Have you been putting off the decision to start a blog or website for your small business because you feel it’ll be too complicated or time consuming? It really wasn’t that long ago when I was in your same position.
Creating and building a WordPress website or blog isn’t a tedious task that requires you to hire professional developers & designers anymore. Now more than ever, whether it be a blog, personal website, or an eCommerce site, it’s super easy to DIY!
I’m here for you to help you get started! This guide is going to help you build your very first WordPress website, step by step.
BTW, BEFORE WE START – did you know there’s a big difference between wordpress.org & wordpress.com?
If you’re new to WordPress, you may not know that there are actually two versions of WordPress, which can be confusing! I’ll explain the differences:
WordPress.org – also known as “self-hosted” WordPress, or a self-hosted website. You won’t actually go to the WordPress.org website to create your site. You’ll sign up for web hosting, grab a domain name, and then install WordPress.org onto your site through your hosting account. WordPress will always be free– you’ll only need to pay for hosting + domain name. When you hear anyone talking about WordPress, you can almost always assume they’re talking about a self-hosted website with WordPress.org.
WordPress.com – it’s a free, very limited hosted service. If you sign up for an account on this website, this means you do not have a “self-hosted” website. WordPress.com places a lot of limitations on users and doesn’t allow users to upload themes & plugins. If you have a new “business account” on WordPress.com, you are able to upload custom themes + most plugins, but because you can’t edit website files, it’s almost impossible to troubleshoot any issues you might have down the road. My themes are also not tested on this platform and this is why I can’t guarantee my themes & theme features will work. Business accounts on wordpress.com are also outrageously expensive, which is why I recommend self-hosting instead.
What’s a domain name? A domain or domain name is your unique address on the internet. It’s your website’s URL (e.g., heartenmade.com). If your website was a home, then your domain name would be the address.
What is hosting? Hosting consists of website files, servers + more that keep your site visible and on the internet. If your domain is like the address of your home, then the hosting would be like the home itself. Your website cannot exist without hosting.
Without a domain name, it’s not possible for people to find your website, and without web hosting, you cannot create a website. Domain names and web hosting are two different services. However, they work together to make websites possible!
Step One: Choose a Name
Choosing a name that fits you and/or your brand, and choosing one that isn’t already taken by someone else, is probably the hardest part of this process. Before getting your heart totally set on a name, you’ll want to: search to see if the domain name you want is available, and see if the name is available on social media.
Step Two: Purchase Domain & Hosting
The next steps we’re going to take are securing your domain name and purchasing hosting. I recommend buying your hosting and domain name in the same place to make things easier. But if you’ve already bought your domain name somewhere else, don’t worry– we’ll cover that too!
There’s a lot of different hosting companies out there. But the hosting company I recommend is SiteGround. Why Siteground?
Siteground is affordable and they have an amazing, top notch support team. Their process is simple and easy to understand for someone who is just starting out– that’s you! My favorite thing about Siteground is their ridiculously fast servers- no one wants a slow website, or one that goes down all the time.
When you go to purchase Siteground hosting, you’re first going to be asked which hosting service you’d like to select. Since we’re going to be using WordPress, I recommend the Managed WordPress Hosting package. These packages get you started for very little start up cost, and again, includes your domain in the setup process.
Differences in the Plans:
- The StartUp plan is the most basic plan. It’s perfect for someone with one website that is just starting out. You can have up to 10k visits a month.
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves website speed. You get a free SSL Wildcard for 1 year, and also their Backup and Restore service. Perfect for small businesses and online shops. This is the plan I’m on!!
- The GoGeek plan includes everything above, plus more site storage and more. It’s perfect for people with large e-commerce and larger sites.
After you select the package you want, hit Get Plan, and you’ll be taken to this screen:
Choose whether you already own your domain, or register a new one.
Click Proceed from here and fill in all your personal and payment information. Under Extra Services, I highly recommend the Domain Privacy add-on. When you register a domain name, your personal information becomes publicly available through the “whois” services. To protect your personal info, purchase the Domain Privacy.
Now you have reserved your domain name, paid for your hosting account, and WordPress was automatically installed onto your site for you! *throws confetti* But we’re not done just yet…
What if I have a domain name already that I purchased from somewhere else, but need to transfer it to my hosting provider?
You can easily transfer an existing domain to your hosting provider. For example, if you purchased a domain at Bluehost, and then hosting through SiteGround, we just need to tell Bluehost where our hosting is. This process is called “changing nameservers”. This will point your domain to the servers at SiteGround.
If you selected the option “I already have a domain” from earlier, you will get an email from Siteground that has your nameservers inside it. You will use these nameservers with your domain registrar (where you bought your domain name) to point that domain to your new hosting. You’ll copy and paste these nameservers to replace your old nameservers.
Here are the instructions for a few popular domain registrars where you might have purchased your domain name:
If you’re having trouble pointing nameservers, contact your domain registrar and they will be able to assist you. Also please keep in mind that when you update your nameservers, the process could take up to 24-48 hours to propagate. You won’t be able to work on your website until it’s completed.
Step Three: Login to your New WordPress Site
After you’ve purchased & completed your order from Step Two, you’ll receive an email with the link to login to your new WordPress site. It will look like this: https://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
This link takes you to your WordPress dashboard! You will use the same login credentials you used when signing up above.
The WordPress dashboard, sometimes called WP Admin or admin panel, is essentially the control panel for your entire WordPress website. It’s where you create and manage content, add plugins, change styling in the form of themes, and lots more.
Step Four: Choosing a Theme
Now for the fun part! Choose a theme you love from the Hearten Made shop. Once you’ve purchased your theme, you’ll receive a download link to the theme files.
Step Five: Install, Customize & Launch Your Site!
I also offer installation + setup services if you’d like me to take care of setting up your theme on your site.
Once everything looks good, it’s time to launch your new site and show it off to the world! Throw some confetti!
This page contains some affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission if you click on the link and decide to purchase. I promise everything I write here is my own, honest opinion. I will never recommend anything I don’t love, trust & use myself. I am SO grateful for your support!