Have you been putting off the decision to start a blog or a website for your business because you feel it’ll be too complicated and time-consuming? I’ve been there!
It really wasn’t that long ago when I was in your same position. And I’m pleased to tell you that creating and building a website or blog isn’t a tedious task that takes up months of your time or requires you to spend thousands of dollars on professional developers & designers anymore. When you purchase one of our WordPress themes, you spend less time building your website, & more time building your business.
Now more than ever, whether it be a blog, personal or biz website, or an eCommerce store, it’s super easy to DIY (no coding skills required)!
I’m here to help you get started.
This easy guide is going to provide you with the info you need + help you create your very first WordPress website, step by step.
BEFORE WE GET STARTED:
You may not know that there are actually two versions of WordPress, which can be confusing! Let me explain the differences:
Also known as “self-hosted” WordPress, or a self-hosted website. You won’t actually go to the WordPress.org website to create your website. You’ll sign up for hosting from somewhere like Siteground, 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.
This is a free and very limited hosted service. WordPress.com places a lot of limitations on users and doesn’t allow you to upload themes & plugins. If you pay for the 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 down the road. And business accounts on wordpress.com are also extremely expensive, which is another reason why I recommend self-hosting instead.
Let’s get started building your self-hosted WordPress website! Here are a couple of important terms you should know:
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.
HOSTING: Hosting consists of all your website files, server + 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 house itself. Your website cannot exist without hosting.
You can Google “website hosting” to find a website host that you like, but I LOVE & recommend Siteground to everyone I know who is starting a website. Siteground’s support team is top-notch, their servers are fast, and they have great optimization + security plugins.
The biggest reasons why I LOVE & use Siteground:
- Ultra fast servers
- DAILY website backups
- Easy, managed WordPress hosting
- Amazing support team
- Highly rated cache & optimization plugin
- Highly rated security plugin
- Easy Cloudflare integration
Although this guide will show you how to build a website with Siteground, you can use whatever hosting you’d like. Just keep in mind that if you go for a cheap host, you WILL get what you pay for (slow server + website, website downtime and offline, bad or unhelpful customer service, etc). It’s important to do your research and read reviews on the hosting company you choose.
Step One: Choose a DOMAIN Name
Choosing a domain 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 research to 1) search to see if the domain name you want is available, and 2) see if the name or a variation of 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, that’s okay – we’ll cover that too!
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.
Differences in the Plans:
- The StartUp plan is the most basic plan. It’s perfect for someone with one website, blog or small business that is just starting out!
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer. The main difference between GrowBig and StartUp is that you have more website storage and can have an unlimited amount of websites. This is the plan Hearten Made is on!
- The GoGeek plan includes everything above, plus even more site storage, priority support, and more. It’s perfect for people or businesses with a large e-commerce site and/or sites that get 100k+/mo website visits.
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. Domain prices vary.
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. Your name, address, and sometimes your phone number will be public. To protect your personal info, purchase the Domain Privacy.
Proceed to checkout!
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 wait,
What if I have a domain name already that I purchased from somewhere elsE?
If you purchased a domain name from somewhere other than where you purchased hosting, you can easily transfer an existing domain to your hosting provider. For example, if you purchased a domain at GoDaddy, and then purchased hosting through SiteGround, we just need to tell GoDaddy where our hosting is. This process is called “changing nameservers”. Changing nameservers will point your domain to the servers at SiteGround.
If you selected the option “I already have a domain” from earlier and entered in your domain name, 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 don’t see your domain registrar on this list, you can simply Google the name of your domain registrar + change nameserver” to find a tutorial.
If you’re having trouble pointing nameservers, contact your domain registrar and they should be able to assist you. Also please keep in mind that when you update your nameservers, the process could take up to 12-48 hours to propagate. You won’t be able to work on your website until it’s completed unless your hosting provider gives you a temporary domain in the meantime.
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 log in 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 unless you chose a different username and password.
The WordPress dashboard, sometimes called “dashboard” or “WP Admin”, is essentially the control panel for your entire WordPress website. It’s where you write posts, create pages, add plugins, upload themes, and lots more. You will rarely need to log in to your hosting website anymore. Everything can be done through your WordPress dashboard when you log in through https://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
Step Four: Choosing a Theme
Now for the fun part! Let’s get designing and choose a WordPress theme for your new website!
Choose a theme you love from the Hearten Made shop that you love and best fits all of your site goals. Once you’ve purchased your theme, you’ll immediately have access to the theme files and our theme documentation.
Step Five: Install, Customize & Launch Your Site!
I also offer installation + setup services if you’d like me to take care of installing your theme onto your site!
Once everything looks good, it’s time to launch your dream 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!