I’m really new to the ebook world. Embarrassingly new. I don’t even know what I don’t know yet! That being said, one of the things I am familiar with is web development and some design. I am by no means a “good” web designer, but I know enough to make things work. I’ve also worked with most of the hosting providers, and I happen to work with some of this technology on a daily basis in my job, so that helps. One thing I’ve realized, is a lot of ebook authors are either overspending, or totally neglecting their websites. We fear what we don’t know, and just like I had to learn the ebook world, you too can learn enough web stuff to create a site quickly and get back to doing what you love.
There’s more than one way to do most of the things I’m about to post here, but I have specifically tailored this post to the people out there who want to get up and running quickly, and leave the homework to someone else (me).
Step 1: Reserve your domain name
You need a way for your readers to reach you. While I use multiple hosting providers, I prefer to stick with GoDaddy for my domain registration. You can move your domains as you move hosting providers, but I really like having multiple domains in one place that I can manage easily, and the GoDaddy interface is really, really simple.
When selecting a domain name, you want to think about how you’ll use it. Will this be for one book only? Will it be for multiple books? Will it be your name, your pen name, or a series name? On that note, I’d highly recommend a .com name as opposed to .net, .biz, or any other variation, simply because readers expect a .com – you want to make getting to you as easy as possible.
Protip: If you don’t want your home address accessible by anybody, be sure to select the privacy option (it’s an extra few bucks a year, but I find it’s well worth it.
Step 2: Select a hosting provider
There have been article after article wrote on the subject, so let me save you all the headache. You have two primary options. There’s many other good ones, but these are the industry leaders in this space:
In a nutshell, you’re going to sign up for a hosting account with one of these services, and they’ll store your website, and host it so the world can access it. Both are pretty comparable in features, and the cost is similar. Let me be as transparent as possible: I used Bluehost for years on several websites, and it was OK. The realibility could be better, I felt, and the page load times weren’t the best with Bluehost.
At the end of the day, I don’t think you can really go wrong with either host. Be aware, though, they both mention a low hosting price, but you’ll only get that if you sign up for 2-3 years.
Step 3: Point your new domain name to your hosting provider
If you’ve purchased your domain name from Godaddy or another registrar, you’ll need to point the domain to the appropriate hosting provider. If you bought your domain through the hosting service, you won’t need to do this step.
If you have a GoDaddy domain, and Bluehost hosting, use these directions:
First, log into your Godaddy account. You should see a screen similar to this:
You’ll want to click “Manage” next to domains. From there, you’ll see a little gear/cog wheel next to your domain. Click that, and select “Manage DNS.” If you scroll down past your DNS entries, you should see a section labeled ‘Nameservers’ which looks like the below image.
At this point, select “Change” and you’ll want to put your hosting providers nameservers in there.
If you’re using bluehost, you’ll want to use the nameservers listed here
If you’re using Hostgator, you received your nameservers in your welcome email from Hostgator. If you haven’t gotten that, you can follow the instructions at the Hostgator documentation.
Step 4: Install WordPress
If you’re using Hostgator, log into your account, then visit the tab labeled ‘Hosting.’ Once there, there is a button titled “Install WordPress with QuickInstall.” After clicking the button, you’ll be prompted for some initial setup items which are all incredibly easy to follow using the on-screen instructions.
If you’re using Bluehost, you’ll log into your account, visit the cPanel, and click the link labeled “Install WordPress”
Step 5: Select a Theme
I’m the most indecisive person in the world, so selecting a theme is a painful experience. I can’t help you get past your indecisiveness, but I can tell you one tip: pick something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can tweak it, or if you can’t, you can hire someone on Fiverr for as little as $5 to code parts of your WordPress install.
For my wordpress sites, I’ve always gone through either the WordPress store for free themes submitted by the community. They’re not bad and can be a nice budget option.
If you want to up your game a bit, there’s plenty of paid theme sites out there where you can get premium themes for $9 to $50+. I have used ThemeForest with good results in my sites. I typically recommend starting with a free theme, however.
Step 6: Install the Theme
You’re almost done! To install the wordpress theme, it’s cake. You’ll use your WordPress credentials/login links provided when you installed WordPress. If you ever forget, you can log into wordpress on your site by adding “wp-admin” to your URL. For example, if my domain was MikeTheHustler.com, I would use MikeTheHustler.com/wp-admin to access my WordPress administrative portal.
Once in the admin portal, you’ll click on Appearance -> Themes -> Upload -> Upload Theme. Once you upload your theme (it should be a .zip file), you’ll have to active it (you’ll be prompted to do so once you’ve uploaded your theme).
It might seem like a lot, but all of this is doable within an hour. If you’ve made it to this point, it’s now time to customize your website, add content, and install any plugins for extra features you’d like to have. Enjoy – work hard, and keep hustling!