Having set up multiple websites for my various projects, I have always seen it as quite a repetitive process and have never thought about writing on it. However, as more friends approached me on this topic, I realized it might not be as straightforward for many non-technical folks.
In this article, I am going to run through a simple step-by-step process to setup a WordPress website on Bluehost, which is the hosting platform that I use.
Domain name refers to the website URL. For example, “www.google.com” is the domain name for Google. Have an idea of what you want for your domain name before you set up your website. Domain names need to be purchased and are usually charged annually. If you are using Bluehost, you can set this up with your web hosting, which will be explained in one of the setup steps below.
What is a web host? All websites online are hosted on server somewhere. A web host basically provides you a server space to store your files, website code, images, content etc. for your website. You do need a web hosting service if you want to start a website.
If you are starting up a new website with limited budget and are not anticipating a whole lot of traffic upfront, Bluehost is a popular and one of the cheapest hosting service to start with. I have been using Bluehost for more than a decade now and they have served my needs well.
Content Management System (CMS)
WordPress is my go-to platform whenever I set up a website where I want a good amount of control over. It is estimated that 39.5% of websites in 2021 run on WordPress. WordPress has a strong support community, which also means there is an extensive library of plugins for all sorts of functions that you might need.
We call WordPress a CMS but think of it like a website builder, providing a platform and interface to design and create content for your website. If you are running a blog, I definitely recommend going with WordPress.
Setting up a WordPress site within Bluehost has actually gotten simpler than before, as they have now incorporated it into their setup process.
Step-by-Step Website Setup with Bluehost
Step 1: Choose your hosting package
Go to the website of your web hosting provider and sign up for a hosting package that you need. If you are going to use Bluehost, here is the website. Below is a screenshot from Bluehost. If you are just starting, usually a shared hosting service will be sufficient. You will also be able to upgrade it anytime.
Step 2: Setup Domain
Next, you need to set up your domain name. One benefit of Bluehost is that you get the first year of your domain name for free. You can create a new domain, or use a domain that you already own. If the domain name you want is already taken by someone, Bluehost will let you know and provide alternative suggestions.
Most web hosting platforms also have domain name service, although they might not come free with the web hosting package. If they don’t host domain names, then you have to buy a domain name from other platforms first (bluehost, namecheap, godaddy are some of places you can buy a domain name). I host all my domains on Bluehost as well just for the convenience of it.
Step 3: Account Information and Purchase
Once you have set up the domain, simply follow the process of setting up your account information, confirming the package and make payment. For Extras, I recommend getting domain privacy/protection to protect your personal information. I use another website backup service as opposed to Bluehost’s Codeguard.
Step 4: Setup Account Login Credentials
Once you are done with the purchase process, you can now setup your Bluehost login credentials. The domain will become the “username” and you need to setup a password.
Step 5: Login to Control Panel
After setting up the login credentials, you will be prompted to log in to the web host’s control panel
Step 6: Follow Website setup process
Upon logging in, you will be prompted for basic information about your website. The website information can be modified later. I have never really bothered much with these since I usually know what I want to do already. Choose whatever is closest to your context. they are used more for providing recommendations to you.
Step 7: Choose a theme (Optional)
If you want, you can choose a theme now. You can also skip it and a basic default theme will be used. This can be changed as well. If you have purchased a theme from other places, skip this process for now and you will upload your theme files later in wordpress. Proceed on and click on Start Building.
Step 8: Your website is officially setup
Bluehost will proceed to setup the WordPress site and then it is officially done. Yay, you now have a website! Now you can click on WordPress button to log in to your WordPress control panel and start building your website.
Basics of WordPress
Setting up a WordPress site with Bluehost is relatively straightforward. Feel free to contact their chat support service for 1-1 support. Here are some basic WordPress navigation to get you started. The navigation bar on the left will vary depending on your theme but the following are basic features that will always be there.
- Main navigation: The black menu on the left is your main navigation around WordPress. This is where all the features and functions are.
- Posts: Posts is usually where you find your blog/article posts. This might change depending on your theme. Posts can be classified into categories and tags.
- Pages: Pages is where you go to manage or create your webpages. This is where you will create your main pages such as About page, Product page, Contact page etc.
- Media: This is where you will find and upload all your media assets such as pictures and videos.
- Appearance: Here you will find options to change how some parts of your website look. This include Themes, where you change the main design theme of the whole website. This is also where you want to upload your new theme if you have. The menu which control your website navigation, and widgets for footer and sidebars.
- Plugins: Plugins are important add-ons and extensions that you can add to your website for added features and functionalities. Make sure to install the plugins that your theme requires (there will usually be a prompt). However, too many plugins tend to slow down your website speed, so be selective.