Part 1 – Create a Webhosting Account and Install WordPress

In this first step we’ll create a webhosting account, choose a domain name, create an e-mail address, and install WordPress.

Video: How to Create a new Professional Website.

Creating your webhosting account

  1. Click here and choose Sign Up Now.
  2. Choose a plan. If you’re just creating a basic online presence or professional blog, the Unlimited Starter Plan (cheapest) should be more than enough.
  3. Choose the domain name that you want to use*. If the domain name you want is not available, it will tell you and give you alternate suggestions.
  4. Once your choose your domain name, it will allow you to choose your billing cycle. I generally recommend paying for webhosting monthly so it’s easier to leave, but you’ll get a price break by paying for a year or more in advance, and the cost of the Unlimited Starter Plan is pretty low. If you use the coupon code “PBA”, you also get 40% off your first order, so I’d recommend going with a year.
  5. On the next screen, enter your contact and payment information. Make sure you enter the coupon code “PBA” to get 40% off your first order and hit Submit.
  6. It will take you to your account dashboard, which they call the “client area”. It will currently show that you have 0 services which may seem a bit disconcerting, but StableHost reviews all orders for fraud, so it may take a few minutes before your service is activated. They say allow for 12 hours, but in my experience, it’s been more like 1-5 minutes (but I haven’t ordered in the middle of the night, so your millage may vary).
  7. Check your e-mail for directions on how to access your new websites control panel (cPanel).

*Domain name tips:

  • If it’s available, I highly recommend going with your first and last name .com. So John Smith would try to get JohnSmith.com.
  • If that’s not available, consider using .org, .net, .me, or .us. Other extensions are going to more confusing for people.
  • You could add either your license or degree to a your name. So if a DNP student is trying to register JaneSmith.com, but it’s already taken, she might try JaneSmithDNP.com.
  • Avoid using hyphens or numbers in your domain name.

First Things First: Secure your account

  1. Using the e-mail they sent you, log in to cpanel and change your password. The change password option is toward the very bottom of the page.
  2. Make sure your e-mail is protected from sending spam by going to E-mail > Authentication and making sure both DKIM and SPF are enabled.

Set up an e-mail account or Forwarder

WordPress will use the e-mail address to communicate with subscribers, so if anyone replies to the e-mail, you don’t want them to receive a “no such e-mail address” message. I like webmaster@mydomain.com but you could use admin@mydomain.com or myname@mydomain.com.

You have two choices. If you want to use your own domain name for your e-mail address (webmaster@myname.com), you will need to create an e-mail account and then configure your phone/email client to check this mailbox. If you want to use your existing e-mail address, then create an e-mail forwarder so that an e-mail sent to me@myname.com forwards to whatever you’re currently using. No matter which option you choose, after you create it, send a test e-mail to the new e-mail address to make sure that it works.

Option 1: Set up an e-mail Account

  1. Log in to your site’s cpanel and scroll down to the e-mail section and click E-mail Accounts
  2. Type in the name of the e-mail account you want. For example, if you want webmaster@domain.com, type in webmaster.
  3. Choose a password (it should be different) and then scroll down and hit submit.
  4. Configure your phone or e-mail client to send and receive your new e-mail account.
  5. Return to the main cpanel by clicking the Stablehost icon at the top.

Option 2: Set up an e-mail forwarder

  1. Log in to your site’s cpanel and scroll down to the e-mail section and click Forwarders then Add Forwarder.
  2. Type in the name of the e-mail account you want. For example, if you want webmaster@domain.com, type in webmaster.
  3. Choose a an e-mail to forward it to and click Add Forwarder.
  4. Return to the main cpanel by clicking the Stablehost icon at the top.

Install WordPress

Log in to your control panel (if you just created an e-mail address, then just click Home to go back to the main menu). Scroll all the way to the bottom and click “Install WordPress”.

  1. Choose whether you want your site to have www at the beginning: domain.com or www.domain.com. It’s pretty much just personal preference.
  2. Delete the directory “wp” and leave it blank. If you don’t do this, your guests won’t be able to see your WordPress site. Instead they’ll see a folder called wp. It’s fixable, but let’s just do it right to begin with.
  3. Change the user name “admin” to something else.
  4. Choose a password (not the same password as above)
  5. Change sure the e-mail is the same e-mail address that you set up above.
  6. Options.
    1. Check the limit logins option. This will help protect your site from brute force login attacks.
    2. Click the plus button just below the option above and choose the three auto updates options and from the drop down box choose weekly backups.
  7. Fill out the rest of the form as appropriate and choose install.
  8. Congratulations. You now how have a professional blog…or at least the beginnings of one. But it probably doesn’t look like much, so we’ll need to do a little bit of configuring.

Configuring WordPress

Go to your website and log in with the account you just created and begin using WordPress. I would recommend doing the following:

  1. Go to Settings: Permalinks and change the permalink to “postname”
  2. Go to Settings: Reading and choose whether you want your home page to be a blog or a static Page. If Page, then you must also choose the page (there is one Page by default so you can choose that and then edit the page if you like).
  3. Go to Settings: General and change the Time Zone information. If you scroll up, you’ll see cities categorized by continent. In the U.S. you’d usually choose America: New York to represent Eastern Time Zone. Also change the date/time format to your liking, and I usually change the first day of the week to Sunday.
  4. Go to Plugins and Activate Akismet. It will help prevent spam comments.
  5. Go to Plugins and click ad new and add in a few plugins:
    • Backwpup
    • Google Analytics
    • Google Site Map
    • WordPress SEO
    • Editorial Calendar
    • NextGen Gallery (if you think you’ll be posting any photo galleries)
    • nRelate Related Posts or Yet Another Related Post
    • iThemes Security

Edit your content

  1. Go to Pages –> All pages, and Edit the Sample Page. Change the Title to About Me and write a short introduction to yourself and the website.
  2. Delete the sample Comment
  3. Start writing some content Posts and don’t worry about appearance until you have some.

Disclaimer:

The links to Stablehost are affiliate links, and if you use them, I will get a small commission. However, you can get 40% off your first order with the Coupon Code: PBA. I use Stablehost myself and highly recommend them. They have very good prices, good support, and an excellent reputation. The overall tutorial should work with most webhosting companies that use cPanel, but there may be some minor differences.

Next Steps

Now that you have a website and have installed WordPress, you’re ready to configure WordPress.

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