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build your blog

step 3: setup

by JuliannaKunstler.com

How to start a blog from scratch. Setting up for beginners. Step-by-step tutorials. Free to use. Using WordPress platform.

Time to give your idea a name and a home.

This tutorial is geared towards setting up a WordPress blog.

Finding a domain name and a hosting provider - is an important step. In this tutorial I will suggest you some providers, but you can explore them on your own - I won't feel bad about it! :)

  • what are your goals?
  • what is your budget?
  • what functionality you want for your site?

in this section:

  • get your domain name
  • find a host for your site
  • set up WordPress to power the site

domain name

assign domain name to your site

A domain name is just the address people type in the browser search bar, like “juliannakunstler.com”.

There's a wide range of domain name extensions available, including .com, .org, .net, .info, and many more.

.com is considered the best, but also the most popular so be aware that your preferred .com name may be registered already.

I recommend you get the .com if you can, as it’s easiest for most people to remember, but it’s OK to get an ending like .net or .co if your first choice isn’t available.

It also depends on your budget. Some domain names can be very expensive. Consider modifying and tweaking it a little.

domain name

Your name should be something that represents you and your area of interest.

•    Keep the name short. The maximum length for domain names is 63 characters, but do not plan on using them all.

•    Make it memorable. Try to stay away from awkward phrases or special characters, numbers, or symbols. A good way to check the name is to try to tell it somebody over the phone. If they got it - then great!

And really, do not invest your time into free domains. It does not look professional at all!

You can buy your domain name, site hosting and platform all in one place. Or you can different providers for these steps. Most hosting companies allow you to buy a name and hosting as a package, they might even give you a good deal on that.

check domain name availability

Check name availability here:


Type a domain name you want for the blog and click the Search button.

domain availability

Hopefully, your dream domain name is available!

If the name is already taken, try to modify it until you find something unique.

Once you decide on your domain name and have checked on its availability, you have two options:

  • option 1:
    buy the domain name right away to make sure you own it (you might get a better price for domain, but you will have to transfer it to a hosting company that you choose)

    Please note:

    You will need to wait 60 days before you can transfer a domain name between your domain name registrar and hosting provider. Or you can "point" to your domain using Domain mapping.

  • option 2:
    use this name and register it later with a hosting provider so you have your hosting and domain registration all in one place (you might save on the domain-hosting bundle if the hosting provider has this option, you will pay the bill in one place)

I, personally, use option 2.


choose hosting and platform for your site

Hosting is your site's home.

This is where you keep all files for the site.

This is also a place you call if you have any issues. So custom service is an important part of what the provider provides for you. Check customer service ratings and how much technical support they offer.

You can choose a hosting provider that will fit your goals:

  • Option 1:
    Most providers offer WordPress platform for you to build your blog. I use Network Solutions for my web needs. You can search for a hosting provider that fits your needs. Compare rates and offers that hosting companies offer. Here is a link to the list of providers that are recommended by WordPress:
  • Option 2:
    You can also stay with WordPress alone and use their platform as your hosting provider, domain name registration place, and the building platform. (See steps below)
hosting plans to start your web site

Hosting providers offer different packages to host your site.

If you are just starting and need time to get familiar with how everything works - you can save some money by starting on a small scale.

Keep in mind that you can always upgrade the package when it is time to expand your site functionality. Start with a package that will suit your budget and goals.

Just so you know, you will need time to attract consistent traffic to your site - it will not happen overnight.


WordPress setup

Below are the steps that show how to set up domain and hosting registration using WordPress.com.

Most hosting providers will have you follow very similar steps.

So if you are not using WordPress as your host - you can skip that part and go directly to "Inside WordPress" part.

Once you past registration and are in WordPress application - the interface of it looks exactly the same, no matter what provider you are using.

WordPress site set up step for beginners

Go to WordPress.com

Click on Start Your Website.

WordPress site set up step for beginners

Create an account.

Follow the instructions: email, password.

WordPress site set up step for beginners

Answer simple questions about your future site.

This will help the search engine find your blog.

So don't skip this step.

WordPress site set up step for beginners

The next step is to assign your site the name you chose.

If you have already checked the availability of your dream domain - type it in here and proceed to purchasing.

If you have already purchased the domain - choose "Already own a domain" and follow the steps.

Click Select button to proceed with purchasing the domain name.

WordPress site set up step for beginners

Then select your hosting plan.

You can start with a basic plan to learn the way the application works, and then upgrade it at any time.

WordPress site set up step for beginners
WordPress site set up step for beginners

When buying a domain, your contact details are added to a public database by law.

Buying private registration prevents you from being spammed with hundreds of calls from telemarketers— well worth it.

Complete the rest of the setup windows, including your payment options, etc.

Once you hit the last ENTER button - you are so ready to start!!!

inside WordPress


Your website needs software to “power” it.

WordPress is the best way to go:

It is good for beginners (and advanced users)

You can add more functionality as your site grows (like paid adds, downloads, etc.)

It has plenty of free or paid templates to make your site look professional.

WordPress dashboard

Once you have registered and logged in, you will be taken to WordPress dashboard.

This is where you will find your updates, statistics, tools, shortcuts, well... basically... everything.

There are a few things that you need to set up now. They are not visual, but very important - we need to keep the site safe, easy to manage, and allow the search engines to actually find you.

1. permalinks


Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual pages and blog posts. The URL to each post should be permanent, and never change — hence the name permalink. 

If you do not see the Permalink option - skip that part.
permalink structure

Choose "Post name" option for your permalinks - this will give each of your future post a descriptive name.

Descriptive names are easy for your visitors to find and remember, and, mostly important - the search engines will happily find them too.

2. site visibility

site visibility

A very important quick check - make sure you allow search engines to index your site.

That if you want your site to be ranked by Google (and other search engines) for any keyword. And you do want that!

Settings > Reading > Site Visibility.

3. files backup

Backups are always your most important asset in case something goes wrong with your computer or your site.

It is less painful if you have an updated backup.

4. traffic analytics

As a website owner it is important to know how many people are visiting your site, what pages are most popular, etc. And that's only a start.

Knowing this data, you can improve visitor's experience and attract more visitors.

The most in-depth analytics is available for free! It's called Google Analytics.

Sign up and follow their guide.

To incorporate the Analytics into your site, you can use one of many available plugins. Just search for Google Analytics in Plugins section.

5. webmaster tools

webmaster tools

WordPress.com provides you with built-in stats that give you lots of information about your traffic, but if you need more information - you can use additional webmaster tools by major search engines and social sites.

For most sites, in order to verify your site for webmaster tools, you normally need to add a hidden “meta tag” to your page. Since you can’t edit the theme files of your site on WordPress.com, you can use this Tools option to gather some additional information on your site traffic that might be of interest to you.

There are links right below the heading to set up these tools.