How to Start a Blog or Website
Are you interested in creating a blog or website? Are you nervous on what to do and how to ensure you’re making the best decisions? Let me tell you, it’s actually a very easy thing to setup to get you online fast. We will show you how to start a blog or website right here!
The following tutorial will help you get started achieving your goals, in a very easy step-by-step tutorial. I’ve built hundreds of websites over the last 16 years, and with that experience I can provide a very simple, and recommended way to get your blog or website online quick.
To create a website or blog, there are three main steps to secure your online space:
- Secure Domain Name and Hosting
- Install WordPress Content Management System
- Customize to Match Your Brand
Secure Domain Name and Hosting
As a new blogger or business, first search to see if your company name is available as a URL. A shorter URL is usually better, as it’s easier to type as well as to include in your marketing material. Brainstorm several ideas that either match your brand or have a creative spin. Once you have a few ideas, head to Bluehost to see if your domain name is available. I highly recommend using Bluehost for your first website, and you can get started at $3.49/month, which is an exclusive price for Spring Design Group readers.
Once you’ve locked down your domain name, you need to setup your hosting account. Hosting is like renting your digital home. Bluehost offers great hosting plans, and will offer your domain name for free if you host with them. If you’re just starting out, the Basic plan will cover all most of your needs. If you’re looking to start an eCommerce site, I would recommend the Pro plan, at a Spring Design Group discounted price of $13.95/mo. After you’ve chosen your package, Bluehost will offer you some options to configure your account.
If you would like to keep your personal information off of the world wide web, I would suggest that you select the “Domain Privacy Protection” plan for $0.99/month. This will hide your personal information (name, phone and address) from those looking to see who owns which domain. It’s a very small price to pay to keep yourself protected.
Install WordPress Content Management System
Once your hosting account is established, the next thing we need to do is install the WordPress content management system (CMS). From the Bluehost control panel, you will need to find and click on the “Install WordPress” link.
WordPress started as a blogging platform, that gave everyone an opportunity to start a blog online without needing to know how to code a website. It has since become one of the most popular CMS platforms online, which is used from mommy bloggers to Fortune 500 enterprise companies as the backbone to their website. WordPress gives everyone a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface, which makes maintaining available for anyone comfortable with a computer. It is SO user friendly, if you know how to use a computer, you can build and maintain your own website!
On the next page, you will need to click the “Install” button on the “Do it yourself” page.
The next screen you’ll be shown, is to confirm which domain you would like to install.
Now you will be given some options to configure your new WordPress site. Enter the name or title of your website/blog, followed by what you want the primary administrative account to be named. Do not use “admin” as your username. Think of another, unusual username that hackers won’t guess for the primary administrator username. Log your username and password elsewhere as you’ll need it for future reference.
Finally, click the “I have read the terms and conditions” box and hit “Install Now.”
Once the install is complete, click the “View Credentials” button and log the admin URL, username and password. You can change these values later if needed, but you will need them to login the first time.
Type the Admin URL into your browser, and you will now be able to login to the WordPress administration panel.
You’ve now logged in to your WordPress account! Way to go!
Customize to Match Your Brand
You now have your own website/blog! WordPress comes with a few default themes (i.e. designs, look-an-feel) out of the box. What’s amazing about WordPress is, there are thousands of developers that are creating themes, plugins (pieces of functionality) which are made available in both free and paid options. Depending upon the theme or plugin, several free options require you show attribution to the developer in exchange for using the theme/plugin for no cost, where paid options remove that attribution which gives your website a more custom and professional appeal. Either way, you can quickly build your website through the use of these themes and plugins, give it amazing functionality without ever needing to hire a webmaster or developer to build and maintain your site.
First priority is to ensure your new website fits your brand. As you’ve seen from my blog posts, brand is absolutely critical to any marketing effort. It’s important to ensure the user interface (UI) of your website/blog follows your brand strategy. The fonts, colors, imagery and logos should all compliment your brand identity to maximize the user experience for all your existing customers, as well as potential customers.
WordPress offers lots of free themes that can be customized to match your brand. There are also premium themes, which offer more style and sometimes additional functionality to help your site stand out from its competition.
Here are some options that we would recommend:
- Elegant Themes: I’ve built over 20 sites using Elegant Themes. They offer a large variety of styles, which can be easily adapted to match your brand.
- DIY Themes: DIY Themes offers countless options of themes which can also be easily customized for your business or blog.
If you would prefer your theme not be a theme that everyone else can choose, Dakota Digital Design can customize any theme you like to ensure it is a one of a kind, bespoke website that is unique in every way.
Interested in Ensuring Your Blog is Doing the Right Things?
Register here to get our Blogging Best Practices Checklist. Just enter your email address below, and ensure you get started on the right foot with your new website.