Recently I’ve helped a few friends and clients start websites (creating one seems to be contagious this time of year). Here’s a basic look at the steps involved.
1. Buy a domain name and server space for your website
I use Bluehost for both. You can save money by going elsewhere, but Bluehost’s customer service is fantastic (I have a tendency to blow up websites at 3 a.m.; a calm, knowledgeable Bluehost rep is always available, even at that hour, to help me undo the damage). It’s hosted my sites for years and I’ve never had a problem. I pay about $150 a year, which includes the domain name and e-mail accounts too.
2. Install the website software
I use WordPress for all of my sites. It’s a free blogging platform, but it also can be used for non-blog websites (like this one I created to rent out my house for the Kentucky Derby). It’s easy to use and costs nothing (hence my use of the word “free” in this paragraph’s second sentence).
WordPress is easy to install through SimpleScripts in the Bluehost control panel. And if you have any problems doing so, call Bluehost.
3. Install a theme for the website
The template is the website’s design. Don’t use the default one because, well, it looks like a default setting; using it is the equivalent of buying a Lego set and just making what the instructions tell you to rather than constructing your own crazy contraption.
There are many good themes available for free. I like the free ones at www.woothemes.com (this site uses its Typebased theme), but you also can find free ones at
Choose one with a lot of positive reviews. If the theme doesn’t work well, it can cause a lot of problems. To install a theme
- Download a theme from one of the aforementioned websites to your computer
- Upload that theme from your computer to the theme directory in WordPress (wp-content/themes/)
- Activate the theme in WordPress (Appearance > Themes)
4. Start writing web pages or blog posts
WordPress has an easy-to-use what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor (Posts > Add New for blog entries, Pages > Add New for static page). When you’re happy with your content, select Post.