A step-by-step guide to creating your own website


As a creative and entrepreneur, I've designed and developed websites for my clients, as well as for my business. For anyone who is just starting off and has the time to create their own website, I've made a simplified step-by-step guide to save you time, and money.

So you want to create your own website?

From conceptualizing the idea to finally hitting the launch button, creating your own website can be very exciting! It can also seem challenging, and overwhelming. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a hobbyist, or someone looking to create a personal space online, this guide will walk you through every step of building a website yourself. Let’s dive in!

1. Goal setting


The first step to creating a website is knowing why you're building it, and being clear on what goals you want to achieve. Are you looking to grow your online presence, market and sell a product or service, start a blog, or create a portfolio? Whatever your goals are will influence how you create your website and help you decided whether it's best to do it yourself, or hire an expert.


The next factor is to determine when you need to have this website by. Setting a clear deadline will help you prioritize the website, otherwise it's easy to put the project off. From my experience, even if creating a website is for a passion project, you'll feel a lot better by having a reasonable timeline you can follow.

2. Pick a domain

Your domain (name of your website) is your online address. Ours is “www.upstreamlifestyle.com”. Typically your domain is your business name, personal name, or a unique name for your blog. Here’s how to pick one:

  • Be memorable:
    Choose something short, catchy, and easy to remember.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens:
    They can be misunderstood or mistyped.
  • Domain extensions matter:
    If available I always recommend grabbing the ".com”, even if you go with a different extension. Securing the .com ensures that someone else can't use it and potentially confuse your audience. Depending on your site, consider others like “.net,” “.org, .io, .ai” or niche extensions like “.blog”.

GoDaddy is the most popular domain provider, although there are many others like Namecheap that also provide a great service. Often times, your web builder may also provide domain and hosting as a package, however if you ever switch platforms, you'll have to transfer your domain to another service which is why it's common to use a domain provider, and simply connect it to your website.

3. Select a hosting provider

Web hosting is where your website’s content lives online. Think of it as renting space on the internet. Most modern website builders will offer hosting as part of your website so it's important to know who your hosting provider is, but it will likely be your web builder, unless you create a fully custom website from scratch, or use Wordpress.

  • Website Builder Hosting: Typically offer hosting for your benefit so you don't have to worry about connecting it to your site and website.
  • Shared Hosting: Suitable for small to medium sites. Economical but might have performance issues as traffic grows.
  • VPS Hosting: Offers more resources and control. Ideal for growing sites.
  • Dedicated Hosting: Entire server for your website. Expensive but high performance.

4. Choose a website builder

There are a ton of website builders out there so to save you some time, i've listed the most popular ones. Depending on your goals, features and integrations are important when choosing your website builder.

Smaller sites:

  • Wix: Drag-and-drop with tons of features. Ideal for beginners.
  • Squarespace: Design-focused with built-in features. Suitable for creatives.
  • Webflow: For creatives and designers that want to develop visually. Includes a simple editor experience that is easy to use, and an amazing designer mode with a steeper learning curve. Includes Webflow University to help you learn to design and develop visually.
  • WordPress: Highly customizable with a steeper learning curve. Perfect for blogs and dynamic sites.

E-commerce sites:

  • Shopify: E-commerce focused, ideal for online stores.
  • Woo-commerce: The e-commerce plugin for wordpress sites.
  • Wix E-commerce: Drag-and-drop with tons of features. Ideal for beginners.
  • Webflow E-commerce: Great for creatives selling their products or services

5. Pick you're website's aesthetic

Do you already have a brand with visual guidelines that you'll want to follow, or are you starting from scratch? If you have a business but no brand, we recommend working with someone to set your brand up for success. If you're simply creating a blog, or portfolio, having a logo type (your name with a clean font) looks sleek and professional. Wherever you are, it's important to have an idea of the overall website aesthetic you'll want. This will help you in choosing your template. Pinterest is always a great resource for website inspiration.

6. Choose a template

Pick a template that aligns with your content's nature:

  • Responsive: Ensure it looks good on all devices.
  • Customizable: Look for customization options to match your brand.
  • Relevant: An online store template differs from a portfolio or blog.

It's okay to spend hours choosing the right template. It should include a template for each of the pages that you'll have on your site. For example, if your site has a blog, or pricing page, the template must include that design. Templates are great because they save you from having to design the site, but if they don't include the page layout that you want, you'll either have to build it yourself, pick a new template, or hire someone to edit the template for you.

7. Customize the template

  • Branding: Incorporate your colors, logo, and brand identity.
  • Navigation: Ensure easy navigation with clear menus.
  • Engagement: Add elements like slideshows or videos to engage visitors.

8. Add content

  • Quality Over Quantity: Craft compelling, original content.
  • Imagery: Use high-resolution images. Sites like Unsplash offer free, quality photos.
  • Calls-to-Action: Guide visitors with CTAs like “Read More,” “Shop Now,” or “Contact Us”.

9. SEO

Search Engine Optimization ensures your site is found on search engines.

  • Keywords: Use relevant keywords in titles, meta descriptions, and content.
  • Alt Text: Add descriptions to your images.
  • Backlinks: Link to reputable sites and earn backlinks for credibility.

10. Integrations

  • Google Analytics: Track website traffic and user behavior.
  • Social Media: Embed social media feeds or add share buttons.
  • Mailing Lists: Integrate platforms like Mailchimp for email campaigns.

11. Proof the site

  • Cross-browser Check: Ensure compatibility across various browsers.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure it looks good on mobile devices.
  • Broken Links: Check for any broken links or 404 errors.

12. Launch the site

  • Backup: Always have a backup before going live.
  • Announce: Share your new site on social media, emails, or even with a launch offer!
  • Feedback: Get initial feedback and be ready to make tweaks.


Building a website yourself might seem daunting initially, but with the right tools and a systematic approach, it becomes a rewarding experience. Remember, a website is dynamic. Continue updating, optimizing, and refreshing your content. Welcome to the digital world, and congratulations on your new site!

If you're thinking between making the site yourself or hiring a design studio, contact us and we'll give your our best recommendation.

How can we help?