Setting up your first WordPress site is both exciting and scary. It's exciting because here's your chance to start making money from your own blog. It's scary because you're responsible for your site's success.
In this blog post, I'll explain how to set up your first WordPress site for success. You'll learn how to quickly and easily install WordPress, how to pay for hosting, and even how to choose the right theme! Keep reading to learn how to get started!
How a Self-hosted WordPress Site Differs From a WordPress.com Site
When you set up a WordPress site, it is hosted either on your own server or on a server that belongs to WordPress. If you use a WordPress hosted site, your site is going to be limited in terms of what you can do with your site. If you set up a self-hosted site like the one here on ScottHall.co, you have total control over your site.
This means you can add plugins, create pages, and customize your theme however you want. While WordPress hosted sites offer a lot of benefits, if you want total control over your site, a self-hosted site is the way to go.
Let's take a look at the steps to follow when setting up your own WordPress site.
Step 1: Choose Your Web Hosting provider
A website does not live on the internet but rather on a server somewhere. Hosting allows you to put your website on the internet, much like how houses rent space to tenants.
WordPress hosting comes in many different forms, including VPS, shared, dedicated, and more. How do you know which one is right for you? And if you were to ask this question to ten different people, I’m sure you’d get ten different answers.
In this section, we'll go over the differences between hosting types and recommendations for where to host your WordPress site.
A shared hosting plan will allow you to create a website, but the host will house more than one website on a single server. This is usually the cheapest option and may work fine for smaller websites. However, shared hosting usually includes a lot of limitations and restrictions.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A VPS plan allows you to have your own virtual hosting environment. This is usually more expensive than shared hosting but comes with more advantages. For example, a VPS allows you to manage your own server, giving you more control over your hosting environment.
A dedicated hosting plan gives you a dedicated hosting environment, giving you complete control over your hosting environment. The biggest downside to a dedicated hosting environment is the price. Dedicated hosting plans are usually the most expensive option.
Your hosting will determine the speed and security of your WordPress site. It's also going to help determine the overall cost of your site. It's important that you take your time when picking a hosting provider.
You want to find a hosting provider that's reliable and affordable. Here are a few things to look for when picking a hosting provider
- Price - The first thing you should look for when picking a hosting provider is price. You should definitely spend some time shopping around. You'll find that hosting providers will vary in terms of price. However, there are some very affordable hosting packages.
- Bandwidth - The second thing you should consider when choosing a hosting provider is bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of traffic you're going to receive on your site. For example, if you receive a lot of traffic, you want to make sure your hosting provider has the resources to handle that traffic.
- Uptime Guarantee - Uptime refers to the time that your site sits online without going down. You want to make sure that your hosting provider has a reputation for reliable uptime, as downtime can lead to lost revenue.
- Customer support - You're going to need customer support if you run into any issues with your hosting provider. You'll want to choose a hosting provider that's known for providing excellent customer service.
- Speed - A fast site is a must in today's age. No one wants to wait around for a slow page to load. Make sure your hosting provider can give you the speed you need to keep your visitors happy.
These five things should get you started when looking for a hosting provider. Once you have these things figured out, you can start narrowing down your options. Our recommendations are as follows:
SiteGround is one of the most popular hosting providers. They're known for providing great customer service and offering fast loading speeds. SiteGround has a variety of hosting plans to choose from, making it a great option for both personal and business websites.
HostGator is another popular hosting provider. They're known for offering affordable hosting packages. They have good uptime and excellent customer service. I've used HostGator myself, and I can attest to their quality. If you're looking for a good, affordable hosting provider, HostGator is a great option.
Bluehost isn't necessarily the cheapest hosting provider, but they are definitely affordable. They're known for offering a lot of features for an affordable price.
WP Engine is more expensive than the other hosting providers on this list, but they make your site faster. It's definitely worth the extra cost. WP Engine has a great reputation and is known for their excellent customer service. They offer a wide variety of features, including daily backups and malware removal.
Step 2: Pick a Domain Name for Your Website
Once you have your hosting provider picked out, you'll need to come up with a domain name for your website. If you're unfamiliar with domain names, a domain name is your website's URL. Remember, you're going to be paying for your domain name, so make sure that it's something you really want.
If you purchase your domain name from the same company that you're purchasing hosting from, it's going to help you save money. This is because the company will give you a discount for buying both products from them. It's a good idea to take advantage of this discount so that you can save as much money as possible.
Choosing a domain name for your website isn't too challenging. However, you want to make sure that you choose a domain name that is relevant to your site. Here are some tips that will ensure that you choose yours wisely.
Make It Relevant
A domain name should be as relevant as possible to your business. For instance, if you run a plumbing business, the name should be related to plumbing. Don’t choose something like “Plumbing Inc.” as you may not want to use that name in the future if your company expands.
Make It Short
Your domain name is your online identity. It's how people find you on the internet, so you want to make sure it's easy to remember and spell. Keep it short and simple for the best results.
Adding numbers to your domain name can be a great way to show off your business. As long as the numbers directly relate to your business, you can add them without any problems. This can be a great way to show potential customers what you have to offer.
Keep It Simple
One of the most obvious yet often ignored tips when it comes to domain names is to keep it simple. Consider using the name of your business as your URL. For instance, if you’re running an Italian restaurant, then use “ItalianRestaurant.com” as your URL. Avoid using weird characters like hyphens and random letters.
Tools to Help With Domain Names
There are many tools you can use to help you choose a domain name. Here are a few:
LeanDomainSearch is a domain name generator that can help you find a domain name based on the keyword you're looking for. It's a useful tool if you're having trouble coming up with a domain name for your website or blog. Lean Domain Search will generate a list of potential domain names for you to choose from, which makes it a great resource for finding the perfect domain name for your needs.
NameStation is another domain name generator that can help you find a domain name. It's similar to Name Mesh in that it gives you options for different domain extensions and provides a list of related keywords. However, it also has a thesaurus function that can help you brainstorm even more ideas for your domain name.
Domainr is another domain name generator. It doesn't have as many features as the other domain name generators, but it should be more than enough. It's a simple tool that can help you find a great domain name for your website or blog.
NameBoy is a dictionary of domain names. You can use it to find available domain names. It includes over 100,000 domains and is updated daily. You can also use it to check if a domain is available.
Where to Buy a Domain Name
Now that you have a domain name, you need to buy it. You can buy domain names from domain name registrars. Web hosting companies are also domain name registrars.
Here are the popular domain name registrars:
GoDaddy is one of the most popular domain name registrars. You can buy a domain name for $9.99. GoDaddy auctions off domain names that aren’t being used. You can use these domain names for your site
NameCheap is a popular domain name registrar where you can buy a domain name for $0.88. They offer discounts on domain names, making it an affordable option for those looking to purchase a domain name. NameCheap is a reliable and user-friendly registrar, making it a good choice for those looking to purchase a domain name.
Step 3: Get WordPress Installed on Your Site
Now that your hosting company and domain name are taken care of, you can start working on your site. This step is actually really simple. Just make sure you choose the right hosting package so that you'll get WordPress installed. Your hosting provider should have an installation feature.
How to Install WordPress
Installing WordPress is really easy. First, you need to log into your cPanel account. You'll just have to enter the username and password that you created when you signed up for hosting.
After you've logged into your hosting Cpanel, you'll see a list of available software you can install. You should see WordPress on that list.
Once you click on WordPress, you'll see a few more features. You can either choose to install WordPress manually or you can install WordPress automatically. We definitely recommend installing WordPress automatically.
When you do this, your hosting provider will install WordPress for you. You won't have to go through the hassle of installing WordPress.
After WordPress is installed, you'll probably be logged in automatically. If not, you'll see the login page. You can then log in with your username and password that you created when you first signed up for hosting.
After you log in, you'll see some options. You should see a tab that says “Dashboard.” Click on it. After clicking on “Dashboard,” you'll be taken to the dashboard. This dashboard gives you access to all your WordPress settings.
Step 4: Choose the Right WordPress Theme for Your Site
Before we talk about choosing a WordPress theme, let’s talk about what a WordPress theme is. A WordPress theme is what determines the layout and design of your site. It can make it look professional or amateur. It's up to you. When choosing a WordPress theme, there are a few factors that you need to consider:
- Theme Support
Your theme should be functional above all else. Aesthetics are important, but if your theme doesn't help you get the results you need, it's not worth your time. Choose a WordPress theme that will help you with SEO, conversions, and sales.
If you want your website to be successful, you need to make sure it is responsive. This means that it will look good and be easy to use on any type of device, from a small phone to a large computer screen. WordPress themes are usually responsive, but it's still important to check before you choose one. If your theme isn't responsive, you could lose visitors.
Flexibility is another important factor to consider when choosing a WordPress theme. If you plan on doing a lot of customization, you need to choose a theme that is more flexible. Some WordPress themes are more flexible than others, so be sure to do your research before making your final decision.
When it comes to the visual appearance of your website, you'll want to make sure that it looks professional. This can be accomplished by using a WordPress theme that is visually appealing. There are many great looking themes available, so you should be able to find one that fits well with your site.
It's important to make sure that the theme you choose for your WordPress site is well-supported. Poorly supported themes can be problematic, and choosing one with little to no support can be a frustrating experience. Do your research to make sure that the theme you want is one that will be well supported before you make your final decision.
When choosing a WordPress theme, it's important to take all these factors into consideration: price, features, design, and customer support. You'll want to find a balance between all of these factors that fits your needs and budget.
Take some time to browse through the various themes available and read reviews from other customers before making your final decision. Our top recommended WordPress themes are as below:
This is the most popular WordPress theme for a reason. It looks great, is easy to use, and is very flexible. You can use it for a wide range of websites, from simple blogs to complex eCommerce sites. If you're looking for a WordPress theme that will help your site stand out, this is the one to choose.
Divi is our second most popular WordPress theme. It's a powerful theme with tons of features. Divi is flexible and highly customizable, making it a great choice for those looking for a versatile WordPress theme.
X Theme is our most flexible WordPress theme. It has tons of features, and it's easy to use. With X Theme, you can create a beautiful website in minutes without having to worry about coding. X Theme is also fully responsive, so your website will look great on all devices.
Thrive Themes is one of the most user-friendly WordPress themes available. It is easy to use, and there is a lot of support available if you need help. They have a suite of tools that help you to build conversion-focused sites and to capture leads.
We love using StudioPress for education sites because it is so easy to use, and there is great support available. The themes are also super versatile, so you can really make them your own. We highly recommend this theme for anyone looking to create an educational site!
Step 5: Install a Premium (or Free) Plugins
Plugins make it super easy to add features to your site. You'll probably need a few plugins when you launch your site. Plugins make it super easy to add features to your site
There are a ton of WordPress plugins available, but not all of them are good for your website.
Some plugins are premium (paid), while others are free. It's important to do your research to find the best plugins for your needs. A few important plugins are as below:
If you're running a WordPress site, chances are you're using the Akismet plugin to fight spam. Akismet is one of the most popular plugins available, and it does a great job of keeping spam comments off your site. If you're not using Akismet, you should definitely consider doing so - it can really help keep your site clean and tidy.
Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plugin in WordPress. It is super easy to use and is super effective. Yoast helps you optimize your site for better search engine results. Yoast also provides readability analysis and keyword analysis to help you further improve your site.
BackupBuddy is a popular backup plugin for WordPress. It's easy to use and has a very little learning curve. BackupBuddy automatically backs up your site on a schedule that you can customize. This makes it a great option for sites that need to be regularly backed up.
Gravity Forms is an easy to use plugin that helps you create contact forms. You can easily add fields and customize the form to fit your needs. Gravity Forms is a great way to gather information from your visitors.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is our favorite page caching plugin. It's easy to set up, and it's powerful. We use it on all of our sites, and it has never let us down. If you're looking for a page caching plugin, we highly recommend W3 Total Cache.
Step 6: Configure Your Settings
There are a few settings that you should configure when you start a site. These settings will determine how your site functions. It is better to configure these settings before you launch your site so that everything will run smoothly.
Permalinks are how your site is accessed. It's important to configure your permalinks before you launch your site. The default permalink settings in WordPress are ugly, so it's worth taking the time to change them. You can choose from a variety of permalink structures, and it's usually best to pick one that includes the post name.
General settings help you run your site. You'll need to set your site's timezone, language, title, description, etc. These settings will help you control how your site appears to visitors. You can change these settings at any time, so experiment and find what works best for you.
Writing settings help you manage posts. You'll need to set your post visibility, post format, etc. This is helpful because it allows you to control how your post looks and who can see it.
Reading settings help you manage pages. You'll need to configure your front page settings, etc. In the reading settings, you can choose how many posts to show on the front page, whether to display the full text or summaries and other options.
Once you've configured the reading settings to your liking, you'll be able to better manage your blog's content.
You can manage your comments by going to the Discussion Settings page. On this page, you can choose how you want to moderate comments, as well as other options such as comment order and comment nesting.
By taking a few minutes to set up your discussion Settings, you can make commenting on your blog a much more enjoyable experience for both you and your readers.
Add SSL certificate
Adding SSL to your site is important because it encrypts data between your visitors and your site. This helps to keep information safe and secure and can help to build trust with your visitors. SSL is relatively easy to set up, and there are many resources available to help you do so.
Step 6: Create Important Pages for Your WordPress Site
Before you launch your site, you need to create a few important pages. These pages will help set your site up for success. Without them, your site will be much harder to find and use. So take the time to create a strong home page, an about page, a contact page, etc. These simple pages will make a big difference in how successful your site is.
Your About page explains who you are. It should explain why you're creating your site, what your site is about, etc. The About Page is a good place to start when you're looking for information about a website.
Your Contact page makes it easy for people to contact you. It should list your contact details, such as your email address, phone number, and social media accounts. You can also include a contact form on your contact page so that people can send you a message directly.
A Disclaimer page is a good way to explain what a website is not responsible for. This can include things like damages that may occur from using the site or inaccuracies in the information provided. Having a Disclaimer page can help limit the website owner's liability in some cases.
Terms of service
The terms of service page is important because it explains the rules of using the site. It is also a legal document that protects the site from liability. The terms of service page should be easy to find and understand.
Step 7: Create Your First Blog Post
Before your site launches, you need to write your first blog post. It's better to write a few blog posts before you launch your site. This will give you something to post on your site when it launches, and it will also help you get into the habit of writing blog posts regularly. So how to do this?
- First, log into your WordPress dashboard. Then, go to Posts in the left sidebar.
- Click the Add New button. Then, enter a title for your post.
- Enter your post's content. Don't forget to add images, videos, and links.
- Before you publish your post, you should preview it. Preview your post by clicking the Preview button.
- Once done, click Publish. Congratulations! You've just written your first blog post!
- Repeat. You should write 8-10 blog posts before you launch your site. These posts help establish you as an expert and build trust with your audience. It's important to have a strong foundation of content before you launch your site to ensure that your audience has a reason to come back.
Step 8: Optimize Your Blog for SEO
If you want your blog to rank in Google, you need to make sure it is optimized for search engines. This means using the right keywords, formatting your posts correctly, and making sure your site is easy to navigate. By taking these steps, you can help your blog rank higher in search results and get more traffic.
If you want to make sure your website is optimized for search engines, we recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin. It's the most popular plugin for WordPress, and it will help you to achieve better results in search engine rankings.
Step 9: Now, you're ready to launch your site!
Now that your site is complete with all of the essential pages and content, you are ready to launch! Be sure to proofread everything one last time and then go live for the world to see. Congratulations on completing your very own website!
What's Next for Your WordPress Site? Monetize It!
If you're looking to make some money off of your WordPress site, there are a few options available to you. One is to sell advertising space on your site, either through banner ads or text links. Another is to join an affiliate program and earn commissions from sales generated from your site.
Finally, you could also sell products or services directly from your WordPress site. Whatever route you decide to go, there are plenty of ways to monetize your WordPress site and start earning some extra cash. Let's discuss them in detail.
Adsense is Google's online advertising network. Google generates ads that are targeted to your users based on their browsing behavior. What this means is that you get paid when people click on the ads on your site. Of course, you'll have to show people those ads first. It's a great way to earn some extra cash, especially if you have a high-traffic site.
Affiliate marketing involves selling someone else's product and earning a commission on every sale. There are lots of different affiliate programs to choose from. Because there are so many programs, you're more likely to make sales if you sell products that you're passionate about.
For example, if you write about dog training, you could recommend a dog food company or dog toy company. When your readers buy their products through your link, you'll earn a commission.
Selling Your Own Product
Do you make something that other people might want? If so, selling your own products could be a great way to make money! From t-shirts to ebooks, there's no limit to the products you can sell. Of course, you'll need to create a marketing campaign to sell your products.
Tips for Growing Your Site in the Future
Now that you know how to set up your first WordPress site, I've got some helpful tips for you on how to grow your site in the future:
Set up an Email List
Email lists are essential for any business, especially ones running online. They're a great way to connect with your readers, build a loyal following, and increase conversions.
Setting up an email list can seem like a daunting task, but it really is easy! You can use a service like MailChimp or MailerLite to collect email addresses, send autoresponders, and even integrate with your WordPress site.
Develop a Content Strategy
Instead of just creating content, develop a content strategy. This involves creating a detailed plan of how you're going to create content, what you're going to blog about, and what you're going to cover. This is so important because without a solid content strategy, your blog may not get traffic, and without traffic, you won't make any money.
Create a Recurring Content Series
Creating a recurring content series is a great way to grow your audience. It involves creating a series of blog posts that are linked together. For example, if you're in the wedding industry, you could create a recurring content series about wedding planning. You'd start by blogging about your engagement, then go onto your wedding registry, then talk all about your honeymoon. This is an effective way to grow your audience, and it helps build trust with your readers.
Write Guest Posts
Depending on your niche, guest posting can be a great way to grow your audience! Reach out to other bloggers in your niche to write guest posts for your blog. It's a win-win, as you get free content, and they get free content!
Keep Track of Your Analytics
Finally, it's important to keep track of your analytics. You'll be able to see how your blog is growing and discover what content is performing well. It's also important because Google and the other search engines use analytics to gauge your site's success.
Use These Steps To Set Up Your First WordPress Site
We've covered the basics of setting up a WordPress site. So, congratulations! Your site is installed and ready to go. Now it's time to create some content. Hopefully, this post has inspired you.
Don't get discouraged if you don't see any results at first. It takes time to build a successful blog. I hope this post has been helpful. If you have any questions or if there's anything I can do to help, please be sure to send me a message.