Welcome to my How To Set Up A Website & Blog Tutorial. It is a straightforward step by step guide that will show you exactly what to do.
I will make it as short as possible and use some metaphors to help you get a picture of the foundational terms. Let’s start by saying your blog will be your “house” in the digital space called “internet”.
Following this analogy:
- Blog System / Content Management System -> the foundation and framework of your house (WordPress)
- Blog Theme -> the house front and interior respectively the look & feel (Divi)
- Blog Plugin -> additional/special features of your house (Social Warfare Pro)
- Web Space -> ground on which your house is built (basically a hard drive like one in your computer where your blog software and data is stored and which is accessible through the internet)
- Host -> owner of the ground (Siteground)
- Domain -> your post address (basically what you enter into your browser to reach your website/blog)
With these basic terms explained here comes an overview of the steps to get your own blog online:
- Register a paid plan with the host Siteground to get your web space (“ground”) & domain (“post address”)
- Install “Wordpress” as your blog system (“foundation and framework”) on your web space
- Get the “Divi” theme (“house front and interior”)
- Install the “Divi” theme (“house front and interior”)
- Configure your blog and theme
- Install and configure additional plugins (“additional/special features of your house”)
STEP 1. Get your web space (“ground”)
The first step is to register a paid plan with your host to get your web space and a domain.
- well-known and established host for WordPress (and other) blogs
- affordable beginner plans
- higher speed compared to most other hosts/plans in the same price segment
- good support (24/7 availability)
- automated, quick & easy WordPress installation
To start go to Siteground.
Select a hosting plan that fits your needs. As an absolute beginner I recommend starting with the Start Up plan. When your blog grows and you get more and more visitors there might be a point in time where you want to upgrade your plan. You can always upgrade along the way.
To continue click the “GET PLAN” button on the plan you want. On the next screen, you can choose to either register a new domain (“post address”) with Siteground or enter an existing one.
STEP 2. Register your domain (“post address”)
After clicking the Get Plan button you can register your domain with Siteground, too.
Your full domain name www. yourDomainName . com later will consist of three parts:
- www -> you have no option here though your blog will be available by www. yourdomainname . com or just yourdomainname . com (by the way: these are NOT case sensitive, so something like www . YOURDOMAINNAME . com would work, too)
- yourdomainname -> the name you choose for your blog/site
- com -> this is called “top-level domain”
The difficult part is to find a good name that is not yet taken. The name should be: short, simple, reflect what you are offering.
My general advice is:
- just brainstorm names for your blog for a set time (e.G. 20 minutes)
- go through your list and see if any of your names meet all criteria YOU think are important
- if not: go with your gut feeling
So now you have a name. Next decision to make: which top-level domain? I recommend to go with a “com” top-level domain, but if your name is taken with a “com” ending, then try out “co”.
If your name is taken with “co”, too, then perhaps it is possible to create a still good and available name variant by adding generic words to the name like “the”, “first” or “now”. Siteground’s domain availability check tool offers some alternatives if your name is taken:
And of course, you can still think of and try out another name.
Why no other ending than “com” or “co”?
You can choose another ending, but be careful: Over the last decade a lot of new top-level domains have been introduced, so by not there are over 1500 top-level domains (though some are not available for everyone).
However: Google mentioned in the past that the top-level domain will not affect how a site ranks within Google’s search results.
But it might affect the perception of your site. Some endings are perceived by more people as shady or just unprofessional. Either because many shady sites are registering with these endings or simply because many people are not familiar with many of the new endings, yet.
Also, some endings are connected to countries respectively languages (e. G. “de” for German), types of institutions (e. G. “org” for non-profit organizations), or topics (e. G. “io” which stands officially for “Indian Ocean” but is now a popular top-level domain used by many tech startups).
Back to the action: as soon as you find an available name that suits you comes the next step, which is order review and completion:
Just fill in your data.
In the “Purchase Information” section: If you do not have a data center in the US preselected (as in the screenshot), I recommend to choose one in the US from the dropdown if your audience likely will be mainly from the US.
Domain Registration checkmark will be preselected if you chose to register a new domain with Siteground in the previous step.
The “SG Site Scanner” is optional. I think it is not necessary. Therefore I did not choose it myself and can not give you an impression of it how it would look like / work exactly.
And that’s it!
Now you have your webspace (“ground”) and domain (“post address”) and it is time to start the construction works:
Installing WordPress (“foundation and framework”).
Don’t be afraid, today it is easier than ever and I guide you through the process in the next step.
STEP 3. Install WordPress as your blog system (“foundation and framework”) on your webspace (“ground”)
To install WordPress open Siteground and log in:
Then click on the “My Accounts” tab and inside on the orange / reddish “Go to cPanel” button:
The cPanel area is where a lot of the technical settings concerning your webspace can be configured. First time I saw all the options I got overwhelmed.
The good news is: to get your blog up and running you actually only need the WordPress Autoinstaller.
Later you might want to come back for specific tasks like a setup of an email address (e. G. yourname @ yourblog . com and/or hello @ yourblog . com).
To continue click the “WordPress” button inside the “AUTOINSTALLERS” section:
This will lead you to the Autoinstaller section:
Click “Install Now” and a WordPress installation form opens:
Most default options are fine. However, consider changing the following ones:
- “Choose Protocol” -> change either to https:// or https:// www. Depending on if you want your blog visitors to see “https:// yourblog . com” or “https:// www . yourblog . com” in their browser’s url bar. By choosing https your blog can be accessed in a more secure way (https = “secure” http). In today’s age, this is even SEO relevant (= relevant for your blog ranking on search engines like Google). If you get a warning if choosing https, then go with http:// or http:// www. for now. You can switch later to https by installing a security certificate, which is easier to do than it sounds using the cPanel, and switch your blog to https.
- “Site Name” -> The name for your blog. For lillaliptak.com it is “Lilla Liptak”.
- “Site Description” -> the description of your blog. For lillaliptak.com it is “Online Marketing”.
- “Admin Username” + “Admin Password” -> you will soon use these to log in to your WordPress backend. Thus consider changing at least the name so you can better remember it. Could be your full name without spaces. Since you will need the name and password in a bit remember it or write it down somewhere safe.
- “Admin Email” -> add an email address you can access. This can be changed later if required. It will be used by WordPress to send you important notifications like a completed auto-update.
- You do not need any of the offered plugins below the “Select Plugin(s)” section -> You can install them any time later if you want. If any plugin is preselected I recommend removing the selection.
- “WordPress Starter” -> deselect this option. It provides a WordPress wizard by Siteground the first time you log in to your WordPress backend. However, you will not need it.
If you are done just click “install”. An installation bar will appear. Wait for the installation to be finished until the success message appears:
The message will contain 2 links:
- The link to your blog’s homepage
- The link to your blog’s WordPress backend, ending with “/wp-admin”
Create a bookmark for each.
Check out your blog’s homepage first.
It will look something like this:
Next login to your WordPress backend: follow the link ending with “/wp-admin”.
A login page appears. To log in using the name and password you chose during the installation.
At first, you will see your WordPress “Dashboard” which is like the homepage of your backend:
The left sidebar is the main navigation inside your backend. From here you can reach areas to install a theme (Appearance -> Themes), install plugins (Plugins -> Add New), or just configure your blog (Settings).
Your theme and plugins might add new menu entries like the “SG Optimizer” plugin which is preinstalled on Siteground WordPress installations.
You will come back here later when installing your theme.
But for now: Congratulations: you have successfully installed WordPress!
Next step: get your blog theme (Divi).
STEP 4: Get the “Divi” theme (“house front and interior”)
There are as many themes as stars in the sky. The quality of the themes varies greatly and while some themes are “multi-purpose”, some have very specific use cases.
Here is a summary of why I recommend Divi and think you can not go wrong with it:
- It is multi-purpose and very flexible
- “Divi-Builder” provides a quite easy way to create designs for your posts and pages according to your wishes and needs
- Many beautiful and easy to use premade layouts for posts and pages
- A lot of elements ready to use (e. G. image slider, countdown timer, pricing table)
- Updated regularly
- Great support (quick and helpful)
- Great documentation by Divi creators “Elegant Themes” and a lot of other helpful resources by other people out
- Possibility to buy a license version with a one-time fee for lifetime support and unlimited sites
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Get the theme here: https://lillaliptak.com/go/divi
The license options you have are simple and only differ in the payment model.
Either go with a yearly fee (“Yearly Access”) or pay a higher one-time fee (“Lifetime Access”):
Both got the same functionality.
Therefore if you can imagine using Divi for more than 2 and a three-quarter year then I would go with the “Lifetime Access”. If you aren’t sure yet you can always upgrade later.
Click “Sign Up Today!”, fill in your information, and submit the order.
You now have WordPress installed and a theme in your pocket!
Time to install and use it. I will show you how to in the next step.
STEP 5: Install the “Divi” theme (“house front and interior”)
After you have bought a Divi license in the last step now you can install the theme.
Divi itself offers an installation guide.
The first thing to do is to download the theme:
- Sign in to the Elegant Themes member’s area with your username and password which you chose when buying either the “Yearly Access” or the “Lifetime Access” license
- Go to the “Downloads” area using the side navigation (if not already selected). Click the Divi “Download” button and save the zip file somewhere on your computer:
- Now is the time to log in again to your WordPress backend (which is the link to your blog with the “/wp-admin” at the end). Hover over “Appearance” in the left sidebar and click on “Themes”. Then click the “Add New” button:
- Next click the “Upload Theme” button:
- Then click on the “Choose File” button and choose the Divi zip file you saved on your computer:
- Afterward, the “Install Now” button is no longer grayed out. Whenever you are ready: click it!
- After you clicked it might appear as if nothing happens. But the browser tab will show a loading symbol and it takes some time until the installation is complete. Just relax and wait until you see the following screen and then click “Activate”:
- Now the Divi theme is activated. To activate Dive theme updates hover over the new “Divi” button inside the sidebar and click on “Theme Options” within the hover menu:
- The theme options contain different sections to configure your theme. For now, click on “Updates”:
- Now you need to enter your API key (don’t worry about what that means exactly – in essence, it is a unique code representing “you” respectively your Divi purchase) and your Elegant Themes username:
- The username is the same you use to login to Elegant Theme’s member area. Within the member area is a page where you can see your api key:
- Enter both and click “Save Changes”. Now hover over “My Blog” in the top navigation bar and click “Visit Site” to open your blog. You should see the default Divi homepage: Just to clarify: the top bar with buttons like “My Blog” will not be visible to any visitor – you just see it because you are logged in into your WordPress.
You now have Divi installed and activated on your new blog!
There are many WordPress and Divi settings to configure and before you get lost in all the options continue with the next step where I show you the most important settings to start with.
STEP 6: Configure your blog (“foundation and framework”) and theme (“house front and interior”)
There are many WordPress and Divi settings available to configure to your whims and needs – too much to cover them all in this step.
However the documentation can overwhelm in the beginning and in the case of settings barely offer guidance on which settings are more important than others, especially when starting a blog.
While some settings are relevant only for a few blog owners, others are important no matter what your site is about and contains.
In this step, I will show you the options and settings I recommend to start with.
Here is a quick overview of what you can expect:
- WordPress settings
- Divi settings
So let’s start with the WordPress settings:
Set your blog title and tagline
Hover over “Settings” in the sidebar and click “General”. Then add your site title and tagline:
Ensure that search engines are not discouraged to index your blog
Hover over “Settings” in the sidebar and click “Reading”. Make sure the checkbox “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is unchecked:
Otherwise, most search engines like Google or Bing will not list your blog within their search results.
Add your social media profiles to your blog OR disable all / the ones you do not need
If you are still in the “Theme Customizer” close it by clicking on the “x” in the top left corner:
By default already some social media icons are visible in the footer of your new blog but they do not link anywhere:
To add links to your social media profiles or remove any of the icons hover over “Divi” in the sidebar and then click “Theme Options”.
Within the theme options scroll down until you see on/off switches and the fields where you can enter links to your social media profiles:
Just use the switches and add links as you like and click the “Save Changes” at the top of the theme options.
STEP 7: Start blogging & making money
Congratulations you did it!
Your blogging adventure has started and you reached your first great milestone:
You now have a functioning blog that you can fill with content and build up from here!
Here is an outline of possible next steps:
- Create your essential pages – homepage, about me page
- Create your first posts
- Install basic plugins for:
- search engine optimization (to optimize your blog in ways that it gets ranked higher in search engines)
- blog analytics (to track things like how many people view your pages, how long they stay, and how they got to your blog)
- improved social media support (especially share buttons)
And from there start growing and monetizing your blog!
I can teach you all of this in my upcoming online program. Get on the waitlist here!