“How can I make a website?”
First of all, I need to ask you just one question.
Just one… honestly!
Do you want a free website or do you want to pay for it?
It’s not a trick question – but it is an important one.
There are lots of positives with each – but here are a couple of negatives to consider.
Free Website Disadvantages
- The website doesn’t belong to you
- Might be harder for people to find it on Google
Paid-For Website Disadvantages
- Ongoing costs
- A bit more complicated to set up
How to Make a Free Website
“Doh! No brainer! Let’s go for the freebie!”
OK. But do remember that the website won’t belong to you and the provider might decide to take it down for any reason. How would you feel about losing all those years of hard work?
OK. Let’s go…
The most popular free website is provided by WordPress.
So let’s click this link and head over to the WordPress.com website (it’s my affiliate link, by the way).
WordPress.com gets you the free version – rather than WordPress.org.
Then, to get started, click the… err… Get Started button.
Next, you’ll have to fill in some details about what your website’s going to be about.
But don’t worry. It’s pretty straightforward.
Let’s do step 1…
On step 2, you can create a website name.
Very imaginatively, I’ve chosen “TheDavidSocialMedia”.
If the name has already been taken, WordPress will make some alternative suggestions for you.
So now is the time to play around to get the best name.
But look! Only one domain name is free of charge…
So let’s go with that.
By the way…
Which particular domain names are available will depend on which boxes you tick in step 1.
So it’s worth playing around with those.
To get the .wordpress.com extension, I had to go back and tick the “Offer education, training or mentoring” box.
In step 3, we select the free option, of course.
Finish creating your account in step 4 by
- Adding your email address
- Choosing a username (might be better to have it slightly different from your website name so it’s difficult to guess)
- Choosing a password
WordPress will send you an email – just so that it can confirm your email address.
So whilst you’re waiting for that to arrive, it’s time to reward yourself with a brew.
Well, my email’s arrived.
Click to confirm, and they’ll send you…
“All the information you need to get started, including a simple 5-step process to get your site launched quickly, and a boatload of free marketing tips to help you drive traffic to your site.”
Their words, not mine!
Actually, their information is very useful, so keep hold of it. It’ll even tell you how to select a new theme later on (a theme is like a template) to give your website the just the sort of nice look that you’re after.
But for now…
What Happens Now on Your New WordPress Website?
As soon as you click the confirmation button in your email, you’ll be sent to screen which looks something like this.
If you don’t see that – just click the SETTINGS button on the left-hand side of your WordPress screen.
As you can now see, most of the steps take very little time.
So let’s do them.
Upload a Site Icon
If you want a nice site icon, I’d recommend you create one just over 512 x 512 px square, at Canva.
Canva is free and easy to use.
Here’s one I made on Canva in just 3 minutes.
If you can’t figure out Canva immediately, there are lots of guides and videos on the internet and YouTube.
Now be careful not to get bogged down with all this, so that you lose heart and don’t get to the important stuff of creating content.
Uploading that little icon gives your website that bit of your own personality right at the beginning. Have a look at the “site icon” image in the screenshot just above – don’t you agree?
Customise Your WordPress Website
I’d suggest you click CUSTOMISE on the left-hand side, and get used to what’s there.
Maybe add a bit of personalisation.
But don’t spend too long at this stage.
Instead, let’s create some content…
Create Some Pages
Now let’s add a page to your website.
Maybe something like an “About Me” page.
Again, go over to the left-hand side of your website.
And this time click “Add” on the Site Pages tab.
Follow the helpful directions that WordPress gives you, and write something on your page.
It’ll show you how to add pictures to your text, and so on.
When you’re happy with what you’ve written, hit “Publish”.
Now you’re probably wondering how people can find your new page.
So let’s create a menu so that they can find it.
Here’s how to do that…
Click CUSTOMISE, then MENUS.
Choose PRIMARY, then ADD ITEMS.
Look for your newly created page. Click it and hit publish.
Now, if you look at your website, you’ll be able to see your page in the menu.
But Where Is My Website?
If you made a note of the website name you chose earlier on, now’s the time to type it into the address bar right at the top of your screen.
Don’t type it into the search bar though… Google and the other Search Engines won’t know it exists yet so won’t be able to display it
If you forgot to make a note of it, don’t worry. You’ll find it in the first paragraph of that welcome email you received from WordPress.
You should now be able to see your brand new website.
Here’s mine at thedavidsocialmedia.wordpress.com
Your First Article
You’ve already written a page.
That one you added to the menu – remember?
If you look at the screenshot of “my brand new WordPress website”… that’s the image you can see just above… on the left-hand side, you can see the title of my page, How To Make Media Fun, in the menu.
But over to the right is some boring text that came with the WordPress package.
Now’s the time to replace that text with your own article – or Blog Post.
So let’s go back over to that page where we do all the work.
On the left-hand side, find Blog Posts and click Add.
Give your blog post a title, then start writing.
Finally, hit Publish in the top right-hand corner.
It’ll ask you to confirm once you’re happy with the settings, so just go ahead.
Let’s look at the real website page now.
If you press the F5 key on your keyboard, that’ll refresh the page and you should now be able to see your latest blog post.
Yup, your article… your work of art… is live and available for the world to read!
Add Some Pictures to Your Article
“But hang on a minute,” I hear you say.
“It’s a bit boring without some pictures”
So let’s add some.
Go back to your work in progress.
Click on Blog Posts on the left-hand side (but not the add button this time ‘cos we just want to edit an existing post).
Then click on the name of the blog post you’ve just written.
Don’t worry if you have no suitable images on your own computer. WordPress will let you use some of theirs.
From the drop-down menu, I picked Free Photo Library, then searched for pictures to do with Twitter.
Wherever your cursor is on the page, that’s where it’ll insert the pictures.
Take a look…
Much better, eh?
Now that your website is up and running, I’d suggest you play around with it.
Maybe add some new pages such as:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- How To Find Us
- Opening Hours
And then write more article (blog posts).
Here’s a little secret…
Google loves quality content. So if you write something that answers questions that real people are asking, Google is more likely to show your article on its first page.
And that’s the ultimate accolade!
Once you’ve got used to the free version, it’s likely you’ll want extra features…
And a domain name of your own.
Something like MyWebsite.com – instead of TheNearlyMyWebsite.WordPress.com.
Here are a couple of ways to upgrade…
1. WordPress Subscription
In the helpful emails you’ll be receiving from WordPress over the next few days, they’ll also be promoting their paid plans.
If you’re thinking about a paid plan, it might be worth considering doing that whilst they’re offering the incentives right at the beginning.
Also, by deciding early on, you won’t need to break the news to everyone that you’ve changed the address of your website after they’ve got used to it.
2. Self Hosting
Rather than use WordPress’s hosting service, you can use one of the many hosting companies around, such as GoDaddy, 1and1, and UKHost4U.
Some offer dedicated WordPress hosting…
But if you don’t mind learning how to install WordPress onto a basic hosting package and doing it yourself, you can get it cheaper…
I wouldn’t rely on the prices displayed on these ads too much. At the time of writing this, the dedicated WordPress and the standard hosting packages were £7.99 and £5 per month (plus VAT) respectively.
You can buy these, and any of the other good-looking Genesis themes here: StudioPress Themes.
Just Do It
Well, I hope you found all that useful.
I tried to lead you through it step by step, and be as thorough as possible, whilst keeping it simple.
But the key is to start.
As the famous phrase goes: “Just do it”.
Start free. And see how it works.
You can always upgrade later if you want to.
Make your website – and show it off to the world.
[Disclosure: Some links on this page are my affiliate links so I’d receive a small commission if you signed up to a paid subscription via the link]