[Updated for 2018]
Today we have a practical lesson. It's time for you to do more than just read my blog posts, I want you to take real action. You can have your own blog setup in less than an hour. And I'm going to make it as easy as possible.
Instead of taking shortcuts that you will have to fix or alter later, I'm going to take you through the EXACT process I used to set up this very website.
You can watch this video or follow the written steps below.
STEP ONE – Buy a Domain
This means you own the name of your website. For example, I own “servenomaster.com”
I have owned many websites. Some of them I have kept for a decade and some I used for a year or less and dropped when they were no longer profitable.
You want to pick a name that you like and that defines who you are and what you want to write about.
I have blogged on quite a few domains and used quite a few services before I got where I am today.
My very first site was called SmellMyBlog.com. It was great for a fun little blog that I only thought a few people were reading, but when traffic exploded I realized that I needed to change the name to something more serious.
Nobody wants SmellMyBlog to appear on a credit card bill at the end of the month.
I buy ALL of my domains using NameCheap.com.
This is a really important step because many of the other services will leave you with regret in the long run.
It is tempting to buy your domain and hosting from the same company.
They all try to get you to do this.
GoDaddy is the king of this.
But you should never make this mistake because it leaves you vulnerable.
You get hacked once or spammed or a virus injected into your site and many of those companies will freeze your account.
They take your website and they take the NAME.
It can be a nightmare to try and get it back.
So you need to firewall yourself and ONLY buy a domain from NameCheap.
Spend some time coming up with a cool name and grab that domain as soon as you think of it.
If you do a search and decide to think about it for a day, the domain might be gone tomorrow.
There are many companies that scan the searches and grab any cool names that other people think of.
Don't let this happen to you.
Grab your domain right now.
STEP TWO – Get Hosting
Now that you have your website name, you need to find a real home for your website.
Hosting means there is a computer inside a big warehouse somewhere that is always on.
Your website will live on this computer (called a server).
There are literally millions of companies in this game and I've been through about a dozen.
Previously, I use a company called A Small Orange.
But now I MUCH prefer using Bluehost
It's even easier to setup and getting SSL takes 5 minutes.
STEP THREE – Connect Namecheap to Bluehost
First, Get your Nameservers from BlueHost.
You can find your DNS Settings inside your Bluehost Dashboard by clicking on Domains and then Name Servers in the bottom right corner.
Now, Log into your NameCheap account.
- Click on where it says Domain List.
2. Choose the domain you want to put your blog on.
Click on “Manage Domain” next to the name of that domain.
3. Click where it says nameservers.
Make sure it says “Custom DNS”
Then input these 2 answers (they are the most DNS for shared hosting with BlueHost)
Save your changes by clicking the green checkmark and then you're done!
The beauty of Bluehost is that WordPress is instantly installed via their new BlueRock system. As soon as you finish your account creation process, you can start designing your blog.
This is the page you will see.
STEP FOUR – Install WordPress using cPanel (Bluehost Users Skip this Step)
One of the great things about Bluehost is how EASY they make it to install WordPress.
It's directly integrated into your hosting, but for most hosts you will use cPanel to install WordPress. This example uses A Small Orange, but it's the same for all cPanel hosting.
There are a ton of blog options out there, but I've only used WordPress for the past seven years. Its has never let me down. It's the most popular platform in the world for a reason.
That's why it's what I use.
So let's install WordPress right now.
- Take a look at your email from A Small Orange.
Follow the directions on the bottom right and log into your cPanel.
That means you click on the orange button.
2. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on “WordPress” in the Softaculous Apps Installer section.
3. Click on the big blue button that says INSTALL
4. Fill in the options.
There are a couple of key options you'll want to change as anything you do now is locked in for a long time.
Make sure you choose the domain that you want. I prefer to have it WITHOUT the www in front of my domain.
You want the directory option to be BLANK. They might try to have you put it in the “wp” directory but that will mess up your website.
Put in a cool name and description for your blog. If you can't think of a great idea right now, that's ok, these two options are really easy to change later.
You do NOT want your username to be admin. That options the door to your site getting hacked and is a really common mistake for first-time bloggers.
Pick anything unique and you want a really strong password.
Your admin email should also be something you keep quiet about.
I tend to use an email address that's separate from the domain.
Just use a hotmail email address or something like that. That way if something happens to your account you can still fix the problem.
This might seem like a little overkill, but it protects you from risk by hackers etc in the future.
STEP FIVE – Start Blogging
The next screen will show you where you go to log in to your site.
Now that you're blog is setup properly you can have a blast without fear.
Write your first blog post and start messing around inside of WordPress.
Write a post and start having some fun.
In the next part of this series, we'll talk about backing up your site and some ways to make a beautiful design.