How to create a web page for your business for FREE
This easy, step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know to quickly create a website for your business. No coding required.
Who am I and why did I create this DIY website Guide?
Hi, I'm David Bentley. I live in Asheville, NC. I have 4 wonderful kids and a beautiful entrepreneur wife.
In 2010 I started ZeroZen Design. Before then, I didn't know how to make a web page and surely didn't know how to make a business out of it.
I realized the slowest part of a building a website is coding. If I could figure out how to build a web page without knowing any code, I could make a living.
I was right!
I've spent the last 7 years working with hundreds of clients around the world. With every website I find new ways to build them faster and smarter.
This guide shows you the EXACT STEPS to build a web page on your own. As a matter of fact, they are the steps I follow still.
If you follow my instructions, most of you should be able to launch your website in just a few hours.
What can you expect?
I have used these exact steps to launch hundreds of websites without having to do any coding.
I tell all of my do-it-yourself clients to NOT overthink things. Just follow the instructions I'v laid out below. If you do, You'll create a web page for your business quickly. I've had clients launch their site in as little as 3 days.
I know you can do it.
I'VE SPLIT THIS TUTORIAL INTO 3 EASY PARTS:
LESSON 1 - FOUNDATION
Domain, Hosting & Site Setup
- Choosing a domain name
- Setting up the hosting & domain
- Quickly Install WordPress
- Upload my exclusive site starter
LESSON 2 - STRUCTURE
Settings, Page Creation & Menus
- Creating your own user login
- General site settings
- Create website pages
- Create your site navigation/menu
LESSON 3 - LAYOUT & DESIGN
Header, Content Area & Footer
- Setting up the site header
- Setting up the site footer
- Creating page layouts quickly
- Adjusting for mobile
LESSON 1 - FOUNDATION
Domain, Hosting & Site Setup
1.1 Choosing a domain name
There are two things required to launch a website online:
- A domain name
- A web hosting account
Before I talk about web hosting, I'll cover the domain.
What is a domain?
A domain is nothing more than an address for your website to sit at. The domain is the unique link you type or click to arrive at someones website. An example would be http://facebook.com.
How do I come up with a domain name?
The easiest way to come up with a domain name is to use the name of your business. This would look like http://mybusinessname.com.
If your business name is really long, I would use something shorter that is still recognizable and memorable.
For example: If my business name was Chuck Norris Used Car Super Center, I might choose - http://chucknorriscars.com.
Domain naming tools you'll love
I'll be honest, if your business name is already being used as a domain by someone else, coming up with an alternative name can be a challenge. Most people just settle for a .net or .biz if the yourbusinessname.com option is taken, but this isn't the right way to go about it.
Try these 2 domain naming tools instead. They will make finding a domain name quicker.
Bustaname - Come up with some ideas of words that relate to your business, products, services, location, etc. As you enter words into the list, Bustaname comes up with any available combination of words that can be used as a domain.
Impossibility - This easy domain naming tool can generate thousands of domains quickly. Enter a word and then decide whether you want nouns, adjectives, or verbs at the beginning or end of your word. Impossibility generates a list of available domains that fit that criteria.
Once you have decided on a domain name, remember it. You'll purchase the domain in the next section of this lesson.
1.2 Setting up web hosting & buying the domain
Update: As of 3/9/2017, domain names are no longer free with hosting plan purchase.
Now that you have decided on a domain name, let's talk about web hosting.
Web hosting is basically a piece of property connected to the internet where you can build your website. Creating a web page that works well all depends on the web host you choose. Since I've been building websites, I've had the luxury of being able to work with several web hosting companies and most of them are frustrating and disappointing.
I recommend SiteGround to anyone that wants great customer support, fast speeds, and fair prices.
This is the same hosting company I use and I've recommended them to hundreds of business owners to date.
As you will see in the video below, I recommend the Grow Big hosting plan because it includes several features that are very useful.
Server Caching - this basically takes a snapshot of your website pages and loads that to visitors first. The snapshot loads faster than trying to reload the page for each and every visitor.
Multiple websites - If you ever decide that you want to create another website, you can launch it on the same hosting plan and don't have to purchase another.
1.3 Installing the WordPress platform
There are many different platforms for creating a web page but there is only 1 that is going to give you flexibility, scalability, ease-of-use, and security all in one... for free! This is WordPress.
What is WordPress?
The simple WordPress story looks like this:
in 2003, 2 guys got together and wanted to create an easy way for people to blog about stuff.
Since then, it has grown to be the top website building platform used today.
As a matter of fact...
27% of websites online today
Every single day
50,000 new websites are created with WordPress
I have personally created over 800 websites using WordPress.
WordPress is offered in 2 versions:
WordPress.org - the open-source, free-to-use version that most people build sites with.
WordPress.com - the paid version that includes the hosting and is more limited.
Is WordPress right for me?
The short answer is "yes".
The long answer is:
There are many ways to build a web page. Builders like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Godaddy offer a rent-a-site model. You don't own the website.
Website platforms like Joomla and Drupal were build for nerds. Figuring out how to easily edit your website is a nightmare with these.
Creating a website with HTML is quick and easy, but you are on your own and won't be able to easily expand that website, make it mobile ready, or show up well in search rankings.
This puts us back at WordPress as the best website builder.
So go ahead and watch the video below. I'll show you how to install WordPress on your SiteGround hosting account.
1.4 Making your website secure with https for FREE
Late last year, Google told the public that they take site security into consideration for rankings. Luckily, SiteGround makes it incredibly easy to add an SSL certificate to the website. An SSL certificate is required for site encryption. This means the difference between a site with http:// and https:// (the s means secure)
To secure your website, it takes just a couple steps.
STEP 1: Click "My Account" on the SiteGround dashboard
STEP 2: Click the "CPanel" button
STEP 3: Scroll down to the "Security" section in the Cpanel and find "Let's Encrypt"
STEP 4: Make sure the information displayed is correct and press "Install"
After you click "Install", it should run its course and install the security certificate on the website. This normally takes just a couple minutes.
If you run into any issues along the way, get in touch with SiteGround support and they should be able to solve any problems.
1.5 Uploading my exclusive site starter to WordPress
Over the past 7 years, I've been learning how to create a web page better and faster. I've learned by making a lot of mistakes and figuring out how to do things smarter the next time.
Every plugin I use and functionality I recommended is included in my site starter and it is free.
Here's what's included:
- Beaver Builder front-end site builder and editor (a license will be required for future updates.)
- The Ultimate Beaver Add-on for Beaver Builder (a license will be required for future updates)
- The powerful yet light-weight Beaver Builder starter theme
- All the recommended plugins I use to improve site security, speed, and performance
- The top SEO plugin I use to rank for over 700 keywords on the 1st page of Google
- A powerful site visitor analytics plugin that gives you more data than Google.
This is the EXACT site starter I've used for hundreds of websites I've built.
Share this free guide on social media to get access to my site starter. I'd really appreciate it!
LESSON 2 - STRUCTURE
Settings, Page Creation & Menus
2.1 Creating your own User login
When you imported the site starter, it replaced the login details you used to install WordPress on your hosting account. Now let's create your permanent user login details.
Step 1: Refresh your browser to be redirected to the WordPress login screen
Step 2: Enter the temporary username and password located in the share locker above. You should have seen it when you downloaded the site starter file in the last step.
Step 3: Click the Users tab in the back-end of your website and enter the required details
When you are choosing your password, click the "show password" button to change the password to whatever you would like. REMEMBER to make your password difficult to avoid hacking and malware.
Change the role from "Subscriber" to "Administrator" to get full access to the site settings.
Step 4: Click the "Add New User" button at the bottom.
Step 5: Logout of the website by hovering over your profile name in the upper right of the screen and clicking "Logout".
Once you are successfully logged out, log back in using your newly created login details.
Important Final Step: Access the "Users" area again > Click the box to the left of the temporary username > Click the "Bulk Actions" dropdown at the top of the users list > Choose the "Delete" option and click apply. You may be asked what you want to do with existing content created by the user you are deleting. Choose the option to attribute it to an existing user account and select the user it should be assigned to.
2.2 General Site Settings
This is a section that would normally be left out of a web page tutorial. It just doesn't seem that important. I'll be the first to tell you that taking a little bit of time to adjust your website settings can save you a lot of headache down the road.
Go ahead and watch the video to make the necessary changes.
2.3 Creating pages in WordPress
With all the ground-work out of the way, it is time to start putting the site together.
We start by adding pages.
I've already created the "Home" page for you. The video will cover the steps needed to create any remaining pages on your website.
Note: For good Search Engine Optimization, you want to create a page for any product, service, offering, or subject that you would like to rank for on Google. (example: Instead of putting an entire list of all services on a "Services" page, I would ALSO create a page for each of my top 3 services).
2.4 Creating the site menu/navigation
The website navigation is one of the most important factors in creating a great visitor experience. Whether you call them tabs, links, or menu options, a simple and well thought-out menu will make it easier for visitors to move through your site.
What should be included in the main menu?
The purpose of the website navigation is to create quick access to the MOST IMPORTANT parts of your site. So how do you know what's important?
If it doesn't directly contribute to a sale or lead, it doesn't need to be in the main menu of your website. What I mean by this is:
Think about all the factors of your business a visitor will likely consider before working with you. Things like service offerings, prices, process - these are all important decision making factors.
It is important not to clutter the menu area with unnecessary options. Giving a visitor too many options will just make it harder for them to navigate your site.
LESSON 3 -LAYOUT & DESIGN
Header, Content Area & Footer
3.1 Editing the website header (area at the top of the site)
The website header is one of the most important parts of a website. It is usually found at the top of a website but in some cases are on the left side of the page.
In this website guide, I'm just going cover how to use the Beaver Builder header settings. Different header layouts work best for certain companies and/or site purpose, but I won't go into usage scenarios in this guide. The standard "top of page" header will work fine.
To design and edit your website header:
Step 1: Log into the website if you have not already done so.
Step 2: Click the small house icon in the top left to be taken to the "front-end" of the site.
Step 3: On the front-end, click the "customize" option in the upper left of the black admin bar at the top of the site (note: if you don't see it, refresh the browser page).
Step 4: Once the tab opens, located and click the "Header" option.
Top Bar Layout
Decide whether you want to add information above your main header. The top bar is a great place to add phone and other contact information.
Top Bar Style
Adjust background color and fonts used in the top bar.
Beaver Builder comes with several navigation/logo layouts to suite your design needs. I recommend taking a look at them all before making a decision.
You can also decide whether to have a fixed menu (stays when you scroll down).
Just like the top bar styling, it gives you the ability to adjust colors and fonts.
Upload an image logo or simply use text.
This gives you a simple navigation spacing option, the ability to add or turn off a site search feature and a mobile menu setting (I suggest sticking with the Menu button).
Adjust the menu navigation background color and font settings.
3.2 Editing the website footer (area at the bottom of the site)
Just like the header settings above, you will be accessing the footer settings through the "Customize" option at the upper left in the admin bar.
3.3 Creating page layouts quickly & easily
Let's face it - creating a website yourself can be a bit overwhelming. Even with all the tools out there that are suppose to make it easy... it's not.
Not until now!
Using Beaver Builder and Ultimate Beaver, you can create page layouts in 15 minutes or less. It is probably the easiest way to create a website. I'll also let you in a little secret - This is how I start all my websites too!
The process starts with selecting a template and then modifying that Ultimate Beaver template using the module settings. The final page will be a combinations of professional look and feel and branded to your company.
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