Whether you want your own site to post recipes, beauty tutorials or the latest photos from your vacation, nowadays it’s a piece of cake to create your own website for free. If you want to display your portfolio and exhibit, for example, wedding photography, you can choose between several platforms to host your website.
1. Choosing the perfect platform for building your website
This is the very first step that will get you closer to creating your own website. Choose the platform that will suit your needs and will give you enough flexibility for you to do the things you want with your website. More than a decade ago, the possibilities were more limited than they are today, with most sites using CSS, HTML or Flash. Fast forward ten years later, when CMS (content management systems) make website building accessible to the great majority of users. Here are the three most famous platforms for building your own website:
- WordPress is in the lead with a little over 50% of the total users;
- Drupal occupies the second place with 17% website owners choosing it over other CMS;
- Joomla is on the third place, with 6,5%.
It doesn’t take more than a glance to see that WordPress hosts half the websites. If you’ve never tried out WordPress, keep reading to find out why so many users choose it.
- Free. All you have to invest in to create your own website is your internet connection. WordPress is completely free and doesn’t make any sacrifices when it comes to quality. It offers a slew of layouts and templates that are free of charge. The best part is that their collection continuously renews itself thanks to the efforts of the community.
- User-friendly. The mere thought of starting a website from scratch can sound intimidating to most users out there. But not if you go with WordPress. With a lot of years of experience under their belt, they have learnt through trial and error what user-friendly truly means. WordPress makes it very easy to get started and to post content. Additionally, it’s not difficult to get more out of your WordPress experience by installing all the plugins you need.
- Expand. It’s easy to expand your WordPress website if you choose to. Creating content has never been this uncomplicated before. From sharing music and photos to posting new content, WordPress is the ideal platform that ticks all the criteria. What is more, WordPress plays nice with a plethora of plugins and is used by eBay, Mozilla and Facebook, just to name a few.
- Community. If you ever need help, you can count on the other members of the community to lend a helping hand. You’ll find a wide variety of resources to help you out and get your website off the ground.
2. Choosing the domain and hosting service
Once you’ve settled on a platform, you can start thinking about the domain name (practically the web address) and the hosting service, which connects the website to the internet. While WordPress is free to use, if you want a domain, you’ll have to pay between $3 to $4 per month. If you’re creating an ecommerce site or a website for your business, you’ll want to invest in a domain in order to make it seem more professional. It won’t burn a whole in your pocket and it will help you look more trustworthy to your potential clients.
There are many web hosting solutions out there that offer different plans. You will want to factor in the type of your website (blog, game tutorials, video portfolio, design DIYs) and estimate how much traffic it will bring in. Adjust your expectations to the hosting service you acquire.
3. Setting up the website
Once you have your platform, domain and web hosting service, you’re well on your way to create your own website. Here’s what else you have to take care of.
You can choose from thousands of themes and templates and customize them to look flawless. WordPress gives users access to hundreds of free themes. Depending on your website, you can go edgy, professional or colorful. If you fail to find exactly what you’re looking for, you can invest in a theme that is not free. Whatever your choice, make sure you opt for a responsive theme. This makes your website look neat on all mobile devices.
You’ll want to start adding pages, posts, categories and tags to your website. It’s ideal to have an About page to describe yourself or the business, as well as a Contact page. Create as many posts as you want and add a menu to make sure the users can easily navigate your website. Play around with the layout until you achieve the desired look, but always keep user-friendliness in the back of your mind.
It’s not difficult to create your own website, and you learn many things as you go. Customizations and widgets will add even more functionality to your website and will potentially increase the number of users.