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Have you been thinking about starting a WordPress blog, but find that you keep putting it off because of overwhelm?
You’re not alone.
I’ve been stuck in the same situation before, and I’m here to help you leap over that hurdle!
Today I’m going to walk you through the simple process of setting up your WordPress blog on Bluehost — and it really is easier than you think! To ease the overwhelm, I’ll be taking your hand and leading you through the entire setup process so you can be well on your way to writing awesome content on your new blog.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
A quick outline of the process:
- Buy a domain name (i.e. mine is www.gorattlethestars.com)
- Open a web hosting account with Bluehost (this is where your blog or website “lives” on the internet)
- Install WordPress on your blog or site
- Pick a WordPress theme and add it to your blog
- Download plugins, and start creating your website!
Why you should have a self-hosted WordPress blog
As someone who has a tendency to do a lot of background research before making a decision (especially if said decision involves spending money), I realize there are quite a few options out there when it comes to hosting for your blog. There are free options like Blogger and WordPress.com, as well as hosts that try and simplify the process for you like Wix and Squarespace. I’ve tried a few of these myself over the years, but none of them offer you the control or range of features you’ll have with a self-hosted WordPress.org blog.
WordPress.org (note the .org and not .com; otherwise known as ‘self-hosted’ WordPress) is one of the best and most widely used blogging platforms out there. It is both powerful and robust, and you can do basically anything you can think of with it.
In case you’re a little intimidated at the prospect, I’m here to tell you that you DO NOT need to have coding knowledge and you DO NOT need to pay a developer to handle a WordPress blog for you.
You. Got. This.
There are several fabulous options with visual page builders included if you want to avoid altogether, but we’ll touch on that subject in a little bit.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!
Step #1: Get a Domain Name
First up if you want your blog to look professional is to get a domain name. Mine is gorattlethestars.com. This is the address that will point to your blog on the web, and you want it to represent you and your business well!
It’s a good idea to put some thought into what you want your domain name to be, but you’ll also need to check that the name you want is available. You should focus on attaining the .com version of your domain name if you can, but if it isn’t available feel free to choose another extension. Country specific domains are good (.ca is a good one if you live in Canada), as well as .net, .org, and .co.
You can kill two birds with one stone and get your domain name free when you sign up for a hosting package with Bluehost.
In order to see if your preferred domain name is available, you can search on sites like GoDaddy or Namecheap to see if it’s taken or not. Your search will show you the available domains that match your search term, and give you a price for each. I usually spent between $10 and $15 per year for my domain names.
Finding a domain name can be a time consuming process, so be prepared to get creative! Trying out different spellings and word combinations can work out well if you get stuck.
Once you’ve decided on a domain name and found that it is available (hooray!), you can go ahead and purchase it!
You can either buy it straight from GoDaddy or Namecheap, or wait and buy it when you sign up for hosting in the next step. Bluehost offers include a free domain name for 1 year when you sign up with them, so take advantage of that if you like.
One additional note: when you purchase your domain name you might be asked if you want to add privacy protection for a small extra fee. It’s completely optional, but I always add this option myself. It’ll keep your personal information like your name and address out of the hands of spammers and other unsavoury internet goons. Well worth the peace of mind in my opinion.
Step #2: Purchase Web Hosting
Now that you’ve registered your domain name, it’s time to get your hosting set up!
Bluehost is a great option if you’re just getting started. They’re a well known company and widely used, and can get you set up for only a few dollars per month. Sign up with Bluehost for as little as $2.75 per month, and get a free domain when you sign up for a year or more by using this link.
Which plan should I pick?
If you’re just starting out with your first blog, the Basic Plan should cover all your needs — no need to pay for more than you need. If you plan on starting more than one website, the Plus Plan is a good option as it allows you to host unlimited websites:
I recommend that you sign up for a year of hosting or more — it’ll save you money in the long run, and you get a free domain name when you sign up!
Under the Package Information section on the sign-up page, you’ll see a few extra add-ons that Bluehost offers. I’d recommend adding the Domain Privacy Protection if you’re buying a new domain name from Bluehost, but otherwise ignore the rest.
Once you’ve chosen your plan and entered your information, all that’s left is to enter your payment details, create your password, and you’re good to go!
You now have a domain name and website hosting — and all for less than $60 a year. Whoop whoop!
Step #2.5: Point Your Domain to Your Website (if you bought your domain from somewhere other than Bluehost)
You can skip this step if you bought your domain name along with your hosting from Bluehost. You’re already set up!
What you need to do is check with your specific provider on how to modify your DNS Nameservers. Don’t worry — it’s normally super simple.
How to modify your DNS Nameservers to point to your Bluehost website:
- Sign in to your account with your domain provider (this could be GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc) and go to your Dashboard.
- Select Manage Domains or Domain List, and click Manage for the domain name you wish to use.
- Next, you want to set or change Name Servers.
- Enter your Bluehost name server info in the spaces provided. The default nameservers for Bluehost are: ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com (you should enter them both).
- Hit Save Changes and you’re done.
Please note that it can take a few hours for these changes to update globally. So just sit tight and your domain will direct you to your new website in no time.
Step #3: Installing WordPress on Your Website
Next up is to install WordPress onto your Bluehost site. Luckily, this step is super quick and easy because Bluehost offers a simple 1-Click WordPress Installation process.
This feature enables you to get WordPress up and running in the blink of an eye. No, really—it should only take a few seconds!
If you don’t get prompted right away when you log in to your Bluehost account for the first time, you can find the 1-Click WordPress installation feature in your cPanel. Your cPanel is just the main control panel for all your Bluehost sites:
Find your cPanel under the main hosting tab once you’ve logged in to Bluehost.
Scroll down in your cPanel until you find the ‘Install WordPress’ button.
Click the Install WordPress button, follow the prompts and voila! WordPress has now been installed. Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a WordPress blog!
Step #4: Installing a WordPress Theme
Okay. So you’ve got a unique domain name, you’ve pointed it to your Bluehost account, and you’ve installed WordPress on your site. Now what?
You’re gonna need a theme, because all WordPress blogs have one. What does a theme do, you ask? It gives your website its whole look and feel, and can come with a host of awesome useful features.
There are literally thousands of WordPress themes that are available to you, both free and paid, so make sure you pick one that suits you!
Though it may be convenient to go with a free theme, I highly recommend a premium paid theme. Premium themes are much nicer than free themes, but more importantly they’re often better supported and updated get consistent updates. This is incredibly important in making sure your blog stays secure and safe from hackers who often find sneaky ways of breaking into sites with old and outdated themes.
If you want to browse through what’s available, ThemeForest is a great marketplace where you can find just about any theme that suits your fancy.
If you don’t know how to code, make sure you pick a theme with a visual page builder. Themes with them will allow you to build your website visually instead of with code.
The theme I use on my website is the Total Theme, which can be found on ThemeForest. It is super customizable, has a visual page builder, and incredibly easy to use.
But the theme I recommend to everyone, especially beginners, is Divi by Elegant Themes. Divi is a great all inclusive package that allows you to skip the coding and build your website visually. It has a simple and easy to use page builder, plus you get access to ALL of the themes and plugins that Elegant Themes has to offer when you sign up, as well we premium support. It really has everything.
Once you’ve got your theme, you’ll get a ZIP file to download which you’ll need to upload to your WordPress dashboard, then activate.
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to install a Premium WordPress theme:
- Login to your WordPress Dashboard, then click on “Appearance” in the side menu. In the drop down menu, click on “Themes”.
2. On the ‘Themes’ page, click ‘Add New’.
3. Upload the ZIP file that contains your WordPress theme.
You can also activate a free theme or search for one here if you didn’t decide on a premium theme.
- Click to Install, and then Activate your theme.
Once you click activate, your theme will be live on your site! Now it’s up to you to play around with your new theme, add plugins to get you the features you want, and start designing your new website.
The options to do this will vary depending on your theme, so it’s a good idea to read the documentation provided by your theme creators to learn everything you can do with it.
Step #5: Customize and create your blog
You’ve done it! By now you should have your blog all set up and ready to start customizing to your heart’s content.
Tweak the design of your site, add advanced features with plugins, and upload your first blog post! This is the part where you add your own personal flair to your blog and really make it your own.
See my master list of blogging resources that I use to create and grow my own blog. Looking for some great reads for new online bloggers and entrepreneurs? Check out my list of the 10 Best Business Books for Creative Entrepreneurs.