For most people, the internet is all about consumption. They go online to find entertainment, shop, learn and generally be distracted from all of the troubles and stress modern life is currently throwing at us. People are generally aware of the internet’s incredible potential for creative expression and professional development, but most people have never actually attempted to create their own websites.

When someone does resolve to take the first steps into the exciting and daunting world of building your first site, they have a remarkable journey ahead of them. Consult anyone with a history of web development (professional or amateur) and they’ll tell you that their first website project can be a transformative experience.

It’s isn’t an easy process though, particularly for those with minimal tech expertise, and not every attempt you make at building a website will work out. It can be easy for an aspiring web developer or entrepreneur to give up due to confusion about what to do technically, or even a lack of creative direction. After all, simple setup procedures and free themes can’t solve all design problems.

This blog is intended to help someone in such a position. If you know someone building their first site, or if you are working on building your first website, these inspirational ideas will hopefully help:

Take a basic course

While it is possible for someone with decent IT skills to cobble together a fairly decent website with no formal development tuition or training, it doesn’t mean it’s preferable. If you are trying to build a site but aren’t sure how to proceed, it is highly recommended that you think about taking a basic course in website development. This can be a great way to pick up the fundamentals that can otherwise be missed so easily when you’re winging it.

When it comes to deciding which course you should take, it really depends on what you are willing to spend, how much you already know, what results you are trying to achieve and what type of website you are aiming to build. A simple blog website for example will require much less knowledge than a large online store with various payment, shipping, tax and language options. Udemy for example has various courses specifically for WordPress, many concentrating on different elements of the development process. Just one solid course can prove extremely useful. Remember to read user reviews before committing your time and money on a course though, as quality and results can vary.

Research and read success stories

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step: even though we all know this, it’s still tough for someone to take that step to place it into an appropriate context. If the process of developing your first website starts to drag, it is the easiest thing in the world to just give up on the idea, justifying this abandonment by assuming that it would never have amounted to anything anyway. As with all those well-meaning New Year’s resolutions that fall by the wayside after a month or two, the world is littered with partially designed and built websites that are ultimately forgotten because things got too difficult.

That’s where success stories become so meaningful. There are plenty of examples out there of thriving businesses that started out slowly, without massive budgets or fanfare. Instead, many successful sites began as simple side hustles set up by aspiring entrepreneurs that eventually grew into highly successful and lucrative businesses. Their creators believed in themselves, worked hard on their websites and kept moving ahead until they achieved their goals. Knowing that success can be achieved is hugely important for getting through the tough early stages.

Examine great sites

When trying to build something great, it can be a massive challenge should you not be very experienced with the production process. It can even be tough to properly envisage exactly what you may be ultimately aiming for. What should the website ultimately look like? How should it work? What pages and categories should you have? In life, there can be a lot of value in having role models to emulate as it can provide inspiration and allow you to see how established and successful sites got where they are, giving you something to aim towards too.

Because of this, one of the best ways to get inspired when building your website is to closely examine the best and most successful websites out there that are similar to yours. Why do users like them so much? What lessons can you learn about how to build a great website? And most importantly, what can be done better? This will allow you to return to your development project with a much clearer vision of where you would like to take your site.

Join a community

One of the best things about the online world has always been its ability to bring people from different backgrounds and lifestyles together. Whatever interest a given person is looking to pursue, they can be absolutely confident that there are relevant internet communities already in place, and that’s certainly the case for web development (and entrepreneurship in general).

Each content management system has numerous communities dedicated to it online, which are always a great place to start. Reddit is another great place for general advice: the r/Entrepreneur subreddit has 650k members, which is a great place to ask broader business questions. There are also subs like r/webdev (416k members) for more specific technical queries. There are also thousands of videos on YouTube that help show you how to develop and setup a WordPress site, taking you through all the steps needed to take your website plan from idea to reality. 

Inspiration can come in many forms and mean different things to different people, but at its core it’s about motivation: motivation to learn, to keep going, and to strive for greater achievement. While the ideas listed above are far from revolutionary, they are incredibly potent and just one of them can be enough to push a project through to fruition.