Do you want to start a blog?
Blogging is a great way to convey your thoughts, help others, use as a portfolio, or start a business.
There are many platforms available online where you can start a blog for free such as Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com. But because they’re free, these sites only provide you with a subdomain which means that your blog is hosted on their site. You don’t have full control of your site and you can’t fully customize it just the way you want to.
If you want a site that is viewed as professional and the ability to customize it entirely the way you like it, it’s absolutely crucial that you purchase your own domain and be self-hosted. I would highly suggest going this route if you’re looking to start a blog.
Today, I will show you just how simple and affordable it is to start a blog with your own domain using WordPress. All it takes is a few easy steps!
Purchase Web Hosting
The first thing to do when you start a blog is to sign up with a web hosting service. My preferred choice is Bluehost and so far I’ve been very pleased with their service!
Their service is extremely affordable and there are so many different plans available for you to choose from depending on your needs and wants. You can get a self-hosted domain (with a FREE domain name included for the first year) for as low as $3.95 per month. That’s a steal! And if you don’t like the service you’re getting, you are guaranteed to get a refund within 30 days of signing up.
My Experience With Bluehost
I’ve hosted 2 different sites so far with Bluehost (this blog included) and I’ve never had any hiccups. Their service has been extremely reliable for me. My website is consistently up and running, which is very important to me when choosing a web host service.
I also like their customer service because they’re always available and ready to help you 24/7 if you have any questions or are experiencing a problem with your site. I had a question once in the middle of the night about my site and it was promptly answered by a customer service representative. The last thing you want is to have your site crash and burn while being ignored by your web host when you need help the most!
Now let’s get on with the tutorial.
First, click here to go to Bluehost. Then click on the Get Started Now button.
Now, pick a web hosting plan that suits your needs. If you start a blog from scratch for the first time, you will most likely only need their Basic Plan.
The prices below are what you would pay per month for 36 months. If you purchase a plan that’s only 12 months long, it will be a little more expensive but still extremely affordable. Again, you can always cancel your account if you don’t like their service within 30 days after signing up.
Register A Domain
In this step, you will pick a domain name that you like and register it with Bluehost. The first domain is totally free when you sign up with a Bluehost web hosting plan if you purchase a web hosting plan that is 12 months or longer! This feature that Bluehost has is awesome if you want to start a blog for the very first time and want to test the waters.
Now once you have decided on the domain name you would like, input it into the box on the left.
If you already own a domain name from an external source, you can enter it into the box on the right. You will still qualify to register a free domain from Bluehost but you can set it up at a later date.
After clicking Next, fill out your account information in the next window. Underneath that, you will see the summary of your package information that you chose.
One important thing that you need to pay attention to in the summary is Domain Privacy Protection. I highly suggest that you pay for this (for an extra $0.99 per month) if you choose to receive the free domain from Bluehost because it will protect your personal information from the public.
All that’s left now is to input your payment information and click Submit. You can now proceed to step #4 if you registered a free domain. If you only purchased web hosting and didn’t take the free domain, proceed to the next step.
Purchase A Domain (Optional)
As I said earlier, Bluehost gives you a FREE domain with the purchase of 12 months or more of web hosting. However, you can choose to purchase your own domain if you’re not interested in taking the free domain.
Some say it’s a better choice to have a domain hosted on another site in case something goes wrong with the web hosting site and both your domain and hosting goes down. It’s really a personal choice and there’s no right or wrong decision.
I decided I wanted the freedom of being with an external company when I started my site which is why I registered with Namecheap. So far my experience with them has been smooth and I would totally recommend them if that’s the route you’re also interested in going.
After you get your welcome email from Bluehost, you’ll be able to login to your cPanel at http://yourdomain.com/cpanel. This is the main hub where you will manage your site.
The first thing to do is to click Install WordPress. Bluehost includes a handy link for quick installation which comes free with web hosting.
Next, Bluehost will lead you through the installation of WordPress. Click Continue Installation.
You will now see a drop-down menu on the left that says Domain. You will have the choice of choosing either:
- http://www.yourdomain.com, or
- http://yourdomain.com (I personally like using this shorter version more)
On the right where it says Directory, this allows you to input the location of where you want to install WordPress.
- You can either leave it blank, so that when you enter http://yourdomain.com, WordPress automatically loads at the root directory, or
- You can enter a subdirectory name such as blog, so that your blog address is http://yourdomain.com/blog
Now enter your admin and site information for WordPress. Make sure you are using another username other than Admin with a complex password so that hackers won’t be able to take control of your site in the future! The more complex the admin name and password, the better. Also, ensure that “automatically create a new database for this installation” is checked off. Then click Next.
The installation will then begin and should last around a minute. Now you’re all done! You’ll be able to log in to WordPress at http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin with your account details you entered in during the installation process.
After you log in to WordPress, you will see your Dashboard. This is where you will be able to write new posts, moderate comments, change the appearance of your blog by installing and customizing themes, and add plugins.
Now that you’ve set up your domain and web hosting, all you have to do is set up your WordPress theme and write your first blog post!
In addition to setting up your domain and web hosting with Bluehost, I highly recommend you to check out the following resources to help you make money on your blog!
Making Sense Of Affiliating Marketing: If you’re looking to monetize your blog, the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing e-course is an absolute must-have purchase. Learn how Michelle earns over $50,000 per month just from affiliate marketing! This course will teach you everything you’ll need to know to improve and increase your passive income and make money. So far I’ve doubled my blog income after taking this course!
Tailwind: This is an absolute must-have tool if you want to see massive traffic to your blog but you don’t want to spend all day manually pinning on Pinterest. It’s the official scheduler of Pinterest and it’s programmed to find the optimal time slots for your pins to circulate out to your followers, even when you’re asleep! Just schedule in advanced all of your pins and forget about it. Tailwind is a serious time saver and I’d recommend it to all new bloggers!
Pinteresting Strategies: If you’re just starting out your own blog and/or can’t justify spending a ton of money on a Pinterest scheduler such as Tailwind BUT you want MASSIVE traffic to your blog, I’d highly recommend you to get the Pinteresting Strategies e-book! Carly teaches you how to go from 0 to 200k page views with her easy to follow manual pinning strategy and she also includes tips on how to improve your Pinterest account. This is a must-read especially if you’re just starting out with using Pinterest and you want to promote your blog!
Restored 316 Designs: If you’re looking for a beautiful feminine WordPress theme, Restored 316 Designs has you covered. They have a ton of beautiful designs to choose from that’ll give your blog a feminine feel. If that’s what you’re looking for, you definitely need to check them out! (You will need the Genesis framework in order for these WordPress themes to work)
Bluchic: Bluchic is another shop that has so many beautiful, feminine WordPress themes to choose from. You definitely need to check them out if you’re looking for something girly but professional!