “Linux Web Hosting”. These features will be covered under the “Hosting” section of this website. If you would like an email address that matches your domain, you may be interested in the last feature. This feature provides several different plans that vary depending on which best suits you. Once you have selected your options, click ‘Continue with these options‘ to proceed. (Once again, you can add these features at anytime, so do not feel obligated to make a decision immediately. You will be given the same options when choosing a hosting plan.)
- Select term length: Select the length of time you would like the term of ownership to last. You can always extend the term length at a later time. Typically, GoDaddy will automatically renew your domain purchase around the time of expiration unless you cancel the renewal. The total can be viewed to the right. If everything looks according, click ‘Proceed to Checkout‘.
- Provide billing information. The next step requires you to fill out a form asking for certain billing information. Input the required information and scroll down to the next section of the Billing & Payment page.
- Provide payment information: Select your payment option. You have the options of Credit/Debit/Prepaid Card, PayPal, Gift Card, and Checking Account. Once you have selected your payment option, fill out the payment information and click ‘Continue‘.
- Review your order and confirm your purchase. This is the final step. It is simply just reviewing your order and confirming the purchase of your domain. If everything looks good, click ‘Place Your Order‘. Congratulations! You are officially the owner of a new domain name.
Selecting a Hosting Plan to Get Your Website Up and Running
GoDaddy provides several different options for hosting. They recently added a new plan called “WordPress Hosting”. You can still run a WordPress website using their regular “Web Hosting” plan, but with WordPress Hosting, it will automatically manage your WordPress updates and handle some of the more technical issues one has to deal with when running their own website. To purchase and install WordPress Hosting, follow the directions below.
- Go to the GoDaddy homepage and make sure that you are signed into your account. Click the ‘Hosting‘ tab located towards the top of the homepage. A box will drop down and the “WordPress Hosting” option will be available under “WordPress Solutions”. Click ‘WordPress Hosting‘ to advance to the next page.
- There are several different packages GoDaddy offers for their WordPress Hosting. These packages vary in the number of websites you can host, amount of storage you are allotted, how many people can visit your site a month, and several other factors. The more features, the higher the monthly fee. Depending on your needs, click ‘Configure‘ on the package that bests suits you. You may want to consider selecting the Deluxe plan and higher, the basic plan does not provide the “SEO Plugin” or the “One-Click Staging” option, which are very useful tools. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, so the SEO plugin increases your ranking on popular search engine sites using certain strategies to increase the volume of visitors. One-Click Staging simply allows you to experiment with changes to your website that are not final. This helps you avoid making permanent modifications that negatively effect your website.
- Adding extra features: If you selected one of the plans below “Ultimate”, you will be asked if you want to add some additional features. The additional features include “SiteLock malware scanning” and the “standard SSL Certificate”. SiteLock malware scanning helps secure your site by periodically scanning your website for issues in regards to cyber threats, where as the standard SSL certificate protects the information of the people who visit your site. If you have ever seen “HTTPS:” in front of a web address, that means that website has an SSL Certificate. Both of these features can increase your ranking with Google. If one of these features interests you, simply check the box to the left and click ‘Continue‘. (To the right of the screen it shows the term length and total of your purchase. The amount of months can be adjusted when reviewing your order).
- GoDaddy’s free domain offer with purchase of a ONE year hosting plan: GoDaddy offers a free non-premium domain name with a one year purchase of a hosting plan. If you do not want to commit to a year, simply click ‘No thanks. I’ll pass on the freebie‘, otherwise search their catalog for your complimentary domain.
- Reviewing your order: The next page allows you to adjust your order and view the total. You may see some additional products that you do not wish to purchase. If this is the case, click ‘Remove‘ below the subtotal of the undesired product. The default term is usually 36 months, if you would like to reduce the term length, click the box below “Term” and choose the number of months that you would like. Once you have made your adjustments(if any) and agree with the total, click ‘Proceed to Checkout‘ to purchase your products.
- Select which payment method you would like to purchase your product(s) with. Select your payment method and enter any payment information required, then click ‘Place Your Order‘.(If you haven’t already made a purchase on GoDaddy, such as a domain, you will also be asked to provide your billing information.). Congratulations! You now have a hosting plan.
Installing WordPress Hosting to your domain
Now that you have a domain name and hosting, it’s time for you to combine the two. To do this, you’re going to have to install your WordPress Hosting to your domain name which will launch your website into the world wide web. Follow the instructions below.
- Log into your account and click the ‘Quick Links’ tab. This tab will show the owner of the account’s name(mine is under Michael) and can be located towards the upper right hand corner of the screen. You are going to want to click ‘Manage Your Hosting‘ below the “Quick Links” section.
- WordPress Sites: Under your WordPress sites, you should see a box that reads “Setup your site” and has a button below that reads “Add Site”. To begin the process of installation, click ‘Add Site‘. (Make sure you are ready and have the time to begin this process. Failure to complete installation may result in complications.)
- Choosing what type of website to add: You will be given two options. The first option is “I’m building a brand new site”, the second is “I’m migrating an existing site”. Select ‘I’m building a brand new site‘ and click ‘Get Started‘. (The “I’m migrating an existing site” is only an option for someone who has already created a website and wants to add it to another hosting plan.)
- Pick a domain: Under choose an option, select ‘Website domain‘ and pick the domain that you would like to install the WordPress hosting to, then click ‘Next‘. (You are also given the option to use a temporary domain that can be replaced with a permanent domain at a later time.)
- Choose a data center: WordPress gives you two regions where you can choose a current data center, North America and Europe. Select the data center that is located where the majority of your customers will be active. Once you have made your selection, click ‘Next‘ to proceed.
- Creating your WordPress login information: Next, you will create a WordPress login. This is important information that will give you access to your WordPress admin account. Input your desired username, select a password, and confirm the password. Once you have filled in all the required fields, click ‘Install‘. You will then be directed to a page that confirms WordPress is being installed. If any errors occur, you are going to want to contact GoDaddy’s customer service department and notify them of your situation. A representative will be able to resolve the issue.
- WordPress has been successfully installed: Your WordPress Hosting has officially been installed to your domain name. You are now given the option to “Get Started” or “Go To Dashboard”. Click ‘Get Started‘ to quickly setup the basics of your website. (You will always be able to edit information and changes that you’ve made in the future.)
- Get started quickly with WordPress: WordPress offers a fast way to build a website with “Quick Start Wizard”, a plugin that is provided with WordPress Hosting. This simplifies the customization of your website and offers a lot of useful features. Click ‘Start Wizard‘ to proceed.
- Basic website settings: On this page, you are going to customize your basic settings. Select which type of website you would like(Website + Blog, Blog only, or Online Store). Choose the industry of your website. Once you click the dropbox below “Industry”, there will be hundreds of different industry options to choose from. Input the “Title”(which is generally your domain/company name) and “Tagline”(which is basically your website’s slogan) into the spaces provided. Once you have filled in all the required fields, click ‘Continue‘.
- Provide your contact information: Input your contact information which includes: Email, Phone Number, Fax Number, Address, and Social Media Profiles. Once all your information has been entered, click ‘Continue‘. (You also have the option of skipping this step and providing the following information at another time, just click ‘Skip‘.)
- Choose a Theme: The last step of the setup will display several generic “Themes” to choose from. A theme is the layout of your website and determines the design of your display. Select one of the following by clicking on the desired theme. (The theme that you choose is typically temporary, you can always choose a different theme in the future.)
- You have arrived at your WordPress “Dashboard”: Once you have selected and installed your theme, you will be brought to your WordPress “Dashboard”. Congratulations! WordPress has now been officially installed to your domain name and your website is up and running. The next stage is to further customize your website to your specifications.