Besides the usual tech questions, I get asked about blogging, people are curious about WordPress, Blogger, and Medium. All of the these are great platforms for blogging but most of my answers usually end with “…but WordPress will give you more control.” I love using WordPress, you can start off simple and scale up when YOU are ready. This article will go through the process of starting a self-managed WordPress blog so you can blog about anything. It doesn’t matter if you are blogging to make money or to share your thoughts, the process to start is the same for everyone.
Time to learn how to start a blog!
Your WordPress blog will need web hosting services and I like Bluehost web hosting. Click here to start a blog on WordPress, then you can follow the easy tutorial below to make this process quick. Bluehost is a great web host and I have had a great experience with them personally and while helping clients get online.
So I decided to start a blog for myself. It was definitely the best decision I made this year (last year was rough for us financially). I’m not making five figures a month yet but I’m making a few extra hundreds to chip away at my student loans. Once I hit at least $2,000 a month, I’ll create a page for those transparent income reports.
Before the blog, I was selling t-shirts and mugs using a few print of demand platforms. That industry is fun but constantly chasing t-shirt trends suck so I decided to start blogging as a backup as a backup to the t-shirt grind.
Bluehost is still one of the top web hosting companies and you can start your own WordPress blog with them for as low as $3.95 a month. If you sign up using my link, then you will get your domain name for free when you purchase the 36-month shared hosting plan. You DO NOT need anything else right now if you are just starting off so please ignore the higher priced virtual private server and dedicated hosting plans. I recommend signing up for a Basic hosting plan through Bluehost.
Why use Bluehost for a WordPress blog? The company has been around for years and have great customer service, that enough is worth it alone these days. If you want the best deal, then purchasing a 36-month plan is the winner, as your monthly rate is much lower. If you are interested in eventually making money off your blog, using it as a portfolio, or turning your blog into a business, then having it on your own web host, such as Bluehost, will make the process seamless. You get a great value and simplicity for people new to blogging. Their plans are extremely cheap and you get a free domain, that is why I believe starting with Bluehost is worth it.
Why do I recommend going with a self-hosted blog such as WordPress and Bluehost? The first reason is that website growth will happen if you keep writing and engaging with others. And you want to be ready ahead of time for opportunities and moving from a limiting free blog to your own blog can be a nightmare for beginners. Many bloggers (including me) have wasted countless hours trying to move their blog or spent hundreds paying a web developer for a transfer. The second reason is that once you have Bluehost and WordPress installed (which is very easy to do thanks to web hosting interface) you can run your own advertisements, affiliate links, etc. to make money. You have the choice to install stuff on day one or wait until you have a following. Making money on Blogger, Tumblr, or any other free blogging platform is difficult, mainly due to the lack of options or plugins that can help make traffic driving easier. And the third reason is that having your own self-hosted blog simply looks better, more professional. There are advertisers you can’t use and sponsors that won’t work with you if you are on one of those limiting free platforms.
- You get that FREE domain name
- Bluehost offers great technical support (seriously this is rare these days)
- WordPress on Bluehost is FREE and has a simple one-click install option
- Compared to other web hosts, Bluehost is cheap, at only $3.95 per month
- Bluehost backend uses cPanel (creating more email accounts will be SIMPLE)
- You’ll have the option to use your own ads, whenever
- Bluehost servers are good so your website will load quickly
- Having your own self-hosted WordPress blog looks professional to readers and sponsors
- You can email Bluehost and get a response back within hours
These are only a few of the reasons why many bloggers use Bluehost for their web hosting needs. Hopefully you are ready to start a blog now!
If you have any issues or questions with the sign-up process, you can send me an email and I can answer any questions you may have as I actually have years of web hosting support experience.
Learn How to Start a Blog on Bluehost
1. Register new domain name
The first step to getting started is heading over to Bluehost to get your domain name and web hosting. You can then click here to purchase a domain and web host for your new WordPress blog, then continue to follow the easy steps below.
The very first thing you will need to do to get started is to think about what you want your domain name to be. This is quite important as you won’t have the option to rename the free one.
You can get your domain name directly through Bluehost.com and make the whole process very easy. Remember to sign up for at least 12-months of hosting to get the FREE domain name.
I came up with this blog title Blackandise by combining the words Black and Merchandise, as I was going to create a store with only black products but decided not to go with such a bad idea. At first, I was against it since it’s not a real word but many brands are just made up words. My only advice is to not date your domain name with the year (so please no newsite2017.com or mysite2018.com).
2. Pick a web hosting plan for your blog
To get the lowest price of $3.95 per month, you have to sign up for the 36-months plan, which is a great price. If you sign up for a 24-month plan, then the price is $4.95 per month. If you sign up for a 12-month plan, then the price is $5.95 per month. If you are unsure about starting your blog, then test it out with a 12-month plan as it is still affordable and worth the price. If you purchase a 12-month plan, your total price is only $66 a year, which is still a great price. Plus, you’ll still get the free domain name. Just remember that the best value is the 36-month plan.
I know you want to learn how to start a blog but you’ll want to take your time with this section. There are a few options under the Package Information area that you may or may not want to add.
- Domain Privacy Protection
- You may want this… this service will hide your domain registration information, such as your name, address, and phone number, from the domain database. The database is like a big online phonebook for domain owners. This is probably something you may want to consider because companies will try to contact you for terrible web design services after finding your number in the database.
- Site Backup Pro
- You can skip this… Bluehost does complimentary backups. You’ll be able to do manual updates if needed. And after you learn how to blog like the pros, you’ll be able to find and configure free backup services to connect your WordPress blog to Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
- Search Engine Jumpstart
- You can skip this… ranking a site nowadays is more hands-on than using automated services.
- SiteLock Security
- You can skip this… it scans your web host files daily for viruses, malware, etc. If you’re going the WordPress route then you probably won’t need this. Remember to use strong passwords and to never upload random files to your web host and you’ll be okay.
- Comodo PositiveSSL Bundle
- You can look more into this… getting the https:// and green secure lock is nice to have. The SSL shows your site is more reliable and professional but its probably not necessary when getting started. You can always get one when you’re ready for it.
If you must do a month-to-month plan, please know that you won’t get the free domain name. By signing up for a minimum of 12 months, you will receive a free domain name and the best price.
So after paying for your web hosting, you will have to wait for an email to log in to your new web host. When you are ready to create your blog, follow the steps below to buy hosting for your blog.
3. Connecting your domain to Bluehost
IF YOU DID SIGN UP FOR A NEW BLUEHOST DOMAIN: Go to step 4… Bluehost will automatically connect your new domain to your web hosting.
IF YOU DID NOT SIGN UP FOR A NEW BLUEHOST DOMAIN: You’ll have to update the nameservers of your previously owned domain name to point to your new Bluehost web hosting. Usually, the nameservers are ns1.bluehost.com & ns2.bluehost.com.
Depending on where you bought your domain name from, you’ll need to get into their domain management system and update the nameservers to ns1.bluehost.com; ns2.bluehost.com (or whatever your personalized email has for nameservers)
Below are a few of the popular domain name registrars and instructions on how to modify your DNS Nameservers.
4. Installing WordPress on Bluehost
This is the important step of your initial question of how to start a blog. Luckily, this is one of the easiest steps thanks to Bluehost. After creating your account password, Bluehost will guide you through the blog installation process.
Using your Bluehost cPanel account to install WordPress.
- First, log into your Bluehost cPanel account.
- Find the Website section and click Install WordPress.
- Click the Install button.
- Choose the domain name to install it to. In the field next to the domain, you can enter a subfolder such as ‘blog’ or leave it blank if you want the website’s main page to be the blog (blank: will look like this http://yoursite.com instead of this http://yoursite.com/blog). I always leave it blank.
- If necessary, you can edit the email address, username, and password for the new WordPress installation. Click “advanced options” and you can change those settings.
- Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
- And finally, click the Install Now button.
Congratulations, you now know how to start a blog. You now have a WordPress blog. Now that you have a blog, you’ll want to work on designing the look and creating quality content. Good luck!
If you sign up for Bluehost, but you are confused for any reason, please send me an email and I will help you out. I’m here to help you so don’t be afraid to send me an email.
5. General tips on how to navigate your new WordPress blog
- You will receive your WordPress account email after you complete the installation in step 4. The email will include your unique WordPress login URL, your username, and your password. You want to save this information.
- You can add new posts by clicking on +NEW on the mid-left side of the screen when you are logged in to quickly create a new post, new page, or add upload new media files.
- Some of the quick shortcuts from other familiar programs will work when you’re typing in WordPress such as CTRL+B/Command+B to BOLD, CTRL+I/Command+I to Italics, etc.
- If you have any questions after starting your blog, check out WordPress Beginners as it’s a great site full of answers.
- You can also check out the official WordPress support pages.
- Remember to look for a security plugin. A great security plugin that I recommend is Wordfence Security.
- And a backup plugin. You can never have too many backups. An awesome backup and restore plugin that I recommend is UpdraftPlus. It is FREE and automatically backs up my blog to Dropbox.
- The successful bloggers recommend working on your mailing list ASAP so you’ll want to research MailChimp, AWeber, or ConvertKit as these are the mailing lists that people are talking about these days. Currently, I use MailChimp because I’m still a mailing list rookie.
- There are free themes available through WordPress. You can see these free themes by going to “Appearance” on the left-hand side, clicking “Add New”, and then searching for free themes. WordPress has thousands of free themes but many of these themes are just okay so if you want to check out the premium themes with nice built-in features (similar to this Blackandise theme) then head over to Theme Forest and look at some of their premium themes.
Here are a few blogging-related posts to read after you learn how to start a blog: