Follow this guide to learn how to create a self-hosted WordPress website in 2018
WordPress is just about the perfect platform for anyone wanting to build a business or personal website.
From this guide, you’ll learn the process for getting your website off the ground. From domain name research to making a great-looking website. We’ll cover the lot.
On a good day, you can setup a WordPress website in less than 30 minutes.
That said, if you’re really not sure what you are doing, take your time and mull things over. Read about the steps in the process and when you’re good to go, come back and follow the instructions on this page.
Setting up a website sounds like a technical nightmare for somebody who’s never done it before. It isn’t. Honestly. If you’ve used the web and computers for a few years, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem setting up a WordPress website. You don’t need any technical knowledge to install WordPress (which is typically the scariest part of the process) as most web hosting companies worth their salt offer a push-button solution that does most of the work for you.
Here’s a screenshot from inside my hosting account with Vidahost. Clicking the large blue button starts the WordPress installation process. That’s all you have to do to with most hosting companies. Looks simple, right? That’s because it is.
(There is an alternative, manual, method, but it’s beyond the scope of this article because it’s a little too technical. I want to keep things simple.)
How to set up a WordPress website: the 5-step process
- Finding the perfect domain name
- Registering and managing a domain name
- Choosing and buying web hosting
- Installing WordPress
- Making your website look the part
Now let’s look at each step of the process in a little more detail.
1. Finding the perfect domain name
Choosing the best and most appropriate domain is all-consuming. You want to get it right. You don’t want to change it further down the line after realising you made the wrong choice, for whatever reason.
What is a domain name?
You probably know this already, but as this is a beginner’s guide to setting up a WordPress website, I’ll tell you – a domain name forms part of the web address people use to find your website
Here are a few examples of domain names you might be familiar with:
A domain name only consists of letters, numbers and hyphens. Special characters aren’t allowed. The first part is the domain, the second part (.com, .co.uk, .edu etc) is known as the top-level domain (TLD) or domain extension.
When you’re researching domain names, think about this: In 2012, Microsoft carried out a study that discovered ‘domain bias’. Essentially, people are more likely to click on a search result if the listed page comes from a domain containing a keyword related to their search.
For example, during a blind test for the study, they asked users to choose between two articles on heart disease. People opted for the one on GeneticHealth.com until they found out the other was from WebMD.com.
As your website is new, you won’t have the brand recognition of WebMD, so choose a domain that explains or hints at what you do.
Here are a few examples of domain names that make sense as soon as you read them. You don’t need any further explanation to understand what the website is about:
Chances are, the domain name you really want isn’t available to buy at the price you want to pay. It’s probably in use on another site or owned by a domainer (someone who buys and sells domains for profit).
However, despite the gloomy outlook, with some sharp and creative thinking, it is possible to come up with a domain worthy of your business or project.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the ideal domain name…
How to choose a domain name?
The most popular extensions are .com, .net and .org. These are most useful when you want to attract a global audience.
Other popular choices, especially in certain sectors, include .co, .io, .blog and, .me.
If the website you’re creating targets people in a specific country, you should choose a domain extension for that country. We’ll get onto this topic in a minute.
First though, let’s look at some of the popular ways people combine words and numbers to create domain names.
- Niche keywords – keepingfit.com
- Keyword rich (for SEO) – businesscity.com (joinermanchester, plumbersandiego, solicitorsysdney – this type of domain also works the other way around: sysdneysolicitor, sandiegoplumber, manchesterjoiner)
- Your real name – joebloggs.com
- What the blog/site is about – mountainbikingblog.com
- A made up word – chumittzel.com
- Words/letters and numbers – 123abc.com
- Numbers – 54321.com
- Add hyphens – any of the methods above with words separated by hyphens
Country-specific domain name extensions
One important factor to consider when researching domain names is the geographic location of your target audience.
I live in the UK so I will use that as my example.
If I were to set up a blog or website and wanted to reach a UK audience, the domain at the top of my list would end .co.uk and not .com. I would probably buy .com if it was available, but I wouldn’t worry too much if it wasn’t.
The reason for this is search engines and branding.
Google, other search engines and people, know a website with a .co.uk extension primarily targets a UK audience, even if the content is relevant to people living in other parts of the world. Using the .co.uk extension helps Google and searchers recognise this.
Each country has it’s own domain extension. Here are a few examples:
- .us – United States
- .uk – United Kingdom
- .ca – Canada
- .it – Italy
- .fr – France
- .au – Australia
- .br – Brazil
- .es – Spain
In some cases, you must be a resident of the country to buy a domain using that country’s extension. There are ways around this, as explained here on Quora.
New top-level domain extensions
Recently, a whole new choice of top-level domain extensions became available.
This list is not definitive, but it gives you an idea of the available options.
Choosing a domain name
In an ideal world choosing a domain name should be a lot of fun. In the real world, it’s a pain in the rear, and the reason at the top of the list is the lack of availability.
The chances of the domain name at the top of your list being available are pretty slim. Trust me. I have bought a few domains over the years and I’ve often had to settle for a domain that wasn’t quite what I wanted. When this happens I usually think of words that add further meaning without compromising the rest of the domain – blog, guide, book, online.
A domain name with a .com extension is what most people looking for a global-reach search for first.
If the .com option is unavailable, the next best option is .net. This extension doesn’t have the same kudos as .com, but .net and other global TLDs are no less effective when it comes to search rankings.
If you can’t get an exact match, try adding further words to the start or the end. I’ve already given you some suggestions, here are a few more:
Check out this page for a much more comprehensive list.
Here’s a sample of what you’ll find.
Unusual, made up or adapted domain names
No doubt you will have noticed the internet is full of websites that have unusual, made up or adapted domain names – Google and Reddit spring to mind without thinking too hard.
And although the meaning isn’t immediately clear, once you know what the sites are about, it becomes obvious.
Here’s a little piece of trivia you might like. Google got its name from the word ‘googol’, which was originally coined in 1938 by Milton Sirotta and means ‘the number 1 followed by 100 zeros‘.
The best part about using this method is character length. By making a slight adjustment to the name, you can grab a short domain name that doesn’t lose meaning in translation.
Here are a few more examples of unusual, made up or adapted domain names:
If you want your site to stand out from the crowd, making up a word is a good place to start.
Creative companies are particularly fond of this type of domain name and they work very well for sites with global aspirations.
If you’re a local Bob the builder or Joe the plumber, you might prefer to think about something much more practical describing what you do and where you do it.
Do you really need keywords in your domain name?
In September 2012, Google updated its algorithm to target low-quality but high-ranking websites that relied far too heavily on what’s known as an ‘exact match domain‘ – think weightlosstips.com, buy-cheap-domain-names.com and makemoneyfast.com – to boost rankings and bring in traffic.
Google’s results pages were littered with thin sites offering little or no value to visitors. The sites, typically loaded with AdSense or affiliate ads, generated cash for site owners but left searchers unsatisfied.
The Exact Match Domain (EMD) update wiped out a lot of the dross and deterred people from buying and using exact match domains.
However, there’s nothing wrong with using an exact match domain, as long as the site publishes quality content that satisfies visitors.
Looking at it from a searcher’s perspective, the domain name ‘treesurgeonliverpool.co.uk’ makes more sense than ‘mkdservices.co.uk’. Remember earlier on I mentioned domain bias and the study carried out by Microsoft? If these two sites showed up in a close proximity in the search results the searcher is more likely to click on the one containing keywords related to their search.
So, don’t discount an exact match domain if you can deliver on user expectations.
Despite all the Google updates it still seems keywords in a domain name can improve search engine rankings.
They won’t work on their own, pages still need optimising and Google must trust the site/page for it to rank, but overall, using a keyword rich domain isn’t harmful as long as the site is useful.
As most of the best domain names have already been snapped up, the next best option could be the hyphenated alternative (blue-widgets.com).
Whilst these domain names can serve a purpose with search engines, the long, hyphenated name can also look unpleasant and suggest a lack of quality.
They are often used on websites created to rank well in search engines for the words within the domain name (see the exact match domain paragraph above).
For example www.pick-a-trade-and-location.com (www.locksmith-new-york.com).
You have to decide whether you like the idea of hyphens in your domain name. Personally, I don’t. I would rather have a .net domain than a hyphenated .com.
But it hasn’t done digital-photography-school.com any harm.
Numbers in domain names
Some people have issues with numbers in domain names. Again, personally, I’m not very keen on them, but I do understand why people use them.
As it becomes harder to buy good quality domain names, the likelihood of domains including numbers becoming popular, increases.
A few examples of successful sites using numbers in the domain:
Choose a domain name that is easy to remember
Try to choose a domain name that is easy to remember. The reasons for this are obvious.
Not everyone will find your website through a link and you will have to tell people you meet in the offline world what your domain name is.
If you want those people to visit your website, they will have to remember the domain.
Avoid trademarks in your domain name
If you don’t want to have dealings with company lawyers, you should check if your potential domain name will infringe any registered trademarks.
Some companies are heavy-handed when it comes to using trademarks in domain names. I suggest you steer well clear from doing so whenever possible.
A company happy to have their trademarks used in a domain today may not have the same outlook in a couple of years.
If I haven’t convinced you about this, try performing a search for something like “domain name trademark infringement” to see what others have to say.
The choice is yours
Now that I have given you advice on how to choose a domain name, I hope you manage to find the name you want.
A couple of related topics that I have not discussed here are buying expired domains and buying a domain from a speculator. These are viable options, but cost could be prohibitive.
The next step is to do some availability research, then buy the domain.
Is it available?
This is the search box at UKReg:
The easiest way to use this tool is to enter the domain that interests you, and not keywords (you don’t need the domain extension at this stage). After a few seconds, the system returns the results and shows you a list of domains, identifying each as ‘registered’ or ‘available’.
Here’s the results for this domain:
If you want to go ahead and buy one of the available domains, click on the tick-box on the right and follow the steps.
If you don’t want to use UKReg to register the domain, you can use one of the many alternatives (more on this process in another post).
Lean Domain Search is the site I use when looking for domain ideas. All you do is enter one or two words, then review the suggestions LDS throws back.
You can change the order of the results based upon popularity, length and alphabetical order, you can also switch it so the domain suggestions start or finish with the keyword you entered.
The only downside to this tool is that it only suggests .com domains. Even so, it’s still a great way to find inspiration when your ideas hit a brick wall.
2. Registering and managing a domain name
If you haven’t decided on a domain for your new website, you might like to read our article covering the basics of researching and choosing a domain name.
In this post, you’ll learn how to buy and manage a domain name.
It sounds easy, and it is, but there are options and processes to get your head around so you don’t make any mistakes that later cost you time or money.
You typically have two options when it comes to registering a domain name for your website:
- Buying a domain name as a single entity and attaching it to a hosting package
- Buying a domain name as part of a hosting package
When I first started building websites back in the early 2000s, I bought the domain along with the hosting package. Simply because I didn’t know what I was doing and it was easy to set up.
Nowadays, I keep most of my domain names with a registrar and my hosting with a hosting company. I connect the two through an admin panel with the registrar. It’s as simple as changing the name servers (as shown in the image below).
(The process for doing this changes from registrar to registrar, but you should find instructions within the help areas of your host’s site. Failing that, contact the support team.)
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a domain as part of a hosting package, and I recommend you do it if you plan on running only one or a small number of websites or blogs.
Many hosting packages allow you to host multiple sites through one account by way of “Add-On Domains.”
Why do I keep my domains and hosting separate?
It’s just the way things worked out. I use Fasthosts to register domains (my account dates back to around 2002), and frankly, in my experience, when I tried their hosting way back in the day, it wasn’t the best. So I looked for and found better alternatives.
I kept my Fasthosts account open to handle buying domains because it’s easy to manage and I know how their system works.
Over the years, I’ve bought domains and hosting through lots of companies: iPower, Lunarpages, GoDaddy, HostGator, KnownHost, Bluehost, Namecheap, Vidahost, TolraNet and TSOhost.
How much does a domain name cost?
Prices vary greatly from company to company and country to country. It also depends upon the domain extension you want to buy. A .com domain is the most widely. If you shop around, you can buy them for as little as £1.00 from Fasthosts.
And for less than a dollar from Namecheap.
What you must be wary of is the renewal costs. These can also vary greatly from company to company.
Why are domain names so cheap?
Domain registrars and hosting companies are desperate for your business. Especially if you’re a newbie. This is why they offer starter packages at such low prices. Once you’re onboard with them, unless you have a terrible experience, you very likely become a customer for life because switching to another hosting company is just too confusing or downright scary.
What about the new domain extensions, they’re not cheap!
No, they’re not. You very rarely see any of the new domain extensions offered as cheap as .com, .net or any of the ones we’re used to.
How long is the registration period?
The typical minimum registration period is one year and the maximum period is 10 years.
What happens when your domain name needs renewing?
Most registrars offer an automatic renewal option (which can happen 30 days BEFORE the renewal date). This is great if you’re serious about your website and don’t want to let the registration lapse.
If you’re testing the water or experimenting with different websites, you might like to switch off the automatic renewal option (I learned this the hard way!) and instead choose to renew manually.
Beware! If you switch off the automatic renewal feature and forget to renew it manually, your website, email and everything else will eventually stop working. Here’s an article on how to set up a domain to automatically renew.
When you create an account with a registrar or a hosting company, be sure to manage it through your main email account and not one you use for newsletters, forums or anything else. The company will contact you from time to time, so be sure to pick up those emails as they may contain important information (such as renewal dates, downtime or problems with your payment method).
Your personal information
When registering a domain name, you might notice an option to hide your name and address from the public WHOIS record.
There is usually an extra charge for this, but it’s worth paying if you don’t want your name and address to appear on a publicly accessible database, which is sometimes mined by scammers to retrieve personal information.
If you’re in the UK and use a domain for business, you should make your business information available on the public database. This includes your business name, business address or registered office and telephone number. Rules may differ around the world, so please check the law for your country.
This post outlines some of the popular scams pulled by businesses in the domain name selling niche. It’s actually quite scary and could put you off moving forward. In my experience, as long as you use a reputable company and avoid the cheapest options, you should be safe.
Registering a domain
Each registrar has its own process so I can’t give you a step-by-step guide for each one. But generally it goes something like this:
- Use a research tool to see if the domain is available
- If it is, click on a button that says something like ‘register’ or ‘buy now’
- Select additional options such as domain privacy, hosting and variant domains you also want to buy (.com, .net etc)
- Enter your personal details (remember to choose the privacy option if you want it)
- Enter your payment details
- Complete the process
Which company should you use?
These days I only use Fasthosts. In the past I’ve bought domains from iPower, LunarPages, GoDaddy, Bluehost and Vidahost.
GoDaddy provided the worst experience – they upsell at every opportunity. You could end up buying stuff you don’t need and paying way more than you expect (I don’t use GoDaddy anymore), and many years ago, I had a few problems shifting domains from iPower to Fasthosts, but the rest of the providers mentioned here all provided me with a good service.
Here’s a list of companies worth looking at:
There are loads of others too, and I’ll mention some of them in the next post in this series about web hosting.
I hope you’ve found this post useful? I know some of what I’ve said is quite daunting and a little scary, but honestly, buying and managing a domain isn’t much of a problem.
I’ve bought loads over the years, and the biggest issue has always been related the system automatically renewing a domain when I didn’t want it to. For this reason, I now set most of my domains to manually renew so I can make a decision at the renewal time. This is the main reason why I stay with Fasthosts – I know exactly how their system works and for the amount of domains I currently own (16), it’s not worth moving.
3. Choosing and buying web hosting
To make a website you need three things: a domain name, web hosting and software for . I know the process sounds quite scary, but believe me, it isn’t as confusing or difficult as you might think.
The reason? The companies who provide the tools you need to create a website make it super-easy to get a domain and hosting then set up the site.
This part of the process is the most confusing for beginners. There is a lot of choice and a lot of new words and phrases to get your head around.
There’s added financial stress too – you don’t want to make the wrong decision and pay over the odds for hosting only to receive a sub-par service.
Before we get going, let me say you two things:
- Always avoid free or crazy-cheap hosting because you’ll almost certainly receive poor service.
- Cheap shared hosting (in the $2-$5 per month range) isn’t always bad. Especially if you’re setting up your first website.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service provided by a person or company that allows you to upload a website to the internet which anyone can view. If you so choose, you can set up a website that only you, or somebody with a username and password can view. Usually, though, websites are made available for anyone to see.
Websites are stored on special computers known as servers. A server can hold one or thousands of websites depending on its configuration and specifications.
Servers act in very much the same way as a computer or laptop. They hold files and bits of data and information that can be called and viewed upon request. When somebody requests a page from your website after typing the URL into a browser, clicking on a link on another web page or the results in Google, the server recognises the command and sends a copy of the requested page to the person’s browser.
Servers are located in data centres dotted around the world. Websites stored on servers physically located closer to you tend to load faster that ones located on the opposite side of the world. I say ‘typically’ because there are many other factors that determine the download speed of a web page.
You only need one server to run your website. In fact, for small sites you only need one tiny section of a server. Larger sites might get by using one server, whereas huge sites need hundreds, thousands or even millions.
Let’s look at Google, for example. Google is a huge company providing many services to people and businesses everywhere. Can you imagine how appalling it’s service would be if it only used a small section of one server? It’s laughable, really.
There are no hard facts easily discoverable in the public domain, but XXXX site estimates that Google runs around 2.5 million servers to keep everybody happy.
Video: Inside a Google data center
Credit: G Suite
Why do I need web hosting?
Unless you’re already a technical ninja or you want to try setting up a home server, you won’t be able to run a website without buying hosting from somewhere. Imagine driving a car without wheels. It just wouldn’t get you anywhere. So, like it not, you will need to go through the process of looking for a reliable and affordable web host.
Stick with it, as I’m just about to start getting into the nitty-gritty.
What are the different types of web hosting?
Not all web hosts are created equal, and in this area, you do generally get what you pay for.
You generally find the following types of hosting:
Nowadays, there are also a lot of companies providing specialist WordPress hosting. For example:
- WPX Hosting
- WP Engine
Prices across these companies varies depending upon the level of service you need.
What to look for in a web hosting service
Now you know what a web hosting service is, what does it does and how does it, let’s consider what you should be looking for when doing your research.
We all have different priorities. You may see price as a significant deciding factor, whereas another person may give more importance to customer service, speed or reliability.
If you’re starting your first blog or website you should definitely stick with cheap, shared hosting. You don’t need anything more at the newbie stage. Once your site gains traction, you can upgrade to VPS (virtual private server), dedicated hosting or a better shared hosting provider.
On the other hand, if you’re an e-Commerce startup planning on using AdWords and Facebook ads to drive traffic, you’ll need a much more reliable platform.
Typically, when looking for a web hosting service, you’ll notice they market themselves on a number of points:
- Monthly price
- Monthly bandwidth allowance
- Allocated disk space
- Number of add-on domains
- Free domain name
- 24/7 technical support service
- Migration from another hosting company
- Building a new website
- Money back guarantee
- Signup versus renewal fees
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these.
Don’t be fooled by the low monthly prices hosting companies use to market their services.
In the above screenshot, taken from HostGator, notice how the ad says prices start at $3.95/mo?
It’s not a lie, they do start at $3.95 per month – but only if you pay for three years in advance.
If you want commit to a 12 month term, the price increases by a couple of dollars per month.
Also, notice the renewal price after the initial term expires.
This is a common tactic used by a lot of hosting companies, so be aware of it when you’re looking around.
Should you pay monthly?
I don’t see why not. If you want to avoid the monthly option, I probably wouldn’t pay for more than twelve months in advance to any hosting company.
For anyone needing a bit more bang for their buck, here’s the monthly pricing for WPEngine.
It’s quite a difference.
$29 per month for one year is $348.
If you choose HostGator’s highest rate of $7.16 per month, you’d save $262.08 a year.
It’s an unfair comparison really, as WPEngine and HostGator provide entirely different services.
Monthly bandwidth allowance
A lot of web hosting services offer an unlimited bandwidth allowance knowing most sites will never consume more than a few gigabytes, if that.
It’s a sweetener to entice you to sign up.
What is bandwidth? In simple terms, it’s the amount of data the server uses to deliver your web pages to people on the internet.
You will use more bandwidth if you:
- Use large images in your posts
- Store videos on your own pages instead of YouTube or Vimeo
- Allow people to download PDFs, files or software
Any action on your site using data from the server consumes bandwidth.
Allocated disk space
Web hosting companies offer unlimited disk space as a sweetener.
Here’s a screenshot from Vidahost, which avoids the ‘unlimited’ bandwagon and offers different amounts of server space depending upon the hosting package their customer’s choose.
The allocated disk space refers to the amount of space you have for all your website’s files.
In the example above, 2GB is the minimum amount of space allowed. If you look further down the column, you’ll notice the package has the ability to run up to six websites.
So, that 2GB of storage space is spread across six sites.
It’s a lot of space for the average business blog. And you won’t need any more than that at the start (unless you have hundreds of high-resolution images or other files to upload).
As your site grows you may find you need more disk space. This is easy to add onto your account. Just look for the ‘upgrade’ option with the admin area or contact the hosting company’s support team.
There’s no interruption to your site, so you don’t have to worry about downtime.
Number of add-on domains
This feature determines how many sites you can host within your hosting account.
Here’s a screenshot from Bluehost, which allows unlimited (there’s that word again) domain hosting.
Free domain name
It’s another sweetener to get you to sign up, but it’s one worth taking advantage of if you’re setting up your first website.
During the setup process, you’re given the opportunity to register a new domain or use one you already own. When I first started building websites at the start of the noughties, I used this option.
It’s worth bearing in mind that most US hosting companies will register a .com or a .net domain, but only some register .co.uk (or other country specific) domains.
24/7 technical support service
If customer support is important to you, you might want to give it a try before deciding which hosting company to go with.
Most offer an online chat facility, which you can use before you become a customer. Just go to the website, find the chat facility and ask a few questions.
Perhaps a better indication of support is the time it takes for the help-desk to reply to emails or answer the phone.
Another factor to consider is time-zone.
Some hosting companies have lower staffing levels overnight. If you’re in the UK and typically work during the daytime, you may be better signing up with a UK based company if you think you might often need the help of the support team.
When it happens, you need to know your site is safe and secure.
To this end, it’s wise to ask your potential hosting company about its backup and restore policy.
Some of the questions to ask include:
- Do you provide a backup service?
- How often do you backup my site? (hourly/daily/weekly)
- What’s the procedure if I want to restore my site?
- How long does it take to perform a typical restore?
- How much does it cost?
If you prefer to take more control over your backups and you’re using WordPress, you could use a plugin/service such as VaultPress or BackUpBuddy.
Migration from another hosting company
One of the main reasons people stay with a hosting company they’re unhappy with is the fear of moving a site from one server to another.
I get that.
It’s unknown territory and there’s a justifiable fear of something going terribly wrong.
But, it won’t.
Or at least, it shouldn’t.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve successfully moved a WordPress website from one server to another, and I’m not an expert.
The guys at your hosting company are experts because they do this kind of thing every day. Some have specialist departments who only deal with migrations.
What I’m saying is don’t stay with a crap host because you’re afraid of moving your site to another one. As long as somebody who knows what they’re doing helps you, your nightmare should be over in a couple of days.
There is a caveat to this. Some hosting companies only migrate sites if the same platform is being used on both hosting accounts.
Something like cPanel for instance.
They’ll make a copy of the entire setup (including emails) and move it across to the new server. All you have to do is wait for the email from your hosting company saying everything’s ready.
Once you get that email, you’ll be advised to update your domain’s nameservers to point to the new host.
Once again, this sounds way more complicated than it is. You typically change two settings on your domain name and wait for anything up 72 hours for the domain to point at the new server.
Most web companies tell you to wait up to 72 hours for the domain to propagate around the web. Only once in 15 years or more of tinkering with websites have I had to wait this long for a domain switch to fully complete.
It usually happens much more quickly. Somewhere between 12 to 24 hours is the average time, in my experience.
While you’re waiting for the web to acknowledge your changes, if your site’s old hosting remains in place, your website will carry on working so people visiting it won’t experience pages not working or the site not loading.
It’s a great way for companies to get new business and it removes all the stress out of switching hosts.
Website building software
Some hosting companies, like GoDaddy, have proprietary software for building websites. Essentially providing you with everything you need to build a website: domain, hosting and website building software – all in one place. What’s not to like about that? It takes all the hassle out of getting a website online and is the perfect solution for many people.
How good is the GoDaddy website building software? In all honesty, I have no idea as I haven’t used it. According to this review on Website Builder Expert, it’s pretty good for standard sites but it doesn’t offer any eCommerce tools. Also, if you change the template (theme/design) you must re-enter your content.
- Money back guarantee
Let’s go through the process of buying a domain and hosting from Bluehost.
Step 1: Visit Bluehost.com and click on the ‘get started now’ button
Step 2: Choose a plan – the Starter plan is good enough for beginners
Step 3: Choose a domain name
Step 4: Success! Now enter your personal account information
Step 5: Setup your hosting package
You should pay careful attention to the detail at this stage otherwise you could end up paying more than you want to.
The image below shows the default options offered by Bluehost. If you don’t change any of these, the bill for setting up your blog could be more than you expect.
You probably don’t need Site Backup Pro or SiteLock Security, but if you want to keep your personal name and address out of public databases, such as WHOIS, you do need Domain Privacy Protection.
(Many businesses choose to reveal their name and address on public records to improve customer confidence (should anyone ever check). In some countries, businesses are required by law to make this information public.)
Tick and untick the boxes relevant to you.
Step 6: Enter your billing information
4. Installing WordPress
Here’s a mind-numbing statement for you: WordPress powers a quarter of all websites!
That’s because it’s easy to install, and although there is a learning curve at the start, once you get to know how it works, it’s very easy to use.
Bluehost, and other web hosting companies make it easy to install. All you have to do is click the install button and follow the on-screen instructions.
Instead of walking you three each step with a series of screenshots, take a look at this video to see how easy it is. Skip to 1.25 if you want to get straight to the instructions.
5. Making your WordPress website look the part
Once you’ve installed WordPress, the next step is making it look good.
WordPress uses something called a ‘theme’ to create the design. You can choose from thousands of themes, many of which are free. You do this from inside WordPress (tutorial coming soon).
If you are looking for a design (theme) with a more polished and professional look, search online for ‘WordPress premium themes.’
Premium themes aren’t free, but they’re a great choice for business websites.
Which is best?
Premium themes are typically better because they come with support, they’re often better coded/designed and combine additional features.
If you have enough money in your pocket, I definitely recommend buying a premium theme over using a free one. But if you’re just testing the water, go with a free one for now and upgrade when you have the confidence.
I hope this page helps you understand the process for starting a WordPress website? As you can see from each of the steps I’ve described, the process is reasonably straight forward. And it’s probably one of the easiest and cheapest ways to setup a personal or business website.
If you have a question about any part of the process, please feel free to ask it in the comments section or get in touch through the contact page.
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