Did you know that 40% of all websites on the internet today are powered by WordPress? That’s an amazing stat and it shows just how popular this powerful content management system (CMS) is.
Why Use WordPress?
There are a number of different CMSs you could use, but WordPress is by far the most popular and it’s the one I recommend. WordPress is free to install on your site and open-source. It’s capable of powering a blog, a corporate website, a portfolio website, an e-commerce website, and many other types of websites.
There is a massive community of WordPress users and developers that make it an excellent choice. As a WordPress user, you’ll benefit from a huge selection of themes (templates) and plugins that you can use on your website or blog. Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress and allow you to do specific things.
WordPress is easy to use, although there will be a slight learning curve to get accustomed to any content management system. If you ever need to hire a designer or developer to help with your site or to customize it in some way, it’s extremely easy to find professionals who are experts at working with WordPress.
We’re going to be setting up a website on your own domain name and your own hosting account, which gives you full control over the site. There is a small fee for hosting your website, but anyone who is serious about their website or blog should have hosting.
So with that out of the way, let’s get started.
Sign Up For Web Hosting and Install WordPress
A web host allows you to host your website or blog on their server. Hosting is essential for businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and bloggers. This might be starting to sound complicated if you’ve never had a website before, but don’t worry, it’s very simple.
In this step, we’ll create a web hosting account with Bluehost (including domain name registration) and we’ll get WordPress set up. The entire process will only take a few minutes.
Why We Recommend Bluehost
There are many different hosts out there but the one we recommend is Bluehost. Here are some of the most important reasons why:
- Automatic WordPress installation. Bluehost offers hosting specifically intended for WordPress-powered websites and blogs. Their servers are optimized for WordPress, which helps your site to perform better. WordPress is even automatically installed on your website, so it’s extremely easy and beginner-friendly.
- Best prices in the industry. Bluehost’s prices are outstanding, starting at just a few dollars per month.
- U.S. – based customer service. The customer service reps are knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. Eventually, you’ll want or need help from their support team and you’ll want to be with a host that cares about its customers.
- Support is available 24/7 by phone or online chat. You never know when you’ll need support, so having access any time is crucial. With Bluehost, you’ll be able to get help quickly if you need it.
- Free domain name. Bluehost gives you a free year of domain registration with any hosting account. If you already have your own domain, you don’t need to take advantage of this offer, but it give you the potential to save a few dollars in startup costs.
- Money-back guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy for any reason, you can get a full refund for hosting.
- Experience. I feel comfortable recommending Bluehost because I’ve been a customer for years. I have a Bluehost account that hosts several websites and I’ve been very happy with their service.
For disclosure, www.vandelaydesign.com is hosted with WP Engine. We recommend Bluehost for new bloggers for the reasons listed above, but there may be a time when you outgrow their service. WP Engine is another outstanding host but their prices are significantly higher and most new bloggers don’t need anything beyond what you can get with an entry-level hosting plan from Bluehost.
Ok, now let’s move on and get WordPress set up. Bluehost offers a few different packages. We recommend going with their Basic Shared WordPress plan. This plan is perfect for starting a new website or blog because it’s inexpensive and WordPress will be automatically installed for you. In just a few minutes, your site will be up and ready to use.
To get started, visit Bluehost and hover over WordPress in the navigation menu, and then select WordPress Hosting (as shown below).
Next, click on the “View Plans” button.
Next, you’ll see three different plans listed. Basic is the cheapest plan and it gives you everything you need to host your website or blog, so that’s the plan we recommend. If you want to host multiple websites on the same account, you can go with Plus. But for just hosting one site, Basic is the best choice.
Next, you’ll enter your domain name. There are a few different options here.
If you haven’t registered your domain yet, enter it on the left where it says “Create a new domain.” If you’ve already registered the domain, enter it where it says “Use a domain you own.” You also have the option to skip this step and choose a domain name later. If you click on the “I’ll create my domain later” link it will assign you a temporary domain for now, and then you can register the domain later. This can be helpful if you want to get your account set up, but you’re not sure what domain name you want to use.
Once you enter your domain name or opt to use a temporary domain, you’ll be led to the screen shown below.
Here you’ll enter the basic account information and when you scroll down, you’ll see the details of the package that you’re purchasing.
First, you need to choose from 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months. The pricing is cheaper with the longer terms. This is really just a matter of personal preference. I usually opt for the shorter term even though it costs slightly more per month because I don’t like long-term commitments, but you can decide which is best for you.
Bluehost will also list some “package extras” that are optional upgrades. A few of these boxes will be checked by default but you can uncheck them if you don’t want them. When you’re just getting started, you probably want to keep costs to a minimum and none of these extras are essential.
If you’re registering a domain name, one of the extras you’ll see is privacy protection, which will hide your name and address. This is the only extra I would recommend, but even that is optional.
Scroll down further and you’ll see the fields where you need to enter your payment info.
When the payment is complete, you’ll be led to the Success page shown below.
Click on the blue “Create your account” button and you’ll be led to the page shown below where you’ll set up your password.
You’ll see your domain listed here. If you’ve chosen to use a temporary domain like I have, you’ll see a strange looking domain that ends in mybluehost.me, as shown above.
Just enter a password and click the “Create Account” button. After you’ve done that, you’ll see a confirmation message (as shown in the screenshot below) that your account is ready. Click on the blue “go to login” button.
Now, login to your account using the password that you just created.
Once you’re logged in, Bluehost asks how much help you’ll need. You have the option to set up a consultation if you want. There’s really no need for that because I’m going to show you what to do. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to click on the middle option, which is “A little help”.
Next, it asks what kind of site you’ll be creating. Click on whichever one is relevant to you.
The next step will ask you how comfortable you are with creating websites. I’m going to be showing you what to do, so just check the last box to say that you’re very comfortable and then click “Continue”.
Next, you will see the screen below that asks what type of website or blog you’re creating and who you’re creating it for (it doesn’t really matter how you answer this).
Next, it asks you about the sections you’d like to add to your site. Don’t worry about this, you can always add things very easily later. I’m selecting “Blog” and “About me”.
In the next step, you’ll be asked to enter the name of your website and a tagline. Again, you can change these details later if need. You can also leave the tagline blank if you’d like.
Next, you’ll be asked to select a theme or template. You can choose a theme you want to use or skip it for now. I’m going to click the link that says “Skip this step”.
Congratulations, WordPress is now installed on your site! I told you the installation process was easy.
At this point, you’ll be led to your Bluehost dashboard, which looks like the screenshot shown below.
Click on the “Log in to WordPress button” at the top right of the screen, which will bring you to the WordPress dashboard of your site. This is where you’ll control your blog. Whenever you want to add content to your blog, you’ll do it from this dashboard. By default, the dashboard URL will be “yourdomain.com/wp-admin”.
The WordPress dashboard can look a little overwhelming at first, but don’t worry, it’s very easy to use. Here are a few things I want to point out on the screenshot above:
- By default, your website visitors who are not logged in to WordPress (i.e. not you) will see a “coming soon” page. Whenever you’re ready, you can deactivate this. Click on the orange box at the top of the screen (shown by the blue arrow above) to go live with your site.
- When you want to enter a blog post, go to the “Posts” section, shown by the orange arrow above.
- When you want to create or edit a page, go to the “Pages” section, shown by the green arrow above.
If you’ve read this far but you haven’t been completing the steps as you’re reading, please head to Bluehost now to start the process of setting up your WordPress website.