How to Setup a Website for Free, Complete Website Setup (2019)
Have you always wanted to create a stunning website?
Don´t worry it is not complicated at all.
Our tutorial shows a fast and a simple way to create a website without having to learn complicated coding (HTML/CSS), or read long and boring tutorials. We tried to make it simple and clear, and most importantly cost effective!
We expect you to be a Beginner and time needed to setup a website is around 45 minutes. With our help you will get your own Domain and Full operating website.
In this guide, we will show you how most web developers build their sites. We will tell you how you can avoid poorly performing website builders and most importantly we will help you avoid expensive mistakes.
Are you ready to launch your website today?
Let’s start with our guide
Before You Start!
Around the world there are many hundreds of different website building platforms and website builders like WordPress, Joomla and others. These are just a few for FREE.
There are also website builders that are not for FREE. Please see our TOP 10 PAID website builders.
Later in the Step2 we will explain the advantages and differences of the FREE and PAID website builders.
Some people also try to code their websites from scratch, but we wouldn’t recommend it on mainly three reasons:
- It just takes too much time
- Your end result will be mediocre at its best …
- You might get a fantastic custom made website, but then you would need a 5 figure budget (seriously)
Let’s take a look at these recent statistics made by BuiltWith.
How People Build Websites in 2019
Source: https:/trends.builtwith.com/cms, updated april 2019
As you can see from the graph above, in 2019, the most popular website builders (or content management systems) are:
- – WordPress (free) 55.3%
- – Wix (paid) 7.5%
- – Squarespace (paid) 4,17%
- – Joomla (free) 3.75%
- – Durpal (paid) 1.2%
STEP 1 Register a Domain Name and Get Web Hosting
To set up your WordPress or any other type of website, you’re going to need a Domain Name and Web Hosting:
- Domain Name (a web address like YourSite.com)
- Web Hosting (a service that connects your site to the internet)
In order to store your content, website files, images, you are going to need a web hosting. Otherwise your website will not be visible on the Internet.
Your own domain name makes your website far more professional and it’s super affordable, too. During the first year most of the hosting providers offer you FREE domain (usually~$14-16/year).
NB! Your website will exist only if you have domain and web hosting!
How do I register a domain name and get web hosting?
During our professional career we have mostly used A2 Hosting (fastest load time in the market!) and Bluehost as a web hosting and domain registrars, despite the fact which part of the world our customers are from.
Click here to get a free domain (for the first year) with your web hosting.
Both service providers are one of the most popular and secure hosting providers on the market. Bluehost as brand has been known for ages and A2 Hosting has gained its popularity in recent years.
Bluehost introductory price starts from $3.95 a month and they’re currently giving in a domain name for free (first year). However, A2 Hosting starts at $2.96 a month which is a super prices considering the service quality they are providing. BTW $2.96 is one of the cheapest price levels on the market.
Despite the fact that both hosting providers hold most of their servers in the US, they can handle a lot of traffic from across the world and in many cases they are cheaper than your local host.
As said, we have many customers who operate in Europe and we have always recommended them to use A2 Hosting or Bluehost.
If you already have a domain name and hosting, then skip rest in Step 1 and move directly to Step 2. In Step 2 we’ll explain how you can set up your website and choose the right website creation tool.
Following instruction will explain how to sign up with a web hosting provider.
Choose Your Website Hosting Plan
Click “get started now,” and you’ll be taken to a page to select the hosting plan of your choice. There are three hosting plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus and Pro.
From Bluehost you can get the basic hosting package for an incredible $3.95 a month + Free domain name. If you are on a budget, you can use the “basic” plan because it’s great for smaller sites with low or no traffic. From A2 Hosting you can get the same package with a $2.96 a month, however no free domain, but you will get the fastest load time on the market.
When you decide to choose Bluehost, then we really recommend the Choice Plus plan or Pro if you want to expect more traffic to your website. Which bells and whistles are included into Choice Plus and Pro plans you can read from the graph below.
There are listed all you would need to run a serious professional website.
The Choice Plus Plan is $5.95 per month, but normally this hosting package would cost you $14.99 per month! You can always start on the basic plan and upgrade to the Choice Plus Plan whenever you want, but we would not recommend it. Mainly because you wouldn´t like to fail due to the weaker performance of your website.
If you decide to build one website for a start, then we recommend to choose A2 Hosting Lite package. From the Lite package you will get all the needed features with a very good price. The rest of the packages between Bluehost and A2 Hosting are equally good, just some differences in pricing.
Choose the right a Domain Name
Deciding and registering a domain name should not be done in haste. It is a valuable marketing and search tool that should successfully lead customers to your site. Careful deliberation and research should be applied, as it might be the most important decision you make when carving out your slice of the online market.
If you’re making a website for your business, your domain name should match your company name or with the products/services you provide.
For example: YourCompanyName.com or YourService.com.
NB! Shorter is better!
If you’re planning to set up a website for yourself, then YourName.com can be a great option.
With the hosting package, you also get unlimited email addresses that are assigned to your domain name!
This is super useful as all you important communicative tools looks very professional and they are all branded accordingly!
To avoid challenges later try to sign up also all the social media tools you would consider important to use later in your business.
Fill In Your Account Details
Enter in your personal information on the “create your account” page.
Punch in your first name, last name, business name (optional), country, street address, city, zip code, phone number, and email address.
Enter your payment information to continue. Your receipt will be sent to your email address.
Check Your “Package Information” and Finish Registration
The next step in registering for a Bluehost account is to select your plan and package. Keep in mind our recommendations to avoid lost time or opportunities later, go for the Choice Plus.
Before your account creation is complete, these are the last steps you need to go through.
Choose the length of your web hosting registration and start you website!
If you have chosen Choice “Plus” or “Pro” plan you already have Domain privacy and Codeguard basic included, otherwise we recommend getting a domain privacy protection.
Domain Privacy Portection keeps your registration information fully hidden from the public and no-one can find out that you are the owner of your domain.
Create Your Password and Log In
Once paid and registered, you’ll be able to create your password:
Here you can find a simple guide for Bluehost (packages and installation guide for WordPress).
STEP 2 Set Up Your Website and make it Professional
Now when you have registered your domain name and set up your hosting, you’re ready to move on! It’s time to get your website up and running.
Why we recommend to Use WordPress to Build a Website?
WordPress is the easiest platform we’ve ever worked with in multiple projects around the world and it is completely FREE unlike some other website builders. WordPress is also flexible enough to suit everyone – bloggers, small businesses, online shops, bigger organizations – it just suits to everyone and it is professional! In fact as web developeres in most of the cases we use WordPress to create websites to our customers.
There are some important factors that makes WordPress great to use:
- Using WordPress you do not need to know or learn any HTML (or any other programming language) which might take more than half a year. Having a basic knowledge of HTML can boost you implementation, but if you want to create a website within a couple of days, learning HTML isn’t a viable option.
- Using WordPress versus Website Builders we can say that Website builders are good for one- two-page websites, but not more. Website Builders are very often limited and expensive.
- WordPress vs. other top players like Joomla/Drupal etc.: WordPress is just so much more user-friendly.
We’ve put together a detailed comparison between WordPress, Joomla and Drupal and if for some reason you don’t want to build your site with WordPress, check out our detailed comparison for other FREE website builders. You can also check the PAID website builders, but remember there are some limitations!
However for the beginners, we strongly suggest to choose a WordPress.
NB! Please don’t choose your platform right away. Most web hosting services offer one-click-installs for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
Follow our recommendation and Install WordPress
There are two possible ways to install WordPress:
1-click-install (wizard) or manual install (for advanced users, we explain this in another post)
Most of the well-established hosting companies have integrated 1-click-installation for WordPress, which makes installation process very easy.
1-click-installation you should find in your Bluehost or any other similar hosting company control panel.
1. Log in to your hosting account (Bluehost)
2. Go to your control panel, look for the “WordPress”icon or “My sites”
3. Click on “Create Site” button you see on top right corner, set Site name
4. Choose the domain where you want to install your new website, Bluehost offers some plug-ins activated automatically
5. Click the “Install Now” button and you will get access to your new WordPress website
6. Now access to your new WordPress website
7. Finally configure your site
2. MANUAL installation- Check the guide! Just a hint – manual installation is for advanced users
STEP 3 Design Your awesome Website
You’ve installed WordPress on your server, set it up and now you’re ready to venture into the online world with your new website.
You want to be different than everyone else, do you?
It’s time to make this site of yours look professional/awesome/cool, whatever you want it to be.
This bit is so easy and we’ll have you up and running in no time!
That’s why you need a pre designed theme that tells WordPress how your website should look.
See a FREE example that you can install:
As we are so much into the design, here the process gets super fun.
In WordPress there are thousands of professionally designed themes you can choose from and make your own dream site.
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
Type in: https:/yourcompayname.com/wp-admin (replace “yourcompanyname” with your domain).
There are a lot of buttons, options, and functions here, which might look a bit complex, but trust us it isn’t. In the next few stages, we will show you how to get started with your theme.
Once you spend just a few minutes exploring the WordPress dashboard, you’ll understand how everything works and become completely fluent with this platform.
2. Getting Started With Free Themes
More elegant and professional themes you can find from ThemeForest.net where there’s a big library of themes to pick from at varying costs. NB! For some of the themes you have to pay.
But before you do that, spend some time browsing the free themes. Many of them are very professional and well designed.
From above you can see that 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.
WordPress themes mainly contain the following:
- The complete design or style of your site
- Font design
- Color themes
- Widget locations
- Page layouts or page templates
- Styles for blog posts and blog archives
- Menu styles and structure
- In most cases – Responsive design
One of the key factors or must for website is that it has to have responsive design.
Just to sum up responsive web design is an approach whereby a designer creates a web page that “responds to” or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through.
That could be an oversized desktop computer monitor, a laptop or devices with small screens such as smartphones and tablets.
Nowadays more and more people are using mobile devices. According to recent 2018 Pew study 77 % of Americans now own a smartphone, which is up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first smartphone ownership survey carried out in 2011. Consider it!
3. Install your new theme
When you have found a theme you like, installing it is as straight forward as it can be, just simply click “Install” followed by “Activate”.
NB! You can change themes as often as you want without having to worry about losing what you’ve created. Changing themes won’t delete your previous posts, pages and content.
STEP 4 Add Content To Your Website
With your theme installed, you’re ready to start creating content.
Let’s go through some of the basics.
Adding and editing pages
Want a “Contact” page, or an “About us” page (like we have on our menu at the top of the site)?
1. In the WordPress Dashboard look for the sidebar for “Pages” and click “Add New”.
2. You’ll find a screen that looks very simple and user friendly
Almost like what you’ve maybe seen in Microsoft Word. There you can add images, text, and save it when you’re done
Creating you navigation bar and adding pages
If you want your new page to be linked to your navigation bar:
1. Save any changes you’ve made to the page by clicking “Update”
2. Click “Appearance” – “Menus” in the sidebar of the WordPress Dashboard
3. Find the page you created and add it to the list by clicking the checkbox next to it and then “Add to Menu”
How to Add and Edit post
If your website is going to have a blog section, then “Posts” is where you’ll need to go to publish this type of content.
When you want to include a blog to your website, you can use different categories and posts. Let’s say you want to create a category named “Blog”.
To do so, simply add it to your menu and start making posts.
With posts, you can categorize the content really easily and it makes it easier for the visitors to your website find your blog posts.
Here’s a quick step by step guide on what you need to do:
1. To create a new category for your blog, simply go to “Posts – Categories”
2. Another way is to create a blog post by doing this. “Posts – Add New”. Then with your completed blog post, you just assign it the right category and you’re ready to publish.
Once you’ve created your category, simply add it to the menu, and you’re in business.
You’re ready to launch!
Your next step – keep improving your website!