mary jane duford

How to start a website

Here are the basic steps to create a website:

1. Buy a domain name

The first step is to buy a domain name from a domain registrar. I use NameCheap to buy domains. Choose a unique and relevant domain name for your website. You can use ChatGPT to suggest potentially available domain names. You can think of the domain name like an “address plaque” for your website.

2. Buy a year of server hosting.

The next step is to choose a web hosting provider to store your website’s files on one of their servers. This will make your website accessible online. You can think of the server hosting as the “digital ground” on which your website will sit. Popular, dependable options I’ve tried include SiteGround, Bluehost, and WPX Hosting.

3. Choose a website builder

Now you need to choose a website building platform. The most popular and versatile website builder is WordPress.org. If you’re not picky about too many details, you can also choose an all-in-one website builder like Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, or WordPress.com. These usually also include server hosting, so you can skip the step above if you choose an all-in-one builder.

4. Brainstorm a website layout

Now its time to create a layout for your website. Start by writing a list of all the main pages you’ll need. At minimum, you should have these five core main pages:

  • Homepage
  • Blog
  • Contact
  • About
  • Privacy policy

You may also wish to write down specific topic categories for your website.

5. Implement the website layout

Use the website builder to create each of the main pages in your website layout.

6. Create main page content

Add words, text, and video to your homepage, about page, and any other important pages.

7. Add branding

Choose a few colors, fonts, and potentially a logo for your website. Add these to the homepage and other key places on your new website.

8. Add analytics

Add Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These are the industry standard analytics tools for websites. These tools will help tell you how many visitors are coming to your website and how they find it.

9. Create a topic coverage plan

Create a plan for the topics your website will cover.

10. Start creating content

Start posting blog posts based on the topic coverage plan. Keep a list of all the pages and articles on your website, preferably in a Google Sheet.