Steps to Start a Website

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Let’s start off with a quick overview of the different tasks we’ll be performing while building our own website.

Steps—Duncan Brown Cradlehall (Flickr.com)

  1. Pick a name and buy a domain.
  2. Setup web hosting.
  3. Install WordPress.
  4. Install a template.
  5. Write web content.
  6. Get visitors to come and read your content.
  7. Get more visitors to come and see your content.

In the articles to follow we’ll post step by step instructions on how to complete each of these steps and build and launch your own website.

How to Choose a Theme for your WordPress Website

So, if you’ve completed Step 3 – Install WordPress, the first thing you’re going to want to do is change your WordPress theme.

The theme is what determines how your website will look. It’s dictates:

  • the colours
  • the font
  • the page layout
  • menu placement
  • available widgets
  • etc

Some themes even have customer functions to manage a WordPress portfolio website or other unique functionality.

Here’s the step by step guide on how to review and replace WordPress theme:

1. Review your current theme

  • Direct your browser to the location that you installed wordpress. (probably at www.yourdomain.com)
  • Take a look. You’re probably viewing the default WordPress theme Twenty Ten (maybe Twenty Eleven)
  • Review the placement of the header graphic, the menu, the content and the items available in the sidebar on the right side. (these are your widgets)

2. Login to WordPress

  • Login to your WordPress website at http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/

3. Load the Themes Control Panel

  • In the left side menu click Appearance > Themes

wordpress-theme-menu

  • Click on install themes at the top if the page

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4. Select a Filter to see Some Themes

  • Click on featured or newest or recently updated. This will bring up a list of some more recent themes.

search-for-wordpress-theme

5. Install your WordPress Theme

  • When you find a theme that you like and click on “Install”

install-wordpress-theme

  • Then click “install now” in the window that pops up
  • When the installation finishes activate your Theme to update the website

activate-your-wordpress-theme

6. Preview the Theme

  • Take a look at your new WordPress template by going to your wordpress install location ie www.yourdomain.com.
  • If you don’t like it or want to try some more themes repeat steps 2 – 6
Remember, you can always switch back to your old themes by pressing the activate button under them in the theme management screen as described in step 3.

Step 3 – Install WordPress as Our CMS

Let’s make it a WordPress website!!

Whale backbone—vagawi (Flickr.com)

We’re going to need a platform to run our website on. Something to organize our menus, display our website template and help us to edit and add content to our website. All the stuff our visitors came here to see. Suff like text, pictures and video.

I won’t get into why you should choose WordPress as your content management system (CMS) other than:

  • WordPress is easy to install
  • and it’s easy to use
This means that you’ll have a WordPress website up and running much quicker than other CMS’s and you won’t have as many questions about managing your website. After all you’re the webmaster.

How to Install WordPress

Assuming that you’ve registered your webhosting with Citrex, it’s only a couple of short steps.

1. Login to your Cirtex web hosting control panel (CPanel).

You can find the link and username and password in the welcome email that your received.

2. Load up Fantastico.

  1. Type fantastico in to the search bar in the left column.
  2. Click the fantasico icon on the right.

3. Click “WordPress” in the Left Menu.

This will load the simple configuration for your new WordPress Website

4. Enter your website information.

  1. Enter the username and password and leave everything else as it is.
  2. Click Install.

1. Check out your new WordPress website!

Type your domain name into your browser and you should see the home page of your new website!

Stay tuned for photos step by step and a screencast instructional video tutorial on how to complete this step.

Next step – get a snazzy new template for your site!

Step 2a – Setup your Hosting

This step is somewhat technical and has to be done a certain way to make sure that when people type in your domain, that they will see your website. We could just as easily call this step how to update your nameservers on godaddy, because that is exactly what we’re about to do.

To complete this step  you’ll need two things:

  1. Your domain name server addresses from your web hosting company
  2. A login for your domain registrar, AKA Godaddy.
If you’ve completed step 1 and step to and have registered your domain name AND your web hosting package, then you’ll have everything you need to continue in your email!
Go to your email and find the welcome email from godaddy. This will have your username and password for your account listed. Go to Godaddy.com and login to your account.
Once you’ve logged in here’s what you do:
  1. Click on All products
  2. Roll over domains
  3. Click on Domain Manager

how-to-set-your-nameservers-on-godaddy1

This will bring up your domain details screen. On this screen rollover the “NameServers” icon and click “Set Nameservers” on the dropdown menu.

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  1. Click the checkbox beside “I have specific nameservers for my domains.”
  2. Find your welcome email from Cirtex Web hosting and scroll down until you see the part where it tells you what your two nameservers are. There will be two and they should look something like this: “NS75.CIRTEXHOSTING.COM” and “ NS76.CIRTEXHOSTING.COM”
  3. Copy each one individually and paste them into the Nameserver 1 field and Nameserver 2 field on Godaddy.
  4. Click OK to save your changes.

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That’s it. Sometimes they take a minute to update, but usually within an hour your domain will be pointing at your website all over the world.
Now is a perfect time to get WordPress installed on your site and get ready to start writing some content!

Step 2 – Get Some Affordable Web Hosting

If you’ve already picked your website name and registered a domain, it’s time to get your own piece of real estate on the Internet. Somewhere that you can hang your virtual hat and put up your virtual feet. You’re going to need web hosting!

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is basically some space on a hard drive, in a server that is setup so that it can be accessed through the internet. You could even install some web hosting software on your computer and set up a web host of your own, but chances are that your internet plan doesn’t allow the connections needed for this to work. So what we’re looking for is a good, reliable, CHEAP place to get web hosting for our new website.

Where can I get some Good, Reliable, CHEAP Web Hosting?

As you might imagine, web hosting is big business, and there WAY too many choices out there right now. That’s why I’m just going to recommend the hosting company that I’ve used for years. These guys have all of the qualities you need in a web host, including unlimited space, great support and if you play your cards right, you can get it for as little as $2.95/mo.  So let me save you the trouble, you can’t go wrong with Cirtex web hosting.

What Package do I Need

No matter where you’re starting from, you can get by with their most basic package to start. I’d recommend starting there, and upgrading if you ever feel the need to. With this package you can store unlimited amounts of data, have unlimited traffic, set up your own emails, host up to 7 different websites, perform easy installs of WordPress (which we’ll need later) and other web site software and even take advantage of their advanced video features. Here’s how to do it:

Choose your package

Click here to go to the Cirtex web hosting package page and click “Order Now” under the Basic Hosting Plan.

web-hosting-setup-1

Select your Pricing

Click the dropdown under Basic Hosting Plan and select 12 Month Price at $4.99/mo. You can’t go wrong with this deal, but feel free to pick a different one if you like. The click Order Now.

web-hosting-setup-2

Choose your Domain

I’m going to assume that you’re already registered a domain at Godaddy here.

  1. Check the box beside:  

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Note: If you haven’t registered a domain yet and would like to register one with Cirtex click the check beside “

Customize Your Plan

Do nothing on this screen, just click “Update Cart” to continue.

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Confirm Your Order

Confirm that your order looks correct then click “Proceed to Checkout” to continue.

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Checkout and Finish Your Order

Enter your billing/shipping information, select your payment method (Paypal or Credit Card) and click “Complete Order”. Make sure you enter a telephone number that you can be reached at. As with any host these days, they may do an automated telephone verification.

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That’s it, you now have your own piece of real estate on the internet. You’re only a few short steps away from getting your website online!

Click here to get to the Cirtex Web Hosting Plan screen if you haven’t already!

Step by Step Photo Journal of Buying a Domain at Godaddy

The GoDaddy order process is not complex, but it is longer than it needs to be. There are a lot of attempts to up sell the buyer on things he or she doesn’t necesarily want or need. Here’s a step by step guide that should help you get a clean domain purchase from Go Daddy. Nothing but the domain Dadeo!

Let’s say I’m starting a blog about dog walking. I’ve picked a descriptive domain name (DogoneLeashMasters.com) and am ready to search it and buy it:

Step 1. Make sure your domain is available

Click here to do a search on Godaddy or enter your domain name in the form below:

Step 2. Add your domain to your order

Click the add button beside the domain(s) that is available for you to order.

godaddy-domain-registration-1

Click here open GoDaddy in a new tab.

Step 3.

Click the continue to registration button.

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Step 4.

Here’s the first up sell. To ignore this offer and click the “No Thanks” button at the bottom of the window.

godaddy-domain-registration-3

 

 

Click here open GoDaddy in a new tab.

Step 5.

Choose the number of years you’d like to do the registration for and click next. I always pick 1 year and choose to auto renew the domains on my credit card or Paypal account.

godaddy-domain-registration-4

Step 6.

Here’s another up sell. If you don’t care if your name is associated with this domain click the orange next button again. If you want your name hidden on searches done on this domain then you can select the privacy option in the second column.

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Click here open GoDaddy in a new tab.

Step 7.

Don’t check any of the boxes in this step. Scroll to the bottom and click the orange next button.

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Step 8.

Finally click the continue to checkout button from the order confirmation screen. Next fill in your payment and final account information. You can pay wither by credit card or Paypal.

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Step 9.

Save all the emails that you get from GoDaddy and save your password in a safe place. This is a good time to start a small password file in a text document or excel sheet. There will be a few passwords to keep track of.

Click here open GoDaddy in a new tab.

Step 1 – Pick a Name and Get a Domain

Domain Names

Domain Names—ivanpw (Flickr.com)

The first thing you need to start a website is a name. The thought that goes into picking a name could be as simple as finding something that’s available and going with it OR complicated enough to involve a full keyword analysis and marketing plan. For now we’ll assume that you’re going with the simpler of the options here. But, if you’re looking at doing some aggressive search engine optimization (SEO) down the line, we’ll have instructions on that soon too!

What Makes a Good Website Name?

Two words: Be Descriptive.

If you’re not descriptive, then how are people going to know if you’re site is the one they’re looking for? People are going to find your site through search engines, directories, social media posts, link lists and countless other ways, so you know you’re not always going to be able to control how your name is displayed. Unless you’re planning a big brand awareness campaign, it’s a good idea if the site name as well as the domain name offer some sort of description about what kind of content visitors will find when they get there.

For instance, let’s say Joe wants to write a blog about dog walking. He may have his heart on naming his new website: JoesPlace.com… Joe’s site may eventually show up in a directory next to other sites about walking dogs which may look like this:

  • HowtoWalkDogs.com
  • DoggieWalker2012.com
  • DogoneLeashMasters.com
  • JoesPlace.com

If someone is looking for a website about how to walk 9 dogs at the same time without getting the leashes tangled chances are they’re gonna pick one of the sites with the words Dog and Walk in the name over JoesPlace.com. A better choice might be JoeKnowsDogWalking.com or JoeWalksDogs.com.

We want immediate recognition from potential visitors that our site could have the information that they’re looking for.

How to Register Your Domain Name

Once you’ve picked your domain, you need to do a search and register it. You can register it in increments of 1 year at a time and you can probably get it for as low as $10 or even less!

GoDaddy is great for doing domain searches, managing domains, and they even offer some great suggestions if your domain is already taken. They are not, however good at web hosting. I recommend using GoDaddy the same way that I do:

  • Search for available domains
  • Buy new domains that you’ve found
  • Renew your domains once a year using their control panel
Do not do your web hosting with Godaddy. This decision will help us in our 3rd step to start a website.  Here’s the direct link to the web hosting company I’ve used for years.
When you go through the checkout process, click “No Thanks” for all the extra stuff they offer you (unless you want private registration). Click here for a step by step  screenshot walk through of the buying process at GoDaddy.

Think you’ve got a great name? Search it now using the form below!