How to Start a Website or Blog in 20 minutes or less
Websites and Blogs
Websites and Blogs are some of the best ways to build a platform for your ministry, your cause, or yourself. Through your website or blog, you can tell people what you do, ask interested people to join you, advertise upcoming events, and raise financial support. You can also simply share your thoughts, feelings, and passions and contribute something to bless and improve the lives of others. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
If you’re just starting, you’re probably overwhelmed with all of the options and you don’t know where to start. That’s where we come in! In this article, we give you step-by-step instructions on how to do one of the best things you’ve ever done – start a website or blog.
What’s the Difference Between a Website and a Blog?
Many people don’t know the difference between a website and a blog and end up choosing the wrong one when establishing an online presence. There are a few key differences between a website and a blog and determining which one is best for you is extremely important before we go much farther. The main difference is found in how information is being presented – the format. Read this post about the difference between a website and a blog to find out more.
We believe that honesty, integrity, and transparency build trust which is essential for any great relationship. As such, we have an important disclosure to make.
Disclosure: At OrphanCareMovement.org, we do not run advertisements, ask for donations, apply for any grants or fundraise in any way. We fund our operations by partnering with a few carefully chosen and veted business affiliate partners whose products add great value to our audience. When you choose to make a purchase by clicking on an affiliate link to a product mentioned on our site, we will earn a small commission that goes to support our work so that we can continue to produce great content to share with you and the world. This commission is paid by the company and comes at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our work in that way.
Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
8 basic steps to starting a website or blog
We’ll cover these sections below. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the entire process.
- Gather your resources
- Decide what your website or blog is going to be about
- Choose a platform
- Set up a hosting account
- Pick a domain name
- Install WordPress
- Choose your theme
- Create your first website page or blog post!
Additional tips –
- Install WordPress plugins
- Make it your own
Step 1: Gather your resources
To start your website or blog, you’ll need:
- An area of focus
- A domain name
- A credit card (to pay for hosting)
- 20 minutes
Step 2: Decide what your website or blog is going to be about
Business, ministry or organization –
- It can be about the services or products you offer
- It can be about the work your ministry is involved in
- It can about the cause you advocate for
- It can be about something you are passionate about
- It can be about something you want to provide a discussion platform for others
- Most importantly, choose a topic that you can establish yourself as an authority
#1 goal: Become the go-to resource for a specific topic
Step 3: Choose a platform
There are many services you can use to start a website or blog. You could use a free service, but keep in mind that you’ll be limited…sometimes A LOT. We encourage you to use a paid-for service. It isn’t expensive and can save you a lot of trouble in the future.
There are many platforms out there, but WordPress is, by far, the most popular. (here’s the proof)
WordPress is flexible, has great functionality, is easy to use and a large community of people who share tools, tips, and ideas. And if you just want a website, not a blog, WordPress makes that easy too.
Tip! WordPress gives you two options:
- Hosted WordPress sites are often referred to as “WordPress.com websites or blogs.”
- Self-hosted WordPress sites are often referred to as “WordPress.org websites or blogs.” (recommended)
This post outlines the steps to start a self-hosted WordPress website or blog.
Step 4: Set up a hosting account
A host is the server space for your site. Basically, this allows others to find your site on the internet. There are thousands of hosting services available. However, we recommend Bluehost. It is the best option for most people for the following reasons:
- Support: Bluehost has great 24–7 support via phone, e-mail, or chat. All of the company’s support staff are located in the U.S.
- Reliability: Bluehost is very reliable. It boasts an uptime average of 99.9%. That’s probably the best you’ll see!
- Ease of Use: Bluehost is easy-to-use. Once you start this, you’ll wonder why you never did this before.
- WordPress: WordPress only officially recommends three hosting services. Bluehost is number one. Over 850,000 WordPress websites or blogs are hosted by Bluehost
- Limitless: Bluehost offers unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains (i.e., you can host multiple blogs or sites on one account), and unlimited e-mail accounts.
- Inexpensive: Bluehost is about $3.95 to $5.95 a month, depending on which plan you choose. The longer you commit, the cheaper it is.
- Values: In its Terms of Service (see Section 10.03, Bluehost prohibits pornography, nudity, and other adult content. It strictly enforces this standard and deletes sites that violate it.) For us, we don’t want our website or blog sitting on the same server as some pornographer. If you feel the same way, then you may be surprised to know that almost all of the popular hosting services allow pornography on their servers.
Tip! Bluehost offers a 30 day money-back guarantee, which is written into their Terms of Service. So if you aren’t satisfied, they’ll happily reimburse you. See, there’s really no risk on your part.
Okay, are you ready? Start by clicking here to go to Bluehost (this link will open in a new window so you can reference these instructions as you work).
Once the page opens, click the green Get Started Now button.
Select your plan
Choose the plan you want to start with. The Plus plan is most popular because you get more features that won’t tap out as quickly. All plans come with one free domain (for one year only) which is good. We’ll cover choosing a domain in a little, so hang in there.
If your budget is rather limiting, go ahead and choose the Basic plan. Bonus: You can upgrade at any time.
Click one of the green “select” buttons to move to the next step.
Step 5: Pick a domain name
A domain is the web address. For example, OrphanCareMovement.com is our domain. Hopefully by now, you’ve decided on a fun and creative domain name. On this screen you’ll either choose a brand new domain or enter your existing domain.
If you don’t already have a domain, enter a new domain name on the left. (See some of our tips for choosing a domain below). Make sure .com or the correct extension of your choice is selected from the drop down menu beside it.
If you’ve already registered a domain name, enter it on the right (This won’t mess things up if you’re using the domain elsewhere, so don’t worry. There’s an additional step that we’ll cover in step 6).
Click the blue Next button.
Tips for choosing a domain name:
- Whenever possible, go with a .com
- Make it easy to say and spell. Try to avoid using z instead of s or other unusual changes
- Don’t include hyphens, numbers, or anything confusing. Remember, you want this to be easy to remember
- If you’re absolutely lost, start with your name
- Be creative and try a phrase
Enter your account info
On the next page, enter your account info. Make sure you use a working email address because this is where your login information will be sent.
Select an account plan
Choose an account based on how far in advance you want to pay. Please note, Bluehost bills one, two or three years at a time, but as you can see, it works out to a very affordable monthly rate.
Should you choose extras?
This is completely up to you. You may want to consider the Domain Privacy Protection, which keeps any personal information private. However, if you are using a business address and don’t mind if it’s visible to people who look up your domain then go ahead and skip this extra. But, if you’re using your personal home address, phone, etc. to register your domain, then perhaps you should consider domain privacy.
Tip! Domain Privacy option only shows up if you registered a new domain above. It will not show up if you used a previously created domain.
You’ll pay the total amount today, but you won’t have to pay again for 12, 24 or 36 months, depending on which account plan you chose.
Enter your billing info
Fill in your billing information, confirm that you’ve read the fine print and then click Submit.
Skip the upgrades
Continue to complete your purchase. If you want upgrades, go ahead, but we normally suggest you skip this.
Check your email for login info
After you complete your purchase, you should find a welcome email from Bluehost with your control panel (CPanel) login info. Keep this information for future reference.
Log in to your Bluehost cpanel
Go back to Bluehost and click the login button in the top right corner of your screen. (Or, you can use the link to your cpanel contained in the welcome email you received above.)
Enter your cpanel login info from the welcome email. Select the “hosting” tab if it’s not selected already.
Step 6: Install WordPress
Once logged into your cpanel, find and click the Install WordPress icon under Website Builders. It might take a couple minutes to load, so be patient.
Begin the WordPress install
You should get a window that looks like this. Click the Install button to begin the WordPress installation.
Choose your domain
Your domain should be the default and already selected from the dropdown menu; if it’s not simply select it. Leave the directory field blank. Click Check Domain.
Enter your WordPress user info
Check the box next to Show advanced options.
- Enter your Site Name or Title (For example: Orphan Care Movement, Kenneth Acha, etc.). This could be the same wording as your domain, but the difference is your domain name ends in .com or .org
- Choose an Admin Username (don’t use “admin” as your username). Choose a password. These will be what you use to login to WordPress once it’s installed.
- Enter your email address (this is where all site information will be sent). Read and agree to the terms. Click the Install Now button.
Keep your WordPress login credentials somewhere safe
After WordPress has been installed, you should see the “Status: success” indication. Jot down the information to access your new WordPress site and store it somewhere safe. This information will also be emailed you.
By now, you have received two welcome emails:
- The login info for your Bluehost hosting account
- The login info for your WordPress account
Keep both in a safe place. Most of the time, you’ll be using your WordPress login information the most.
Did you register a new or existing domain in Step 5?
Tip! If you registered a new domain in Step 5…
You can now type your domain into a browser and your WordPress website or blog site will appear.
Clicking on the Site URL link in your WordPress welcome email will take you to your brand new, live website.
Clicking on the Login URL link will take you to the WordPress login page where you can enter your WordPress username & password and get into the back end of your WordPress site. This is where you will write your pages or posts, see comments, install plugins, etc. You can always access the login page by entering your domain and then “/wp-admin” at the end.
Skip down to Step 7 for next steps.
If you used a previously existing domain in Step 5…
Your previous domain will not display your new site until you change your name servers wherever your domain is currently registered. This change points your domain to this new site.
IMPORTANT! As soon as you change your name servers, your domain will bring visitors to this newly created site. So, if you are currently using your domain on another site, do not change your name servers until your new site is set up and ready to go. In the meantime, you can still access your new WordPress blog via a temporary URL. You may have received one in your welcome email from Bluehost. If you didn’t, simply call BlueHost Support at 1–888–401–4678 and let them know you need a temporary URL for your new site.
To change the name servers where your domain was previously registered, first make sure you know your new Bluehost name server information:
Then, go to the registrar where your previously domain is currently registered (For example: GoDaddy). You will need to enter the above information in the appropriate place. This varies among hosting sites so you may want to call them if it’s not clear.
Whether you registered a new domain or transferred a previous one, you will know you set it up correctly if you can type your domain into any browser and your desired site appears.
Whew! You’re doing great so far! This was the most difficult part of the process. It’s all downhill from here.
Step 7: Choose your theme
The next step is to choose the theme you want for your website or blog. A theme helps you to control the look and feel of your website or blog without needing to hire a coding expert. A good theme allows you to easily design your site exactly how you want it to look.
We have used elegant themes for many years now and a few months ago, we bought their lifetime membership plan because that’s cheaper for us and gives us almost 90 amazing themes. We use their themes on all our websites and blogs – and we have over ten of them.
Install your theme
First, log in to WordPress (remember, an easy way to get to this login page is to enter your domain name and then “/wp-admin” at the end
On the left-hand side of the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes and then click the “Install Themes” tab. Then, click the “Upload” link and then “Choose File,” select your chosen theme and press “Install Now.” Once it’s installed, click “Activate”.
Step 8: Create your first website page or blog post!
- Click on the Pages> Add New option in the left-hand side menu. You should now see the New Page screen. Enter the title of your page, perhaps something like, “Welcome to My
- Now create your first page in the field directly below the title. For your first page, you could start with About Me or Contact Me.
Tip! Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with the key pages first like About Me, Contact, Products, Services, Donate, etc. and then add as you go.
- Now click the Publish button. This literally publishes your page for the world to see. You might see a message that says, “Your site is currently displaying a ‘Coming Soon’ page.
Once you are ready to launch your site click here.” If so, click on the click here link.
- Congratulations! You have just published your first page on your very own website. There are so many things you can do at this point…the options are endless. Jump to Additional Tips below to get you started:
- Click on the Posts > Add New option in the left-hand side menu. You should now see the New Post screen. Enter the title of your post, perhaps something like, “Welcome to My
- Now write your first post in the field directly below the title. For your first post, you could explain why you have started a blog, the topics you will be writing about, and how often you intend to post.
Tip! Don’t overwhelm yourself. Under-promise, but over-deliver.
- Now click the Publish button. This literally publishes your post for the world to see. You might see a message that says, “Your site is currently displaying a ‘Coming Soon’ page.
Once you are ready to launch your site click here.” If so, click on the click here link.
- Congratulations! You have just published your first post on your very own self-hosted WordPress blog. There are so many things you can do at this point…the options are endless. Below are a couple key tips to get you started:
- Plugins. Plugins are third-party additions that add additional functions to your blog. You will want to keep the number of plugins to a minimum and install only the best plugins. (If you have too many plugins they can slow down your site.) Most plugins are free, with the option to upgrade for a fee. You can search popular plugins such as subscription forms, MailChimp, Jetpack, SEO, Analytics, etc. to discover which ones fit into what you’re looking for.
- In your WordPress dashboard go to Plugins > Add New and search for, install, and activate your desired plugins one by one
- Make it your own. This is where the fun really begins. Now that you have your own website or blog, you get to make it yours. This your chance to turn your vision into a reality.
- Experiment with various colors and themes.
- Add a section about you and include a professional-looking photo of yourself.
- Spice up your pages or posts with high-quality stock photos.
- Create a basic logo using a program like InDesign or Photoshop or a text editor.
- Determine whether or not you want comments on your blog.
- Establish a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ (or all three).
- Keep discovering until you find the right look.
- And, of course, start writing new blog posts regularly and publish them.
We hope you have loads of fun with your new website or blog. It certainly will be a huge growth experience for you during the few months. Don’t get frustrated, don’t give up, and enjoy yourself.