Total time: 40 minutes
Resources needed: Hosting, Theme, Domain, Computer
Goal: To have a self-hosted wordpress site by the end of the exercise.
We are on exercise four, and by now the excitement is building about your site. You have written down your ideas, dreamed of what your blog could be, and now you are ready to take that jump in to purchasing a domain and hosting.
For a lot of people this sounds like a very overwhelming process. I am here to tell you that it is as simple as a couple of clicks. The hardest thing you will do today is trying to find the right URL.
So let’s get started setting up your blog…
STEP 1: PICKING THE DOMAIN
As you have discovered the topic for your blog you now have to pick a URL for your blog. There are a couple of ways to do this; each has its own purpose and place. One of the first suggestions is to go with your name. If you can get yourname.com then you are in business. If it is still available you need to stop everything and go and buy it right now. Domain names like this usually cost $9.99. But if you go here you can get domain names for $0.99.
If you know the URL of choice skip this next section.
If your name is not available or if you want to go with more of a brand for your site you will need to start brainstorming names. One of the best ways to do this is through Google keywords.
Let me walk you through my process of picking my site name for this exercise. Go to the Google Keyword Tool and follow the instructions below.
The first thing I did was I typed my subject into the search area.
I then looked at the results for just that topic. Making sure that there was enough inquiries as well as medium to low competition for the keyword.
As you can see, I have typed in the subject of mentoring. I want to see what phrases people are searching for but also how many times people are searching for this keyword. Now the great thing about this tool is that it allows you to also see other search terms and keywords. This is how we are going to find your site URL.
Obviously, mentoring.com is taken, but look at the monthly global searches. Not too bad, and the competition is low. That is encouraging. But I need to figure out some keywords inside of this search that has higher numbers but the same competition.
If you look down the page there is a keyword phrase that sticks out to me so much that I cannot ignore the title.
Go ahead and look again, and see if you are thinking the same one that I am.
If you said how to mentor you have made the obvious and best choice.
That has a huge search result and low competition. I am also encouraged by the very last search term of this image, how to mentor. It has a decent search result and low competition. These both leave me encouraged to know that I can get a URL for my site that centers around these subjects.
This is a great exercise for you to perform. You can take your time with this and really nail down your subject or just do a general search of your subject and look at the overall results. It is up to you on how much you go forth on this research.
DIG DEEPER The Niche Site Duel has tons of great resources on keyword research.
STEP 2: BUYING YOUR DOMAIN
Now that you have an idea for your URL you will need to find what is available. One of the best places to do this is at domai.nr.
This site will show you all the different ways you can come up with a site URL and different URL endings.
As I searched for my domain, I wanted to get howtomentor.com. Unfortunately, I can see that this URL is not available.
But the beauty of domai.nr is that it showed me other options and led me to my URL for my site. I have chosen to go with howtomentor.me.
I like this URL because it is not to long, it has a statement inside of the URL, and you know what the site is all about before you even read the content. This will be the perfect URL for my content.
This also forces me to stick to the subject at hand, mentoring. And in the times when I start to wander on to something else it will bring me back to where I need to be focusing on, how to mentor.
Now that we have our domain, we need to go and purchase the domain. I use godaddy.com to buy all my domains. For the sake of this example that is where I will be purchasing this domain. But I also suggest buying your domain through your hosting site. I suggest hosting with hostgator.com (affiliate link). You can purchase your domain and set up hosting in no more than five minutes there.
I have searched my domain, made my purchase, and am now ready to set my hosting. Head over to hostgator.com (affiliate link) and pick the first option available at the lowest rate a month. This will be a great start for you. The cost is very minimal for your site (around four to five dollars a month), the features are great, and there is a 99.9% uptime commitment (meaning your site should never be down).
STEP 3: SETTING UP YOUR HOSTING
Once you have set up your account you will see a tab called Account Features. Here you will select the option Create A New Account. This process is very guided and self-explanatory. List your URL, a username for your hosting account and password and then select adding in SiteLock. This will provide security against spam and will be worth the money for all the headaches that it will save you from.
Hit create account and you are on your way to a brand new site.
STEP 4: CONNECTING YOUR URL WITH YOUR HOSTING
This is where a lot of people get a bit confused and lost when it comes to setting up their own site. You have to point your URL to your server (host). This is all done through the process of name servers. Now, if you purchased your URL through hostgator you don’t have to worry about setting this feature up, it is already connected to your host. But if you purchased through godaddy or another URL source, you will have to grab the name servers listed on your hostgator account.
They will look something like NS46.WEBSITEINFORMATION.COM. There will be two of them listed that you need to grab. Once you have found these head back to godaddy (or other URL site) and find the option for nameservers. Hit the custom option and paste the two nameservers in to the two sections and hit done. This process might take a couple of minutes but you have now pointed your URL to your hosting. It was that easy.
STEP 5: INSTALLING WORDPRESS
Host Gator has one of the easiest installs of wordpress that you will find. All it takes is one click. Head to your CPanel. This is your dashboard of your hosting account. It will look something like this.
This is where you can create email accounts for your domain. Set up your FTP information, and install wordpress. What you are looking for is something that is called Fantastico De Luxe. Select that option and you will be taken here:
Notice on the left sidebar you will see the option wordpress. Click that option. You will be taken to a screen that allows you to set up your site URL, site title, login and password, and a site description. Once you have completed that process hit create site and let the fantastico magic happen.
This process will take about 2 minutes to set up. Once it is done your site will take a couple of minutes to be live. Go and grab some coffee, brag to your spouse or friends that you just set up your own site, or send out a tweet letting everyone know of your new URL.
STEP 6: LOGIN TO YOUR NEW SITE
Now that your hosting is set up, your URL is purchased, and wordpress has been installed you can head over to your site. You simply type in to your browser http://yoururlhere.com/wp-admin. This will take you to a login screen for wordpress and you will enter in the information that you previously entered on the wordpress installation.
You will see your wordpress Dashboard and all the many features ahead of you.
This exercise has been your guide to setting up your own wordpress website with hosting and a custom URL. In the next exercise you will learn how to install a theme, customize your theme, write your post, set up your pages, and hit publish on your first post.
If you want to get started now you can go here to get exercise five.
See you soon.