Have you ever known something so well that you just assume that everyone else knows it, too? Yeah, I think sometimes that seems to be one of the biggest hurdles in online business. We forget that we’ve struggled through the processes, learned the lessons from our failures. We fail to recognize that we’ve developed some skills other people need. Like how to setup a self-hosted WordPress blog today.
A week or so ago, this realization was brought home by a fellow member in a private Facebook group I’m in. This group is full of internet marketers at different levels of growth. So, it is sometimes too easy to think that everyone there has a website up and running. It’s too easy to think that we all have mastered the ability to install WordPress and set up a blog in a few minutes or less.
Then, one guy in the group posted the following post:
Now, I’ve been blogging since the late 1990’s (yeah, I’m OLD! — it’s ok, you can say it!). Since then, I’ve used a ton of content management systems (CMS). I’ve used blogger, MoveableType, TypePad, LiveJournal, Mambo, Joomla and WordPress, and others. These days, the only CMS I use is WordPress.
So, I have quite a few years of experience with installing content management systems. I guess that I’ve just assumed that everyone knows how easy it is these days. It really is simple to set up a WordPress self-hosted blog. Follow this post and you can do it in a matter of minutes.
David, this is for you, buddy. But, I’m almost positive you won’t be the only person to benefit from this post.
By the end of this post, you’ll have everything you need to have your WordPress blog installed and set up. You’ll be ready to do some fine-tuning we’ll help you with in part two of this post. Here’s what you’ll know how to do:
- REGISTER A DOMAIN
- SET UP WORDPRESS HOSTING
- INSTALL WORDPRESS
- SETUP THE BASICS
With this two-part post, you’ll have your blog installed and ready to post content in minutes. Once complete, you’ll be able to do what Ben recommends with “How You Can Build a Profitable Blog in 48 Hours.”
After you complete the tasks in this post, you can write content. As a matter of fact, you could follow Ben’s instruction and have some great content to promote.
But, I wouldn’t recommend that you publish the content until you wait for the second part of this post to come out. Don’t worry, we’ll publish it in just a few days. Just keep working on the site and have it ready to go live when you finish setting up your blog.
Today, we’re installing the site by following four simple steps. In part two, we’ll cover some fine-tuning of the site. This way, you can get the best out of your site from the start. Believe me, it will be worth it to just wait for part two in a few days.
Before we get started, you need to know that there are actually two different ways to set WordPress up. You can register a blog at WordPress.com.
This is a very simple way to get your site up and running. It’s simple, fast and works well. But, it limits your ability to do some things you will want to do.
Your ability to use some themes is limited because of the way the WordPress.com server is set up. The server also limits the ability of some plugins and code on your site.
The second method, the one we recommend at FearlessSocial, is to install WordPress on your own site. With this method, you have more control over your files, images and posts. You will be able to build a valuable asset.
When I first started blogging, I had to download the install files from a website. Next, I set up a database. Once the database was set up, I’d upload the files to the server. Then, connect the WordPress system to the database, and make sure everything works together. It could take a day or more, depending on experience and your server. Not any more.
Speaking of servers, for you to have a website, the first thing you’ll need is a domain name. The second thing you need is a hosting server. Let’s get busy!
REGISTER A DOMAIN
You have to have a domain. That’s the address for your website. So, the first thing you need to do is to register your domain. This means you need to visit a business website that manages domain names. I’ll introduce you to a few I’ve used, and tell you what I think about the strengths and weaknesses of each.
None of the links below will be affiliate links, so I won’t be making any money from these links.
You can’t miss them — all the sexy GoDaddy.com SuperBowl TV commercials. They’re all over the place. Especially this time of the year (it’s NFL playoff season at the time of this writing).
GoDaddy is a good site for registering your domain. It’s an easy to use site with a fantastic user interface. The website domain is easy to remember, thanks in part to those commercials, and NASCAR.
I like GoDaddy, and have quite a few domains registered and managed through GoDaddy. Their control interfaces are pretty easy to understand. And, their system walks you through the process pretty well.
As a testimonial, I once registered a domain over the phone with a GoDaddy representative. Back in 2014, at the Podcast Movement conference. I had just launched a business writing show notes for pocasters as “The Show Notes Guy.”
While printing a t-shirt promoting the website at a nearby mall kiosk. 15 minutes or so later, I was wearing the t-shirt that promoted the new branded domain.
The site was live, using content from another site I built. And conference goers were able to see my previous work, and ask me about rates. That’s how easy GoDaddy is to use and one of the reasons I like them.
But, there is a dark side to GoDaddy, too. I’ve had this happen to me before, and it’s frustrating. I don’t know how it happens, but, it does.
Do not ever search for a domain on GoDaddy unless you are sure you’re ready to buy the domain. Somehow, those domains searched for tend to “disappear” if you don’t buy them immediately. I’m not saying anyone at GoDaddy does anything based on your search.
What I am saying is search for a useable domain name with some other source, like, for instance, Google. (http://www.google.com)
I still have a few domains hosted on HostGator, but, they also register domains, as well. The cool thing about all three sites I’m recommending is they sell domains and host sites. This will be important in the next step.
I haven’t used their registration services in quite a while because I have an account at GoDaddy now. But, it’s quite an easy system to use, as well.
A few years ago, BlueHost was a separate company. But, it has since been bought out by it’s competitor, HostGator.
Both still run their own separate systems right now. But, it appears they are co-mingling services, like their customer service. And, to be honest, in my opinion their service leaves a lot to be desired.
There are several other places to register domains. You can find places like NameCheap.com and others in a google search. But the three above are the ones with which I have experience.
Ben actually uses (and prefers) DreamHost for small projects just getting started. I don’t have any experience with DreamHost, so I won’t be reviewing it’s products or service.
In my opinion, of the three, I’d stick with GoDaddy. The service is excellent, and service is based in America. The same can’t be said (by me) of BlueHost and HostGator.
Since I’m trying to help guys like David who’ve never set up WordPress, here’s the process of registering a domain at GoDaddy.
We’ll follow the steps:
- Visit the Godaddy site, and set up an account.
- Type in the URL (web address) name you want for your site. (In this case “thisismysite.com” to check for it’s availability.
(never mind, that domain is selling for $7500 USD, let’s try “allthedogsbark.com” instead)
- Don’t fall for the other domains, just get the .com for now.
- Click the “Select” button to proceed to the next step.
- Once you’ve selected the domain, you’ll notice there is one domain in your shopping cart. Now, click on the orange “Continue to Cart” button.
- If the domain isn’t available, GoDaddy will let you know that. Just return to Step 2 above and try another domain name.
- Decide if you want any of the extra tools and protections. (my suggestion, since we’re installing WordPress later, do not buy “Website Builder”. Since you’ll need hosting, GoDaddy is pretty solid, but there are others out there, too. And, don’t forget, they have great customer service)
- When you’re ready to buy, click on the orange “Continue to Cart” button at the bottom of the page.
- Fill in your credit card information when you finally get to the shopping cart (it may take a couple of clicks). Buy your domain. (Register it for just the first year. But, you might want to register it for two years to give you time to build up your audience.)
- Once your domain is registered, you now need to find a place to host your site. (Unless you bought hosting in the steps above)
SET UP WORDPRESS HOSTING
If you’ve never done this before and you’re getting confused by terms like “hosting” and “domains,” maybe this will help.
Domain is to street address as hosting is to home.
That means that the domain is the address where the world can find you. The hosting is the structure where you keep your stuff.
It’s nice (and necessary) to have a domain. But, you must have a host. At the same time, it’s nice (and necessary) to have a host. But, you must have a domain.
All the businesses I mentioned above have hosting services. Others offer hosting services, too. Since I have experience with these three, and a few local servers, I’ll tell you what I know from experience.
HostGator was my first non-local hosting service. I love the fact that they use some green energy to power their server farms. I love the fact that they’re based in Texas. I used to love their customer service and quick response time. But, I started getting frustrated around 2007.
A few of my sites got hacked by some individuals who just about got me put in jail. Their service folks took care of me, but, it took a while. Add to that the fact I had some FBI problems, thanks to the terrorist-slash-hackers.
BlueHost was a second hosting service I used. To be honest, I used BlueHost because I was frustrated with HostGator. Then, HostGator bought BlueHost out.
I won’t lie, I love the affiliate commissions from BlueHost. But, I don’t use that link unless a client’s needs will be met by their service. Either of them are a great place to “get started” if you want to do so cheaply. But, understand that it’s “cheap” for a reason. Just know that going in.
GoDaddy also offers hosting. While it’s not a dedicated server, or a managed server, it has it’s benefits.
- The company offers localized service, from within the United States.
- They killed the problem of the language barrier.
- They also have high-quality techs working the phone systems. Their service is 24/7 by the way — something BlueHost and HostGator no longer offer.
If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest GoDaddy. For no other reason than for the fast, friendly and very helpful customer service. (Remember, I bought and set up a domain and hosting while I was standing at a mall kiosk printing a t-shirt. In 15 minutes I was promoting that site while still on the phone with GoDaddy!)
Once again, there are several other sites you can go to for hosting. BlueHost.com, HostGator.com, 1and1.com, RackSpace.com, and several others. Pick one and stick with it for a while. You don’t want to become the internet equivalent of nomads with your website’s hosting.
If you have a local company that offers hosting, you might want to use their servers. That way, you have almost instant access to a professional who can help you when you run into a problem (or two).
Once we get finished with this step, you’re going to be wondering, “is that all there is to it?” Well. Yes, that is all there is to it. It’s pretty much push-button-simple with a twist of flair.
So, assuming you’re using GoDaddy’s hosting service, click on the “MyProducts” Tab. Then click on the “Manage” button to the right of “Web Hosting”. If you’re using HostGator, BlueHost or several others, just log into your CPanel interface.
Next, at least with GoDaddy’s hosting, you’ll see a page titled “All Hosting Accounts.” Click on the green “Manage” button above the word “cPanel.” You won’t need this step with BlueHost or HostGator.
Open your control panel (cPanel) is open on GoDaddy. Scroll down until you see “Web Applications.” Beneath that sub-heading, you’ll see the WordPress logo.
Click on that button and follow the instructions. Follow the instructions completely. Your WordPress self-hosted blog is set up and online, ready.
With HostGator, just follow the instructions in the video below:
Here’s a similar video for BlueHost:
SETUP THE BASICS
Every web design guy will have a different basic setup sequence. My recommendation is to just set up the basics and make sure gets taken care of before you get started.
- Change the Title, Tagline, Time Zone and Favicon
- Change your PermaLink Structure Settings
- Change your Reading Section Settings
- Delete any Themes You Aren’t Using
Without spending too much time on these tasks, let’s get them done.
CHANGE THE TITLE, TAGLINE, TIME ZONE AND FAVICON
First, you’ll be changing all three of these on one administration page. That’s why I connect them together into step one. To begin, click on “Settings” and choose “General.”
This will provide a blank for both the site title and tagline. Change both to something that relates to your content and site name.
Next, scroll down to correct your timezone. This is important for you to show the most accurate time on your site, and to help with scheduling posts. About halfway down, you’ll find the time zone setting. Pick a city in the same time zone as you, or you can set the time by Universal Time Code (UTC). Here’s a website that can help you pick the proper UTC for your site.
To change your favicon, you can go to the Favicon Generator at htmlkit.com. Install the .ico image that it produces from your logo into your site.
WARNING: Make sure you save all your changes. Click the “Save” button at the bottom of this settings page.
CHANGE YOUR PERMALINK STRUCTURE
You don’t have to change your permalink structure before you use WordPress. But, it will make your content easier to find by Google’s bots!
The default permalink structure inside of WordPress is not very SEO friendly! To fix that for all your posts, go to Settings>Permalink. There are many options you can select for your blog. I recommend the simple “Post Name” option. Other bloggers I know prefer the “Day and Name” option.
What you do not want is the “Plain” type. Search engines don’t care what article “p=549” is. And, typically, they won’t send their bots to pick the post up for it’s search engines.
Again, make sure you save your changes. That leaves one more setting configuration to complete.
CHANGE YOUR READING SETTINGS
There’s one more change you need to make while you’re still in “Settings”. The “Reading” lets you decide if you’ll have a static, promotional page or go straight to your blog.
The “Static” page is perfect if you prefer to have a custom homepage that doesn’t change. This will help you promote your products or services.
The “Blog” option is also perfect if you want to put your blog posts front and center for all to see.
To promote your latest blog posts on a regular basis, use the “Your latest posts” setting and save. If you want a sales page in front of your visitors every time they visit, use “A static page”.
By the way, you can also make most of these changes using the “Customize” option of each theme. But, for now, just focus in on the “Settings” part of your WordPress menu. You’ll get this knocked out in a matter of minutes.
DELETE ANY THEMES YOU AREN’T USING
When you install WordPress, a few themes are installed automatically. This helps you get your site visible fast. It’s ok to pick and choose a few themes to try out and see if it looks right on your site.
Don’t worry about picking out an overall look for your site just yet. We’ll deal with both plugins and themes in part two.
But, once you settle on a design you like that serves your purpose, just delete the ones you aren’t using.
There are three good reasons not to leave those themes on your WordPress installation.
- Themes take up valuable hard disk space
- Themes can create a weakness hackers can expose
- Those extra themes can slow down your server access time
Here’s how to remove the unused themes. Find the administrative function “Appearance” in the WordPress administrative menu. Then, click on “Themes.”
To delete any theme, hover your pointer over the theme name and select “Theme details.” In the pop up that appears, select the option to delete the theme that’s there, and … it’s gone!
To be honest, you could get away with getting your blog online and promoting it just as it is at this point. If you have the needed blog posts written and published inside your new WordPress site.
And, if you’ve gotten this far, you might be able to figure out the rest of this process and get online in a few more hours.
But, I’d advise against it.
Instead, take some time to write some content to have when you’re ready to publish it. I recommend writing all your content in Evernote. Then use Grammarly and the Hemingway App to proof your content.
Now that your WordPress site is installed, there are a few more things you’ll need to do to be ready to go public. In the next article, we’ll be taking care of some housecleaning before we invite the public into our new online home.
In the next post here are the things we’ll take care of to make your online house a home for your business:
- CHOOSE A THEME
- INSTALL PLUGINS
- START POSTING CONTENT
- GET SEO BASICS DONE
When you finish the second part of this post, you’ll be able to sell just about anything you wish. And, if you’d like to know how to sell great affiliate products especially desired by your particular audience, check out my article, How to Avoid the Common Mistakes of Affiliate Marketing.
It doesn’t really matter what you plan on doing with your new blog. Follow the steps in this post and the second part and you’ll have a great home base for your online business. Either way, you need awesome content that brings people to your website.
If you’d like to learn how to write great content, and use it to grow your audience, I’d suggest attending the Content Marketing University with Dr. Ben Adkins as your professor.
Content is king, they say. Well, if it is (and it is), then, you need to know how to hold the king’s allegiance to your needs. Content Marketing University will help you do just that.
PS: Don’t forget to finish the task with part two of this post! (this post goes live February 5, 2016)
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- What You Need To Know To Get Your Blog Setup Today (Part 2) - February 5, 2016
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