Build your first website from scratch by following this step-by-step guide.
Preparing to build a website from scratch
- Create a separate Gmail account for using with your new website.
- Using the new Gmail account, sign up for a new Bluehost.com account, based on your needs.
- A basic account is CA$ 3.90 /month, but heir regular rate of CA$ 10.56 will apply upon renewal.
- Choose a three year term to maximize your savings.
Find a suitable domain for your WordPress website
Log into your Bluehost Portal
To build a website from scratch, you will need a domain name that is not already in use by anyone else.
Search for a domain name
After logging in under your new Bluehost account, find a domain that meets your vision. This could take a while, so be creative and patient…
Since I wanted to name my new website “WP Trench”, WPTRENCH.COM seemed like a good domain for me.
Buy a domain for your website
To build a website from scratch, you must pick a domain name for your project.
Bluehost will attempt to upsell you on some things, such as domain privacy for instance.
While that is indeed a valuable service, I recommend unchecking all extra line items when you buy a new domain, but…
If you foresee using your new website for business, then privacy protection will prevent spammers from looking up your contact information. If you opt out of domain privacy, be prepared for ongoing unsolicited offers. These will include offers to make a logo or build a website for you, and to do SEO optimization which you can learn to do yourself.
If you had created a separate Gmail account upfront for your new website, your dedicated email will catch emails from Bluehost, WordPress, your website’s Contacts page and of course, spammers.
Using Gmail Filters, you can automatically file incoming email and manage spammers to avoid seeing distractive messages in your Inbox.
Once you complete your domain purchase, you now own the name that you searched for, and it can now start working for you…
Assign your domain to Bluehost
Click on Assign this Domain
Since I had bought my new domain via Bluehost, it was “already associated” with my Bluehost account.
Therefore, I picked the top selection (under step 1 of “Assign Domain”) and selected my new domain from the dropdown list.
If I had already owned the domain (outside of Bluehost), I would have opted for “not already associated”, and then transferred my domain to Bluehost, or
I could have edited the DNS of my domain if I did not want to transfer it yet. This specific option is sometimes unavoidable. I will discuss this again in a future lesson, somewhere on our journey.
In conclusion, I picked “Addon Domain” under step 2 of “Assign Domain”.
I left the suggested “wptrench” string intact, to create my new site’s directory under the “public_html” folder.
In the previous clip, you will notice that a “wptrench.mrit.me” sub-domain is about to be created…
That is the case because the very first domain I bought via Bluehost, was “mrit.me”.
Once your initial Bluehost domain is purchased (and created), all your future domains will be added underneath your first domain.
In my case, the “mrit.me” domain was instated as the “wptrench.mrit.me” sub-domain.
If you have just bought your very first Bluehost domain (to follow along and make your own website), then your website will not be located inside a sub-domain.
Create your new WordPress site
Click on Create Site
You have now initiated the creation process…
Don’t fret if you cannot provide a descriptive “Site Tagline” value to go with your “Site Name”.
You can leave that field blank or type “I like to learn” in the field, to start off the WordPress creation wizard.
We will revisit this when we configure and optimize your new website, in future lessons on your journey.
Select your new domain from the list
Depending on where you are on your journey, you may notice strange domain names in the dropdown list, in your Bluehost Portal.
Select the name of the domain that you purchased
While the proposed “helpful free plugins” are indeed valuable once you get to know them, I recommend unchecking all of them for now.
You will see some of them being implemented again, in future lessons.
As a rule: always remove inactive WordPress plugins.
There is no good reason to keep unused themes or plugins around, as they require updates and increase your site’s footprint.
Confirm your new WordPress website is up
In my case, an email from email@example.com was sent to the dedicated Gmail account (for my website).
The message confirmed that my Username is: WP Trench.
It also invited me to either: 1) set up a new password, or 2) to log in with my existing password at https://wptrench.com/wp-login.php.
Since I had noted (and saved) my new WordPress password (earlier), I chose option #2.
The screen shown below, came up next for me.
You have effectively built a website from scratch…
Log into your new website as Admin
After logging into your Admin Panel successfully, your browser’s address bar should show: your_domain_name/wp-admin.
The first thing that caught my eye, and probably yours as well, is the “Coming Soon Active” message.
That is Bluehost’s way of providing cover from public scrutiny while you build your website.
If you feel it is important that you have your site ready before it is seen by the public for the first time, then leave this in place.
View your new website, as a visitor
If your website intended for personal use, then I recommend disabling “Coming Soon Active”.
We will do that in the next lesson, so you can turn it on/off as needed.
If you can see your website live at this point, congratulate yourself for being great at following the instructions in this lesson.
To recap, disabling “Coming Soon Active” will allow you to see the website you built from scratch, as it truly looks to public visitors.
Almost done building your new website
I prefer to edit a website in my default browser (Chrome), and view it separately in Firefox.
I prefer to edit a website in my default (Chrome) browser, and view it separately in Firefox. Separating the editing from the viewing allows me to tinker and see what visitors see, as I make changes.
The specific strategy is not necessary for success. But, it highlights potential issues, such as being authenticated to resources which you could be ignoring for instance.
It may seem like viewing your live site in incognito mode, or a private tab, can provide you the same results, but that is not true.
A website that you build from scratch would expect browser cookies to be enabled. That is how your visitors would normally view it…
While optimizing caching goes a long way to seeing your changes live, there is more you need to do to limit slamming your desk and spilling your coffee on your keyboard.
What is covered in other lessons?
In WordPress Lesson 2: Do The First Things First of, we will take care of some of the first things that must to be done after building a new website.
We will discuss website caching in a future lesson. You will learn that not turning off server-side caching causes frustration you have not even begun to explore.
You have now built a website from scratch
Congratulations, you have just build a website from scratch.
If you found this lesson useful or would like to see some changes, please comment or leave suggestions.
There was no preceding lesson.