In the grand scheme of things, setting up a WordPress website can be considered relatively easy when compared to other website solutions. Using a DIY WP Sites theme will give you the opportunity to create your very own website, for less than $200, in just a couple hours of your time. There are a few things you’ll need to purchase and setup, and we’ll talk about those here.
Rough cost breakdown:
These are rough estimates, but very much within the realm of realistic. Most website hosting companies offer your first year (or multiple years if you pay in advance) at a significantly reduced rate, and may even throw in a free domain.
- $15.00/year for a .COM domain (can get for less)
- $60.00/year for website hosting (an approximation for the first year of hosting at a reduced rate)
- $0.00 for WordPress (yes, it’s free)
- $59.95 for the Genesis Framework (one-time fee)
- $59.99 for a DIY WP Sites theme (one-time fee)
- $194.94 TOTAL
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. They will be clearly marked as such with an asterisk. I not only stand by the products, companies and resources I recommend below, I use them myself.
1. Domain Name
The first step to setting up your new business website is to purchase a domain name, if you don’t already have one. There are hundreds of domain registrars who would be happy to take your money. I have been using gandi.net for many years now and have been extremely happy with their services. They offer a wide variety of extensions (.com, .net, .org, etc.) at very competitive prices.
I recommend purchasing a domain name from a different company than you choose to host your website with, for reasons explained below.
2. Website Hosting
Most domain registrars will offer hosting packages, and I would image that all hosting companies will register a domain for you. If you want to register your domain and host your website with the same company, you’ll want to pick a company based on their reputation (and available hosting packages), NOT their domain registration prices. The hosting will be infinitely more important.
The reason I suggest hosting your website with a different company than whom you register your domain name with is such that, should you find yourself in a situation where you need to switch hosting companies, I find it significantly easier to make that transition when I don’t have to worry about moving the domain name.
I’ve used a variety of hosting companies over the years and, generally speaking, you get what you pay for. I HIGHLY recommend avoiding any company controlled by EIG (Endurance International Group) for reasons that are beyond the scope of this article. Click here to view a complete list of hosting companies controlled by EIG (Presented by ResearchAsAHobby.com)
I recently switched to TMD Hosting* and have been very satisfied. They offer competitive pricing (on par with many of the cheap EIG-owned companies), with exceptional customer support. In my opinion, customer support is one of the biggest considerations in choosing a host. Most website hosting companies claim a 99.99% uptime, but when things do go wrong, you want to be able to get in touch with someone quickly. The only thing more frustrating than a website that doesn’t work is not being able to quickly get in touch with intelligent support staff to help resolve the problem.
Whichever hosting company you choose, they will have support available to help you get setup to run a WordPress website. When it comes to purchasing a hosting package, you’ll find there are a variety of options to choose from. Some of the terms you may see are:
- Shared (or Web) Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
Shared/Web and WordPress hosting will be your least-expensive options, and will most likely work fine for your needs. If you select Shared/Web hosting, be sure to choose the “Linux” option (there will also probably be a “Windows” option, which you don’t want).
If you purchased your domain and hosting from the same company, you’ll be ready to install WordPress right away. If you purchased from separate companies, you’ll need to “point” your domain to your new hosting account. Your web hosting company and domain registrar will have documentation on doing that. Once your domain is pointed to your host, it’s time to install WordPress.
These days, most hosting companies offer 1-click tools for installing WordPress. Check with the support staff of your hosting company for more information on that particular functionality. If it exists, they should have documentation outlining the process.
Otherwise, you’ll need to install WordPress manually. The files for WordPress should be downloaded directly from WordPress at wordpress.org/download/. You can then follow the WordPress Famous 5-Minute Installation instructions. There are a massive amount of resources online when it comes to installing WordPress, so there’s not much point in re-hashing through it here.
After WordPress is installed, the rest of your website setup can be done through the WordPress Dashboard, accessible at http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
4. WordPress Theme
At this point, you should have a generic WordPress website showing on your domain. Using WordPress themes is how you’ll customize your website and make it your own.
I’m going to assume you are reading this because you’re interested in using a theme from DIY WP Sites, so the following instructions are going to be tailored exclusively to doing just that.
The DIY WP Sites are built on Genesis, a framework developed for WordPress by a company named StudioPress. You will need Genesis in order to use any theme purchased from DIY WP Sites. You can purchase your own copy of the Genesis Framework from StudioPress for $59.95* (affiliate link). This purchase will also give you access to their support staff and knowledge base.
After you have purchased the Genesis Framework* (affiliate link) and a DIY WP Sites theme, you should have access to download a .zip file for each. Save these two .zip files to. your computer. These are your theme files and they will be installed via the WordPress Dashboard.
In the WordPress Dashboard, use the left sidebar menu and hover your cursor over “Appearance” to reveal a flyout menu with additional options. Click on “Themes.”
At the top of the screen, click the “Add New” button next to “Themes” title, then click the “Upload Theme” button in the same location on the next screen.
Click the “Choose File” button and use the browser window that pops up to navigate to the location of the theme .zip files you saved earlier. Select the genesis.zip file, then click the “Install Now” button.
You will receive a message that the theme was installed successfully. Then simply repeat the process for the theme you purchased from DIY WP Sites.
After both Genesis and your DIY WP Sites theme have been uploaded, navigate back to the Themes page. You should now see both Genesis and your DIY WP Sites themes listed.
Hover your cursor over the DIY WP Sites theme and click the “Activate” button. This will activate your new theme.
From here, you should follow the specific setup instructions for the theme you purchased. These instructions can be found on the product page for the theme itself.
Setup Assistance and Customizations
I understand that, for many people, setting up WordPress on their own can be a daunting idea. I would be more than happy to assist you in this process for an hourly fee. Should you be interested in this service, you may contact me via 5.12 Design Lab.
Any WordPress theme you download or purchase will be designed with the attempt to target a wide audience of users. With these niche themes, I’m attempting to target a narrower audience, reducing the amount of time and energy required to make WordPress work for them. If you are interested in customizations to the DIY WP Sites themes beyond their default functionality, you may contact me via 5.12 Design Lab.