Congratulations on buying your own domain. You have just taken the first and most important step to establishing your online presence.
So I bought a domain now what, you ask? Don’t worry, because that is exactly what I am going to show you.
I have, in this post, listed the 11 most important steps that you should take after you have purchased your domain.
I have kept this article non-technical, so even if you are new to this stuff, it should still be easy to follow.
Since you have purchased a domain, I assume that you intend to establish an online presence for yourself or your business, establish your brand and increase your sales. Maybe you want to start a new business online and earn money.
Either way, the steps I will outline will help you succeed.
In case you are among those who are still considering and haven’t yet purchased a domain, I have an excellent guide to help you choose the right domain name.
It may be worth mentioning that since you will have to buy hosting anyway (after you purchase a domain) if you want to start a blog or website, it may be wise to consider purchasing hosting from a web host that will offer you a free domain as a freebie so you don’t have to spend money purchasing a domain and hosting separately.
This obviously has advantages because it makes it easier to set up your domain with the web hosting service if both are from the same provider as in this case most of the setting up is already done by the web host itself, so you don’t have to configure your domain (which is a bit technical) with the web host on your own.
Buying a domain name is a bit like registering a company. You now have the exclusive right to the company name or domain in this case, and nobody else can take it as long as it is registered in your name.
But just as a company has to have an office from where to function, your domain still needs a server where all your online data (documents, images, audio and other files) can be stored. This is called hosting.
You will also require a professional email address with your domain name (e.g. [email protected]). This helps create a professional and businesslike impression. Using a free email (eg. [email protected]) doesn’t quite cut it.
I will show you how to do both and also guide you to choose the best hosting service.
The best way to establish an online presence is to start a blog or a website. Starting a blog is obviously the best choice as it helps you engage better and build a deeper relationship with your target audience.
There are also numerous options to monetize a blog and meet your financial goals through blogging.
Let us address the question, I bought a domain now what? Let us list the 11 steps that you should take after you have bought a domain.
Get Hosting for your Blog/Website.
If you are planning to start a blog or website then you will have to buy hosting from a reputed and reliable web host.
From the experience of hosting numerous blogs with various web hosts through the years, I have settled with Hostinger which I recommend because of their reliability (99.9% uptime) and excellent customer service. The business shared hosting plan gives you the freedom to set up 100 websites. It also comes with a free domain and 100 free email id’s.
Page load speed is also extremely fast with Hostinger. This is very important as page loading speed is a crucial ranking factor with Google if you want your website or blog to rank higher on Google.
The features include,
1. Free domain,
2. Up to 100 websites,
3. 100 free email id’s,
4. Free daily back up,
5. Free SSL,
6. Free CDN,
7. 99.9% uptime guarantee,
8. WordPress integration &,
9. 24x7x365 support.
We have on this blog a step-by-step guide on how to purchase a web hosting service.
Set Up Your Domain with a Web Host
Now if you have purchased your hosting from Hostinger and have availed of the free domain, then you can skip this step as everything is already set up for you.
If, however, you have purchased your domain somewhere else then you will have to set up this domain to work with the web host by pointing the domain to the web host.
After completing your purchase of Hostinger web hosting, log in to Hostinger.
The dashboard looks like this:
Note: If you have already availed of the free domain offer with the Hostinger business shared hosting plan, then it will be listed here under ‘Domain’. Then you can skip this step.
If you don’t have a free domain with Hostinger or have bought your domain name from another place then it will be blank.
Now click on ‘Manage’ beside ‘hosting’.
The next screen will look like this below.
Here, click on ‘details’.
This will open a new screen and the DNS server details are now visible as shown in the image below. Note this down.
You can now log in to the website of the domain seller from where you have purchased the domain and locate the ‘DNS name servers’ page.
Choose the ‘custom nameservers’ option and enter the Hostinger name server details that you noted down and you are good to go.
The web host is now configured to work with your domain name and you can now proceed to the other steps.
Get the best WordPress Theme
I hope that you have already installed WordPress by following the step-by-step guide that I mentioned earlier.
In case you missed that step, you can go directly to the part about how to install WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a Content Management System or CMS. Simply put it is an open-source, easy to use software using which almost anybody can create beautiful websites or blogs without having any knowledge of coding. 38% of the world’s websites are made using WordPress including the websites of the Obama Foundation, Vogue, Sony Music and Microsoft.com.
Now that you have WordPress installed, you need to install a good WordPress theme after which you can start building your blog.
WordPress offers you hundreds of themes to work with, however the most popular theme that most bloggers use is Astra. This is because of its sheer versatility and speed. Astra is very customisable and offers tons of features.
Astra is extremely lightweight and that means that your blog will load really fast.
It is also ‘responsive’, which means that it automatically optimizes the design and layout of your blog so your blog will look good even on a mobile or tab and not just on a laptop or desktop.
This is a very important factor to consider when choosing a theme because almost 60% of all searches today happen from mobile devices.
Create a Landing Page
A landing page or a home page is an important part of your blog or website. You should create a good landing page which conveys a professional and authoritative image of your organization.
Creating a good landing page is important. A landing page is where you can capture your blog visitor’s data such as name or email address with the help of a lead capture form.
You can do this by offering something of value in exchange for a sign up like an ebook or a discount. This is an important tool to create a relationship with your readers by opening a communication channel with them. This is also an invaluable help in creating a mailing list of your loyal subscribers and will stand you in good stead when you are looking to monetise your blog.
The WordPress theme Astra has a great selection of free starter templates with some amazing landing pages for you to download and customize as you like.
Below are some examples of great landing pages.
Codecademy landing page
Shopify landing page
Do pay a visit to the landing page of this blog. What do you think? Do leave your comments about my landing page in the comments.
Add SSL to your Domain
SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] comes free with a web hosting account with Hostinger’s business shared hosting plan. If you have a different web host, you may have to pay extra to have SSL enabled on your domain.
What is SSL?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a security technology that enables the establishment of an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser. This means that all communication between the web server and the browser is private and secure and cannot be hacked or compromised in any manner.
If you have noticed the small padlock symbol beside the URL of this website and that the URL itself starts with ‘HTTPS’ and not ‘HTTP’ [if you didn’t notice it, just double click to highlight the URL on your browser]. The extra ‘s’ and the padlock image shows that SSL is enabled on this blog and any transfer of data between our servers and your browser is private and secure and cannot be hacked or compromised in any way.
Enabling SSL is important if you are offering any products for sale on your website and have enabled a payment gateway for purpose of collecting payment.
Importantly it is a ranking factor on Google, so if you want your blog to rank on Google you must have SSL enabled for your website or blog.
Set up a Professional EMail Address
This is one of the very obvious answers to the question that you asked at the beginning i.e., I bought a domain now what should I do next?
You will need to set up a professional email address with your domain name e.g., ‘[email protected]’. This creates a professional and business-like image of your organization. A free Gmail address doesn’t quite cut it.
Hostinger’s business shared hosting plan comes with 100 free email addresses, and they are easy to set up. Let me show you how.
Log in to your Hostinger dashboard.
On the dashboard, click on the ‘Manage’ button next to ‘Hosting’.
On the next screen, scroll down to ‘Emails’ and click on ‘Email accounts’.
On the next screen, enter your desired email address and password (make a note of this as you will need it to access your email) and click ‘Create’.
Your new email id has now been created and will be listed as shown below. Click on the ‘envelope’ icon to go to your inbox.
Below is the email interface of your newly created email address from where you can send and receive your email. You can also configure popular email clients like MS Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird to send and receive emails or access your emails online directly from your browser
Install Essential WordPress Plugins
WordPress is the most popular way to create a website or blog that almost 38% of the world’s websites are created using WordPress.
Among other things that make it so popular other than the fact that it is open-source and easy to use by anybody with no knowledge of coding, is the ability to add functions and features to your website or blog by using plugins.
While adding too many plugins can slow down your website, some essential plugins that you must install are listed below.
1. RankMath SEO: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plugin
2. Autoptimize: Optimize CSS, JS, Images & fonts to make your site load faster.
3. WP Fastest Cache: Cache plugin to increase site speed.
4. WPForms: Drag and drop contact form builder.
Some other important tools to make you more productive are,
1. Grammarly: Online writing assistant with spelling and grammar checking tool.
2. Canva: Online image, graphics and logo creator.
3. SEMRush: Keyword research tool.
4. Pixlr: Online image editing tool.
Set Up Email Marketing
Creating an email list is important. It can take a long time to build an email list of your loyal visitors so it is crucial to start early.
The first step is to set up a landing page with a lead capture form where your blog visitors can sign up. Use the amazing starter templates with the Astra WordPress theme to create a beautiful landing page that is conversion optimized.
A great tool to set up and manage your email marketing campaigns is Constant Contact. It helps you easily design awesome emails that stand out and get noticed. It has powerful list-building tools and great features like the ability to track who is opening, clicking, or sharing your emails.
You can automate your campaigns by automatically sending a welcome email to new subscribers or resending emails to non-openers.
Email lists are a great way to build engagement with your visitors and increase traffic to your blog.
Set Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful tool offered for free by Google to give you various insights about the traffic to your blog.
It gives you important information about the visitors to your blog. How many people visited your blog in the last 30 days, last week, or any other custom time frame of your choice?
It can also give you detailed information about your blog like,
- Which countries are your blog visitors from?
- How much time on average do visitors spend reading your blog?
- What is the bounce rate (i.e., the number of visitors who land on your blog and leave immediately without taking any action)?
- How do your visitors find your blog? Do they find your blog through search engine results, social media posts or referral links from other sites?
- What are the pages or posts on your blog that get the most visits?
This information is useful to fine-tune your blog to attract more traffic.
Setting up Google Analytics is easy. Just follow these simple steps.
- Go to the Google Analytics page.
- Sign in with your Google account (if you don’t have one, you will have to create a Google account first).
- Click on the ‘admin’ button located at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.
- In the next window, click on “Create Account” next to “Account”.
- In the next window enter an ‘Account name’ (you can choose any name – preferably ‘YourDomainName’ for convenience) and press ‘Next’.
- You will now be asked to enter information like ‘Property name’ (you can choose any name – preferably ‘YourDomainName-Blog’ for convenience), time zone, currency etc… and press ‘Next’.
- You will be required to answer some more basic questions after which click on ‘Create’.
- You will have to “Agree” to the “Google Analytics Terms of Service Agreement” pop up and press the “I Accept” button.
- Finally, on the ‘Set up a data stream to start collecting data’ window, choose ‘Web’.
- On the “Set up data stream” page, enter your “Domain name” and “Stream name” (any name of your choice – preferably something like “Your DomainName – Blog”) and click on “Create stream”.
- The next window contains important data such as ‘Measurement ID’ and ‘Stream ID’. Note this down carefully and do not reveal it to anybody.
- Scroll down to the same window and under ‘Tagging Instructions’, click on the ‘Add new on-page tag’
- Click on “Global Site Tag (gtag.js)”.
- Your Analytics page tag (or Tracking Code) is the entire section of code that appears, beginning with: “<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics……….” and ending with “….script>”.
- You have to copy this entire code and insert it as the first item in the “<head>” section of every page/post on your blog that you want Google Analytics to track (Wait – there is an easy way to do this automatically using a plugin)
You can easily automate the process (step 15) by using the ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ plugin.
- Log in to your Hostinger WordPress Dashboard. You can access it at ‘www.yourdomainname.com/wp-login.php’.
- Go to ‘Plugins’, then ‘Add New’.
- Search for ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ in the ‘Search plugins…’ box.
- Once you have located the plugin, click ‘Install Now’ and then ‘Activate’.
Your plugin is now installed and activated.
- Now, go to ‘Settings’ —–> ‘Insert Headers and Footers’.
- Copy and paste the entire tracking code mentioned above in the ‘Scripts in Header‘ box under ‘Settings’.
- Click “Save” and you are done.
The tracking code is now automatically inserted in the <head> section of the HTML code of every page/post of your website.
Google Analytics is now set up for your website.
The Google Analytics dashboard is now ready to show you details about various aspects of your blog like in the image below.
Submit Site to Google Search Console
Google search console is another free tool by Google which helps to gather a wealth of data relating to your website or blog.
Important metrics like the number of times your blog pages/posts show up in search results (impressions), the average CTR (click-through rate), the average rank of your pages and the keywords for which they are ranking are all shown here.
Additionally, it helps identify any issues with your blog which may be preventing Google from indexing your site.
This information is very useful to fine-tune your SEO strategy.
Since you have already set up Google Analytics, setting up and verifying your blog with Google Search Console becomes super easy.
Below are the steps to set up and verify your blog using Google Search Console.
- Go to the Google Search Console page and press ‘Start now’.
- Sign in to your Google account (it should be the same account that you used to set up Google Analytics).
- In the ‘Welcome to Google Search Console’ window, under the heading ‘Domain’ enter your domain name in the format ‘yourdomainname.com’ (Don’t enter ‘www’ or ‘http’ etc..)
- In the ‘Verify Domain Ownership via DNS record’ window, copy the text record (as it is) by clicking ‘COPY’.
- Leave this window open as you will need to come back here later to continue the process.
You can now login to your domain providers website. If you have purchased your free domain from Hostinger, then follow the steps below.
Log in to the Hostinger dashboard.
Click ‘Manage’ besides ‘Domain’.
In the next window, click on the ‘DNS Zone’ tab.
In the same window, scroll down to ‘TXT (Text)’ and click ‘Add New +’.
Now add the following values:-
TXT Value: Here paste the TXT record that you copied earlier from the Google search console set up window.
TTL: 1/2 Hour (default value)
Click ‘✔Save’ and you are done.
Refresh the page to confirm that the TXT record has been successfully added.
Now go back to the Google Search Console window and click ‘VERIFY’.
You will see a ‘Ownership verified’ message like the one below. Google search console is now set up for your blog.
Don’t worry if you see a message like the one below instead. Ownership verification sometimes takes time, up to a few hours and sometimes up to 24 hours, so check back after a few hours.
Once the verification is complete you will be greeted with the below welcome screen. Click ‘START’.
You will be greeted with a blank screen like the one below.
Search Console will start populating data which may take a few days so you will have to check back later to view your current data.
Plan your Blog Posts
It has been shown time and again that irregular posting is detrimental to the success of a blog,
You should make every effort to see that your chosen posting schedule is adhered to, whether it is once daily, daily, every two days, weekly or biweekly depending upon your niche and your ability.
So before you get down to writing your first blog post, make a list of at least 20 -30 topics that you will be writing about.
Have at least 6-7 ready blog posts in hand at all times and keep publishing at regular intervals (never all at once) as per your chosen posting frequency, while simultaneously creating new content to be published at a later date.
You are now all set and ready to start creating content and are well on the path to making your blog a raging success.
Did you find this blog-post useful? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
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