aka, “What? Like it’s hard?” – Elle Woods

It’s really not that hard to build a WordPress website. However, if this is your first time getting started then…it’s going to be overwhelming. Do I go with wordpress.com or wordpress.org? What if my domain is already taken? What kind of theme should I buy? Wait, now I have to DESIGN the thing?? Yes. It’s overwhelming.

It could be easier if you had the budget to hire someone to create it for you, but sometimes that’s just not in the cards. However, don’t think that a DIY website will be free! Time & money will be spent so you need to factor in how much you are willing to spend before starting. (I hope this series will help you figure out what to budget for both!)

Let’s get started.

Step One: Buy Hosting

Yes, you have to have web hosting. This is usually the most expensive & important item when DIY-ing your website, so let’s just rip this bandaid right off! A hosting provider is a business that provides servers to store (or host) your website so that it can be seen on the internet.

I can’t recommend using SiteGround enough for hosting. Whenever I’ve had to contact support they have always been prompt & helpful in getting my issue solved. (If I’m remembering correctly, the longest that I’ve had to wait has been around four minutes & we had the problem solved within ten minutes.) Let’s say you go with their lowest plan ($3.95/month for the first year). You will be getting amazing service, daily auto backups of your website, free SSL certificate, & enough space for about 10,000 visitors a month.

If you don’t go with SiteGround make sure to shop around to see what you can get with your account.

Going with SiteGround I would budget around $50 for the first year. Make sure to write down EVERY SINGLE PASSWORD that you create. Someday, you will need it.

Total: $50

Step Two: Buy Domain

This is the step that people want to jump to first. It’s your name after all! This sets the tone for how you will brand yourself, the biz, & is something you will be saying all the time now that you’re “legit”. Make sure that you spend some time thinking about your biz name and then head to GoDaddy to see if your domain is available. (Again, write down EVERY SINGLE PASSWORD you create!)

Found your domain pretty easily? Awesome!! Buy that sucker! (You may also want to consider getting the .com, .net, .org, etc. versions of your site if it’s a fairly common name, or you don’t want any brand confusion with another company.)

The domain was already taken or CRAZY expensive? This isn’t the end of the world. I know it feels like it, but it’s not. Look up the domain. Is there a legitimate business on the site, or does it look like a GoDaddy page? If there’s a GoDaddy page, then consider using a .net or .org ending. If there’s a legitimate business, then I’d go back to the drawing board. (Your best idea could be right there!)

Also, I do buy Private Domain Registration for my domains. Totally up to you.

Total: ~$20

Step Three: Point nameservers

You were writing down passwords, right? You’ll need both your hosting provider & your domain account open for this step.

Remember how I said that your hosting provider has servers for you to use? Well, type in your URL to go to the domain you just purchased. Does it look like a GoDaddy landing page? Yup, we need to point the servers that GoDaddy is using to our hosting servers instead.

Assuming you are used GoDaddy & SiteGround, log into your GoDaddy account & click “My Products”. Click “Manage” on the domain that you are trying to fix. Scroll down to “Manage DNS” (inside “Additional Services” section). Do you see the section that says “Nameservers”? Stay right there.

Open a new tab on your internet window. Go to SiteGround, login to your account, click “My Accounts” tab, and click the red button that says “Go to cPanel”. On the left side, do you see a section called “Account Information”? Within that section, do you see “Nameservers”? Copy BOTH of those nameservers.

Go back to GoDaddy & paste your SiteGround nameservers to your GoDaddy servers. It should now say that you are using “Custom Servers”. Save your changes and give it about 15 minutes to connect. (You can also ask SiteGround support to check that your servers connected correctly!)

Total: $0

Step Four: Buy Theme

Your theme for WordPress is like the skin you put on it. It can make your site look AMAZING or it can make it look like it smokes a pack a day for 20 years.

Honestly, you could go for a free theme & be good. Heck, I did it for about six months when starting my virtual assistant biz! I would recommend checking out these free options before going anywhere else.

If you are willing to pay knowing that the theme can grow with your business & come from a reputable development company, then I would suggest Genesis or Divi. Actually, just kidding, I’d only recommend Divi. I’ve heard from other business owner’s that doing a DIY website through Divi was a huge game changer for them! It’s the theme that I prefer to use building any website & they have pre-made layouts that you can download if you are stuck on the design of your site.

Total: $0-90

Step Five: Install WordPress

Try going to your domain again. Still doesn’t have WordPress, huh? Final step today is to log back into your hosting provider & install WordPress. Most hosting providers have an easy install that you can do yourself through the cPanel (SiteGround does), but if you get confused, make sure to contact support! You’ll create a login to your site (WRITE IT DOWN) & then be able to log into the backend (or dashboard) of your site.

Budget: $0

Wrap Up

I would give yourself about three hours to complete these steps & make sure everything is connected correctly. If you weren’t adding the money budget up as we went, you’ll see that you can DIY a site for around $70 to $160. Truthfully, I would go with the higher number to make sure that your site doesn’t look…well, like the ugliest house on the street. I’ve had that website. It’s not fun.

Also, did you notice how I didn’t say anything about wordpress.com or wordpress.org? That’s because with my process you DON’T have to worry about that silliness! (But if you really want to know, we are technically using wordpress.org.)

For phase two I’ll cover some quick maintenance that you need to do before digging into the design of your site. For now, your homework is to start designing on paper what you want your website to look like!

Ann Bellow helps women who struggle with booking clients to become her own boss by breaking the patterns that keep her broke.

Do you want 1-3 private clients in the next 30 days? Let's talk!

Work with Me

Ann Bellow helps women who struggle with booking clients to become her own boss by breaking the patterns that keep her broke.

Do you want 1-3 private clients in the next 30 days? Let's talk!

Work with Me

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