So you have decided to bite the bullet and finally put up that website or blog you’ve been thinking about for FOREVER.
*This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you use any of the links I have provided to make a purchase, you are helping support me and my business at no additional cost to you. Win Win! I also NEVER recommend products that I don’t use myself and stand behind 100%.
Well first, congrats on diving into this awesome (albeit a bit crazy!) journey! And second, take a deep breath. It’s one thing to have ideas for a great blog, or an awesome website to share your content, services or online portfolio. But setting one up when you have absolutely no experience in web designing, development or coding? It can seem like an impossible task! You may not even know what WordPress is, or the fact that there’s a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org (hint: there is, and you want to make sure you set it up with WordPress.org so your website it a self-hosted site- more on this later!)
Step 1. Choose domain name.
Your first step is deciding on what you are going to name you site. This is that URL that people will type in, in order to head to your blog or website, AKA your web address.
Back to purchasing your domain and hosting:
Again, I used Bluehost (as do most of the bloggers I have touched base with do!)
BONUS: Use this link to take advantage of Bluehost’s FLASH SALE and get their lowest price of $2.95/month!
To get started with Bluehost, click the banner right above this sentence, this will take you straight to where you need to begin.
Their basic web hosting package is a great buy- plus they throw in a free domain if you use my link! (which saves you $$) With domain and hosting- you also get an email address associated with your domain (example: email@example.com) – which makes you look professional.
Again- keep in mind your future goals and plans for your business when deciding on a name (Example: me and my name changes!! LOL )
Select your plan:
Now, Bluehost will take you to you cPanel, which is essentially your dashboard. (Pro-tip: Bookmark your cPanel to your toolbar menu in your browser for easy access)
Choose your hosting platform
This is the service that links your domain to the internet as a physical site that people can go to. (WordPress has over 50% of all websites in 2017!)- Source
Why do I use WordPress? – It’s the most user friendly that I have found in my research and user reviews. Plus, you can go the cheap route when it comes to setting your site up and then upgrade down the road to make it a bit fancier if you wish!
It’s also very beginner friendly (think drag and drop widgets, yay!)
It is mobile responsive (Super important, as most people will access your site on a mobile device at one point or another)
WordPress’ Online Support is amazing, but also, since it’s used by so many people- it’s easy to find support forums, video tutorials, etc online to help you when you get stuck.
So how do you get started with WordPress? When you have Bluehost, it’s super easy. Just go to you Cpanel and they have a 1-click instillation for WordPress there for you! Easy as pie (mmm…pie)
Click on the orange icon that says “Install WordPress” to start the download.
Once you have WordPress installed, it automatically takes you to the MOJO screen, which is essentially a shop where you can look for and download themes for your WordPress site. More about themes next!
I first want to mention that it won’t automatically take you to your site’s WordPress Dashboard once it’s finished downloading. Which was confusing to me at first. They really want to try and get you to get a theme first, but in order to access your WordPress Dashboard (which is where all the magic happen!) you type the url into your browser, so it should look exactly like www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
(Only you replace “yourdomain” with your actual domain name that you purchased with Bluehost!)
This will take you into a log in screen where you can enter your credentials to gain access to your dashboard.
Choose a theme
Free is good and all, but if you are looking to step up your theme game (as well as getting the support and in-depth tutorials for installing and customizing your theme) my favorites are Restored316 Designs themes! They have amazing, feminine designed themes that are all mobile responsive and optimized, and they have AMAZING support, walk-through tutorials and documentation for all of their themes, which is something I was looking for, seeing as I had no damn clue what I was doing 🙂
If you need help deciding on which of their beautiful themes to get, they have created a super great little quiz to help you find your best fit!
If you’re curious what theme I used, it’s called “Refined”. It’s their newest theme and I’m loving it!
Something to keep in mind when purchasing a theme, many themes require Genesis Framework in order to run their theme properly. I had no clue what this was at first, but the Genesis Framework is what it called a Parent theme, and the pretty themes you buy to make your site look the way you want it to are called Child themes. All Restored316 themes require you to purchase and download the Genesis Framework, which you can do here:
Studiopress, the company behind the Gensis Framework- also have a TON of excellent themes if you want to scroll through them. Especially if you aren’t looking for a feminine theme like what Restored316 offers!
Now to apply your theme to your WordPress site!
Once you have picked your theme and downloaded it- it’s easy to install! If you purchased or downloaded a free theme straight from WordPress, you can click on “install now” and then “activate” in order to start customizing your theme.
If you purchased from a third party (such as Restored316Designs.com) you click on “Upload” (Still on the “Themes” menu from the Appearance selection from your dashboard) Again- if you DO end up going with restored316- they walk you through this step in detail)
Now that you have picked and installed (and activated) your theme- the real fun begins!
In the body of the text box is where you write whatever you want. Contact info if it’s your contact page, Services that you offer, you About Me section, whatever page you are looking to create. You can add text, links, images, whatever.
Creating a Menu
As you add Pages, you can click and drag them into any order you wish. Make sure you check the check box “Home Page Header Menu” before you save. Here you can see how I have added Pages to my Primary Menu and how I ordered them, as an example.