You’ve got a genius idea. The world should know. You’ve been thinking about starting something online but wondering if there’s a place for you and if you can put together something that will attract attention, right? Well… it’s time. Whether you’re an aspiring writer, artist, creative, or small business owner; the steps to setting up a blog and/or website are the same. So grab a seat and lets get started – your brand new blog/site is about to begin.
Grab a note pad and something to write with – you’ll want to take a few notes on this one. Here’s the set up of your website/blog in just 3 easy steps.
- Pick a Domain Name & Hosting Provider
- Install WordPress
- Make it Your Own
Step 1: Pick a Domain Name & Hosting Provider
This is probably the hardest part of the whole process – picking a domain name. Take a few minutes and brainstorm a few of your favorites. A domain name sticks around for a long time, so you’ll want to make sure that your top pick can go the distance and represent your blog or business well. A few things to keep in mind while choosing your domain name:
- does it clearly state what you’re business/blog is about?
- is it commonly spelled? (I have no issues with random spellings of things – just know that it might be harder for people to find you if you’ve got a really “out there” spelling of your business/blog name)
- is it already taken?
I’d suggest taking that notepad you’ve got handy and scribbling down a few ideas. You’ll want to think it through a bit and also check to see if your ideas are available to purchase.
Any hosting provider will have a place you can check out domain availability that looks something similar to the one above. I highly recommend Bluehost to all my clients – they’ve got superior customer service, decent prices and I’ve never been disappointed with their products; however, there are lots of domain name/hosting providers out there to choose from.
You’ll also need to purchase hosting services. Hosting is like renting your own little piece of the internet- it’s a place for you to establish your site. Bluehost has great prices on hosting services and they often throw in the price of a domain name FOR FREE!
Below is a screenshot of the settings I recommend to my clients most often. Domain Privacy Whols Protection keeps your personal address and phone number private – it’s a good way to keep those pesky telemarketers from calling.
Step 2: Install WordPress
Once the registration and purchasing of your site hosting and domain name are complete, you’ll need to Install WordPress.
Login to Bluehost and scroll down to Website.
Click on Install WordPress and you’ll access a screen similar to the one below.
Select Install and then click the domain you’d like to install it on or set things up on a temporary domain.
You’ll come to a final page – leave the default options selected and click complete.
You’ll be notified when the installation is complete and provided with the login url for your site as well as a password. Note: make sure you jot this down somewhere for safe-keeping. it will take you to a screen where you can enter your username and password so you can login to the backend of your new site. (I also bookmark this login page on my browser as well.)
Congrats! You now have your very own WordPress blog and website.
Step 3: Make It Your Own
So far, so good right? Now it’s decision time – how to make your site your own? For many of my clients this is the most difficult part of the process. My recommendation is that you consider your branding and your budget and proceed from there.
No matter what your budget – you’ll start the process by picking a WordPress theme to use on your site. There are thousands to choose from, so you’re bound to find one that fits your styling. Some themes are free, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Premium themes are well-tested, provide additional updates, are mobile responsive and integrate well with plugins such as shopping carts, portfolios and galleries.
I highly recommend using the Genesis Framework as a starting point and then selecting a theme that works within that framework. You can read more about the Genesis Framework here, but essentially it’s a foundational framework that includes security and a search-engine-optimezed (SEO) approach for your blog or website. You can than use any compatible theme with the framework and have endless options for the look and feel of your site all while the integrity of your site remains the same.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a theme:
- are you looking for a magazine style layout? or do you prefer the classic blog scroll?
- are you planning on running shop on your site? do you want shopping cart functionality or are you fine with just the paypal button?
- these days it absolutely necessary to have a site that looks good, and works well, on multiple devices – have you checked out your favorite themes and how they look on your computer, phone, and tablet?
- are photos a main focus?
- do you intend to run blog ads?
- do you have a customized header or logo, and specific fonts you want to use? make sure the theme you choose allows for these modifications.
- do you want a landing page? (this is common if you’re running business and your blog then becomes one of your main navigation tabs)
Once you have an idea of what type of layouts you like and would work best with your needs, you’re ready to select a theme. You’re bound to have more than one option that will work. Don’t worry too much about making a wrong choice at this point. You’ve considered all the necessities and as a new blogger there’s always a time to refresh your look. Start writing and working on your blog or business – you can always make changes as you go or plan for a rebrand and site upgrade within 6-12 months.
Welcome to the blog/web world- we’re happy to have you! I’d love to see what you’ve done, so feel free to share your site link in the comments or tag me on social media.