So you’re just getting started on this new adventure and you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing? Friend, you are not alone! Many many people just like you walk this road every single day and the key is to just take it one step at a time. It wasn’t that long ago that I was sitting right where you are, and have since learned everything I can get my hands on regarding design, code, and everything else involved in website creation. I’m here to help guide you through this one baby step at a time. Imagine me sitting right along side you at my coffee table and we are doing this together… because my big fat God dream is to absolutely do that!
Step One: Let’s decide on a name
Choosing a name for this big adventure you’re embarking on is no easy feat. It takes time and patience to find that perfect name that fits your hearts desire. It also takes time to find the perfect name that isn’t already taken! That my friend, is the hardest part of this process. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with some brilliant business name and then I go check to see if the name is available and sure enough it’s not. Before you let your heart get too settled on a specific name, you’ll want to do 2 things: Google it, and search to see if the domain is available.
So what is a domain? A domain is your address on the internet. Just as you would give someone your mailing address for them to mail you a letter, you’ll want to give your friends a domain address to be able to find your online home. You can search domain names right here to see what is already taken and what is available.
Why do we need to google the name? If you want to name your new business Gold & Silver, but you google these words and several other businesses come up, you’re not only going to be competing for google ranking alongside those people with the same business name, you also may run into trademark issues depending on the nature of the other businesses with the same name. Trust me, you don’t want to get months down the road and get a Cease & Desist letter because your business name is conflicting with someone else. Think of a unique name and take your time!
Once you’ve decided on a name and have discovered the domain is available, it’s time to actually purchase that domain. You can use a service like GoDaddy to purchase your domain but more than likely you’re going to be ready to get your website started immediately, so I recommend moving to the next step and doing your domain and hosting all at the same time.
Step Two: Purchase Domain & Hosting
The next thing we want to do is secure that domain name that we’ve spent so much time thinking up. There are a few hosting companies that allow you to get 1 free domain when you sign up for a hosting package, so I recommend doing this step all together. If you’ve already purchased your domain elsewhere, don’t worry… I’ll cover that as well!
So what is hosting? Let’s think of this like we discussed above with your domain being your address. If you give someone your address to your home, your home is sitting on a piece of land. The hosting is like the land for your online home. It consist of servers, files, and databases that keep your site visible and on the internet. No website exist without hosting.
The two hosting companies that we recommend that give you 1 free domain name are SiteGround and Bluehost. Both of these companies are great so you’re free to choose whichever one you’d like to work with. For the sake of this guide, I’m going to be working with SiteGround because I’ve found that their process is very simple and easy to understand for someone just starting out, just like you!
When you go to purchase hosting, you’re going to be asked which hosting package you’d like to select. I recommend that since we are going to be using WordPress (more on this later) that we choose on of the WordPress Hosting Packages. These packages get you started for very little start up cost, and again, includes your domain in the setup process.
Differences in the plans:
StartUp – This package is good for one site and up to 10,000 visits a month and is the most basic plan they offer.
GrowBig – With this plan you are able to host multiple websites within one account, get a free SSL Wildcard for 1 year, and their Backup and Restore service which I find to be very very important especially as a new site owner. Another great benefit that starts at this plan or higher, is their SuperCacher option which will greatly increase the speed of your site.
GoGeek – This place includes all that you see above, as well as more storage space, allows for more site visitors, and offers 1-click WP staging which is also a helpful feature if you’re one to change your site often.
After you select the package you’d like and hit Get Started, you’ll be taken to this screen:
You’ll just verify that you have the Startup package selected, select your location based on your time zone, and choose how which period of time you’d like to pay for up front. There is also a monthly trial period here as well that you can choose if you’re just wanting to test the waters a little bit.
At the bottom of this screen is your payment information that you’ll complete, then checkmark the terms agreement and hit the pay now button.
Once your payment is complete, your new account has officially been created but we now need to officially get your domain assigned to your account. On the next screen you’ll see this option:
You’ll choose the option to Register a new domain, and then enter the domain name you’d like to use.
Next we are asked if we are starting a new website or transferring a website. We will select the Start a new website option. It will then show all the available software that we can install onto the site. We will just select the WordPress option, and then complete the credenitals with your own information.
Next you’ll be asked if you want to add any additional extras onto your hosting plan. These options are completely up to you but I do tend to not do them in the very beginning but this is something that can be adding in the future.
You will confirm all this information and proceed to the next steps.
At this point, you have reserved your domain name, paid for your hosting account, and installed WordPress! You are almost there!
What if I have a domain already but need to transfer it to my hosting provider?
You can absolutely transfer an existing domain to your host. For example, if you purchased a domain at GoDaddy and then hosting through SiteGround, we need to now tell Godaddy where our domain hosting is. The process here is called changing our nameservers so that it points to the servers now at SiteGround.
Immediately after you complete your order if you’ve selected this option of I already have a domain, you will get an email that has your nameservers in it.
You will use these nameservers with your domain registrar to point that domain over to your new hosting account. Here are the instructions for the following companies that you most likely used as your domain registrar.
Please note that this process can be a little tedious so if you’re having trouble don’t hesitate to contact your domain registrar and they would be happy to assist. Also keep in mind that when you have to update your nameservers, this process takes 24-48 hours to complete so you won’t be able to work on the site until that completes.
Step Three: Login to your new website
Immediately after your complete your order from Step Two, you’ll receive an email with the link to login to your new site. It will always look like http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. You will navigation here and use the same login credentials we used when signing up above.
Step Four: Choose your Theme
Now this is the fun part! You get to play dress up and choose the best design for your needs. We offer many many different themes that can be customized to match your own colors and all you’ll do is insert your own content. If you’re having trouble picking the theme that might best fit your needs, I’ve put together this free eBook about How to choose the right theme for your site.
All of our themes are built on the Genesis Framework, so be sure to grab that while you’re picking out your theme…your theme will not work without it.
Step Five: Install your Theme and Start Blogging!
You’re almost there! You’ve got a WordPress site set up and you’re ready to get started! WordPress automatically adds an out of the box theme to your site when you create a new install, so you’ll want to upload your new theme and override what is there.
Once you purchase both the Genesis Framework and any of our themes, you’re going to download a .zip file to your local computer. NOTE: Do NOT unzip these files. Once you’ve downloaded those two files, login to your new WordPress site. Once you’re logged in, you’re going to be on what is known as the WordPress Dashboard. You should see a column on the left hand site that looks similar to this:
You’ll see the APPEARANCE tab on the left and when you hover over that, you’ll see THEMES as your first option. Click on that and this is going to take you to a screen that will show you all the themes currently installed on your site. We now want to upload our own, so we want to hit the ADD NEW button in the top left of the screen and then UPLOAD THEME.
This is important…make sure that you install the Genesis Framework first. You will install the ZIP file that you downloaded. If this file has been unzipped on your local computer, you won’t be able to upload it to WordPress.
Once the Genesis Framework in installed, you’ll be asked if you want to activate Genesis. There is no need to do that since we will actually be using the child theme as our design. Think of Genesis as the car and your Restored 316 theme as the paint job… The Genesis Framework is what drives your site but your Restored 316 theme is what makes it beautiful! After you install Genesis, upload the theme that you’ve purchased through Restored 316 following the exact same steps you just completed except this time you will hit the activate button.
From there, you can customize the site to your liking! All of our themes are completely customizable and versatile. Many changes can be done through the dashboard (such as uploading a header or changing your background) and some changes, like changing your fonts, have to be done in the themes style sheet. We have put together step-by-step tutorials for each of our themes so that you can get things set up like our demo site. We also offer customization packages for those who want to use our theme but want something a bit more custom and don’t know how to make those changes themselves.