How to Make an Author Website Part 1: Setting up Bluehost
How to set up an author page to serve as the heart of your media empire.
To be an author entrepreneur you need a home base, and your website’s it. But building websites is hard, isn’t it? It used to be, but now with Bluehost and WordPress, we can get you up and running with minimal cost and minimal trouble.
We will start today by getting your account set up with Bluehost. Below, you’ll find a step by step tutorial video of exactly how to do that. A fellow author and friend of mine, HJ Kruger at hjkruger.com, graciously allowed me to film how we set up his author page.
Support my caffeine habit -That is my affiliate link. If you use this link, Bluehost buys me some coffee at no cost to you. I’ve personally referred a whole bunch of people to them in the past. Now they are giving me a little bit back for the business that I’ve sent them over the years.
I’ve used a ton of other hosting packages and a whole bunch of other hosts and to be honest, they are just playing for second. On my Bluehost account, I have as many websites as I like on the one hosting package. They don’t charge me extra for bandwidth or traffic, or anything really. Except if I want another domain. Then domain registration is about $12 per year, per domain. Also, they don’t limit the amount of space you have available, so long as you don’t use your hosting as a data storage or a cloud server. For that they’ve got VPS services, which is more horsepower (and cost) than we really need.
Click on the link, then on ‘Get Started’ and we’re underway!
Selecting the package that is right for you.
Bluehost has three packages: a starter package, a pro package, and a business package. Let’s look at each package in turn.
Starter – It’s something.
The starter package only allows you to have one website. Yes, it is a bit cheaper than the other packages, but an extra $3 a month for unlimited websites that you get with the Pro package makes this one a little redundant. $3 a month is one extra book sale at the $5.99 price point on Amazon. I’m pretty sure that we can soak up that extra one book per month by leveraging your website.
The point is that the starter package is not worth it in my opinion. You get the farm and all the animals you can eat for a minimal increase in investment. If you are really keen on only having the one site and saving the money, go for it, no worries. It will work just as well for our author website.
Pro Package – Such space, much website, wow.
The Pro Package allows for unlimited websites, unlimited space, unlimited email addresses. Basically everything is unlimited. This is what we’re looking for. Having this package means that if you want a different pen name, you can easily get another website. Or if you want to start a whole business for your mom’s crochet Etsy, then this is the package for you. I am using this one and I have not had any problems yet. No downtime, no strangeness, nothing weird. Especially important, no huge bills and crashed servers if one of your posts goes intentionally (or unintentionally) viral on Reddit.
Business Package – The amount of stuff we don’t need is too damn high.
Next up we have the business package. It’s expensive, and all that does is give you a bunch of addons that you can use for free (if you know where to look). By the end of this series, you will know where to look. I’ll show you. This package is the Pro Package, plus junk you don’t need, but pay extra for.
This is where you choose your domain name. Bluehost will check if the domain name that you want is available, and once you press the next button, and the Domain is available, you’ll be in business. Pick this name carefully, because this is the name that’ll appear as your URL. In this example, we’re building HJ Kruger’s website, so we are going with HJKruger.com. Short, simple, and it says whose site it is. If he wants, we can open any number of other sites that he would like because he’s on the Pro Package.
Yay, online forms time.
Now you’re going to type in a lot of details. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward stuff, mostly your address and that type of thing. It’s important to be as complete as possible here with regards to your details, because some legislation, especially in the States, requires you to declare where and who you are when you’re doing business in their country. The States is where a lot of our business will be coming from, so let’s not faff around overmuch here.
Now they will be giving you payment options. The $6.99 per month price point is what Bluehost offers you if you pay the website’s hosting three years in advance. It’s all good and well if you can manage this, which means you save a few dollars in the long run. Personality, I’m paying a little bit more for the 12 months at a time package, which works out to be $8.99 per month at this point. So we’re paying another book per month, and that’s okay by me.
Please note, they will attempt to charge you for the full amount in advance, so make sure your finances can handle the strain. It’s worth it (and it’s tax deductible).
Just below where you specify the hosting payment term, Bluehost offers you a whole bunch of extra things which you don’t really need. Unless you’re super keen on those services I would uncheck the lot of them as I did in the video. We can get the effects of these extra services through website plugins, which I will be discussing in a later post on this topic. No worries, your website will be secured, backed up and SEO effective, no matter what Jumpstart actually does.
Here is where you put in your credit card information. It’s actually not a black wall of nothing, like in the video.
Now there’s going to be a little section called “Are you sure you don’t want all these value-added services for an extra mint per month?” I’m going with, like I said before, we can do most of what these value-added services offer to the use of plugins. Even the themes. Mobile design is built into responsive themes (which we will use) so we don’t need to pay for it here.
Click the ‘next’ button to make you go to the next section. That will take you to where you can now put in the password of your choosing. The password is a bit like a Bank’s, in that it needs all kinds of weirdness like capitals and special characters to make it stick. That’s fine and to be expected at this stage. Bluehost gives you red line reminders of what they want in a password, such as capitals, numbers, and strange characters, that go away every time you add that type of character. I use their randomized password generator to save on my Mac’s keychain, because password fatigue is real.
Once all these details have been put in to get your password, we can now proceed to the back end of your hosting account. Select “Do-it-yourself” to get on with it. We can have Bluehost help us at this stage, but they’re going to ask us for money to do so. Bluehost keeps their hosting costs low by offering these value-added services.
Next up, Bluehost uses a nice icon-based graphical interface which makes navigating pretty easy. For now we are only interested in the “Install WordPress” button – It’s on the fourth tier down and has a W on it.
Click on the install button. It’ll now start installing WordPress onto your registered domain name. (If you want to install it on future additional domains, you’ll need to select which domain name you want the installation to be under).
When you see a button saying “Advanced Options”, click on the little tick box for more information about your WordPress installation to appear. Here you can select a password and a page title for your web page. You can change this information later on from the back end of your WordPress page, but I like to do it now so that I can immediately go onto the next step.
WordPress is now installed on your domain and we can go about setting it up. To do so, go to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and you’ll see a login screen. There you put in your login details selected in step 10 to get into the back end of your WordPress site and get on with building your site.
Please note that this login is your WordPress Login, not your Bluehost one (unless you selected the same details as your Bluehost logins). These are specifically the details you put in when selecting the advanced options on your WordPress installation. If you can’t remember what you put in there, WordPress should send you an email containing the information anyway, so it’ll never go away. Also, you can also change your WordPress password from your Bluehost account itself in case you completely forgot. (This has happened to me – that’s how I know.)
In part two I will be talking about the basics of setting up your WordPress basics and Plugins. Soon your page will be ready to rock your readers. Click here to get set up!