How to Build a Website after Buying a Domain Name

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What to do after buying a domain name from Godaddy, Namecheap, Enom or any domain registrar?

After registering a domain name the next step is to build a website and host it, by pointing the domain name to your hosting account.

A host is a server where you will upload your  files (webpages, photos, apps) for other people to be able to access them online.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a website from scratch with WordPress using a real example and host it. I will show you behind the scenes of how I created this website EbizPursuits.com.

WordPress CMS is free to use. Over 60 million websites use WordPress as a CMS. It is the most used CMS on the web with over 29,000 plugins, active support, and thousands of tutorials available.

The New York Times, CNN, GM, IBM and others use WordPress to run their blogs or websites.

This tutorial is divided into nine major parts:

  • Creating a hosting account with Bluehost or Siteground (I assume you have a domain already)
  • Installing WordPress
  • Basic WordPress settings
  • Theme selection, installation, and customization
  • Installing plugins
  • Creating Basic Pages and Menus
  • Creating posts
  • Controlling sidebars
  • How to make money with your blog

No programming skills will be required, but you will need to spend a total of less than $100/year for hosting (where you will be saving your files and content) and a theme (your website look).

Domain and hosting are mandatory to buy. There are free themes that are okay to use, but I advise you to invest in a premium theme to give your website a professional look.

I am using Bluehost.com and Siteground to host my websites. Bluehost is cheaper than Siteground but overall Siteground has better and faster customer service than Bluehost.

Siteground supports Let’s Encrypt free private SSL certificate which makes migration to HTTPS painless, Bluehost also supports free shared SSL but there are some limitations on usage.

Siteground offers server side caching service for free which will boost your site loading speed and improve user experience.

Table of Contents

Bluehost Basic Plan Vs Siteground Startup Plan

PlanDisk SpaceBandwidthWebsitesPrice/Month
Bluehost Basic Plan50 GBUnmetered1$2.95 (If you choose 36 months package)
Siteground Startup Plan10 GBSuitable for ~ 10,000 Visits Monthly1$3.95 (12 months package)
The good thing about hosting is you will able to move your websites between hosts smoothly so don’t worry. Hosts do offer refunds if for any reason you decide to cancel your subscription before renewal period.

Pick either Bluehost or Siteground. Get started and get experience and you can always change later.

Let’s get started

I will be using Bluehost in this tutorial but the same instructions will apply for Siteground as they both have similar CPanel software.

Registering a domain name and creating a hosting account with Bluehost

Step 1: Go to the Bluehost website to set up your hosting account

After visiting the Bluehost website, click the get started now button.

Bluehost discount shared hosting

Step 2: Choose a hosting package

If you are planning to have one website you can choose the basic hosting package but if you intend to have more than one website you can choose the plus package. I recommend you start with the basic hosting package because it is cheap and you can upgrade it anytime to other hosting packages.

If you decide to upgrade your basic package to a higher package, you will only pay the cost differences.

bluehost basic hosting package

Step 3: Register your domain name or website name

You will need to come up with a domain name or website name so that people will be able to reach it from any part of the world.

You can register a new one or use an existing one if you have already purchased it. Type the domain name in the box then click next. If the domain name you typed earlier is already taken then, try different names until you find an available domain.

Domain registration

Step 4: Create your hosting account

In this step, you will input your personal details, choose which hosting package to use and pay for the hosting using either a credit card or Paypal.

hosting account registration

The longer the contract you select for your website hosting, the more money you will save. For example using Bluehost basic hosting package, if you pay to host your website for 36 months, the monthly rate will be $3.95 whereas if you pay to host your website for 12 months, the monthly rate will be $5.45.

bluehost basic hosting package information

Another service I recommend purchasing is Domain Privacy Protection because it hides your personal information. If you don’t choose it, these details will be publically available online to spammers and the general public.

Other add-on services such as Site Backup Pro, Search Engine Jumpstart or SiteLock Security can be purchased later if you think there is a need to do. Personally, I’m not using them.

Input your credit card details to make a payment, or click more payment options to pay using Paypal.

Payment options

Pay using Paypal

Paying by paypal

Finally, agree to the terms and conditions then click submit to complete the purchase and move to the next step.

Agree to terms and conditions

bluehost hosting account registration complete

Step 5: Create a password for your hosting account

In this step, you will be required to create a password for your hosting account. You can use a password generator or create one yourself. If you create one yourself, make sure it is memorable, hard to guess and recorded somewhere (securely) so you can use it later.

Hosting account Create password

A password is required to be at least eight characters and has both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?,!,#, etc).

Hosting account manage password

Step 6: Login to your hosting account

Once the password is successfully created, you will receive an email with the details of your hosting account username and other login information. Now go to login.bluehost.com and log in with your username and the password.

Alternatively, you can go to the Bluehost website and click the login icon in the top right-hand corner of the navigation menu as shown in the picture below.

Bluehost login

login to your cpanel

When you log into the Cpanel for the first time, you will see a welcome message similar to the image below. It will offer to guide you to the next step but click skip this and follow the next step to install WordPress onto your site quickly.

Welcome to bluehost

Installing WordPress

Step 7: Navigate to the Install WordPress button

While you are still logged into the Cpanel scroll down to the Website section and click the Install WordPress button as shown in the picture below.

bluehost 1-click wordpress installation

Don’t forget to change the nameservers information of your domain on your domain registrar dashboard to those of Bluehost or Siteground. Bluehost or Siteground will provide you with this information.

Step 8: Click install WordPress 

The previous step will redirect you to Mojo Marketplace, which enables you to install WordPress. Click the Get Started button at the bottom right of the page.

mojomarketplace install wordpress

Step 9: Select which domain you would like to install WordPress to

In this step, choose the domain you registered earlier from the drop-down menu to associate it with WordPress. You can choose one of the two options: to have your website name or domain with the www at the beginning, or without. I prefer the one without the www. After making the selection click Next.

Check domain availability

Leave the directory box blank if you are going to install WordPress in the root directory.

installing wordpress on a root domain

Step 10: Setup WordPress login username and password

We have almost finished the WordPress installation. Set up your WordPress login username and password, which you will frequently use to manage your blog and post new content. Also, check I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2.

Make sure that the Automatically create a new database for this installation box is checked unless you have a database already set up that you want to use.

Choose a username and password, which is not easy to guess for the protection of your website.

Wordpress username and password setup on bluehost

Step 11: Finalising installation 

After completing the previous step, a notification banner will come up saying that the installation has been completed.

Wordpress login credentials

You can now click on the View Credentials here button to check out your WordPress username, password, and other details. Don’t go and purchase a theme yet. I will cover that step later.

wordpress login information

Congrats! Now your website is live! You can now visit your website at yourwebsite.com.

Step 12: First login to your WordPress website

There are a couple of things you need to do to make your website look and behave the way you want it to be.

You can access your WordPress website “backend” (administrator tools) by typing in your domain name followed by /wp-admin. For example, if your domain is yourwebsite.com, then go to yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. Now, just enter the WordPress username and password that you created in Step 10, and WordPress will welcome you.

wordpress first login

After your first login, there will be a prompt to ask you if you need help setting up your WordPress website.Select I don’t need help.

first login into wordpress

Below is a WordPress Dashboard Walk-through Video.

Basic WordPress settings

Step 13: Remove unwanted pre-installed plugins

Plugins are software packages used to add functionalities or features to your website without you writing a single line of code. There are free and paid plugins.

The first step I do when setting up my website is to remove unwanted plugins that come pre-installed with the WordPress.Installing many unwanted plugins could hurt the loading speed of your website.

Go to Plugins then Installed Plugins as shown in the image below.

wordpress installed plugin

I will delete all the pre-installed plugins except Akismet. Akismet is a plugin for fighting spam comments.

Since these plugins are active, first you need to deactivate them then delete them.

After selecting the plugins to delete. Choose Deactivate from the drop-down menu and click Apply. Then Choose Delete from the drop-down menu and click Apply as shown in the images below.

wordpress bulk deactivate pluginswordpress bulk delete plugins

After the deletion of the plugins, you will be left with a clutter free WordPress dashboard just like the image below.

clutter free wordpress dashboard

Step 14: WordPress settings

These are general settings for your website such as your website title, your website slogan, your administrator email, your time zone, preferred date format, time Format, and site language. Also settings on how you will manage your authors and comments.

You can access those by going to your dashboard and click Settings as shown in the image below.

wordpress settings

Below I will show you how I configured my settings. More details on what the settings parameters mean read this article. Make sure to click Save Changes after making settings changes for the changes to take effect.

General settings below is what I’m using on my website.

wordpress general settings

Writing settings, I didn’t change anything.

Reading settings, I unchecked the Search Engine Visibility box as shown in the image below. I want the search engines to crawl, index my website, and make it visible to the world.

wordpress settings search engine visibility

Discussion settings, I unchecked the first two boxes under Default article settings. As shown in the image below.

wordpress discussion settings

Media settings I didn’t change anything.

Permalinks settings, I’m using below Post name format as shown in the image below.

wordpress permalinks settings

Theme selection, installation, and customization

Step 15: Choosing a WordPress theme of your choice

A fresh WordPress installation comes with a default pre-installed official WordPress theme you can go ahead and use this theme if you like it.

EbizPursuits.com is using FocusBlog theme from ThriveThemes. I know this theme isn’t that shiny, but I prefer this theme because it doesn’t have much clutter and makes readers focused reading your posts as its name suggests.  Also, it is easy to customize. A single site license of this theme costs $47 while unlimited sites license costs $67.

By the way, themes from ThriveThemes have been claimed to boost conversions and are ideal for digital marketers. ThriveThemes have a customer support forum and a knowledge base, which makes it easier for you to customize your theme without hiring anyone.

I also like themes from StudioPress as they look more professional, but they are a bit expensive. They cost around $100 (a theme plus a framework). I haven’t tried them yet. I’m always tempted to try them.

You can also shop from ThemeForest this is a huge marketplace for themes. Just make sure the theme you want to purchase loads fast, is SEO friendly, has great support, and is responsive. A responsive theme allows your website to be viewed properly on devices with small screen resolutions such as Smartphones, and tablets.

Let’s say you saw a website online, and you like the way it looks, and you want to have a website looks similar to it. You can check the theme they are using by going to the website and with your mouse on Windows “Right Click” and select “View Source” or “CTRL+U”.On MAC  “Command+U”. I made an assumption that they are using WordPress as their CMS.

view page source

Then “CTRL+F” and search for “theme”. On MAC “Option/Alt+Command+U” and search for “theme”. As you can see, nocodewebscraping.com is using FocusBlog theme.

how-to-check-what-theme-a-website-is-using

You can get nice looking free themes from MyThemeShop. I bought premium themes from these guys before I switched to ThriveThemes.

Once you have decided the theme, you will use for your website, download the theme ZIP file to your computer and we will use it in the next step.

Step 16: Installing a WordPress theme 

Now it is time to install the theme you have downloaded in the previous step. In my case, I have FocusBlog theme already downloaded on my computer.

Go to Appearance then Themes as shown in the image below.

wordpress theme installation

On the new window, which appears, click Add New theme.

adding new theme on wordpress

Click Upload Theme then choose a theme file from your computer which you want to upload by clicking Choose File. Then Click Install Now.

installing focusblog theme on wordpress

The theme will start to install, and once it is finished, you will get below prompt message with options to Live Preview or Activate the newly installed theme. Choose to Activate the theme and then visit your website to see how your website with the new theme looks like.

activating a theme on wordpress after installation

Step 17: Theme customization

If you have used the FocusBlog theme, you will need to activate the license before doing any customization on the theme.

focusblog theme license activation

Click Activate License then input your email address and the license key. You can get the license key from ThriveTheme website on your member dashboard section under Member navigation by clicking My Account & License Keys.

Once you can access your theme dashboard, go ahead and modify the General Settings.

The first thing I prefer to do after installation of the theme is to remove the theme author’s logo.

Set your Logo Type to Text if you still don’t have an image logo yet and write your Logo Text.Then write your Footer Copyright Text.These three settings will get rid of displaying ThriveThemes logo on your new website if you happen to use themes from ThriveThemes

FocusBlog General Settings

You can get a logo for cheap from Fiverr and a premium design from 99designs.But a text logo will do just fine if you are on tight budget. I’m using text logo myself for my website.

These settings are okay to get started but if you want a particular look or customization take some time to go through ThriveTheme knowledge base, Forum and watch this video.

Installing plugins

Step 18: Installing plugins

Plugins are software packages, which add specific functionalities to your website. Below are the three most essential ones to install and configure at the beginning others can be configured later on depending on your needs.

Akismet Plugin

Akismet a plugin for fighting spam comments and any comment, which looks suspicious. Akismet was already pre-installed with our WordPress installation. The basic plan is free, and that is what I’m using. You will need to get API key to start using it.

To activate Akismet, follow these steps:

  1. In the left-hand pane, click Plugins.
  2. Under Akismet, click Activate.
  3. Click Activate your Akismet account, and then click Create a new Akismet key. Follow the instructions to create a key.
  4. After you receive the Akismet confirmation e-mail message, go to the WordPress plugins page again.
  5. Under Akismet, click Settings.
  6. Click, I already have a key.
  7. In the Akismet API Key text box, paste the API key that you received in the e-mail message.
  8. Click Save Changes.
  9. To configure Akismet, click Settings under Akismet

Below is a comment spam summary for EbizPursuits.com. You can see how spam can be a problem to your site.

akismet spam summary

Yoast SEO Plugin and Google search console

Yoast is the best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugin that will make your website search engine friendly and help your website show up on search engine results page (SERP) for certain keywords people search on search engines such as Google.

Of course having this plugin will not guarantee your website to show up on the SERP for certain keywords as there more than 200 ranking factors Google use to decide whether to display your website on SERP for certain keywords or not.

There are other methods you can use to bring visitors to your website such as paid ads, social media without relying on Google to show up your website on their SERP.

To use this plugin correctly and of course, to help Google index your website you must have Google Search Console account, please sign up for one here.

Google Search Console, will make it easy for you to get your website indexed fast by Google.Through the search console, you can monitor how your website performs on Google search engine.

To install and to set up Yoast SEO plugin, follow these steps:

  1. In the left-hand pane, click Plugins.
  2. Click Add New.
  3. Write Yoast SEO in the Search box.
  4. Click the Install Now link.
  5. In few seconds, the plugin will automatically download and install itself, click Activate link.
  6. Click Settings link.
  7. Under the SEO menu, click Dashboard.
  8. Choose Your Info and fill in the info whether you’re a company or a person.
  9. Go to Webmaster Tools in the top menu (same page) and sign up for Google Search Console with Gmail.
  10. In Search Console, enter your site name and to verify the site, choose alternate methodsHTML tag and from within that code, only copy the content part of the code to the textbox in our SEO plugin, save changes.
  11. Click verify in the Search Console window.
  12. Next, choose the Titles & Metas settings under SEO and click on Taxonomies in the upper menu. Set Meta Robots as noindex for both Categories and Tags, then save
  13. Do the same for Archive and Others on the same page. Noindex Date Archives, Author Archives and Subpages of archives.

Below image is an example of a Google Search Console interface.

google search console interface

Google Analytics by MonsterInsights

Google Analytics will enable you to see how many visitors your website is getting, from where and what they’re doing on your website. It is very important to have Google Analytics to analyze the performance of your website content and how visitors interact with the content.

Before you can use this plugin, you must have a Google Analytics account and at least one property. If you do not have an account, please sign up for one here. If you do not have a property, please follow the steps here.

Follow below steps to connect your website with the Google Analytics:

  1. In the left-hand pane, click Settings under Insights.
  2. Under the General tab, click the Re-authenticate with your Google Account button.
  3. A window will pop up asking for permission. Click Allow.If you are not logged in, you will be prompted to log in. Please, login to the account with access to the Google Analytics property.
  4. A success message will appear with a long alphanumeric code. Highlight and copy the entire code.
  5. Close the window with the code to get back to your WordPress dashboard. Paste the code into the empty field after Paste your Google code here text. Click Save authentication code.
  6. Select the appropriate property for your website from the Analytics profile drop-down menu. Click Save changes at the bottom of the page.
  7. Now your site is already connected with Google analytics.You can view the reports from Google Analytics page (My preference), or you can get quick stats from the plugin by clicking Dashboard under Insights.

Below image is an example of a Google Analytics interface.

google analytics interface

Below are other useful plugins I use. I will not cover the installation procedure for them. But I think by now you are already familiar with how to install and setup the plugins.

  • SumoMe – Free and easy way to double your email subscribers. And Sharing tools to increase your traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & more.
  • WP External Links – Configure settings for all internal and external links on your site. It can make the external links on your website open in new tabs, keeping more visitors on your website.
  • W3 Total Cache combined with Cloudflare helps to speed up your website.
  • All In One WP Security – Protects your website from hackers.
  • UpdraftPlus – Automatically creates backups of your website, in case something breaks.
  • Contact Form 7 – The easiest way to create a contact page for your website.
  • Q2W3 Fixed Widget – Fixes positioning of the selected widgets, when the page is scrolled down.
  • WP Post Navigation – Show Next and Previous Post Links at Posts.Helps to keep visitors stay longer on your website.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) – Display a list of related posts on your site based on a robust unique algorithm. Helps to keep visitors stay longer on your website.
  • Ad Inserter -A simple yet powerful plugin to insert any ad or code into WordPress. Perfect for all kinds of ads. Just enter any ad or HTML/Javascript/PHP code and select where and how you want to display it.

Creating Basic Pages and Menus

Step 19: Creating pages and adding pages to menu

Sometimes people confuse between pages and posts.

Pages are meant to be static “one-off” type content such as your about page, privacy policy, legal disclaimers, etc. while Posts are content entries listed in reverse chronological order on your blog’s home page.

Creating pages


Let’s me show you how to create a basic page.

  1. In the left-hand pane, click Pages then Add New.
  2. You’ll find a screen that looks a lot like what you’ve maybe seen in Microsoft Word or your mail account. Add text, images and more to build the page you want, then click Publish when you’re done. You can also save a draft to work on it later.

Adding pages to menu

Until now, our website doesn’t have a navigation menu. Now it is time to add the pages we have created to the menu.

  1. In the left-hand pane, click Appearance then Menus.
  2. Give your Menu a name.
  3. Find the page you created and add it to the list by clicking the checkbox next to it and then Add to Menu. You can also add Posts, Custom Links, and Categories to the menu.

Below is my menu setting for ebizpursuits.com as you can see my navigation menu (Primary menu) has one category and two pages.

wordpress creating menus

Below is my Footer menu setting having five pages.

wordpress creating footer menu

Creating posts

Step 20:Creating posts

  1. In the left-hand pane, click Posts then Add New.
  2. Write your posts same like what you do when writing an email, a  catchy Title (Keyword targeted), short URL, you can add images but try not  to use big size images they will slow down your website. Try images below 100 Kb without compromising quality.
  3. Add your meta description it helps with click through rate when your website shows up search results page.
  4. If you are still working on your post you can Save Drafts.Once you’ve finished writing your blog post, you need to add the right category for it and hit Publish.
  5. You can Update your post anytime.

Before creating posts I would advise you to familiarize yourself with Keyword research so that you write posts which answer peoples queries and have a chance to appear in top 10 of Google search results for certain keywords assuming all the SEO factors have been checked.

Below video shows how to add posts to categories and tags.

Controlling sidebars

Step 21: Controlling sidebars

You can control what appears on your sidebars by going to Appearance then Widgets. You can drag and drop Widgets on the sidebar you want the widget to appear. You can delete a widget by dragging it back. Below is the setting of my sidebar.

controlling wordpress sidebars

How to make money with your blog

Step 22: How to make money with your website

There are many ways to make money online, but they take time and hard work, persistence, and continuous learning.

Below are some ways I have tried myself and easy to get started

  1. Google Adsense – Display ads on your website. With high traffic and a website in a right niche you can make decent money. You make money by how many times an ad shows to visitors or if visitors click the ads. Clicks are more worth than impressions. Example nocodewebsraping.com is displaying Google AdSense ads.
  2. Amazon affiliate – You get a commission whenever someone goes to Amazon through your link and buys any stuff within 24 hours of you referring him/her to Amazon. Most review sites such as www.bestproducts.com use this method.
  3. Bluehost Affiliates – You get a commission whenever someone purchases a hosting account through your link.

Email marketing is another effective method used by most bloggers I haven’t tried yet. Check this guide on how you can make money with your email list.

Conclusion

I have tried to cover the most important parts of making a website, but I know there is a lot of moving parts involved. If you follow my instructions and approach the whole thing patiently, it becomes easy. With time, you will be building websites in less than 10 minutes.

If you have any questions let me know in the comments section below or send me an email through the contact form

Can I buy a Domain and host it somewhere else?
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Good job - April 18, 2017

Good post, keep

Reply
Sam Thomas - June 19, 2017

Hello, First of all, I am very grateful for your step by step guide given. I didn’t know nothing about how to develop a website and now so humbled to say you helped and guided me thus far. High thanks and appreciation.

I followed you steps and created pages and blogs and now I created menu as well. Now I don’t know how I can create drop down boxes under each menu – for example, I want people to click on menu ‘topic’ and then see all different topics of studies there and so they can choose which one the want to open and read. How do I this?
Topics then —
under this many different topics like – church, rapture, tribulation, millennium, and other items which they can click and choose to read.
Could you kindly help? thank you .

Reply
    Paulo - June 21, 2017

    Hi Sam,
    Create Categories and Sub-categories. Categories will be like your main topics/menu items and sub-categories will be your drop down items.

    Reply

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