Are you interested in creating your own self-hosted website but have no idea how to get started? This incredibly simple guide to starting a website will help!
Once I decided to move from Squarespace to WordPress I knew that there’s a lot of the unknown waiting for me. I had no idea how many different services will I need to use, how much I’ll have to pay for all of that, after all, and WHAT THE HELL IS HOSTING.
Now, I’ve upgraded from a WordPress newbie to WP website designer and I’m here to share this guide to starting a website.
If you already have a website, read here what are the next steps to take after you’ve started a blog.
Also, a quick disclaimer: this blog post includes Affiliate links! If you decide to purchase any of my mentioned services, I might get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for keeping this blog alive!
Geez, if you’re just thinking about starting your own website and you’re SUPER lost, I totally know how you feel! I was so lost and my head hurt for a week in a row since the first moment I started exploring this.
So, please, take this incredibly simple guide to starting a website as my gift to you! In several really easy and kind of quick steps, I’ve explained one sequence of coming up with your own self-hosted website.
Before reading, make sure to note that there are many other services and different approaches you can use but this is the easiest and most trustful way I’ve experienced.
The incredibly simple guide to starting a website: Siteground + WordPress guide
The whole process consists of two parts:
- first, you have to register all the info like website hosting & domain name;
- afterward, you actually have to create the website itself.
In this case, we’re going to do it on a WordPress platform which is one of the most popular platforms for website creation and offers you tons of customization options.
Remember! There are two WordPress sites. WordPress.org and WordPress.com. As a self-hosted WordPress owner, you’ll be using WordPress.org BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO SIGN UP FOR IT. It all happens through the hosting. Read on!
Website hosting + domain name
STEP #1 Choice of the hosting plan
The very first step of any guide to starting a website is finding a hosting.
You can read more about what is web hosting over here.
In short, website hosting is the server that’ll hold your website so it’s not floating in the blue air and is actually functional. Here’s no discussion – you NEED website hosting to build your own website.
Siteground is my favorite and SUPER starter-friendly hosting service. I’ve used them for my own website and I’m always using them for my clients as well. So go ahead and signup for your hosting there. You’ll love them! That’s also the service I’m using in this example.
But… which hosting plan to choose?!
If you’re up for a simple website, it’s a no-brainer, just choose the cheapest option. It’ll definitely be the right fit for you and you can always upgrade later on!
STEP #2 Domain name registration
Once you’ve started registering, Siteground will ask whether you have a domain name or you want to register a new one.
This one is pretty simple – if you have a domain name, just write it down but if you don’t, purchase a new one. If you don’t want to do it just yet, type in a random name and choose “No, I don’t want to register it” once the error pops up.
You CAN pre-purchase the domain name separately. There are all kinds of services selling domain names and you can use any. Because that’s the name ONLY you get there. No website, no hosting, just the name. But for the sake of the simplicity – let’s stick with what Siteground has to offer!
So get your name or type in the existing one. Be careful since you’ll have to pay for a year (it can be from $5 up to $20 per year per domain name) and you CAN NOT change it. Unless you purchase another domain instead.
STEP #3 Registering the details
This is where you make the purchase of this plan! Register all your details and type in your card number.
And voila, it’s done! Yes, now you’ve registered for website hosting service and you may have your own domain name.
STEP #4 One-click WordPress install
What may seem like the hardest part of the whole website creation process, starts out pretty easy. To set up a completely new website on WordPress by using Siteground hosting, all you need to do is to follow these steps:
- Go to My Account & click on the red button that says Go to cPanel.
- There you’ll find WordPress icon that you have to click on. This is where one-step WordPress install happens!
- You’ll have to choose the domain you want to use and it’s a certificate. If you haven’t installed SSL yet, choose http://.
- Later you’ll see the option to choose admin name & password – that’ll be used to log in to your own website so choose carefully and REMEMBER IT.
- Then scroll down to click INSTALL.
Once you’ve installed WordPress, it will provide you Admin info & you’ll have the option to log in to your account. In case you’re missing any details or don’t know how to proceed, don’t hesitate to contact their support team. They are always really understanding!
Here’s a picture guide to get your WordPress Installation ready!
Step #5 WordPress website creation
Once you’ll have installed the setup and logged into your account, which usually looks like domainname.com/wp-admin, you’ll have a completely empty WordPress website without any kind of setup. How to get started?!
Creating a website on WordPress should be a completely another post to cover it all but to finish this incredibly simple guide to starting website, I’ll give you quick tips on how to proceed!
– Set up a theme
Theme setup is what will make your website look like a website. I’ve talked more about WordPress themes and their specifics over here.
You can either find a free theme offered by WordPress (in the left side menu go for Appearance > Themes) or find and purchase a theme online.
Should you buy a theme or use a free one? You can do either but my suggestion is to go for a purchased theme. Don’t forget to do your research tho! If you’re just starting out, having a free theme could be a good option if you’re not looking for instant growth and just want to start a blog. If you’re looking forward to building a website for your business or start a profitable blog, doing research for purchased themes might be very crucial. Learn more about why so here.
– Theme customization
From here, it’s a bloody hell you’re going to experience. The good news is – once you learn these things, you’ll greatly appreciate that! And this learning curve is definitely worth it if you want an amazing website but you have no monetary investment to make.
To understand how to customize your WordPress theme, please check the theme’s documentation. If it’s a paid theme, there should be tons of info on how to get started and customize it.
If you really want to make it simple and you have no time to learn these things, either choose a free theme where it’ll be kind of simple to work on everything or pay for a professional to do it.
– Add plugins
If you’ve decided to work on your own theme, don’t forget about WordPress plugins! If you’re wondering HOW this or that was done on other websites, the answer, most likely, is WITH PLUGINS.
On the left side menu right under Appearance, you see section Plugins. That’s where you can search and Activate various plugins for your own website.
If you have no idea where to get started, make sure to check out these must-have WordPress plugins for bloggers.
What does a plugin do? Basically, a plugin is a way to add any specific feature to your website: email list signup, photo slider, shop gallery, icons, dancing animals or literally anything else. If you’re searching for any specific plugin, just Google it! For example, “Email marketing plugin for WordPress“.
What’s the actual price of owning a self-hosted website?
The very basic price for owning a self-hosting website consists of HOSTING + DOMAIN. Most hosting companies, including Siteground, offer discounts for the first year. My first year of hosting cost $54 and my domain name for a year cost around $12 which sums up to $66 for a year.
Additionally, you might want to add your own email, which costs around $5 per month. And, if you decide to purchase a theme for WordPress, it can cost anywhere between $20 up to $150 and more which is a one-time payment. Other than that, there are no other “hidden costs“.
Is this how a website is created?! Yes, it is!
Although there are several upcoming steps to make sure that you build a sustainable and nice website, this is how you can get started. Getting around WordPress is never really easy for a starter but it’s absolutely doable if you have patience and dedication. Don’t hesitate to contact Siteground’s support for any setup issues and always read your WordPress theme documentation!