Three years ago I had no idea how to set up a website. I had never heard of WordPress, and I didn’t know what hosting was.
But over time I’ve learnt the way of the world and how to build a beautiful and functioning website.
The good news is that it is easier than you think.
Below you will find all the information on how I started my website in easy step-by-step guidelines.
Please note that I am an affiliate to some of the products. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, then I will receive an affiliate commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever recommend things I have used and that I believe are helpful and useful.
1. Domain and Web Hosting
First things first, all websites need a web host. These are companies that provide space on their server as well as providing internet connectivity.
A domain name is a unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website. There are variations on the ending such as .com, .co.uk, .org, .net.
The first thing I did was sign up with Bluehost, a web hosting company, and register my domain name. The best thing about Bluehost is that it has a simple 1-click system so you can easily install WordPress (a blogging platform) and have your website up and running in a matter of minutes.
Please note that there is WordPress.com and a WordPress.org.
The .com is where you can set up a blog for free. Your website name will always end with ‘wordpress.com’. For example, superstaryourlife.wordpress.com. This decreases the authority in search engines and also with readers.
The .org is where you can download WordPress to put on your own hosted domain (as explained above).
I didn’t require any support during the set up, however if you did need extra help, you are able to have a live chat with the team at Bluehost.
Alternatively, you can sign up to one company for web hosting, and you can buy your domain names from another company. I personally haven’t gone down this route as I didn’t see the point in making it more difficult for myself. I wanted to stick with one company for everything.
2. Choose A Theme
When you install WordPress, there are many themes that you can choose which will give you a different look and feel for your website.
You can design your website to how you want it to look, without being a coder and knowing all the inside-outs of programming (which I certainty don’t know!).
You can also purchase premium themes, which are relatively inexpensive, and will give you an added dimension to your website.
After having a free theme for about a year, I decided to purchase a new theme through Elegant Themes.
Elegant Themes have a collection of 87 beautiful WordPress themes that you can download. For only $67, you can get 100% complete access to their entire theme collection, so that if you don’t like the first one you download, you have another 86 to choose from!
Once purchased, I decided to download the theme called Divi as I liked the simplicity of it. It’s such a good theme, plus it has an easy page builder to make it even better. To find out more, simply go to Elegant Themes.
Whatever theme you choose, I would recommend spending some time changing it to how you want. Just a note though – it is an ever-evolving process and what you like now, you might not like in a years time!
3. Google Analytics
I only set up Google Analytics a few months ago, however if I were to start a site from scratch again, I would sign up for it immediately.
You can set up a Google Analytics for free, and it tracks your stats for your site. You can see who visits your site, how long they stay on there for, what pages are most popular, and so on. The information at your fingertips is endless.
Plugins are additional items you can add to your website to give it an extra oomph.
I use a few on my website. They take only a few moments to download. They are:
Askimet – It is a paid plugin however it is worth its weight in gold. Askimet protects your blog from automated comments and trackback spam. To date it has protected my site from 19,702 spam comments. Just looking at my stats today, there are currently 122 comments in my spam queue. Imagine if I had those comments coming through as ‘normal’ comments.
Broken Link Checker – Exactly what it says. It checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found.
Google Analyticator – It adds the necessary code to enable Google Analytics to work, and so that you can see all your traffic and keyword data on your dashboard.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – If you are inexperienced in SEO, and don’t have the time to learn it, then this plugin is for you. It prompts you to choose a keyword and then identifies it in your content.
5. Email Management System
An email management system is a tool that allows you to collect email addresses and build your list.
This is an essential part of any successful business, and I recommend you get started straight away.
There are free services such as Mailchimp to get you started.
I decided to start with a paid email management system because I wanted to start off with something that could do everything I needed it to do. I went with Aweber and I used them from 2011 to 2016. They have many great features which makes my life easier when sending out emails to subscribers and staying connected with them.
Alternatively, you could use Convertkit. I have used them since 2016, and they have been a great email management system. They are very similar to Aweber, but I have found they have a better segmenting process, and one which I personally get on with better.
Whether you want to have a static website or a blog, you will need to add content.
Start by uploading content for your pages: About Page, Contact Page, Start Here Page, Archives Page, etc.
Add a logo to your site. You can design it yourself or you can get a graphic designer to do it for you from Fiverr.
You may or may not be able to tell, but I designed the logo for Superstar Your Life. I wanted something that would reflect me and so had a go myself! I really like how it turned out and I’ll be keeping it for as long as I like it. Maybe in the future I’ll get it changed and professionally designed. I designed my logo with Canva – a free design tool.
Make sure you include a photo of yourself on your website. This is important because readers want to see who you are and want to know more about you. It makes it more personal.
And for the last step, start writing your blog posts. You now have a website!
I hope this step-by-step process has helped you.
I’d love to see your new websites, so share their addresses in the comments below.