Starting your WordPress Blog, Part 1: Domain, Host, and Theme Setup

This post is the first in a series laying out a simple course for new bloggers – personal and business – to take in creating, launching, maintaining, and growing a WordPress blog.

This step is the only part where you’ll need a few bucks. In this step, you will start from scratch, and end up with a complete WordPress blog on a Godaddy Managed WordPress hosting plan. Are you ready? Go!

Step 1: Buy a domain from Godaddy for about $12. Unless you get a specialized domain like techblo.gs (I paid $40 for that one), most regular domains are $12 or less. If you’re setting up a personal blog, I highly recommend getting your name as the domain name, or some derivation of your name. I tried to get kev.in, but missed my window, so now you see kevinsandlin.com, for which I paid $12 several years ago.

Clipboard01Step 2: Buy a Godaddy Basic Managed WP hosting account for $3.99/month for the 3 month plan for under $12 just a dollar a month as of this writing! Check here to see what it costs now. You can always upgrade when you start getting hundreds of thousands of visitors to your site each month, but for now, you’re starting off and learning, and the Basic Managed WP hosting plan takes all the techno mumbo jumbo out of the picture.

Step 3: Setup your website – literally click “setup”! You’ll get a confirmation email from Godaddy after your purchase that says “Your website is ready.” Click the link to log back into your account, and walk through the setup wizard, which includes the next step. If at anytime you get jammed up, call Godaddy at (480) 505-8877. They’ve gotten a bad rap because of their cheesy SuperBowl commercials, but they have really great customer service.

Step 4: Match up the hosting plan to the domain you just bought using the pull down menu, and go. It’ll take just a minute or two for everything to configure, and then you’ll land in the admin interface of your brand new WordPress website.

Step 5: Choose your theme. For simplicity, I highly recommend starting off with WordPress’ standard free theme called “2015.” It comes with WordPress and is already installed. All you have to do is activate it. So, on the left side of your WordPress Admin screen, click on (or hover over) “Appearance”, then click “Themes”, and you’ll see the list of 5 themes, starting with “2011”. All you need to do is mouse over the 2015 theme, and click “Activate,” and you’re in business.

The first thing we’ll do now that we have a WordPress installation is take care of installing some very necessary and very powerful plugins, which are the add-ons that make WordPress so powerful and easy to use.  Come back tomorrow to learn how easy that really is.

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