You’re almost ready for the fun stuff. You have your own domain name and a server to run your own website. Now, you need some website software.
Like everything else, there are a ton of options here. We’re not going to use HTML or any other type of “language” that requires a lot of technical know-how to get things functioning. We’ve done enough techie work for the moment just in registering the domain name and getting a hosting service setup.
Instead, we’re going to use a content management system. Essentially, this allows you to separate the content of your website from the format and style of the website.
As you will see more clearly later on, this approach is very powerful. It allows you to create content – the text you want displayed on each page of your website – without worrying about formatting how it is going to be displayed. You just plug in your text and it gets displayed according to the rules set forth by the formatting theme of your website. This also means that you can later experiment with different formatting themes – adjusting the overall look and feel of your site (colors, fonts, layout) – without needing to edit or touch your text at all.
There are tons of content management systems out there, and there are a few very good free ones – Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress are among the top candidates. For this series, I’m going to use WordPress. It’s a great system that was originally designed for blogging but was expanded recently into a full content management system. The WordPress community is huge and there are tons of free extensions to the system available (we’ll learn more about these later on in this series).
Login to your hosting service (Bluehost in our example) and access cpanel where you will find a WordPress icon like the one below.
Click it to invoke the automated installation utility SimpleScripts and start the installation process. Once SimpleScripts loads, click the WordPress Install button.
Now you’re only 3 steps away! For Step 1, select the most recent stable version of WordPress and the installation directory (in your case, this will be the “root” directory of your website – you won’t need to change the default setting). For Step 2, type in a password for the all-powerful WordPress administrator (“admin”) account – make it good! For Step 3, check the box that agrees to the legal information.
Ta-da! You’re done! The first link displayed will take you to your new website! Go ahead, check it out!
The second link will take you the “behind the scenes” part of your website. This is where we’ll be doing some setup in the next post of the Website 101 series.
Your new website looks like this in its current, default setup: