Creating up a website is the first thing you need to do to start a successful blog, offer your services, or sell your products.
Hopefully you already chose the perfect domain name. If not, you'll need to have one in mind to build your new website, so check out How to Choose a Killer Domain Name in 5 Simple Steps.
We'll use those instructions to set up your website and register your domain. You have a couple of options when it comes to registering your domain. You could either:
- Register with your host (easier)
- Register with a domain provider and change your nameservers over to your host
I would recommend #1 because it's far simpler. This is what we'll go over in this guide.
Registering with a domain provider just adds an extra step, and you'd have to maintain two separate accounts: your domain provider and your website host. Not to mention that it's more expensive, because…
If you sign up with Bluehost, my recommended hosting provider, you can get a free domain name. Sign up for Bluehost here:
(Disclosure: this is an affiliate link. If you choose to buy through my link I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for the support if you choose to).
BONUS: To get you to take action and actually start your website, when you use my referral link above to get your free domain with Bluehost and email me your receipt (to sarah @ unsettle.org) I will send you a free 52-page training tutorial to help you turbo-charge your website (even if you're not a techie).
After you sign up for your host, it’s pretty simple to get your website up and running, and you can do it in under 5 minutes. Here’s how with BlueHost.
5 Minutes to a Fully Functional Website
Go to Bluehost and press Get Started Now:
Select your plan:
If you're just starting out, you only need the starter plan. In fact, I still have the starter plan and I run several websites. You can always upgrade if you decide to later on.
If you already bought your domain (thereby taking option #2 above), type it in on the right.
If you're taking advantage of the free Bluehost domain type in the domain you chose to the left.
Fill out your account information:
The package information will auto-populate like this:
These are the checkboxes that I would have checked off if I were just starting:
- There are WordPress plugins you can install to backup your site, so you don’t need Site Backup Pro. This is just an unnecessary cost.
- You also don’t need Search Engine Jumpstart. This is an upsell that you don't need.
- You may want Sitelock Security. I don’t have it, but I have many plugins to help protect my site
- Don’t waste your money on Google Apps for Work, unless you have a larger organization.
Domain privacy protection will make it so that somebody Googling the “Whois” information for your domain will not be able to find out your name and address.
Here's what information it will show if somebody were to look up somebody who purchased the Domain Privacy Protection:
I decided to buy the protection, so it gives the phone number and information of my server rather than my own.
It's really up to you – most people don't sit there Googling domain information, so chances are, if you don’t choose to buy it, it won’t make a huge impact.
After you've decided what plan you want, go ahead and include your billing information and press next.
When you get your login information, log in to Bluehost. When you log in, it should automatically take you to a screen that looks like this:
Here is where you you need to install WordPress.
Sure, there are various other types of platforms you could use. There are Squarespace, Blogger, Wix, and website builders like GoDaddy and Yahoo!. But WordPress is by far the best platform and it's what I use for every single one of my sites. Almost everyone that asks me whether they should use WordPress should be using WordPress.
Under “Website Builders”, click “Install WordPress”.
This will open a new tab or window, where you will press “install”.
Don't worry about the portion below where you can pay for somebody to install WordPress. It's super easy, so just stick with the “Do It Yourself (FREE)” portion.
Choose your domain with the dropdown list. Bluehost will check the domain, and then ask you to check off the terms and conditions box.
Do that, then press: Install Now.
This button will take you to a screen with a bunch of paid WordPress themes. Don't buy any of them yet. There are many free ones you can start out with and we'll get to that next.
When the install is complete, press the “View Credentials” button.
Press “view”, and click on the “Admin URL”.
This is the URL you will use to log in to your new website. Bookmark it.
Type in your username and password when you’re at the Admin URL screen, and you're officially in! You’re looking at your WordPress Dashboard.
At this point, you can type in your domain (without the wp-admin portion) and it will have a standard “Coming Soon” page:
You've now set up your website.
And don't forget your bonus! When you use my referral link above to get your free domain with Bluehost and email me your receipt (to sarah @ unsettle.org) I will send you a free 52-page training tutorial to help you turbo-charge your website (even if you're not a techie).