A website is a great way for any business to attract new customers, but it can be hard to know where to start. Thankfully, learning how to build a website in 2022 is much easier now than ever before, to the point where you don’t even need any technical coding knowledge to build one.
As long as you are adept at basic features, like drag-and-drop functionality, you can easily build a website and launch it within a few hours.
Whether you want to start a blog, an eCommerce store, a portfolio website, or any other type of site, it’s never been easier to do so. If you are interested in building a site, here’s a comprehensive guide that you can follow.
What’s Your Website About?
Before we get started with building the site, there are a few important things you need to focus on. First off, you need to decide what your website is about. This is going to affect the plugins you choose, the design of your website, and the overall structure.
For instance, if you are starting a portfolio website, you’ll want to choose a theme that lets you showcase your imagery or videography. On the other hand, blogging websites should choose a theme that has content features like excerpts, commenting, related blocks, and so on. It’s also important that you do a bit of research first. Check out the websites of competitors in your niche, as that’ll help lay the groundwork for some design inspiration.
Pick a Hosting Company
Another important step is to choose a reliable hosting company. Essentially, you will be leasing server space from a hosting company. All of your website’s files and folders are going to be stored on that server.
If you really want to get in at the cheapest end of the spectrum, start with shared hosting. The pricing is incredibly cheap, usually around $3-$4 per month. However, it can get slow after moderate traffic because server resources are generally shared with other websites.
If you are going to build a more resource-intensive site, then it might be a wise idea to go with dedicated or managed hosting like Servebolt. Alternatively, if you’re open to self-managing a server, you can choose to use cloud hosting provides like DigitalOcean, Linode or AWS paired with an easy-to-use platform like RunCloud.
- Dedicated or managed hosting – having a website host and manage the technicalities of your site for you but at a premium price
- Cloud hosting – paying for a cloud server where you can upload your website and manage it yourself
If you’re still uncertain and just want to give it a try with shared hosting, you might want to check out HostGator, Hostinger, NameCheap, or BlueHost.
Buy a Relevant Domain Name
Now that you know what your website is about, the next step is to purchase a relevant domain name (also known as the website’s URL address). Ideally, you’ll want the domain name to reflect the nature of the site.
However, for branding purposes, if you are starting a website for your brick-and-mortar store, try to get the same domain name as your business’ name. If not, look for a similar option, perhaps with a different TLD (.com or .net).
Keep in mind that certain domains might be more expensive. These are known as premium-level domains and are generally bought out by investors who intend to sell them at a profit.
You don’t have to be particular about buying a .com domain as that doesn’t have anything to do with how successful your website will be.
Find a relevant domain name that matches your niche, so you can eventually grow it. You can buy a domain name from any domain registrar. Common options include:
Choose Your CMS
Now that you have a domain name and hosting, the next step is to install a content management system or CMS. Content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are web applications that support the creation and modification of digital content. In simpler terms, they give website owners the ability to create websites without knowing HTML or other programming languages.
WordPress is an open-source CMS written in PHP which means it is free to use and modify. It is currently the most popular CMS with over 60% of the market share. Drupal is also open source and second in popularity with around 20% of the market share. Joomla is closed source but has a larger market share than Drupal with around 10% of the market.
If you don’t know much about content management systems and just need a simple option, go with WordPress.
It’s the most popular choice and it’s free. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on building a website using WordPress only.
Style Your Website
Figuring out the style of your website is essential for building your brand because your style is something that can be very recognizable.
This process can be super simple or super complicated and it solely depends on your resources, but also on your needs. Therefore here are 2 methods we’d recommend when it comes to styling your website.
Choose a Premium Theme & Style The Website Yourself
If you are using WordPress as your content management system, there’s a variety of different themes that you can choose from. Think of a theme as a group of files that will alter the appearance of your website.
Themes can be paid and free, but since you’re focusing on bringing value to your website and brand, we’d definitely recommend going with a premium (paid) theme. The reason for that is that premium themes give you a variety of features and dozens of ways to style your website according to your vision and needs.
You can see previews and choose a theme directly from your WordPress dashboard or, you can also find a theme from third-party marketplaces, such as the Envato Market, Theme Forest, Elegant Themes, etc.
Couple of themes we’d recommend:
- Generate Press — if you’re looking for speed
- Divi — if you’re looking for a beautiful design
- Ultra — if you’re looking for flexibility
Also, great design takes time and if you’re not that familiar with the entire process we advise moving on to the other option.
Hire a Profesional Design Agency
If your resources allow it, hiring a design agency is always a good idea.
Every design agency will go with you through figuring out what’s your brand about exactly, and what would be the best ways to present it.
After that, they are able to deliver multiple solutions, and for every customization you’d want, they will most certainly be able to honor it.
Even though this option is a bit pricier than doing things yourself, you can rest assured that you will end up having a professionally designed website that will tell a story about your brand and most certainly convert your visitors better.
If this step is something you intend to do, we’d highly recommend working this process through Atarim.
Atarim is the ultimate solution for communicating and organizing things for design agencies but also for website owners. With it, you will be able to show exactly what you want and create tasks for your design agency where you can provide more details and set deadlines.
Communication via Atarim is the most efficient way to get things done, and we’re 100% certain that your design agency will be able to deliver better and faster results.
Create Important Pages and Organize Them
The structure of your website should be as lean as it can because once you grow big, it’s very easy to lose yourself in the organization. Besides that, there are some very important pages you should have on your website so for the beginning here’s a short list of pages we’d advise you to start with.
About Us (Your Website/Company)
The best way to start building trustworthiness is to present your brand the best you can.
Keep things short and sweet, but at the same time make sure to present:
- How it all started
- Company/Website representatives or the team
- Vision of the company
- Company goals
- What difference is your business making in your industry
This page can be in your header or footer — location isn’t that relevant, but it’s very important that this page exists.
About Content Creators
Regardless of the nature of your website (blog for affiliate marketing or SaaS), your website should present the content creators or in case that’s just you, then dedicated About page for you.
If one of your growth strategies is optimizing your website for search engines such as Google, then this is mandatory as creating About pages of your content creators directly affects your EAT.
Naturally, this page should link to the About Us page and the other way around. Also, the signature or author box on the bottom of the blog post should also link to the About Content Creator page.
So for example — if your writer is John Doe then you will have a page called “About John Doe”.
When it comes to the content of this page, it’s pretty similar to the About Us page — do your best to provide concise and accurate information about the writer himself. Make sure to include things like:
- How long has the writer been in the industry
- How he started
- Why is the expert on the topic/What makes him the expert
- What is he passionate about
- Optional: his certificates, diplomas, etc.
And of course, make sure to include a portrait photo with a smile!
The blog page is where your content (as blog posts) will reside.
Create categories of your content and make sure to enable visitors to filter the blog posts per category.
The blog page should always be visible to the reader, so we’d recommend having it in the header of your website.
Legal pages are one of the most essential (if not the most essential) part of your website as they have a sole purpose to protect you legally.
Even though there are a lot of templates for any type of legal page, if you’re planning to grow big, it’s ultimately the best thing to consult the lawyer and have them custom make you legal pages for your business.
Every industry is different, and in every industry, you will find different things that you will have to include.
Essential legal pages to have:
- Terms & Conditions
- Refund policy (if you’re selling a digital product or SaaS)
- Cookies Policy
In case you miss to set up your legal pages properly, you’re risking getting sued, and potentially spending a lot more than legal pages cost.
Your visitors should be able to reach out to you whenever they want.
How will you handle the emails or calls is up to you, but the contact page (just as the action of replying to inquiries) builds trust between you and your visitor.
Create a contact page and place it in the footer — a simple contact form that requires Name, Email and the Message should be just enough.
However, if you’re running SaaS and have already planned a support department, then you should also include support’s phone number.
Product Landing Pages
Last but not least, landing pages for your products should be out of most importance as they will basically convert your visitors into buyers.
Designing landing pages but keeping conversion rate high is an art of itself, which is why we recommend reading our full guide on how to design effective landing pages.
After you’re all set up with all these mandatory pages, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Add Apps and Plugins
Once you have the CMS, mandatory pages, and the overall design of your page locked down, the next step is to add some apps and plugins in the background. These are essential for improving the overall functionality of your website, as well as its speeds.
Here are some essential plugins that you should include on your new site.
Rank Math SEO
Rank Math is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress websites. As the name suggests, the plugin is designed to improve the overall SEO of your website. It’s one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress, as it offers live suggestions for improving your content.
Rank Math SEO also offers smarter link suggestions, detailed information on different keywords, as well as intelligent recommendations about how to improve your website’s technical SEO. You can see how posts rank and what changes you can make to improve your website’s rankings.
Akismet is owned by the same company that owns WordPress, so that should tell you all you need to know about its importance. As the name suggests, Akismet helps filter spam from your site.
The service carefully checks all contact form submissions and comments on your website and carefully filters out spam. If you want to prevent your website from getting bogged down in spam, Akismet is a fantastic choice.
It’s incredibly lightweight as well, so your page loading speeds won’t be affected either. You can opt for either a free or paid option.
WordFence is an important plugin to add to your site as it addresses a critical issue with running a public online business: security. It serves as a firewall and offers a malware scanning tool to quickly identify and remove all malicious files from your website.
The program protects your site straight from the endpoint, offering considerably deeper integration than other options. Protecting your site from malicious software is important and Wordfence does an excellent job of doing that.
You also have the option of choosing Sucuri. Like Wordfence, Sucuri is a potent malware scanner and is offered free to all WordPress users.
Ideally, you can choose from either of these plugins. It’s very important to add a plugin that scans your server periodically for malware if you want to prevent costly backups or recovery!
Paid alternatives are available for business websites that want to prioritize security. However, if you’re a large-scale business already, then moving to a managed WordPress host would be a better investment. It costs a bit more than cloud or shared hosting but managed WordPress hosts offer daily backups and stricter policies on security.
Autoptimize is a fantastic plugin that makes it easy for website owners to quickly optimize their websites. It can easily minify and cache styles and scripts, as well as inject CSS in the page head by default.
How To Optimize For The Best Performance
There are a number of different steps that you can take to optimize your website for the best possible performance. Here are a few:
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
One of the best ways to improve your website’s loading times is to use a content delivery network, or a CDN as it’s commonly known. CDNs distribute your content across a vast network of servers.
Based on the end user’s location, the content is served up from the closest server location. Instead of servicing a user request from your original server, CDNs serve requests from closer locations. As a result, your website loads up quicker. If you choose a reputable hosting company, it’s probably because they already have a CDN. If not, you might want to choose an external option, such as the Cloudflare CDN.
Optimize Images on Your Site
You might be tempted to use the highest quality images on your site. However, higher quality comes at a price: a bigger file size. It’s obvious that you are going to be using a whole lot of images, graphics, and photos on your website, so you should take steps to optimize them.
Larger images take longer to load. That’s why you’ll want to use a plugin such as Smush to compress and optimize images. You can also optimize your images through a site like TinyPNG before uploading them.
Use Prefetching on Your Website
Prefetching simply means reading and executing instructions before a user even sends a request. If you are able to anticipate a user’s behavior on your site, you can use prefetching to significantly reduce load times. The most common prefetching techniques include:
Prerendering: This means rendering an entire page, or key elements on that page before a user navigates to it.
Link prefetching: If you have a strong hunch that a user will click on specific links on your site, you can “prefetch” links. This is ideal for optimizing shopping cart journeys on your site.
DNS prefetching: DNS prefetching simply means to resolve domains into IP addresses quickly. These might seem like subtle changes, but the aggregated impact is generally high.
Remove Nonessential Plugins
The more plugins you have on your site, the longer it’s going to load. That’s because your website will use more resources, and it could also lead to security issues. It’s important for you to periodically review all the plugins that you are using on your site and remove the unnecessary ones. You should notice a significant increase in website performance as a result.
Connect With Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two of the most potent tools that you can use to analyze the performance of your website and user behavior in general.
Data you will get from Google Analytics and Google Search Console will be essential for your website’s growth, and truth to be told, you can’t get such data from anywhere else.
Connecting your website to Google Analytics and Search Console is a somewhat simple process, but if you’re getting Rank Math on your website, then we suggest following their step-by-step guide as it’s ultimately the fastest and simplest way.
Now that you have created your website, added the essential plugins, optimized your site, and connected it to Google Analytics and the Search Console, it’s time to publish your site!
It might be a wise idea to create a staging site first to test out any new features.
Also, we’d highly recommend going through our detailed checklist for publishing the website, just to make sure you’re all covered!
That’s all! Your website is now live!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I build a website for free?
Yes, you can build a website without spending any money but as one of your businesses’ most important assets, we suggest setting yourself up for success by investing in your new website.
All free options have very strict limits when it comes to customization and you will never be able to build a website like you want it to look or to look as professional as it could on your own hosting.
Saying that we strongly suggest investing in website hosting and getting a premium theme or even hiring a professional to help you.
How can I earn money with my website?
If your website doesn’t already represent your service business, then you can earn money in various other ways some of them include (but are not limited to): selling digital products, running affiliate marketing, displaying ads, etc.
What types of websites are in demand?
This particularly depends on the niche you choose. There’s no way to “gauge” demand for websites, but if you had to choose, go with a review website or a blog that focuses on technology.
Do websites make money per click?
Only if the website is displaying ads. To make money with your website, visitors need to click on the ads. Clicks on your website don’t necessarily translate into earnings.
Do I need SSL and Domain Privacy?
You absolutely need an SSL certificate, as it ensures data is encrypted during transmission. Otherwise, a warning will be shown by your browser to visitors, and it also negatively impacts SEO. Domain Privacy is generally recommended to prevent scammers from knowing your personal information such as phone number, address, full name, etc.
Does my domain name have to be relevant to my website?
It doesn’t have to be, but it’s definitely recommended. A relevant domain name gives visitors a better idea of what your website is all about.
Should my website have a blog?
Yes, absolutely! Having a blog is a great opportunity for you to create content to attract your ideal customers, nurture them and help them make the most of your products & services throughout their entire customer experience.
Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, hopefully, you’ve already successfully built a website you can call your own.
Building a website is one thing; maintaining it is another. If you want to continue increasing the website’s ranking, it is important that you regularly post new content. Remain on top of technical SEO and conduct regular site audits to ensure everything is running smoothly! Once you have your website up and running, it’s important for you to start researching your competition and post quality content.