I think everyone knows that it is important to retire to something not just from something. One of the things I had planned on doing was Retire to the Internet with a Website. Although I was a telecom engineer in my first career and then a Cable Video Systems Analyst in my encore career I hated anything to do with programming. I had never done anything along those lines so I thought I had none of the skills necessary to be able to create a website. One of my retirement to objectives is to always stay curious and learn new things. Along with that among my bucket list items was learning how to create a website. I also kept in the back of mind to someday be able to turn my internet educational and hobby goals into income at some point if I enjoyed doing it.
What If I Don’t Know Much about the Internet and Website Creation?
No problem, it has been simplified so that anyone can do it. I didn’t start LeisureFreak.com until I was wrapping up my encore career and heading towards early retirement number 2. I just didn’t feel comfortable starting down that road until my research brought me to the conclusion that it really is easy and inexpensive to create a website.
I want to share what I found with you.
I believe once you read this article and watch the video tutorials I have given below in this article that you will see just how inexpensive and simple it really is to retire to the Internet with a Website and/or Blog of your own creation.
I was pretty naive when I started my Website. I didn’t even know what a blog was or how it fit into the grand scheme of all things internet. Talk about having little knowledge. The internet was just a tool I used for work and entertainment. If I can create a website found by people all around the world I think anyone can do it.
My goal was to create an information website but I soon learned the importance of blogging. What I have learned through all of this is that I actually enjoy writing and doing research for LeisureFreak.com. It is a lot of fun and not only keeps my brain very active but I have become an early retirement expert in my own mind, LOL. Kidding aside I know much more than I did before starting this site and have applied my new knowledge to my early retirement lifestyle for the better. It works for me because I am passionate about early retirement and living life on my terms.
I recommend if you aren’t looking to develop a website to support a business and are interested in a blog or information website that you go into it as a fun hobby and learning experience first. Then later once you have the interest of the World-Wide-Web sending you traffic you can monetize it for income. In either case, a business site or info site/blog, the steps to create your website uses the same easy process.
Retire to the Internet with a Website- Free Blogger Site vs Hosted Website
Perhaps you have done some research and have heard of WordPress as being the leader in Blog platforms. There are actually two flavors of WordPress. One is the free blog provider at wordpress.com where you can create a blog site for free. If that is all you see yourself wanting to do then that works. The disadvantage is being able to later monetize your site or turn it later into a business. In fact they will be putting ads on your site so that they can pay for your free service. It may also be difficult to move your site from the free version blog sites like wordpress.com or blogger.com later if you change your mind.
That is why I recommend taking the route I did and having your website on a hosted platform which is the subject of this page. I use and strongly recommend the hosting service Bluehost (*affiliate) and using the second flavor of WordPress as your website platform because the two together are the inexpensive (see the affiliate bluehost ad in leisurefreak right column [sidebar] or site bottom for current specials) and simplest way to create and have your own website.
The primary reasons for having a hosted website are:
- You may want to turn your site into a business.
- You may want to monetize your site with Ads, Affiliate Links, or sell a product.
- Your site ends up having high traffic volumes that requires a hosted site for website performance.
- You will have more control of your site’s appearance using plugins and customizations and can use better statistical tools like Google Analytics.
Those are the reasons why you want to have a hosted website. Below are the reasons why Bluehost is the right choice for hosting your website.
- A Bluehost hosted website can be your internet empire’s online headquarters because you can have unlimited websites, email accounts and domains under your one account at no additional cost.
- A Bluehost hosted website allows you to store and backup your files, have faster site speeds, and have ample storage.
- Bluehost is known for their usability, service, and reliability.
- Bluehost and MOJO Marketplace makes the installation of the WordPress platform easy and simple. WordPress isn’t only a blog platform, when paired with Bluehost It is the perfect website platform and easy to use.
- The Bluehost Control Panel is easy to understand and use.
- Bluehost has courteous and professional 24 hour in-house technical support to aid you with your hosted account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Meaning no matter when you need help they are there to aid you.
- Bluehost’s proprietary custom-built servers provides the most stable and reliable hosting environment available.
- Bluehost has a 30 day money back guarantee. If their hosting is not what you need or want, you can cancel at anytime
Hopefully you can see the benefit of having a hosted website and why Bluehost is the web hosting service to use.
Here is the Bluehost link to use or click the Bluehost Ad in the right sidebar or site bottom if you choose to support Leisure Freak, Retire Early and Often while you start on the path to create your own site.
* Your support will not affect the price you pay for Bluehost hosting service and if you do use any of my affiliate links or a Bluehost site ad then a great big thanks to you from Leisure Freak Tommy.
Steps to Retire to the Internet with a Website
Following are the steps you need to take followed by some video based tutorials to show you just how easy it is to create a website and/or blog using Bluehost and WordPress.
Step 1- Decide your topic and niche.
You would serve yourself well to pick a subject that you enjoy and have passion for. It takes patience and dedication but also focus to build and grow a website. The more focused your niche the easier it is to connect with an audience. Having a niche that is overly broad only confuses your readers. Choosing your niche and focus is the hardest thing about creating your own website or blog.
That said don’t let that scare you off from any of this. Most first timers start their site and realize their niche isn’t working for them and rewrite and edit a whole bunch or start another site using their new experience to begin a better website. The great thing about using Bluehost as your hosting service is you can start another site at no extra cost as it allows an unlimited number of sites under your account. The most important thing is to just do it. Get started and select your topic that you have a good feel for.
Step 2- Come up with a name.
Some people like to use their name and others like to come up with something catchy or memorable. When I decided on the site name “Leisure Freak” I was thinking about creating a brand. The name came from my thinking about how excited and passionate I was about reaching financial independence and retiring early where I only worked when I wanted to work. I thought about a lot of names and then recalled the term “Jesus Freaks” who are enthused and passionate folks and that is where the name Leisure Freak came from.
I recommend you have a little book as your ideas will come and you need to write them down. Then you need to check and see if it would be available as your website domain name (web address url, i.e. websitename.com). I would use godaddy.com and use their search domain name to verify availability. You will be surprised at how many of the killer names you come up with that are taken and not available. I had filled up a full-page of possible names before deciding on Leisure Freak. Pick an awesome name and make sure it’s one you will love because you will be living with it as your own internet child as you create and grow your website.
Step 3- The following steps walk you through creating your website on Bluehost as your hosting service.
Have your credit card ready and your selected (available) domain name (url )so you can set up your new hosting account.
#3.1- To get started go to Bluehost’s home page. Click Sign Up Now.
At the time of my writing this article Bluehost is offering a $3.49 a month special.
#3.2- Next you need to choose a domain name for your site. If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost. If you don’t already own a domain name, you can buy one now. It will be free with your hosting account purchase, as you get a free domain with a new hosting account.
#3.3- Once you have entered a domain name, you now will fill in your personal information.
#3.4- Now you will choose the hosting package you want. Normal shared hosting is priced at 12, 24, and 36 month terms. The longer term you purchase, the lower the monthly rate is, which saves you money. For example, by choosing a 36 month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $3.95 a month. Another great bonus to choosing Bluehost is that if you want more than a shared hosting account, Bluehost provides seamless upgrades to VPS or Dedicated hosting accounts from inside your cPanel!
There are a few other offers here, which you can include at your discretion. One that is highly recommended is Domain Privacy, which will keep all of your personal information private.
#3.5- After filling in your information and choosing your hosting package, you can click Next to complete your purchase. At this time you will be asked to create a password for your account. You can use the Password Generator to create a strong password, or create one yourself. It is required to have both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?!#, etc.) in order to have a strong enough password to protect your account.
Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you will be able to get started installing WordPress where all the magic begins.
Steps to Install WordPress on your Bluehost account
Step 4- This may seem like it is going to be complicated steps, but Bluehost has worked hard to make this one of the easiest things for you to do. They use the MOJO Marketplace for installing WordPress (and other applications). I will list here the steps but if you prefer I have also included links to a video tutorial that walks you through the install and much more. There are 10 total short informative and entertaining videos that really show how easy this. Watch the videos and refer to the below steps. I also have some recommended plugins that you will find beneficial for your site.
WordPress using Bluehost Video Tutorials.
You should be able to start a video and if you have time to sit through them all they will run consecutively. Otherwise you can pick a video by subject from below.
Note: Video links are set to open in new Browser Window.
The Steps to Install WordPress on your Bluehost account:
#4.1 In your cPanel, scroll to the section titled “MOJO Marketplace” and choose the icon One-Click Installs.
#4.2- You will now be on a page inside MOJO Marketplace called Scripts and Platforms. The blog section is at the very top, so all you have to do here is click on the WordPress icon.
#4.3 – This will open the installation window. Click on Start a brand new installation. This is going to start the WordPress installation process, which has a few easy steps:
#4.4- Choose where you want to install WordPress. This can be any domain on your account, or a subdomain or a folder for one of your domains. Next click Check Domain, which will make sure the domain is assigned and pointing to your account. You may get a warning that you are overwriting files, but as long as you don’t have another website built yet, you can check the box and continue. This is mostly to make sure that you really want to install in that location. If you do have other sites built, you will want to make sure you’re not overwriting something important.
#4.5- Show Advanced Options. This section allows you to set up your own username and password for your WordPress install. It is recommended to use a different username than ‘Admin’ and a very strong password. Make sure that the “Automatically Create a new database for this installation” box is checked unless you have a database that you have already setup and want to use.
#4.6 – Check the box saying that you have read the terms and conditions. Then click Install Now.
#4.7 – You will now see the progress page, which will show you how far along the installation is. Once WordPress is fully installed it will give you your Site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password. You will get a copy of this information in your email (except your password) as well. Make sure you keep it in a safe place.
Now you can log into your WordPress site by going to the admin login URL. Enter your username and password, then click Log In. You will now be looking at the WordPress Dashboard. This is where you will control everything to do with your WordPress site, such as creating pages, writing posts (blog), and changing the appearance of your site.
Step 5- WordPress Customizations.
Everything is there to start your website/blog but as you may have seen in the video you get to set the theme and how you want your site to look and feel.
#5.1 – Login at the WordPress admin section of your blog by entering the username and password you were given.
#5.2 – You will arrive at your WordPress Dashboard which is the “back end” or “working end” of your website. Here is where you add pages, add posts, change your website’s look, add plugins, add users, mess with Widgets, etc.
Important Note: For increased security reasons, before doing anything else change your login by removing the Admin username (unless you already did this during the install):
- Choose Users, Add New
- Invent a memorable new username and password for yourself
- Choose “Administrator” in the drop-down box at the bottom labeled “role”
- You should now have two Admin level users.
- Logout as “admin” and log in using your new username.
- Then return to the users screen, select Admin user account name and then delete it. Now you should only have one admin profile, the new one you just created. Believe me, hackers love trying to use UserId = Admin trying to access your site so get rid of it.
#5.3 – You may see a note on your dashboard saying to sign up for a WordPress.com account. This is an account with the real WordPress Company. This is different from the WP account you just created here on your own Bluehost server. You WILL want to do this as it is needed to get and enable a necessary Plugin that will make your life much better.
This essential plugin is called ‘Jetpack’ which is valuable for site statistics as well as other plugins. Click “Connect to WordPress.com” and register for an account with them. Be sure to save the login information somewhere. Now authorize Jetpack and afterward you will have on the left column ‘site stats’. If you see a notification of updates then under “dashboard” select ‘updates’ and let it do what it needs to do.
#5.4 – Get real acquainted with and check all of your settings. This is so you can familiarize and learn about them. Go to ‘Settings’ and go through each menu item.
Under ‘General’ type in your site name and tagline. That is where I put Retire Early and Often Through Frugal Living, a Passion Driven Lifestyle. Input your e-mail address and your time zone. Always remember to click ‘save changes’ for every page that you edit.
If you added your site name and tagline you should see that on what looks like a blank website. It is initially created with a default theme. The default theme is called “Twenty Twelve” or something like that.
Step 6 – Picking the Theme and Plugins that you want for your website.
#6.1 – Select Appearance, Themes. Verify the theme that is now installed on your site at the top left. The range of available themes is vast and more are constantly being created. There are themes that you can buy but begin using one of the free themes and get some experience with your website for a while before spending money buying a one. Refer back to the video tutorial Customizing Themes.
#6.2 – After you settle on the theme you want you can start creating pages (under Pages) and blog posts (under Posts).
Go to Settings, Privacy, you can choose to make your blog visible to search engines or not.
Go to Appearance, Menus, you can create a menu which helps users navigate to key pages in your site.
#6.3- Under Plugins you can add any of the thousands of plugins developed by other programmers and code writers. Make sure that they say they support the software level you are at and that there are lots of people using it with decent reviews. Refer back to the video tutorial Using Plugins.
Leisure Freak uses the following (Free) plugins that you may find useful:
Akismet, Jetpack, WP Super Cache, All In One WP Security, Clean Save, Comment LUV, Contact Form 7, Mojo Marketplace, Show Hide Author, Super Simple Google Analytics, WP Spam Shield, YOAST SEO, Zig Trap.
Note: You may notice some security plugins in my list. I found out early on that the international hacker network is alive and well and even a small site like Leisure Freak was something they all wanted to hack. It’s important to not have a Login user id of Admin and have a good password. Then use a good security plugin. “All In One WP Security” has worked well for me but you can find other plugins that have similar attributes.
You should soon see how easy it is to retire to the internet with a website.
Go have some fun and start writing, adding your photographs, and adding any videos you have created. Being able to Retire to the Internet with a Website and/or Blog not only allows you to enjoy writing again, learn some new skills, keep your brain active, and allow you to meet new people (you will be amazed at the on-line kindness and support other bloggers can/will offer) but also gives you the opportunity to build a web-based business.