AccessAlly and AccessAlly Pro created specifically for the WordPress platform. As an open-source software, WordPress has incredible flexibility and potential. If you’re new to WordPress, you might be tempted to get a free site at WordPress.com … but this won’t give you the full flexibility you’ll want to have as you grow and develop your online presence.
To set up a fully-customizable WordPress site, you’ll need:
- A hosting company
- A unique domain name
- A free WordPress install (usually linked through your hosting cpanel)
Step 1: Choose Your Hosting Provider
For hosting providers, we recommend WPEngine, a hosting provider that can handle a ton of website traffic and is specifically intended for WordPress sites. If you choose another hosting service, look for one that offers 1-click WordPress installs, for ease of setup.
Alternatively, BlueHost makes it incredibly easy for you to begin the setup process with a step-by-step walkthrough process that begins on their homepage.
Some hosting providers do not offer domain name purchases on their sites. In this case, a simple Google search will lead you to many different companies that offer domain names for you to purchase. You can purchase a domain name pretty much anywhere on the web – a good place to start is GoDaddy.
A domain name purchased separately must be linked to your hosting services via the DNS settings. Each registrar is different when it comes to the steps needed to properly configure your DNS. Whether you use WPEngine, BlueHost, or another hosting service, you should check their tutorials for further information on this step.
Step 2: Install WordPress
This is where a 1-click install for WordPress is invaluable. In BlueHost, all you need to do is log into your account, then scroll down to Websites > WordPress install. Follow the step-by-step instructions to complete the install.
Once completed, you can access the backdoor of your website at: YOURWEBSITENAME.COM/wp-admin
Step 3: Create a Subdomain
Our recommendation is to build your membership site on a subdomain. A sub-domain is a mini-website connected with your main website. It will be much easier to continue to develop your membership site as its own entity.
A subdomain for your main site will have a slightly different URL. For example:
Main site: ambitionally.com
Step 4: Install WordPress on Subdomain
From a WordPress perspective, your subdomain must be treated as its own unique website. Install WordPress on the subdomain the same way that you did for the main domain. At this point, you’ll have two unique sites that must be developed alongside each other.
Keep in mind that as each site is developed, you should take special care to ensure that they remain visually linked to each other – any branding, colors, and themes that you choose for your main site should also be reflected in the membership site subdomain.
Step 5: Install a WordPress Theme
WordPress is the framework upon which you’ll build your site – to customize its appearance, you’ll need to install a theme (easily accessed through the WP dashboard).
Go to Appearance > Themes to change the appearance of your website.
Each theme is different – not just in terms of colors and fonts, but in overall functionality. Because of this, we recommend using a fairly flexible theme that will allow you to continue to build and develop your website.
We do not provide support for designing and tweaking your theme. If you have difficulty in this area, please see your web designer for help.
Step 6: Install Your SSL Certificate
If you want to retrieve account and billing information on your new membership site, you will need to properly install SSL.
Please head over to this tutorial to learn more: Why You Need an SSL Certificate On Your Membership Site.