Are you looking to carve out an online space that you are proud to call home for your business, brand or blog? Well hot damn! I’m really glad you chose me to help you navigate from the beginning. Don’t worry about not knowing where to start or what to do. Today’s the day to create your first website, my friend. This beginner’s website guide was written for newbies just like you!
Even the most successful online entrepreneur, influencer and blogger started with 0 views from square 1, right?
Let’s dive in so we can get your website up and launched!
Easily Create Your First Website
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I promise that I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used. Thank you so much for your support!
STEP 1: GET DOMAIN AND HOSTING
If you are a newbie, then I’m guessing you were like me and understanding the industry lingo can be confusing. So let me drop some helpful knowledge of some words you’ll hear and use quite a bit….
A domain name is a term used for your website address. For example, my domain is lolaceleste.com
Website hosting is what powers your website to be seen on the Internet. Without it, no one will be able to see your website. All blog owners must pay for their domain and hosting. The great news is that it’s inexpensive.
Website hosting is one of the most critical elements of your business and one which is taken for granted by a lot of new website owners. I LOVE that my domain name AND hosting account is all in-house with SiteGround. I can’t stress enough how important a good hosting provider is for a successful online business. Believe me, select a bad hosting provider and you will quickly feel the pain.
A good website hosting provider allows you to forget about the backend, or all the techy stuff when it comes to your website.
A bad website hosting provider will cause your site to continuously have server crashes, poor security, and backup issues. You’ll find yourself always on the phone or chat with the support techs. All that energy needs to go towards growing your business OKAAAY!?
SiteGround gets thumbs up with both!
Let your creativity kick in! It’s time to create your website’s name. This name will be your domain name and where others will type in the address bar – http://yourblogname.com.
A few suggestions for selecting your domain name:
- Select a name that is simple, short and easy to spell.
- Select a domain name that relates to your overall niche or brand. Have at least 5 domain names in mind before purchase time.
- Have at least 5 domain names in mind before purchase time.
I have had my heart broken many times because I was set on just one name and it was already taken. Preparing 5 names before the “big moment” will help with any surprises that your search will turn up.
Time to purchase!
I normally purchase all of my domains through SiteGround. There are lots of places you can purchase domain names from, and I’ve tried my share. SiteGround is honestly the best option for myself. I encourage you to take an look and em.
Head over to SiteGround.com
Choose Your SiteGround Hosting Plan.
There are 3 plans to select from. Easy peasy!
(FYI, I’m on the GrowBig plan)
Next, choose your domain name!
It’s available YAY! (if not, no worries …you have 4 more names ready to try)
Next, you need to put in your billing information on another page. You can use your PayPal account or your credit card.
Click PAY NOW!
STEP 2: INSTALL WORDPRESS AT SITEGROUND
For your new website, blog, store etc, I recommend using WordPress. WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform and it runs some of the web’s biggest and most popular blogs. It is a powerful blogging tool and it can be used to create any kind of site you want. It allows creative newbies like yourself to create blogs, online stores, photo galleries, etc with simple drag and drop software. I haven’t run into anything I can’t do with WordPress.
WordPress is a simple blogging platform, but yes there is a small learning curve before you know your way around it. I have built hundreds of sites using WordPress and I can’t see using any other platform. The site you’re on right now is built with WordPress!
There are a few different ways to install WordPress. Manually or my choice with a few clicks using SiteGrounds installer. I like simple!
Here we go….
Select START NEW WEBSITE
Now put in your credentials for email address and a secure password.
Next, you will see a ‘reminder’ prompt to give you another chance to purchase their SG Site Scanner and Domain Privacy is you have not already done so. Both are optional at an additional cost.
To skip these purchases, just click the ‘FINISH’ button at the bottom of the page.
That’s it! You just installed WordPress and you’re all set to login in!
Let’s open the WordPress dashboard….
Click ‘LOG IN ADMIN’
This takes you to your WordPress dashboard: the place where you edit and add content to your new site.
Click the ‘START NOW’
button to be guided with their setup wizard OR click the ‘EXIT’ link just below it for steps below to continue the setup.
And now you can see your new WordPress dashboard.
…..It’s a whole new world!
And this my friend is your new and powerful place to make all the online magic happen.
STEP 3: SETTING UP PAGES
Now that your site is set up, it’s important to add a few essential WordPress pages.
The following pages are important and your site needs them to establish credibility and authority for your visitors, Google, and your other social media properties.
- About Page – This page tells your visitors what you and your site is about. It lays the framework for your site and can include a mission statement and more. Include a photo and brief bio, and explain why you’re blogging and why the reader should care.
- Contact Page- Every site needs a Contact Us Page. It shows you can be contacted and have an open line between you and your site visitors. Nothing fancy if you chose; just tell your readers how best to reach you. Do not put your full email address on here. Spambots will get a hold of it! NOOOO! What I do is just spell out my email address whenever I need to display it. Example info(at)lolaceleste(dot)com. Not the sexiest thing, but better than receiving spam day and night in your inbox.
Go to dashboard > POSTS > ALL PAGES.
You will see what pages are already there that came with your default theme. Every new WordPress blog has an About page already set up, but we want to edit and customize it.
Click edit under the about title.
You will now arrive at the edit page screen. The title area (which includes the word “About”) and a text area, which also contains the theme’s default will be shown. Waiting and ready for you to customize it.
You can also see here that the Status is showing as Published. That means it’s live on the Internet for all to see.
Click on the large text area and type in your contact information. Hit the UPDATE button to save.
Want to see what this page looks like live? Click on the View Page link just under the title. This should open up a new tab with your new live edit page.
Now go back to your dashboard and repeat for your contact page and any additional pages you wish to create.
STEP 4: INSTALL A WORDPRESS THEME
The design of WordPress blogs run on “themes.”
WordPress software uses themes to create the graphics and layouts you see on all those blogs. Through these themes, you can customize your new website.
It’s incredible how many free themes are available for WordPress. Remember that little learning curve I talked about earlier? This is where you will need to be patient with yourself and learn the ins and outs. I strongly suggest you get cozy with the default theme before moving on to a more custom free theme or purchased premium theme.
How to pick a new WordPress theme:
In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Appearance > Themes.”
On the next page, you’ll see all of your installed themes. You can search for new themes by clicking on “Add New” at the top of the page.
Here you will see several options to search for a new theme.
Search and try not to get obsessed with all the pretty themes. I’m SO guilty of this!
Found a theme? Simply hover over the theme you like and click the “Install” button.
Congratulations! You just installed your first WordPress theme!
Make it yours and click the customization button and play around.
STEP 5: INSTALL ESSENTIAL PLUGINS
What are WordPress plugins? Technically speaking, WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site.
Real talk, they are goodies you add on to your site or blog that make things easier to do. Want to display your posts in a grid format like Pinterest? There’s a plugin for that. Want to make sure Google knows your site exists and tell the world every time you post something. There’s a plugin for that too.
Kind of get the idea?
Take a minute and go back to your dashboard. Navigate to “Plugins > Add New.”
On next page, place the following must have plugins (in my opinion) in search box one at a time.
MUST HAVE PLUGINS:
- WordPress SEO – by Yoast
- W3 Total Cache – website load
- Updraft Plus – back up website
Type the plugin name in search box. Once it turns up the correct search, click INSTALL NOW button.
Now Click ACTIVATE button and you’re all good.
Repeat process for additional plugin installs.
Pour yourself a cocktail and pat yourself on the back. You created your first website!
Ready to keep going and publish your first blog post? I got ya covered. Click over to 9 Steps to Create Your First Blog Post. I even included a sweet little checklist for you!