This is a screenshot of what WordPress looks like when writing this article. It's really easy to use.

This is a screenshot of what WordPress looks like when writing this article. It’s really easy to use.

WordPress is a blogging platform that makes it really easy for anyone to run a website even if you don’t have a technical bone in your body.  It is also incredibly powerful.  Even though I used to run a small web design company back in college, I still use wordpress to build all my websites because it is fast, there are tons of pre-made designs for you to use, and you can expand it to become a full featured website and not just a blog.

WordPress has been adopted so freely across the Internet that I’d be willing to bet you’ve been to a dozen or more WordPress sites in the last week and didn’t even realize it.  In fact, you’re on one right now!  Sites like Tech Crunch, the New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, and many many many millions of other sites all use WordPress.

Here’s how you can get your WordPress site up and running before you go to bed tonight…

Step 1: Get your hosting in place

To create your website, you first need a specialized computer (called a server) that makes your website available for the world to see.  It takes an incredible amount of expertise to properly run your own server, so you’ll need to pay someone to do that for you.  A company that provides a server to make your site available on the internet is called a hosting company.

NOTE: DO NOT skip this step.  I promise you’ll regret it.  You may be tempted to get a free site using Google’s blogger or another free option.  That would be a monumental mistake.  Why?  First of all, it isn’t powerful enough to run a professional site.  Remember, you’re building a full feature website–not just a little rinky-dink blog.  Second, choosing a free option means your domain name isn’t professional.  We want to create a site like IncomeSchool.com — not a domain name like IncomeSchool.Wordpress.com or IncomeSchool.Blogger.com.  That simply won’t work and you’ll be very unlikely to get Google traffic.

The good news?  I’ve tried many different hosting companies and found one that works REALLY well for starting a WordPress site and it’s ridiculously cheap.  It’s called Bluehost.  I’ve been a paying BlueHost customer since 2006 and I’ve run dozens of sites on my account.  The reason I like BlueHost for starting a site is that (1) It’s really inexpensive, (2) It’s reliable, and (3) My experience with their customer support has actually been really positive.

The hosting only costs around $6 per month (they do have pretty regular promotions so the price varies from time to time), but they make you pay a year at once, so it’ll cost you $96 but that covers UNLIMITED traffic to your website for an entire YEAR!  They do backups of your stuff so you don’t have to worry about losing it, they can help you through technical problems with their customer support, etc.  It’s really an incredible bargain!

Plus, this is a business you’re starting.  You’ll recoup that cost EASILY if you are excited about your idea and willing to work for it.

Let’s walk through the sign-up and more importantly the setup process for getting your site started on Bluehost.  First, you’ll go to Bluehost.com to get started.  When you get there, you’ll see a page with a big green “Get Started” button.  Click there to get going.

Next, you’ll end up on this page where you’ll get to choose which hosting plan you want.  Some people will tell you that the basic option is all you need.  I disagree.  The basic plan limits your website space and only allows you to have 1 domain.  For just a little bit more, you can get the plus plan that gives you unlimited domains and space plus unlimited sub-domains.  You really should go with this option.2-select-your-plan-700

Once you’ve selected your option, you’ll be prompted to select a domain name.  You get this first domain for free with your hosting purchase.  Look at our “Purchase a Domain Name” step just below this section if you don’t yet know what your domain should be.

They’ll also ask you to input all of your information to setup your account.  Just fill out the online form and move on.

After you’ve submitted your information, Bluehost will ask you if you want to buy tons of extras (domain privacy, search engine jumpstart, etc).  Say NO to all of them!  You don’t need any of that.  Just get your hosting and move on.  5-package-information-700

Next, they’ll ask for your payment details.  You’ll have to put in your credit card information but don’t worry, this site is really secure.  They’ll also have you setup your Bluehost password so you can login to their hosting dashboard that they call “cpanel”.  Once you’ve setup your login information you can login to the cpanel and actually get your site going.

 

10-cpanel-700

Step 2: Purchase your domain name

A domain name is simply a website address.  For example, the domain name of this site is IncomeSchool.com.  If you were smart and chose BlueHost for your hosting company, you’ll get your domain name for free.  It usually costs $15 if you don’t have a BlueHost account.

I highly recommend not choosing a .net or a .org or .biz website address.  It’s tough to build a following for a website if you can’t get people to remember the website address.  Stick with a professional .com domain name even if you have to pick one that is a few words long.

The real trouble is finding a domain name that is actually available.  To check if the domain name you’re thinking of is available, go to the BlueHost home page and click “Get Started”.  That will take you to a page that allows you to check if the domain name you want is available.  If you have trouble finding a domain name that isn’t already taken, then check out this page that I made for you to think of creative site names.

Step 3: Install WordPress on your hosting

This part is totally free.  Each hosting company does this a bit differently, but don’t worry.  I’m going to walk you through this step-by-step and you’ll see it’s actually not tough even if you’ve never done this before.  Some companies make you actually create your own database and other such nonsense, which can be really challenging.

Fortunately, many companies (like BlueHost) have a one-click install for WordPress, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty with the technical junk.

Once you have your BlueHost account, just log in to the control panel (cPanel) and click “Install WordPress”.  It’s in the “website” section in the middle of the page.  Start brand new install.  11-wordpress-700

Select your domain (without the “www” if that’s one of the options) and click Check site.  Now go to advanced options and change your username and password to something you can remember and click Install Now.
12-install-wp-400

You’re done!  Wordpress is on your site.  I bet you never thought when you woke up this morning that you’d have a professional site live on the Internet before you went to sleep!

If you had any trouble with this step at all, just call Bluehost customer support and ask them to install WordPress for you.  They are really helpful and could do this for you in 5 minutes.

Step 4: Start using WordPress

To make changes to your website, just go to yourwebsite.com/wp-admin (but obviously change “yourwebsite” to the domain name you got).  That’s where you’ll type in the username and password that you just created.  This makes it so only you can make changes to your site, but anyone can visit your website.  Here’s what that login screen looks like.

17-wordpress-login-350

Now that you’ve logged in, you can start working on your site from the WordPress dashboard.  From here, you can create blog posts, customize the site appearance, create and edit menus, and anything else you can think to do on your website.

18-wordpress-dashboard-680

Step 5: Customize WordPress with a theme

WordPress is powerful because it is a platform that enables you to quickly and easily make changes to your website without messing with the technical stuff.  But just because you’re using a blogging platform doesn’t mean your site has to look ugly.  Not at all!

The design and layout of a WordPress site is called a Theme.  Wordpress comes with a basic theme that actually looks quite nice to begin with, but if you want to customize your site more, you can also buy themes.

It is my recommendation that you either (1) Use the free theme included in WordPress, or (2) Purchase X Theme from Themeco.  I do NOT recommend choosing a theme from any other company if this is your first site.  When I started my first site, I used a cheap theme that I bought for $15.  It looked great and worked well–for a while.  Then it ended up causing ALL KINDS of problems and giving me TONS of errors and I didn’t have the expertise to fix them at the time.

Over the years I’ve tried themes from many companies and I can confidently say that your first site should be on either X Theme.  You won’t have any problems and their themes are extremely simple to use.

So now you’re left with a decision.  Stick with the default theme that comes with WordPress, or go get X Theme.  I personally think design is important, so if you have the money–it’s money well spent.  But if you’re still eating cold fish sticks and just don’t have the money to invest, then don’t feel like you have to have a premium theme for your site to be successful.  You don’t.

Let’s move on.

Now focus all your attention on the little button below and let’s get you one step closer to a life that includes a decent income.

Start Step 3

Comments

  1. Hi Jim or Ricky,
    Some years ago it was important to have a .com domain name. Today with the addition of so many new top level domains is it still as import to come up with a .com domain? Would using a .info, .net, .site or similar TLD be detrimental to a site? Also, is it better to use whole (short) words in the domain name versus using a bunch of letters? For example, would e2bhealthy.com be a good choice if eattobehealthy.com was not available?

    Thanks,
    Rob

    1. Hi Rob,
      While it may not be as important as it once was, we definitely still prefer .com domains. I don’t know that using another top level domain is really detrimental to a site per se, but I do still get the impression that people give more authority (even subconsciously) to .com sites over others. We also see the mistake that people make of using localized domains like .ca or .uk for blogs and niche sites that really should have a global audience.
      We usually like short words in domains, or at least one good keyword that has to do with your site topic. However, I don’t see a problem with using letters and numbers to represent some words to help keep the domain short and simple. Your example of e2bhealthy.com is probably a great choice, especially if the full-word domain is taken.
      Great question!
      Ricky

  2. Hi Jim, your work feels like an answer to my prayers. Thank you for all your help and as soon as I have the money I am starting your course. I’m a full time mom with a 1 1/2 year old. Had to move back home and I living separate to my husband because his income could not support living accommodations for us all. I really want to help support us which has brought to the blogging world. I have so many creative ideas but completely new to working online. I’ve so far created a website on Wix. Do you have any issues with this provider? I’ve found it amazing and easy to use so I’m hoping it will provide me with the same as a WordPress site would. Many thanks

    1. Hi Olympia,

      I’m really glad you found us and that we have this opportunity to help you. Financial freedom for you and others is our goal with Income School.

      As far as Wix goes, I’ll give you my take. Wix makes building a website super easy. The cost of a Wix website seems fairly in-line with a WordPress site depending on what you do with your site and whether or not you’re willing to live with ads on your site. Both options can be very inexpensive, but can turn very expensive depending on what you do with them. That said, in order to have a site without Wix ads you’re going to be paying over $8 per month which is $96 per year. The cost of a domain and hosting through Bluehost (which is who we recommend you use for a wordpress site) is currently only $5 per month. We will recommend that you buy a good theme for WordPress but the one we recommend has a one-time cost of $65. So in the long run, a WordPress site will probably cost you a little less if you don’t want Wix ads on your site, which would be my preference.

      The one downside I see with Wix, particularly for blog sites, is that their blogging platform is really basic. WordPress was basically built around blogging which makes it a lot more powerful from that perspective. Also, as far as our course goes, we’re going to be giving instructions specific to WordPress sites. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use what we teach on a Wix site. You definitely can. The most important and valuable parts of Niche Site School are the instructions about content, which applies no matter what platform you use. But from a support standpoint, we won’t be able to offer as much support for a Wix site as we can for WordPress.

      There are other pros and cons and I would definitely recommend you do some research. Some people love Wix and others won’t touch it. Some people say that Wix doesn’t do as well on Google searches, whereas others say it does as well as anyone. I don’t know the answer to that and need to do some research myself. Wix is very easy to setup and make look nice using their templates. But if you decide later to change your template, you do run the risk of losing your content. So if you go with Wix, make sure you have your content backed up somewhere and that before you change your template, research how to do that properly so you minimize your loss.

      Most of this is based off of my limited experience with Wix so again, I recommend you research it as well. One of these days I’ll have to do a full side-by-side comparison of the top web-building platforms. Until then, though, our recommendation is WordPress for blog sites. It’s what we know well and what we are best at teaching. We know it works well and can teach you the ins and outs.

      I hope this helps!

      Ricky

  3. When signing up to Blue Host as a beginner do I need any of the following extras?
    Thanks
    Alistair

    Domain Privacy Protection – $0.83 per month (Billed annually at $9.99/yr, anotherweddingphotographer.com)
    More information
    Site Backup Pro – $1.67 per month (Billed to end of hosting term)
    More information
    SiteLock Domain Security – $1.67 per month (Billed annually at $19.99/yr)
    More information
    Search Engine Jumpstart – $1.25 per month (Billed annually at $14.99/yr)
    More information
    Google Apps for Work – $5 per month (Billed annually at $60/yr)
    More information

  4. Hey Jim! Thanks for everything you are doing! I love both of your podcasts and all of the info you are giving. I’m trying to follow the steps and find a WooThemes theme, but cannot find WooThemes in the MojoMarketPlace. It keeps telling me there’s nothing matching my search. Do you have any advice? I went with BlueHost as recommended…
    Thanks in advance!

  5. Hi Jim, I’m an avid archer/bowhunter/teacher. A couple months ago, before I even heard of you, I started a BlogSpot archery blog to help my students. Recently a friend turned me onto Income School, and last week I trashed my old blog and started a new one with WordPress. I don’t know very much about making websites, but the WordPress was easy enough to start.

    So, my only question is: What’s the easiest way to add a direct email link to my WordPress site?

    Thanks!

  6. Hi Kin, what do you think about ProPhoto themes ???
    I currently have a Smugmug site, but its not ranking at all on google !! So, another wedding photographer recommend me to buy a Prophoto site with wordpress. What do you think ?
    Thanks, and by the way I love your new project Incomeschool. Its what was missing in Improve photography.

  7. Jim,

    First of all, great information and thanks so much for the inspiration and sharing your wealth of knowledge. I’ve been wanting to start a blog and eventually turn it into a business for years but never knew the steps to take. I finally got started.

    However, just as a warning to people that are going to take the advice and start by using BlueHost. The $4.95 a month is correct, although what they don’t tell you is they charge you for 36 months up front and don’t tell you until you look at the receipt AFTER the purchase. I called customer service after I made this discovery and they offered to credit back 24 of those months and just pay 12 months up front, but then the fee is $6.95/month. So if your not careful you could have almost a $200 charge on your account before you know it if you buy any add-ons. With that said, I still like BlueHost and I think its a good company but they need to make it very clear that you don’t pay monthly.

    Anyway, just thought I’d share.

    Thanks again for the information Jim!

    1. Torrey,

      I took a look at the site and I noticed that as well. What about the other items they offer? For example, Site Backup Pro, SiteLock Domain Security, & Domain Privacy Protection costs. Are those things that are needed to start?

  8. I would like to know what you think about woothemes free themes? Also, I am working on getting my site up and running and I chose the free wordpress theme twenty fourteen to begin with. After getting my info transferred from my blog, I don’t really like the look of it. Is it difficult to switch it to another theme from woothemes? I have very little experience with this and am learning as I go! I have been following your step by step, which is extremely helpful by the way and gave me the push I needed to move on this!

    1. Author

      @Tina – Switching themes is a matter of 2 minutes of work. Very quick and simple. You’ll have to adjust things on your site to work with the new theme, but switching is simple, and you can always go back easily too.

      I haven’t tried the free themes from WooThemes, so I can’t speak much to them. Sorry.

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