When you begin your blog, you are setting out on a journey. You are embarking on an adventure that will challenge both your authorship skills and your technical skills. I would say that the chances are that your abilities will excel a little more in one of the disciplines than the other … and you will be only too aware of the one that you think is your weakest.
If you think you need it, guidance is available elsewhere on this site to help you develop your subject matter expertise and authorship skills … and also over at the Blogging Beginner.
I have been using IONOS for a long time, so i know how it works.
I am writing with WordPress, which I think is fairly straightforward and easy to use. I am sure there are going to be complications later on as I try and do more complex stuff … but as a beginner, I have no complaints. This article is part of a step-by-step guide to starting with nothing more than an idea and finishing up with a website that you can visit and interact with.
Let’s just go over very quickly what you should have completed by now. Then you can start … by hitting the GreenButton.
Building your Blog – recap
There is a 7-point plan for building any website. This article is one of the parts of that plan.
- Find yourself a niche.
- Choose a platform for your Website.
- Pick yourself a Web Host.
- Choose yourself a Domain Name … and register it.
- Build and customise your site.
- Write and publish your first post.
It must be true, I’ve seen it written on a whiteboard.
This article relates to Point 5 – building and customising your site. You’ve done the research, you know what you want to do … now it’s time to get on and do it.
Anyway … quickly stepping through the first four points.
The first thing you are going to need to do is decide on your niche.
I am assuming that you have done this bit … if not, head off back to the 7-point plan and have a think. If you’re still not sure what you want to write about, here are some ideas that will help to get you started.
The second thing for you to decide on is the Website Building Software you are going to use. For the purpose of this article, we are assuming WordPress, but there are alternatives.
Once you have the right idea, you have decided on the software you’re going to use and you’ve settled on a Web Host – that’s decision number three – it’s time to reserve your domain name. Again, there are other web hosts you might want to consider, but for the here and now, we are going to be using IONOS.
Need some help choosing your Domain Name?
Take your time. It’s your identity.
It is possible to change your domain name if you decide in the future that you might have made the wrong choice, but choose carefully and you won’t need to.
Once you have chosen your preferred domain name, check that no one else is using it. You can check on its availability by clicking the image below. If you are happy and it’s available, you might want to go ahead and reserve your Domain Name now. There is nothing wrong with doing that now but if there are any special offers associated with the web hosting, you might miss out on them.
I use IONOS and I have done so since 2002, originally for email services but now also for website development and hosting. This site has been developed using WordPress and is hosted by IONOS, but there are alternatives.
Press the GreenButton to get started
In this section, we are going to sign up for some web hosting with IONOS, and then we can register our domain. Hopefully, the domain we would like will be included in the deal. We are then going to set up the WordPress software application and get as far as the Hello World page.
So, click on the GreenButton and we’ll head over to IONOS to start the ball rolling.
Click on the button to navigate to the Hosting package overview and choose the best hosting package for your needs.
There is no need to get carried away as they all come with a free domain for a year and an SSL certificate. I don’t see any particular advantage in going with anything other than the Business option. There’s more than enough here to support your first website.
Click and you can reserve your domain name.
Assuming that your domain name is available, you will be presented with the Order Review page. It should include the Web Hosting package that you chose, and your domain name order. Once you have confirmed your order – and your domain name reservation is complete – you’re all set and ready to go.
You have just become an IONOS customer and you will now have your own login credentials – you will need them later to manage your environments.
The next step is to install WordPress.
Setting up WordPress on the IONOS Web Host
So … we’re here because we want to install WordPress and we want to do it with IONOS, and we want to do it the easy way. That means we’re going to install the managed service option – more about that later.
Now that you’ve got your domain name, and you have your account with IONOS, it’s time to log in.
Log in to your IONOS account and select the Domains and SSL option for managing your website addresses. You can find it in the Products section of the control panel …
… or by clicking the MENU to the top left of your screen.
Once you have clicked, you’ll see a page listing all of your domains. You may have only one, or you may have several. If you have several, make sure that you choose the right one!
You may see the > Use Your Domain option in the STATUS column. You can click on this option … or you can click on your chosen DOMAIN and you will be magically transported to the control panel specific to that domain, which is hopefully going to look quite a lot like this.
Then … move your mouse over to the Domain Control Panel and click on the > Use Your Domain option on the Destination line.
In both cases, you will end up at the Adjust Destination page.
At the top of the options on the Adjust Destination page, you’ll see the Create Website panel …
… and you can see pretty well where you need to be clicking.
And finally … nearly:
You have options here: you can opt to install WordPress as a managed service or you can opt for non-managed. If you really don’t want to be messing about updating the thing, choose the managed option. I have tried both and I am using both.
This site (https://beginner.beginner.beginner.beginner.beginner.beginner.beginner.beginner.blooger.me) is a managed site, but I also have some others that are not. I’m trying to determine if the price differential is justified (even though it’s not very much). The only difference I can see at the moment is that they are placed in different locations in the Web Host directory.
If you have followed the processes so far, you should end up here … but sometimes it don’t always work like that. So, if you get a bit lost, these are the steps you should be following.
You need to …
- get yourself a domain name and set up your IONOS account
- log in to your IONOS account
- find the WordPress installation button
- check that you are installing the managed service and off you go
You may need to click around for a bit but these bullet points are essentially what you are trying to achieve … a domain name linked to a managed WordPress instance.
Note: all of the above relates to WordPress.org. If you see WordPress.com on your travels, you’re in the wrong place.
Now you’re ready. It’s time to give your website a name, which hopefully you have been thinking about.
Give your Website a Name
At this point, you are going to be asked to provide a name for your new website. This is the name that you want to give to your website … it’s not the domain name. Just to be clear, the domain name and the website name are not the same things; you can change the website name if you want to but the domain name is pretty much fixed.
I guess you could replace the domain name with a new one if that’s what you wanted, but you can’t simply amend the one you’ve got.
And … no one is saying that you can’t make the domain name and the website name the same thing.
Here are some “in your face” examples:
When I began looking, I thought there were more examples but whilst I can find some that use the Top Level Domain in their verbal branding (like moonpig.com), that branding isn’t transferred to the written-down brand (moonpig).
But the idea still stands, and it’s something to think about. Since you’re here, if you need House or Car insurance in the UK, why not click on the link and check out how affiliate marketing works.
What does my new WordPress site look like?
First, you need to type your domain name into your browser. Whilst I have been writing this post, I have been setting up paymentmonkey.net so I have now typed http://paymentmonkey.net into my browser. At the moment, it doesn’t have an SSL certificate, so there is no “s” after “http” and there is no padlock – I’ll sort that out later on.
If you have followed the guidelines so far, you should have at least one allocated SSL certificate. It’s included in your IONOS package. To activate the Green Padlock, on the Domains & SSL page, click on the Red Padlock on your domain and follow the instructions.
You need to do the SSL thing so that your visitors know that you mean business, and it means that your site is secure. More on SSL later but for now, I shall be using paymentmonkey.net as a demonstrator. I don’t yet have the certificate.
Now, assuming that you have managed to follow the directions, you should be seeing something a bit like this.
This is PaymentMonkey.net and it’s live, and this is how WordPress first presents itself to you. This is the default theme – at least it was at the time I set this up. It may look a little different now.
What is a theme? It’s where you first start to give your site its character.
You currently have a virgin website that you can now start to modify.
You have posts and pages to write.
The scary, techy bit is done.
So, at this point you have either …
completed the exercise and you now have a site up and running and ready to roll, in which case you need to be thinking about themes,
you have read the article, understood the article and now you want to get yourself a domain name.