Quick Start Website Guide Step-by-Step
In this tutorial, we’re going to be quickly building a website step-by-step. When we finish, we will have our own domain name, a web hosting account, and WordPress will be all set up complete with a theme. You can choose to either watch the full video or scroll down the page to follow each step in the sections below.
Be sure to click this link to open the Bluehost website, where you will be able to follow along with each step. Note: we do have an affiliate relationship with BlueHost and are compensated when our followers establish their web hosting on their service.
1) Choose a Domain Name (click to expand)
To have our own website, we will need our own Domain Name. This will become the address of our website and will also be used for our email. So the first thing we need to do is come up with a domain name that we would like to use. Then we need to make sure that it’s not already taken by somebody else and is available to be registered. You can use a tool like Go Daddy to do that check.
The domain name that I came up with is ironcladheating.com.
Even though I checked the domain name at GoDaddy to see if it’s available, I don’t want to buy it or register it with them, because Bluehost is going to give me the domain for free for the first year. And that is worth $12.00!
Now, since I know the domain name I want, I’m ready to head over to the Bluehost website here and choose my hosting plan.
2) Start the Setup Process at the Bluehost Website (click to expand)
On the Bluehost website here you’ll see on the top left menu the option to choose WordPress hosting.
The benefit of using that selection is that they are going to install WordPress automatically for us into our website.
Along with the WordPress hosting and installation, they are also going to include the automated updates, a free SSL certificate, and a free domain name for the first year.
3) Choose Your Hosting Plan (click to expand)
We’ll go ahead and click on the “Choose Plan” button which will take us to all of the host plan options.
Here you’ll see the lowest-priced option, which is the “Basic” plan is for one website. You can also get the “Plus” plan for unlimited sites or the Choice Plus plan that has some other options and code guard etc.
Go ahead and pick the plan that fits your needs. I’m going to choose the Basic plan.
4) Enter Your Free Domain Name (click to expand)
Since I know that the domain name I want is available (because I already checked at GoDaddy), I’m going to enter it under “Create a new domain.”
If you already have a domain name registered someplace else, you can enter it under “Use a domain you own”, or you can always click the skip this step link and come back to it later.
I’m going to enter ironcladheating.com, and they’ll check it for me once again to make sure that it is still available.
Once we get the green confirmation bar, we can scroll down to the order form and complete our order.
5) Create Your Hosting Account (click to expand)
This is a simple matter of filling in the information.
We will need to select the term of our plan. If we go out to 36 months, it’s only $2.95 per month, two years is $3.95 per month, and one year is $4.95 per month.
Once we select the plan term, scroll down and select which of the additional options that we want.
I unchecked all of them, but you can go ahead and select the ones that fit your needs.
Choosing domain privacy is supposed to keep your name and email address out of the spammers’ hands. But I have found that they usually find other ways.
Once you are done filling in the form and making your selections, click the button to submit your order.
And then we will receive a “Your purchase was a success!” message.
6) Set Up Your Website Account (click to expand)
Once we’ve finished paying for our hosting account we’ll need to set up our account login.
Click the blue “Create Account” button.
Then we’ll need to enter a password. Make sure this is very strong. Use upper and lowercased letters, numbers and special characters.
Then click on the white “Create Account” button.
You will then see a screen that your account is ready to go with a button that says go to login.
7) First Time Logging Into Your Website Account (click to expand)
And now, you can go ahead and login with your account information.
After logging in for the first time, you will be asked a few questions to complete the setup process.
You can also choose to skip this step and do it later.
8) Selecting Your Theme (click to expand)
Now we’re going to select our theme.
I’m going to pick the Astra theme.
After choosing our theme they will begin installing WordPress for us.
9) Getting Started with the Bluehost Dashboard (click to expand)
As soon as the WordPress installation is completed, you’ll see your welcome screen.
We’ll go ahead and click the get started button.
When you first log into your Bluehost dashboard, you will see that a temporary domain is being used for the website. They do this while we wait for the domain name to fully propagate. That’s the word they use that means finish setting up on the Internet.
You can go ahead and use that temporary domain, but I like to wait and login after a little while and use my real domain name after it’s been completely set up.
After waiting a while, let’s go ahead and log into our BlueHost account. We have two options here, “Hosting Login and “Webmail Login”.
We’re going to do the hosting login for now.
10) Login and Explore Your New Dashboard (click to expand)
Now that we’ve waited for a while, instead of our temporary URL, we can see that we are using our permanent domain name.
Let’s take a look at this dashboard real quick.
We have the “My Sites” section. This is a list of the websites that you would have in your account.
We only have the one which is our Ironclad Heating.
When we hover over that tile, we can choose to either log into our WordPress administrative area, or we can manage the site properties.
When we choose to manage the site properties, you can see that we can manage themes, plugins, or we can update anything that needs to be updated right here from the BlueHost dashboard without logging into the website itself.
Then, under “Marketplace”, we can order add-ons for our site.
Email and Office
Under email and office, we can choose either Microsoft or G Suite as an email provider. But you can also select a basic email option that doesn’t cost extra and is included with your hosting plan. We’ll set that up below. And after you have a basic email account set up within Bluehost, then you will see an option here to manage that email account instead of the Microsoft and G Suite links.
Under Domain Names is a list of our registered domain names. We can manage those as far as our contact information, redirects, transfers, subdomains, etc.
Advanced Control Panel
Advanced takes us to the control panel that some of us recognize as cPanel. This is where you can manage your email accounts and several other options. We will get into those other options later.
11) Setting Up Your Email Accounts (click to expand)
Let’s go to the email section in the control panel by clicking Advanced and then Email Accounts.
We can just add an email account that we want from here. Click on the +Create button. We’re going to create an address called adminsupport and it will be @ironcladheating.com. Let the system generate a password for and copy that password into a safe place.
Set the storage limit. We’re going to use the 100 meg limit for now.
And I don’t need an email to be sent with instructions to set up our email client.
Now I can go ahead and click on “Check Email mail here.
It will take us to a page where we can pick our email Application that we can use to send and receive email. We can pick either Horde, Roundcube, or Squirrel Mail. I just use Roundcube. You can also set up a mobile app on Android or IOS, Outlook, Thunderbird, or any other email app that you’re accustomed to using
Now, let’s go back to the control panel and then click on “Email and Office”, you’ll see that we can manage our email right here from the email and office option.
12) Login to WordPress
Let’s click on the home option and then select WordPress to log into the dashboard of our WordPress site.
As you can see, when we log in, there is a whole mess of messages on the dashboard.
We’ve got messages from Monster Insights, WP forms, Optin Monster, and the Astra theme. We can go ahead and dismiss those, and we’ll be left with the WordPress dashboard.
Now let’s go ahead and clean up a few other things.
13) Cleaning Up WordPress
Now let’s go ahead and clean up a few other things.
Go to installed plugins. We can deactivate and delete any of the plugins besides JetPack, which we’ll leave for now.
Now let’s go through some of the preinstalled sample information that they have on the site itself.
Go into our posts.
This is our blog post section, and you’ll see that there is already a blog post which is titled “Hello World,” along with its accompanying comment. We can go ahead and just trash that
Go to pages.
Now let’s go into categories.
One of the things that I don’t like is to have a category called “uncategorized.” I like to change that to “General.” To me, “uncategorized” just sounds like an error.
14) WordPress General Settings (click to expand)
Then go down to settings and go to the General section.
We do want our website to be titled our business name.
We want to make sure that it’s HTTPS because BlueHost is giving us a free SSL certificate.
We enter the same thing for site address
Change the time zone to your local area. Mine is Mountain time.
Select the date format you like as well as the first day of your week.
We’ll leave the other items set as is.
Then we hit “Save Changes”.
15) WordPress Writing Settings (click to expand)
Next, we’ll come down to the Writing section.
We’ll leave everything set as is, except we’re going to take Ping O-Matic out of the Update Services for now. We don’t want to update that service every time that we add or change a page or post as were building the site up.
Now hit “Save Changes”
16) WordPress Reading Settings (click to expand)
Now we’ll go to the reading section.
I leave the top two boxes set at 10. This is the number of blog pages that are shown. This is when you’re doing an RSS feed. This is the number of posts that are shown in the feed itself.
Then you can set it to be the full text of the post, or you can set it to just the summary. We’ll leave that set to full text for now.
If it was going to take a while to build out our site, we would check the box to discourage search engines from indexing our site. But as difficult as it is to get indexed into the search engines the way we want to, I will not be messing with that will leave that unchecked.
We’ll leave these other two settings alone and then hit “Save Changes”.
17) Discussion Settings (click to expand)
Let’s go into the Discussion Section
First, we won’t choose to notify any blogs that we’ve linked to from our posts.
We’ll uncheck allow Pingbacks and Trackbacks.
We are going to disable the comments on posting. We can enable them one by one if we want to.
If we do allow commenting, they need to fill out their name and their email address.
We will select the box to automatically close posts older than 20 days.
We’ll allow the in threaded nesting of comments it’s easier to read.
We will be notified anytime somebody posts a comment. If we’re holding comments for moderation, we will be notified of those too.
I put a checkmark for comments that need to be manually approved so that nobody can just come along and leave comments on the page automatically. And we’ll also leave the set that up to where the author must have previously approved comments.
We will leave the avatars to show. And we will have the default image to be the mystery person.
Then we can leave the two Jetpack options checked for following the blog and following the comments.
Then click on “Save Changes”.
18) Media Settings (click to expand)
Now let’s go to Media settings
I leave these as-is, but I do uncheck the sort by date because I don’t want my uploads sorted by month and year.
19) Permalinks Settings (click to expand)
Next is Permalinks
I want all of my posts to be set to post name so that I can have the title of the post instead of the numeric ID or the date.
And then click “Save Changes”.
20) Privacy Settings (click to expand)
On to Privacy Settings
This is set to the page that was already created under the “Pages” section. We’ll leave this as is and click “Use This Page”.
21) Sharing Settings (click to expand)
Now let’s take a look at Sharing.
I won’t change anything under the Jetpack sharing settings. Mostly because I will be removing Jetpack a little later in the project.
22) Finishing the Initial Setup (click to expand)
So that is the completion of the foundation of our website.
We have a theme installed, which is our Astra theme.
We have cleaned up everything that pretty much needs to be cleaned up, and we’ve configured everything under each of our settings.
Right now, we have the Coming Soon Page active.
If you visit the website while you are logged in, you won’t see the Coming Soon page. You will need to be logged out to see it. Another option is to open the site in an Incognito browser window. Over over your Home Icon, then right-click on “Visit Site”, then choose “Open link in icognito window”
So the general public is seeing a coming soon page until we are ready to publish the site.
In our future lessons, we will start adding pages, posts, and media to the website. (Coming Soon)
We will see you then!