Most pre-retirees or post-career retirees never consider launching an online business to build their nest egg. It’s always the same thought process:
I know nothing about making a website. How could I possibly run a successful business online?
But the truth is, people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s with no tech skills whatsoever are setting up and running successful online businesses all the time. I’m one of them. Running multiple, successful websites myself has changed my life. I built up the tech fear in my mind but it was unfounded. If you know your way around a word processor and can follow instructions, that’s all you’ll need to set-up a website using BlueHost. This is a critical first step on your path to making money online.
Website setup isn’t like it used to be. It’s not complicated! Back when the Internet was brand new, you had to be an coding expert to make pages for your site. But not anymore. If you know how to use Microsoft Word, that’s enough to get started on your first website.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to your first website setup, so you can start earning money online and make your dream retirement a reality.
A hosted WordPress site through BlueHost is by far the best and the most popular option for new bloggers. Don’t use blogspot or any other free hosting platforms. What these free platforms don’t tell you is that you are very limited in your ability to monetize your website. That’s starting off on the wrong foot! You want to grow your online business and make money.
In this guide, we’ll work with BlueHost. They have everything you need to start your own blog or business, and it’s easy to figure out. Bluehost sets up WordPress for you and you get a domain name free.
Step 1: Hosting and Domain Name
There are a lot of options out there for hosting. For the most basic hosting service, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $5/month. I work with and recommend BlueHost because their hosting plans are very flexible (and affordable). They also come with a free domain and they really make the whole process easy.
If this is your first website and you don’t have plans to expand, you’ll probably do just fine with a basic plan. But you can always upgrade later on. It’s important to buy at least one year of hosting up front. You don’t want to risk your website by paying a monthly fee. You’ll get the free domain and a much better deal when you buy at least twelve months of hosting.
Select a plan that works for you then move on to step 3.
Step 3: Pick Your Domain Name
After you pick your plan, you can sign up and pick your domain. If you already registered a domain name with another service, no problem. You can add it to Bluehost when you sign up:
If you’re registering a new domain, enter it into the box on the right. Choose the extension you want to use. We recommend the .com extension if it’s available.
Domain Name Power Tips
Your domain name is going to be the digital address for your business. It needs to be catchy, memorable, and relevant. Here are a few power tips to help you brainstorm the perfect domain name for your website setup:
- Make it relate to your business
Usually your domain name will be similar to your online business name. In fact, if you can’t find a domain names that matches your business name, you should probably think of changing it!
Whatever you choose, make sure you use keywords that help describe your business. MyRetirementRehab.me is a great example of this. The word “retirement” in our name is key to what we do here.
- Make it easy to spell
People won’t always be visiting your site through links. There will be instances where people want to type your URL right into their search bar, which is why your domain name should be easy to spell.
Avoid alternative spellings of common words (Dealz.com is an example of what not to do, despite the fact that it’s a very popular site!). Avoid numbers, hyphens, or any other elements that might cause confusion.
- Take time to brainstorm
Just because a domain name idea rolls off your tongue today doesn’t mean you’ll like it tomorrow. Your domain name is such an important element of your business, you should take the time to brainstorm a complete list of possibilities in your website setup. Then you can narrow it down to a select few.
- Check for copyright infringement
Before you make the final purchase and commit to a domain name, you should always check and make sure there’s no copyright infringement issues. Go to copyright.gov and search for your domain name to see if it relates to anyone else’s business name.
After you choose your domain name, you’ll continue on to set up your account information and select your plan. There are some add ons, like domain privacy protection, that you can consider:
Keep in mind that Bluehost bills annually, or every 2-3 years. The fee is very small when you break it down monthly. Trust me, it’s worth your money.
Step 4: Install WordPress on BlueHost
Once you’re all signed up, go to the BlueHost main page to continue your website setup. There’s a login button in the top right corner.
At the login page, enter your username and password (these should have been confirmed through your email). Make sure you’re logging into the hosting login, not webmail:
This will take you to your Bluehost control panel. Under “Website Builders” you’ll see a WordPress button. Click it.
At the next window click “Start a brand new install.”
Next you’ll be prompted to select which domain name to install it with. If you only purchased one domain name, there will only be one option here. Click “Check Domain.”
Next you’ll be prompted to fill out your site name. This can be different from your domain name or the same. You’ll also choose an admin username and password, and enter your admin email address:
Agree to the terms and conditions then click “Install Now.”
Step 5: Pick your theme
If your install is successful, the next choice is to pick your website theme. Bluehost will take you to a page where you can browse WordPress themes:
Or you can log into WordPress directly and search for themes from there. Go to http://yoursite.com/wp-admin (replace “yoursite” with your domain name). Log in with your WordPress username and password.
Next you’ll find yourself on your WordPress dashboard. In the sidebar, click Appearance>Themes. Then you’ll find a whole database of themes to browse and search from.
I definitely recommend spending money on a paid theme for your website setup. Paid themes are available through WordPress or a third party distributor. We like and recommend ThemeForest.net. You can also commission someone to create you a custom WordPress site.
At some point you’ll need to send emails to your blog readers. One of the best companies we’ve worked with is ConvertKit.
Step 6: Start building your site
Once you’ve got the perfect theme, there’s nothing left to do but start building your site! What elements your site needs will depend on what kind of business you’re hoping to run. At a minimum you’ll want a home page, about page, blog, and a product/service page.
Start with your homepage and go from there. There should be an option in the sidebar to add new pages.
Click this, and you’ll be taken to something that looks a lot like a word processor. Here you can start drafting your home page.
You focus on how it looks visually, and WordPress creates all the HTML in the background. Pretty cool, right?
Editing Your Menu
Once you’ve created some pages you can add them to your menu. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance>Menus. Then you can click and add new pages to appear on your site menu.
Adding Blog Posts
Blogging is a great way to attract traffic to your new site. To start writing blog posts, go to Posts>Add New from the WordPress dashboard. Then you can draft a post like you would a page.
Follow the steps in this website setup guide using BlueHost, and you can have a functioning business homepage in less than a day. This post only covers the basics, but now you have a great starting point to expand and customize your site.
There are a variety of Plugins and Widgets you can get through WordPress to improve your site even more. You can learn more about creating the perfect WordPress site from WordPressBeginner.com. And stay tuned to Retirement Rehab Blog to learn more about creating online income to boost your retirement savings.