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When you are building your first website, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or confused. Don’t get sucked into website building sites like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. Sure, you can create a beautiful site on those builders, but they lack uniqueness, powerful SEO capabilities, and believe it or not, THEY own your website… not you.

Enough said, let’s move on to what you need when building your site on WordPress.  

Step One: Choosing Your Domain Registration/Hosting Service

Before you even decide on your domain name, you need to decide on where you are going to purchase it. Believe me when I say some places are better than others. I STRONGLY recommend purchasing your domain where you plan on purchasing a hosting plan. Keep everything in one place.

Domain REGISTRATION refers to the purchase/ownership of your domain name/URL. Web HOSTING refers to an account on a server that “hosts” your website files and allows your website to be on the internet. Yes, you need both.

My #1 recommendation is SiteGround. They have unmatched customer service, great bandwidth, daily website backups, free SSL certificates (the little green “Secure” lock next to your URL), and more. I strongly do NOT recommend GoDaddy.

Step Two: Choosing Your Domain Name/Hosting Plan

Now is the time to choose your domain name and hosting plan. Both of these depend on the goals of your website. 

Choosing your domain name: If you are building your brand, your domain name should be the exact same as your social media handles. If you are selling services, consider using your name somewhere in the domain name. If you are selling products, make sure your product is obvious by just looking at your domain name. Of course, make sure it is available when you go to purchase it. If it is not, consider adding another word or taking one away and see if it makes sense instead of going straight back to the drawing board.

Choosing your hosting plan- Your hosting plan is equally as important. You don’t want to purchase more than you need (because the larger the plan, the more money it is), but you don’t want to purchase less than you need either (because your site storage and visitor capacity could overload).

With SiteGround’s Reliable Web Hosting, for example, you have three tiers to choose from: StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. If you are just starting out with 10,000 monthly visits or less, the StartUp plan would be perfect for you. If you are a big blog or business with up to 100,000 monthly visitors, the GoGeek is your best options. If you are somewhere in the middle (like me), the GrowBig is the way to go. 

Step Three: Choosing Your Theme

When choosing your website’s theme, you want to make sure it is: responsive, easy-to-use, customizable, and regularly updated. Many free WordPress themes don’t check off all of these options, so be sure to test it out before building your whole site with it.

Consider purchasing a premium WordPress theme. Being able to customize and maintain your site without code is a huge plus, so be on the lookout for that.

Personally, I build all of my websites using Elegant Theme’s Divi theme/page builder. I build done-for-you websites using this theme because it was the #1 rated theme of 2018. It is so easy to use and extremely responsive.

There you have it! These are just the first 3 things you need to get started on your website. Of course, there are many other things you need to build a beautiful website. If you are feeling lost, I offer a Website Development 101 course that takes you from idea to launch date! Have any questions or tips? Leave them in the comments below!

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