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Free guides to start, manage, and grow new websites for beginners.

How to Launch a Website

Free Guided Resources for Launching and Growing All Types of Websites

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Message from the Author

Yiming Xuzhou

I initially decided to write these guides because I was shocked at how long it took me to make my first website. All I wanted was a QUICK, EASY resource that taught me exactly what I needed to build a successful site. Now, I want to share the tips and resources I've picked up as a web designer, developer, and marketer. With WebsiteLaunch.org, you too can launch your own site without ever typing a single line of code.

Want to create a new website?

About 547,200 new websites are created every day across the globe. Out of the 1.8 billion websites that already exist, only about 10% are active. At WebsiteLaunch.org, we want to help you launch a new website with your future success in mind. Read our free, step-by-step guides to build a website that truly stands out. 

About our Website Building Guides

Beginner guide to website creation
For Beginners

All you need to start creating your website is an internet connection and a bit of time. No experience or coding knowledge required.

quick creation website guide
Quick Website Launch

Our guides prioritize speed and fast setups. We want you to spend more time growing your website than starting it.

every type of website
All Types of Websites

Whether you want to build an online store, portfolio, blog, or business website, we have guides that fit your exact needs. 

global support
24/7 Global Support

Got questions or concerns? Contact us anytime, anywhere at our email address: [email protected].

Last updated on August 15, 2021.

STEP 1: Select Your Website Building Platform

Every website gets created on a platform. Before you start brainstorming the details about your new website, you have to decide what platform you will use to build it with. 

What is a Website Building Platform?

Website building has come a long way since the days of hand-coding every line on your site from scratch.

Nowadays there are all sorts of building platforms that provide an easy drag and drop interface with tons more features than ever before, like:

  • Photo galleries
  • Web hosting
  • Forms
  • Quizzes
  • Surveys

 

And just about anything you need in order to build a beautiful personal or business website. Our goal is to show you how to quickly build and launch a website without any coding knowledge whatsoever.

In 2021, content management systems for websites have become extremely popular – WordPress alone (the top CMS) powers over 40% of all websites on the internet

What are the Best Website Builders of 2021?

Before you choose what software you want to use to build your website, let’s take a look at the most popular website builders right now. 

These statistics are from BuiltWith.

wordpress logo blue

44.50%

Worldwide Usage

wordpress title logo

28,183,568

Total Websites

wix logo

7.21%

Worldwide Usage

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4,565,423

Total Websites

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4.10%

Worldwide Usage

squarespace logo full

2,596,715

Total Websites

As you can see, WordPress is by far the most popular choice for website CMS tools. Over 28 million websites are built with WordPress across the entire internet. 

Why are so many websites created with WordPress?

Why WordPress is the Most Popular Website CMS

1. It is FREE, open-source software

WordPress is an open-source website platform. Unlike website builders or web design software, WordPress doesn’t cost a dime to download and install on your browser. There are also plenty of free themes for you to choose from that will make the designing process quick and easy.

2. It has extensive customization options

Unlike traditional website builders, WordPress gives you a skeleton website platform that you can personalize with thousands of free add-ons and plugins. With WordPress plugins, you’ll be able to personalize your website for any business or organization by adding features like contact forms, subscription forms, image galleries, and stores. Installation can happen in a few minutes – it’s really that simple.

3. You can create any type of website

Although the original intent was to be a platform for bloggers, WordPress has come quite far as a website builder. Now, it is suitable and useful in many different formats. Here are a few different websites you can easily make with WordPress:

  • Blogs
  • Portfolios
  • Community Forums
  • Ebook sites
  • Review sites
  • Chatrooms
  • Ecommerce
  • Business websites
  • Galleries
  • Rating sites
  • Coupon sites
  • Non-profit sites

4. It has a helpful (& huge) community

Since WordPress’s userbase is not restricted by price, coding skill level, or premium support, the community is alive and thriving. People have created thousands of blogs, communities, online courses, books, and forums dedicated to guiding new WordPress users. 

If you run into problems, you can make a quick Google search, ask for help here, or hire developers for as little as $5 per service

2 Options

websitelaunch wordpress

Continue with WordPress

Skip to step 2 here.

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See Alternative Builders

Keep Reading

What are some good alternatives to WordPress?

If you want an easier website-building experience without needing to install add-ons, there are some great options available today.

In fact, a lot of these tools allow you to create a website, completely free.

Some other options include:

  • Wix is a creative website builder with tools that make it easy to design and build a site in minutes. However, it can be costly and you do not have the option to migrate your website to another platform if you need to.
  • Squarespace is a popular option because of its aesthetically attractive design. Unfortunately, it shares the same flaws as Wix.
  • Weebly is an easy-to-use website builder but it has more restrictive templates. However, you are allowed to switch templates after your website goes live (you can’t do this with Wix).
  • Joomla is almost like WordPress and is a good tool for website building, but it does require at least some basic understanding of code.

inserrt link to web builder compsarison

Next steps...

Before you choose what builder you will use, there are some steps that you need to take first. You actually don’t need to install or download a builder until you have a domain name and a host.

In the next two steps, we will quickly get you set up to start building your website!

First, let's get you a domain name and a space to host your website.

did you know about web hosts
What do web hosts do?

STEP 2: Choose a Domain Name and Host

Affiliate Disclosure: Our guide is supported by readers and affiliate programs. If you utilize our links, we may earn a portion of the commission. We thank you for supporting us. 

The first step to get your website online is to pick:

  1. A domain name (such as https://www.yourdomainname.com)
  2. A web host (the provider that gets your site online)

 

While you can use WordPress for free, you have to pay to get a host and domain name. If you were to use a free website builder, you probably wouldn’t be allowed to have your own domain name. This is a clear disadvantage because having a site that looks like…

“www.yourdomainname.wixsite.com”

…does not look professional at all.

Why is your Web Host important?

Having a great web host provider is essential for creating a successful website. Make sure to find a host that gets you these things:

  1. Increased Website Speed (leads to more conversions and traffic)
  2. 24/7 Support (you will run into a lot of problems when you first start building a website)
  3. Web and Domain Security (so your site can’t get easily hacked)
  4. Optional Bonus – Free Domain 

Our Recommended Host

Personally, I choose to use Bluehost as the web host and domain registrar for most of my websites online.

Their hosting is great because it costs less than $5 a month and includes a handful of useful features such as:

  • Reliable, fast hosting
  • A FREE domain name (extra perk)
  • Great support team

Of course, you can try to host your site by yourself, but it’s a very complicated process and often would cause more problems to arise.

For now, I would recommend signing up with Bluehost to take advantage of a professional host who can get you a custom domain name and even an email account.

(like [email protected])

How to choose a domain name

When it comes to choosing a domain name, this is where you can let your creativity shine. However, there are some domain name practices you should follow:

  1. Keep your domain short; nobody wants to click on a domain they can’t finish reading.
  2. Make it memorable; this is a great way to get people to return to your site
  3. Try to get a .com or a .org for your top-level domain (like WebsiteLaunch.org)

 

If you already have a few keywords that match the website you want to create, you could run them through a domain name generator to get some ideas. Once you have a few potential domains, check them in Bluehost’s directory to see if they are available. 

If the domain you choose is not in use, go ahead and claim it before someone else does!

important message for website launch
Click this message to get your free domain

insert guide of how to start with bluehost

Next steps...

Once you have your web host and domain set up, it is time to start building your new website! In the next step, we will install WordPress with only a few clicks.

STEP 3: Setting up WordPress

Let’s go over how to quickly install WordPress using Bluehost‘s one-click-installation method. 

Step-by-Step Installation

  1. Go to Bluehost.com and choose your hosting plan (cheapest one is fine)
  2. Type your domain name when prompted
  3. Fill out all the required information (I would recommend signing up for 3 years for the best deal)
  4. Finish the payment process and create an account
  5. Log into your account and press “one-click WordPress install”
  6. Answer the questions about your new site and install!

 

If you made it to this screen, congratulations! You successfully created your new website on WordPress.

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Go ahead and select “Start Building” to access your WordPress dashboard and see the backend to your site.

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You should be able to see a screen that looks like this. 

This is your WordPress dashboard. You will be coming here a lot whenever you make edits to your site.

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Let’s start designing your new site by first choosing a theme.

Themes in WordPress allow you to quickly edit your site’s look and feeling without changing any code or doing any real work. 

WordPress’s official directory has over 8,000 themes to choose from, most of which are completely free. 

Luckily, you can also pick and choose your theme directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Let’s get started.

1. Choosing a Theme

Navigate your cursor to the left menu on your screen and find Appearance > Themes, click on the + sign that says Add New Theme.

wordpress add new theme

You can go ahead and explore the featured themes, popular themes, latest themes, or search for something that fits your site better. 

wordpress looking for themes

When you find one you like, look at a demo of it by clicking on “Details & Previews”. This will bring up a new screen where you can read its features and see it up close.

If you want to keep it, simply press install on the top left of your screen.

wordpress install theme

To start using the theme for your site, click “Activate” where the install button was. 

If you can’t find a theme you like in WordPress, there are plenty of other places to find advanced and premium themes.

2. Creating Content (Make your first page)

It’s a good idea to have some content on your site before you begin customizing the appearance of it.

A great place to start is to create these keystone pages for your new site:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Blog posts page (optional)

 

Many WordPress themes also come with different page templates that are pre-made to help you quickly create specific types of web pages.

To see how your specific theme works, head to Appearance > Customize on your WordPress dashboard.

This will take you to your theme editor where you can change basic elements of your site that will have site-wide effects.

It will also help you understand how to make pages efficiently for your specific theme.

insert post about pages new websites need

wordpress customization options

Before you start making content on your site, be sure to check out your “Site Identity” settings. This option should be present regardless of what theme you are using.

site identity settings

Under your site identity settings, you will be able to give your site a few necessary things:

  • A site logo
  • Tagline
  • Favicon

 

The tagline and favicon will show up on top of your tab when readers are visiting your page. It is essential to giving your site a unique identity. 

For example, this is SmartPassiveIncome.com‘s favicon and tagline.

favicon example

Once you finish that, navigate to your “Hompage Settings”.

Here, you get to choose whether your homepage displays your recent blog posts or a static landing page.

If you are creating a blog, you may want to choose the “latest posts” option but for most people, you want your homepage to be a “static page”.

homepage settings

When you are done customizing your site, save your changes by pressing Publish in the upper left corner.

Now, let’s edit your homepage by returning to the WordPress dashboard.

Navigate to Pages > Add New.

add new page
I will be using my new site GotVertical.com to demo

By default, you will be using the WordPress Gutenberg editor, shown here.

The “About” is your page title and the content goes under where it says “Start writing…”.

gutenberg

You can use the visual editor to add images and other features.

The blue + button on the left corner is used for making new blocks which can be text, images, or other things.

Adding additional pages can be done by repeating this creation process. 

If you create your homepage here, make sure to return to the customization options and select this page in your “Homepage settings” so WordPress knows your preference.

You may want to consider using a plugin that allows for easier drag and drop editing but this editor is good enough for now.

add demo for using a drag and drop editor

3. Set up your menus

As you add more pages, posts, and content to your site, you may find yourself getting unorganized. This can be deadly to your productivity and can cause a whole mess of issues.

That is why it is important to get your organization figured out from the start.

Begin organized also means giving your readers an easy way to understand how your site works and how to navigate around your pages. 

To do this, you have to create a navigation menu.

Go ahead and return to your WordPress dashboard and head to Appearance > Menus.

wordpress menus

First, give your menu a name. I decided to name mine “main menu”.

Then, use the “Add menu items” segment to select pages or posts you want to include in your menu. When you add them, they will be sent to the “Menu structure” segment.

Here, you can organize your menu however you want. As you can see, I have my About page as a sub-item in my Start Here link.

When you are done creating your menu, press save. Then, you can choose where you want your menu to appear under “Manage Locations“.

menu

Here is an example of what your menu might look like if you return to your customization settings.

Once that is all done, it is time to start beefing your website up with some of the best plugins.

4. Adding Plugins to your Website

WordPress’s extensive plugin library is what separates it from all the other website-building platforms. 

WordPress plugins are a great way to increase functionality on your site.

The official WordPress plugin directory contains nearly 60,000 plugins that can be used to customize your site.

There are also even more available from third-party developers. 

To download and install some new plugins, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New.

wordpress plugins

You will be taken to a screen that contains a marketplace of plugins including the featured, popular, recommended, and favorited.

Another option is to search for plugins with the search bar. 

plugins

But before you start downloading and installing a bunch of plugins, exercise caution.

Since WordPress is open-source software, many plugins are poorly maintained or not monitored for issues. This can cause problems like a slowdown, plugin conflicts, or even site failure.

Luckily, I have a list here of plugins that are very useful, well maintained, and safe to install. Feel free to click on any of them to learn more.

add best plugin post

Essential WordPress Plugins

These are some of the best plugins that I personally use on almost all my sites.

  • Elementor is a drag-and-drop website builder that lets you edit your pages by directly dropping elements onto the page. It is much more visual than the default editor and lets you create beautiful pages easily. 
  • Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin for WordPress. It makes it simple to optimize on-page elements of your website so you can get discovered on search engine results pages.
  • Jetpack is a plugin that is probably already downloaded onto your site. It offers high-grade security, backups, and options to speed up your site.
  • WP Forms is an essential plugin for collecting leads and creating email lists. It lets you easily build forms that can be placed anywhere on your website.
  • MonsterInsights is the best plugin for seeing insights on your readers and traffic. It connects Google Analytics to your WordPress dashboard.
  • WP Rocket is a premium plugin that must be downloaded off of WordPress. However, it is the best all-around plugin for making your site fast. Although you can combine different plugins to get the same results, it is much more efficient and easy to set up.

5. Add security to your website

Now that your site has some content and plugins, you should take some time to make sure your website is secure for visitors to come.

The way to do this is to set up your SSL. This will give your site a lock symbol at the top of the search bar instead of a message that says “not secure”.

Nobody wants to visit a site that is not secure. To get set up, do the following:

  1. Log into your Bluehost account
  2. Head to My Sites
  3. Select Manage Site
  4. Click on the Security Tab
  5. Under SSL Certificate: Let’s Encrypt select the On toggle
  6. Check to make sure your site is secure by visiting your front end– there should be a lock next to the domain name in the address bar
ssl security bluehost

Once that is done, you can move on to the final step.

5. Publish your Website!

When you’re ready to launch, be sure to check your settings and proofread your posts and pages. If it looks the way you want, go ahead and select the link at the top of your WordPress dashboard that says “Coming Soon Active“.

This will prompt you to launch your site. 

Press “Launch your site” to continue.

Now go ahead and check out your live website!

live site

It might not look like much right now, but you are well on your way to creating a beautiful website!

I would advise you to click through your site and double-check to make sure everything is working and properly formatted.

Congratulations! You successful launched a new website!

When it comes to beginning a new website or project, the start is the hardest part.

By overcoming this challenge, you have successfully set yourself up to make money, grow a business, share information, or do anything else you want online.

Enjoy this victory, but make sure to keep pushing and updating your site so it becomes even stronger.

WebsiteLaunch.org is a free guide for quickly creating and launching new websites in 2021.

Select icons were made by Freepik from flaticon.com

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