So you want to start a blog this 2016? Fantastic! Awesome stuff! Go you!
But… there’s just one itty bitty thing stopping you.
You have no idea where to start.
I totally get it.
The labyrinth of hoops you need to jump through to make your blog the biggest, baddest one on the scene can be a little overwhelming. In fact, at times it can feel like an unobtainable task, right?
Well, I’m hear to tell you something.
It really doesn’t have to be that difficult.
Actually, it can be pretty easy!
And that’s where I come in. I can guide you through the simple steps needed to get your brand new blog off the ground. First of all, I’ll take you through the process of self-hosting (because if you ever want to make money from your blog or to have ultimate control and flexibility, paid hosting is a MUST) through Bluehost: why Bluehost? Because from my experience, Bluehost is easily the most user-friendly and affordable option on the market. They offer technical support and the opportunity to get a FREE domain when you sign up to a yearly plan.
I’ll also show you how to secure your domain, install WordPress, beautify your new blog and, finally, top tips on how to actually start blogging!
Sounds good? Then let’s begin!
How To Install WordPress With BlueHost
1. Purchase a domain name and start hosting
The first thing you need to do when launching your WordPress blog through BlueHost is to pick a domain. This can be pretty tricky, and it’s worth spending a bit of time figuring out exactly what you want your name to promote. Try to choose something snappy that encapsulates the essence of your blog.
If you haven’t already got a domain, the good news is that it’s super easy to create one via BlueHost. The 12-month package even gives it to you for free: so it’ well worth committing to the year plan.
And it’s super simple:
- Sign up for website domain name on Bluehost. Click “Get Started.”
- Select your plan.
- Enter the domain / blog name you want to register. If the name is already taken, you might have to play around with different options or consider a new name.
- Fill in the form with all your information and select an account plan. If you’re not ready to commit to a three year one, then I would recommend the 12-month price (it’s worth nothing that Bluehost requires you to pay for the full year in advance).
Okay, so you’ve got your domain. Now you have to confirm hosting.
- Once you receive your login details, use them to enter your Bluehost account and select “Hosting” from the top menu. Next, click the “Wordpress” icon under the “Website” area.
- Press the “Install” button.
- Select your domain name and click the “Check Domain” button.
- Confirm that you have read the terms and conditions, and click “Install Now.”
- Wait a little for the process to be completed (about 2 – 5 minutes generally) and then select “View Processes” from the top menu, and click “View Credentials.”
- Hey presto, the setup is complete! Now all you need to do is click the admin URL to login to your WordPress account.
Already got a domain name from another site? Here’s what you need to do:
If you’ve already got a domain from a third party site, the process is a little different. Depending on where you buy your domain name, there should be a support page to guide you through connecting your domain to your hosting account. As a general rule, there should be an option to “Manage Domains” on your account. You can then modify your domain name and “Set Name Servers.”. Update the relevant information by adding Bluehost as your new server. for a tutorial on how to modify your nameservers.
Then simply add the domain you bought as an add on domain to your Bluehost web hosting. To do this just follow the above steps and select “I Have a Domain Name” when it comes to choosing your plan. Easy peasy!
2. Time to install WordPress
Right, here comes the crucial one: actually installing WordPress.
Rest assured… this part is a piece of cake.
- When you’re in cPanel (you’ll get a link to this in your Bluehost welcome email), find the area called “MOJO Marketplace.”
- Select the “One Click Install” button.
- Next click the “Wordpress” icon on the next page under “Blogs”.
- Click “Start.” Your installation will immediately begin.
- Once installation is processing, you’ll need to choose which domain you want to install WordPress on. Using the dropdown menu, pick the domain you plan on using.
- On “Advanced Options”, choose your username and password. Pick something secure and memorable – something to repel potential hackers. I would suggest incorporating different letters, numbers and even punctuation. And remember to keep note of these details somewhere safe!
- Click “Install Now.”
See? Oh so easy! And now you’re ready to make it irresistibly gorgeous!
3. Beautify your new blog
Okay, so this is the fun part. There are tons of ways you can get really creative with your blog so that it becomes a real extension of your personality and / or business.
First of all, you’re going to want to find the right theme. Depending on the nature of your business, choose one that highlights all the appropriate elements whilst looking clean and professional.
You can find a theme quickly and easily.
- When logged in to WordPress Admin, go to “Appearance” on the left hand side.
- Select “Themes.”
- You can filter themes by Trending / Popular / Newest. You can also split them up by Free and Premium (paid), plus more specific filters related to the purpose of your blog.
- Click “Preview” on a theme to give it a test drive. You can also find out more about the features of the theme by selecting “Theme Details.”
- When you’re happy with a theme, simply press “Activate” for free ones or “Purchase” for premium.
Voila! After that you can customize your personal theme with the easy-to-follow instructions given on each individual Theme Detail page: I recommend playing around with images and widgets so that you can build something totally unique to you.
Another great thing about hosting a WordPress blog is that you can add in some fantastic plug ins. Plug ins keep your blog looking professional and user-friendly, and are perfect for ensuring maintenance remains as smooth as possible.
Here are a few I couldn’t live without:
- SEO Yoast: This one allows you to fully optimize your WordPress with one simple plug in. It’s the most complete SEO plug in for WordPress.org users, and provides everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that optimizes page content, to image titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps and so, so much more! It’s a MUST!
- Askimet: Spam belongs in tins, not on your blog! And that’s where Askimet comes in. Any comment left on your site runs through this plug in, which immediately checks for spam and gets rid of inappropriate messages, leaving your site full of REAL comments only!
- Simple Social Icons: This will let you insert social icons into any widget area on your site. It is also totally customizable, so you can alter the colour and alignment in any way that suits you.
- Contact Form 7: With this plug in you can manage multiple contact forms at once. You can also customize the forms and mail contents flexibly with a simple mark up. It great as it supports Ajax powered submitting, CAPTCHA and Askimet Spam Filtering amongst many other features.
- SumoMe: This plugin is integral if you want to use social media to double your business activity. They provide a stylish social sharing platform, easy to join and share and can be optimized with analytics.
4. Now to get blogging!
Snazzy name and hosting? Check! Gorgeous blog? Double check!
Now you just have to get writing!
Whether you’re a blogging veteran or a total newbie, I think it’s always sensible to spend a bit of time planning upcoming posts. Consider whether you want to follow a specific theme with your posts. Will you have a different structure depending on the day you post? What sort of topics do you want to write about?
There are some great editorial calendars available online to help you create a clear blogging timetable. CoSchedule is a good one to start with, but there are reams just waiting on Google for you to explore.
Whilst your planning posts, it’s also worth deciding how many posts you want to send out a week. The number one rule with blogging is CONSISTENCY! This is what your followers will be relying on. So if you are time limited, commit to just one blog a week. But PLEASE don’t spend one week sending out posts every day and then go a fortnight without a single word.
If you aren’t going to post every day, you should have a think about what day you want to post. Monday and Thursday late morning tends to be popular for views, but this can differ dependent on the topic and direction of your blog and, of course, your audience. Spend a bit of time researching the best slot to publish your post in for maximum exposure.
Finally… enjoy! Your blog should be a labour of love rather than a chore. Have fun with it! And don’t forget to share any of your posts across all social media platforms. Be loud and proud of your beautiful new project and take pleasure in watching it grow. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?