How to create your Website – for beginners (2020)

Would you like to learn how to easily create your own website? Are you still a bloody beginner and have no idea where to start?

Don’t worry! Here you will find out everything you need to know. Even if you have little or no previous technical knowledge. You will see that creating your own website is not that difficult.


1. Prepare

Before you even start, you should think carefully about what your long-term goal is. Would you like to create a personal portfolio? A professional website with an online shop? Or your own blog? It is extremely important to know the exact requirements beforehand so that your project will be a success.

So, take a few minutes to write down your requirements. Above all, think of the following points:

  • What kind of website do you want to create (web blog, personal portfolio, professional company website, …)
  • Would you like to sell or market your own products?
  • What budget do you have?
  • Would you like to create your website in multiple languages?
  • ow often will you make changes to the website later (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)

Have you formulated your requirements as precisely as possible? Wonderful, then we can start with the next point. Choosing the right content management system.

Content-Management-System (CMS):
A content management system is a system for managing, organizing and displaying content, for example a website.


2. Choosing the right system

This is by far the most important decision you have to make. A website that you have created with one system cannot be easily ported to another. That’s why choosing the right system is so important. This is the only way to be well prepared for any subsequent changes.

I want you to present two different ways how you can proceed. Choose carefully the variant that best suits your requirements.

2.1. The website-builder

If you want to create a simple website, I recommend a website-builder. For example, this may be a small company website that only contains contact information and a few subpages. But also a personal homepage where you want to present yourself and your skills are possible.

I wouldn’t have advised you to do this a few years ago. However, the website-builders have developed extremely positively in recent years. They are easy to learn quickly and can create impressive websites in a short time. You can use many pre-made designs, but you can change them as you like. And without any previous technical knowledge!

Website-builders are excellent for small companies who want a simple online presence. Perfect for providing information and contact details for customers.

That sounds pretty damn good? Yes, it is, but such website-builders also have a few key disadvantages.

They are usually very static and difficult to expand. In addition, you are bound to the modules and extensions of the manufacturer. This means that you cannot integrate extensions from other manufacturers. You should only use a website-builder if you have no complex requirements and do not want to make any changes to your website, or only rarely, in the foreseeable future.

Advantages of a website builder

  • No previous technical knowledge required
  • Easy handling with simple editors
  • Short training period
  • Free version with many functions
  • Many pre-made designs
  • Support from the manufacturer

Disadvantages of a website builder

  • Not suitable for larger and complex projects
  • Extensibility is often only possible to a limited extent, or you are usually tied to the manufacturer’s modules

#1 Jimdo

Jimdo is one of the largest providers of website-builders. This is my personal favorite. There’s even a free package that lets you create a website based on a subdomain. However, I would recommend you at least take the “Start” or better “Grow” package. There you get a free domain based on a top-level domain and have extensive options for creating the website.

Domain:
A freely selectable name below a top-level domain. For example: the-digital-life.com

Top-level domain:
This is part of the domain, to the right of the dot.
For example: the-digital-life.com. Other examples are: .de, .net, and many more.

Subdomain:
This is part of the domain, to the left of your domain name. For example: subdomain.the-digital-life.com

Jimdo is has many modern and attractive design templates. These are perfect for creating a small website. For larger packages, you even have extensive premium support and legal texts that are safe from warnings, as well as professional design analysis.


2.2. Website with WordPress

Are you planning to add other functions to your website in the future, to create an online shop or a blog with a lot of dynamic content? Then I strongly advise you not to use a website-builder! They cannot be expanded dynamically and are more difficult to maintain.

In these cases, I clearly recommend you to use WordPress. WordPress does an excellent job in these areas. It is not by far the most widely used system for websites. By the way, this blog also uses WordPress 😁. It is very flexible and can be expanded with almost any function as it offers an open programming interface.

More than 34% of websites worldwide use WordPress! WordPress is perfect for blogs, online shops and larger websites.

There is a huge community with many supporters, where you can find answers to almost all questions. WordPress is also used by many companies or website agencies. So if you ever need help, you will surely find it.

WordPress also has a variety of ready-made designs, so-called templates. The really good templates also cost a bit of money. Likewise, extensions can sometimes be waiting for you with some costs. The basic system itself is free, but if you want to do a little more with your website, you will not be able to avoid some paid templates or extensions.

This great flexibility is also a minor disadvantage. Even if WordPress is very intuitive compared to other systems, you can not avoid a few technical skills. That means a little more training time. But don’t let that put you off! You will find enough material everywhere to familiarize yourself with WordPress. However, you should consider this period in your project planning if you have no previous knowledge at all.

Advantages of WordPress

  • Little previous technical knowledge required
  • Powerful functions and excellent expandability, even for larger projects
  • Many pre-made designs
  • Huge community with many supporters

Disadvantages of WordPress

  • Longer training period
  • Many good extensions and designs usually pay
  • Generally somewhat higher maintenance costs or expenditure of time required

3. Select the domain name

Once you have decided on a system, you can think about the domain name. Many ponder here for a long time. Which one is easy to remember? Has it the best potential for search engine optimization? Or which name is unique? From experience, however, I can tell you that the name is not so important. At least not at the beginning.

The content is much more important than the name or a logo. So choose a name that suits you or your company and try not to think too complicated. Often your desired names are already taken and you are forced to change the desired domain a few times until you have found a free one.

Note: Some modular systems or providers offer you so-called subdomains for free. You may be able to use this for a test, but it is definitely worth registering a correct top-level domain. Only your own domain under a top-level domain offers you a serious appearance!


4. Design

The design is also important for the first impression. Your readers or customers expect a modern and appealing website that is easy to use. If you are working on the design for your website, remember that functionality and presentation go above and beyond. This means that the design can never stand alone. The design is only there to upgrade or present your content accordingly.

Avoid to carry too far, or trying to stand out too much. Always remember: the reader or the customer is not here because of your great web design, but because of your content.

4.1. Design with a website-builder

The website-builders, e.g. Jimdo shows his strengths. These systems come with great pre-built designs that you can easily use and customize.

I recommend that you stay as close as possible to the templates and only change basic things such as color design, homepage design, font or pictures. This is very easy with the built-in editors.

4.2 Design with a WordPress website

If you create a website with WordPress, the choice of the right template is crucial here. The templates differ tramendously in their functionality. If you choose the wrong template, you may end up with big problems later if you want to change something. You can also easily replace the template, but a lot of content is linked to certain template functions. If you have already created a website or blog, migrating from one template to the other is sometimes very complicated.

I have tested several WordPress templates over the years and will soon write a detailed review of various templates. Here I would like to give you a personal recommendation:

#1 WordPress-Template “GeneratePress”

This blog is created with the WordPress template “GeneratePress”. It is not only very simple and free in the basic version. There is also a premium version, which extends it with many useful functions. The premium version is even comparatively cheaper than some large templates, but has all the important functions. It is also very slim and therefore extremely fast. Therefore GeneratePress is by far my number #1 recommendation for free and paid WordPress templates!


5. Content

5.1. Basic structure of the website

Did you choose a system and a design? Wonderful, then you can start creating the basic structure of your page. The content and presentation is by far the most important thing on your website. New visitors, customers or readers want something from you here. Try to imagine what you expect from your website as a visitor. Do you just want to find the important information quickly? Or learn more about interesting products?

Don’t try to nest too many menus here. Your visitors want to get information quickly and easily. Therefore, you should briefly and concisely present the most important information on your homepage. In the sub-pages you can then be a little more specific.

It also helps if you create a mind map beforehand and first sort all the important information by topic. For example, appearance:

It also helps if you create a mind map beforehand and first sort all the important information by topic

5.2 Create subpages with content

Once you have created the basic structure of your website, you can start filling the sub-pages with content. Try to avoid long sections of text. Formulate short and concise sentences and mark important information. This is how you create a natural flow that your readers can follow. It is also helpful from time to time to include pictures or graphics if it makes sense.

Images can create certain moods and feelings in seconds that you can use to present your content in the best possible way.

Images can create certain moods and feelings in seconds that you can use to present your content in the best possible way.

Image by Jill Wellington on Pixabay

This is especially important when you are creating a web blog. But this also applies to product presentations or a service offer page. But make sure that you use license-free images.

You can find a variety of high quality images on Pixabay. These are completely license free and you can use them anywhere. However, please make sure to read the terms of use beforehand.

5.3. Legal notice and privacy policy

Yes, we all love our laws πŸ˜‚. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid a few things here either.

The EU’s new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has also been in place since 2018. This policy is mandatory for all websites. It also applies to websites outside the EU! This means that even if you do not have a European target group or your web server is not in Europe, your website must be GDPR compliant.

Depending on whether your website uses cookies, you will also need a note here. Unfortunately, the whole topic is very complex and irritating. In general, you can remember: As soon as your website stores or processes user data, you have to deal intensively with this topic!

Many websites offer help here. For example, there is the premium service at Jimdo or various WordPress plugins or generators.

Since I am not a lawyer, I can unfortunately not give you any legally binding information here.


6. Summary

You did it and arrived at the end of this how-to! I hope you have received some useful information that will help you how to create your website.

3 thoughts on “How to create your Website – for beginners (2020)”

  1. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking
    what theme you’re using? (and don’t mind if I steal it?
    :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme slows (!) the
    site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching
    for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any feedback)
    – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Justin, for your nice words πŸ™‚

      To answer your question:
      I’m using GeneratePress Premium as a theme. I picked that one because it was highly recommended to be lightweight. And I can definitely confirm that! You can check it out, I have put a link in my article to it.

      I have checked your website and I see what you mean. The website looks very nice, but it loads tons of different CSS and JS files. Overall that are ~200 requests that need to load simultaneously.
      Your CDN and Webhosting looks pretty fast, but it really comes down to the number of requests the server needs to process, even if it’s able to deliver every single one very fast.

      What I did in addition to pick a very lightweight theme is: I disable every plugin that I don’t need or deactivate functionalities of plugins I don’t use. And I’m aggregating CSS and JS files with the plugin Autoptimize which I can highly recommend.
      You probably could give it a try to check Autoptimize and enable CSS/JS aggregation with your current theme and see if it’s improving your pagespeed.

      I’m also working on a full article how to optimize WordPress, but that’s a lot of work. Because my blog is a tech-blog I want to show exactly how the requests and network traffic looks like and get some deeper insight what’s going on at the web server and client, when requesting a website.

      That being said, thank you so much for your comment! It made me really happy to see something going on here πŸ˜€

      Take care!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

I accept the Privacy Policy