Welcome to Make a WebSite guide. This guide is created for non-IT persons to help them create a website themselves. I have included all the necessary details on how to create a website. This tutorial takes you through the journey of creating website with screenshots.
- What Is Provided in This Guide
- How Website Works
- Hosting Recommendation
- DreamHost Sign Up Procedure – Save $50
- DreamHost Panel
- Domain Registration
- Domain Hosting
- Install WordPress On Your Domain
- Change WordPress Theme
- Create Pages On Your Site
- Organize Pages
What Is Provided In This Guide
After following the steps given in the guide, you will have a new website ready for you. The website will look exactly like http://ebookdemo.com .
Ebook demo website is created using WordPress platform. WordPress is a content management system which is used to create all types of websites or a blog.
This website is hosted at Dreamhost. DreamHost is world class hosting. If you think of super-fast and feature rich webhosting then DreamHost is the choice. I have been with DreamHost from the last 9 years.
You will need web hosting to create a website. So you need to sign up with DreamHost. Once signup process is complete, I will show you how to register a domain and host it at DreamHost.
After hosting the domain name, I will guide you on how to install wordpress on your domain. I will also show you how to create pages, create navigation menu and manage your wordpress website. At that point, you will have website up and running in wordpress.
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How Website Works
You can divide the whole process of creating website in three different parts.
1) Register a domain name
2) Host the domain at web hosting provider
3) Install wordpress and add content to the site
To create the website, the first thing needed is to register a domain name. The domain name must be unique across internet. So it is necessary that you come up with the domain name which is not already registered. If domain is already registered then you will see error while registering a domain.
Let’s understand this by example. Let’s say, you want to create a website example.com. So you will have to register a domain example.com.
If example.com is already registered then you will have to change the domain name. You can make some changes in the domain and try other names like myexample.com and exampleonthesite.com. There is no restriction on your creativity of selecting domain. Just that domain must have been available at the time of registration.
Once the domain name registration is complete, you will have to host that domain on your web hosting account. You will need web hosting account in order to create a website. Web hosting provider is a company which offers space and bandwidth on the internet where you can put your website’s files and images. When anyone access your website, the files and images are served from this web space.
After domain name is registered, you will have to subscribe for web hosting and host your domain there. Most of the hosting providers offer domain name registration. So you can subscribe for web hosting even before you register a domain name.
You will have working website after you finish the hosting process. Now you need to install wordpress on your site and create pages on that website.
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Since you will need a hosting account, I am going to suggest one good web hosting provider.
In the past, I have tried well known hosting companies like HostGator, BlueHost and DreamHost. I have found that DreamHost offers best hosting service in all three hosting providers.
Here are some of the main reasons why I recommend DreamHost.
1) Performance – The first thing you need to check in any hosting provider is performance. DreamHost servers use SSDs (Solid State Drives). SSDs offer 200% faster performance than traditional hard disks.
2) Transparency – DreamHost is the only hosting provider which clearly displays the prices and any terms of service which customer needs to know. DreamHost also offers the status of their service outages.
3) Ease of Use – DreamHost has made its own control panel. This panel is very user friendly.
4) Domain Name Registration – DreamHost is also ICANN approved domain name registrar. You can register a domain there.
5) Low Cost Hosting – DreamHost service is cheaper than other hosting providers. One year of DreamHost shared hosting service costs $119.40 at DreamHost. When you join DreamHost, you get $50 discount. Thus, first year of hosting service costs $69.40. Other hosting providers offer the same shared hosting service around $140 per year. DreamHost’s domain registration and SSL certificate charges are also less compare to other hosting providers. Let’s start the DreamHost Signup process now.
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DreamHost Sign Up Procedure – Save $50
You need to follow this guide to create an account at DreamHost. First visit the official DreamHost website at https://www.dreamhost.com/ .
After visiting the DreamHost official website from the above link, you will see that there is 40% discount offer. If you cannot see the discount offer then visit the official website from the above link.
Here click on “Get Started Now” button.
Then enter the email address and password. Click on Continue button.
On the next page, we are not going to register a domain name. So choose the option, “I’ll set this up later”. I will show you how to register domain name when sign up process is finished. Then click on Continue button.
Select the 1 year plan. You can select monthly but then you won’t get discount. In 3 years plan, you will have to pay more with same discount. So select 1 year plan.
Next you need to select MySQL VPS plan. You don’t need MySQL VPS at this point. If in future if you like then you can add MySQL VPS at any time. So we are not going to take MySQL VPS plan. By default, the option is deselected. Leave it as it is and click on Continue button.
Since discount is already applied, you will see PROMO CODE text field. Just scroll down and make sure that you are getting $50 discount. Applied promo code is also visible in the top-right corner of the website.
Finally, give the payment details. Enter your credit card details and click on “Place order now” button. If the payment is successful then you will get the account details in the email. If payment fails then you will get the error.
Once the account is created, DreamHost sent all necessary details to get started with hosting account via email. So make sure to read the complete email.
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All hosting providers offer you a login to control panel. You can manage your complete DreamHost account using DreamHost control panel. DreamHost is not using cPanel. It has developed its own control panel. So you will find DreamHost panel very easy to use.
You can access the panel at https://panel.dreamhost.com/ . Login to the panel using your email address and password. Use the password which you used while creating the account at DreamHost.
Few users might see the red notice after login to the panel. The notice says, “Your account is in pending state”.
This type of error happens when DreamHost is unable to verify the payment information or it has some doubt about the new account created. You don’t have to worry about it. Just contact support team from the panel and they will activate your account.
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DreamHost is also a domain name registrar. You can register a domain through DreamHost.
When you sign up with DreamHost hosting, you also get 1 year of free domain name registration. We didn’t register the domain at the time of sign up.
To register a new domain, first login to DreamHost panel using your email Id and password. Then click on Domains section. Then click on Registrations.
I think you already though of the domain name. So enter the domain name in the text field and click on “Check Availability” button.
If the domain name is not available for registration then you will see error message saying that the domain name is already registered.
You will also get some suggestions on the domain name. You can choose from those suggestions or you can again think and try with another domain name.
If the domain name is available for registration then you will be taken to the next page.
On this page, you will see that there is checkbox for keeping the contact information private. If you select that checkbox then your whois privacy is enabled. That means your personal information will be unavailable in whois public records.
I personally don’t use this checkbox because I don’t use whois privacy.
In this article, For the demo purpose, I will register the domain name ebookdemo.com.
Now scroll down on the same page. Make sure that all information is correct there. Then in the Nameservers section, “Use DreamHost’s Nameservers” option selected. Then click on Continue button.
On the next page, you can select the validity of the domain. You can register a domain for 1 year or 2 years. There is no discount if you register for loner time period. So there is no point in registering a domain for more than 1 year. Select 1 year and click on Continue button.
Next you will be taken to the payment details page. Here DreamHost won’t show you any due balance as you have one free domain name registration. Complete the registration process.
When the payment is done, you will get success message like following.
After DreamHost successfully finishes the registration process, you will get email from DreamHost saying that domain registration is successful.
Now you need to verify the contact information. You will get one more email from firstname.lastname@example.org for the verification of the contact information. The verification email copy will look like the following.
Click on the verify link. That’s it. You have now completed the domain name registration. You now need to host that domain.
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After registering a domain name, you will have to host it otherwise your website will not work.
To host the domain, first login to DreamHost panel. Then click on DOMAINS section in the left side navigation panel. Then click on Manage Domains link.
Click on “Add Hosting to a Domain / Sub-Domain” button.
On this page, enter the domain name to host. Select the www preference. I don’t like www before my website name. So I always select to remove www option.
Create the username under which you want to host the website. You can also use already created user. You will have to use this username to upload the files and images to the server. I am going to create the new user “ebookdemo”.
Next thing is web directory. DreamHost automatically uses domain name as web directory. You can change it if you like it.
Leave all other options as it is.
Finally, you need to enter captcha. Then click on “Fully host this domain” button. You will see the success message like this.
Your domain is now hosted at DreamHost. After sometime, when you visit your website, you should see a page something like this.
If you are unable to see that page then try after few hours. DNS propagation takes 24-48 hours. So it might take some time.
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If you want to create a website then you might have heard of the platform wordpress. WordPress is the highly used software on the internet. According to wikipedia, more than 60 million websites are using wordpress. WordPress makes it easy for a non-IT person to create a website. To install wordpress on your domain, follow these steps.
1) First login to DreamHost panel using your webID and password.
2) Click on GOODIES section in the left side navigation panel.
3) Click on One-Click Installs link.
4) Here you will see all applications which are available for installation through one-click installs. We are interested only in wordpress. Click on wordpress icon.
5) Now a popup will come up. Here you need to select the domain on which you want to install wordpress. For this demo, we will install it on http://ebookdemo.com . In database option, leave the default option selected. Also keep the Delux Install check box selected.
6) When everything is done, click on “Install it for me now!” button.
You will see the success message like below.
Please note that wordpress installation is not complete yet. You will get one email from DreamHost when DreamHost finishes file uploading and MySQL database creation. Read the instructions given in the email carefully and follow it. Here is an email.
Now create the admin user by clicking on the link given in the email. You will see a page like following.
Select the English language then click on Continue button.
On the next page, enter Site Title. Title is short description which informs website visitors what the site is all about. I will use Ebook Demo. Then enter username which you like. I like to use admin username. Enter the password and email address. Allow the search engines to index the site. Finally click on “Install WordPress” button.
After the successful process, you will see following page.
Now visit the website again and you will see a whole new website. Default wordpress install looks like the following.
Your wordpress site is ready now. WordPress automatically adds one post and comment to your website. You will have to remove those. Then you will have to add new contents to the website. You will also need to change the look and feel of the website by changing the theme. If you like the default them then you don’t need to change the theme.
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Change WordPress Theme
Theme is the main part of wordpress website. Your website’s look and feel depends on the theme you have selected. You can change the theme with just few clicks.
In this demo, I am going to use the theme “Sydney” by athemes. Let’s first change the default theme to wordpress theme.
WordPress Admin Interface
If you want to make any changes to your website then you will have to first login to the wordpress admin interface. You can always login to admin interface by just appending /wp-admin at the end of the domain name. So for our site we will have to use the URL http://ebookdemo.com/wp-admin .
Now enter the username and password. If you haven’t generated the username then you can use email id and password.
After logging in, admin interface will look like the following.
The admin interface is very easy to use. You can learn about all functions of admin interface just by trying out.
To change the theme, first mouse over to the Appearance link in the left side panel. Then click on Themes link.
You will see that there are some of the themes already installed by DreamHost. Sydney theme is not installed by DreamHost. You will have to manually install Sydney theme on your website.
Just click on Add New button on themes page.
Enter Sydney in Search Themes… text box. You will see that as you start typing, the theme will appear.
Now mouse over to the Sydney theme. You will see two new buttons, Install and Preview. Just click on Install button.
After you get the successful installation message, click on Activate link. Now your Sydney theme will be activated. You can also see the live preview before activating the theme.
Now visit your website and check out how the Sydney theme looks on your site.
Once theme is changed, you will have to remove default content. You will then have to add new content.
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In WordPress blog, you can add content in the site by two different ways. One you can create either a blog post or second, you can create a page. I am going to show you how to create pages and create a simple, good looking website.
Delete Default Post & Comment
Go to admin interface, then click on Posts link from left side navigation panel. You will see already posted posts.
Select post then in the Bulk Actions text box, select Move to Trash. Click on Apply button to delete the post.
Since your default post is deleted, your default comment is also deleted.
There is a sample page also created by WordPress. To delete sample page, click on Pages link from the left side navigation panel.
Select the sample page. Then select move to trash. Then click on Apply button. Alternatively, you can just mouse over the page list and you will see Trash link. Click on Trash link to delete the page.
I will show you how to create a site just by creating pages. I am not going to use posts. If you want to create a personal blog then you will need to use posts section. We will just create static website where there is no user interaction. So there is no commenting and discussion. Thus, you don’t need to use post. You will just use pages.
Let’s just create the home page. Home page is default page which is shown when the site is accessed just by domain name.
To add new page, go to pages then click on Add New button.
Here enter the title of the page. For creating home page, I will use the title “Ebook Demo”. Below the title, there is a text box where you need to add content of the article. You can add the images and videos in the content.
If you want to change the URL of the page then just click on Edit button. Enter the URL which you like. When you are ready, click on Publish button to publish the page. If you have made any mistake then don’t worry. You can always edit the page after publishing it. Just remember to click on Update button to publish the changes.
If you want to create other pages then add them the same way. After creating all pages, the site will look something like following.
Here you can see that the home page is not showing any content. You also won’t find link to the other pages created.
We will have to put other pages link in the menu then only those links will appear. You can see on the top-right corner there is a link, “Create your menu here”. All the menu links will appear here.
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We have added all the pages. That means all the necessary content is added to the website. We just need to organize the pages. We also need to show the home page. Remember the page Ebook Demo which we created. That page should come to the home page.
To set up the home page, first go to admin interface. Mouse over the Settings link from the left side navigation panel. Then click on Reading link.
On this page, select “A static page” option.
Now you will see a Front page drop down where you can see a list of all the pages created. So in the front page dropdown, select the page which you created for home page. Then click on Save Changes button.
Visit the website to check whether home page is displayed or not.
Now you need to remove all widgets from the left side navigation panel. If you like those widgets then you can keep them but if you remove all those then website will look clean.
To remove the widgets, first login to admin interface of the site. Then mouse over to Appearance. Then click on Widgets button.
Here we will remove all widgets from the Primary Sidebar. To remove the widget, first click on widget, hold it and move it out of Sidebar section. It’s drag and drop. You drag the widget from the Sidebar and drop it to outside. After removing all widgets from Sidebar the Widgets page in admin interface will look like following.
Visit the website. The site will look like following. Everything is gone from the side panel. You will also see the home page.
Here you can see that the navigation links are still not set.
To create the Menu items, go to admin interface of the website. Mouse over to the Appearance and click on Menus link.
The menu page will looks like following. You will see that there is one menu structure is created and all pages are added to that menu. Click on Create Menu button to create menu list.
You can change the sequence of the menu items using drag and drop. The menu items now look like following. After making changes in the menu items, always click on Save Menu button otherwise changes won’t be reflected in the website.
Now click on small down arrow button. You will see label option. You can change the label option by making changes in it. Make changes and click on Save Menu button.
I have setup Ebook Demo page as home page. So I will change its label from Ebook Demo to Home. I have also removed title word from all other pages in the label.
Now let’s make this menu the main menu. Select the checkbox which says, “Primary Menu” as shown in the above image.
Now visit the site and you should see a complete website. You can see navigation menu in the top right corner. Also the home page is set.
Now your first website is ready. There are many more things which you can do in the site but that is for advance users.
Your created website is mobile friendly. So it works very well in the mobile devices also.
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If you are reading this that means you have a website ready. I hope you will enjoy your first website.