In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to set up a website that you own.
You want to start a blog and/or create your own website. That’s fantastic, congratulations. Now you might not know everything about everything yet and that’s fine. This tutorial will take you from start to finish and by the end you will have completed all of the very easy steps you need to have a website up and running. I know I keep saying you can start a blog but the reality is that with this tutorial you can start any kind of website you’d like. Fancy creating an online shop selling whatever you want? Well you can you know. Get going with WordPress using this tutorial and you can do just that. But for now I’m going to keep talking about blogging because that’s what I know. Now let’s get started
So let’s talk about what you’ll need.
- Domain name
- Hosting company
“Whoa money?!? What going on here” I hear you ask. A fair question. The first question people often ask me is “How much does it cost to own a website?” A domain name and web hosting costs some money.
The good news is that it’s not a lot of money. My domain name for this site comes in at $9.24 or €8.13 a year and my web hosting company is costing $14.99 or about €14 a month.
Not a bad price to own some Internet.
“But if it costs you money, why do you do it.” Another excellent question. The answer is passion… and also money. Whether you want to share your knowledge on a certain subject or to create an e-commerce site selling your fantastic homemade stuff, passion is the key. People also have a passion for money and when you own your own site there are endless ways to make some cash with it. All you need is a site… and passion… and money. Got it? Great.
So Let’s Get Started.
This is the actual process I have used to get this website up and running. All the screen captures below were taken by me, actually getting this site going. Follow the steps and you’ll be running the internet* in no time.
*1/1,000,000,000th of it anyway
Step 1 – Register your brilliant domain name.
Step 2 – Create a web hosting account. We’ll be using HostGator for this tutorial.
Step 3 – Join your domain name to your web host. (Easier than you think)
Step 4 – Install WordPress.
Step 5 – Add your content.
If you purchase any HostGator packages from the links on this page
I will earn some commission and you will receive a 25%
discount by using Discount code “loneblogger”.
Win Win! Thanks for your support.
Step 1 – What’s in a Name?
Registering your website name is exciting and frustrating in equal measures. You’ve just thought of a very insightful, witty, catchphrasey name, you check a domain name website like HostGator and BAM! It’s been registered since 2001.
This will happen, probably more than once. In 2014 the 1 billionth website was registered so that should give you an idea of what you’re up against. But there’s always an upside on the internet. Sometimes the first name you choose leads you on to different ever more insightful, witty and catchphrasey names because now you are really focusing on the job at hand.
Sorry, it’s taken.
If you’re trying to get a domain name with the maximum search engine optimisation power then I would recommend using a tool like Domain Samurai which can help you find a website name which is perfectly tuned to your SEO strategy.
Registering Your Domain Name.
We are going to use GoDaddy to register your domain name. It’s a straight forward process so let’s see it in action.
Go to godaddy.com and search for the domain name you want.
Click select which will add that domain into your shopping cart. You can see in the images that I was offered my domain name for just €2.99. This is an offer that you get if you take the domain name and a web hosting plan for x amount of years. We’re just taking the name. You can also buy your .net, .org and .whatever names too. It’s up to you.
On to the checkout. Beware of add on costs.
Now that you’ve selected a name you’ll be offered some options such as adding e-mail and such. We really only want the domain name registered so power on through with none selected. When you get to the checkout page it will look something like this.
That’s automatically set for a five year plan. Go and select 1 year from the pull down menu. Unless you want 5 years of course. It renews every year so I’m sticking with 1 year.
€63??? Not today pal.
Click proceed to checkout. Now either log in or, more likely, click continue for new customers.
Add your customer account details into the form. It’s the usual stuff, e-mail address, pick a username and password and select a pin number.
You’ll get an e-mail confirmation and another e-mail asking you to verify your e-mail address by clicking a link. When that’s done you’re ready to go. Your domain name will be on hold until you verify your address.
And that’s it. Simple. You are the proud owner of a possibly huge, lucrative, popular, amazing web domain.
“Now What?” Now look in the mirror and repeat after me. “You’re awesome!”
This kid gets it.
Step 2 – Create a Web Hosting Account.
We’re going to create an account with HostGator. I host my site with them. They are simple to use and set up and one of the most popular hosts out there. If you decide to use them too you can use the coupon code “loneblogger” (without the “”) to get a 25% discount.
So if you’ve had your cup of tea or coffee or whiskey and are ready to go again, let’s begin.
Click on the Gator below and it’ll take you to the HostGator web site. Keep in mind that the deal on the picture below will most likely be for hosting over 5 years or so. If you’re like me and only want one year it will be about $9.56 per month or €8.40 per month, give or take a few cents. This is the Baby Plan. I’ll explain the baby plan in a bit.
When you’re on the HostGator site, click on the web hosting option and choose a plan.
I chose the Baby Plan I mentioned above. I would not recommend the Hatchling plan since that restricts you to only one website. The Baby Plan and the Business Plan both allow as many domains as you like. Let that sink in for a second. You can have, literally, as many websites as you want for that price.
Yes, even five.
You will need domain names for those sites. But step 1 has you trained as a lean domain name registering ninja now.
Select the plan for you, and click sign up.
Register your domain name.
Now you have a choice to register a new domain with HostGator or click I already own this domain. Click I already own this domain and add the domain name you registered earlier. Mine looked like this.
Next you are going to choose the hosting plan that you want, for the billing period that you want. I chose the Baby Plan and to pay monthly so I could keep my immediate costs low. So basically I registered and setup my website for less than $/€20 this month. Nice.
Next is the standard info gathering form. Complete this and move on. One thing to note here is the Paypal payment option. I liked that.
When you fill in your details you’re greeted by this spectacular sight.
Oh I’m ready.
And then BAM!
You’ll get a couple of e-mails from HostGator. One will be a thank you mail and the other will have your account information. Keep that safe because we need that information for the next step. For now, take a breath and enjoy the moment. You’ve set up your web hosting account. At this point I was very excited. The possibilities are endless.
Step 3 – Create your own website. Join Your Domain Name to Your Web Host.
I’m not going to dwell on this step. It’s important and great to know but not very exciting. The exciting bit comes next. So let’s get this out of the way.
We’ll be going to our Godaddy account for this next bit. Your log in details should be stored in an e-mail. Go ahead and log into your account. When you’re in there click on domains and find your newly registered domain. It’ll look something like this.
In the pull down menu beside your domain name you’ll find a tab called set name servers.
You are going to point your domain to where it is located, namely on a HostGator server. Click on custom name server and add in the nameservers that are included in your Hostgator account information e-mail and click save.
Now your domain name points to the HostGator Servers that they should. Your website is ready to be built.
See, told you it was easy. Now on to the fun parts.
Step 4 – Install WordPress.
Now that you’ve got your domain set up its time to install WordPress. This is going to give you a website that you can add content to instantly. When you install WordPress you will choose a theme to use. A theme is just a framework that you will build your website around.
It’s important to choose one that suits your needs but since you’re new to all of this, how do you choose one that will work for you? Fret not because if you start building a site that turns out to not meet your exact needs, you can simply choose another WordPress theme and your content will be added to that theme. You can change your style as often as you like.
So here we go. Log into your HostGator Cpanel, you’ll find the login information in your e-mail from HostGator.
Scroll right down to the bottom of the page to the Software and Services section and click Quick Install.
On the quick Install page, one the left hand side you’ll see popular installs. Click on WordPress.
Now select the free WordPress option.
You’ll be asked which website you want to install WordPress on. Select it and leave the box after the backslash blank. The name can be changed later so I’m just putting LoneBlogger. Add an admin name and your first and last name and install. Your email address needs to be valid because WordPress will e-mail you details.
Now it’s time for you to start a blog.
Congratulations, you’ve just installed WordPress on your brand new site. All that’s left now is to pick a theme and add your content. You’re only a couple of steps away from opening your website for the first time.
Now since the style of your site is very much a personal preference I’m not going to tell you which theme is best for you. What I can do is show you how to install a theme (remember, a theme is the framework around which you’ll add your content). I will add blog posts describing how to find more themes so that you can browse them at your leisure.
For now I’ll install a theme called Moesia. It’s a great looking free theme and a good place to start learning about working with themes. Go to http://athemes.com/theme/moesia/ and click on download. Also at this point you should bookmark the page because the documentation might be important in the future. Add your e-mail address to the checkout process and the theme will be e-mailed to you.
Now go to your mail and click on the download link. Save the zip file to a place that you’ll remember. Log into your sites WordPress site now. You can type your website name into a browser and add /wp-admin to the URL to log in. For example www.yoursite.com/wp-admin use the credentials that were e-mailed to you from WordPress.
Your login looks like this
When you’re logged in I’d recommend changing your password before proceeding. On the left hand side hover over Users and click on Your Profile. At the bottom of the page you can generate a new password or you can enter one yourself. If WordPress thinks it’s a weak password (it almost certainly will) you’ll need to click a box to say you’re OK with a weak password.
Now that’s out of the way, on the left hand side, hover over Appearance and select Themes.
Click on Add new theme
Install That Theme
You’re going to install the Moesia zip file you downloaded so click select file and pick that zip file and click install now.
When it is installed you’ll get a message telling you that it was installed successfully.
When you get this message click the blue activate link to activate this theme.
So now you have this theme installed. It requires a couple of plugins to work correctly. I’ll explain more about plugins in my blog posts but for now you should install the recommended plugins.
You can tick the boxes for the plugins and in the bulk actions pull down click install. Then you’ll get a message telling you they were both installed. You’ll need to activate both of the plugins so tick the boxes beside them both and use the bulk actions pull down menu to activate them both just like you did to install them.
When they are installed you’ll get a message telling you that they were activated successfully. There is an xml file that you should add and it’s covered in the documentation. You can find the instructions HERE in the quick start section. It adds functionality. However you may not even choose this theme so disregard if you’re going with a different theme.
And that, my friend, is how you start a blog
And that’s that. All done. All that’s left is for you to add your content. Play around with the layout and read the documentation.
You wanted to create your own website and you have. Congratulations. From here on in education is the key. Stay in touch with my blog posts for information on themes and plugins as well as tips on search engine optimization and creating revenue from your site. Again, congratulations.
This is the start of something great. You can follow my other tutorials that will walk you through the process of getting your site notice on Google and Bing/Yahoo. All step by step. I’ve take the hard work out of it so you have more time to get your blog out there. So what are you waiting for?