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How to Create a Website from Scratch?

Learn how to create a website completely from scratch with my step-by-step guide. I'll teach you everything from how to buy a domain, host your website, Wordpress sites and plugins, website branding, creating content that profit, and much more.

Karthik

Karthik Vijayakumar

26 Jan, 2019

how to create a website from scratch

In this article on how to create a website, I will help you create your website from scratch. It doesn’t really matter how much you know about technology. I’ll help you approach this based on your background, profession and business.

In today’s digital age, a website has become synonymous to a mailing address.

People no longer ask for your address, but ask for where they can find you on the web.

While social media links serve as a great place to engage in a digital world, there are too many of them. But a website serves as the place that is rightfully yours, and can serve as the gateway to your online presence.

But why would I need an online presence?

In this article I’ll show you why you will need an online presence and why a website is the best way you can do it. The article is divided into the following 10 sections:



Step 1

Why Create A Website for Your Business or Personal Brand?

There are many reasons why you might consider building a website.

My wife who’s a makeup artist needs a website to get clients to book her for an appointment. My friend and his wife sell their handmade toys on their website.

Another friend runs a company that sells aircraft systems to governments and business. His website is more static, and he uses it to showcase his product catalogues and showcase industry authority.

With No Goal or Purpose, It Doesn't Matter Whether You Have a Website or Not

The need for a website largely depends on 2 things:

  • 1
    who you are building a website for?
  • 2
    what you want the website to accomplish?

In other words, you need to have specific goals for your website and that depends on who you are building the website for. There are three broad buckets here:

  • 1
    ​Personal Brand
  • 2
    e-Commerce
  • 3
    Business Presence

Create a Website for Your Personal Brand

Create A Website For Your Personal Brand

Let’s start with people first. In the pre-digital world, people noticed you if you had a big house or a big shiny car. In the digital world, it’s your online presence that people look at, to judge you.

Your online personal brand plays a big role especially if you are using your online presence and your talent to make a living.

But how can the goals of a website change for personal brands?

Let me explain this with 4 different examples.

Speaker or Writer

If you are a professional speaker who makes a living by speaking, it’s very important for you to have a website for yourself. Having a website will help you share your expertise and thought leadership using a combination of different content forms including writing and videos and testimonials.

A good website should help you get discovered, showcase your written work and get booked.

Designer

No matter what kind of a designer you are, you get hired for design work based on your portfolios, references and expertise.

A good website for a Designer like you will be one that allows you to showcase your portfolio so you can get a design gig.

Traveler

The goal for a good website for someone like you is to let you publish and share these stories through writing, photos, video and audio.

The goal for a good website for someone like you is to let you publish and share these stories through writing, photos, video and audio so you can get offers from television channels, or write for a magazine or become a full-time travel blogger or something similar.

Podcaster

If you are a Podcaster, you are perhaps creating audio and/or video content. You are probably hosting these content in other platforms. You create these content for people to listen to, and distributing your content far and wide, is your goal.

A good website for you is one that lets you add more details about your podcast and individual episodes, helps your podcast get discovered via Google, helping your podcast get more listeners through organic traffic while building authority as a podcaster.

Create a Website for e-Commerce

e-Commerce is the second bucket.

If you are selling products and/or services online, this bucket is about you. In today’s world though, there are various kinds of products/services that people sell.

There are broadly 4 kinds of e-Commerce websites I want to draw your attention to.

Brand Merchandise / Physical Products

If you have an established brand online or a physical store, this is for you. In order to sell physical products, you are in need for a way to know your customers, their physical addresses, receive payments and track shipping.

A good website should help you display your products, create content and do all of the e-Commerce activities I describe above so you get to improve your product sales.

​Digital Products

Digital products are both information products and software. Info products refer to products that offer information as value. These include ebooks, courses, audio and video content and such.

If you are into selling digital products, a good website should help you get found, sell and cross-sell better. And when they find your product, the website should help them quickly understand everything they need to know about it, and facilitate the sale.

​Affiliate Marketing

If you are an Affiliate Marketer, you are promoting products or services because you use them or know enough about them, that you think it will be helpful for more people like you.

A good website should help you convert visitors to affiliate customers.

​Membership

Finally if you or your business is into memberships or sell products or services based on subscriptions, a website plays a big role. I know someone who sells his fitness and nutrition programs online. He charges you a recurring fee monthly or quarterly to give you access to special content.

A good website should help people like you to create content that is both free and paid, so you can get visitors to signup for your paid programs.

Create a Static Website for Business Presence

I have a friend who is a seller on Amazon. She and her husband sell their customized furniture on Amazon. But they also have a website. Interestingly they don’t sell products on their website, but have all the products listed on the website, with links to Amazon.

Their website also shows customer testimonials, including corporate clients. They have a contact page and an About page where they soon plan on having their factory-walkthrough videos too.

Except for a contact form, everything else is pretty fixed and static on their website. Not even a blog.

Why do they have a website for their Amazon Seller business? Business Presence and Trust Building. Since they also sell big quantities to B2B businesses, they need to have an online presence to build trust.

Alright, I hope these examples gives you an idea of how you need to be thinking about your website. In the next step, we'll look at something important - the essentials you need to know about a website (and not everyone talks about this!)


Step 2

What Must You Know About A Website?

We are now in Step #2 of this how to create a website guide.

We are now in Step #2 of this how to create a website guide. In the first section, I showed you how goals play a key role in deciding what your website should do. Now that you understand why you’ll need a website, in this section, I will help you get a clear idea of the key aspects of a website.

I will also walk you through the basic attributes of a website that will make it different from another website. These attributes, when used wisely, will help you solidify your brand, and help your website stand-out.

what you need to know about a website

I’ve broken this section into 4 parts:

  • 1
    Parts of a Website You Need to Know
  • 2
    Website Fonts and Typography
  • 3
    Composition

Parts of a Website You Need to Know

Often times, I’ve seen people rush into creating a website, only to realize that the website they created is missing a few important details. So in this section I’ll make sure you don’t miss out on those details.

First, let me introduce you really quickly to the parts of your website that you need to know. There are 5 parts of a website that’s super important. They are:

  • 1
    Header
  • 2
    Navigation Bar
  • 3
    Content
  • 4
    Sidebar
  • 5
    Footer
Header

The website header is the place that’s located in the top of the website. The header is the place where you’ll typically find your brand logo.

Why is your website header important? Simply because it’s the first thing visitors see. They scan from top left to top right first. Headers also can contain images or videos or banners at times.

Navigation Bar

The navigation bar, as the name says, is used to let your visitors navigate the website. The navigation bar houses the menu, usually called the primary menu of your website.

When viewed in mobile devices, they usually appear as a hamburger that visitors can click to open.

Sidebar

The sidebar is something some websites have, and is usually found on the right or the left side of the page, below the header and navigation.

The sidebar is placed alongside the main content, and is usually used to display advertisements, promote other content or products, or to show more navigation options.

Content

Content is self-explanatory. The content of a website page is the “meat” that your visitors have come looking for. This could be in various forms - written pages, blog posts, images, videos, infographics, and more.

Content plays a key role in defining the relevance of your website and it’s pages. It can literally make or break a website page.

Footer

The most ignored part of a website is it’s footer. As the name says, the footer is the bottommost part of your website. Just like the header, the footer is important too.

Most often, people use the website footer to show copyright links. But that’s wasting the real estate. Using the footer to let your users subscribe or lookup your legal pages and other secondary navigation menus is a great way to utilize your website footer.

Website Colors

I consider myself color-blind, and I ignored this one BIG aspect of my website for a long long time. But what does colors have to do with a website?

Colors make anything stand-out like a shining object, or get lost in the crowd like a chameleon. Your website colors do the same to your website. When done right, they can help your website stand-out in its uniqueness.

Website fonts and typography

Website fonts and typography...what’s that? Very often, people play very less attention to fonts and typography. Some use their favorite fonts throughout the website just because they “like it”.

Fonts and typography, like colors, play a critical role in defining your brand and to help your website stand-out. Use the right combination of fonts and typography, and be consistent using it throughout your website.

Composition

Composition is the most ignored aspect of a website. Composition refers to the way elements on a website appear and their relationship to each other.

If you have a header, a few lines of text below it and a button, they form a composition. The distance between these elements can change their meaning and the behavior of visitors who are being presented with it on your website.

The website colors, fonts and typography, and composition are 3 of the many other key elements of your website branding.

If you want to make your website stand-out, do consider signing-up for the my free guide on website branding by signing up for DYT SuperGuides below.

Sup​​​​erGuides

DYT SuperGuides

SUPER-GUIDES


GUIDES, COURSES AND TEMPLATES YOU WILL LOVE

Get 4 Super Valuable resources to help you get started with hosting your website, creating the most profitable pages and growing your email list.

  • 1
    Segment Like A Pro PDF guide
  • 2
    Wordpress Plugins Express PDF guide where I help you cherrypick the handful you'll ever need.
  • 3
    SiteGround Like a Pro PDF guide to help you get started hosting your Wordpress sites on SiteGround.
  • 4
    Develop Your Personal Brand guide to design your online personal brand from scratch.
  • 5
    Get DYT Insider newsletters (the only place where I announce additions and updates to DYT SuperGuides!)

Step 3

Pick the Right Website Host and Platform

We are now in step #3 of the how to create a website guide.

Let's say you’ve decided to build your own house.

Where would you build it? In a peaceful residential suburb where you are ensured of safety and peace of mind, or in an active earthquake zone?

That’s what it is like, when it comes to picking the right website hosting partner. Your website is your online home. You better have it in good hands.

I have both good and bad experiences with website hosting. Let me throw some light to help you pick the best.

pick the right website host and platform

What’s the Difference Between a Host and a Platform?

A host is where your website will be “running” and a platform is what your website is “made up of”. For example, I use SiteGround as my host, and I use Wordpress as my platform.

What Website Host and Platform Should You Choose?

You can build a website in many different ways and host it accordingly. There are pros and cons in each of them, but let me first explain them, and then help you make a choice.

  • 1
    The Geeky Approach: You can completely hand-wire your website. You’ll need to know scripting languages like PHP, Python or one of those to go this route. If you are like me, you’ll skip this option :-)
  • 2
    The Beginner Approach: You can sign-up for a FREE account of Wordpress.com and create your first website completely for free. Wordpress.com does let you buy a domain name of your choice and many other add-ons for a small price. But it’s free to use otherwise.
  • 3
    The Amateur-Professional Approach: You can host your website in a shared-hosting and use Wordpress as the platform.
  • 4
    The High-Traffic Professional Approach: You will host your website in a dedicated hosting and use Wordpress as the platform.
  • 5
    The Third-Party Hosting Approach: You will host your website by using a third-party paid tool in their own proprietary hosting platform.

So these are the 5 different options you have. Let me explain you each of them really quick, and help you make up your mind.

The Geeky Approach

If you are like me, this is a strict No-No. Simply because you will need to do everything yourself (plus focus on your personal brand and business!).

But if you insist, I recommend you try Django as a framework to build your website. I tried this as a side-project, and it was a great learning.

The Beginner Approach

This is a great way to ease-into writing and creating your website. Most importantly, it’s FREE. In this approach, you use Wordpress.com as your platform and host. You can sign-up for a free account on Wordpress.com right away to get started.

What I like about this approach is that it’s FREE and also you get to use a custom domain name by buying one right within Wordpress.com for $10. You are all set.

A Word about Wordpress:

Wordpress comes in two flavors - one you can host yourself (self-hosted), and the one that’s hosted by Wordpress itself. The latter can be found at Wordpress.com (we use this in The Beginner Way).

The first option is a version of Wordpress from Wordpress.org. We’ll use this in the next two approaches. This first variant of Wordpress from Wordpress.org comes packed with more features that give you total control of your website.

The Amateur-Professional Approach

In this approach, you host your website on a website hosting company’s servers, where your website will share the server space with other websites. This is called shared-hosting.

Many website hosting companies provide Shared Wordpress Hosting, where their servers are designed to manage Wordpress software (you will not have to do anything). I recommend you use this Shared Wordpress Hosting option as that is stress-free.

How to pick a Shared Wordpress Hosting website host?

You should look for website hosting companies that offer you all the following three:

  • 1
    Shared Wordpress Hosting packages
  • 2
    Very High Quality of Service
  • 3
    Very Good Technical Support

In my opinion the above 3 are non-negotiable. But that said, here are some DOs and DONTs:

DOs and DON'Ts when Picking a Shared Wordpress Hosting Partner
  • 1
    DO make sure the website host offers FREE SSL Certificates (Google gives high priority to websites that have SSL Certificates from an SEO perspective)
  • 2
    DO make sure the website host offers FREE CDN or Content Delivery Network option like Cloudflare (this is very good to load your website faster)
  • 3
    DO make sure the website host runs on the latest version of PHP (version 7)
  • 4
    DO consider website host that offers CPanel access. (you can avoid getting on call with tech support for making simple changes)
  • 5
    DO make sure the website host gives you an option to pick the location of the physical servers where your website will be hosted (if you have more customers in Asia, you will want to host in Singapore than San Francisco).
  • 6
    DON’T pay too much of attention to the cost of hosting. Many website hosting providers offer predatory pricing to get you locked-in. Beware. Many website hosting providers that offer lesser price, also offer lesser levels of service and support (I’ve had tough times with GoDaddy Wordpress Hosting where I was made to speak to sales support when my website was down)
My Recommendations in Picking Your Shared Wordpress Hosting Partner

I have used HostMonster, BlueHost, GoDaddy, and currently use SiteGround for all my websites. Here’s my recommendations:

  • 1
    HostMonster used to be great, and they offered great tech support. But I last used it in 2007. I’m not too sure how they are faring now.
  • 2
    BlueHost is a great hosting platform. I started hosting my websites on BlueHost in 2008 and had them till about end-2015. They were great. I do recommend them. But again, it’s been 3 years since I stopped using their services.
  • 3
    GoDaddy is someone I started to use since 2015, and stopped using them by 2017. I strongly recommend you not using them ever. They have very bad site up-times and like I earlier said, you don’t have direct access to tech support.
  • 4
    SiteGround is the hosting provider I currently use. After a lot of hard times with GoDaddy, I was determined to find the best and SiteGround was the magic. They are the best in class. You can pick any SiteGround customer and they will sing praises. I’m serious, as I did exactly that before I jumped on SiteGround. They are about a dollar more expensive than the rest, but I consider that the price for quality. I wholeheartedly recommend SiteGround (even in my sleep!)!

Affiliate Disclaimer: The links above are my affiliate links. If you do plan on using SiteGround, I appreciate if you used my affiliate links. Yes, I do get a small commission if you choose to use my affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. It will really help me help you better at every step of your journey. Thanks!

The High-Traffic Professional Approach

Now if you need to have a website with over 100,000 visitors per month, I recommend you using a dedicated server. A dedicated server gives you total control of your website as the server it runs on, is dedicated to you.

The only difference between the Amateur-Professional Approach and this one, is the fact that you will be using a dedicated hosting. The best website hosting provider in this class is WPEngine. I recommend you pick them eyes-shut.

I’m recommending WPEngine for the same reasons as I recommended SiteGround for shared-hosting.

The Third-Party Hosting Approach

Let me say for some reason you decided not to use Wordpress, nor break your head building your website from scratch. What’s the alternative? Or, is there one?

Yes, in fact there are several alternatives. I recently had a great experience getting a website up using a great website hosting platform called Wix. Having used Wix in it’s earlier avatar back in 2009, I returned to them to try out their new website builder. I loved it.

But will I recommend Wix over Wordpress? No, I will not. Simply because Wordpress is open source and it allows me to export all my data without any restrictions. I own my data.

However I understand you might have different reasons why not to use Wordpress. If you are in such a situation, I highly recommend you create your website using Wix.


Step 4

Pick a Domain Name or Your Website Address

There is something about “10 Downing Street”, isn’t it?

The address stands-out of the 28 million homes in all of the United Kingdom. In a similar way, if we take a look at the internet today, there is about 1.9 billion websites in the world right now as I write this article.

What does it take for your website to stand-out of the 1.9 billion websites?

A memorable domain name. A website address that people can remember and recall easily. There are many ways of picking a domain name or website address that people remember and recollect. But before we get into that, I want to quickly help you understand this a little better.

pick a domain name for your website

The Domain Name Structure

A domain name or website address is something that you type in your web browser. Let’s take my own domain name. It’s DesignYourThinking.com.

Let’s quickly analyse the structure of a domain name or website address, which is inherently case insensitive.

A domain name is generally made up for three parts:

  • 1
    A Top Level Domain or TLD
  • 2
    A Second Level Domain
  • 3
    A Sub-Domain
www Prefix

Now you can notice that some domain names are mentioned with a “www.” prefix. It’s a prefix that stands for the world wide web, and it can be made optional for a website.

For example, you can open my website by also typing www.DesignYourThinking.com.

A Top Level Domain

A Top Level Domain or TLD is one which we commonly see as “.com” or “.net”. These are controlled by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a nonprofit body that controls the management of namespaces in the internet.

The most common level TLDs are “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, “.gov” and “.edu”. There are many other TLDs that you can pick from, and ICANN continues to add newer ones every year.

You cannot buy a TLD. But instead, you can buy a Second Level Domain. What’s that?

Second Level Domain

A Second Level Domain is a domain name of your choice. In my case, it’s DesignYourThinking. You can pick anything you like, as your domain name, so long as it’s available in the TLD of your choice.

How to Get Your Domain Name?

ICANN has TLD resellers who are authorised to sell you TLDs of your choice, by charging you a small fee on a yearly basis. These resellers pay a small fee to ICANN, for every domain name you purchase.

I personally use NameCheap to buy my domain names. For one, they are priced much cheaper when you purchase a new domain name.

What Domain Name Should I Pick?

A domain name should be memorable. Period.

There was a point when people picked domain names by SEO keywords, etc. It’s no longer the case. Make sure it’s memorable and can be easily reproduced.

While you can use alphabets, numbers, “-” hyphens (can’t start with it though) and can go up to 63 characters, I recommend you keep it simple and straight. Think of people typing it on their mobile phones. Here are 4 common ways of finding domain names:

  • 1
    Your Name (or nickname)
  • 2
    Your company or brand name (like mine)
  • 3
    Your Niche (like, shoesandsandles.com)
  • 4
    A Memorable-yet-Random word (like Zappos.com)
Subdomain

A website domain name or website address can have one or more sub-domains. Commonly referred to as the subdomain, it could be used to indicate a part of the main website that’s independent (for most cases) from the rest of the site.

Why is your website header important? Simply because it’s the first thing visitors see. They scan from top left to top right first. Headers also can contain images or videos or banners at times.

How to Create Sub-Domains for My Domain Name?

You can create a subdomain for your domain name yourself. Depending on your website hosting, you can either do it yourself, or can get your tech support to create them for you.

My website host SiteGround (which I very highly recommend) offers direct access via cPanel, and so does BlueHost.


Step 5

Create a Website Using Wordpress

WordPress powers 31% of the internet.

That speaks volumes of the Wordpress platform. So, you’ve decided to use Wordpress for your website - great choice!

But how do you get started?

We are in step #5 of the how to create a website guide. In this section, I will help you get started and create a website using Wordpress.

Here are 5 broad steps you’ll take to create your website using Wordpress in the next few minutes. I’ll be using SiteGround, which is what I use and trust, to show you how to create a Wordpress website in literally a few minutes.

  • 1
    Buy a domain name
  • 2
    Sign-up for a Wordpress Hosting Plan
  • 3
    Change the DNS for your domain names (optional)
  • 4
    Install Wordpress in your SiteGround hosting account for the domain name you just purchased.
  • 5
    Open Your Wordpress website!

Step 1: Buy a Domain Name

It’s now time to get your domain name. I get mine at Namecheap, simply because they sell domain names for significantly lesser prices.

Head over to Namecheap and type in a domain name of your choice. Once you hit search, Namecheap shows you all available TLDs for your domain name.

Add your preferred domain name with TLD to your cart and continue the checkout process by clicking the View Cart button.

buy a domain name

I generally keep Auto-Renew OFF (personal choice), and WhoisGuard ON (I recommend you do it too).

Click on Confirm Order, and in the next screen, Create An Account by giving your first name, last name, email address, username and password.

In the next screen, give your billing address and complete the domain purchase.

Congratulations! You now have a domain name for yourself!

Let’s now get a place to host your website.

Step 2: Sign-up for a Wordpress Hosting Plan

I use SiteGround for my hosting needs. So I’ll walk you through the sign-up process really quick.

You can sign-up for Wordpress Hosting Plan in 3 steps.

First, head over to SiteGround to sign-up for a Wordpress Hosting plan. I recommend you pick the GrowBig plan, as it comes with SiteGround SuperCacher and Free Backup Restore. SuperCacher makes your website load faster and also reduces the load on the server.

Wordpress Hosting Plan from SiteGround

Once you select your plan, you’ll be asked to register a new domain name, or enter an existing domain. Choose “I already have a Domain”, and type in the domain name you purchased in Step 1.

Register A Domain

Complete the Account information, Client information, Payment information and Purchase information to complete your sign-up process.

Before you click the Pay Now button, you’ll see a couple of things under Extra Services. You get a Website File Transfer service free with your GrowBig plan - make sure you take it up after signing-up.

Extra Services SiteGround

Second, you’ll also see an option to turn-on SG Site Scanner for a small price. I recommend you turn it on, but you can also do it after you finish signing up process. Now click Pay Now and complete the process.

Congratulations! You now have a virtual real-estate that’s yours!

You are just a step away from having your website live!

Step 3: Change DNS for Your Domain

Now that you have a domain name from Namecheap and hosting it in SiteGround, you’ll need to let the internet know that it needs to go to SiteGround to look for your website.

That’s what we are about to do with the DNS change. Domain Name Servers are the servers that the internet browser looks for, when someone types your domain name in their web browser like Google Chrome or Safari or Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Once you are logged into your SiteGround account, go to My Accounts and click on the Information & Settings tab. You’ll see your Name Servers under Account DNS. There will be two of them. Copy them.

Now, login into your Namecheap account. You’ll be presented with your Dashboard, where you’ll see your domains listed. In this case, you’ll see the domain you just purchased in Step 1.

Manage Domain in Namecheap

Click on Manage next to your domain name. You’ll now see a page with the details of that domain name. Look for Nameservers under the main Domain tab.

Change Nameservers in Namecheap

Select Custom DNS in the dropdown, and fill spaces for Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2 with the two Name Servers you copied from your SiteGround account.

Make sure you click the tiny checkmark you see in the picture above to save the changes. The changes will usually take a few hours to reflect.

That’s it. You now have your domain pointed to your SiteGround servers. If you go to your web browser and type your domain name, your SiteGround nameservers are answering those calls.

Of course you don’t have a website yet, and so you’ll see nothing on your web browser. Let’s fix that in Step 4!

Step 4: Install Wordpress in Your Wordpress Hosting Account

This is technically the last step. Login into your SiteGround account and go to My Accounts and click on the Go to cPanel button.

Go to cPanel from My Accounts in SiteGround

Just select the two checkboxes in the window and proceed. You’ll now see your cPanel.

In the cPanel, click on Wordpress under the Autoinstallers section.

Softaculous Wordpress in SiteGround cPanel

In the next screen, you’ll see a screen where you’ll see an overview of Wordpress. Click on the Install tab for Wordpress.

Install Wordpress in Softaculous SiteGround

Now you’ll need to complete the form below really quick. Just choose a protocol (I recommend https), Choose domain (with what you just created in step 1).

You can give anything for Site name and Site description, as you can change them later.

Give a valid email for the Admin email, select a good Admin username and password that’s strong. Just make sure the username is not your name, or something people can easily guess.

Start to Install Wordpress in SiteGround

You can leave the rest of the options as default and click the Install button.

Click to Install Wordpress in SiteGround

That’s it! Wordpress will now be installed on your SiteGround account for your domain name.

You will get an email to the Admin email address you just filled in, with links to login as an administrator.

Congratulations! You just finished installing Wordpress in your Wordpress hosting account.

Step 5: Open Your New Website Created Using Wordpress!

You now have a website of yours live! Just type your domain name in a web browser and you’ll see your new website!

So what next? There are a few things I recommend you do to your new website inside your SiteGround hosting account.

The SuperGuides!

Download the DYT SuperGuides below, where I explain you everything you’ll need to do to get your website to load faster, stay secure and use less server resources.

Sup​​​​erGuides

DYT SuperGuides

SUPER-GUIDES


GUIDES, COURSES AND TEMPLATES YOU WILL LOVE

Get 4 Super Valuable resources to help you get started with hosting your website, creating the most profitable pages and growing your email list.

  • 1
    Segment Like A Pro PDF guide
  • 2
    Wordpress Plugins Express PDF guide where I help you cherrypick the handful you'll ever need.
  • 3
    SiteGround Like a Pro PDF guide to help you get started hosting your Wordpress sites on SiteGround.
  • 4
    Develop Your Personal Brand guide to design your online personal brand from scratch.
  • 5
    Get DYT Insider newsletters (the only place where I announce additions and updates to DYT SuperGuides!)

Step 6

Prepare Your Wordpress Website for Content

First off, a BIG congrats to you for getting this far!

You started by setting your website goals. You then worked on understanding the basics of a website, and you also downloaded my FREE branding guide (with DYT SuperGuides). You then went on to pick your domain name, a website host and finally created your Wordpress website.

But that’s just the beginning. Most often, people stop right here, download a nice template and think everything is ready. Actually, you are done. Aren’t you?

Just start to write blog posts, create some pages. You are done. Isn’t it cool?

how to make your website stand out

Well, creating your website is just the beginning of your journey building your online personal brand or business brand.

In the next 4 sections to follow (including this), I am going to help you take your website from one that looks like just another Wordpress website, to one that stands-out.

Your website is your brand’s online presence. For some, it’s the foundation of their online brand.

In this section, I’m going to help you fine-tune sections of your Wordpress website. Together, we’ll work on the following sections of your website:

  • 1
    Logo
  • 2
    Navigation Bar / Menus
  • 3
    Header
  • 4
    Footer

Let’s get started!

logo

A logo is one part of your larger online brand. Think of your logo as something that represents you or your business online. Someone you don’t know, first sees your logo before seeing you.

Here are some DOs and DON'Ts you should know before creating your logo.

  • 1
    Do start designing your logo with black and white; avoid colors.
  • 2
    Do keep colors simple.
  • 3
    Do choose a font that is legible and clear.
  • 4
    Do keep the shape of your logo simple and relevant.
  • 5
    Do get people to critique your logo drafts because you need to know how people perceive it to be, than what you meant it to be.
  • 6
    Do make sure your logo works on different mediums and both light and dark backgrounds.
  • 7
    Don’t use shadows.
  • 8
    Don’t mix your logo and your brand byline.
How to Create Your Logo?

You can create your logo yourself if you have a tool like Adobe Photoshop or Pixelmator.

But what if I’m not good at using a graphic tool?

In that case, you might be interested in this one. It’s a tool called Logojoy. I started using it in the recent times, and you should try it. It allows you to create your logo for FREE and pay only if you like the final version of the logo. Check out Logojoy.

What if I need even more professional help for creating my logo?

Well in that case, you have two options:

  • 1
    Fiverr is a great place, where you can hire any designer you like to create a logo for you for a price point that works for you.
  • 2
    99designs is another great place for your logo design. It’s a crowdsourced marketplace of designers where you give your requirements and over a dozen of the best designers around the world submit design drafts. You get to pick and pay for only that logo design that you finally end up choosing.

Navigation Bar / Menus

A good website is like a building with clear markings for entry, exit and other key areas. What does that have to do with a Navigation Bar?

Well, a Navigation Bar gives your visitors a clear indication of what they can find in your website.

There are a few things about the Navigation Bar or Menu. Keep the following in mind before you design your Navigation Bar or Menu.

Tips to Design Your Navigation Bar or Menu

  • 1
    Your website should have at least one Menu or the Primary Menu.
  • 2
    Your Primary Menu should be the first thing your visitor sees after they see your logo.
  • 3
    Avoid a second-level Menu Item, unless or until is super important.
  • 4
    Your Menu should clearly tell your visitor where they can contact you if they need to.
  • 5
    Make sure your Primary Menu tells your visitor where to get started.
  • 6
    Avoid linking your visitor to an outside page from your Primary Menu, unless it’s a place that actually brings you business (like an online shop).
  • 7
    Avoid using fancy fonts for your Menus.
  • 8
    Use a Secondary Menu in your website Footer, so people still get to discover parts of your website that was not obvious from the rest of the page.

Header

Your website header is a section that visitors see first. They scan the header from left to right. So it’s important that you use this space effectively.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to help you design a good header.

DOs and DON’Ts for Header Design

  • 1
    DO make sure your header is clutter-free.
  • 2
    DON’T insert advertisement banners into your header, even if your Wordpress theme has a provision for one.
  • 3
    DO use the header advertisement space to link to a key content in your website. Perhaps your latest blog post or video.
  • 4
    DON’T use random colors in your website header. It’s a key part of your website, and make sure you use your brand colors (use the brand guide from Step 2)
  • 5
    DO make sure your header contains your Primary Menu.

Footer

The Footer is the most ignored part of a website most often. Make sure you don’t ignore it.

Think of your footer this way. It’s the last chance you have to hook your audience back into your website, should they decide to leave.

Visitors to your website scan your website in a “Z” shape. They start from top-left and go to top-right (through the header), scan through your content from top right to bottom left, and finally scan the bottom most part from left to right (through the footer).

So what should your footer have? While I did mention a few in Step 2, let me stress on a few important things.

DOs and DON’Ts for Footer Design

  • 1
    DO make sure your website has all the legal pages - Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, Affiliate Disclaimer, Cookie Policy and others as relevant to your brand and business. These links should be made available in your website footer.
  • 2
    DO make sure you have only your key social media links in your website footer. Another way to think about these links is by asking yourself this questions “Will I respond if someone reaches me on this social media platform?”, “Will my visitors find something useful in this social media link of mine?”
  • 3
    DON’T remove any copyright message if your theme is a free one.
  • 4
    DO have a subscription link so people can subscribe and stay tuned to your updates or newsletters.
  • 5
    DON’T make your footer look serious or like a boring legal document. Add some fun and perhaps your personality.

Step 7

Create the Most Profitable Pages of Your Website

Congratulations! You deserve a pat on your back for having come this far! I appreciate your commitment to building a great website for your brand. Not many get this far and implement all of this.

You are in step #7 of the how to create a website guide.

In this section of this guide, I want to focus your attention on your content. After all your content is what visitors come for, when they get to your website. A great-looking website with bad content (or no content) is still a bad website.

What can you do to make your content great?

That’s a deeper topic and something for another day. But in this section, I’ll want to get you started by focusing on a few pages.

Like the Pareto Principle, I want you to focus on the 20% that will give you 80% results. But what’s that?

profitable pages of your website

In any website, there are a few pages that bring a bulk of the traffic. These pages could differ from one website to another, based on the industry, brand and so on that we saw in Step 1.

That said, there are a few pages that are common to most websites. Specifically, there are 3 of them.

  • 1
    The Homepage
  • 2
    The About Page
  • 3
    The Getting Started Page

Think about this for a moment. People get to your website because of a piece of content they found organically through Google Search, or perhaps someone gave them a link to your website, or perhaps they knew you and looked you up on Google to find your website.

No matter what, you need to take these visitors beyond that one page they landed on. How will you do that? These 3 pages will help you do that.

In this section, I’ll briefly show you how to construct these 3 pages for your website.

Homepage

The homepage is the most crucial part of your website. If it’s ugly or poorly designed, people are going to just close the browser window and move on.

Wait. Did I say design? I need to stress on the word design for a minute.

What does design really mean? More often than not, people refer to the visual elements when they use the word design. But I’m not.

In the case of the Homepage, design is not just the visual elements, but the overall performance of the Homepage to deliver results. If the Homepage is helping deliver results, it’s a good design.

So what’s about results? A Homepage is supposed to look good, stylish right? Am I missing something?

Well, you should definitely strive to have a good looking homepage, but also make sure that it helps your personal brand or business grow too.

Hmm. So what should a good Homepage look like? Or, what should a good Homepage do?

DOs and DON’Ts for creating your Homepage

  • 1
    DO make sure you have a Call To Action or CTA above the fold. (I’ll explain fold below)
  • 2
    DO have a face your audience can relate to, above the fold.
  • 3
    DO have social proofs (like testimonials or brand associations) just after the fold.
  • 4
    DO have an interesting and useful FREE offer that can turn your visitors into leads.
  • 5
    DO direct visitors to a Getting Started page to help them ease themselves into your content and style.
  • 6
    DON’T link visitors to an external site from your Homepage, unless it’s going to bring you your intended results.

Now that said, it could be pretty overwhelming a task to do this all by yourself. Plus, finding a good Wordpress Theme to help you do all of this can sometimes be a painful exercise.

Do jump over to the end of this section, where I help you create your homepage and the other profitable pages.

Now, let me quickly show you the About page.

About Page

What do you do when you find a good article you find on Google Search or when you visit someone’s website for the first time and it’s good?

You guessed right.

You get curious. You want to know more about the person who wrote the article or who’s website you are in.

What do you do when you want to know more about someone when you are inside their website?

You look for the About page!

Alright, you now understand why you need an About page. But do you know why it’s a very very important page on your website?

Well, if you’ve read my manifesto, you’ll probably know it.

People do business with someone they know, like and trust. And that’s in order.

When someone gets to your website’s About page, they get to know you. But that’s not the only job of your About page. It’s second job is to get your visitors to like you (or not like you) by the time they are done reading the About page.

But how do you do that in your About page? Well, that’s why I’m here. Here you go.

DOs and DON’Ts for creating your About Page

So let’s start with some DOs and DON’Ts.

  • 1
    DO use this page to share something about yourself that readers will not get anywhere else in the website. Make sure it’s relevant to the readers too.
  • 2
    DO mention something about what the website stands for. If your website is about Block Printed Designer Wear, make sure you talk about that. It’s genesis and why you are doing it.
  • 3
    DO help your readers relate to you, your brand and like you. Going overboard with anything can trigger exactly the opposite emotion in your readers - dislike you.
  • 4
    DON’T make this page all about your personal stories and share your family pictures.
  • 5
    DO direct visitors to a Getting Started page to help them ease themselves into your content and style.

The easiest way to go about creating an About page is by following the DOs and DON’Ts above. That said, I understand you still will need some help.

Do jump over to the end of this section, where I help you create your About page, and the other profitable pages on your website.

Getting Started Page

Now wait. The Homepage is supposed to get your visitor started right? Wait wait. What is getting started mean on the first place?

I’ll explain those questions and the DOs and DON’Ts in this section to make sure you have the best Getting Started page you can possibly have.

What does Getting Started mean?

I’ll explain this with two scenarios.

Imagine you go to a restaurant with your family and you sit in a table.

The waiter gives you a food and drinks menu and walks away. He comes back in 5 minutes but you are still not decided on what to order. He gives you more time only to realize you are still undecided after 15 minutes.

Now let’s imagine you are in the same restaurant. When the waiter hands you the food and drinks menu. Instead of asking for time, you ask the waiter “What would you recommend we order? We are vegetarians and love something non-spicy.”

Bam! The waiter shares his favorite dishes from the menu..

...and you order a couple of dishes quickly. While the waiter goes off to get your order served, you spend time looking at the rest of the menu to look for something interesting.

What you think just happened?

Well in simple terms, the waiter helped you get started. Of course you asked for it, but that’s what I mean by getting started.

A Getting Started page should help you visitors get going with engaging with the content on your website. Unless you tell them what your best pieces of content are, they wouldn’t know.

DOs and DON’Ts for creating your Getting Started Page

Let’s quickly see what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do with your Getting Started Page.

  • 1
    DO introduce yourself and your brand’s core topic.
  • 2
    DO highlight the best content in your website. At least 3 of them.
  • 3
    DO tell your readers what your website is not about.
  • 4
    DO mention a word about your top selling product or service.
  • 5
    DO make sure you ask them for their email address, or phone or whatever it is, to help you reach out to them.
  • 6
    DON’T spam the page with all your products.
  • 7
    DON’T use this page to show-off your work. You are not helping your readers by doing that.

Those are the things you want to have on your checklist. But I’m sure your hands are by now, itching to know how to create your Getting Started page, and the other two pages we just covered.

In the next part of this section below, I will help you create these pages.

​How to Create Your Home, About and Getting Started Pages?

I use Thrive Architect to create these pages on my website. Thrive Architect helps me create pages the way I want with zero dependency on the underlying Wordpress Theme.

Plus, Thrive Architect comes bundled with over 267 landing page templates that you can readily use, including homepages, about pages, and more. Find more about Thrive Architect here.

We Missed the Legal Pages!

No, don’t worry. The legal pages are definitely not the most profitable pages of your website. But that said, the legal pages can quickly take away your profits, if not done right.

What are the Legal Pages I Should Have?

I'm not a legal expert. But based on my experience, there are at least 3 legal pages you must consider having for your website. They are:

  • 1
    Privacy Policy
  • 2
    Terms of Use
  • 3
    Cookie Policy

But how do I create them? You can actually find a lot of templates in a single Google Search. But if you use Thrive Themes, like I do, you get them all out of the box.

Default Pages in Thrive Themes

With Thrive Themes, you can create these pages and many more, with just a single click. Thrive Themes will make sure these Legal Pages are customized per your business name and registered address.

Note: I use Thrive Membership subscription that gives me access to Thrive Architect, Thrive Themes and many other super valuable features for a monthly subscription $19. I highly recommend you try Thrive Membership as I use it every day and totally trust my brand with it.

You might be interested in a demo of Thrive Architect I did below.


Step 8

Create Content for Your Website

You are doing just great! You now have a website, and you just worked (or started to) on your website’s most profitable pages.

We are in step #8 of the how to create a website guide, and it’s now time to get to the meat of your website. Your content!

Content is King, and this King is cloaked in different outfits. Here are some different forms of content you might want to consider.

  • Written Content - This includes everything from blog posts, pages, conversational content over chat, and more.
  • Video Content - This form of content includes everything from vlog, demos, how-to content. YouTube is the biggest place for videos, but you also have platforms like Vimeo, Wistia, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, amongst many others.
  • Audio Content - Audio is a great alternative today, thanks to audio-based content platforms like Alexa and Google Voice. Biggest form of audio content is podcasting. But there are other platforms like SoundCloud and Anchor that have taken audio content newer levels.
  • check
    Pictures - Pictures include everything from photos, drawings, animated GIFs, Emojis and more.
create content that stands out

You can consider mixing up your content across different content forms.

In this section, I’ll specifically want to cover 3 questions. They are:

  • 1
    How to Write Good Headlines?
  • 2
    How to Create Good Content?
  • 3
    How to Search Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Website Content?

Let’s get started.

How to Write Good Headlines?

In a world that’s obsessed with clickbait headlines, it’s important for you to know what it takes to write good headlines. But what are click bait headlines?

Simply put, clickbait headlines are those that are headlines whose only sole purpose is to get a visitor to click on the headline. They most often misrepresent the content. Readers feel like they’ve been tricked, after clicking on a clickbait headline.

How to avoid writing a clickbait headline? Just make sure your headline indeed is fully related to the content you write.

I’d rather tell you how to write a good headline, than how not to write a clickbait headline. Makes sense? Here are the 3 characteristics of a good headline.

3 Characteristics of a Good Headline

  • 1
    Headlines should get the reader curious.
  • 2
    Headlines should make the reader think. Ask a question.
  • 3
    Headlines should help the reader related to the problem.

If you make sure you adhere to these 3 things, your headlines will be in great shape.

Now let’s see what it takes to create good content too.

How to Create Good Content?

Good content is perspective. In here, I’m going to share what I think is a good piece of content. I’ll let you pick what works for you, and leave the rest. Sounds good?

I look at good content as something that does one of the following 7 things:

7 Characteristics of Good Content

  • 1
    Evokes interest.
  • 2
    Connects with the readers’ emotions.
  • 3
    Useful and helpful.
  • 4
    Leads to a destination. Tells a story.
  • 5
    Creates an experience.
  • 6
    Simple to understand.
  • 7
    Is memorable. At least the key message is.

Simple isn’t it?

It is. Writing good content comes through practice. The more you write, the better you get at it. To begin with, make sure you have the above 7 points stuck on a wall in front of you, so you get conscious about these good habits.

How to Search Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Website Content?

Finally we are talking about the elephant in the room - SEO! But SEO and search is an elephant that cannot fit into a room.

So in this section, I’m going to help you understand how you can optimize your website pages’ On-Page SEO. What’s that?

SEO has several aspects to it - On-Page SEO, Keyword Research, Technical SEO, Backlinks and so on. But the On-Page SEO deals with how the content of your website’s pages can help search engines understand and crawl it better.

When using Wordpress, the Yoast plugin is a great On-Page SEO tool that’s FREE to use too. I highly recommend you download that plugin and use it effectively.

How to Do On-Page with Yoast SEO?

Once you install Yoast SEO, for every page or post you create in Wordpress, you’ll see a section for Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO Keywords

First, go to the Keyword tab and key-in a Focus Keyword that you want that page or post to be ranking for in Google search.

Yoast SEO Focus Keyword

Next, in the Snippet Preview, click on Edit Snippet button to open the Snippet Editor.

Yoast SEO Snippet Preview

In the Snippet Editor, write a Meta Description and change the SEO Title to include the Focus Keyword.

Yoast SEO Snippet Editor

Now look at the Analysis section to see what other changes Yoast recommends you make. Just make sure you follow the instructions and you’ll be good if your overall SEO and Readability is Good or better.

Yoast SEO On-Page SEO Analysis

That’s it about On-Page SEO!


Step 9

Grow Your Email List and Following

This is the last section of this how to create a website guide, and I’m glad to have you gotten till here!

You now have a Wordpress website and hopefully a few pieces of content too. This is a great start. But since you are out here to grow your online brand presence, there is one more thing you need to consider doing.

Grow your email list or your tribe. But why? Let me explain.

how to grow your email list

You now have a website and readers too. You have a great Homepage and About page to help visitors relate to you and like you. They’ve gone through your Getting Started page and have read / heard or experienced some of your best content.

They have started to slowly trust you.

This is all going good...only till the minute they’ve finished consuming your content and move on to the next website, or back to their Google Search results page.

Poof! You’ve lost a reader who just started to trust you.

They were perhaps ready for more, but unfortunately you did not have more content. What would you do?

But imagine this. What if you could send them your next content piece, whenever you have it ready?

Bang! You have suddenly turned a flighting visitor to a returning reader.

They see the content piece and come back to your website to see for more. Plus, they have a channel opened between them and you to have a conversation.

How to Start Growing Your Email List?

You can start growing your email list for free, using a tool like MailChimp. Just sign-up and get started. Mailchimp offers a no-nonsense, simple email tool to collect emails from your website visitors.

Put a lead generation form inside your website to collect those emails.

But if your email list is growing, and you are keen on engaging them effectively, MailChimp can have some restrictions (if you just got started, ignore this).

I use an email tool called ConvertKit (it’s renamed to Seva) that allows me to send emails to my readers based on what stage of engagement they are on my website and my content.

But no matter what tool you use, if you are a Thrive Membership subscriber like me, you can embed those lead-generation forms (which collects the visitors’ email and name) into your website, and do a lot of very cool things for your visitors.

How to Setup My Email List for My Website?

I’ll show you how to do the complete setup, and embed into your Wordpress website using the tools I have - ConvertKit and Thrive Membership tools, in 8 steps.

Step 1: Create a Form in ConvertKit Automations

ConvertKit (now renamed as Seva) is centered around its visual automations tool. Go to the Automations tool and create a new automation.

In the automation visual editor, start automation and click on Form as the trigger.

Create a Form in ConvertKit Automations
Step 2: Create an Email Sequence Action in ConvertKit Automations

Once you create a Form, click on the little “+” on the visual flow on the left, and select Action and click Email sequence below.

Create a new sequence when asked, and give it a name.

Create an Email Sequence Action in ConvertKit Automations
Step 3: Create Emails in Email Sequence and Publish

Create the emails in the Email sequence editor on the right. Once done, change the state of the emails to Published and click the Save All button.

Create Emails in Email Sequence and Publish
Step 4: Turn On the Automation in ConvertKit

Now click on the Automation from the list of Automations, and in the top right, change the toggle state from Paused to Live.

Paused Automation in ConvertKit
Turn On the Automation in ConvertKit
Step 5: Connect Your ConvertKit account to Your Website Thrive Membership

Now head over to your Wordpress website Admin panel, and go to Thrive Dashboard. In there, add ConvertKit as an API connection.

Connect Your ConvertKit account to Your Website Thrive Membership API Connections
Step 6: Create a Lead Group and Opt-in Form in Thrive Leads

Go to Thrive Leads (a plugin you have access to, with Thrive Membership subscription), in Thrive Dashboard. Under Lead Groups, click Add New and create a new Lead Group. Create an Opt-in Form inside that Lead Group.

Create a Lead Group and Opt-in Form in Thrive Leads
Step 7: Design Your Opt-in Form Using Pre-Built Templates

Now edit the Opt-in Form you just created. From the available Thrive Opt-in Form templates, pick one of your choice.

Pre-Built Opt-in Form Templates in Thrive Leads

Modify the Opt-in Form created from a template using all the elements from the Thrive Architect panel. Save the Opt-in Form.

Design Your Opt-in Form using Thrive Leads
Step 8: Embed Form Into Your Website Page or Post

Now head over to your Homepage or any other pages, to embed the Opt-In Form.

Embed Thrive Leads Opt-in Form Into Your Website Page or Post

That’s it! You have now created and embedded your Opt-in Form to start collecting emails from visitors that are interested in your content.

That brings us to the end of this on how to create a website from scratch. I hope you found this useful. Do download the DYT SuperGuides below. I keep adding more resources to the DYT Super Guides from time to time.

Also, please leave a comment below if you have any question. I'll do my best in answering them.


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