“Just because the tide is out doesn’t mean there is any less water in the ocean.” – Seth Godin
"Life gives to all the choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless, or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, useful, progressive, colorful, and rich.”— Spencer W. Kimball
If you’ve read my tutorials on how to set up your own website (Vol 1 and Vol 2) you know that I use Dreamhost for a lot of my website hosting. If you’re looking at signing up with Dreamhost here are some cool coupon codes that Dreamhost just sent me. Update on 2/19/2011 the two codes crossed out have been redeemed.
I got a lot of really good responses to my last post on how to set up a website. It included the basics of getting your host and securing a domain name. Now that you have your host and own a domain let’s set up a professional looking website in less than 5 minutes.
Hopefully you remember your password. Just login and you should be at the ‘Let’s Get Started!’ page with the toolbox and main menu on the left side.
Step 2. Install WordPress
WordPress is my website builder of choice because it is fully customizable and has a very big support network. There are countless plugins that can make your WordPress site do anything you’d like. I use it for eCommerce, blogs (like this one you are reading), real estate and more. It’s a bit robust if you’re just building a splash page or 2 page test site, so I’ll cover site’s like Weebly in a different post.
1. In the Toolbox Click ‘One-Click Installs’
2. Click on ‘Install new website software - Advanced mode‘
3. A list of icons pop up, select WordPress and
4. Below the icons is an ‘Install to:’ option. Select your site from the drop down menu and leave the part after the / blank.
5. Click ‘Install it for me now!’
Dreamhost will now install the latest version of WordPress to your site for you. If you did everything right you will receive an email from Dreamhost in the next few minutes with the title “Success installing WordPress on your site!”
Step 3. Create a WordPress Admin account
1. Click on the link in your Success email that should look like this: http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/install.php 2. At the welcome screen add a Site Title (This is the ‘name’ of your site and can be changed later)
3. Leave the Username as ‘admin’
4. Create a strong password that you can remember.
5. Enter your main free email account (so you can access password resets from anywhere).
6. Click on ‘Install WordPress’
If done right you will now be at a Success! screen. Look how good you’re doing!
7. Click ‘Log In’ and log in with your username and password you just created.
Step 4. Customize Your Site in Your Dashboard
1. Click ‘Settings’ in the left panel. Usually the last option
2. Select ‘General’ in the sub menu
3. Change the Tagline. By default it says ‘Just another WordPress site. That’s not cool. Be cool.
4. Change your time zone
5. Click ‘Save Changes’
6. Click ‘Permalinks’ in the left sub menu
7. Chose either ‘Day and Name’ or ‘Month and Name’ if this is going to be a blog. This is much better for search engines and looks much better than having just a post number at the end of your URL for each post.
8. Click ‘Save Changes’
9. Click ‘Comments’ in the left Menu about half way up. Delete the ‘Hi, this is a comment.’ comment by hovering over it and selecting ‘Trash’.
10. Select ‘Posts’ towards the top of the left menu and then ‘Posts’ again in the sub menu. Delete the ‘Hello World’ post by hovering over it and selecting ‘Trash’.
You’ve now cleaned up your site so you can make it yours. Your site is actually already live but we want to make it pretty. It’s time to pick a theme.
Step 5. Chose and Install a Custom WordPress Theme
1. Click ‘Appearance’ in the left menu
2. Click ‘Themes’ in the sub menu
3. There are about 42 themes installed for you already. There are thousands more online, but you should be able to find one here that will fit your needs while you get started. Browse the available themes and when you find one you like click ‘activate’.
That’s it, you’ve now updated and completely changed the look of your site in three easy clicks.
Step 6. Add content
If you’re movingblogspot/blogger blog then this is easy. You can simply import all of your previous posts and comments.
1. Select ‘Tools’ in the left menu
2. Select ‘Import’ from the sub menu
3. Blogger is the first option (log in to your google account in a different window first) Click ‘Blogger’
4. Click ‘Authorize’
5. Click ‘Grant Access’
6. Select which blog to import and click the magic button ‘Import’.
7. Since Blogger and WordPress have different usernames, select the one on WordPress that you want to line up with your blogger account and click ‘Save Changes’. At this point your blog will import itself.
Step 7. Add/Edit Pages
WordPress starts you off with an ‘About’ page. I usually leave this page but edit it to actually be about the website I’m building.
1. Click ‘Pages’ from the left menu
2. Click ‘Pages’ from the sub menu
3. Hover over ‘About’ and click edit
4. Edit the content to be all about you or your site (add photos with the Upload/Insert option at the top)
5. Click ‘Update’ over on the right
Congratulations. You have now entered the real world where you can run with the big dogs. No more will your name be post scripted with some giant corporate entities greedy tagline. You’re free and you’re ready to rule the world.
In Volume 3 we’ll add my must have plugins for WordPress and customize your site a bit more with a widget or two. Isn’t this fun!?
So, you’ve decided that you don’t want to rely on a blogspot domain or some other free service. You want to roll deep and go big like the pros. Good for you. Here’s a step by step guide on how to set up your host and buy your first domain.
Getting your website host and domain.
Host – This is where the files, pictures, and actual website content is stored and accessed when people go to your website on their computer. Sort of a digital warehouse where items are stored.
Domain – Also known as your URL or Uniform Resource Locater this is the website address that people will type in their browser to visit your site. They cost about $10 per year for a .com domain, are as cheap as 89 cents for a .info domain and up to $45 for a .tv domain. .com is the best and most used.
Step 1. Sign up for a hosting service
I use Dreamhost and am very happy with them. It’s $97 per year for as many domains as you can store. Click http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?248559 and enter coupon code tylerjorgenson and you’ll get $17 off. If you use the Dreamhost coupon codes provided here I get credit and am able to help you should you get stuck. Please use coupon code tylerjorgenson
Step 2. Buy a domain
If you’ve already determined your domain name then you need to buy it right away so it doesn’t get purchased by somebody else. If you are still brainstorming use sites like www.makewords.com or www.godaddy.com to brainstorm but do not buy the domain there. It is much easier if you buy it through your dreamhost account.
1. Log in to your Dreamhost account
2. Click ‘Domains’ in the left toolbar
3. Click ‘Registrations’
4. Type your desired domain into the ‘Domain to Register’ box and click ‘Check Availability’
5. On the registration page select ‘Use DreamHost’s free WHOIS privacy service‘, fill out the info and click continue
6. Select # of years, click continue (Note: Search engines take this into account when ranking your site. More years registered gets better results)
7. Enter Credit Card info and click continue
8. Congratulations – you now own a domain.
Step 3. Add your domain to your host
It will take a few minutes for this to show up since the registration is taking place behind the scenes. Go get a slurpee and come back to your dreamhost control panel in about an hour.
1. Log in to your Dreamhost account
2. Click ‘Domains’ in the left toolbar
3. Click ‘Manage Domains’
4. Your domain should appear under ‘Registered domains without hosting’ , click ‘Add Hosting’
5. Leave everything as is, fill in the visual captcha and click ‘fully host this domain now’
Wham Bam! You have a domain and a host. In our next series we’ll give you a few more action items to get a website actually set up.