If you’ve been putting off the decision to set up a website for your small business because you assume it will be complicated or time-consuming, don’t worry. Setting up a basic WordPress website is remarkably easy. In fact, most people can go from start to finish in about 30 minutes — without any advanced tech skills or special training.
While there are literally hundreds of free hosting platforms out there, the self-hosting options available with WordPress.org give small business owners much more control over their site. If you aren’t sure which approach is best for you, take a couple of minutes to review the differences. Because you’ll need to choose a hosting provider to use WordPress.org, this tutorial will walk you through launching a self-hosted website with Bluehost.
So let’s get started: here’s how to create a WordPress website in five quick steps.
Step One: Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is what people type into their browser to get to your website. Though it’s tempting to choose something funny or flashy, pick a domain that both represents your brand and makes it easy for people to find you.
For example, “bobsmithwelding.com” is better than “bobdoesmetalwork.com” because searchers that are looking for Bob by name or for welding services are more likely to find him. The decision to register your domain name will depend on your reasons for building the website.
One of the advantages of using a hosting service like Bluehost (which WordPress recommends) is that you can purchase your domain name and hosting service from the same provider. Simply type in your desired domain name, click on the “next” button, and the system will verify whether your choice is available. You can also choose an alternative top-level domain from the drop-down menu. For example, you may want .club or .us instead of .com.
Step Two: Set Up a Hosting Account and Purchase a Package
Once you have established your domain name, you’ll need to create an account for your hosting package. Enter your personal information into each field and then scroll down to the package lists (Basic, Plus, or Business Pro) and choose an option that fits your budget and service needs. Prices vary across hosting providers, but most offer add-ons, like extra security features, tools to boost search rankings, and site backup.
Check the appropriate boxes and scroll down to enter your billing information. Take a moment to read through the terms of service, cancellation policy, and privacy notices, then click the box to confirm that you agree with the policies. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a password and, boom, you are ready for step three: installing WordPress.
Step Three: Install WordPress Software
If you’ve chosen Bluehost as your hosting partner, the minute you create a password you will be automatically logged in and land on the control panel. Scroll down until you see the section labeled “Website.” Click on the WordPress icon. You might see options to purchase installation helps, but that isn’t necessary; just skip these extras by clicking on the “No Thanks” button.
The next screen will ask for your domain name, administrative username, and password. Enter the required information, confirm that you agree to the terms and conditions, and click “Install Now.” Depending on the speed of your system and internet connection, it will take few minutes to complete. It’s a good idea to view your credentials once the install is done so that you can write down the admin username and password for future reference — just be sure to store this info in a secure place. You should also receive a confirmation email with this same information.
Step Four: Log in to WordPress
On the same page where you review your credentials, you’ll click on the admin URL link to access your brand new WordPress website control panel. You can also copy and paste the URL into your browser or manually type it in to reach your website.
Enter your login credentials. You can click the “Remember Me” box if you prefer, or leave it blank. After you hit the login button, you’ll have the chance to connect Jetpack — a highly-recommended plugin that adds speed and functionality to your site — but this step is optional and you can do it later if you prefer.
Now that you are fully installed, you should find yourself on the Dashboard, or the back-end, for your new website. This is the service area that allows you to control what your website visitors will see when they land on your pages.
Step Five: Customize Themes and Pages
Let the fun begin! You are ready to start fine-tuning your site with your color choices, font styles, and special elements that will help you express your company culture or personality. You can dive right in and write your first post, but it’s beneficial to get to know the features and functionality of your site first.
On the left-hand sidebar you’ll find navigation links that allow you to customize your site. The best way to get to know your way around is to click on each tab and explore the options.
- Browse the themes; there are paid and free options available.
- Customize your theme with colors, headers, and social media buttons.
- Upload photos to inspire your site visitors and add clues about your values and services.
- Create your first blog post and main page content.
These five steps will have you running a WordPress website for your small business in no time — okay, about 30 minutes. Ready to get started? Get your domain name and self-hosted service package at Bluehost.