Setting up a Website, decisions, decisions, decisions

Setting up a website

One thing that has surprised me since starting this is the response I have received from friends, family and co workers that I have shown the website to. Many have asked: “how did you do that” and “Will you show me”. So even though I am a new at this I am going to create this post to show you exactly what I did and my reasoning for it the different choices I made while it is still fresh on my mind. Also, I intend to create a page later and add to it as things come up. Have no fear you do not need to know programming or anything that technical. It really was as easy as a few clicks. So far the costs have been reasonable. I believe coming up with content and the discipline to continue to update is where the difficulty comes in. I will say I am hooked though!

Choose a Content Management System (CMS)

One of the first things you will need to do is choose a Content Management System (CMS).  A CMS is a software platform that is used to create, store and deploy the content of your website. There are several CMS’s to choose from but by far WordPress is the most popular and is used widespread. WordPress is easy to use and customize. There are a lot of plugins made especially for WordPress. Plugins are special programs that will allow your website to have special features. I had experience with WordPress a few years back and I stayed with it.

Choosing a site will need a name

You will need to put some thought into the name you choose as you will not be able to change it. There are some things to consider before you decide.

It should be catchy, target your desired visitor, and have some clue as to your websites purpose.

The name should short – no more than 3 or 4 words. It is not a good idea to use dashes or numbers.

Namesmesh is a good site to help come up with different variations of a name if the one you want is already taken.

The name of your website will need to be registered.  Most if not all hosting companies will take care of this for a charge.

You can see if the name you want is available here:

Decide if you will go with a hosting company or with a free site. 

Along with the name you will need to decide if you will go with a hosting company or with a free site company. I know free sounds great, but free is not always best. The free sites are actually subdomains of the WordPress.com site. When you choose a hosting provider you register your name and it is yours. Don’t let all this get you concerned – it really is easy.

For example, if you decided on the website name of MyFabulousSuperSite.com a free WordPress site address would look like:

MyFabuIousSuperSite.wordpress.com

If you host your site with a provider your web address would look like:

MyFabulousSuperSite.com

The .com is a Top Level Domain (TLD). There are other TLDs such as .net, .org and .edu.  It is safe to say .com is most recognized. If you already have to have a certain name you do not want to change,  you should also check other TDLs to see if they are open.

I chose to go with a hosting company but if you would rather try the free site out first here is a line to complete it. You will create an account at www.Wordpress.com.

NOTE: there are other TLD sites that offer free subdomains besides WordPress.com. However, I am familiar with WordPress.com.  WordPress.com offers the website location on their servers.  WordPress.org provides the software used in powering the websites you see on the web.  I know it can be confusing but they are two different things.

Some of the drawbacks I found to having a free site is you do not have control of the ads that appear on your site. You will not be able to monetize it if that is a goal you would like to do in the future. However if you want to keep it private and only invite people you know, it is a good way to go.

Other sites that offer free websites: Weebly.com and Squarespace.com.

Choosing a hosting provider

I decided to go with Bluehost for my hosting. I did not look deep into the different hosting providers. With Bluehost the price was right at $3.95 per month for 36 months. The registration for the domain name is free. They have 24/7 online support. However, the ease of the one click WordPress install was the main reason I chose them.   I also signed up with them to be an affiliate. Please look at the disclaimer on the side bar.

To start click here:


Click GET STARTED and you will be see the page with the different packages. I chose Basic at 3.95 for 36 months as it is cheaper for the longer period of time. I now wish I had gone ahead and chosen the 5.95 Plus Plan, I may look into updating it.  Remember the site registration is free also.

On the” Sign up now page” – Type the name of the site you would like to use under new domain. Please double and triple check the name. Then Click next

On the next page you will create your account. Scroll down and you will see the choices for the package information.

There is a drop down box for the different time frames and prices.
I also chose the additional option of the DOMAIN PRIVACY PROTECTION –this hides the domain registrant’s personal information from the public.

Click SUBMIT

Now you are ready to setup your website – GO!

First you will need to login to your bluehost.com account.

Select Hosting Login – Type your domain and password Click SUBMIT.

On the right side of the page choose CONTROL PANEL.

You will see a lot of different thumbnail icons. Under the website section choose INSTALL WORDPRESS.

The WordPress software will begin installing on your website.

Your website will come with a free theme. There are many free themes. You do not have to stay with the one that it defaults too.

I chose to go with a professional theme from Themeweaver.com. There are thousands of themes available. Look around, find one you like and will fit your needs.

These are plugins I downloaded and activated.  Plugins are special program code that helps your website perform better.

Yoast SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Jetpack by WordPress.com

I believe there are more I will need but these are the ones I started with.

My additional two cents

I have enjoyed putting this website up and will enjoy updating our travels as we go.  It really gives me one more reason to make me want to start going NOW, not that I need any additional reasons.  We do have a small weekend trip coming up in August to the Galveston Texas State Park.

Also, Preventative maintenance on the onboard Onan 4000 Generator on the motorhome is on the horizon.  Yes, yours truly is going to attempt to do it.  It is important to me to understand and know how to do what needs to be done.  I went on a couple of trips by myself just to prove to myself I could do it.  I also want to upgrade to a better camera and learn how to use it.  Stay tuned.

I would love to hear some feedback!

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One Comment

  1. Elaine says:

    Michelle you’ve done an excellent job of explaining this. One day maybe I can fly to your different locations since I can’t travel for many hours without being able to move around every few hours. Miss you lots
    Elaine

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