How To Build Your Website From Scratch in 1 WeekWITHOUT HIRING A DESIGNER OR LEARNING TO CODE
Let me guess….you know you need to DIY your website to start your online business, so you fire up Google and log onto Youtube University ( hey, they’re free right) and begin your research.
Then you go down one Youtube rabbit hole after another. You’ve done the research – and there’s no shortage of information.
The problem is that you’ve done soooo.much.freaking.research that you’re overwhelmed with options, you’re frustrated and you’re about ready to tear your hair out.
Just deciding WHICH TOOLS to use to build your website ( WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix..)…blarghhh!
Then, you have to pick the perfect domain name that is actually available or not copyrighted.Ughhh!
And….what the hell is a web host, anyway?
I wish it ended there, but you and I both know there are even more decisions to be made. If you go with WordPress, just how exactly are you supposed to choose a theme from the thousands out there? I mean, variety is the spice of life and all…but there’s just a tad too much spice up in here and you’re about done.
And let’s not talk about code because #aintnobodygottimefordat.
I’m sure you have ALL THE FEELS by now. I’m right there with you.
So why should you read this blog post over the thousands that are already out there?
- Because I’m gonna cut through the crap, drop the bullshit and get straight to the point.
- I’m actually going to walk you through step by step, give you the blueprint, the manuscript on exactly how to build your website from scratch without having to learn a thing about code (no, thanks!) or draining your bank account to hire a designer.
- This isn’t just another quickly-thrown-together Bluehost/WordPress tutorial like all the others out there. Nope, not here
So if you’re picking up what I’m throwing down, grab a cup of coffee, brew your tea or pour yourself a glass of wine (red or white, you choose) and get ready to learn.
Tell the hubster (or wife) to take the kids outside for a walk or to the park. Shut down Facebook and turn off your phone. Yep, it’s that serious. I want your undivided attention.
Quick & Dirty Guide:
Not a fan of long scrolling? No problem! Click on any of the links below to jump straight to that section. You’re welcome :).
Let’s do this.
Before We Get Started: Arm Yourself With The Right Tools
Sooooo many People get stuck RIGHT here trying to wade their way through the battle of the choices of platforms, web hosting, themes, and more.
Here’s the skinny: You can DIY your website for waaaay less than the cost of hiring a designer, but if you want to do it right, it’s not gonna be free. You’ll need to invest in some tools to get the party started.
Affiliate Disclosure: Keeping it real and letting you know – I’ve got a few affiliate links here, which means I get a commission if you chose to make a purchase through the links on this page – at zero cost to you! I only recommend things that I have personally tried AND I know will be beneficial to you, my lovely readers. Bonus love points will be sent your way immediately! Read here for more info.
In a nutshell, here are my personal recommendation of all the things you’ll need to get your website going: :
- Namecheap.com – Buy Your domain name (janedoe.com, mycompany.com, etc.)
- Siteground – The Best Web Host
- WordPress – the platform to build your website
- Divi by Elegant Themes – Best WordPress Theme for all levels – from newbies to pro coders.
And if this is looking like gibberish to you, don’t worry. I’m going to go into detail about each of the steps. By the end of our time together, you’ll feel like a pro. You’re going to be empowered to get your website going ASAP!
Day 1: Finding Prime Real Estate on The Web – Your Domain Name
How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name
You know what they say in real estate, right?
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.
Your website domain IS your digital location and address on the web. It’s something that you should really put a lot of thou
ght and effort into before making a final decision.
If you’re anything like me, you constantly have ideas popping into your head about business and you have a hard time deciding on just one name. Maybe you’ve gotten that 3am wake up burst of inspiration and bought the domain name right then and there. (No, just me? Fine)
Maybe you’re a domain name buying junkie like myself with who knows how many domains that are sitting on GoDaddy’s servers gathering digital dust.
Here are my top five tips on choosing a domain name so get unstuck and buy the damn domain already!
- Decide if you are building a personal brand ( amyporterfield.com), a company (leadpages.net) or a niche (socialmediaexaminer.com)
- Make it easy to spell and easy to remember
- Always try and get the .com first, and the .net if the .com isn’t available
- Do your research to avoid trademark infringement. I am pretty sure if you bought applecomputers.com you’d be getting a call from Apple’s lawyers. Just chatting trademarks alone is an entire separate conversation, but for starters check out uspto.gov to research trademarks.
- Don’t try to build a personal brand with a hard-to-spell name (yep, that’s me with my last name, Marquardt!)? Try using a shorter version of your name, a nickname or pair your name with something that describes your brand (janedoephotography.com)
Once you’ve made your decision on your domain name. The next step is…well, actually doing it! Here goes….
How To Purchase Your Domain Name
1. Go to namecheap.com
- Create a free account first
- Use their search bar to find your domain name
- Go here to grab a coupon code for 10% off. This only works if you have an account first!
- Purchase your domain, and that’s it!
I recommend purchasing your domain name for at least one year to see how it works out. We’re human, we evolve and change, and so will our business. If after one year it’s still going strong, and you feel like you can build a solid business and brand, then renew it for longer than a year. It’s cheaper and actually helps with SEO rankings ( longevity is a big part of good SEO rankings)
Day 2: Choosing The Right Landlord – Your Web Hosting
So now that you’ve secured your prime real estate on the interwebs, the next step is to find a good landlord, or web host, for your website.
Let’s clear the muddy water and demystify your head space about what is web hosting.
I’m going to show you what it is and why you need it.
Then I’ll go ahead and talk about my recommended web host, Siteground.
What is a web host?
It’s a service that connects your website to the internet. We’re basically renting server space from a 3rd party company and they store your website content – your files, your web copy, and your images.
Imagine if you owned a physical brick and mortar store. You would have a physical address that shows people where they can find you. You’d probably also pay to rent that space so you can run your business, right?
So, if we apply that to your website:
Your Website Domain = physical address
Web Host = Landlord
Web Hosting Fees = Monthly rent
Why is web hosting important?
Because you’re running an online business, and the last thing you need is for your website to be ‘out of service,’ down, or worse, hacked by an outsider. (Yep happened to me, but I’ll save that story for another time.)
We want to choose a good reliable web host because #aintnobodygottime for a slow website that won’t load or can’t handle large volumes of traffic.
Why do I recommend Siteground for web hosting?
I seriously thought about doing this awesome comparison chart going over all the features a web host should offer, and making a top ten comparison blah, blah,blah. I know you don’t need all that info, your eyes would glaze over and I would lose you so fast. So let’s cut through the crap.
I’ve been through my fair share of web hosts over the past 5 years. With previous web hosts I’ve had my websites, hacked, not backed up, data lost, website down for over 24 hours, and so much more.
Not cool if you’re running an online business.
I switched over to Siteground 2 years ago and could not be happier.
– I have NONE of the previous issues I just listed
– My website is faster
– It’s way more secure
-The support gets 2 big thumbs up from me! I haven’t had an unresolved issue, and I’ve bugged them a lot!
– They take care of automatic WordPress updates and make daily backups of my web site, so I dont’ have to.
-If you’re moving from another web host, they offer free website transfers
-They have a hack monitoring service that let’s you know if your website has been compromised in any way.
Which hosting package should I choose?
Siteground has 3 web hosting packages to choose from:
Startup – for new website owners or if you only plan on having one website.
Grow Big – A good option if you think you may have multiple websites.
Go Geek – if you’re a super nerd like me and want all the bells and whistles. Not necessary for a beginner.
How do I setup my web host account?
1. Choose your hosting package
2. Enter the domain name you choose from Step #2
3.Complete your purchase
So now we’ve found a location, we’ve worked everything out with your online landlord and agreed on a monthly or annual contract, it’s time to start laying out the foundation and building your website!
Day 3: Setting Up Office Utilities – Installing WordPress
Alright, so far we’ve learned about the right tools and resources for your website, how to choose your domain name, and setup web hosting.
Now is the fun part: where we get to install WordPress on your website!
(If you want to know why I choose WordPress over the other popular option, Squarespace, check out my WordPress vs Squarespace blog post.)
Going back to our brick and mortar example, this is like setting up the basic utilities like water, electricity and internet. We’re not open for business yet, but we need these essential things in place to run our business and take care of our customers, right?
Let’s just jump right in:
Grab your Nameservers from Siteground Account
1. Log back into your web hosting account. Once you’re logged in, click on the My Accounts tab and then Go to cPanel.
2. Here’s where you find the nameserver information. Yours might look different from mine.
3. Log back into Namecheap
Click on the Dashboard or Domain List to bring up the domain name you just purchased. From there, click the ‘Manage’ button
4. Scroll down to the Nameservers section, click on the arrow next to ‘Namecheap Basic DNS’ so it drops down and click ‘Custom DNS’
5. Enter the nameservers from Siteground. Be sure to enter them on each separate line, like I have in the picture below
Now that we’ve got Namecheap and Siteground talking to each other, let’s go ahead and get WordPress set-up, shall we?
6. Head back over to your Siteground cPanel, and click on the WordPress icon
7. Once the new page loads, click on the ‘Install’ tab. Make sure the fields highlighted below are filled out correctly. Everything else can be left as a default.
8. Once everything is filled out correctly, hit that “Install” button, and wait for the magic to happen.
You should see a congratulations message like the one below:
Aaaand you’re done with this step! Be sure to save the login information for your website, in addition to your Siteground & Namecheap accounts.
We found an awesome location for our online business, we picked a great landlord, and we setup our utilities! Woohoo!
More fun coming….
Day 4: It’s Interior Decorator Time – Your WordPress Theme
Now, we need to start decorating this blank space with some personal touches to your new online business home.
If you thought installing WordPress on your site was fun, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
So in order to start creating personal touches on our websites, we need to install a WordPress theme.
As ususal I’ll cover the basics -what is a wordpress theme, and which one I recommend.
What is a WordPress theme?
It’s a template that you can add to your site and then customize. WordPress is an open source platform, which means that there are thousands of both free and paid options out there!
A Thousand Options? So How The Hell Do I Choose A Theme To Work With?
Great question. Many Facebook group debates and discussions have heated up over this very same question. Let’s cut to the chase.
I recommend the Divi theme from ElegantThemes.com
- The biggest reason I love Divi: it is a drag and drop theme and extremely flexible. It fits any kind of business – whether you’re building a personal online brand or you’re a small local business.
- You can create a beautifully branded website without being a web designer. You can make the layout look any way you want.
- Divi has pre-loaded templates built in which you can tweak and customize to your specific needs. Whether it’s a coming soon page, a portfolio page or a sales pages – you can load the template and switch out the copy and content for your own.This is a HUGE time saver!
- The front end visual builder. This feature allows you to build your website visually on the front end and make changes in real time, without having to go into the back end and make tweaks.
- Zero Coding experience necessary. Z-E-R-O.
I like to think of Divi like the all-inclusive resorts of WordPress themes. It comes pre-loaded with everything you need to make a beautiful website, but if you need some extra amenities – free or paid – those are always available, too.
Yes- I did just compare building websites to an all-inclusive resort. I’m that big of a nerd.
Check out the demo of Divi here so you can get a feel for how the Divi theme works. I’ll explain the step by steps below:
How To Install The Divi Theme on Your WordPress Website
1. Go to the Divi theme page or click the image below and click the Join To Download button in the upper right hand corner.
2. Choose your membership option. I recommend starting off with the annual membership to see how you like it, and if you fall in love like I did, you can switch over to the lifetime membership option
3. Enter your payment info
4. Once you’ve registered and signed up, log into your account and grab the theme files to download to your computer
5. Make sure the download tab is selected, and click to download Divi.
6. Save the Divi theme as a zip file (!). I recommend saving it to your desktop so you know where to find it.
7. Login into your WordPress website, and from your Dashboard go to Appearance>Theme>Add New
Upload and activate your theme
And booom! You’re done with this step! You now have the Divi theme installed and activated on your website. But now what?
Keep reading 🙂
Day 5: Your Coming Soon Page – Get Your Customers Excited Before You Launch
I remember 5 years when I built my very first website, I had no idea how to create a Coming Soon page. So when people asked about my website, I was too embarrassed to tell them where to go because my site was incomplete. Can you relate? If I had a coming soon page that was optimized to capture leads, now that’s a different matter.. Anyway, I wish I had this knowledge when I just started out, and so, of course, I will pass the baton to you, my awesome readers…
Why is a Coming Soon page so important?
There’s obvious reasons like making a good first impression, and having the curtains up while you work behind the scene, etc. But the single, most important and strategic reason for a Coming Soon page is to list build and collect email addresses while you work behind the scene on your website.
If you run any kind of business – online or brick and mortar – you’ll realize very quickly how valuable your email list in your business.
Anyone who opts-in on your Coming Soon page is definitely someone who is interested in your business and your brand. It’s a no-brainer. They are your “first-responders” and the early adopters to your brand. They’re the peeps you notify when your website goes live, when you post something share-worthy on social media, or when you have something exciting to offer – like a new product or service.
(Ok so side not…I love digital strategy and had to restrain myself from continuing here.)
Back to the DIY website stuff you’re here for…
OK, I get the importance – so what do I put on a “Coming Soon” Page?
- A clear value proposition that promises a result or an outcome
Instead of saying something cheesy like just “Coming Soon,” give your future clients a taste of what’s it going to be like to interact with your brand. Examples – “Social Media Minus The Overwhelm,” “Beautiful Websites That Converts,” “Simple Family Meals In Under 30 Minutes” – you get the general gist. An awesome value proposition peaks my interest and makes we want to stick around for more.
- One clear call to action
Have your customers opt-into your email list. Have them like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. Whatever it is, you decide but don’t give too many options – otherwise, you’ll lose people.
- An awesome background image
Images make your website pop. A nice, high-quality background image (1920 x 1080 in size) makes all the difference in the world. Don’t have professional stock images or need help finding stock images? My go-to’s for free images are Pixabay, Unsplash and Public Domain Archive.
Awesome – now how do I create a Coming Soon Page with Divi?
Okay, so now that we’ve got the formalities out of the way and I’ve convinced you why you need a coming soon page, let’s hop right into the techy stuff, shall we? 1. From your WordPress Dashboard, go to Pages>Add New Create a New Page and give it a title – like Home Page or Coming Soon page. Click on ‘Use The Divi Builder” to activate awesomeness and change your view of DIY websites forever.) 3. Be sure to save your page as a ‘Draft’ or hit the “Publish” button The Divi Builder has some pre-loaded templates that you can use as a starting point, and then from there you can modify and tweak as needed. 4. From here, click on Load from Library. Scroll down to find the Coming Soon Page template, and hit the Load button Click on Save changes. Now click on the blue button that says ‘Use Visual Builder’ to see how your page looks so far…
How To Tweak Your Coming Soon Page
Watch this quick video I put together showing you how to make tweaks to your coming soon page.
You can skip ahead to 1:47 where I start to explain, or you can watch the entire video if you want a more visual, step by step guide.
If you’ve read through this entire blog post, followed along and made it to the end – OMG- Congratulations! You’ve not only saved yourself hours of your time (and quite possibly, your sanity) but you just learned the very beginning steps of how to build your website from scratch – without having to hire anyone or touch a piece of code!
That’s huge. So many people – so many – don’t ever make it to this step without a lot of frustration, hair-pulling, and a few choice words.
I know you’ve let loose a few f-bombs before you made it to this blog post….:)
Go ahead, pop your collar and dust yourself off. You deserve it.
Soooo……What’s the next step?
Are you like me where you love simple, straightforward video tutorials and pretty PDF checklists? I highly recommend checking out my free 5-Day DIY Website Class. It’s a free class delivered to you via email for 5 days – along with a daily video tutorial and PDF.
Feel like skipping ahead of the class and wanting to learn how to build out your entire website? Then DIY Website Ninja is the next step for you.
Here’s to your continued success with your website!
Did ya like this post? Comment below with your biggest takeaway. I love to know what my audience is thinking!