By Jesse Collier. Updated April 2017.
Having an online presence is one of the easiest ways to make money. Let’s get you started on creating a website with WordPress in under 20 minutes!
I have been working in web development for over 7 years, so I know how to create a website like the back of my hand. However I assume you’re reading this article because you’re new to the game and want in as well.
The good news is that with content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, everyone can now create a website and have an online presence.
After you have read this article and followed the steps below, you will have a fully operational website for the world to see, all in under 20 minutes, and for less than the cost of a Big Mac.
Already know how to use WordPress and want to skip some of the steps below? Go right to our recommended webhost and you can read about our setup guide below.
Why Should I Create A Website?
If you’re still on the fence about whether you should create a website, let me convince you why you should have one:
- Looks great on a resume or a portfolio
- It can make you money – even while you’re sleeping! (more on that below)
- As long as you have an internet connection, you can work from anywhere
- It’s fun to create something physical that you can show off
- It will give you invaluable skills that might help you get jobs down the road
If these reasons still didn’t convince you, keep reading to see how easy the whole process is!
Steps To Create A Website
In these steps, we’ll be using WordPress to create a website. WordPress is very user friendly, and has many different functions that will allow your site to do almost anything you can think of. A lot of company sites run on WordPress, including BestBuy, TechCrunch, NASA, and us as well!
In this tutorial we’ll be using SiteGround because of their ease of use, reliability and speed. They have many features in their plans, including free CMS installation (meaning they’ll install WordPress onto your site for free), and super fast caching services (more on that later). Their process to get your site up and running is easy and costs very little.
Grab A Domain Name
If you already have an idea on what you want your site to be (a blog, product showcase, service provider, etc.), then you’re ready to get a domain name for your site!
However, if you have no idea what niche you want your website to be in, consider reading this article to help you develop an idea.
So let’s get started on your first steps to creating your own website!
Picking a Domain Name
In order to create a website, you need a domain name. A domain name just specifies an address where your site can be found. moneytipsforstudents.com is a domain name.
There are many different domain name extensions to choose from, such as .ca, .biz, .org, and many more, however we recommend going with .com if possible as many people still associate that extension as trustful.
In order to get a free domain name, visit SiteGround (or your preferred webhost) and click on “See Plans”. Select a plan that has all of the features you need, and you will be prompted to register a new domain name.
Make sure that you also pick a domain name that’s relevant to your niche. Your domain name is usually the first thing people will see when they go to your site, so you want to tell them what your site is about through your domain name.
Setup Your Hosting
All websites are hosted. This means that websites have a “home” on a company’s servers that will then provide people on the internet your website. It’s not too technical though, so let’s get started with setting up your hosting!
There are many different web hosts out there. This is an excellent site that will allow you to compare different web hosts and it provides real customer reviews on them as well. As SiteGround is consistently tops among web hosts (including hosting us!), we will be using them to setup your hosting.
Why SiteGround? 5 Main Reasons:
- Free WordPress or CMS install or site migration from a different host
- They won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Prices are from $3.95 USD
- They’re reliable (99.99% uptime)
- Excellent, instant support and comprehensive tutorials
- 30 day money back guarantee
If you’ve decided on SiteGround, then let’s get right to it:
When you click on the link to SiteGround, it will load a landing page similar to this:
You want to then click on “Sign Up” or “See Plans”. If you want to compare plans, click on “See Plans” and scroll down on the next page to see the different plans offered by SiteGround.
On scrolling down, a popup will appear at the top. You want to press the “Click Here” button and it will show you a more detailed comparison of each plan on the next page. Your page should look similar to this:
Select A Plan
This next step is up to you! You need to select a plan that will apply to what you’re building a site for. You will have to compare the plans and select the one that you think you need. Don’t worry, you can always upgrade or downgrade later on!
In order to get the $3.95 price, you will have to order the plan for 12 months. However SiteGround offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all of their shared hosting plans, so if you decide it’s not for you, you can contact them for a refund. All prices are in USD, as is the case with most web hosts.
Next, once you have gone through the order process and put in your personal and payment info, SiteGround requires you to click on the “Live Chat” button at the top of the page. This is so they can verify your purchase and get you set up on their platform. This is the opportunity to tell them of CMS installations or any other services you want. Again, we recommend WordPress.
CMS installations generally take very little time, however SiteGround will email you when the process is complete.
Once your CMS has been installed onto your domain and your SiteGround account is setup, you can check out both accounts. We’re going to assume you chose WordPress for your CMS from this point forwards.
Check Out WordPress and SiteGround
So you have your SiteGround account all ready to go, and you should have WordPress installed on your domain by now. SiteGround will send you a welcome email, where you can click a link that will take you to the sign in page. Sign in with the details you chose while signing up, and you should be shown this screen:
This is your SiteGround dashboard and will be used to deal with everything relating to your web hosting account. Clicking the “My Accounts” tab will allow you to see all of your existing installations. It will have a section for cPanel, along with a section for your WordPress admin panel.
We’ll leave it up to you to get familiar with your SiteGround account, however if you have any questions about anything, the SiteGround support and tutorials are top-class. For now, we’ll focus on your WordPress admin panel.
In “My Accounts“, you will see a button that says “Go To Admin Panel” beside your domain name. If you don’t see that section, the WordPress admin login is almost always installed at yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Your admin panel login should also be in an email from Siteground when they installed WordPress.
Getting to Know WordPress
When you login to your WordPress Admin Panel, your dashboard will look similar to this:
If you scroll over the “Appearance” tab, a pop-out tab will appear with a list of options. Click on “Themes“. Unless you have an existing WordPress installation with themes installed, you will only have a few default themes installed. The newest one (currently Twenty Seventeen) will be active on your site.
If you go to your site (you can access your site by mousing over your sitename on the top bar on the left and clicking “Visit Site“), you will see that the theme is active on your site, but it will still look like that theme until you customize it.
If you go back to the “Themes” section, you will see an “Add New” button at the top. Clicking on that will bring you to a large selection of themes which you can customize to your liking. If you Google “WordPress themes“, there are a lot of sites that offer free and premium themes as well. We’ll leave it up to you to pick out the theme that’s right for your site.
WordPress is great because it allows you to switch themes on the fly while saving most changes you made to another theme that you installed in your dashboard. So don’t be afraid to try out a bunch of themes to find the best one!
The other tabs in your WordPress dashboard are pretty self-explanatory so I won’t go into too much detail on those. From here on, it’s a large learning process! I am still constantly learning new things about WordPress everyday. If you need any help, doing a quick Google search will do wonders!
How To Get People To Visit Your Site
So you have your site the way you want it and you have customized the theme pretty extensively. Now you may be asking yourself, “how do I get people to view my content?”. There are many ways to drive traffic to your website, and each one will need it’s own article, so I’ll outline a few quickly for you.
Nowadays, almost every site has a blog. It keeps your viewers updated on your site or on issues relating to your niche. Google favors sites that have a blog because it shows that the site has more content then just products or links to other sites.
To write blog posts that people will want to read and that are relevant to your niche, I would recommend using a tool like the Google Keyword Planner. It generates relevant keywords to your niche that will be useful to get your blog posts in front of the right people.
One of your first tasks should also be to build a social following. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter generate massive traffic for your website. Create a Facebook page and start inviting people to it. Eventually people will share your content and you’ll build that following.
How Do I Make Money From My Website?
The traffic to your website can be monetized in many different ways. You could sign up for Google Adwords or another similar ad platform. You could also sign up for an Affiliate Network such as Rakuten Linkshare which will allow you to put links and banners on your website that relate to your niche.
Whichever way you choose to monetize your site, I recommend doing it from day one that your site is live. It has been proven that visitors are much less likely to return to a site if ads suddenly appear when they weren’t on your site before.
Increase Your Employability
Having a website will look really good on your resume or cover letter. Almost everyone has some sort of online presence, whether it be a Facebook or Twitter profile, or a website that they created.
Having your own website at yourdomain.com and your own personalized email address will greatly increase your chances of landing a job and will let you stand out from the crowd.
When you create a website and design it to your tastes, it shows to potential employers that you are a forward thinker and it will even allow you to sell yourself to them.
Don’t be afraid to put your website and personalized email on your documents when you apply for a job! You don’t ever have to be embarrassed to spell out [email protected] again!
Registering a domain name, creating a website, and designing it yourself shows to employers that you have specific skills that they may be looking for.
Did we miss something or do you have any questions on how you should create a website? Leave a comment below!