Even though it might not seem like so at first, knowing how to make a website from scratch is a must-have skill for today’s small business owners. Here’s why:
- You can save big by eliminating web developer and designer costs.
- Quickly adapt to market trends on your website without needing a programmer.
- Outrun competition by relying on your DIY skills, avoiding lengthy developer consultations.
Plus, our DIY approach (no coding needed) lets you set up a WordPress website for around ~$33 per year—a true budget saver!
The following guide takes you by the hand and shows you all the steps to getting the job done.
How to build a WordPress website step-by-step
How to make a WordPress website – bird’s eye view
The process as we’re presenting it here has only eight steps. This is all you need to end up with a professional-looking WordPress website at the end.
We’ll embark on this journey, starting with picking our platform, selecting the perfect domain name and choosing a reliable hosting service. Then, we’ll dive into setting up WordPress, customizing your site with themes and plugins. Finally, we’ll wrap up by talking about how to start adding engaging content. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to launch your very own site!
📚 Table of contents:
- Step 1: Why choose WordPress as your website platform
- Step 2: How to pick a name for your website, buy a domain & hosting
- Step 3: Install WordPress and get familiar with the interface
- Step 4: Pick a theme / design for your website
- Step 5: Get plugins to extend your website’s abilities
- Step 6: Create basic pages
- Step 7: Consider starting a blog
- Step 8: Adjust your site navigation
- Bonus: FAQs about building a WordPress website
Step 1: Choose WordPress as your website platform
Truth be told, there are many website platforms that you can use when building a new site – Content Management Systems (CMS) are what they’re usually called.
The idea of a CMS is to give you some easy-to-use tools so that you’re able to edit your site’s content without any knowledge of coding. For the most part – from the user’s point of view – those CMS look much like the familiar interfaces at Facebook or Google Docs. You basically create new pages or documents, and then have them published on the web.
But enough with the technicalities! As I said, there are many CMS out there – more than 100, in fact, as listed by Wikipedia. Luckily, though, picking the best one is simple. There’s only one king on top of the mountain – and it’s WordPress.
WordPress is used on more than 43.1% of all websites (data says). Again, that’s all websites! Or, to say it differently, roughly every third website that you visit is built on WordPress.
Here’s why building a website using WordPress is the right move
- it’s open source
- it’s free
- it’s the ultimate DIY solution for website building and online stores
- it’s extra versatile – can run any type of website
- it’s fast, optimized, and secure
- it’s SEO-ready
- it makes promotion on social media easier
Now, one important distinction: the “WordPress” that we’re talking about here is “WordPress, the software.” You can find it if you go to WordPress.org.
There’s also the other flavor of WordPress – “WordPress, the commercial service,” which you can find if you go to WordPress.com. We describe the differences between the two here. For now, though, let’s just remember that what we want is at WordPress.org, since it’s a more versatile and cheaper-to-use version of the platform. This will all become clear in the next steps.
🎯 Action note. At this point, there’s no actionable task that you need to do. Step 1 is just about getting yourself familiar with the tool that you’re going to use to create your WordPress site in the next steps.
Step 2: Pick a name for your website, buy a domain & hosting
When learning how to make a website, picking a name is probably the most fun aspect of the whole process.
After all, you have complete freedom here. You can pick literally any name you wish for your website.
However! There are still some things you need to understand to set yourself up for success later down the road.
First off, there are nearly 2 billion (!) websites online on the web (at the time of writing) . Meaning, staying original can be quite challenging.
It’s a really good idea to construct your website’s name (and thus your domain name) around either the name of your organization (the most obvious approach) or a phrase that’s associated with the niche you’re in, but with some added words for better brandability.
In short, a good domain name should be:
- brandable – unique sounding, like nothing else that’s out there in the market
- easy to memorize
- short – those are also easier to memorize
- easy to type and hard to mix up – you don’t want people to be wondering how to spell your site’s name
- including niche-related keywords – for instance, if you do anything with pizza, it would be cool to have “pizza” somewhere in the name of the site; it works the same in non-pizza industries as well. 🍕
Here’s a quick tool you can use to find out if the domain name you’re interested in is available:
If you have no idea which domain you want to get, then go straight to our no. 1 generator – DomainWheel and see how it can help you.
Start by inputting a seed keyword that defines your website well.
DomainWheel will come back with some suggestions. You can narrow it down from there to find your perfect domain name.
The next step, once you know which domain name you want, is to register it and also buy a hosting package in one go. Let’s take care of that next:
a) Buying your domain name and hosting
💡 Note. While things like buying a hosting package might sound intimidating at first, there’s really nothing to worry about. The process we’re presenting here is simplified and doesn’t require you to do any technical heavy-lifting.
There are tens if not hundreds of different companies that can register a new domain name for you. Then, there are also tons of companies that can sell you a hosting package…
But let’s not complicate things for ourselves and instead get everything from a single company – and in one go.
We’re going to use Bluehost. Here’s why:
- Bluehost is a reputable web host that’s optimized for WordPress and will make sure that your website operates with no hiccups
- it’s one of the few companies recommended on the official WordPress.org website
- it’s cheap (from $2.75/month)
- it’s easy to use and beginner-friendly
- you get a domain name for free
Here’s what’s going to happen now:
- We’re going to go to Bluehost and pick a hosting plan for our website.
- We’re going to register a custom domain name with Bluehost as well (that is a free domain name).
- We’re going to tell Bluehost to install and configure a clean version of WordPress on our new hosting setup.
- We’ll walk out with a 100% operational WordPress website!
Let’s get started – this is how to make a website:
First, click here to go to Bluehost. Once on the page, click on the “Choose Plan” button.
In most cases if you’re launching a new site, the cheapest plan – called Basic – is going to be enough. It’s only $2.75/month:
In the next step, enter the domain name that you’ve decided to get for your site:
Next, provide your personal data:
Before continuing, it’s good to check and confirm the parameters of the hosting setup that you’ve chosen. This can be found in the section labeled package information:
Note; you’ll get the lowest price if you purchase your hosting package for at least 12 months.
At this stage, you can click on “SUBMIT” and finalize your purchase.
Step 3: Install WordPress and get familiar with the interface
Installing WordPress is one of the easiest things to do – provided that you’ve signed up with the right web host! The top hosting companies, will actually handle the installation process for you, or will give you a handy one-click-install option, which takes literally a minute to go through.
The process we’re going to show you below is based on Bluehost’s interface. It’s our top recommended host for WordPress, and also one that makes installing WordPress super-simple. If you, however, choose to go with another host, please refer to this other guide of ours that goes through all the possible scenarios on how to install WordPress on other platforms.
Now, onto the interesting stuff. So the best part about installing WordPress is that you don’t really have to do it yourself. I mean, why would you, when you can get other people to do it for you, and for free! Here’s how:
As soon as you complete the sign-up process with Bluehost, you should have received an email from the Bluehost crew with some details on how to log into your customer profile and begin working on your site.
Once you’re logged in, Bluehost will show you an easy-to-use wizard that takes you through the process of installing WordPress on your hosting setup.
To get started, go into My Sites:
From there, simply click on Add site and then on Create new site:
All that Bluehost needs in order to install WordPress for you is the name of your new site and the username/password that you want to use when managing WordPress. Once you’ve completed the wizard, your site is installed and ready to go!
Log in to the main dashboard
You can now log in to your WordPress user panel if you go to
This is what you’ll see:
Use the access credentials that you’ve set up on Bluehost in the previous step (the “WordPress install screenshot” above).
After logging in successfully, you’ll see the main WordPress interface in all its glory:
- (1) Welcome message – Some of the most important areas of the admin panel listed as quick shortcuts links – these are usually your shortcuts to how to make a website.
- (2) The current status of your site and what’s going on with it.
- (3) Posts – go here to create blog posts.
- (4) Media – upload/manage images and other media files here.
- (5) Pages – go here to create sub-pages.
- (6) Comments – this is where you can moderate comments.
- (7) Appearance – change your site’s design here and/or customize how certain things are displayed on the current design.
- (8) Plugins – install new plugins here.
- (9) Users – manage user accounts that can access the admin panel of the website.
- (10) Settings – the main settings.
At this stage, it’s good to take care of some basic getting-started WordPress settings that will improve your experience further down the road. Here they are:
a) Set your website title and tagline
Go to Settings → General and set the Site Title and Tagline fields to what you want.
Your site title and tagline might appear in various places throughout the site. Some WordPress themes display those on the homepage and in the SEO description – which Google uses when listing your website on the results pages.
The tagline is optional – you can leave it blank if you don’t have one for the site. However, it’s always part of the web design process, so it’s nice to come with u suitable one.
b) Make your site public
I guess you want Google to be able to find and index your website. To make sure that’s the case, go to Settings → Reading, and make sure that the box labeled “Discourage search engines …” is unchecked.
c) Set your time zone
Setting your time zone correctly will make publishing new pages and posts more predictable.
Generally, you want to set the time zone to either where you’re at or where your target audience is at. Whichever makes more sense.
You can set the time zone in Settings → General.
☝️☝️☝️ Those were your ABCs – the must-do in order to set up your site correctly from a visibility perspective on the web.
👇👇👇 The the additional DEFs below are more optional , but it’s still a great idea to take care of them as well:
With the basic settings out of the way, we can get to the fun stuff:
Step 4: Pick a theme / design for your website
The great thing about WordPress is that it works with interchangeable designs – called themes.
Meaning, you can change the way your WordPress website looks with just one click.
For example, this is what a WordPress website looks by default, right after the installation:
With just a couple of clicks, and with a popular free theme called Hestia, for example, we can get it to look like this:
a) Pick a theme that you like
As I mentioned, WordPress themes are out-of-the-box design packages that define the way your website looks. You can install them quickly and then change them in the future if need be.
Your website design should be selected based on the purpose of your site – selling high-quality products, marking your online presence as a blogger, transitioning your business online, setting up a simple website, an ecommerce store or ecommerce website, or for email marketing.
The critical detail here is that themes don’t change the contents of your site but only alter the presentation.
There’s a huge abundance of WordPress themes out there. Just looking into the official directory at WordPress.org, there are hundreds of themes there.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot more free themes on the web on third-party sites, and there’s also a whole other world of paid themes that are distributed by independent theme stores (like ThemeIsle or aThemes) and even theme marketplaces (like ThemeForest).
Even though there are myriads of paid themes out there, for most users, free themes are a great option to start with. The surprising thing about some of the best free themes is how many impressive features they bring to the table without asking for anything in return.
So, how to pick a theme that’s right for you? Here are some tips if you want to give this a more in-depth look. Generally, though, you don’t need to spend too much time on this and go a simple route instead.
We can do that because the theme you choose today doesn’t have to be your final decision. You can always come back to it later on and change it in a matter of minutes.
Therefore, we’re going to go for a safe bet and use one of the most popular free themes in the market today to demonstrate how WordPress themes work. That theme is the aforementioned Hestia.
🎨 Note. While we will use Hestia as the example in the following section, it’s not the only free theme that you can use. Here’s a collection of theme roundups for multiple purposes, starting from business websites to blogs, travel, food, personal sites, and more. You can use any one of those themes. The procedure is the same.
b) Install your theme
If the theme you’ve chosen is available in the official directory at WordPress.org then the only thing you need in order to install it is the theme’s name. Yep. That’s it.
Here’s how theme installation is done:
Go to Appearance → Themes from your WordPress dashboard and then click on “Add New.”
From there, input the name of the theme that you want to install, like so:
You’ll see it displayed on the list below the search field. Just click on the Install button under your desired theme:
After a second, the theme will be installed. To fully enable it on your site, click on the “Activate” button that will appear in place of the “Install” button.
Hestia is one of those themes that offers some excellent onboarding for new users. To see what the theme has in store for you, click on the button from the welcome prompt.
You’ll see your main Hestia panel, from which you can learn about the theme and extend its out-of-the-box features with some extras and integrations. Let’s do that now.
First, click on the “Recommended Actions” link to see what’s available.
Out of the options proposed there, let’s go with only “Orbit Fox Companion” for now. Just click the “Install and activate” button.
💡 Note. Orbit Fox Companion is a plugin. We’ll talk about WordPress plugins more in depth later in this guide on how to make a website.
Orbit Fox is a nice addition to Hestia as it delivers some cool features to upgrade your site’s looks. For instance, you get some useful new modules for the homepage, a template directory that will be helpful when building your sub-pages (such as “about” or “contact”), and custom menu icons.
At this stage, your new theme is active on your site. You can see it in action simply by going to
Though, what you’re seeing there is far from the theme’s potential. Right now, we’ll take care of adapting the design, menus, and other elements to make the site look exactly like you want it. Here’s how:
c) Customize the theme
While the out-of-the-box look of your theme might be already quite nice, you should still do some basic customizations to make it fit your needs hand-in-glove. In the beginning it seems to involve a learning curve, but it’s really intuitive, especially over time.
To begin, go to Appearance → Customize. You’ll see the main WordPress Customizer interface.
From there, you can fine-tune a load of things. We’ll start with the homepage, since it’s the most representative.
Setting up your homepage.
Do the following:
- In the sidebar, go to “Homepage Settings“.
- Select the option, “A static page” under your homepage display setting.
- Click on “Add New“, to create a new page to act as your homepage.
- Input the name for the page – “HOME” seems like a good idea – and click on “Add“.
This will replace the default listing of your site’s most recent articles with a completely custom homepage. By default, you’ll see some cool elements on your new user-friendly homepage. These look nice both on laptops, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
For starters, let’s change the main headline on the page. It’s a good idea to put either the name of your business there or anything else that serves as the title for the entire site.
To make the changes, click on the pencil icon that’s next to the headline.
When you do so, a customization panel will appear on the left.
Through it, you can:
- change the background image – make it something related to your business
- change the title
- change the text under the title – you can remove this completely if you want to
- change the button text – usually leading to your products or most crucial pages (more on that in a minute)
Underneath that, you get to adjust any of the other available homepage blocks. It works similarly to the mechanisms offered by the popular website builders (like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly). By default, you get all of these (see this list by going to “Frontpage Sections” from the Customizer sidebar):
- The Features section is a great place to explain what your company has to offer or what the purpose of the website is – that “purpose” is probably the no. 1 thing to keep in mind as you learn how to make a website.
- The About section is a great place to talk about your story.
- The Team section you can use if more people work in your business and you’d like to highlight them.
- The Ribbon is another place where you can mention your primary call to action.
- The Testimonials section is awesome when you want to showcase what your previous customers had to say about your business.
- The Contact section is where you can display your contact information and let people know how to best reach you.
There are also a handful of more sections available. It’s best to browse through those and pick the ones that make sense to use for your business and in your specific situation.
When you’re done adjusting the homepage, don’t forget to click on the main “Publish” button that’s at the top.
Adjusting the typography.
The next thing to do would be to take care of your site’s typography – the fonts used throughout the site.
You can do that by going to Appearance Settings → Typography from the WordPress Customizer sidebar. In there, you will be able to pick a font and see it on your site immediately.
Out the box, your new theme is going to use a couple of primary colors that define its default color scheme. You can change that setting in the WordPress Customizer. Just click on Colors in the main sidebar.
The Accent Color is usually the color used for buttons, links, and everything else that’s meant to stand out from the rest of the site’s design.
After doing the above, your website will start feeling like it’s truly yours. You will have made all the necessary tune-ups and customizations to make it fit with your brand.
💡 Note. There are many more settings in the WordPress Customizer to experiment with. Most of them are designed to increase the user experience of your site. For instance, you can:
- pick the default layout according to your website needs – whether you want the sidebar to be on the left, right, or nowhere,
- how you want the blog listing to be displayed,
- whether you want a main background image for the entire site,
- the shape of the buttons, and much more.
Step 5: Get plugins to extend your website’s abilities
Plugins are to your WordPress site what apps are to your iPhone. 📱
In other words, they extend the standard functionality of your site by adding some much-needed features. Essentially, as you’re figuring out how to make a website on your own, plugins are how you can get some great features without knowing any coding.
Here are the plugins you should consider getting – best of all, they are all free:
- Yoast SEO – helps you make search engine optimization tweaks and make your site more accessible to the search engines in general.
- Google Analytics for WordPress – this one integrates your website with the most popular traffic analysis solution on the web.
- Wordfence Security – improves the security of your WordPress site.
- UpdraftPlus – does automatic backups of your website.
- Optimole – optimizes your images.
- WPForms – lets you add interactive contact forms to your website, which your visitors can use to reach you directly – much better than displaying your email in plain text on your site.
- Also look through this list of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time. You might find something interesting there as well.
Installing plugins is simple. If it’s a free plugin that we’re dealing with, then all you need is the plugin’s name.
Go to your WordPress dashboard and then to Plugins → Add New. From there, input the name of the plugin that you want into the search field, and then click on “Install” and “Activate.”
Step 6: Create basic pages
There are some pages that all websites should have, regardless of their purpose or goal.
But first, how to even create a page in the first place:
To do that, simply go to your WordPress dashboard, and then Pages → Add New. You’ll see this screen:
- (1) A place for the headline of the page.
- (2) The body section – the main content of the page. The interface is very similar to MS Word. You get all the basic text formatting features (like bold, italics, aligning text to left/right/center, creating lists, etc.).
- (3) You can add images by clicking this button.
- (4) Switch between the Text and Visual editors. Use the former only if you’re at least vaguely familiar with HTML code.
- (5) The Publish section. This is where the main Publish button is.
- (6) Discussion. Decide whether or not you want to allow comments. The “trackbacks and pingbacks” setting you can leave unchecked.
- (7) Featured image. Most WordPress themes take that featured image and display it somewhere in a prominent spot alongside your page.
When you’re done editing the page’s content, click on “Publish“.
Now, with the how-to out of the way, here are the pages you should consider creating:
- About – I’ve mentioned this a couple of times now since it’s really an important one. Your About page is where you get to tell the story of what your website is and why people should pay attention. This one page is basically a must-have for everyone who wants to learn how to make a website.
- Contact – this is where you can display some contact info along with a nice contact form, through which people can reach you directly (you can get such a form via the aforementioned WPForms plugin).
- Portfolio – a place for you to showcase your past work.
- Store – a crucial thing if you want to sell anything from your ecommerce site. To make this work, you also need a popular WooCommerce plugin – the best e-commerce solution for WordPress.
- FAQs – if the scope of your new website requires some extra information for potential users.
Once you’re done with those, you can also check out this list of some valuable pages worth having on your site. You can treat it as a beginner’s guide to the must-have website elements.
Step 7: Consider starting a blog
A blog (as well as marketing through content – aka “content marketing” in general) is among the most effective ways to promote not only your website but also any products that you might want to sell through that website.
And it’s not just me saying this; there’s raw data proving that blogs are a superior tool for marketing online, with 55% of marketers saying that blogging is their top inbound marketing priority .
Running a blog is a straightforward concept. What you do is publish articles related to the topic of your website and do it regularly.
From a technical point of view, WordPress has blogging tools built right into it from the get-go. In fact, WordPress started as a blogging platform.
To create a new blog post, all you need to do is go to Posts → Add New (from your WordPress dashboard).
The process itself of creating a blog post works nearly the same as creating a new page. The editing panel looks nearly the same (the screenshot below), and the options are mostly the same as well.
One of the few differences is that you can also assign your posts to categories and tags.
Once you’re done working on a blog post, click on “Publish.”
To make your posts easily accessible, you should designate one of your pages to serve as the main blog listing for the posts.
- To do it, first, go to Pages → Add New and create a blank page. Call it “BLOG” – just to make things clear.
- Next, go to Settings → Reading, and select your newly created Blog page as the “Posts page” like so:
At this stage, you can navigate to that new page and see all your recent blog posts there. If you’re going to create a lot of content for your blog, consider an SSL certificate, so that your readers feel safe while browsing through it.
Step 8: Adjust your site navigation
With all your key pages online (and perhaps your blog started as well), it’s now a good moment to adjust your site’s navigation and make it overall easier to consume for the visitors.
We’ll focus on two elements here:
Menus are the primary vehicle through which visitors navigate your site, thus they’re crucial when figuring out how to make a website.
Depending on your theme, you will have a couple of options to choose from regarding menu settings. Here’s what you can usually do (on Hestia’s example):
First, go to Appearance → Menus in your WordPress dashboard.
You’ll see this default panel:
To the left, there are all the pages you can choose to add to a menu. To the right, you can see the menu structure itself and all its settings.
Let’s start by selecting a couple of key pages and adding them to the menu. A good idea is to pick About, Contact, plus whatever other one or two pages you consider to be important, and add them to the menu.
The great thing about this whole panel is that you can drag and drop the menu items to reorder them.
When you’re done, select the menu location at the bottom. Usually, selecting the location labeled “Primary Menu” will result in showing the menu in the top section of the website. This is probably what you want for your main menu. Click on “Save Menu” to save the settings.
💡 Note. You can create additional menus as well. Just click on the “create a new menu” link that’s visible in the screenshot above. This will show you the same menu creation panel. Each menu needs to be displayed in a different location. So, for this new one, you can assign it as the “Footer Menu.”
When you go to your site now, you’ll see the menu in place.
Widgets are an old-school feature in WordPress. In simple terms, a widget is a small block of content that can be displayed in various places around the website.
The usual placement of those blocks is in the sidebar or the footer of the site.
To see what this might look like and to set your widgets, go to Appearance → Widgets in your WordPress dashboard. You’ll get this screen:
The Hestia theme offers a number of widget areas apart from the sidebar or the footer, but let’s not focus on those additional placements for now.
To add any widget to a widget area, just grab it from the left-hand side and drag-and-drop it onto your chosen widget area on the right.
For instance, as you can see, on my site, I have Search, Recent Posts, Archives, and Categories in my sidebar (screenshot above). Here’s what those widgets look like when I go to my About page, for example:
After you’re done with your widgets and navigation, your site is basically ready for the world to see!
FAQs about how to make a WordPress website
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) that allows you to create and manage websites easily. It’s one of the most popular platforms for website creation, supporting everything from personal blogs to full-fledged business sites.
How much does it cost to build a website on WordPress?
The cost of building a WordPress website can vary, depending on your needs. The WordPress software itself is free, but you’ll need to pay for web hosting, which typically starts at around $3 per month. You may also choose to purchase a premium theme or plugins, which can add to the cost.
Do I need to know how to code to use WordPress?
No, you don’t need to know how to code to use WordPress. While knowledge of coding can be useful for customizing your site and fixing problems, it’s not necessary for building a basic website or blog.
How can I install WordPress?
Most web hosting providers offer a one-click WordPress installation on their dashboard. Bluehost is one of such companies. They are known for providing you with everything you need to get started working on your site. After purchasing a hosting plan, look for the WordPress icon in your hosting control panel.
What is a WordPress theme and where can I find one?
What are WordPress plugins and where can I find them?
Plugins are software add-ons that extend the functionality of your WordPress website. They can add new features and capabilities to your site. You can find free and premium plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, or on third-party websites, like ours. Check out our plugin offerings for some really useful ways to enhance your WordPress site.
How do I make my WordPress website SEO-friendly?
WordPress is already quite SEO-friendly out of the box. However, you can enhance its SEO capabilities by using an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or Rank Math. These plugins guide you in optimizing your content for search engines.
Can I make an ecommerce website using WordPress?
Yes, you can create an ecommerce website using WordPress. WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin that adds all the essential features you need to set up an online store.
That’s it! You’ve just learned how to start a website! 🍾🎊
The cool thing about the process presented here is that you can do it all by yourself and don’t have to hire anyone.
Creating a website with WordPress as your platform is the most budget-friendly solution available.
If you want to learn more about what to do with your website once it’s launched – e.g., how to promote your website, how to monetize your website, or how to increase website traffic – read any of our other guides on the blog.
If you have any questions about how to build a website from scratch, ask away in the comments below!
“How to Create a Website With WordPress” PDF
We took our learnings and condensed them into a 40-page ebook on how to create a website with WordPress (PDF) from start to finish. You can digest the whole thing in an afternoon. 🍛
How to create a website with WordPress (PDF)
4 Essential Steps to Speed Up
Your WordPress Website
Follow the simple steps in our 4-part mini series
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* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and then purchase the product, we’ll receive a small commission. No worries though, you’ll still pay the standard amount so there’s no additional cost on your part.