I’ve been blogging for almost a decade now and it’s no secret I think blogging is the coolest invention since the printing press. (Well, maybe that’s still cooler, I really like books a lot. And there would be no books without the printing press. But you get the point. Blogs are cool.)
Starting your own blog doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s simpler than ever before thanks to a few awesome companies: BlueHost and WordPress. If you have 5 minutes to set aside right now, we can get an awesome blog up and running for you in less time than it will take to make dinner tonight.
(On that note, you’re starting a blog today! Don’t make dinner. Order in!)
Gather the following before we begin:
1. Desired Blog Name/URL
2. Credit Card Information
Ready? Let’s do this!
I strongly recommend purchasing your domain and hosting through BlueHost, so today’s tutorial will be showing you how to set up a blog, hosted by BlueHost, using the WordPress platform. I’ve been blogging for almost a decade and there is no better customer service in the industry. Bluehost offers 24/7 support to their customers through e-mail, live chat or phone and every time I have needed help, their live chat has been very quick to assist.
Another key benefit to using Bluehost? In the years I’ve hosted multiple domains with the company, I don’t remember any of my sites being down!
2. Select the hosting package you’d like to purchase. For the small monthly price difference ($6.95 vs. $3.49) it is definitely worth purchasing the Plus plan. As you can see in the image, Plus includes unlimited website space, bandwidth, parked and subdomains, email accounts and email storage. Awesome.
3. Once you’ve selected your hosting, you need to choose your desired URL for your blog. If possible, try to stick with .com domains so they are easily remembered. (If you’re Canadian, a .ca domain would be a close second… but .com is the best.) Once you’ve decided on your name, click “next.”
4. The next screen you’ll see is Account Information, Package Information and Billing Information. Fill in the proper account information. Under Package Information, you’ll see the account plan you chose in Step 2.
You have an option of registering your hosting for 12, 24 or 36 months. Here’s the best thing about Bluehost: they’ll refund any unused months if you happen to change your mind. (I did change my mind on a domain I didn’t need last month! I was refunded – in a minute!) There is literally no risk to choosing a longer plan and purchasing a 36-month plan will boost your search engine optimization… or “Google Juice” as some call it. Go for the long haul!
There are various options underneath “Account Plan” including Constant Contact, Domain Privacy Protection, Site Backup Pro, Engine Jumpstart, Sitelock Security – Find. On all of my domains, the only option I’ve select is Domain Privacy Protection for $0.99/month – but this is completely optional. You’ll be fine without it.
5. Once you’ve completed the billing information section, you’ll receive an email with a confirmation!
6. Click the confirmation to set your password and you’ll be directed to your Bluehost admin panel. In this panel, navigate to the header called “Website Builders” and click “Install WordPress.”
7. When you click Install WordPress, you’ll see a new tab with the following. Click “Install” to begin the installation.
8. You’ll see an option on the next step that says “Select which domain you would like to install to.” Choose your domain name.
9. WordPress will ask you to fill out some information including your Site Name, Admin Username, Admin Password and Admin Email Address. Make sure you choose a secure username and password for your blog!
10. Yay! It’s time to log into WordPress! To reach your WordPress control panel, you’ll go to http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin replacing “yourdomain” with your domain URL. Enter in your username and password. (Note, this may be different than your Bluehost control panel password. They are separate admin panels.)
11. You’re in! You can see your blog live by typing in: http://yourdomain.com. Needs a bit of work still? That’s where themes come in! To search for free themes to install on your blog, visit “Appearance” (on the sidebar) then click “Themes.”
There are tons of great free themes that will be fine until you learn a bit more about blogging! But if you want to start off with a bang, I recommend browsing Envato for an awesome paid theme. They have hundreds of stylish options for under $60.
12. Once you’ve purchased your theme and downloaded the .zip file, you need to upload it to your WordPress account. Back to the sidebar in your admin panel, click Appearance > Themes. At the top of the Themes page you’ll see Add New. Click that! On the next page, click Upload Theme and then Choose File and upload your .zip file of the theme. (Important: do NOT unzip the file before uploading!) Then hit, Install Now.
You started a blog today! How easy was that?