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12 Steps to Your Own WordPress Website

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Today, the most common platform for your website is a WordPress site hosted on your own domain and web host. WordPress is really easy to use and there is a huge development community, with loads of support. You can add extraordinary functionality and features to your site with the thousands of free plugins, themes and support forums.

For the Do It Yourself (DIY) types, like me, I’ve outlined the 12 steps to getting your site up and ready. Whether you decide to do this on your own or outsource it, it’s great to know what it takes to put it all together. Let’s get started…

1. Register your domain name (URL). You can use http://bustaname.com to brainstorm and then select ‘buy from Godaddy.com,’ you’ll get a discounted price. When selecting domain names, make sure to register your own name and then any other keyword-rich domain name(s) for your niche. A word of caution: Don’t get hung up on this piece, get started and get your presence on the web.

2. Setup your web host. My favorite is Host Gator because it’s so inexpensive, and you can host unlimited domains. Try the ‘Baby Plan’ for $9.95/month. WordPress is easy to install and their customer service is excellent. You can click on this link, or the image above, to get your web host account today. Make sure to use the coupon code hostyoursite to try your first month for free.

3. Update your nameservers. Hostgator will email your account details, including your 2 nameservers. Login to http://godaddy.com and update the name servers to point to the ones in the Hostgator email. It can take up to 72 hrs for your domain name to point to the new hosting account.

4. Create an Add On Domain at Hostgator. Login into your Hostgator account and scroll down to Domains and click Add On Domain. Enter a name and password for this domain and click Add Domain.

5. Install WordPress on Your Hostgator Domain. Go back to your Hostgator Control Panel (CPanel). Scroll down to Software/Services and select Fantastico Deluxe. Scroll down to Blogs in the left hand column and click on WordPress. Click on New Installation.

Go to Install on Domain and click on the down arrow to the right. Select the domain where you’d like to install WordPress. If you are installing a blog/website leave Install in Directory blank. This will install WordPress at the root directory of your domain. Enter an admin login and password, your email address (very important to receive a copy of your login info!) and your site name. Click on Install WordPress. Bingo! WordPress has been installed.

6. Log into your WordPress Site. You will automatically receive an email with the link and login info.

7. Install a Theme on Your WordPress Site. There are plenty of free themes at WordPress. Once you have found a theme you like, jot down the name. Go back to your WordPress Dashboard and scroll down and select Themes. Select Install Theme and put in the name of the theme you selected in the Search box. Install and activate it.

My favorite is a paid theme called Thesis. Thesis has plenty of customization and design options and powerful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features. It also has a support community that is responsive and helpful.

8. Add Pages to Your Website. You will need to create the copy (the writing) for all of your pages. You can outsource to a copywriter. However, you still need to do some of the groundwork. You can start off with five basic pages: Home, Blog, Events, Contact. WordPress already contains an About Me Page, you just need to edit it.

9. Setup the Home and Blog Pages. Go to the WordPress Dashboard. Scroll down to the Settings in the left hand column and select Reading. Select A Static Page and enter the name of your Home page under Front Page. Enter the name of your Blog page under Posts Page. Save Changes.

10. Edit Your Permalink Structure. This is the URL that you will share with folks to send them to specific pages or posts on your blog. You want your link structure to create URLs that both define the content and include relevant keywords. It also makes your links intelligible and folks are more likely to click if they can see what your post is about.

Scroll down to the Settings in the left hand column and select Permalinks. Use the following permalink structure, the post id allows WordPress to locate a blog post even if you leave out the rest of the URL: /%post_id%/%postname%/

11. Get Your Akismet API Key. Akismet helps to reduce and eliminate spam comments. Enter the key in the Akismet plugin on your site.

12. Create Your Blogging Categories and Start Blogging! If you need some help with starting the blogging adventure I can recommend two colleagues who have extraordinary blogging programs:

Online Visibility Secrets with Denise Wakeman. Get more traffic, more leads, more clients and more opportunities for your business. A 26-week, Step-by-Step Action Plan for Creating a Positive, Pervasive Presence on the Web.

Blogging Maniac with Bea Fields. A 12-week course to get the basics and add some bells and whistles to your blogging experience. Join a community of friendly, professional bloggers.

In a future post, I’ll share some of my favorite plugins. Happy Blogging!

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