In the last post in my passive income series, I went over how to get ideas for a niche website. In this post, I want to discuss how to set up a website step by step from scratch. In order to set up a website, you will need a host (most of whom cost under $7 per month). I use Hostgator for all of my websites, so I will be relating this from the point of view of that company’s perspective user. I will take you through the domain buying process, selecting a plan that works for you, how to set up WordPress, and any other incidentals that I come across so that you can set up a website and get to work quickly.
Choosing a Domain Name
This is the most important step of this process, after choosing the niche you intend to tackle. I’m not going to go into detail about choosing a domain name in this post, however, this is something you need to strongly consider before moving ahead.
If you are creating a website solely for affiliate (money making) purposes then the ideal is to use the keyword in your title. For instance, if you are creating a website about swimming goggles, then the website should have some variation of ‘best swimming goggles’, ‘top swimming goggles’, or ‘best swimming goggles for (activity) in the title.
If, however, you are creating a personal blog then you will want to consider something that is brandable and memorable. This site, is in the personal development niche, but doesn’t really fit the typical niche site mold. In a case like this, I utilized the word development in my domain name, and somewhat targeted the keyword ‘personal development blog’ but you won’t find me on the first 10 pages of Google for that search. My traffic comes from other sources and the content of my individual blog posts, so for a more personal site the main keyword targeting in the domain name really won’t be all that important.
How to Set Up Your Website
1. Choosing a Hosting Plan
The first step will be to Hostgator’s website and sign up for an account. From there you will need to get a hosting plan that best fits your needs. Hostgator has three options: Hatchling, Baby, and Business.
Hatchling is for those who only plan to host one domain on their servers.
Baby is a few dollars more a month but you can host as many websites as you want.
Business plans come with a few extra perks such as a Private IP address. (ecommerce websites)
I started out with Hatchling but quickly needed to upgrade to the Baby plan because I wanted to create multiple websites and therefore multiple streams of income. It’s well worth the extra money to get yourself a Baby plan because you’ll be able to have an unlimited number of sites and will only have to purchase individual domain names after that.
I recommend using Hostgator because everything has always gone smoothly with them. The one time I had a problem with processing a domain I bought, I used the online help chat and my issue was resolved really quickly and professionally. They didn’t give me any run around or make me wait forever.
2. Choosing a Domain Name (For Keeps this Time)
After you choose your plan, Hostgator will ask you to provide a domain name. Now, you can either register a new domain name through Hostgator (they will tell you if your domain name is available) or if you already own a domain name there is an option for that as well.
Once you have gotten your domain name, Hostgator will ask for your billing info and other payment information (pretty self-explanatory).
3. Hostgator Sends You an Email
After you register your domain name and do all the payment stuff, Hostgator will send you an email with all of your information for your website. THIS IS IMPORTANT INFO (so write it down and save it).
Your control panel link that they send you is what you will type into your browser in order to get access to and set up your site initially.
Your name servers are important because they are what you will need to be pointed properly in order to access your website once it’s up. No one will be able to visit your domain if the name servers aren’t correctly pointed. If you registered your domain with Hostgator they should be pointed correctly, if you bought a domain from somewhere else or it’s screwed up for some reason then read this information: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/hosting-guide/lets-get-started/dns-name-servers/what-are-my-name-servers
4. Go to the CPanel
Using the link that Hostgator send you, sign into your Control Panel using your name and password.
The CPanel will have a whole lot of options and things that you can explore later. For now, scroll down to the section entitled Software/Services and click on Fantastico Deluxe (the one with the smiley logo).
5. Fantastico Deluxe
In Fantastico Deluxe, we will be installing WordPress for our website. WordPress is really simple to use and highly customizable with widgets and plenty of support to help you out.
On the left hand side of Fantastico under the section called Blogs, click on the WordPress option. Once the new page loads, click on where it says “New Installations”.
On the next screen, choose your new domain from the drop down menu, this will be the site you install WordPress on. Leave the field called “Install in Directory” blank. Then fill out the rest of the information as required. Click on install WordPress.
6. Accessing Your Site
WordPress is now installed on your site. In order to access and begin work on your website type the following into your internet browser:
So for instance, if you registered the domain name as booblestooble(dot)com then each time you want to edit the site or add new information you’d log in at:
You are now ready to begin work on your website. By default WordPress will give you a template that your blog will use until you change it. You can upload a free template to your site or buy one that has all the bells and whistles a regular website will have.
I will go further into customization and what kind of widgets your WordPress site will have but this should get you started with at least setting up the website and the whole registration process.
Further posts in this series:
Finding Niche Website Ideas
How to Make Money with a Niche Website
How to Create Passive Income Online