You’re here possibly because you don’t want to pay me to develop your business or personal website for you. Smiles! You Can Do It Yourself.
I write this for who know nothing about HTML/CSS coding and I’ll take you through the entire process of building your CMS website without spending money on web developers like me. Definitely, I’ll be happy to see you build your online presence and please don’t fail to alert me via whatsapp as soon as you get something good out this post.
Meanwhile, it’s not all website softwares you can use as a beginner or as a code hater but whichever the case may be, what you’ll learn today will definitely lead you into designing a standard website that can sell your business or person no matter how you want it.
Are You Ready? I guess YES!… So let’s start:
The best way to build your website as a code hater or beginner is via CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS). CMS is a web tool/ application which allows you to manage your site and its content from an internal user interface or dashboard.
Hope I am not using big grammar for you?… Let me break it down please:
Via CMS, you control what happens at your website’s frontend (i.e. the main website people see e.g. you’re reading this post at my blog’s frontend) from your backend (i.e. the dashboard which only you or an admin has access to e.g. I published this post via my blog’s backend).
There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a CMS for your new websites. It all depend on what kind of website you want to design but the most popular your standard website, blog and e-commerce include:
- Website: The best is wordpress. Other popular ones are joomla, drupal etc.
- Blog: Most popular is wordpress. Some people also use openblog, htmly, flatpress etc.
- Commerce: You can use woocommerce for wordpress, prestashop, opencart or magento. Magento is best used for Online marketplace, supermarket or mall like jumia.com, konga.com, Alibaba.com which has different marketplace of vendors. But when it comes to a standard e-commerce for company or business, I recommend go for less complex platform like woocommerce for wordpress, prestashop or opencart.
All these CMSes are open-source which means you can use them for free. And the setup of these CMS is SELF-HOSTED. The major advantage of using a self-hosted control management system is that you have full control over its design and functionality. This is why I keep asking ignorant bloggers to deviate from using wordpress.com platform to wordpress.org because wordpress.org gives self-hosted capability which allows you to have full control of your website unlike wordpress.com that limits your efforts that you find it difficult to install your needed functions to it.
To Create Your Own CMS Website, There are 5 Things You Definitely Need:
- Your Domain Name
- Your Hosting Space
- A CMS Software
- A Theme + Pluggins/Extensions
- Your Contents (Logo, Media files, Writeups, Colors etc).
Whenever you want to start your business, you first think about your business name. Likewise when you want to design your website, you need your online business identity. Your domain name comes as ‘name dot extension’ (i.e. josephineuba.com, lindaikeji.tv, suretechinternational.org etc.). Your domain extension can be .com, .ng, .org, .net, .edu and so on, depending on what you want. But I always advice you go for these top-level domain extensions.
When you’re choosing a domain name, always try as much as you can to keep it simple, unique and memorable (e.g. I did so when I registered “kleensa.com”). Incase you already have your well known business running, your domain name can come from your business name too.
For most websites, the first goal when choosing a domain name is to get the .com top-level domain whenever possible. This is because when most people think of your website name, they think of .com (e.g. facebook.com, Instagram.com, twitter.com, google.com etc).
Another important fact, if your business isn’t meant for a locally based market or specific purpose, please always go for generic domains like .com and .org and avoid specific domains like .ng, .net, .tv etc.
After choosing a domain name, you’ve to select a reliable hosting service provider to register your domain and host it. To a greater level, functionality and performance of your website will depend on the hosting provider you want to use. The host ensures is always available to potential readers 24/7 and it’s where your files are stored online.
Using the wrong web host can cause may problems to your website so I recommend you choose a hosting company with direct web servers and avoid resellers. It’s just very crucial you choose a reliable provider.
Some of the international ones I get positive reviews about are bluehost, godaddy and ix-hosting. The best I can recommend based on Nigeria local level is domainking. To me, personally I prefer domainking hosting because it’s not only reliable but also affordable for me as a Nigeria-based who loves spending in naira instead of dollar.
If you already have a domain name registered via a different company, you can decide to host it in another company but I always advice you use one hosting provider for both domain registration and hosting, especially when you’re a beginner in this field. Also, try using a hosting company that offers shared linux hosting package.
Let’s Dive Into The Practical Way Of Building Your Website With The Most Popular and Best Utilized CMS Software:
The most popularly used content management system used today is wordpress and I highly recommend wordpress over joomla and drupal for beginners like you. WordPress gives the professional website design you can desire for! And todays post is about wordpress website design.
Once you register your domain name and host it, your hosting company sends you a set-up email that allows you to access your control panel. If you sign in your cpanel, you’ll find an icon at Softaculous section or somewhere at your cpanel indicating something like “one-click installation”, “install popular software”, or “wordpress installation”. It’s as simple as clicking that icon and follow to follow the step by step instructions to install your latest version of wordpress.
Don’t Worry Let’s Be Practical As I Take You Through All These Steps Now:
STEP 1: Register and Host Your Domain Name Via a Reliable Hosting Provider
Like I already said, for you to set up your WordPress (or any other type of website), you’ll basically need your:
- Domain Name (a web address like YourSiteName.com)
- Web Hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet)
To store your images, content and website files, you’ll need a web hosting. Without web hosting, your website will not be seen on the Internet.
Most people who use free wordpress.com blog will always have domain names like josephineuba.blog.wordpress.com. There shouldn’t meant to be any branded extension attached to your domain name. Having your own domain name looks far more professional than having your site on someone else’s domain (like yourbusiness.my-free-website.com) and it’s highly affordable depending on the pricing packages of the hosting provider you’re choosing too.
Simple and short, without your domain name and hosting, your website won’t ever exist.
So How Do You Register Your Domain Name and Host It? I Prefer Using “DOMAIN KING” because it’s highly reliable and affordable for me who base in Nigeria. Here is How To Get Started With Domain King:
1. Go To domainking.ng (or Any Other Web Host)
I’ve tried so many hosting providers in Nigeria and ended up with one issue or the other. Most times I experienced downtime performance or low functionality and I got more annoyed with their poor customer services. Domainking has proven otherwise, they are not resellers and not owned/managed by Nigerians, but operates in Nigeria. I highly recommend them to whoever I love!
2. Choose a Domain Name
If you don’t have a domain name yet, here’s an easy starting point:
- If you’re making a website for your business, your domain name should match your company name. For example: YourCompanyName.com
- If you’re planning to set up a website for yourself, then YourName.com can be a great option.
For this site (Josephine Uba), I chose Josephineuba.com.
Try To Avoid the weird extensions and go with .com, .net or .org unless they perfectly describe what you have to offer – and even then, see if you can find a more common name.
After Choosing a Domain Name, You Add It To Your Cart.
3. Choose Your Website Hosting Plan
Once you click on check out button for your domain name, there’ll be an option indicating that you have not yet added a hosting to it, clicking on that option takes you to a page that highlights all hosting packages from lowest to highest package with respect to their benefits, values and pricing.
Another way you can do this is to start with choosing your hosting plan first and then buy domain name later while checking out. Select your hosting plan after you must’ve taken your time to go through the specifications/benefits of each plan and also based on what you can afford to pay for.
If you are on a budget, you can use their lowest “soldier” plan. It’s great for smaller sites with low or no traffic.
However, if you want to scale or expect more traffic to your website, I recommend choosing their highest “King” plan. It’s truly unlimited.
Whichever you choose, you can later upgrade or downgrade based on your needs.
4. Fill In Your Account Details During Your Check Out
Your checking out will authomatically account if you’ve already created an account before then. To create your account, just enter in your personal information on the “create your account” page.
You’ll need to add in your first name, last name, country, street address, city, zip code, phone number, and email address. Your receipt will be sent to the email address you enter here.
It’s optional to also add in your business name within this form.
Enter your payment information to continue. As you as you check out, an invoice automatically will be created for your transaction requesting you to choose any of the listed payment methods to complete your payment.
5. You’ll Receive An Email Confirmation and After a Short While Your Control Panel Will Be Sent To You
As soon as you make your payment, an email confirmation will be sent to notify you that your invoice has been paid for. After like 10 – 20 minutes, you’ll receive a set up email which contains details of your control panel login before and after your domain has propagated. Domain propagation takes upto 24 hours or sometime less. The email contains also few instructions on how you can get started with your cpanel.
Another way you can access your cpanel is via your account dashboard at domainking.ng (or your web hosting provider).
STEP 2: Set Up Your Website
Once you’ve bought your domain name and set up your hosting, you’re well on your way!
Now it’s time to get your website up and running. The first thing you’ll need to do is install WordPress to your domain.
There are two possible ways to install WordPress, one MUCH easier than the other.
1. To Create a website with wordpress, Using One-Click Installation:
Almost every reliable and well-established hosting company has integrated 1-click-installation for WordPress, which makes getting going a snap.
If you signed up with domainking.ng or any other similar hosting company, you should find your “1-click-installation” in your account control panel. The Installation button is always named “SOFTACULOUS”.
Here are the steps you should follow (should be similar/same on all the major web hosting companies):
1. Log in to your hosting account.
2. Go to your control panel.
3. At Softaculous Section, look for the “WordPress” or “Website” icon.
4. Click the “Install Now” button
5. And Fill Up The Installation Form With Your Details.
Please Note: As a Beginner; Don’t Select Multisite Because Migrating a Multisite is Always Difficult For Beginners. Also Make Sure You Delete That “WP_” at The Table Prefix Tab. Unless Your Website Won’t Be Seen at The Major Public_html folder or www folder.
2… OR MANUAL INSTALL
If for some odd reason (some hosting companies don’t provide one-click-install for WordPress) you don’t have the option to install WordPress automatically, look this manual guide below:
Note That – if they don’t have Automatic 1-click-installation, maybe you’re dealing with a bad host!
STEP 3: Design Your Website
Once you have successfully installed WordPress to your domain, you’ll see a very basic yet clean site.
But you don’t want to look like everyone else, do you?
That’s why you need a theme – a design template that tells WordPress how your website should look. See an example of free WordPress theme that you can install:
Here’s where it gets fun:
There are 1500+ of awesome, professionally designed themes you can choose from and customize for your own sit. Most of WordPress themes are free to use and highly customizable.
Here’s How To Find a Theme You Like:
1. Log into your WordPress dashboard
If you’re not sure how, type in: https://yoursite.com/wp-admin (replace “yoursite” with your domain).
This is what the WordPress dashboard looks like:
Everything is easily labeled. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t sweat it – I’m going to show you where to go next.
2. Access FREE themes
Once you’re on the dashboard, you’ve got access to over 1500 free themes! Just search the sidebar for “Appearance”, then click “Themes”.
If you want something more professional or elegant than what you find here, you can head over to ThemeForest.net where there’s a big library of themes to pick from at varying costs.
But before you do that, I really suggest you at least try spending some time browsing the free themes. Many of them are actually really professional and well made; so don’t write them off.
As soon as you find the theme you want, you download the .zip folder of the complete theme which will be sent to you after you must have purchased the theme. Alternatively, there are websites that can offer you free themes to download and install manually. Just download the zip folder and store in your computer. Then locate the “upload” button at this same section of your dashboard and upload the zipped file.
As you can see above, installing a new theme for your website is very easy.
You can search for specific keywords and/or use filters to find themes that suit your style. Finding the perfect theme can take a while, but it’s worth it.
You should also look for themes that are “responsive”, as this means they will look good on any mobile device.
Just punch it in as one of your keywords, and you’ll be all set!
3. Install your new theme
Once you have found a theme you like, installing it is as simple as clicking “Install” followed by “Activate”.
IMPORTANT: Changing themes won’t delete your previous posts, pages and content. You can change themes as often as you want without having to worry about losing what you’ve created.
STEP 4: Add Content To Your Website
With your theme installed, you’re ready to start creating content. Let’s quickly run through some of the basics:
Adding and editing pages
Want a “Services” page, or an “About Me” page (like I have on my menu at the top of the site)?
- Look along the sidebar in the WordPress Dashboard for “Pages” -> “Add New”.
- You’ll find a screen that looks a lot like what you’ve maybe seen in Microsoft Word. Add text, images and more to build the page you want, then save it when you’re done.
Adding pages to the menu
If you want your new page to be linked to your navigation bar,
- Save any changes you’ve made to the page by clicking “Update”
- Click “Appearance” -> “Menus” in the sidebar of the WordPress Dashboard
- Find the page you created and add it to the list by clicking the checkbox next to it and then “Add to Menu”.
Adding and editing posts
If you have a blog on your website, “Posts” will be where you turn to next. You can use different categories to group similar posts.
If you want to add a blog to your website, you can use different categories and posts. Let’s say you want to create a category named “Blog”. Simply add it to your menu and start making posts.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Create a new category by going to “Posts -> Categories”
2. Create a blog post by going to “Posts -> Add New”. Once you’ve finished writing your blog post, you need to add the right category for it.
Once you’ve created your category, simply add it to the menu, and you’re in business!
Customization & Endless Tweaks…
In this section, I’ll cover some of the basic things I’m asked about all the time that will help you tweak your website.
Changing Your Title and Tagline
PAGE TITLES explain to searchers what your website is about. They’re also a big part of how search engines determine your rankings. You want to be sure they’ve got the keywords you want to have targetted (but in a natural way, written for real people).
You should use a unique title on every page of your site. For example, my site’s title is “How to Make a Website”.
(Can’t find it? Just hold your mouse over the tab at the top of your web browser).
TAGLINES are added at the end of titles across every page. My site’s tagline is “Step by Step Guide”
In order to change the title and tagline on your website, go to “Settings -> General” and fill in the form below:
DISABLING COMMENTS FOR POSTS AND PAGES
Some websites (business/organization sites mostly) don’t want their visitors to be able to comment on their pages.
Here’s how to shut comments off on WordPress pages:
- While you are writing a new page, click “Screen Options” in the top right corner.
- Click the “Discussion” box. The “Allow Comments” box will appear at the bottom.
- Untick “Allow Comments”.
Want to disable comments on every new page by default?
- Go to “Settings -> Discussion” and untick “Allow people to post comments on new articles”
Setting Up a Static Front Page
Some people contact me saying they’re frustrated that their home page looks like a blog post. You can fix that by making your home page “static”.
A static page is a page that doesn’t change. Unlike a blog, where the first new article will show up at the top every time, a “static” page will show the same content every time someone comes to the site – like a home page you’ve designed.
To set up a static front page:
- Go to “Settings -> Reading”
- Choose a static page that you have created. “Front Page” denotes your home page. “Posts page” is the front page of your blog (if your entire site isn’t a blog).
If you don’t choose a static page on your own, WordPress will take your latest posts and start showing them on your homepage.
Most WordPress themes have a sidebar on the right side (in some cases it’s on the left).
If you want to get rid of the sidebar or edit out items you do not need like “Categories”, “Meta” and “Archives”, which are usually pointless, here’s how:
- Go to “Appearance -> Widgets” in the WordPress Dashboard.
- From here, you can use drag and drop to add different “boxes” to your sidebar, or remove the items you don’t want.
There’s also an “HTML box” – a text box where you can use HTML code. For beginners, don’t worry about this – just drag and drop the elements you’d like in your sidebar.
Installing Plugins to Get More out of WordPress
What is a plugin?
“Plugins” are extensions that are built to expand WordPress’ capabilities, adding features and functions to your site that don’t come as built-in.
They’re shortcuts to getting your site to do what you want to, without having to build the features from scratch.
You can use plugins to do everything from adding photo galleries and submission forms to optimizing your website and creating an online store.
How do I install a new Plugin?
To start installing plugins, go to “Plugins -> Add New” and simply start searching.
Keep in mind that there are over 25,000 different FREE plugins, so you’ve got a LOT to choose from!
Installation is easy – once you find a plugin you like, just click “Install”.
BUT – before you go and install every single one, I suggest you read this article: Things you need to know about using WP plugins.
Congratulations – you’re ready to launch!
If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, you should now have a fully-functional WordPress website!
My Final Advice: Keep Improving Yourself.
Always Ask Questions Anytime You Get Confused! Do You Have Any Question? Do You Want Me To Write on Any Topic, Whatsapp Me.
Use The Whatsapp Button Below To Ask Me Questions & Suggest A Topic!… GOODLUCK!!!
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