How To Build A Website Quickly And Effectively

Now that you’ve read my first guide on nailing the perfect website idea, it’s time to build your website efficiently, inexpensively, and securely so you’re properly positioned for success in the long term.

Note: This guide is for the absolute beginner. At the beginning of each section, you will see a <TLDR> which means Too Long Didn’t Read. It’s for those who just want the quick recommendation, not an in-depth tutorial.

When it comes to launching a website, I’ve experienced just about every unexpected problem possible – being woken up in the middle of the night because the server is down, being hacked, broken code, scam programmers, and just about anything else imaginable. I’ve lost countless hours that could have been used creating incredible content and actually making money.

So I’m writing this guide with a straightforward approach that eliminates all the confusing, unnecessary decisions. I’m just going to tell you what works. Otherwise, you’re facing so many questions…

  • Where and how do you register a domain?
  • In the sea of website hosts, how do you choose which one?
  • Which CMS do you use and what even is a CMS?
  • How do I get a nice-looking design?
  • Which plugins do I install and how do I tweak them?
  • Is this secure? How do I prevent myself from being hacked?

The wrong setup is going to leave you backtracking, patching things, and scrambling to fix stuff you could’ve just done properly on day one. So here’s my straightforward guide that uses all the same things I use to build my own profitable content sites.

Let’s get into building your website.

Table of Contents

Register Your Domain

Time: 5 minutes | Cost: ~$10

<TLDR>Use to register your domain. It’s fine if you’re using a different one, but it’s my favorite.</TLDR>

At this point, you’ve already decided on your topic and brand name. It’s time to see if the corresponding domain (dot com) is available. This is the WWW address where your content will live and people can find it. As will be true in this entire guide, you’ll always have multiple options along the way, but I’m not here to cover anything aside from exactly what I do.

Which Registrar Should You Use?

You’ve probably heard of several places to “get a dot com” with GoDaddy being probably the most popular. I used to use them but now I exclusively use NameCheap to register my domains. The interface is easy, the customer service is solid, and their prices are great.

Check Domain Availability

Once you’re on their site, you’ll see a very obvious field where you can check the availability of your desired domain. Type in the domain you’d like and press Search.

On the following page, it’ll either be available or not. If it’s not, go back to the brand name drawing board. Do NOT register a different extension of your brand name – only register a .com. The site will likely suggest .net, .info, and other extensions, but we want to stick with the one everyone knows.

If your desired domain is taken, you can also play around with variations that still work for you. For example, if I want, and it’s taken, maybe I settle on if I’m absolutely in love with the brand name. Generally though, it’s best to just go back to the drawing board.

Great, it’s available. Add it to your cart, which will likely prompt several other items that are frequently bought together. You don’t need any of these extras as they’re just unnecessary upsells almost never needed. So just ignore that and, at the bottom, click Checkout.

Buy Your Domain

Double check that the default settings look good. You’ll want to ensure Domain Privacy is toggled on; it’s up to you if you want Auto-Renew enabled.

Hit Confirm Order. On the next page, you’ll be asked to create an account assuming you don’t already have one. Go ahead and choose whatever you want there and sign up. Afterwards, it should be straightforward to add your payment details and complete the order. I already have an account, so I can’t take screenshots of this step, but the final price, depending on what kind of deal they have going on, should be in the vicinity of $10. Go ahead and purchase.

Tip: if you had any problems during the registration process, NameCheap’s Live Chat feature or Help Center will be your next stop.

Assuming your order went through, congratulations. Give yourself a pat on the back assuming you’re mildly flexible. You just took the first step toward creating a successful website.

Host Your Site

Time: 30 Minutes | Cost: $25/mo with no committments

<TLDR>Use Pressable.* It is the best WordPress-oriented host I’ve ever used from safety and security to speed and customer service. It’s straightforward.</TLDR>

*FTC Disclaimer: if you use Pressable or GeneratePress, I receive a commission for the recommendation.

The Right Setup Matters

When I first started building sites in the late 90s and even through most of the 2000s, this part was a nightmare. Working in FTP, constant downtime, trying to scrape together money for designs and coding… it was all painful and expensive. Multiple services are now available to make this not only inexpensive and easy, but also with quality, security, and flexibility in mind.

Right now, you have content you want to share on your new domain. You need a CMS (software to input your content) and a host (a server where your files will live) in order for others to find and access that content. Think about it like leaving a note for your partner or kid. You have something you want to tell them (content), a pen and post-it note to write it on (content management system), and a refridgerator to stick it to (host).

Thankfully, we are in 2022 where WordPress exists… and it’s free. Much like Wikipedia is still very much underappreciated in today’s society, most people still don’t fully grasp how fortunate they are to have access to such a powerful CMS. And if that doesn’t spoil today’s aspiring website owners enough, there are hosts that are fully dedicated to managing WordPress-built sites. And that’s about to be your site.

If any of this is confusing, don’t worry. The bottom line is we’re going to give your new domain a way for you to post content and a way for the world to access it.

Which Hosting Company Should You Use?

There are some great options out there, but there’s one that I absolutely love – Pressable. Their support is next level, it’s easy to use, secure, fast, and priced well. It’s the only host I use and the only one I can happily recommend.

Sign up for Pressable here.

I recommend the $25/mo Personal Plan, which has a 30 day money back guarantee and full support. Once you’re signed up and logged in, you’ll see the dashboard. If it feels overwhelming at all, put all your troubles aside and fear not. We’re going to bring it all together now.

Point Your Domain To The Server

Just click Add Site in the top right corner, which will prompt this screen.

You can choose anything for your site name, but just use your domain without the .com ending. Everything else is good as is, so press create and, after about a minute, you’ve already – technically – got a real website. Yay.

When the domain is finished deploying, click on it and you’ll end up here.

The only section you really need to worry about right now is “Domains,” so navigate to that, which has two sections. The first section is going to list all of Pressable’s nameservers.


If you have no idea what this means, that’s OK. Let’s just do what we need in order to get one step closer to actually making money with this site. You’ll need to head back over to and log into your account. In the dash, you should see a place to Manage your new domain.

After you click Manage, under “Nameservers” to the left, there will be a dropdown. Choose “Custom DNS.”

You’ll now see two places to add Nameservers. From the list above (, etc) add each of the 5, then click the small green checkmark to save it.

Awesome. You’ve now basically told your domain to look at Pressable for your site. Now do the opposite. Head back to Pressable and in the second section of the previously mentioned “Domains” tab, look for “Step Two: Manage Domains.”

Type your domain into the field and press Add. This will create two new entries: and Personally, I like to use the www version, so if you’d like that, just click the star underneath Primary.

You did it! All of your hopes and dreams have now come true. But in all seriousness, you should go take a break because your site is now propagating, which basically means all the servers around the world are learning about this new NameCheap / Pressable love affair. When you go to your .com in a few hours, you should see a basic site that looks like this:

IMPORTANT: if by some chance you are getting an “insecure connection” error when you go to your site, contact Pressable support. They can sort this out quickly by re-issuing an SSL certificate.

I laid everything out as clearly as possible, but here are two sources if you run into any other unexpected trouble.

Additionally, Pressable’s Live Chat is great. In your dashboard, you’ll see a green chat bubble in the bottom right corner. They’re really helpful if you run into issues.

Install Your WordPress Theme

Time: 30 minutes | Cost: $59 one-time fee (yearly if you want continuous support)

<TLDR>My favorite theme is GeneratePress. It’s extremely simple but loaded with advanced features, and, best of all, it can actually achieve a perfect Google PageSpeed score thanks to its lightweight code.</TLDR>

Okay, awesome. You’re finished with the most technical and boring part. Now it’s time to turn your blank website into something special. As I’ve said multiple times, there are many options but this guide is to get your site up running fast, securely, and beautifully.

Set Your WordPress Password

Head back into your Pressable dashboard and, under your new domain, you’ll see a WordPress Admin box, giving you the option to change your password.

Pick anything you want. If you want to get hacked, pick something easy. Otherwise, make sure it’s difficult and you’re not using it anywhere else. Or just click the Generate button, which will give you one that’s impossible to guess.

After you update your password, above that box is a button that says “WP Dashboard.” Click that and proceed to log in. Your username will be the name of your site without the .com, assuming you named it that way. If you aren’t sure, just use your email address associated with Pressable.

If you’re not familiar with WordPress, the next screen will be the dashboard, and it can seem a bit daunting. I assure you it’s really simple though, and we’re going to get you set up with exactly what you need to begin creating actual content that will bring in money.

Which WordPress Theme Should You Use?

Every site using WordPress needs a theme. The theme is basically your design, but over the years, they’ve become much more than that. The best ones are incredibly powerful and loaded with features. Because you’re following my specific guide to getting up quickly, we’re going to use GeneratePress. It’s far and away my favorite, it’s very fast, and, best of all, it’s easy.

Get GeneratePress Here

This is where I have to be annoying and tell you to spend money. There actually is a free version available, but, for obvious reasons, it lacks so many things that make the full theme so great. So check out the GeneratePress site and, when you’re ready, navigate to Premium -> Pricing. You’ll see a yearly plan for $59; hit Get Started underneath it. On the next page, you’ll create an account and pay for the theme.

After purchasing, it should take you to your Downloads page. You’ll also receive an email confirmation with helpful links just in case.

On your Downloads page, you’ll see two red buttons: Install and Download. You don’t need to hit Install right now, but go ahead and hit Download under GP Premium.

Install The GeneratePress Theme

After you download it, go back to your website’s WordPress dashboard. As a reminder, you can get into it either through Pressable or simply going to where you obviously replace with your actual domain. Now just follow these easy steps:

  1. Under Appearance on the left, click Themes.
  2. Click Add New toward the top.
  3. In the field that says “Search themes…,” type GeneratePress.
  4. When it comes up, highlight over it and click Install.
  5. The Install button will change to an Activate button. Click it.
  6. Now on the left, click Plugins.
  7. Click Add New.
  8. Click Upload Plugin toward the top.
  9. Click Choose File and find where you saved the GP Premium plugin from above. Choose, and Install Now.
  10. On the next page, click Activate Plugin.
  11. Under GP Premium, click Configure.
  12. Enter your license key which is in your GeneratePress account.

Even if you have no idea what you just did, know that you just did what used to take months and thousands of dollars in probably less than an hour for $59. The future is now, it appears.

Here’s why I love GeneratePress the most. You’ll see pretty quickly that there are a ton of options and, as you grow, you’re going to love experimenting with them and making your site better and better. But for the absolute beginner, it includes a Site Library of professional designs. A lot of themes have this actually, but GP’s is actually impressive. So, on the current page in your WordPress dashboard, look for this and Activate it.

After you activate it, click Open Site Library and witness a miracle.

You’ll find dozens of designs to choose from, including the one I’m using on this website. Since we’re not building an ecommerce business here, you can change the category dropdown to Blog. Go through, clicking any that look good so you can see a bigger preview. They’re all pretty good, but my favorites are Marketer, Read, Volume, and Sider. You’re going to end up making this your own, so don’t worry too much about this decision. Just choose the one you like the most.

For the sake of my ongoing example, I’m going with Read. After I open it from the Site Library, there’s a button that says Get Started over to the right.

Click Get Started and then toggle the “I understand” box to confirm the import. This will take about a minute, then you have the option to View Site. This is where it starts to feel like you’ve actually done something with your day.

Sure, you have no content of your own yet, but let’s recap what you’ve actually done.

  • Domain: you registered your very own space on the web.
  • Hosting: you set up a fast and secure server with a blank website on it. Then you told all of the Internet to look at this server when accessing your space.
  • Design: you accomplished what used to take months in just a few minutes, creating a ready-to-go, awesome looking site for the world to access.

Not bad for less than a day’s work. Of course, we are certainly not finished. It’s time to make this your own and prepare it for your money-making content.

Finalize Your WordPress Setup And Design

Time: 1-2 hours | Cost: $0-40

<TLDR>Use to get a nice looking logo quickly. Tweak your permalink structure and begin building out your custom categories. Install Yoast and Google Site Kit. Read GeneratePress’s full documentation to tweak anything that looks incorrect.</TLDR>

It’s time to channel your inner patience with these final steps because they can take time if you’re a beginner. Generally, I can do all of this in about 20 minutes, but I suspect it’ll take you longer. Let’s get into putting the final touches on your site so that it’s completely ready to go.

If you are even mildly familiar with design, you can just make your own. But I use the same service every single time – it’s easy, inexpensive, and you know it’ll look good. Head to and it’s all really self explanatory.

I’m not going to explain all the obvious ways you can narrow things down and refine your search but, as you can see here, even the most immediate versions that popped up are pretty nice. and much better than I’d ever do on my own.

Once you find one you like, you can customize it.

TIP: I highly recommend you adjust it to not be so tall. When you make a tall logo, you’re taking up extra space at the top of your site for no reason at all. It just forces readers to scroll past it, which isn’t just mildly annoying but it costs you revenue in the long run. You want to utilize every pixel of your site in the most optimal way.

For the sake of this example, I chose a simple logo. While you can download a free version, I definitely recommend paying for the $39.99 version. It’s just good to have for the quality and versatility, especially down the road.

It requires you to sign up for an account, but this is kinda nice in case you ever want to upgrade or adjust your logo.

Okay, it’s time to add the logo and change a few things to make sure you’re not bogging things down with unnecessary features. Go back to your website and, at the top in the black admin bar, click Customize. You can also find this in your site’s WordPress dashboard on the left side under Appearance. After you click it, you’ll see your site along with a menu.

As you’ll see, there are so many ways to adjust the look of your site, but let’s just focus on getting your logo added right now. Click Site Identity, and then change your Site Title to the name of your site and throw in a tagline. But click the Hide box on both as you really won’t be displaying these. Instead, you’ll see where you can add your logo. Use the Logo Width slider until it looks nice and sleek on your site. Click the Publish button and then X out.

Adjust Important WordPress Settings

This is really important. Back in your dashboard, hover over Settings on the left and click Permalinks. WordPress’s default is pretty much the worst ever for SEO and users, so change this to “Post Name” and Save.

Note: some experts recommend using a Custom Structure that includes your category before the post name. This is totally fine as well but not necessary.

Finally, on the left side, hover over Posts and click Categories. These are all just filler categories, so you want to set up ones relevant to you. Think about different “buckets” of content you’ll be creating and, generally these will be your categories. In my Gaming Koala ongoing example, it might be something like:

  • Game Reviews
  • Game Walkthroughs
  • Game Trailers
  • Trending Games

As a general rule of thumb, I tend to go fairly broad. I’ve always found it odd to check out a website’s category page, and there are just a couple of posts. Choose categories to which you’ll be regularly contributing. There’s no right or wrong number of categories; the correct amount is however many you need.

In order to update these, you can edit the current default ones or delete them and add new ones.

Here’s the WordPress Documentation on Categories.

There will be several placeholder posts in your admin. You can leave them for now so that you’ll be able to see how content will look on the site.

At this point, you’re pretty much ready to start creating your own content, but let’s make sure we’re truly ready.

Install Must-Have WordPress Plugins

I’m going to do an entire article in the future on all the best plugins every site should have, but right now there are only two: Yoast SEO and Google Site Kit.

Yoast SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically means optimizing your website in the best way for Google to include you in search results. This is important unless you don’t ever want to make money in which case, why are you here?

The good news is, like the rest of setting up a website in 2022, it’s really easy and works incredibly well out of the box.

Navigate to Plugins in your dashboard and click Add New. In the search field, type Yoast SEO and Install it.

Can 5+ million people be wrong? Probably… but not in this case.

After you install it, click Activate. You’re good to go for now. Awesome.

Site Kit by Google

Since Google is basically our king we all unfortunately have to please, their plugin to help us is a no-brainer. It will help with 4 different products:

  • Analytics: this will tell you how much traffic you’re getting and where they’re coming from.
  • Adsense: this is what will make you money.
  • Search Console: this will tell you if your site needs improvements.
  • Speed: this will tell you if you’re the tortoise or the hare.

Some users have reported this plugin doesn’t function properly. In my experience, it works well especially on a new site that isn’t cluttered with unnecessary plugins. So let’s go back to Plugins -> Add New -> enter “site kit by google” in the search field and Install it.

Like Meat Loaf said, 4 out of 5 ain’t bad. Err, wait.

Activate the plugin and, on the next page, click Start Setup. Check the box that says Set Up Google Analytics and click Connect. On the next page, you’ll have to choose a gmail account to sign up with – if you don’t have gmail, you’ll need to create an account at

Next, Site Kit wants access to your Google Account. We trust Site Kit because Google would never do anything wrong (right…?), so check all the boxes and click Continue.

Next, a page will tell you to verify site ownership. This is OK, so click Verify.

After that, you’ll be asked to Allow the plugin to turn on metrics in your dashboard. Approved.

Now click Set Up to set up search console.

And finally, step 4 is to set up Google Analytics. Click Next. This will take you back to your dashboard where you’ll need to use the drop down to select Set Up a New Account. Fortunately, Google is pretty good about taking the guesswork out of what to type where, so you should get something like this:

Click Create Account and then choose your gmail account from the previous step again. Now it’ll ask for additonal access to create a new Analytics account. Check both of these boxes and click Continue.

Now just accept the Terms of Service, and you’re all set. Right now, you really don’t have to worry about any of this stuff as you won’t have any traffic yet.

Finalize Your Layout

Deep breaths. Both you and me because I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t writing this guide. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Not to beat a dead horse, but you’ve accomplished what, even to this day, takes some people weeks and weeks of struggles. There are so many options out there that it can seem daunting, so I hope this guide helped you.

Now let’s wrap things up with a few more important things. Go to your website’s homepage. Note: in my example below, I already deleted all the posts so it looks more blank than yours.

Find everything that looks weird. For example, my categories clearly aren’t correct. The footer says a bunch of junk that’s completely irrelevant to a gaming website. Let’s clean these items up.

Most of this can be done in your dashboard under Customize. Remember that step from above? Head into the relevant sections and see where you can find these blocks of text and/or menus you need to change. Be patient and don’t feel overwhelmed – as long as you don’t press “Publish” on this page, none of your changes are saved but you can preview them as you make changes.

Experiment with it and remove or change anything that doesn’t fit with your brand and future content. And, of course, if you can’t figure it out right now, don’t worry about it. Nobody is going to your site yet, and there’s a lot more to learn before you’ll be making money with your new site. Here’s the most useful guide to ensuring your site is looking good with this setup:

GeneratePress’s Complete Documentation To Customize Everything


To quickly recap what we’ve done in this guide: you now have a fully functional, beautiful, dynamic, data-driven website hosted on secure, fast servers under your unique brand and web presence. You may not realize just how incredible that is for barely over a hundred bucks. Past me is very jealous.

And now it’s time for the best part: the guide to creating content that gets eyeballs and makes money.

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Scott DeLong

I'm an introvert who has built and sold multiple companies for millions of dollars - without funding or employees. I've been featured in BusinessWeek, Business Insider, Fortune, Inc, and more. I hope you find my site helpful to your own entrepreneurial journey.