Hey Steve — please just follow the steps in the Hello Web App book. I hesitate to follow your steps here because I know that they’re correct in the books.
Regarding virtualenv, you should always be in your virtual environment when you’re working on your Django project.
Django will not work if you aren’t in your environment (your “bubble” that keeps you separate from the rest of your system), so don’t turn it off unless you’re done with working for the day (and then go back in when you start working the next time).
So, as a weird analogy — say you have a recipe that only works with a certain kind of oven. Your kitchen already has an oven, but you need this certain one. So you create a “virtual environment”, a virtual kitchen of sorts, and it has the oven you need, and it won’t conflict with your actual kitchen.
When you need to use that special oven, you need to enter into this special kitchen in order to access it. (Activating your virtual environment for your project.)
This is useful in case you work on special recipe #2, which needs it’s own, special, different oven. So you can create your own kitchen for that recipe, and it won’t conflict with other kitchens you have.
Virtual environments give a bubble to install things (like Django) so they don’t conflict with your system, or other projects you have on your system. You need to be “in” that environment in order to access what you’ve installed there.
I hope that helps you understand!