Miles and Mackenzie got to the campground at 5:00 pm. They rolled in with a bunch of other folks who were also pitching their tents.
But while you could hear the grumbling and moaning as their neighbor’s tent started falling down, Miles and Mackenzie were already set up and starting dinner – they were at least twice as fast as all the other folks who came in at the same time. And they were already enjoying their camping trip.
Getting set up with your first blog or website can feel as intimidating as taking your first camping trip, but if you use the same strategies as Miles and Mackenzie you will be able to get up and running quickly and easily.
Here are the two things that made the difference for them (and will also make a huge difference for you as you easily build your first website).
#1. The right equipment
When Mackenzie and Miles were buying their camping equipment, they looked at three things: ease of set up, value, and how long it would last. It turns out that by picking tools to set up your website that have these same three advantages – value, ease of set up, how long the company is going to be around – are just as important. And I’ll walk you through them step-by-step.
#2. Being organized
The next thing that was super important to Miles and Mackenzie getting great results was being organized. They had their car packed in such a way that they were able to do step 1, then 2, then 3 without having to dig for anything as they set up camp. By following a similar process and doing the right things in the right order, your new blog/website will be set up in no time flat.
Now… let’s get started on the steps it takes to get your blog or website up quickly and easily.
Here’s what you need to get started:
- A domain name – this is the address where your website lives. Google.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and Amazon.com are all examples of domain names. I recommend you don’t buy your domain name until you get your hosting.
- About 20 minutes to an hour – depending on how technical you are.
- A credit card to pay a minimal fee for web-hosting.
The next step – web hosting:
Web hosting sounds complicated, but it’s not. In a nutshell, web hosting is where your website lives. It’s space you rent on a server and it allows your website to show up on the internet. So it’s something you have to have. It’s also where you will install your website with the WordPress framework.
We’ll get into detail on how to install WordPress and set up your site (way easier than it sounds) in a bit. First, let’s review the three rules that we went over above.
Because there are hundreds and hundreds of web hosting companies out there, it is important to apply some sort of criteria to them in order to pick one that is decent. And luckily, the same 3 steps that Miles and Mackenzie used to determine great camping supplies also work wonderfully for web hosting. Whatever company you choose should offer you great value, ease of set-up, and stability with your hosting.
My favorite web-host is Bluehost. And here’s why:
- Great Value – Bluehost is a great value. You can host unlimited domains, have unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited domain hosting on one account. And you the value is incredible. Bluehost normally costs just $4.95 to $6.95 a month!
- Ease of Use/Ease of SetUp – Bluehost is super easy to use. It’s specifically made for non-geeks to get up and running on the web fast. It’s also endorsed by WordPress as the number one platform they recommend (they only recommend 3). Bluehost is awesome – especially if you have no idea what you are doing.
- Stability – When you set up a website, one of the most important factors is that it stays up. There is nothing more frustrating as a reader/buyer than a website going down, and you don’t want your site in that category. Bluehost is super-reliable and has an uptime of over 99.99%. That’s pretty impressive.
- Customer Service – I’m going to throw another one in here that is actually not on Miles and Mackezie’s list, but is still super important if you are using a tech product for the first time. – customer service! And Bluehost’s customer service seriously rocks the party! They have chat, phone, and email support and are super prompt and never act like you are stupid when you have a question. Bluehost also offers a kick-butt 30 day money-back guarantee, so there is no risk to you.
Note: When I recommend Bluehost on my site, the company pays me a commission when someone signs up via one of my links. But, this didn’t influence my decision to recommend them. Nearly every web hosting company has a similar commission program, so I could recommend any of them and get the same commission.
The reason I recommend them is that I personally use Bluehost for my sites, and so do nearly all of my clients.
So if you are ready to get started with the first step of web-hosting go to Bluehost by clicking here and click on the Signup Now button.
OK. Now that you’ve signed up for hosting the next step is for those of you who don’t already have a domain name (if you have one already, then I’ll show you want to do shortly).
Getting your domain name:
All you need to do is enter the domain name you want in the box that looks like this:
Domain names can be a little tricky. A lot of the so-called “good” ones are already taken, but don’t get too stressed about this. Just pick one you like, get a .com if you can and keep moving.
The way that Bluehost is able to give such great rates, is because they bill your monthlies a year at a time. The longer the time period you contract for, the cheaper the monthly rates get. But other than that there are no advantages to a shorter or longer term contract, so do what is right for you and your budget.
After you select your plan, Bluehost will give you a slew of upgrade options. At this point you don’t need ANY of these, so just skip this.
The next step is to create a password for your account – you’ll want a secure password (Roboform is my favorite online password manager and generator). Just click the link that says create your password paste it in and you are good to go.
Once you reach the welcome screen click on cPanel – short for Control Panel – because this is where the magic happens to getting your first website/blog online.
Once you are in cPanel it’s time to install WordPress. Don’t let this intimidate you. WordPress is an extremely powerful, flexible and easy platform that lets you create nearly any type of website – not just blogs. And thankfully WordPress is not only easy to use, but with Bluehost it is super easy to install.
- Under the Website Builders portion of the page select the WordPress logo.
- On the next page full of scripts click on WordPress under Blogs (don’t let the amount of choices confuse you).
- Next you’ll see a message that tells you it is loading up your Mojo account. There’s a bunch of tech talk behind this, but that is exactly what you should be seeing.
- Click Start on the Install WordPress screen.
- Weirdly, the next screen will give you an error message. This is completely normal. All you need to do here is choose the checkbox that says, “Directory Exists! I understand that continuing will overwrite files.”
- On the next screen you will get “I am almost there”. You don’t need the advanced options. All you need to do is accept the terms and conditions and then press “install now”. This process can take a few minutes, please be patient. 🙂
- Once you’re blog is installed (it will tell you) click on the blog URL and it will load up WordPress for you – you are now online! NOTE: the default WordPress theme is super-duper plain. That’s good, because you can change the look, feel, and function with Themes – I’ll recommend a few in a bit.
- Your next step is to login – you can do this two ways. Either go to www.yoururl.com/wp-admin and that will bring you to the log in page, or scroll down the page at your main site and there will be a log in button on the bottom right corner. Put in the username and password you chose while setting up your blog.
- Once you log in successfully you can now start using WordPress. If you’ve ever used a word processing program you will find this to be very similar. There is an excellent tutorial here, that I recommend for writing your first blog post.
Woo! Now your done. So if you followed these directions you now have your very first website up online! Feels good, doesn’t it? Miles and Mackenzie would be proud!
The next step is to customize the look and feel of your site with a Theme. Think of this as the skin on your site. It should reflect what you want to portray to the world. There are tons of free themes available. But I like support when I buy a theme, and for that reason I recommend Elegant Themes. For a small yearly fee they have hundreds of themes to choose from and awesome support. Another alternative I really like are the StudioPress / Genesis Framework themes.
WordPress is an awesome platform for being online, and you can do nearly anything you want with it. If you need more help with WordPress, then I recommend WP101.com or Lynda.com to learn more.
If this information has been helpful, please feel free to pass it along!