Blogging has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and I am proud to call it my job now. It has given me so much freedom and it is something that I absolutely adore. If you are thinking of creating your own WordPress self hosted website then I have put together a guide to get you started, by creating a website for a friend and From Aldi To Harrods reader. If you prefer, you can just scroll down and watch the video tutorial. You can expect to be up and running in less than an hour.
Why you need a self hosted website
You might be wondering why you need a self hosted website and why you should pay for one. Having a self hosted website means that you are in complete control of the content that you post and the ways in which you monetise your website (don’t worry, I’ll have a blog post on that soon!). Having a website with your own domain (that’s the .com part) makes you look professional and gives your blog an edge over others. I also love the themes that you can get for WordPress, in particular the Genesis framework and themes from StudioPress.
If you are serious about making money from your blog then you will want to go self hosted.
How much it’ll cost
There are plenty of hosting options to choose from and I highly recommend GoDaddy for hosting and a domain name. As a rough estimate, you can look to spend around £50 for a year of hosting and your domain name. You can then choose a free WordPress theme, or buy one. I adore the Genesis framework and child themes from StudioPress – at a one off cost of between £70-£75 (depending on the exchange rate).
Choosing a name
Picking a name for your new blog is probably the most challenging part. You might come up with a wonderful name and then discover that someone beat you to it. If you are looking to work on your branding and you want the same username across social media channels then Namecheckr is a great website where you can easily find out which usernames are already taken.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to picking a domain name. Some people suggest that you don’t use numbers in place of letters, some people suggest that you keep it short. Whatever you pick, make sure that you like it. As for the domain ending, I prefer to go for a .com – you can hide your address details when you have a .com (for a small additional fee) and I think it is great to appeal worldwide as opposed to a .co.uk. The choice is ultimately yours!
Buying your domain and hosting
GoDaddy offer a free domain name with their annual hosting packages. They offer three great packages to choose from – Economy, Deluxe and Ultimate.
For this example, I opted for the Deluxe hosting package – as you can see it was actually cheaper than the Economy package because of a sale that GoDaddy had on. I generally recommend the Deluxe package if you think you might want to host more websites in the future. That means that you will only need to buy the domain names (around £10 for a year) instead of having the expense of hosting all over again.
Once you have added your chosen hosting package to your account you will be taken to the checkout.
At the checkout, GoDaddy will try to upsell some extra products to you. I would strongly recommend that you consider getting Privacy Protection. It usually costs just £6.99 per year and it hides your address and contact details from anyone who looks them up.
As you can see, when you look up my blog, you can only find my name, not my contact details. Remember that .co.uk domains can’t have this privacy guard added.
I cover this a bit more in the video (including how to set up your FREE email addresses), but GoDaddy will try to upsell products for Search Engine Optimisation and e-mails – YOU DO NOT NEED THESE. You can set up tons of email accounts for free and access them from your mobile devices and there are some fantastic, 100% free plugins for WordPress that will do this for you. Again, these are covered in the video below.
It might be worth searching for a discount code for your purchase – I managed to find a discount code easily and get the price to under £50.
Once you have checked out, you are ready to get going! Installing WordPress is simple, and GoDaddy even have a one click install option.
Visit your hosting control panel (called CPanel) and scroll down to “Applications” and click on WordPress.
Here is where you can easily install WordPress. Click on “Install this application”.
Start filling in the information and selecting your options.
Select your username and password and fill in the rest of the information. You can then install WordPress – it takes a few moments to install. Once installed, you can log in.
Choosing a theme
I love the Genesis Framework from StudioPress and with these great features it is easy to see why:
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Responsive HTML5 Designs (meaning your website looks stunning on mobile devices too!)
- Unlimited support from StudioPress.
- Airtight security
- Instant updates
- Plenty of layout options (choose whether you want sidebars to appear or not)
I use the Genesis framework and then a child theme on top, which costs around £70-£75 (depending on the current exchange rate) and I believe it helps to make beautiful websites. All my websites have the Genesis framework.
Once purchased, all you need to do is install your theme (once logged in to WordPress, hover over Appearance and select themes. You can install the zip file here and activate your new theme easily.
There are also plenty of free themes for you to choose from.
Now you’re kicking
Now that you have purchased your domain and hosting as well as choosing your theme, you are ready to start customising your theme and blogging. If you would like to get a logo for your new blog completely free then join Fiverr to get your first job free.
If you don’t have the time or you still aren’t confident enough to make your website, then you can hire me to get your website up and running. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.
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