There are tons of articles about how to create websites, pretty detailed most of them about what you have to do to make a website from scratch. Is this another one?
No. It’s more than that.
- How many of you have been thinking to build a website as a small business where you can try different things?
- How many of you have been heard about success stories where people using computers, working at home, started business that allow owners a happy life for the rest of their days?
- How many of you have watched TV shows where teenagers developed software bought by IT corporations?
Yes, we hear every day such stories and we are thinking “I will do it too.. I will try“. Right? But…
Nobody tells you the truth. The whole truth!
Nobody can, and even so nobody is interested, to show you the work and fails that stand behind every story. Even a very simple website has a lot of code written inside. Almost every line of code has been written by somebody. For example, here, at ArtoCreative, we are focused to develop our wordpress theme, VeVe, and there are more than 20K css lines and also more than 20K php and js line codes. Every single line written by our developers. And look at the result. We think it’s amazing because we use it every day in our projects. But the price is huge. We spent part of our lives working at VeVe.
When you start a website from scratch it’s like you are trying to fly just running. Without skills it’s almost impossible to create something at people would yell “wow”. But even for something basic website, if you do it from scratch, creating every page writing every single line of code, it’s overwhelming.
You’ll have to read a lot of books, starting with tutorials about web servers, protocols, programming languages, about design, databases, and the list can go on. And you don’t want, right? We know it. That’s why you pay for. Yeah!
That’s why you pay for a pen. To use it to write. You don’t want and you don’t know how to create a pen. You just want to write, isn’t it?
So, let’s resume a little bit. If you don’t have skills, you must pay. And a professional custom service costs a lot, believe us. But, wait. How about if you don’t want to pay much, and you accept to learn some things about websites, step by step, and the result to be fantastic. It could be a solution, right? Maybe.
The solution could be a good content management system (CMS) that already accomplish a lot of your background work. In few words a CMS is a platform which allows you to create and publish content in an easy and comfortable way, without any knowledge of coding.
This CMS is installed on a web server like Apache, and once installed you are ready to log in and manage your content. You should have there a modern editor for creating posts, and features like creating categories for you content, pages, blog posts, adding photos, comments, etc.
The question is: Which CMS would you think that will do it the best for you?
The best answer is WordPress!
WordPress is the best and it’s absolutely amazing, and you will convince yourself working with other CMS like Drupal or Joomla. It’s by far the most popular and is used by 70% of CMS websites worldwide. If you still have any doubt, think that wordpress is used by more than 30% of all websites! It’s absolutely fabulous.
- It’s free and the community is huge. There are a lot of tutorials in online and a lot of developers ready to help you.
- It’s optimized and secured, maintained and tested by a great team.
- It has a lot of free themes and plugins. If you want you can go further and choose a premium theme or plugin and there you can really see the power of the CMS.
- It’s very easy to install, more than it is now it can’t be. On hosted web servers you can install in in one click.
- It’s SEO-ready. Together with the right theme, you have all tools in your hand.
- It works very well with low and medium, and even with high traffic websites when it’s highly customized, many large news companies like CNN or NBC using it successfully.
That’s why wordpress is amazing, because you have a lot of free resources to build something special. But if you want to create a unique website with increasing traffic, you need to go further and get a wordpress theme. WordPress is doing its best job using a theme. Why should you get a wordpress theme? Simple. Because even though you can use wordpress as a standalone back end CMS system, using a theme wordpress is ready to help you on front end, creating that amazing look&feel you are looing for. And more than it, behind every wordpress theme or plugin, there’s a team ready to help you. That’s the most important aspect, you got the point for sure!
The right answer is VeVe!
Why? Because you don’t have to pay even a cent. It’s free. Free forever under GPL licence. You can use it without paying us, because we share a part of our work with you. On this blog, in this article and in others, you’ll find a lot of information about how to build free your website. All information are here for you, to help you.
So, let’s go talking about website, that’s why you are here. You want a website.
At this point you must know why you want to have one. The reasons are a lot, but your reasons must be very clear. Please write the main reason on a paper to see it every day when you are working at website. Yes, do it! Below the main reason, write down what you need to accomplish that reason. Starting from these, you will do a logical mental structure for your website. How would you want it to be, because for sure, you have some ideas.
Think at thelogical structureof you website!
Your site will be on wordpress and you must know that everything in wordpress is around articles (posts). WordPress allows you by default to create posts and pages. Pages are posts whose type is page. You must understand the essential difference between posts and pages. They are the same thing, posts, but one are regular posts and others are page posts. And wordpress treats differently posts and pages. For posts it has prepared a loop ready to be used by the developers in many templates, and pages are used by you to write post which are not in that loop. Okay, that’s all for now. It’s enough for you to understand the difference between posts and pages.
You should think that every website has a main page which clients see when entering the site. That’s the homepage. There you can show what you think that’s most important for your website. It must not be so long, because huge homepages can cause issues, large loading times bringing penalties from Google (which is not stupid, and rapidly understand that its clients don’t wait so much for what it served). So, be clever and try to have a beautiful short homepage.
Basically, after homepage you’ll need to know how you’ll organize your articles on categories. Then you have to know what tags you will use. And the most important part, articles. Your site will be with articles, comments on articles, and so on.
These all are the most relevant and important elements of your website.
We talked here about the structure of your website. It’s good for you to have a plan before starting doing something. Stay, read and analize as much as you can to clarify every aspect that’s uncomfortable for you.
On that plan, you must include other aspects about your website, like the domain. Do you have a domain? Do you know what is that? Let’s clarify it a little bit.
The domain is the public name of your website!
Maybe you have heard about URL or maybe that line you are writing in browser and finish with an extension .com, .org, .net, etc. There is the domain name, and the subdomains and the path. The domain name is very important to be chosen well, because it will represent the main reason you have written on the first paper.
You can choose any name you want, try some on godaddy.com, hostgator.com or bluehost.com . You have to spent some time to find a free one (not bought yet) that you will buy. We will write a dedicated article about choosing the domain name, but just remember that it must be short, easy to memorize and maybe including keywords for the niche you are building website for. All of these starting from the main reason you have written clear.
Do nothing until you’ll have a domain
Okay, let’s go on and talk about hosting.
As everything in this world, if you have something you must place it somewhere. First you must know where your site must be visible. Actually, from where you want to access it? If you want to be visible only on an intranet (a local network) you can host it on any computer you want in that intranet. Of course that’s better to host it on a server in that Intranet, if there’s one. But as long as that computer or server is on, your website can be accessed.
Hosting in intranet is suitable for projects which don’t need so much security restrictions, the intranet meaning that you already are in a security area.
If you want to be accessed from Internet, phisically, your website must be hosted by any computer that can access the Internet. We know that are a lot of other possibilities and situations that can be described here, but it’s not the purpose of this article. We are talking just about the classical situations.
If you are not on an intranet, you can go on the extreme case when this computer is really your personal computer, but the things become a little bit complicated because it must be “live” (to be found in Internet) all the time. So you have to do yourself the management of the server. Even the management of the web server, of databases, of the firewall, etc.
So, the most reliable solution for you is to pay something to do this for you. And here you have to buy a hosting plan from a company that is doing this 100% of their time and we suggest you to buy from big companies. That’s why we mentioned here about godaddy.com, hostgator.com or bluehost.com. We had a lot of experience with the first two, and we can assure you that their services are premium. It’s your choice.
If you don’t have a domain yet, it’s pretty sure that you don’t have a hosting either. In this case the tip is that if you buy the hosting plan you can obtain the domain almost free, most of domain sellers being companies that can host your website.
Keep you money. Everybody wants to sell you something!
Try to buy now only the domain and the hosting. And maybe a SSL certificate to secure communication with your website, but we’ll talk about it later. At the beginning, you don’t need any other options they offer you. If you need some, they are there and you can upgrade anytime. Our advice would be to buy hosting for one year. It’s a little bit cheaper than paying monthly. And don’t pay for more than one year. If you do nothing with your website in one year, there are few chances to do more in the next years. So, why do you want to spend money for nothing?
So, for now the cost is for domain and the hosting plan for one year, plus a SSL certificate.
About hosting there is one more thing we need to mention. Maybe you have heard about WordPress Hosting. If not, let’s explain you a little bit. Shortly, a WordPress Hosting is a very common hosting specialized on meeting wordpress performance requirements. It includes a lot of wordpress features like one click wordpress install, automatic backups and updates, and so on, all of them around wordpress. Of course, these wordpress hostings are split as any other hosts in shared and managed, each of them with pros and cons. But what you must keep in mind is that a good WordPress Hosting is choosen to allow wordpress to work better, but it’s not a must at all for having a wordpress site. It’s just an option that you might consider.
Let’s assume the you are going on the short path and even you are on your way, maybe you don’t want to install wordpress by yourself. If you want to, the next step will be to download your wordpress package from wordpress.org and to unzip it into the public main directory of your hosting server. Then you should create a database and to connect them. If everything goes well, you’ll be able to access your domain in this way: www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
Using your credentials (the admin username and its password) you’ll be able to log in into your wordpress account and you are in. The wordpress world is opened to you. The next big step is to learn a little bit about what you see in admin panel, because once you are logged in, you are redirected in dashboard wordpress page.
Using wordpress you already have some free themes by default, that came with the wordpress installation. But they are so tiny, and don’t have so much power. But they are still very important. So do not delete all themes, let at least one. And I will explain why. The reasons are simple.
- As a wordpress user you will test and use many themes and plugins. It happens to delete a useless theme, and maybe you want to have at least a theme as a backup for your site. You don’t want to remain without themes.
- Maybe the main theme is deactivated because of some wrong settings. In this case you will fall back on a default theme.
- Maybe the main theme is deleted because it was trying to do an unsuccessful update. You need to have there a default theme.
- Or maybe there’s something wrong how are implemented things in the main theme or in a plugin, and if you want to get support from the creators, you’ll see that both of them will say that their products are okay (it’s funny, but the theme developers will say that their theme is okay, and plugins creators also). And you are between them. So, to make a simple test, you can deactivate the plugin or the theme that you think that has an issue. If you deactivate the theme, you must activate other theme. What theme? A default one is the most reliable. And in this way you can find where the issue come from.
These are just few basic reasons why you have to keep at least one default theme.
Okay, let’s assume you are in this point. All you have to do is to download VeVe from ArtoCreative.com and to enjoy it. The theme is a .zip file that has inside even the child-theme. That child theme, will see later, that it’s there to help your creation. Using the child theme can upload files and rename as they are named in the main theme, and in this way you overwrite the functionality. But let’s keep the child theme for later use. Let’s focus on the main theme, VeVe.
You must know that VeVe, as a theme, does what a theme must do. It’s used just for the presentation. For the functionality VeVe is using a plugin named ArtoPack, where all functionality is present. They are working very well together being created by the same team from ArtoCreative.com. You must know that for now the ArtoPack is not only the single plugin used by theme. There are required two other plugins: WPBackery Composer and Redux Framework. Both of them are premium plugins and are included in theme package. All you have to do is just to install and activate the theme. Once the theme is activated, the required plugins are there ready to be installed and activated also.
Now you are ready to get your first feeling of the ArtoCreative products, because all of our products are carefully designed, written and tested. We hope that it’s worth!