Here’s a tutorial on how to start a blog or website from scratch. Creating a website from the ground up can be daunting at times. You browse around looking at other sites and notice how nice the design is, how easy it is to navigate, and how you love the feel of it.
You start wondering how much time would the creator spend to create it from scratch. And chances are, you’re browsing right now from your mobile phone. This must cost a fortune to start and maintain (it does not, by the way). But judging by the affiliate links and paid advertisements presented on the site, the owner probably makes some good money (they do, a lot of time).
You want the piece of the pie too. Blogging does generate semi-passive income and it gets your message out there to gazillions of people. It still takes a good amount of work to start. But the starting point is the hardest. It gets easier after that.
You start to search for “How to start a blog from scratch” and somehow end up here. Well, you come to the right place. I will teach you how to start your blog or website from scratch. There are many blog posts out there, some are paid, some are free. But you’re here now, let’s make your time count. I make this tutorial to be as practical as possible so you can have a fast jumpstart. So let’s get started.
Domain name and Hosting
First thing first, you need your own domain name. This is your identity, branding, and a global address accessible by billions of people in the world. For this tutorial, I registered ICanStartABlog.com. I highly recommend Bluehost for both registering domain name and hosting the website. It is inexpensive and If you pay for 1-year hosting subscription, the domain name registration is included with the plan for free. You can start with the Basic package to start.
Here are the settings that I recommend when you register for the first time:
Domain Privacy Protection – Check this box. This will conceal your identity from anyone in the internet who searches for a domain owner.
Sitelock – Uncheck this box. We’ll download WordPress plugins to handle spam, malware, and scanning your site.
CodeGuard basic – Uncheck this box. Same as above, there are plugins available to handle site backup.
Bluehost SEO Tools Start – Uncheck this box. Same as above, there are WordPress plugins for Search Engine Optimization.
Comodo PositiveSSL – Uncheck this box for now. You do want SSL/https for secure (encrypted) communication when you go live. This is how enterprise site is configured. But to start with, you can stick with http.
Once you registered, Bluehost will offer you to create a WordPress site from a template. You can go ahead skip this one. We will look into better template later on.
And that’s it. You have your own website running!
Setup WordPress Administrator Account
Important! The first thing that you want to do is to replace the “Admin” user account with your own account name. WordPress’ Admin account tends to get hacked in brute forced way. We want to minimize the risk by creating a new account and delete the existing “Admin” account.
On your Home screen, click on Login to WordPress.
Navigate to Users (on the left pane) and select Add New.
Populate the information for the new user. This will be the account that you will use to administer your site. Thus, please be sure to select Role = Administrator and set a strong password.
Once you finish creating the new user, logout the existing (Admin) user and log back in with the newly created user. Go to Users > All Users and delete the Admin user.
For next time, you can go to [yourdomain]/wp-admin to quick manage your site. For example, for my domain, I go to icanstartablog.com/wp-admin.
Design Your Site
You will likely go through several iterations of designing your site. Don’t worry about get it perfect on the first try. Each iteration will get easier.
Go to Dashboard and select Appearance > Customize.
Go ahead click around and explore the canvas. But don’t hit publish just yet. You can try to change the theme and click on Live Preview to see what the theme looks like. If you have a lot of time, you can try to customize this using the free ones.
But if you’re like me (have a day job, need to get this up and running quick), I recommend to use Studio Press Premium WordPress Theme. They make beautiful, fluent design that loads fast and it works instantly on mobile and tablet too. Retireby uses Studio Press Magazine Pro theme.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll use Brunch Pro theme throughout this article.
Customize Studio Press WordPress Theme