Hosting WordPress for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide
In April of this year, the UK government announced that it would be phasing out the individual account owner (IAO) registration requirement for charities and professional social enterprises registered with the Charity Commission.
This came as a huge relief to those who provide services to the public, such as hosting operations, blogging platforms, and digital marketing agencies.
If you’re looking to expand your content production and want to host your own website but don’t know where to start, this guide will help you take the first steps to get up and running.
Step one: Choose a domain name
“Your domain name is the address of your website,” explains Max Wild, CEO of Bluehost.
“It’s something search engines, such as Google, will look for when ranking your site. Therefore, it’s essential you choose a memorable and unique domain name that isn’t already being used by someone else. You can also choose to buy a premium domain name for just a few dollars a month.”
If you have a brand name that you want to incorporate into your website’s domain, you’ll have to secure the legal rights to it before you can buy the domain name. This is usually done through litigation or trademark registration.
Step two: Install WordPress
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world, used by millions of websites around the world. If you’re looking to create a blog for yourself or your business (with or without a brand identity), this is the platform you need to choose.
“There are many benefits to using WordPress,” Matt Mackiewicz, president of Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, told Entrepreneur. “It’s free, open-source software, so you’ll never have to worry about security issues. It also automates a lot of the tasks you might have to do manually, such as creating new posts and updating news items. Finally, the platform is extremely extensible, so you’ll have access to a massive community of developers who can help you build and customize your site any way you want.”
WordPress is available for both Mac and Windows computers, as well as mobile devices (such as iOS and Android phones and tablets).
Step three: Choose a hosting plan
The next step is to choose a hosting plan. This is the service that stores your website’s content and makes it available to the general public. There are many different hosting providers to choose from, so consider what you need and what you want from a hosting company.
Hosting plans come with different levels of service, so be sure to read the terms and conditions before you sign up. You’ll also want to compare different hosting providers to find the one that best suits your needs.
“The most important thing to look out for when choosing a hosting plan is data transfer limits and storage space,” Wild explains. “Ask the technology support team if you’re not sure how much space you need and how much you can get. They should be able to help you out. Another important factor to consider is whether or not you need dedicated IPs (IPv4 or IPv6), which is an Internet connection that is assigned to your account and can’t be shared with other accounts. If you do need dedicated IPs, then make sure you sign up for a plan that provides them. This way you can rest assured that your site will always have an Internet connection regardless of what happens to the rest of the Internet. Finally, look for hosting providers with a good reputation.”
If you’re looking for an easy way to create and manage a blog with your business or personal brand, consider one of the many WordPress hosting providers that offer 1-click install, free backups, and robust support.
Step four: Configure security
After you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll need to configure security. This step is important because without it, your site is vulnerable to hack attacks. Fortunately, it’s very easy to do.
“By default, WordPress is setup to be secure,” Mackiewicz said. “You just have to go into your wp-config.php file and change the default setting at the beginning of the file from 0 to 1. This will tell WordPress to require a secure connection for every request. You don’t need to do this for other parts of your site that are not related to financial transactions or sensitive user information. When changing the default setting for security, make sure you don’t forget to change it back when you are finishing up your installation.”
Step five: Create your blog
Now that you have a WordPress installation and configured, it’s time to create your blog. Visit WordPress.com to get started. Follow the step-by-step instructions to create your blog in just a few minutes.
Once you’ve created your blog, you’ll need to choose a theme. This is the template that your blog is based on and the skin that it will have. The theme you choose will affect the appearance of your site. There are many options to choose from, so be sure to read the docs and talk to your tech support team for help.
You can also use the WordPress editor to write and publish your blog posts. The editor allows you to write and publish content faster than through the regular WordPress posting form. Just make sure you don’t overuse it and you know how to use it properly.
Step six: Promote your blog
Once you’ve created your blog, it’s time to promote it. Choose a niche and start building your audience.
The best way to get the most out of your blog is to create content that is not only informative but also enticing. Use the ideas you’ve gleaned from successful blogs to come up with pieces of content that are original and unique to your brand. When writing blog posts, make sure to include call-to-action buttons or links that will bring readers back to your site on a regular basis. Use keywords properly in your blog posts and ensure that they’re relevant to your readers. Consistent and relevant blogging creates trust amongst your audience, which in turn leads to increased site traffic.
You can put out content on a regular basis and gain a following, or you can set up automated blogging where content is posted on a regular basis and you gain no direct control over the content. For example, if you choose to use a free blogging platform like WordPress, you’ll find many bloggers already created content for your benefit. These are known as content farms and are used to create large portfolios of blog posts for companies looking to amplify their message. You can learn a lot from blogging on a content farm, but you’ll never actually interact with the blogger creating the content. This is because the content is automatically posted on a schedule and is stored on a content serve.