How to Make a Website in 2021 (Step by Step Guide)

Making your own website might sound complicated, after all, you’re going to hear the terms nameservers, DNS, domain registration, web hosting, website platform and more but don’t let that stop you. It might sound tempting to use a FaceBook page but in reality, making a website is much easier than you think.

In this article, we are going to guide you through every step of the process from choosing a domain name to choosing a web host as well as cover how to actually build your website.

Throughout this article you will have a fully functioning website using the tools below:

  • GreenGeeks – Web Hosting Provider & Domain Registrar.
    GreenGeeks will act as our web hosting provider and as they offer free domain registrations as part of the hosting package, we will be using them for domain registrations as well.

    While they are what we’ll be using for this article, you can use any Shared Hosting provider of your choice as well as Domain Registrar. For the sake of this guide, we recommend GreenGeeks as they have built custom tools which we will be using in this article — primarily their Quick Launch assist tool.
  • WordPress – Website Platform
    WordPress will be the software platform which actually powers the website. WordPress currently powers the majority of websites online today and through the use of themes and plugins can be used to create just about any website from blogs, eCommerce stores, portfolios, small business websites and more.
  • Kadence – Website Theme
    To build the website we will be using the Kadence theme. Kadence currently powers over 50,000 WordPress websites and through GreenGeeks can be installed with a single click.

Before we embark on the challenge, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we have received from our audience:

GreenGeeks has been around since 2008 and since their inception they have grown to host over 600,000 websites in 3 locations (United States, Canada and Europe). GreenGeeks takes their green efforts seriously with a commitment to offset 300% of their usage through green datacenter partners and carbon offset purchases.

We chose to feature GreenGeeks in this guide because of their focus on simplicity. With just a few clicks you can have a domain registered, hosting account created, WordPress installed, a performance plugin installed as well as our recommended theme (Kadence) -- all before you even log into the WordPress dashboard thanks to their custom built Quick Launch Wizard tool.

GreenGeeks also comes highly recommended by their genuine customers on our website. Read genuine GreenGeeks customer reviews.

Yes - While we use GreenGeeks throughout this article, you are more than welcome to use another host of your preference.

Note: This guides makes use of the custom tools provided by GreenGeeks. As a result, installing WordPress, a template, performance caching plugins and more is handled by the GreenGeeks tools. If you use another hosting provider these may need to be manually installed and would not be covered in this guide.

To make the most of this guide, we highly recommend using GreenGeeks.

No - We have taken the time to evaluate the easiest and most straight forward companies and tools to ensure a simple process when making a website.

Everything we use throughout this article will not require any coding knowledge.

The time it takes to have a fully functioning website could vary from a few hours to a few days. While this is a wide timeframe range, it does entirely depend on you and how fast you would like to launch your website.

If using the tools recommended in this article your cost will be between $25.95 upfront (then $10.95/mo) to $89.64 total for 3 years ($2.49/mo).

The above fee is for the web hosting and domain registration for which you have the option to pay monthly, prepay 1 year, prepay 2 years or prepay 3 years. By prepaying you will be locking in significant discounts.

The website platform (WordPress), themes and plugins used throughout this article are free. Of course if you decide to use a different web hosting provider, domain registrar or plugins/themes your total price may increase.

There are several reasons we chose WordPress for this article.

  1. WordPress is free - WordPress won't cost you a dime (unless you decide to purchase premium themes / plugins -- which we won't in this guide). Thanks to this, making a website will not only be easy, but cost-effective.
  2. WordPress powers most websites - WordPress literally powers more websites than any other CMS on the market today. Your website will be in good hands thanks to the innovative team behind the platform.
  3. Developer ecosystem - Thanks to the popularity of WordPress companies and individuals are constantly building new themes and plugins which will enable you to expand on your websites functionality.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Step 1: Choosing a Name

Before you can purchase a web hosting plan and register a domain name, you need to decide what you would like your website to be called. When choosing a domain name we have a few tips:

  • Business Websites:
    If you are setting up a business website, try to register your companies name. For example, if your company is called Joes Plumbing try to register JoesPlumbing.com.
  • Personal Websites:
    If you are creating a personal website, such as a personal blog, portfolio or resume site, using your own name could be a great option. For example, YourName.com

We recommend trying to secure the .com domain extension and if that is not available (see below) adding additional words or variations. Depending on your preference, while .com is the most sought after domain extension popular alternatives includes .net and .org. Over the years new domain extensions have come out, such as .site and .blog.

Preferred domain name already registered?

Thousands of domain names are being registered everyday only adding to the millions already registered. With this sort of volume of registrations it is very possible your preferred domain name has already been registered but don’t worry! There are plenty of variations and alternatives you can try such as:

  • Using a hyphen (-):
    You can separate words in a domain name with a hyphen. In the above example of Joes Plumbing, you could try Joes-Plumbing.com.
  • Add a location:
    If you target a local audience you can try adding a location to your domain. This opens up various possibilities, especially with the hyphen above. For example: JoesPlumbing-phoenix.com, Joes-Plumbing-Chicago.com
  • Adding a word:
    Similar to adding a location, any alternative word can be used to create a relevant domain name. For example: JoesPlumbingService.com, GetJoesPlumbing.com.

Step 2: Domain Registration & Web Hosting Signup

Once you have decided on a name for your website we can proceed with registering the domain name and signing up for a web hosting package. We will be using GreenGeeks for both our web hosting service as well as domain registrations as they include this for free as part of the hosting package.

First, click here to open the GreenGeeks Shared Hosting page and you should be presented with three different packages. Take a moment to look over the packages and decide which one you prefer.

Stuck? For a new website, and if you only plan on hosting one website we would recommend the Lite plan. This starts at $2.49/mo when prepaid for 3 years ($89.64 for the full 3 year period). On this plan you will be able to host one website, have 50 GB storage (plenty for a WordPress site) and create 50 email accounts.

If you plan on hosting more than one website, or might want to create a second website in the future, the Pro plan would most likely be the best fit for you. On this plan you will be able to create unlimited websites, have unlimited storage and unlimited email accounts. All for a very respectable price of $4.95/mo when prepaid for 3 years.

The Business plan would be recommended for eCommerce websites or if you expect a significant amount of website visitors (tens of thousands throughout the month). Like the Pro package, you will have unlimited websites, unlimited storage and unlimited email accounts while also benefiting from a free premium SSL certificate, a free dedicated IP address and more resources to allow your website to handle the added load.

Once you have decided on a package, click on the green ‘GET STARTED‘ button.

GreenGeeks Shared Hosting Packages

After clicking Get Started, you should be presented with two domain options: Create A New Domain Name and Use A Domain You Already Own.

If you have already registered the domain name you would like to use for your website, enter it in full (with the domain extension) in the Use A Domain You Already own box followed by clicking on the green Next button.

For this guide, we will be using GreenGeeks as our domain registrar (they include a free domain as part of the hosting package) so we’ll enter our chosen domain name in the Create A New Domain Name field and click the Next button.

GreenGeeks Domain Registration Step

You should now be on the GreenGeek’s checkout page. Under Account Information, enter your billing information such as your name, address and email address.

Scrolling down, you should see a section called Package Information. Here, you will be able to choose the billing cycle you would like to use ranging from Monthly up to 3 Years. When choosing a billing cycle, we recommend prepaying for the full 3 years due to the heavy discount GreenGeeks offers. Plus, you don’t have to worry about yet another monthly bill :).

Below the billing cycle information you will be able to choose your server location. This is where your website will be housed and is recommended to choose a location closest to the majority of your website visitors.

GreenGeeks currently offers 3 server locations which you can choose from: United States, Europe and Canada.

Next, scroll down to Payment Information and enter the card details you would like to use to pay for the service.

Finally, click Create Account and on a successful payment, your web hosting account at GreenGeeks will be created and your domain name registered.

Step 3: Installing WordPress

With your domain registered and your hosting package created, it is time to install WordPress. Thankfully, GreenGeeks makes this easy with their Quick Launch assist tool which makes a once-tedious process as simple as a few clicks.

As a new customer, you should have been forwarded to the Quick Launch tool from the checkout page though if not (or you have already closed the browser window), you can access the Quick Launch wizard by:

  1. Logging into the GreenGeeks client area
  2. Click on the Hosting button located on the left navigation menu
  3. Click on the green Manage button associated with the website you’d like to install WordPress on
  4. Under Account Info, click on Start Wizard under Quick Launch Wizard

From the Quick Launch Wizard interface, we’ll be launching a new website. To do so, click on the Start New Website box as shown below.

GreenGeeks Quick Launch Wizard

You should now be presented with 3 additional options, WordPress, WordPress + WooCommerce and Weebly. For this guide, we will go with the standard WordPress option. Select WordPress and click the green Continue button.

GreenGeeks Quick Launch App Options

Next up, you will be presented with a variety of themes options. We will be using the Kadence theme to build out our website in the next steps on this guide. Kadence currently powers over 50,000 WordPress websites thanks to it’s good visual look, rich feature set and being easy to customize.

From the available themes, select Kadence as shown below.

GreenGeeks WordPress Theme Selection

Next in the wizard we have the WordPress plugin options. We won’t be using those plugins for this guide and GreenGeeks does rather annoyingly preselect WP Forms. To deselect WP Forms, simply click on it so it is no longer green.

Below the main plugin selection interface, you will see a box referencing LiteSpeed & LSCache without the option to disable this plugin. This is a good thing, using LSCache your website will perform significantly faster given it’s tight integration with the LiteSpeed Web Server which powers all of GreenGeek’s Shared Hosting servers.

After you have selected your theme and plugins, click on the green Create My Website button located at the bottom of the wizard.

Behind the scenes your website will deploy to your hosting account and once ready you will be presented with a page containing your login email address, password and a link to your WordPress website. Make sure to note down your password so you can access your WordPress admin area.

To visit your WordPress dashboard click on the green Go to WP Dashboard button. This button is smart enough to automatically log you into your WordPress dashboard though any future visits may require your password from the previous step.

Congratulations! You now have a live WordPress website! Huge props to GreenGeeks for their custom built Quick Launch Wizard tool which has significantly simplified the WordPress setup process. With just a few clicks, you have a domain name, web hosting account, WordPress installed, performance boosting plugin and a theme out the gate.

The start of our new website!

Step 4: Building Your Website

At this stage you should now have a functioning website with a theme and a caching plugin (LSCache), all handled by GreenGeeks. This puts you in a position to go straight to building your website without having to worry about the nitty gritty installation processes.

Ready to build your website? Let’s get started!

Installing a Starter Template

When you first log into your WordPress admin area you should see a box from Kadence prompting you to install their Starter Templates. We recommend doing so as this will save you a significant amount of time when building your website.

To do so, click on the blue Install Kadence Starter Templates button.

Next you will be able to select your template editor. For performance and simplicity, we recommend selecting Gutenberg which is baked into the core WordPress platform.

Kadence Site Builder Options

Once you have selected your website builder you should see numerous templates which you can use to base your website on. Take a moment to browse through the available templates and select your preferred look and feel.

Note: While most templates are free to use, those marked with ‘Membership‘ are considered a premium theme and does require a license from Kadence to use. A membership costs $169 per year and provides additional functionality though the free themes also work just fine.

When selecting a template, try to imagine what your website will look like in it’s final stages. You will be able to change all of the text and colors though different templates do serve different niches better than others.

For this guide, we will use the Freelance template.

Once you have selected your preferred template click on it to view the import options.

Before the import process begins, you are able to make basic customizations to the color scheme and fonts. You can changes these later so don’t worry about perfecting these now though we recommend taking a moment to go over the options selecting your preferred options.

If you see a warning regarding missing plugins don’t worry, the template importer tool will automatically install any required plugins which are missing on the website.

Once you have chosen your desired color scheme and font, click on the blue Full Site button to begin the import process.

Importing Kadence Starter Templates

You might see another prompt referencing missing plugins but you don’t need to worry about that. If you do see this prompt, click on the blue Start Importing button and Kadence will fetch any missing plugins as well as import your chosen template.

Kadence Importing Starter Templates

You should now see your chosen template when you visit your website, along with all of the demo content and styling!

Customizing the Starter Template

We are now in a position where we can customize the template to fit your desired end goal.

Changing Website Branding

To do so, while logged into the WordPress admin area navigate to Appearance -> Kadence -> Branding

Kadence Customize Branding

You should now see a preview of your website with various branding options on the left sidebar. From this sidebar, click Change logo to and upload your own website logo. Alternatively, if you do not yet have a logo click the Remove button and WordPress will just show your website name in the header.

Change Site Logo in WordPress

By default, when you upload your own logo Kadence will show both your logo and your website name which can take precious real estate space. You can change this behaviour to just show the logo by selecting the LOGO button on the left sidebar under Logo Layout.

Logo Layout Options

Once ready, click on the blue Publish button located in the top right corner of the left sidebar to save your changes.

WordPress Publish / Save Changes

Changing Website Content

It is time to change the imported demo content with your own. To do so, while logged into the WordPress admin area navigate to Pages -> All Pages. You should now see all of the imported demo pages which you can change with your own content.

Find the page called ‘Home – Front Page‘ and while hovering over it, click on the Edit button.

The WordPress Guternberg editor will load the website in it’s current form enabling you to click on any element for you to customize.

For example, to replace text, simply click on the existing text and an editor will appear enabling you to make a real time change.

Editing an Element in Guternberg

Once you have made all of the changes you would like to make to a page, click on the blue Update button located in the top right corner.

Save Page Changes

You can repeat this process with the other pages by navigating back to your WordPress admin area -> Pages -> All Pages and then hovering over the next page you would like to edit.

Congratulations! You now have a fully functioning website which you can showcase to your customers.