What You Will Learn Today
- Why hosting your website on a proper, paid for web host is so important
- How to buy hosting and a domain name with the same host I use for all of my websites
- How to install WordPress onto your hosting plan (sounds difficult but is actually very simple)
- What setting you need to adjust when you have installed WordPress
- How to get a nice looking theme installed on your new website
- How to get a few essential plugins installed (and also what a plugin is)
- How to set up an About & Contact page including how to make a contact form
Reading Time: Long
(Nothing worth doing, is easy)
- 1 My Story
- 2 How to make your own website…The right way
- 3 But, but…can’t I just make a website for free?
- 4 Setting up your hosting & domain name
- 5 How to set up your own website with Bluehost
- 6 How to install WordPress
- 7 Setting up your new WordPress website
- 8 Making a WordPress site into your WordPress site
- 9 Next up, click on the Reading option.
- 10 What are plugins?
- 11 How to make your website look pretty
- 12 But I want a (insert niche idea) affiliate website, what theme should I choose?
- 13 How to choose a third party theme
- 14 Adding pages to your WordPress website
- 15 Launching your site
So I get asked many times about the basic process of how to make your own website up and running and ready to make some money.
I must admit that this is something I really take for granted because I have done it so many times already; but it can actually be quite a daunting process, especially when you are brand new.
I really struggled to make a proper website the first time I dabbled and would have loved a complete, hold my hand style guide about how to get something up and running so I could just get started.
You will probably fail if this your first time, in fact I guarantee you will fail the first time. I am not saying that to be a big, smelly arsehole; but rather to be truthful with you.
I have failed countless times. I can’t even remember my first website because their have been so many failures.
But I will tell you a truth right now: The only thing worse than failing, is never failing at all.
What do I mean? Well basically don’t be scared of failure. I know it is a bit of a cliche, but from every failure, I have learnt valuable lessons.
Suffice to say; my first, in fact my first many attempts, were complete failures and really knocked me back and showed me just how difficult this internet / website thing really is.
I wanted to give up, pack it in, throw in the towel…I was disheartened.
I would often find solace in extensive bouts of reading internet marketing forums and masturbation. Not really; I never went on IM forums.
But then I found the holy grail in the website game which was, drum roll please…WordPress!
It is so easy now to get a good looking website up and running and the money rolling in; that if you give up so soon, you are a fool.
A foolish fool.
But I know that you are not foolish fools because you are reading my website, and you all have steel in your bones, iron in your blood and are rearing to go.
I will try to give you a complete rundown about just how to get a nice looking website up and running.
This is going to be a long one, so pull your socks up, buckle you belt and maybe grab a cup of coffee first…
How to make your own website…The right way
There are a whole raft of free ways that you could use to make a website.
They are super easy, super good looking, but ultimately they are also crap.
The reason I say this is because if you are serious about making money online, which you are of course; then you have to spend a bit of money and do it right.
With your own website on your own hosting plan, you can control everything.
However, the best thing with your own website is the experimentation that comes with it.
- You will be able to see the kinds of things that work and don’t work.
- You will crash your website and try to find ways to get it back up and running.
- You will read forums about a certain CSS code that will change the color of your sidebar border to the most perfect shade of #89f76s and wonder just what the hell the guy is on about.
- You will learn – this is the main and most important point.
You will learn more and more until it becomes second nature.
Then when you kind of know what you are doing, you will be able to make money with the art of SEO:
Lots of money.
All online and you will turn your horrible looking frown, upside down into a beautiful smile and be able to karate kick your boss right to the back of his balding head.
(Disclaimer: Harry Vs Internet is not liable for karate kicks to the head, face or any other bodily part; bald or otherwise).
But, but…can’t I just make a website for free?
Just for the record, I will let you know some really easy (& free) ways to get a website ready. You can use these if you so wish, but trust me, your own hosting is really the way to go.
This is because I always get asked: “how to make a website for free and make money“, which to be honest is rubbish question to be honest.
If that is your state of mind then you will really struggle to make a proper, sustainable online business, and that should be your main goal.
They actually have a complete guide on their own website about setting up your new website so I won’t go over it that much, but I would still not recommend it.
They will put their own adverts on your site, and you are completely at their mercy if they want to change anything including terms and conditions.
Imagine that you have set up a great website in a really high traffic, low competition niche.
You are getting a ton of affiliate income and buying yourself new shoes everyday because you are rolling in it? But then one day, they suddenly say that they have new rules that forbid affiliate links.
They change their code and then overnight, you are back to $0 again and you have to sell all of those lovely shoes you bought with your affiliate money.
The other way is called Blogger, formerly known as Blogspot.
Now I am quite sure that if you have managed to make it to my website and also read until here, you have already heard of Blogger.
It is a free platform that lets you make a website.
It belongs to Google, the big G and let me let you into a secret; Google hates affiliates.
They are even more likely to kick your shitty little blogger website into oblivion and make you grovel to them as your mighty overlords.
NO FUCKING WAY, MAN.
That is not for me, and it is NOT for you my friend.
Instead, you will get started with a proper, fully functioning website that is your own and one that you control from the start to the finish.
So without further ado, and after that boring rant, I will start at the beginning: how to get hosting and a domain name.
Setting up your hosting & domain name
However, there is an easier way than this and one that I used when I started because it is easier.
The only reason I use a separate registrar is because they are a bit cheaper and a bit more flexible as to what you can do with your domain.
However, this doesn’t really matter so much and if I were to start at the very start again; I would still buy my domain name through my host.
It saves time, you can get started right away and it just generally works.
So who do I use for my hosting? Bluehost.
Well, they are really great and do everything I need. For me though, the best part is the 24 hour live chat feature with some super friendly and really helpful staff, and the fact that you can store multiple domain names in your account for no extra cost, (apart from the cost of the domain, about $11).
You may think that it is expensive but that is the beauty with a Bluehost account, you can buy the initial years worth of hosting which will probably come to around $60 -$120 depending on what offers they have, but you will only spend around $11 on a domain name.
If one website collapses into oblivion and you want to start again, you can just spend another $11 for a new domain name and plonk it into your existing account.
How to set up your own website with Bluehost
Firstly, you will want to head on over to the Bluehost website, which can do by clicking either on the box in the sidebar or by clicking the link I just gave.
Click on the big button that says, “Get Started”. Did I really need to tell you that? Well there is always someone so that was for them 😉
The next stage will offer you an array of different options to choose from.
Don’t get blinded here by flashy marketing speak and don’t let the big numbers fool you.
I have the most basic hosting plan that includes unlimited domains which is a shared plan for like $5 (or there about), and it does me just dandy.
Many people may tell you to stay clear of shared hosting because of this reason or that, usually speed and downtime, but if you are use starting out, trust me when I say that the basic one is fine.
I use the option called “Plus” and have only ever had some really basic problems with it when I had a spike in traffic (you will not get this problem with your first website), and a quick chat with their excellent customer service folks helped me out and solved it within about 10 minutes.
If you want to spend more money then be my guest and get the fancy, shmancy option, but I promise you that you will be fine with the cheapest one that includes unlimited domains.
I don’t know about you, but when I first started I didn’t have the cash to blow on unnecessary things, so that is why I used the cheapest hosting plan I could find.
Be aware that they regularly have offers and you may find different prices from one day to the next. It is usually in the range as shown below.
You can get hosting for just $1 if you look around; but they are really, really bad and you would be better off shoving that $1 right up your rear end.
Spend a tiny bit more and do it right.
You will hear me talk about doing it right quite a lot on this website, but to put it in perspective I started to make website seriously about 2 years ago, and I am still using the same cheap hosting as when I first started.
In fact this website is one of my other domains hosted on a basic, shared account with maybe 10 or 11 other domains, (I have so many I forget).
OK, back to the point.
So you have selected the option you want and if you took my advice; saved money in the process!
Now then, it is onto the domain name.
Bluehost will give you an option to type in a word of your choice to make a domain name.
It is up to you how you go about choosing a domain name and I will go into more detail in another post because it is quite important what name you choose. However for the sake of brevity, I will just say that you should go for a brand able domain name if you can help it.
This is because, if you do well and your website really takes off after some time, you will be kicking yourself for making a website called:
(Note: yes it will take many months to years and be very hard work. If you want it to be easy then go away and read some other bullshit website peddling unobtainable promises. This website here is for serious people; the hardcore, good looking muther trukers),
You will want to be able to branch out a bit so you can make your domain name a bit generic if want.
You may have read something about Exact Match Domains (EMD’s) that some people say boost your rankings in the search engines.
It may or may not do I don’t really know, but I do know that they look ugly as hell and can put people off your website when they see it.
Trust me on this one, this is from experience. One of my websites is/ was called www.bestantiagingskincare.com and it just looks like spam.
I actually spent a lot of time writing some great, unique content for that site, but no one clicked on it because most web users are not stupid idiots any more and can see right through a spam site when they see one.
So back to the point: choose a domain name that sounds good and looks like something interesting.
If you want to write about your travelling around the world and your name is Susan, then you could do something like: SusansWorld.com or something like that.
With regards to the end bit, i.e. .com/ .net/ .org etc; it doesn’t matter too much, but be aware that a lot of people associate some of them with spam. To give you an idea, I usually stick with the main ones: .com, .net & .org with .com being a 1st preference.
I will generally stay clear of the .info or . biz variety because they look like trouble to me.
Trouble and ugly.
Bad combo there.
The next step after you have chosen your domain name, is the bit where you have to stump up your hard earned cash.
I am going to guess that you have all ordered products online before and are not stupid, so this should be easy. You enter your details and card details and then bing, bang, bosh; you will be the new owner of some hosting and a domain name.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive post about choosing a domain name, I suggest that you check out this post.
Does this mean I have a website now?
Well, kind of. You have an location where you can make a new website and that was probably the hardest bit. If you have made it to here and are still alive; then you my friend are super awesome and deserve to make money online.
But we are not finished just yet, so if you can stand my awful writing, read on a bit to get WordPress up and running to the finish line like if Usain Bolt was all doped up.
How to install WordPress
So by now, you should be able to see something like this:
Wow, looks scary right? No, well you sir, have no fear, so give yourself an extra 15 “I’m lying” points”.
There we go. The world didn’t explode. You didn’t break the internet and all is well. In fact better than well because we are nearly done with the hosting part.
The next screen will tell you to click on a big button called install. Say hello to Install and click on it to begin.
You will be asked to choose the domain that you want to install WordPress onto and seeing as you will only have 1 domain to choose from; this part is easy.
It may ask you to choose between installing it onto your domain with or without the “www.” part. I generally go for it with the www. before the domain because I just like it and it gives a uniformity to all my domains.
However this is really just a personal choice. But whichever style you choose, you must remember to stick with it and promote the one you choose.
There will also be some other options such as naming your website and creating a password. You can change these as you see fit, but I usually name my site after the domain name.
So if your site is called SusansWorld.com, you can call it Susans World. Easy right! I usually keep the password as it is given because they will make you a very secure one to begin with. Just keep all the info safe as you will need it when you set everything up.
Bluehost will mate with WordPress and magic will happen. You have created a WordPress baby.
Well not really, but it will tell you that you have successfully installed WordPress on your domain name!
Huzzah…you have done it.
Now you are ready for the next step which is the best part really. You can get your site up and running like a pro and start to add some content and then after that; move onto the arguably harder part of marketing.
I will be talking about marketing your website in other posts. For now I will continue onto setting up your new website.
Setting up your new WordPress website
If everything went well, then you should get an email with all your details including the special administration address of your website. This will be in the form of: www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Everyone will have the wp-admin bit after their domain as this will bring you to a backdoor where you can enter your website to do your magic.
Now you will enter the details that are in the email you were sent from Bluehost, with the username being the name you gave the password being whatever password you chose.
Ta dah! This is your backend, or Dashboard as it is otherwise known.
I am generally quite a caustic kind of personality, but I want to give you a big congratulations for getting this far.
You have got further than most people ever will and you should be proud. It is a bit of minefield getting all of this set up but have done it. You are Zeus. Well not yet really, but you are on your way.
Making a WordPress site into your WordPress site
Before we add any content here, we will have to do a bit of housekeeping and get some settings sorted out. Right out of the box, WordPress will be set to a default position which is a bit frozen and staid.
We will have to rub it, massage it and get it warmed up before we seduce it with words.
The first thing we will do here is head on over to the Settings option.
Then click on the option that says Permalinks.
“What is a permalink?”, I hear you ask in a panicked way.
It is basically just the way that your URL structure is set up. By default, it will be in an ugly looking format like: http://www.harryvsinternet.com/?p=123
As I am sure can agree; it looks like a baboons arsehole. If you think it looks good, then we can no longer be friends. But really the main reason you will want to change your permalink structure, is for what we call Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reasons.
You want your URL to be easily read by both a human and a search engine.
To do this you can click on the option that says: “Post name” and that is it. I think you may be seeing a bit of a pattern here. The things that look and sound complicated are actually quite easy to do, and when you get the hang of it, it will be second nature and the time setting up websites will decrease.
Next thing to do is to go back to the setting option and click on General.
Here you can fiddle about with the settings a bit and get it set up to your exact settings. This is so that things run in your time and you don’t get any surprises. For example, if you live in Mumbai, you will want to set the time to Mumbai time so that, well it is just more normal.
Next up, click on the Reading option.
Here you will be able to adjust the way your readers see your site. This will not affect the theme or how it looks, but rather the way your content will be consumed.
There are a few different ways you can go about this depending on what you are trying to achieve, but for this article I am going to assume you want to set up a basic blog. I will cover other things like setting up a static front page, in future posts.
So for a blog website, you can just use the settings I use for Harry Vs Internet as in the picture below:
OK, so now the fiddly setting bits are out of the way; we can move onto installing some pretty plugins.
What are plugins?
These are the things that will add the extra spicy sauce to your new website and give you more options to use.
Go to the option called Plugins, obviously, and then choose Installed Plugins. Bluehost and WordPress will add in some plugins already by default but they are usually pretty rubbish and I get rid of them straight away.
The first to dispose of is the Bluehost MOJO plugin.
This is only there for them to sell you themes and other things that you will not need straight away. If you want to buy a theme (I will get into this in a bit), then it is best to do it through a proper shop and not the plugin.
That is just my personal preference but I like to keep things separate from each other in case something goes wrong.
So you will need to have a look at the plugins that are installed and then select and delete as applicable.
Those are the plugins that I have right now on this website. I will add some more as time goes by, but those are the core of what I use. As you may have noticed, there are some plugins called Thrive Themes
Well this kind of brings me onto the next section:
How to make your website look pretty
Alright, so now we’re cooking with gas here and things are moving!
So the theme that I use for Harry Vs Internet is from a company called Thrive Themes and they are great. Seriously top notch. They also offer a ton of other really useful features including landing pages and all kinds of super optimized conversions things that you will want to use sooner or later.
But it costs money. Not a lot but it is still money that I bet some of you don’t want to spend. But that is cool, no worries, you don’t have to get this right now if you are really at the beginning stage of your journey.
See how nice I am, I would get commission if you buy through the link on my website, but I am trying to save you money here!
I still recommend that you have a look and see if you like it because it is very affordable, but if you are really on a budget here and have blown most of your dosh on the hosting, then you can actually get some lovely looking themes for free.
But I want a (insert niche idea) affiliate website, what theme should I choose?
To be honest with you, it doesn’t matter that much right now. Like I said at the beginning all that time ago, just get something started and tinker with the cosmetics later.
So to choose a theme, you can go to the Appearance setting and then click on Themes.
As you see there, I have a theme called FocusBlog installed and activated.
This is a Thrive Themes one and comes with a load of different options to fiddle about with. However you will be able to choose the default WordPress themes which are actually very nice, clean, fast and easy to get started with.
Just hover over the one you like the look of and click “Activate“.
Now, if you are bit more adventurous and want to see how you go about choosing a third party theme; I will show you now. If you are happy with the basic theme and just wan to get writing, then you can just jump ahead and skip this bit.
How to choose a third party theme
At the top of that last picture, you will see a box that says Add New. If you click that you will be taken to a section that looks like this:
Just have a search around and see which one you like the most and then click Install and active as I explained before. There are a few other options to mess around with if you so desire, but the ones that you will see first are good enough. In fact all of the themes that are shown in that picture look great and the top 3 in particular look very nice.
So have you picked one yet? Are you ready for the your posts and pages? Then check this out:
Adding pages to your WordPress website
Go to the option that says Pages and click on the option: All Pages, and you will see the default thing that WordPress does on every single site created by WordPress, which is to add a sample page.
You can either delete this or just edit it. I will delete it myself and then click on the button Add New to make a new page.
Any way you want to do it is fine, but once you have done it you will want to get a few pages up to give your site some proper credibility.
The first page is the About page and this is the one I add right away as my first page on any website I make. This is to:
- Get it out of the way (I just want to write content and not talk about myself for the millionth time. I am not that obnoxious!)
- Because it will give your new website a load of credibility to your readers. Think to yourself why anyone should read what you have to say if they don’t even know who the hell you are!
When you are in the section to write, it is quite easy to understand. There is an space to write your title and then the big space to write your content.
At this stage I wouldn’t worry to much about optimizing your titles and getting your SEO in the content just right. You just want to test it out and see how everything works.
Even when you want to start dabbling in the art of SEO, you should always remember the golden rule:
Write for humans first and search engine robots second
Now many Internet Gurus out there will try to tell you to only write for humans and don’t even think about Google and the like.
Well that is true to a degree and certainly true for you at this stage, but later on you will want to add some things to help Google read your content.
However that is for another post and this one is already too long!
The next page you will want to add is the Contact page. This is so people can get in touch with you and as with your About page; it will give your site an extra touch of internet street cred.
The easiest way I have found to do this involves a few steps, (don’t worry, it is fairly simple to do).
Go back to your Plugins section and make sure you have one called Jetpack. This is created by the folks who made WordPress so they get on with each other very well like a pair of puppies.
Note: Some people don’t like the Jetpack plugin and say that it slows down your website. However I have never had this issue and it adds in some very useful features like the one I am explaining now.
When you click on the Jetpack option, you will be taken to a place full of many wondrous things that you can add that will give you extra functionality.
All you need to do is hover over it, tick the box and then click Activate. That’s it.
Now go back and edit your Contact page. Put the title called…well come on, I think you know what you should call it, (hint: it’s Contact).
Then you will click in the larger box below and select an option that says Add Contact Form.
It will bring up a pop up box with a few options to choose from. Just leave the settings as they are and add it to the post.
You will see something like this:
[.contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]
Don’t worry about the way it looks, that is just called a shortcode and is a code that WordPress uses to create interesting things. When you check out your page as a normal user would, you will see a normal looking contact form.
Launching your site
Now you have done some of the more mundane things, you are ready to launch your brand, spanking new website to the whole world.
Maybe some countries like North Korea won’t see it, but who cares about them.
Click the button at the top of your screen that says Launch Your Site, and there you go, that is that!
If you enjoyed this then please feel free to share it around and if you are still confused about something, then don’t hesitate to comment below.
I will be adding a whole raft of new posts soon involving loads of other things like customization and content etc, soon so keep your eyes peeled and sign up to get the newest posts when they become available