How to Start A Blog: Bluehost + WordPress Tutorial
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I'm not a techie.
When I was just starting out, the most scary thing to me was trying to figure out the technical aspects of actually starting a blog. The second scariest was probably getting my writing out there, but that's a story for another day!
If you are hoping to start a blog that becomes your next side hustle or full-time business, then this tutorial is for you! I'm happy to say that starting a blog really isn't as technical or complicated as it looks, and I'm hoping that this tutorial will make it simple for you.
In fact, starting a blog only takes about 15 minutes. Ready to get started?
Overview of Starting A Blog
1. Register your domain name.
Here's where you get to decide what you will name your blog! My blog's name is simply my first and last name. I highly recommend using your name as your domain name for a number of reasons.
- First, it's completely unique to you and you own your name. You won't have to worry about accidentally using the same business name as another company who has already trademarked it.
- On top of that, blogging under your own name gives you more flexibility in what you write about. If you choose a name like Financialsense.com, for example, it will be hard down the road to expand your writing past personal finance topics if you want to.
With your own name however, you will have the freedom to adjust your perspective and angle in the future if you want to. If using your name isn't your thing, I'd recommend choosing a blog name that is easy to spell and remember.
Avoid using lots of dashes in the URL as these can be hard to convey to other people if you are trying to tell them your URL. And lastly, make sure that all of the major social media accounts have that name available.
It would be really disappointing to register your creative blog name only to find out that the Twitter handle has already been taken by someone else. And lastly, go with a .com or .org URL. They're just much more professional than things like .Biz or .TV.
2. Buy your hosting plan.
One of the reasons I love and use Bluehost is because it includes a free domain name in your package.
Bluehost is super affordable, they have great customer service, and they are already integrated with WordPress. This means that the entire setup of choosing a domain name, getting hosting, and starting your site is rolled into one.
3. Install WordPress.
WordPress is the program that actually publishes your blog. Thankfully, Bluehost offers a one-click install of WordPress, so you will find the process really simple. All you have to do is choose your domain name, purchase your hosting and then click install WordPress, and you're done!
4. Purchase and install your blog theme.
Your theme is the piece of software that gives your blog it's look. WordPress comes with a few free options you can choose from, which is great for hobby bloggers. If you are hoping to make money from your blog, I highly recommend purchasing a Thrive theme.
I use Thrive themes and love it. It makes my website look professional and their team keeps any glitches away. Thrive themes are super easy to use out of the box, and are also easy to customize.
One reason I highly discourage potential pro bloggers from using free themes is simply because they often break or glitch. This isn't an issue if you are just blogging for fun, but if you are running a business it really isn't acceptable.
Can You Start A Blog for Free?
The short answer is yes, but there is an important distinction to make.
Free platforms like Blogger and Blogspot are great for people who just want to blog for fun. They're easy to set up and you can be blogging within a day.
In all honesty, however, most people I hear from are hoping to turn their blog into a side hustle or profitable business.
Trying to run a business on a free web platform really isn't a good idea. The biggest reason I don't recommend using a free platform is because that company owns your blog (not you!)
In these scenarios you are considered to be hosted by that company, whether it is Blogger or Weebly or something else. All this means is that you are at the mercy of their terms and conditions.
They can change the rules, shut you down, and essentially do anything else that they would like because your blog is their property.
Why You Need A Self-Hosted Blog
This is why I highly recommend that you opt to self host through a hosting company like Bluehost. Doing this allows you to truly own your domain name.
This is perfect for bloggers who want to create a business and make money from their blog. You also will have access to many more customizable features that free platforms simply can't offer.
(Here's a slightly confusing difference to keep in mind when you sign up with WordPress-
WordPress.com is a free platform, whereas WordPress.org is their self hosted platform. I purchased hosting through Bluehost that connects to WordPress.org.
Trust me, it's not as complicated as it sounds when you are setting it up!)
Step by Step Instructions for How to Start A Blog
Pick Your Hosting Plan
I purchased the basic plan for my blog. The little extras on the plus and choice plus plans really aren't needed in my opinion.
One thing to keep in mind is that you get the best price when you purchase 36 months up front. They also have a 12 months 24 months and month by month plan. Note that Bluehost only offers a free domain name when you purchase 12 months or more, so I strongly recommend doing that.
Bluehost also offers a lot of little extras like Site Backup Pro and Search Engine Jump Start. Honestly I don't recommend purchasing these. Later on you will be able to use free plug-ins that do the same thing, so it's really an unnecessary expense.
Choose Your Domain Name
Choosing your domain name is an important step, but it isn't the be-all-end-all of your business.
For many people I highly recommend reserving yourname.com. It's what I use for my blog and seems to do really well for others. Using your own name gives you a lot of flexibility and helps you build a brand around you!
This is a great perk because it will allow you to pivot your business in the future should you need to. That being said, there are some downsides.
One, for example, is if you have a pretty complicated name like I do.
My name isn't exactly easy to remember, which is something I took into account when I started my blog. If you have a name that is difficult to spell or pronounce, it might be better to go with a blog name that relates to what you will be writing about instead.
Another option is to purchase two domain names, one that is your first and last name and one that is a creative blog name. You can simply reserve the blog with your personal name so no one else can use it if you feel like it is likely to be taken down the road.
The next step is to fill out your account information and pay.
Connect Bluehost to the WordPress Platform
I love that Bluehost makes it so easy to connect to WordPress. It's a free feature, and it makes setting up your blog really simple.
All you have to do is enter your domain name and click login to WordPress. Then, Bluehost will go ahead and install it for you. Super simple!
Once Bluehost and WordPress are connected, you'll be able to see your new WordPress page! This is your main dashboard that allows you to create posts, add plugins, customize your look and feel, and so much more.
Purchase Your Theme
WordPress comes with several free themes already. Once you connect it to Bluehost, it will allow you to choose one. That being said, I don't recommend using a free theme if you are planning to create a business with your blog. For hobby bloggers, a free theme is perfect.
I use Thrive themes and absolutely love them. Their themes are affordable, attractive, and their support is incredible. On top of that, their Architect feature gives you a drag-and-drop builder that is just crazy easy to use.
I'm not a very technical person, so I really wanted a blog builder that was visual and easy-to-use. You can purchase a Thrive theme and the Architect Builder separately, but it's cheaper to purchase a Thrive Membership instead.
The membership is only $19 per month and you get access to tons of features like their entire catalog of themes, their email builder, quiz builder, comments, and other useful widgets. It is a very cost-effective business in a box feature.
Install Your New Theme
Installing your new Thrive theme is as easy as clicking a few buttons. You can read the instructions guide here.
Congrats, You're Done!
You've just completed the first step towards creating a new business that brings in revenue month after month. Way to go! Make sure to grab my free Profitable Blogging Blueprint below to learn the exact steps you need to take to create a profitable blog.
How to (Finally!) Start Making Money From Your Blog
Tired of spinning your wheels trying to figure out this whole blogging thing? Ready to create an actual money making blogging business? I'll show you how.
Join the Full Time Bloggers Hotlist and receive the blueprint as a perk of becoming a subscriber.