I Bought a Domain, Now What? 7 Steps to Have a Successful Website
A domain name acts as your address on the internet, helping people find your site. However, buying a domain name won’t give you a fully functional website.
For beginners, deciding on what to do after purchasing a domain name may seem overwhelming. Yet, you don’t have to be an expert in web development or have technical skills to use your new domain name.
This article will guide you step-by-step on what to do after purchasing a domain name – from getting web hosting to publishing and promoting your site.
1. Get a Hosting Plan
After you buy a domain name, the next step is to search and choose a reliable web hosting provider.
Web hosting is a service that lets you publish a website on the internet. When you register for a hosting plan, you get some space and resources on a server to store all of your website files and data.
Since there are multiple types of hosting, choosing the right hosting plan is the first step. Thus, we will break down the different types of hosting available at Hostinger to help you better understand each option.
The most commonly used type of web host is shared hosting. It is the most cost-effective hosting type as multiple users share one physical server.
Our control panel, the hPanel, is user-friendly, so you don’t need to be tech-savvy to manage the range of available features and customization options.
When it comes to server administration, maintenance, and configuration, the web host takes care of it.
The disadvantage of using shared hosting is that when another user’s site suddenly rises in traffic, your site’s performance may decrease. Also, you don’t have much control over server configuration, which can be frustrating for advanced users.
Shared hosting is great for creating a website for personal use, such as a blog or portfolio. It’s also ideal for those new to web development who are planning to build their first site. The cost of a shared hosting plan starts at $1.99/month.
WordPress hosting is a form of hosting specifically configured to accelerate the performance of WordPress sites. The cost of a WordPress hosting plan starts at $1.99/month, and it comes with pre-installed caching, SEO, and security plugins.
Managing a WordPress site won’t be a hassle as updates, technical adjustments, and security are all handled by the provider. Hostinger’s customer support team also consists of trained WordPress professionals ready to help 24/7 if you ever encounter a problem.
WordPress hosting is great for users who solely use WordPress for their sites. It’s also recommended for new WordPress users who may not know the necessary tools to get started and need a helping hand to manage their WordPress site.
VPS (virtual private server) hosting is a service that gives you a dedicated virtual partition on a physical server. Although you still share the server with other users, your website’s performance won’t get compromised.
It provides users with root access and full control as well. You have the freedom to install the operating system of your choice and work on more complex projects.
VPS hosting is also suitable for medium-sized businesses with high-traffic websites, plus resource-heavy projects like web apps and online game servers.
The downside is that VPS hosting costs more than shared or WordPress hosting, starting at $2.49/month. Furthermore, technical and server management knowledge is needed to control your server space.
Use VPS hosting when you’ve outgrown your shared hosting plan, want to upgrade, and have gathered the necessary technical knowledge.
Cloud hosting uses a cluster of servers to host websites. This server structure enables to maximize uptime and balance the traffic load.
For example, if one server goes down, another server kicks in to keep the site running. Or, when the site faces a traffic spike, it taps resources from another server to keep the site available to all users.
Thankfully, setting up cloud hosting is not a hassle. Hostinger offers a managed cloud hosting service so that you can focus on your web development project, as our tech team will handle the server uptime, maintenance, and monitoring.
Cloud hosting has the highest price among the list of available hosting plans, starting at $9.99/month and going up to $29.99/month. This type of hosting is best suited for high-traffic websites such as eCommerce, enterprises, or cloud-based projects that require maximum uptime.
2. Connect the Domain Name to a Web Hosting Account
If you buy a domain name from Hostinger, it will automatically connect to Hostinger’s nameservers. This step is specifically for users who bought their domain names and hosting plans from different providers.
For this tutorial, we’ll show you how to point a domain name to Hostinger.
- Access your hPanel, scroll down to the Accounts section, and select Details.
- Take note of all the Nameservers details provided, including the IP address.
- Log in to the account where you bought the domain name, and look for the domain’s nameservers settings. You might find it in the Domain Overview or Domain Management menu.
- Change the domain nameservers to the ones on your hosting account.
Keep in mind that it may take around 24 hours for the domain name changes to take effect. However, you can clear your DNS cache to speed up the process.
3. Set Up Your Website
After you buy a domain name and set up a web hosting account, it’s time to create your website.
There are multiple ways to do it, from coding it manually or using a website building platform to hiring a developer. However, the two most popular methods are using a website builder or WordPress.
Create a Website With a Website Builder
A website builder is a tool that lets you create and design a website without having to deal with code. It uses a drag-and-drop editor to alter the site’s appearance and offers plenty of pre-made template options to get you started.
To access the platform, you’ll have to pay a subscription fee. However, one of the advantages is that it includes hosting, simplifying the process of website creation. Some website builder platforms even let users register custom domain names.
The only limitation is that you will be bound to the features that come with the subscription plan, making it tricky if you want to build a more complex site.
Therefore, we recommend using a website builder if you’re looking for the simplicity of the process and aiming to create a simple site with few pages, such as an online portfolio and a personal blog.
There are plenty of website builders in the market, but we will demonstrate the process using Zyro.
1. Set Up a Zyro Account
First of all, sign up for a Zyro account. You can create a new account with your email or using a Google or Facebook account.
Then, you have to subscribe to one of the four plans. The Basic entry-level plan costs $2.90/month and comes with 3 GB of bandwidth and 1 GB of storage, suitable for small websites.
We recommend the Unleashed plan if you’re not planning on creating an online store. It comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, as well as advanced features like Google Analytics, for $3.90/month.
There are two options for eCommerce stores. The basic eCommerce plan costs $9.90/month and is great for creating small online stores with up to 100 products.
The more advanced plan, eCommerce Plus, costs $14.90/month and ramps up the product limit to 2,500, also offering features like abandoned cart recovery.
Once you’ve signed up for a plan, you can either register a new domain name or use a custom one if you bought a domain name elsewhere. That said, make sure it points to the website builder’s server.
2. Choose a Template
The next step is picking a website template that matches your site’s needs.
For example, an eCommerce template such as Tangier comes with product pages and a shopping cart integration. Plus, it’s a great template for food eCommerce businesses, thanks to its clean and colorful design.
3. Customize Your Site
The website builder’s editor lets you customize the visual appearance of the site without touching the code. To move elements, simply drag and drop them to the predetermined grid blocks.
Changing the text is also easy as you only have to select an element and click Edit text.
In the sidebar, you’ll find more configuration settings. For example, the Pages and navigation section lets you manage pages and configure the site’s top navigation bar.
The Website style section contains settings for the site’s color scheme, typography, and button styles.
The AI Writer helps you generate SEO-friendly content by selecting keywords. While you may still need to edit the generated copy later, it’s a good starting point and saves you time.
The AI Heatmap is a tool to improve user experience. It will analyze your content and website design and discover which areas and elements get more attention. This way, you can optimize your web design to increase conversions.
Create a Website with WordPress
Another way to create a site is by using a content management system (CMS), which is a piece of software that enables you to create and modify website content.
There are several CMS platforms to choose from, such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. That said, we recommend using WordPress for creating a site as it’s the most beginner-friendly CMS and has the most themes and plugins.
1. Install WordPress
You need to install WordPress on your web hosting account to get started. If you use hPanel, the WordPress auto-installer makes the process much simpler.
- Log in to your hPanel.
- Select Auto Installer on the Website section.
- Click Select on the WordPress section.
- A pop-up window will appear. Select the domain name, enter your email address, create the WordPress admin login credentials, and click Install.
If you’re using another type of control panel, the process should be similar using the Softaculous auto-installer.
Alternatively, install WordPress manually by downloading the software and copying its files to the hosting account using an FTP client or file manager.
2. Choose a Theme
Customizing the website’s appearance requires a WordPress theme. It’s a pack of files containing code, style sheets, and custom elements to construct the website’s design and basic functionality.
Additionally, marketplaces such as ThemeForest offer premium WordPress themes. These themes may cost from $47/year to $100/year and offer more features than their free counterparts, such as parallax effect and one-page web design.
Once you make a decision, you just need to install the theme:
- Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
- Go to Appearance -> Themes.
- Click on the Add New button.
- Check the details and preview any theme that catches your attention. Once you’ve made a choice, click Install.
- Alternatively, browse the WordPress theme directory or other theme marketplaces and download the theme’s .zip file.
- To use it, go to the Add Themes page and click Upload Theme.
Once you’ve installed it, activate it to switch from the old theme to the new one.
3. Install WordPress Plugins to Add New Features
A WordPress plugin is software that adds features to your WordPress site and admin dashboard.
There are over 50,000 plugins available in the WordPress directory and thousands more in third-party marketplaces. It’s safe to say that there are plugins for every functionality you might need.
Follow these steps to install a WordPress plugin:
- Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
- Go to Plugins -> Add New.
- Once you find the desired plugin, click Install Now.
- Or, if you have already downloaded it, click Upload Plugin and select the corresponding .zip file.
- Activate the plugin.
Finding the right plugins for your site may take time. Thus, we’ve prepared a list of the must-have WordPress plugins:
- Yoast SEO – analyzes your content based on a focus keyphrase and provides suggestions to improve WordPress SEO.
- WooCommerce – enables eCommerce functionality, including online payment, order management, and inventory management.
- Visual Composer – provides a drag-and-drop page builder that lets you develop WordPress sites without touching a single line of code.
- W3 Total Cache – speeds up your WordPress site by enabling cache, content delivery network (CDN), and lazy loading.
- UpdraftPlus – helps you back up your WordPress to integrated cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, simplifying the site recovery.
4. Bonus: Start an Online Store with WooCommerce
If you want to build an online store, we recommend using WooCommerce. It comes with plenty of features like inventory management, order tracking, and analytics. You can even add more features by installing WooCommerce extensions.
There are two ways to add WooCommerce to your WordPress site. The first is installing the plugin manually, as explained in the previous section.
The second method uses the hPanel auto-installer to install WordPress and WooCommerce at the same time, like such:
- Log in to your hPanel account.
- Select Auto Installer on the Website section.
- Click Select on the WooCommerce section.
- A pop-up window will appear. Select the domain name, then enter your email address, WordPress admin login credentials, and click Install.
After you have finished installing WordPress and WooCommerce, configure your WooCommerce settings:
- Log in to the WordPress admin dashboard.
- Click WooCommerce at the sidebar to go to the setup page.
- Follow the instructions and enter your store information, industry, product types, and business details. Also, select a WooCommerce theme to get started with your eCommerce website design.
Once you’ve set up WooCommerce on your site, it is time to add products. Go to Products -> Add New to build your product listing.
4. Add Pages to Your Website
To add a page on WordPress, go to Pages -> Add New. Every site requires a different set of pages, but generally, here are the five must-have pages:
Whether you use a website builder or WordPress, the homepage provides the first impression about your business to visitors.
That said, you shouldn’t add too much information to it. Cluttered and messy homepages will deter visitors from continuing to browse as it’s harder to find relevant information.
Instead, keep it organized and concise and put visuals to guide visitors to the section or page that contains the information they want.
This page should provide information about your company history, vision and mission, team members, and testimonials. It helps customers, investors, or potential new hires to know more about your business.
However, avoid overexplaining your products or services. You can provide contact information here, but we recommend using a dedicated page for it.
Product or Service Page
The product or service page is crucial and decisive to convert your visitors into new customers. Provide details like features, benefits, and prices.
Product photos or videos also help make the page more visually appealing.
Adding a blog to your site can help drive traffic and increase conversion rates.
When writing blog posts, use relevant keywords to help your site rank higher on search engines.
Additionally, it keeps site visitors informed about updates, new products, and promotions. Make sure to include links to your product pages to convert readers into buyers.
The simplest contact page includes only your address, email, and phone number. However, we recommend adding a contact form.
It’s a faster and more convenient way to communicate with the site’s visitors. Plus, you can use Google Analytics to track submissions.
5. Create Email Accounts With Your New Domain
Using an email address with your new domain name, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, will increase your credibility, whether you use it as a contact address or to communicate with business partners.
If you use Hostinger’s hosting service, you can easily create an email address:
- Log in to your hPanel.
- Go to the Emails section and click Email Accounts.
- Select the hosting account or domain name.
- Click Add email account.
- Enter an email address and password, then click Create.
If you’re looking for a more premium email service, feel free to check out Titan business email hosting here.
Use a password generator like LastPass to create a random and secure password for your business email address.
How to Set Up Your Domain – Video Guide
Find out how to set up your domain for using emails at Hostinger.
6. Submit Your New Website to Search Engines
Since search engines use web crawlers to find new and updated content, they don’t rely on manual submissions to find a new site. However, submitting your site gives it a better chance of appearing on the result pages.
To do that, you need to create a sitemap to help search engines find your website pages and content. It lists the pages, videos, images, and other relevant content on your site, as well as the relationship between them.
Most search engines use links to discover new pages and index them. This can be an issue if you have a lot of pages that are not linked to each other, as they can be invisible to the crawlers.
Thus, submitting your site is a great idea when you change the website’s pages and structure. It tells search engines that they need to crawl the website again.
We have a complete guide for submitting your site to search engines. However, to sum up, here is what you need to do:
- Create a sitemap – if you use Zyro website builder, the sitemap is automatically created. Go to yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml to access it. If you use WordPress to generate a sitemap, use a plugin like Yoast SEO.
- Submit the site to Google – log in to Google Search Console using your Google account and select the Domain option. Navigate to the Sitemaps section and insert your sitemap URL on the Add a new sitemap section.
- Submit the site to Bing – log in to Bing Webmaster Tools using your Google account and opt for importing the site from Google Search Console. Once you’re in the dashboard, navigate to Sitemaps to submit it.
Submitting your website to search engines is only part of the work. For the website to rank high, you’ll need to optimize it. Here are some of our SEO tips:
- Optimize page speed – the time it takes to load your site affects its rankings. Use tools like GTMetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to test your website speed and get improvement suggestions.
- Make the website mobile-friendly – as more and more people browse the internet on mobile devices, mobile-friendly websites will rank higher. If you use WordPress, get a fully responsive theme and add accelerated mobile pages (AMP) to your site.
- Write a relevant meta title and meta description – a good meta title and meta description is engaging and shows users what your content is about, improving your click-through rate.
- Secure your website – Google prioritizes pages that use HTTPS. Make sure you install an SSL certificate on your site to enable this protocol.
- Create high-quality content – use plugins like Yoast SEO to get suggestions on how to make your content SEO-friendly.
7. Promote Your Website
Having a website is only half of the journey to building your online presence. Promoting your website is essential to build brand awareness and generate traffic, helping you gain leads and maximize profit.
Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms provide many opportunities to interact with your target audience. If you’re on Facebook, look for public groups relevant to your brand.
You can share your expertise, gather insights about your industry, or even directly promote your website.
On Instagram, make sure to include relevant hashtags in the caption. This will display your post for users who are following or viewing these hashtags, increasing brand awareness.
However, adding social media widgets to the site makes it easier for new customers to follow you and share content on their profiles.
Email marketing is an effective way to increase conversion rates and keep visitors informed. If you use WordPress, install a WordPress newsletter plugin to manage your campaigns right from your dashboard.
Add calls to action, inviting visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Once you have a subscriber list, it’s time to launch the email marketing campaign:
- Newsletters – the most common type of email marketing campaign. Send informative content or updates regarding your business.
- Acquisition campaigns – this type of email campaign is aimed at customers or readers who read your newsletter but don’t convert.
- Retention emails – this type of email aims to keep your subscribers and customers engaged. Survey invitations and birthday wishes make them feel appreciated and help increase brand loyalty.
- Promotional emails – provide discounts, exclusive offers, and information about new products to drive sales.
Paid advertising usually uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning that you will get billed for every click on your ads.
If you are willing to invest in this type of ad to promote your site, you can use paid advertising services like Google Ads.
Google Ads offers different types of services, including search and display networks. On a search network, your ads will appear on search result pages for relevant keywords.
On the other hand, display networks appear on websites that work together with Google to display banner-style advertisements.
While ads on the search network are displayed to people looking for what you offer, display ads reach a less specific audience. However, it provides an opportunity to present your site to a new audience.
To find keywords relevant to your business and find out how much each click will cost, use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner.
Once you’ve decided on the keywords, set up your Google Ads campaign – you’ll need a Google account. Then, set your campaign by selecting its type and adding the billing details and keywords.
The next step is to prepare your ads. Make sure your copy has compelling information and brief details about your business. It’s also a good idea to use call-to-action words.
A domain name is a crucial part of a website. It acts as its address and carries your business name and identity. However, buying a domain name is just the start of your online journey.
Here’s a recap of the seven steps to take after you buy a domain name:
- Register for a web hosting plan.
- Connect the domain name to the nameservers.
- Create your website using WordPress or a website builder.
- Add website pages.
- Create an email address with your domain name.
- Submit your website to search engines.
- Promote your website.
Don’t forget to renew the domain name registration when it’s due, or set it for auto-renewal.