Creating your new website online is one of the most critical steps in establishing your online presence. Do it right and it pushes you towards success. Do it wrong and it hinders your success.
For a person new to building a website this can seem like a daunting task. Today, I’m going to give you a hand by showing you the ropes in creating your own website in WordPress from scratch. I recommend WordPress as the Content Management System (CMS) as it handles a lot of the display and website structure tasks and leaves you to focus on your content. WordPress is one of the most popular website builder softwares out and there and it’s even free!
What I’m going to outline to you is how I go about creating a new website and it’s the process I recommend to anybody who hasn’t done it before. The process involves everything from choosing your domain through to setting up a system that helps you to publish your content. In this method, I am going to have you setup WordPress as it’s easy to use and for most hosting providers it has a one click install button.
Choose a Domain Name
The very first you’ll want to do is choose a domain name. A domain name is how people will find you much the way thinkbigreview.com brings people here.
While you could go to WordPress.com and setup a blog on there for free, you will just be a page on someone else’s big site and you won’t be building out your own ideas and you don’t have the total creative freedom you do from your own WordPress install. Getting a domain and building your own site is not only satisfying, but you’re building up your own corner of the web that’s all yours.
While you can build your site on top of one of the Web 2.0 platforms like Weebly or Medium, you’ll never really make it your own until you have your own domain. Once you have your own domain, you can host your site anywhere that has internet connections, and we’ll cover that more in the next section.
When brainstorming a new domain name, there are some general guidelines I try to go by to help find a good domain name:
- It should be obvious from the name the topic of your site (if possible). Sometimes you pick a unique name to try to brand which is fine as well. But if you’re writing a blog about Baseball bats, then TopBaseballBats is better than Baseball stuff. This one has a lot of flexibility but you get the idea.
- Make it easy to type
- Keep it as short as possible yet meaningful
- Don’t use hyphens, numbers, or anything else. You want to be able to verbally be able to tell your domain to someone and they’ll be able to type it in and get to your site easily.
How Do I Register a New Domain Name?
While it is possible to just go and register your domain name and then modify the records to point to the host you’re going to use, there’s an easier way.
The easier way is also cheaper and far easier. Some hosting providers provide you a free domain of your choosing upon choosing a hosting package. Getting the domain and hosting in one step makes it far easier to avoid surprises and complicated technical configurations.
By itself, a domain name is usually around $15 a year to purchase. With the Bluehost deal I can give you in the next section, you can get a free domain name with hosting for only $3.75 per month for shared hosting. And you own your domain too that is uniquely yours. That is one incredible deal for a managed wordpress hosting service.
Setup Your Hosting Provider
It’s time to ahead and start setting up your hosting account and get your free domain name with it.
I highly recommend Bluehost as it has been incredibly fast hosting everytime I’ve used it and it’s been trouble-free. That’s why I recommend them above others is that they have been consistently good and no issues. There are a few web hosting companies that stand out as high-quality and Bluehost is at the top of my list.
So head over to Bluehost and click on the big green Getting Started button.
After you hit the button, you’ll see the account signup options. Choose the Basic account on the left which comes with a free domain, 50GB of storage, and unmetered bandwidth. The Basic account comes with everything you’ll need to have a domain, a site, and WordPress so you can be up and typing away on your new site in an hour.
The really nice thing about the unmetered bandwidth is that as your site gets more popular, you won’t get traffic overage charges.
The next step is where you choose your new domain name that people will use to find your site. If you’re stuck for ideas, you can always hit the link for I’ll create my domain later.
Once you get past the domain step, the next thing is the payment screen. You just need to put in the standard info of you name, address, credit card, etc. After that, you’re all signed up with a brand new domain and a brand new hosting account, ready to tackle the world.
The next thing you’ll see is a Welcome screen from BlueHost and now your account is created:
At this point, your account is created, but it’s not entirely activated just yet. You’ll need to go check your email for an email from BlueHost that is your Welcome email with an activation link in it. If you don’t see it after 5 minutes, check your Spam folder. You’ll see something like this in the body of the email:
Click on the Verify Your Email button and your account is now activated.
If you go back to your web browser tab with the Create Your Password button, click that now to set your BlueHost password and finish setting up your account.
Next, the system will ask you to pick a theme. There are lots of great choices so feel free to pick one. This is easily changeable from the Themes menu once you’re in the WordPress dashboard so if there isn’t one you like, scroll to the bottom and click skip for now.
On the next screen, you’ll get a nice simple message that setup is complete and you can now either go to your Bluehost hosting control panel or Start Building your site. Click on the Start Building button and let’s jump right into your new site.
Setting up Your New WordPress Website
When you setup your Bluehost account, by default bluehost will install WordPress for you. Now is the fun part of customizing your corner of the web.
Everything you will need to configure for your site, you will be using WordPress to do it. The main WordPress dashboard is your administrator dashboard to make your site yours.
Setting your WordPress Site Theme
Your theme is what styles your blog to look a certain way. It may have 3 columns. It may have 2 columns. It may have thumbnails to posts at the top. You can even change it later on to get just the look you want.
You can get to the Themes section by choosing Appearance (or paintbrush icon) and then choose Themes.
You’ll see a couple of basic free themes and one will be activated.
From there, you can choose another by selecting it and hitting the Activate button, or you can add a new theme. I personally like the ones from themes at MyThemeShop. If you visit MyThemeShop, click on Themes from the top menu and then click on the Free tag to see the ones you can download and use completely free.
The free wordpress themes are amazing and I have tried a few of them and I am using one right here on the site in fact. They are among the most streamlined and efficient themes I have found and with Google being Mobile-first indexing, speed is a major concern now for sites. So you can’t go wrong with one of their Themes.
Both the free wordpress themes and paid wordpress themes even come with some of their plugins to add some cool features to your site. If you have a little extra cash you can upgrade to one of the premium paid themes but if not they are there and worth a look.
Write Your Content
The next step is to pick some good article topics and start writing. Think about your visitors and try to provide complete and useful information. Don’t worry about whether Google likes it but try to provide the best user experience for your visitors with your blog posts.
Starting out, the best thing you can focus on is to make your pages interesting to read. Add images, video, and feel free to let your personality shine through in your writing.
This is a skill that you will hone and grow over time, but the key is try to view it from the user perspective. You can get across your thoughts, ideas, and tips, and it can still be interesting and funny to read. Feel free to break up blocks of words into smaller paragraphs that are easier to digest but way easier to read on a mobile device.
Once you publish your first blog article, you are now the proud owner of a blog that the entire world can come see!
Make The Required Website Pages
All sites will want to create a few standard pages as it’s what both users and Google expects:
- About Us
Having an about us page is mandatory at this point. It doesn’t have to be overly extensive, but you want to put a little blurb about who you are and why you are making a site.
- Contact Us
Having a Contact Us page is always a good idea so that your visitors have a way to contact you. Makes sense right? Make sure to put a contact form on the page and you can get emails in a jiffy.
Create a Social Media Presence
A social presence is a given nowadays and it’s highly recommended. Create these social accounts:
- Others depending on niche
The general idea is you want to have a presence out there which will also help your site. Make sure to create content before worrying about a social presence.
Posting on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter helps people to find your site and know it exists.
Now that you’ve read the step by step guide above to get an idea of what a standard install of WordPress is like, you have many options.
What Type of Website Can You Build?
There are numerous types of websites that you can build apart from blogs, and largely it’s the format and content that varies.
- Personal Blog
- Blogs about topics such as plants
- Online Store websites
You can easily have an online store to either sell your own products or setup a drop-shipping website
- Brick and Mortar Store Website
If you have a store with a physical location, you’ll still want a website to either provide information about you to potential customers or even allow ordering from the website.
What Other Website Builders Are There?
While WordPress is one of the most widely used website builders in the world, there are others.
If you’re building an online store, Shopify may be a great alternative to building your online store. In this case, I would still install WordPress, but I’d install the WooCommerce plugin which can integrate with a Shopify account and you get the best of both worlds.
If you are building a regular blog, it is possible to code the entire site by hand, but the time for what you get out of it isn’t worth it in many cases unless it’s something custom that a CMS system such as WordPress can accomodate.
What I recommend is getting a Bluehost account, setting up WordPress, and trying it for yourself so you can get first-hand experience with setting up a site and the joy it brings.