Want to learn how to make a website in a weekend?
I'm a web developer, so I get it: building a website seems like an overwhelming amount of work.
And it can feel like an impossible task to the laylass or lad.
But I also know that it doesn't take much to create a functional, beautiful, kickass website, much like what you see before you 😉 .
How To Make A Website IN A WEEKEND
Most of the websites you see nowadays are built by using a convenient content management system (aka, CMS) - like Wordpress or Drupal - and a pre-made theme that you can either get for free from the Wordpress directory or purchase at a premium rate for extra bells and whistles.
So if you've been mulling over an online business concept but have no idea how to make a website for it, follow this easy guide and you'll have a website created in the next two days!
Before You Begin: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Sure, you can start an online business with nothing more than a gut feeling.
But that can be risky.
Which is why I always advise my clients to feel out the idea with people who would most likely be interested in it before spending a dime of money or time creating it.
You can vet your idea with friends and family, of course, but I've found that, more often than not, friends and family don't end up fitting the target audience demographic (though, hooray for you if, in your case, they do).
Sometimes friends and family can hesitate to support you because they're afraid for your future.
Sometimes they just don't understand your unique blend of awesome.
In those instances, I suggest you do one or both of the following:
1) The Coffee Shop Test,
2) The Social Media Test.
THE COFFEE SHOP TEST
As suggested by Robert Mening of WebsiteSetup.org, go to your local coffee shop and put out a sign that says "Free Coffee For Ten Minutes of Your Time". Set a limit on how many people you want to speak to if buying coffee all day isn't your idea of a good time.
Then - and here's the tricky part for a lot of us - don't be shy.
Share your business concept with anyone who engages you, ask if they'd be interested in it or if they know of anyone who would be, and ask them how much money they'd pay for your service or product concept.
Personally, I prefer the social media test...
THE SOCIAL MEDIA TEST
Whether you have a large following on social media or not is irrelevant for this test.
Simply go to your social media platform of choice and get chatty. Show up in comments on other people's posts, or post something directly from your own account, asking if anyone is interested in what you have to offer.
Go ahead and treat it like it's an existing business and see how many people you can get to preorder or signup for your future business endeavor.
Even if you don't have an idea of what you want to sell, you can always start a new Instagram account and just start posting your content. In a week or so, you'll have an idea of how engaged the platforms users are in your given niche.
Once you've decided you're committed to your business idea, whether or not anyone else is, it's time to move on to Step One: CHOOSE A BUSINESS NAME...
Step One: CHOOSE A URL NAME
After you've decided that your idea is worth pursuing (again, whether or not anyone has any defined interest in it is ultimately irrelevant...if you love it, go for it!), it's time to get started bringing it to life.
The first step is choosing a URL (aka "domain") name.
This step can be both exciting and overwhelming. I recommend starting this process before the weekend hits so that you have a solid brainstorm of ideas under your belt.
If all you have is the weekend, take a few hours on Saturday morning to brainstorm website name ideas.
You'll know you're ready to draft up some content ideas when you have at least three names that you would love to call your online "home" OR when you have one name that you're completely in love with.
If by Saturday night you haven't come up with a name you adore, don't rush it!
The last thing you want to do is choose a name that you don't like after one week.
Step Two: PURCHASE A HOSTING ACCOUNT
My favorite hosting platform is InMotion Hosting (of which I am an affiliate).
I have been an Inmotion Hosting customer for over eight years now and I absolutely adore their customer service, speedy results and dedicated professionalism.
Whenever there are issues on my websites, as can happen with any hosting provider, they've been extremely quick to respond and resolve the problem within a timely fashion. These guys are amazing and I highly recommend them!
To get signed up, click the link above and get yourself a basic business hosting account.
While you're signing up, you will be prompted to register your URL at the same time, which comes FREE when you purchase a hosting account.
Step Three: INSTALL WORDPRESS & CHOOSE A WEBSITE THEME
Login to your InMotion Hosting account and you'll see a barrage of links to various aspects of web development, most of which you'll never touch.
For now, the important bits are the one-click WordPress install, located in the TOP APPLICATIONS box in the SCRIPTS section.
Click on WordPress and you'll be taken to a prompt screen to quickly install that software onto your site. Click on INSTALL and then select your domain name and follow the on-screen instructions.
Be sure to have the installation information and instructions sent to your preferred email account.
AND TAKE HEED: your password and username will NOT be sent to you in that email, so write those down immediately and keep them somewhere safe.
Use the login details from your installation instructions (http://www.YOURSITENAME.com/wp-admin/) to login to the Dashboard of your WordPress website.
Once inside, navigate to SETTINGS and go down the list adjusting your website settings to fit your needs.
If you want your homepage to just be a reel of your posts, leave it set to "blog reel". If you want it to be a page you customize the appearance of, use a placeholder page for now to change your homepage to display something other than your blog reel.
Be sure to change your permalinks to display the "post name" so that, when it comes time for it, your SEO game will be on point.
Next, go to APPEARANCE > THEMES and browse the list of FREE themes that WordPress has to offer. Select the one you like most, or purchase a custom theme from a site like ThemeForest.
I use ThemeCo's X Theme for all of my websites, but feel free to use whatever you're drawn to.
I advise my clients to use a free theme until they know what they want to do with their site, so if you're unsure what you'll sell or do, use a free theme for the meantime.
Make sure to click on ACTIVATE to make your theme live once you've selected one before moving onto the next step.
Step Four: BRANDING YOUR WEBSITE
It's time to choose a color scheme, logo, and font types!
I suggest you choose somewhere in the range of 3 to 6 colors to use around your site for the following: body text, header text, button color, button hover color, divider color, and a spare to be used where applicable to add some flare.
You can select colors that fit your interests, OR you can use this Color Scheme Generator to have a scheme created for you.
Once you've got your color scheme, head over to Canva and create a FREE account to start working on a logo for your new website.
A quick Google search for modern logos can help you determine what will work best for you, either a simple text logo or something with a graphic (the one for this website, for example, is a simple text logo with two lowercase letters pushed together).
If you're just starting out, I suggest creating a text logo that will be easy to read. You can spruce up a simple text logo by adjusting font weight and color variety to give it a more schnazzy feel.
Finally, when you have a logo finished, head back into your WordPress Dashboard and go to APPEARANCE > CUSTOMIZER or THEME OPTIONS where you can implement your color scheme, add in your logo, and otherwise adjust the basic foundation of your website's appearance with whatever preset options that exist within your given theme.
Be sure to choose font types that fit your brand and that you'd love to see everyday! But don't overcomplicate things.
If you try out your font types and can immediately tell they're difficult to read or not what you had hoped for, change them out for something else.
You can explore font types at Google Fonts, where most themes are compatible.
Step Five: CREATE PAGES & ORGANIZE CONTENT
Go back to your Dashboard and hover over PAGES > ADD NEW. It's time to create your main static pages and click publish.
Check out page designs of other websites to see what layouts you like most and then recreate those basic layouts on your own pages.
Add in all of the pages you think you'll need and then go back afterwards to create basic layouts for each one, complete with the beginning of what will become your website copywriting.
I suggest you add at least these pages:
I also suggest you use these content pieces in each of your pages, as you see fit: images, header statements, quotes, buttons, and widgets.
Next, add in a few posts to fill out what your blog reel will look like. These can be toss away posts for now, but try to add titles that you think you may actually use in the future.
Finally, go back to your SETTINGS and click on READING. Here, you'll finalize whether you want your homepage to display your blog reel or if you want it to display a custom home page. I almost always suggest doing a custom home page, but do whatever you feel works best for you.
Step Six: CREATE YOUR FIRST 5-10 BLOG POSTS
Once your site is looking pretty, organized, and slightly more contextual, it's time to dive into creating your main post content.
There are two types of posts that you'll create for your site, whether you intend to or not:
An evergreen post is a blog post with relevant content that can withstand the test of time. Like this blog post, for example. I may update details within it from time to time, but it's content is going to be worthwhile years based on its relevancy within my niche.
Evergreen post types include:
A space post, on the other hand, is a blog post that somehow relates to your website but isn't necessarily helpful or relevant.
These are great for showing your audience a deeper insight into your lifestyle, mindset, opinions, and more.
Take an afternoon to draft up your first ten blog post ideas. They don't have to be fully complete, you could start with just a list of titles. But the more you can start off with when you launch, the longer visitors will stay on your website.
Step Seven: SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
While you continue to curate your first 5-10 blog posts, you can take a timeout to setup relevant social media accounts.
Start off with one account at a time until you get the hang of posting content regularly.
Make sure the platform you choose is a place where your target audience hangs out regularly, otherwise you'll be sharing with a void. Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are great starts.
Next, head over to HootSuite and signup for a FREE account. Link your social media accounts to HootSuite and now you'll be able to schedule up to thirty social media posts in advance that will automatically post to your account depending on the schedule you choose to do so.
I suggest you plan to post anywhere from 1-6 times a day, depending on what type of content you're offering and who your audience is.
If you're unsure where to start, then go with your gut and choose consistency over quantity.
Step Eight: NEWSLETTER MARKETING
Next, think of what content you could provide your audience for FREE to get them to signup with their email to your newsletter.
(Click on the image above to check out one of my FREEBIES, which leads to a freelance-related newsletter.)
Why offer a newsletter?
Because newsletters are one of the simplest ways to get emails willingly for content you have to offer.
If you provide a freebie with your newsletter signup, you make it easier for your visitors to want to signup. Then, when you have a product to sell, you have a list of emails that you can use to advertise your product.
Think of what freebie you can create. It could be a tangible download or it could be a series of emails instead.
You could do ten days of drip emails that teach someone how to cut their own hair, or you could create a free Word document that teaches the same thing. It's up to you!
Go back to your WordPress dashboard and click on PLUGINS > ADD NEW.
Review this article of the ten best free Wordpress newsletter plugins and choose which newsletter platform you'd like to use.
Personally, I use Mautic, because it's open-source (meaning it's free) and because I'm a developer who loves to fiddle with highly customizable systems.
Step Nine: PLUGINS & UPGRADES
While you marinate your blog post and newsletter ideas, go back into your Dashboard and head over to PLUGINS > ADD NEW.
A plugin is simply an added component to your website and you'll need to download a few of them to help your site run more smoothly.
Search for and download these plugins:
Double check to make sure you have AKISMET, which should've been automatically included with your Wordpress installation, but - if not - can easily be found in the Wordpress plugin directory.
If you have purchased a newsletter provider, you can search for any related plugins for them as well.
Once installed, go into each plugins' settings section and adjust them to your liking.
A big part of building a website is simply reading all of the available options upon installation and deciding how you want the component to operate.
For Jetpack, install all of their suggested add-ons.
You can read this article on how to make W3 Total Cache work for your website.
Step Ten: CREATE YOUR FIRST LANDING OR PRODUCT PAGE
If you already know what you want to sell to your audience, then a landing page is definitely something you'll need.
A landing page is a specific page to focus your SEO strategy and marketing funnel towards when you're ready to promote a product or service.
In your Wordpress dashboard, hover on PAGES and click ADD NEW to create your first landing page.
Read this article to learn what all goes into making a stellar landing page and then get to work.
In a nutshell, you'll want to include:
Reduce your copywriting down to the most necessary components, include relevant images or links, add in some testimonials if you have them, and include several purchase buttons throughout the page.
This page will need one final look-through before it's published and promoted, but if you've only got the weekend to put this together, make sure to keep it short, sweet, and straight to the point.
If you have a lot of products, you may need to look into creating a products page instead. Checkout WooCommerce to learn more about creating product pages. If this is the route you're going, you most likely don't need a landing page and, instead, need to setup a product page and individual products to display.
Bonus Round: PAYMENT PROCESSING
What good is a landing page or an online storefront if your customers can't process a payment through it?!
First, choose how you want to process payments.
Typically, most websites use a blend of PayPal or Stripe, though some use only one of those options.
For example, you'll only ever see Stripe on this website, ReconstructingWonderland.com.
Once you've decided how you want to process payments, go back to the Wordpress plugin directory and install the processor(s) of your choice.
If you use Stripe, you will need to do a bit more work to get the processor up and running. You can read about how to setup Stripe payment processing over here.
Repeat After Me: HOW TO MAKE A WEBSITE?! MORE LIKE I CAN'T WAIT TO MAKE MY WEBSITE!
If you want to know how to make a website, hopefully this blog post has clearly demonstrated that it isn't that difficult to do.
The hard stuff comes in learning how to: make it profitable, operate it efficiently, produce consistent, useful content, and hone your sales process...those are the real challenges to owning a website!
"Don't get caught up on the details. A website is a longterm commitment, it isn't perfected overnight."Tiffany Amaro,
Your Friendly Lifestyle Revolution Alchemist
This guide will teach you how to make a website in a weekend, but it won't help you perfect it.
That part takes practice
But you know what can make it easier to master the art of online business?
Joining the ultimate online business academy for passionate, creative souls who want to conjure their own online empire out of scratch and rule it with ease.
I'm talking CAKE QUEEN BUSINESS ACADEMY, stardust babe, and you're invited!