Free Website Building Tutorials…

This is not my main website. I put this one together because so many of the readers of my other art blogs wish they had a blog or website of their own. They remember how hard it used to be to build a site, so they keep putting it off. Fortunately, it isn’t hard any more, and almost anyone can do it.

In the free lessons on this site I show you how to build a blog or website from scratch in the shortest amount of time possible. I even show you how to get your brand new website indexed in Google practically overnight, for free. The site you build using these instructions will be totally under your control – you design it, you write the pages, you add the images, and you edit anything you want, any time you want.

Some companies charge you big bucks for these services – but you can do it all yourself. It’s easy to do all that stuff. Don’t let anybody tell you different. So if you have some artwork you want to tell the world about, or if you have experiences or opinions you’d like to share, there’s never been a better time to start your own blog or website. To skip right to the instructions, just click here to go to Step One. You’ll find all the other steps on the right side of every page.

Why Not Use a Free Website Publishing Site?

I don’t recommend using one of the free website publishing systems, like or I don’t have anything against those sites, and I’m sure they’re owned by very nice people. However, if you build a site using their software and let them host it, their company owns your website. Even if you own your own domain name, you’re still dependent on them to stay in business and maintain their software.

In my opinion, the easiest and safest way to build a website is to use WordPress with your own domain name and with your own hosting account. WordPress is huge, and they won’t go away for years, if ever.

But Isn’t WordPress a Blog Platform? What if I Don’t Want a Blog?

Many people think that a WordPress site is “just a blog,” and that you have to write every day to keep it going. You can use it that way – WordPress makes it easy to build an online journal, or “blog”.

But if you prefer,  you can make all static pages, like this site you’re on now. Build a few pages with photos of your artwork or product or hobby, write a bit about yourself and your business or interests, and make it easy for people to find you if you want to be found. Just like a “real” website.

Because that’s exactly what you’ll be making if you follow the lessons on this site.

You don’t have to let people comment on your pages if you don’t want them to (but I think the comments are the best part!). And you don’t have to blather on about your private life every day if you don’t want to. Of course, if you do want to, you can.

You can build a few pages, and then never touch your website again — except to check occasionally to see if you need to hit the button that keeps the WordPress program updated. How hard is that? We’re not talking about a lifetime commitment here. Although it could be, if that’s what you want. I started out with one website, about 9 or 10 years ago. I just built it because I thought it would be fun. I now make my living as a web publisher, full time – and do a bit of sculpting and gardening on the side…

Build a Static Site With WordPress

This page your looking at now is a static page, which will always be the first page you see when you come to my site. There are no posts on this site, just pages. Because I only use pages, I can put them on the sidebar menu in the proper order, and you can follow the tutorials without getting lost.

If you have a store or you sell products or services in your home town, a static site may be perfect for you.

Or Build a Dynamic Site

If you prefer to use WordPress in the normal manner, just write your About and Privacy and Contact pages as “Pages,” and write everything else as “Posts.” You can use all the instructions on this site to build a regular “dynamic” blog that shows each new post on the front page, with the latest post on top. In fact, blogs can be quite exciting, once you get a loyal following. The comments alone will keep you interested in writing more.

Or Static Home-Page, With Blog…

And there’s one more option – write one page that will always be on your home page, and write everything else as a post. A link to your latest posts will show up in the sidebar as they’re written.

The flexibility of WordPress is just one of the reasons why I love using it to build my websites.

Why Should You Build Your Website With WordPress?

Because you can build a website fast, and you can easily change the way it looks whenever you get the urge. There are thousands of free WordPress templates that you can use, or you can use the new default template that comes with the WordPress installation. It’s a huge improvement over the default template they used to have. Or, if you really get into designing your own look and feel, you can buy a premium template like the Thesis theme.

Programmers seem to enjoy designing and inventing for WordPress. That means that, in addition to all the great templates you can get for free, you can also install hundreds of free plugins that let you do almost anything you could possibly imagine on your site. There are a few plugins that I consider essential, and I’ll show you what they are when we get into the lessons.

And last, by certainly not least, Google and other search engines love WordPress blogs. That means it will be easier for you to build up some traffic, and actually get eyeballs on your beautiful new creation. Who wants to build a website, if nobody comes?

Isn’t it Hard to Build a Website?

If you think that building your own website is too difficult, just take a look at the tutorials on this site – I think you’ll see that you could have your own website up and running today or tomorrow.

If you do build a website using these instructions, or if you have any ideas or questions, I hope you’ll tell us about it. That’s what that comment form is for… 🙂



Rick September 11, 2010 at 10:12 am

Everything you have done is very helpful and impressive. Thank-you for your kindness and willingness to share. I hope you achieve your goals too.
Best wishes.

Jane September 11, 2010 at 11:48 am

Looking to help a friend build a website. Thank you for sharing!

Jonni September 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

You’re welcome. Good luck with it – be sure to let us know how it turns out.

shanneeq September 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm

personally I like BUILDING stuff from scratch. What I don’t like about WP and Joomla sites, is that they are based on templates. And that they all look very similar.
But I do admit they can be set up in an afternoon, without any knowledge of xhtml or css, and have powerful features (e.g. you can knit in forms and polls in a blink of an eye).

Jonni September 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Yes, but you can build your own Wordpress template, too, if you want to. It’s a bit over my head, but if you know CSS I think it’s doable. Then you get a totally custom design, and it’s backed up by all the bells and whistles of Web 2.0. Someday I might give it a try.

Becky October 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Hi Jonni,
Thank you for a very thorough and untimidating “how-to” on building a website! I have my simple site online thanks to your gracious directions:
Can’t thank you enough!

Jonni October 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

Excellent – well done. I’ll put your site in my blogroll. I hope your site is very successful.

Kelly-Product Reviewer May 6, 2011 at 12:12 am

Dear Jonni,
I was able to remove the wordpress comment section from my blog and put the contact form 7 in. I did this assuming that the plug-in would require name, email and website while accepting comments at the same time. Well, I’ve been getting comments but now they’re going to my email address, instead showing up on my blog. I’d like my comment section to function as yours does and figure out how to change the section that has “subject” to “Website”.

Thank you!

Jonni May 6, 2011 at 6:08 am

Hi Kelly. The ordinary comment form should have a spot for the writer’s name, URL and email address. You probably want to go back to using the standard comment form instead of the contact form. However, I do suggest that you put the contact form on a page called “contact,” in case someone wants to reach you but doesn’t want to leave a public message.

Monique Rea March 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

I appreciate all that you are willing to share with so many. I am going to follow your tutorial and build my own website. I have presently two websites. One that I cannot even manipulate the other is WordPress. Both of these I didn’t set it up. One is static, I cannot make any changes without going through the programer and be charged a fee. The WordPress website allows me to add images but I seem to be have limited activities and I believe it is a predertermined template that the programer used. Needless to say I am frustrated and want to have something that I can have better control.

Jonni March 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

Good luck, Monique. I think you’ll like having a chance to make changes and add content without asking for help. It gives you so much more flexibility.

The template shouldn’t affect the WordPress dashboard, and that’s where all your updates and changes take place. You should be able to go into any post or page that has already been built on your present site, and make any changes you like. Do you have the password for your site’s dashboard? The URL for your site’s dashboard ends in wp-admin . You need access to the dashboard to make any changes.

Monique Rea March 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

I’ll check on that. If not, then I am at the mercy of the programer. I don’t have complete understanding of some of the terms or functions, for instance plugins… and may be some of my difficulty as well.

Monique Rea March 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

One additional comment regarding my WordPress website, people do not seem to want to leave comments because they have to go through to many steps to leave their comments. Is this indicative of a predetermined template? Does Elegant Themes allow comments to be made more easily?
thank you,

Jonni March 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

I think the comment function is built into WordPress, not the theme. I think Blogger comments are sometimes difficult, because you have to sign in. On Wordpress, anyone can comment. On my blogs, I check all comments and approve them manually, because I don’t want spam to sneak onto my pages. However, that doesn’t make it any more difficult for the user. It just take a bit longer before the comment shows up on the page.

Jonni March 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

Oops – I just checked your website, and it looks like you have opted to require everyone to log in and register before they can comment – just like the Blogger blogs that make things so hard. I suggest that you go into the Dashboard of your blog, go to the Settings > Discussion section, and uncheck the line that says “Users must be registered and logged in to comment.” Then, check the line that says “Email me whenever A comment is held for moderation,” and check “Before a comment appears An administrator must always approve the comment.” This gives you full control over the comments that appear on your site, while making it easy for anyone to leave a comment. Comments are good – it helps Google know that your site is active and popular. It doesn’t make sense to create roadblocks for people when the comments are so helpful to your Google rankings. And besides, getting comments (like yours) helps you get to know the people who read your site, which makes things a lot more fun.

Monique Rea March 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

thank you….will keep you posted…

Scotty April 16, 2011 at 12:56 am

I like that you mentioned WordPress above. I used to do a lot of back-end and front-end work but have since turned to WordPress for my “professional services” clients (chirorpacters, real estate agents, etc..). Even though I tell them they can put it up themselves, they still have me do it sometimes. But in the end we’re both happy because they can then manage it easily on their own. Thumbs up to WordPress!

Jonni April 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

I wish more business website were built on Wordpress. I see so many people who have sites that need to be updated with new store hours, new products, etc., but the owners can’t afford to have someone do it for them. If they hired someone like you to build a Wordpress site, they could easily change their sites themselves. I know one company here in town that hired somebody to do a simple update on their site, and they’ve been waiting three months already for the site to change. There’s no excuse for that any more — but some designers want to keep their clients in the dark so they have the repeat business, I suppose.

kayrose36 April 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm


You are a lifesaver! Your site is so easy to understand and I’m a newbie so it justs puts me at ease. My site isn’t live yet, so I’m following along and I really feel I’m making progress. I’m about to start step 6.


Jonni April 27, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Your site looks great.

Bonnie Tweedy Shaw August 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

Well, I did it!! I finally built a website! Thank you Jonni for your great tutorial.
I am still working the bugs out and tweaking the site, but I am proud to say I did it! (with your help and a little help from my techie brother).

I use eyes on my theme picture and I know you said that might be too distracting, but I really like it on my site – so I guess I’ll keep it for now. You’ll see what I mean if you look at my site.
Thanks again!~Bonnie

Jonni August 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Bonnie, I think the heading is great. And I love your artwork. I’m just now trying to learn felting, so your site is particularly interesting to me, even though I’m trying to make slippers and hats instead of sculptures.

One problem, though – Clicking on the link you provided,, just brings me to the Hostgator Getting Started screen. Did you forget to remove the index.htm file? (Make sure to make a copy of it, in case I’m giving you bad advice). If there’s both an index.htm and an index.php, you won’t get your home page. Even when you click on the “home” link on your header, you get the Hostgator page. If you can’t get it working right away, be sure to send in a support ticket – Hostgator is really good at helping people out.

Jonni August 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm

And one last thing – be sure to let me know when you get that one last page working so I can add you to my blogroll. And then, be sure to add a few comments on my other blog, at, so you can get indexed in Google right away, and start getting a few more visitors.

Bonnie Tweedy Shaw August 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the compliments. I have been doing needle felting for a few years now and have done a few wet felting things also. I haven’t tried a hat, but I have done slippers. They are so toasty and really feel great in the winter.

About the website, I am not sure what you mean about the Hostgater “Getting Started” screen. I have given the same link to a few other people, and have looked at it myself on different computers and have always gone right to the home page. If I do a search in Google, I find several older versions where I was still building and editing. I don’t know if that is what happened. I will go over your directions and see if I missed something… but I am not sure of what removing the index.htm file means or entails. This stuff is one step over my pay grade, I think! -Bonnie

Jonni August 28, 2011 at 11:52 am

I can see your home page now – it must have been a temporary glitch. Don’t worry about the instructions given before, since your site is working fine.

arama motoru optimizasyonu September 1, 2011 at 5:52 am

Excellent! Your article has a ton readers. How did you get so many viewers to look at your site I’m jealous! I’m still studying all about posting articles on the web. I’m going to look around on your blog to get a better understanding how to get more visable. Thank you!

seo January 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome site!

Jonni January 31, 2012 at 9:37 am

Thanks for the offer, but the tutorials are pretty much done. If this was just a spam comment, which seems possible, you might want to learn how to copy and paste your url in to the form.

phan mem bao tri February 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I agree about using WordPress. It’s not that bad a learning curve, certainly easier than learning to create a website from scratch, and once you know how to pick a good template and make basic changes, you don’t have to worry about all your sites looking the same.

daniel September 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

hello Jonni, you are awesome. Great job. I’m about putting all your lessons into practice any moment from now but wanna know how i could add products and accept credit card on my site. Also i would like to know how i can have an image gallery and slideshow, video player, audio player, contact form and Basic SEO and CMS. I would sincerely appreciate your reply.

Jonni September 20, 2012 at 6:29 am

Hi Daniel. I think all the things you describe are possible. Go to your Add Plugins page and do a search for the features you want. Or, go to Google and do a search for the feature, plus “WP” and “plugin,” to see what other people are using to get the results you want. And be sure to let us know when your site is ready to view, so we can all go take a look!

Debra March 3, 2013 at 11:56 am

We are a gaggle of volunteers and opening a
new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with
useful information to work on. You have done an impressive
task and our whole group will likely be grateful to you.

Terry March 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring on
other sites? I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and
would love to have you share some stories/information.
I know my visitors would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Jonni March 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Sorry, but no. I only put this site together as a service to the artists who visit my main site. Good luck with your site!

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