Written: January 2017
Updated: May 2019
How to Start a WordPress Blog or Website
These instructions are with Twenty70Hosting in mind as the web host and Domains Priced Right as the domain registrar. IF you are using a different web host or registrar, the wording and images should be somewhat similar. If you come across any issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
If you need to purchase a new domain, start with Step 1. If you already have your domain purchased from a domain registrar, start at Step 4.
Step 1: Choose Your Blog or Website Name
Your blog or website name is very important and will ultimately be your domain name. Your site name can make or break you. A good site name can make a positive and lasting impression on your visitors or potential customers, while a bad name can send them running. Make sure your name stands out, is memorable and is not too long. Make sure the name is easy to type, easy to pronounce and please, avoid using numbers and hyphens.
PRO TIP: Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, using your own name is sometimes a great idea. If your blog or website makes it big, you’ll be glad you have it!
If your name is too long, difficult to spell or pronounce, or the domain is already taken, consider using a nickname or even a combination of your first name and middle name.
Step 2: Make Sure Your Blog or Website Name is Available
You want to make sure the name and the URL is available on .com, .net, .org (the top 3 popular extensions) and on social media. It’s ideal to have the same name across all online social networks. This builds familiarity and makes it easier for your visitors or potential customers to find you around the web.
Go to KnowEm and do a search for your potential domain name. It will show you if it’s available throughout over 25 popular social networks, what domain extensions are available and also if there are any trademarks already registered to the name. This is a great tool!
If what you want is taken, consider tweaking it or changing it to something else.
Step 3: Purchase Your Domain Name
1. Go to Domains Priced Right. In the middle of the page with the blue background, you will see “Find your Perfect Domain Name” and the Search Button. Type in your domain name without the .com .net and click on the Search button.
2. On the next page, it will show if the .com of what domain you searched for is available, show what other extensions are available for the same domain, AND offer different versions of the domain. On this same page, you can continue to search for domain names. Once you have found your perfect domain, all you have to do is click on the ADD TO CART button.
BE CAREFUL AND CHECK THE SPELLING OF THE DOMAIN! Once you have completed the purchase, you can’t return it, it is a digital item.
3. If you are done adding domains to your cart, click on the blue CONTINUE TO CART button at the top.
4. On the next page, please add Domain Privacy Protection, it is approximately $4.95 for the first year, then $9.99 thereafter. I’ll give you very good reasons why:
- Hides your personal information like name, email, address, and phone number from the public WHOIS directory
- Prevents domain-related spam
- Helps stop domain hijacking
- Helps protect against stalkers and harassers
5. If you are new to Domains Priced Right, create a new Account. If you have an existing account, sign in!
6. Check if the Products in your cart and all options are correct:
- Make sure the domain name is correct and the spelling is correct
- Check the price
- Use the drop down to purchase 1 year to 10 years at a time
- Domain Privacy was added
- Check the price
- If everything is correct, click on COMPLETE PURCHASE
7. When your order has been completed, you will see a Thank You page with all your order information and a chance to Print your Receipt. Go ahead and print or wait for the Order Confirmation Email.
8. You will receive 2 emails. The first is the Order Confirmation email, print this email if you haven’t already printed your order receipt. The second email is action required for domain activation. Open this email and click on the red Verify your Email Address button to activate your account/domain.
9. You are now finished for now with Domains Priced Right and at this point, please close any of the Domains Priced Right windows. Open a new window to start Step 4 below to purchase web hosting services.
Step 4: Purchase Your Web Hosting
1. Go to Twenty70Hosting. Hover your mouse over WordPress Hosting and click on Shared Hosting.
2. The WP1 plan is usually sufficient enough for new blogs and basic websites. You can always upgrade later without any downtime. Of course, you could start with one of the bigger plans, just go through the options and make sure you need them. For myself, I have the WP2 plan.
Once you decide on your plan, scroll to the bottom of the options and click on Order Now.
3. On the next page, make sure I will use my existing domain and update my nameservers is checked, put in the domain name you want in the space provided, make sure it has the correct extension, then Click to Continue button.
4. On the next page, make sure the price is correct under Choose Billing Cycle. You have a chance to save some $$ if you pick one of the other payment options, but that is up to you. Under Configurable Options use the drop down to pick the town & state closest to you for the server location. Available Addons: I don’t know too much about these options only that if you are having a eCommerce site, it’s best to choose both a Dedicated IP Address and the SSL Certificate. Here is a great article explaining these options: What is a Dedicated IP Address and SSL Certificate.
Choose those options that you need, then click on the Add to Cart & Checkout button.
5. On the next page, review your order, place in your payment information, check that you have read and agree to their Terms of Service, then click on the Complete Order button.
6. After completing your purchase, you will receive several emails (about 4) from Twenty70Hosting. The first three will come quickly, the last one will be within 24 of purchase. You should save and/or print these emails, I suggest do both.
The last email will have your account information and is their email subject line: Welcome to Twenty70 – Here’s your new account information. This email is VERY important as it includes: New Account Information, Login Details, Server Information, Nameserver information, Uploading your Website and Email Information. You will need the Login Details for the next steps.
Step 5: Connect your Domain Name to your Web Host
1. With the Twenty70Hosting new account email open, log into your Domains Priced Right Account.
2. Make sure you are on My Account / My Products
3. On this same page, scroll down to DOMAINS and on the far right side, click on the blue Manage button.
4. On the next page, you will see the following, click on the down arrow (very small) and then click on Manage DNS.
5. On the next page, scroll down to Nameservers and click on the blue Change button.
6. Now click the down arrow under Choose your New Nameserver Type and pick Custom. Two new fields will open up. Copy and paste the top 2 nameservers from the Twenty70Hosting new account email into these 2 areas.
Click on the blue Save Button.
7. Now you will have to wait for the domain to populate to your web host. This can take 24-48 hours, sometimes it’s faster. What I do is open a new window, put in my new domain url and several times a day refresh the page. You will see that it will go from Domains Priced Right to looking like it’s “no where”. Now it’s time to install WordPress!
IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE CONTINUING: Up to here is all that is required of you if I am designing your blog or website. I will need you to forward the New Account Information email to me. You do not need to complete the rest of these steps; however, I will finish with the instructions in case you are on the fence and have not decided to hire me and want to get your blog or website going in the meantime.
Step 6: Install WordPress
1. Open the New Account Information email and click on the Control Panel (cPanel) URL as shown in the sample below. If you do NOT get a cPanel login screen, you will need to wait another day, but it really shouldn’t take too many days. If it does take more than 2 days, please contact Twenty70Hosting and get some help.
2. Before filling out the username and password, please bookmark this page. Copy and paste the username and password from the email and click on the Log in button.
NOTICE: On the cPanel and Softalicious pages is a lot of information and options, this tutorial is ONLY to install WordPress, I will NOT be going over any of the information or options on these pages.
3. Once you have logged into your cPanel, scroll all the way down the page to the Softalicious Apps Installer section. WordPress SHOULD be the first item showing on the left; however, if it isn’t, use the black right or left arrows to find it. Click on the WordPress icon.
4. On the Softalicious WordPress page, click on the blue Install Now button.
5. Under Software Setup:
a) Either https://www. or https:// should be selected, see note on sample below
b) Select your new domain
c) In Directory should be blank. Sometimes a wp is showing in that space, highlight and delete it or your WordPress install will go wrong
6. Under Site Settings:
a) Change My Blog to your Blog Name
b) Change My WordPress Blog to your Site Tagline or leave it blank
c) Leave Enable Multisite unchecked
7. Under Admin Account:
a) Change the Admin Username to something you will NOT ever use on your blog or website: do NOT use your own first or last name, birthdays, family names, etc., use something strange no one could ever figure out. For instance: I hate snakes and I would never talk about them so maybe something like: snakesinthemall. Of course, use something you will remember and please right it down.
b) Put in a STRONG password, again, do not use words or names you would ever use on your blog or website, do not use the same words you used in your username and make sure the password meter ends up strong. For instance: lightningalwaysstrikesatmyhouse. Of course, use something you will remember and please right it down.
c) Admin Email: This one you may leave as firstname.lastname@example.org. However, you can change it to a different email.
8. Under Choose Languge:
Use the Drop down to select your prefered language for your blog or website.
9. Under Select Plugins:
Checking the box will automatically install and activate this plugin, which will protect your site against bruteforce attacks by limiting the number of login attempts. Check it!
10. Under Advanced Options:
Click on the + sign to open the options.
a) Database Name: Leave this alone, do not change it
b) Table Prefix: Leave this alone, do not change it
c) Disable Update Notifications: Do not disable
d) Auto Update: This is only my opinion, but do not check this. Once you receive notice that there is a WordPress update available, please wait about a week before updating. You can always subscribe to my newsletter to get info about updates, when to do them, etc.
e) Auto Upgrade WordPress Plugins: check this
f) Auto Upgrade WordPress Themes: check this
g) Automated backups: Use the drop down to choose how often for backups
h) Backup Rotation: Use the drop down to choose the backup rotation
11. Under Select Theme:
Here is where you can use the black arrows to browse and select a theme for your blog or website. However, if you are like me, this could take you FOR.EVER and you don’t want to stay on this installation page FOR.EVER! So, try to pick one quickly, you can always change the theme over and over again until you find the one you really like. Changing the theme later will be done via your WordPress Dashboard under Appearance and Themes.
12. BEFORE you click the blue Install button, put in the email to where the installation information email will be sent. Please save it and print it because it will contain all of this WordPress install information including the username and password.
NOW click on Install.
13. Now you will see an installation progress bar. Below that is an IMPORTANT NOTE. Please DO NOT x out of this page, or leave the page until the installation is at 100%.
14. Now you will see a Congratulations message regarding your installation. It includes the link to your website and a link to your WordPress LOGIN PAGE. All of this information will be sent to the email address you indicated in step 12 above. KEEP this page open for Step 5 below.
Step 7: Log into your WordPress Blog or Website
1. Click on the LOGIN PAGE link given on the congratulations page OR on the New WordPress Installation email received. You will be taken to the login page. Put in your username and password and click on the blue Log in button.
2. You are now taken to your WordPress dashboard. That’s it, you did it!!!!
BONUS TIP 1:
Change the nickname and display name in your WordPress Profile for security: Please, before you do anything you should immediately change this and you will see why.
a) Go to: Users / Your Profile
You will see the username that you created, which can not be changed. Below that you will see that the nickname is the same as well as the public display name, which is the same thing that will show up ON your posts…. ummmmm, we don’t want that! This would make it so easy for HACKERS to hack your site!
b) Type in a new nickname, which can be your real name, a nickname, any name that you don’t mind being placed on your blog.
c) Use the drop down under Display name publicly as and find the name you just typed.
d) Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and click on the Update Profile button. You can always change this nickname at any time.
BONUS TIP 2:
How to Change your Theme: If you didn’t pick out a theme at install or just want to change what you did pick, do the following:
a) Go to: Appearance / Themes
You will see the current active theme, a few more themes available if you wish and a BIG Add New Theme button.
b) To browse for free themes, click the Add New Theme button.
c) Now you will see the free library of themes available to you. Browse and use the sort menu and even use the filter to find themes. If you find something you might like, you can test it by clicking on the preview button directly on the preview thumbnail. On the preview screen, if you don’t like it click the x button to go back to the library or Install and activate it!
BONUS TIP 3:
Learn WordPress 101: A great place to learn the WordPress Dashboard, how to blog, etc: WPBeginner. You will have to register and create a free account, but it is well worth it! Have fun!