A 2022 survey by Top Design Firms revealed that 27% of small businesses don’t have a website. However, 86% of those businesses plan to build one soon. That’s because a website helps you build an online presence. You can go from selling locally to selling globally overnight.
The best part is that you don’t need a fancy CS degree or coding skills to build a website from scratch. You can build one on a budget using code-free website builders.
Read the rest of our guide to learn the basics of building a website and how to build a website from scratch using HubSpot’s free CMS.
How To Build A Website From Scratch?
- Define the purpose of your website.
- Identify your website needs.
- Choose a website builder.
- Pick a domain name.
- Create your site layout.
- Customize your website design elements.
- Go live and drive traffic to your new website.
Here’s a rundown of what each of these steps entails.
Step 1: Define The Purpose of Your Website
The first step in building a website from scratch is outlining its purpose. Your website’s purpose influences every decision you make as you build it. Understanding what you wish to achieve through your website will help you understand the type of website and functionality you need.
For instance, you could create a blog to share food recipes or a one-page personal website to showcase your work to potential clients. Similarly, you could also build an e-commerce website to sell products online.
Step 2: Identify Your Website Needs
Once you’ve outlined the purpose of your site, you’re ready to take the next step in your website building journey — identifying its needs.
One way to do this is to look at your top competitors’ websites for inspiration. You can also look at their social media accounts and online reviews to identify common issues and capitalize on those opportunities.
For instance, if you’re creating a company website, it’s likely your competitors will have the following pages on their website:
- Contact Page.
Suppose you notice customers frequently requesting pricing on their Google Business profile. In that case, you can add a pricing page to your website in addition to the ones listed above.
Step 3: Choose a Website Builder
If you’re tech-savvy with limited technical know-how, you can use an open-source content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which is used by 43% of all websites on the internet, according to W3Techs.
WordPress is highly versatile and easy to use – thanks to the WordPress visual editor. But you’ll need to figure out how to:
- Host the site.
- Perform routine maintenance.
- Create your own backups.
- Handle security issues.
- Install, update, and uninstall WordPress plugins.
And if you’re a beginner with no coding skills or experience building a website, you can opt for a website builder. It’ll allow you to build a website from scratch without worrying about all the technicalities of web hosting, securing, and maintaining a website, or you can get the best VPS hosting in USA by hosting your site with providers such as UltaHost, and in turn, they will do everything necessary, such as maintaining, controlling and protecting your site without worrying about these details.
Some of the best website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and even WordPress (to an extent) will help you start building quickly. You’ll have access to all the basics with their free plans, but you’ll need to upgrade to the paid ones to access features like custom domain support.
We recommend HubSpot’s free CMS because it’s the most user-friendly website builder on the market. It helps you learn and grow with your website and gives you access to free HubSpot tools like live chat and email marketing software.
Step 4: Pick A Domain Name
The next step in learning how to build a website from scratch is choosing a domain name for your brand. Choosing a domain name can be tricky. Although choosing a memorable domain name is important, don’t overthink it.
Data collected by Verisign reveals that there are over 350 million registered domain names as of Q1 2022. Make sure you shortlist multiple domain names because it’s likely that your top choice might be unavailable.
Here are a few more tips to help you choose the perfect domain name:
- Opt for a recognizable Top-Level Domain (TLD) like .com.
- Choose a brandable name.
- Avoid using hyphens.
- Check for copyright and trademark infringement.
Once you’ve shortlisted a few options, you can use domain registrars like Domain.com, Bluehost, Namecheap, or Godaddy to register your domain name.
After that, you’ll need to update your DNS settings to connect your custom domain to your CMS or website builder platform.
Step 5: Create Your Site Layout
With your domain name and website builder connected, you’re ready to start creating your website. Depending on your website purpose, you can now begin designing your website layout.
If you’re building a business website, you might create pages like:
- Home page.
- About us page.
- Pricing page.
- Services page.
- Contact us page.
On the other hand, if you’re building an online store, you’ll need to create product listings, categories, and FAQ pages. You’ll also need to test different layouts and colorways to decide what looks best.
Drag-and-drop builders simplify this task for you, so you can do all that and more without touching any code. And if you need some help, you can always use professionally designed themes and templates to simplify your task.
Once you find one that works for you, you can:
- Add and edit pages.
- Change layouts and website design elements.
- Add links to social media profiles.
- Add images and videos.
Play around with different layouts and settings till you find the perfect fit for your website.
Step 6: Customize Your Website Design Elements
Choose a color palette for your website and select fonts that compliment your branding. You can use the same font for everything or choose complementary fonts. However, you should ensure they are legible and compatible with your website’s colors.
Step 7: Go Live And Drive Traffic To Your New Website
At this stage, your website is ready to go live. But before you publish it, run the following checks:
- Ensure your content is grammatically correct.
- All internal links are inserted correctly.
- All buttons and navigation links work.
- Your website looks good on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
- The site loads quickly.
Does everything work as expected? Perfect — it’s time to go live. Publish your site live and spread the word to start driving traffic to it.
Word of mouth endorsements to friends and family is a great place to start. That’ll get you your first few visitors, but it won’t get you leads or conversions.
You can also broadcast your website on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. But the best way to get traffic to your website instantly is with paid ads. You can help your website reach its target audience using paid channels like Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
And if you don’t have the budget to market your website from day one, don’t sweat it. You can also drive organic traffic through search engine optimization (SEO) and content creation.
Leading website builders like HubSpot’s free CMS offer free SEO tools. Other platforms like WordPress let you install SEO plugins to optimize your site for search engines. You can use these tools to identify opportunities to improve your website’s SEO by writing blog posts.
Steps To Build A Website From Scratch Using HubSpot’s Free CMS
Building a website from scratch using HubSpot’s Free CMS is easy. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to do it.
Step 1: Sign Up for a Free HubSpot Account
Open the HubSpot CMS page and click Get free CMS to create a free HubSpot account.
Sign up with Google or enter your name and email address to create a new account. After entering your details, click Next and answer a few short questions to help HubSpot personalize its recommendations to your business needs.
After that, you’ll be directed to HubSpot’s User Guide, which will teach you how to build a website from scratch through a guided process.
Step 2: Select a Theme for Your Site
Expand the Select a theme for your site section and click on Browse themes.
Select a theme from the available options or choose a premium theme from either HubSpot’s marketplace or Themeforest. Then, proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Customize Your Website’s Theme Settings
Click on the Customize theme button to start customizing your website design.
HubSpot’s intuitive admin dashboard allows you to choose from multiple preset color palettes. Choose a palette that matches your brand identity, choose a primary and secondary font for your site, and assign colors to each font.
Preview your changes in real-time and click Next once you’ve finalized your website’s style.
On the next page, you can upload a logo for your website and click Finish to return to the user guide.
Step 4: Build Your Site
Expand the Build your site section and click on Build site.
Follow the guided site creation process that helps you add new pages to your site, select homepage layout options, and customize the header, navigation menu, and footer.
Once you’ve customized your site, click Finish to complete the task.
Step 5: Explore The Drag-and-Drop Editor
If you want to customize your site further, you can do that with HubSpot’s user-friendly drag-and-drop editor.
Don’t worry if it’s your first time using it. You can learn how it works through an interactive demo by expanding the Explore the drag-and-drop editor section and clicking Start demo.
Step 6: Publish And Manage Your Pages
It’s time to put the finishing touches on your website. Expand the Publish and manage your pages section and click Start publishing.
You’ll see a list of all the pages on your website. You can select each one individually, customize their content and settings, and even optimize them for search engines with HubSpot’s helpful recommendations.
Once you’ve finalized your website design and content, click the Publish button on the top-right corner to publish your web page live.
Step 7: Create A Blog For Your Website
It’s time to start populating your website with content. Make sure you stay true to your brand and that everything you write is grammatically correct.
Expand the Create your blog section and click Create blog to get started.
Follow the three-step process to customize your blog content and add it to your site.
Step 8: Connect A Custom Domain
By default, HubSpot publishes your website on its subdomain. However, you should use a custom domain to make your website appear professional.
HubSpot allows you to connect a custom domain to your site and even install a free SSL certificate on its free plan.
You can set that up by expanding the Connect your custom domain section on the user guide page and clicking on Connect domain. You’ll be redirected to your Hub account’s Domains & URLs page.
Click the Connect a domain button and follow HubSpot’s three-step process to connect your published site with your custom domain.
Great work! You can now access your website on your custom domain address. That’s how easy it is to build a website from scratch with HubSpot’s free CMS Hub.
Final Thoughts: How To Build A Website From Scratch
Building a website from scratch might seem intimidating, but it’s easier than you think. Thanks to website builders like HubSpot’s free CMS, you can build a website from scratch without dealing with code.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to start out with a flawless website. You can always go back and optimize your content and creatives once it’s live. Stay true to your brand and keep publishing content — organic visitors and potential leads will start rolling in gradually.