Whether you’re starting an online portfolio, a social media marketing business, a coaching business, a blog, or any kind of online business, the first and most important step is to make sure your website is set up the right way!
WordPress is the Mercedes of websites. Why choose something like Wix or Squarespace when you can DIY your own WordPress website for less than $100 bucks?!
This article will discuss the steps to take to get it going quickly and efficiently! Don’t let the technical side scare you…it’s really not hard if you follow the steps in order.
Step 1. Reserve your domain name and hosting plan.
The most essential first step to starting your website…today…is to carefully choose your domain name. A domain name is your address on the web and it only costs $12! It’s what comes after the “www” in your browser’s address bar. If you already know what you want your domain name to be, the first step is to conduct a quick search below to see if it’s available!
If you aren’t sure yet what you want your URL to be, try searching your own name (firstlast.com) first to see if it’s available. If it’s not, the tool above will give you some alternative suggestions. The secret to scoring a FREE domain name is to buy it in conjunction with 65% off hosting.
What is hosting you ask?
Contrary to popular belief, WordPress is not FREE; while the files are free, the term “hosting” is kind of like your virtual file cabinet, and that is not free. You can get a deal if you buy both hosting and domain name at the same time (we’re talking less than $100 bucks here, and less than $50/year of you buy as a bundle for 3 years).
For now, go ahead search above for a name you might like.
Be sure to purchase your WordPress Hosting, and your Domain Name from BlueHost, it’s the very best option for many different reasons, the primary reason being security. An SSL Certificate (that’s what makes your website show the green lock button in the browser address next to the name) will come with your purchase from Bluehost at no extra charge and THIS.IS.HUGE. GoDaddy and other registrars charge separately for the SSL Certificate and this is one of the most important security measures to have installed on your site so that users know you and your business are legitimate!
I’ve seen a lot of people recommend different platforms for hosting. The problem is, these people have only ever used the one platform that they are recommending.
I’ve been creating WordPress websites for over 14 years, and I have created hundreds, yes, you read that correctly, hundreds of WordPress websites for clients both large and small. From solo-entrepreneurs to entire marketing teams inside Fortune 500 corporations, I worked in agency and corporate marketing since 1996. A lot has changed since then, but the point is, I’ve used countless hosting providers and worked with all kinds of software integrations along the way.
I can tell you from experience, the best hosting platform for new bloggers is Bluehost. Period.
Step 2: Install WordPress and Connect your SSL
As you create your account, you will simply follow the prompts to install the WordPress Core Files from the BlueHost Dashboard. You’ll set up an Administrator Username and Password. This is how you’ll log into your WordPress website once the core files are ready. This typically takes just a few minutes, but it can take up to an hour. You’ll access your dashboard with the credentials you just set up at: https://yourwebsitename.com/wp-login.php
Your SSL Certificate is installed automatically by BlueHost when you follow the prompts to set up your hosting account. I can’t say this enough…after creating hundreds of WordPress websites for clients of all sizes over the last 14 years, website security is VERY important and you want your browser tab to show the https protocol and the lock icon when someone visits…otherwise, visitors will get a big red error message from Google indicating that your site is not secure. Yikes!
Step 3: Install the 5 most important WordPress plugins (they are free as well)
Your Bluehost WordPress website will come with some plugins already automatically installed. Delete JetPack, it will only slow down your website. I would also recommend deleting Monster Insights.
Along the left side of your WordPress Dashboard, you’ll see an option for Plugins. Go to “Add New” and search for, download and install the FREE Plugin “Under Construction” by WebFactory, Ltd. This will enable you to set up your website with a Splash page so that it doesn’t look ugly while you work on it. Watch this quick video to learn about the other free plugins that I recommend installing on every new WordPress website.
Step 4: Choose a Design Theme
Bluehost will automatically give you a variety of free theme choices, so in the very beginning it’s not necessary to purchase a theme. To get started, click on Appearance on the left sidebar inside of your WordPress dashboard. You will be able to preview the themes to see what your website will look like.
If you don’t care for any of the design choices inside of the Free themes, then I highly recommend that you purchase a Premium WordPress Theme from a vendor such as Creative Market.
A premium theme means that your website will look much more professional. If you think it’s worth it to pay $40 or $60 bucks to have a gorgeous website, then a premium theme will help you do that. Most of them allow you to import demo content with one click, then you can quickly and intuitively change out the logo, photos, colors and text to customize your website. These themes typically come with updates and support. You can also view live, working examples of the themes before you buy. This is the absolute quickest way to get up and running quickly & easily.
Be sure to read all the information about your theme carefully before you purchase. Most themes range in price from $15 to $150, however, some require additional paid plugins to work properly. I am not personally a fan of the Genesis Framework. I prefer to shop themes that are not built on that platform.
Step 5: Make Your Website beautiful!
If you installed a theme with Demo content, then you can simply change your pages to include your Pricing page, your About page, and your Contact page.
If you need a logo, you can design your own for free using Canva.com.
Stuck on something technical related to setting up your website? I am available on a limited basis for hourly consultations to help you with wherever you get stuck, or, feel free to join my private Facebook group (free) to ask questions and connect with other bloggers, social media influencers and online entrepreneurs!