How to Start a WordPress Blog (and Make it Look Professional!)
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Today, you’ll learn how to easily create a blog all on your own with the WordPress platform. Blogging has allowed me build a life I love, make a full-time income working from anywhere and connect with people all across the world—all while building a career that I’m passionate about! Blogging isn’t all about the money, but it can be a great way to make a living or some extra money on the side. The best part? It only costs you a few dollars each month to keep it up and running! Below, I’ve included a link for discounted pricing for hosting on Bluehost so you can start your blog for just a few dollars each month! It also includes a FREE domain name, so that’s an extra perk! These prices can change though, so act fast to get the best deal!
Click here to start your blog on WordPress and then follow the easy and quick instructions below.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about starting a blog is that people think it’s going to be really expensive. Surprise, it’s not. If you’re on a budget, then choosing Bluehost is a great option—you can start your own blog for as low as $3.95/month (normally it’s $7.99/month)! This low cost is exactly what allowed me to launch my own blog 6 years ago! I was on a tight budget and didn’t have much to set aside for my side hustle, but since it was so affordable, it made it possible and today, blogging is my full-time job. Bluehost is a great reliable web host and I’ve personally had a great experience with them. If you still had doubts, Bluehost was ranked one of the very best affordable hosting companies in 2017!
If you decide to monetize your blog, which anyone can do, even brand new bloggers, you’ll pay back your hosting fees before you know it and be on your way to making extra money on the side too. Blogging has allowed me so much flexibility in my career and my hours. This has become especially important to me now that we’re expecting out first baby. Knowing that I can work from home (or on the road) without sacrificing family time or a paycheck is priceless!
You might be thinking that you could easily start your blog on Blogger or WordPress.com for cheaper, but don’t do it! If you’ve thought about making money from your blog or turning it into a business, then paying for your hosting like Bluehost is an absolute necessity. It’s harder to make money on other platform, sometimes impossible. If you’re using a free platform, you also don’t own your site. If that company decided to close, they could delete your website without giving you any warning and all your hard work is gone in an instant with no way to get it back. Sadly, I’ve seen bloggers’ sites get deleted from Blogger and other platforms and it’s tragic! Don’t make the same mistake and start off with the best and most reliable blogging platform—self-hosted WordPress!
A few other great perks about Bluehost:
- It’s super easy. Once you sign up, they offer 1-click WordPress installs so there’s no technical mumbo-jumbo to worry about! Anyone can do it (even my mom, and that’s saying a LOT!)
- WordPress is free—you don’t pay anything extra for installing WordPress
- You get a free domain, that’s a $15 value
- They offer tech support! Hopefully you won’t need it, but when you do, it’s a lifesaver. They have live chat and phone support options available 24/7
- Extremely affordable! About the same as a medium cappuccino at Starbucks.
- You’ll own your site because it’s self-hosted. If you want to monetize, this is a must.
- Your design options are limitless which means your site will look super professional making it easier to build trust with readers and companies
- If you change your mind, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you decide Bluehost isn’t for you
Before I started blogging full-time, I designed and developed WordPress blogs for other bloggers and almost all of my bloggers used Bluehost for their web hosting because it’s reliable and affordable. If you’re ready to get your WordPress blog started, click here or below and follow the simple instructions below—honestly, it’s so easy, you might not even need these!
And, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below or email me with the subject “Bluehost Help” and I’ll get back to you asap!
How to Start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost
1. Register Your Domain & Set Up Account
You can click here to create your blog and pick a domain name. You’ve probably already thought about what to call your blog, but if not, take some time to think it through. I settled on my name because I wasn’t sure what direction my blog would take over the years and wanted it to be somewhat open-ended, but if you know exactly what you’ll be blogging about, you might want to pick something that’s more fitting as it could make it easier for people to find in the future.
After you hit that big green button, you’re prompted to pick a plan. The ‘Basic’ package is probably all you’ll ever need! If you do find that you need to grow in the future, you can always upgrade your plan when necessary. Once you select your plan, you can get your FREE domain name on the next page. Simply type in the domain you want and it will tell you if it’s available. If you already have a domain, you can add that to the other box and connect your domain to hosting after you’ve set up your account.
2. Purchase Hosting
After you’ve picked your plan and domain name, you’ll need to complete your purchase and select your package details.
The longer the plan you select, the better deal you get! I highly recommend doing the 36-month plan to take advantage of those savings. You do have to pay upfront, but the savings are so worth it. Don’t forget, you’ll get the rate of just $3.95/month when you use my link! Paying month-to-month is inefficient and will end up costing you more than you want to pay. If you’re unsure about blogging, then start with the 12-month plan. It’s a little bit more than the 36-month plan, but still very affordable and you’ll still get your free domain name when you use my link to sign up.
There are several more options to pick from here and the only one that I recommend is Domain Privacy Protection because it keeps your personal contact information private!
After you’ve selected your plan and added your personal and payment information, you’ll be asked to enter a password for your account. Make sure it’s a secure one that you’ll remember and not one you’re using everywhere else!
2.5. Transfer Your Domain
If you’re using your free domain, then you can skip this step! If you purchased a domain on another site, this is for you!
If you purchased your domain elsewhere, you’ll want to move it to Bluehost. I recommend following this tutorial that Bluehost wrote themselves to get it transferred properly! If you’re a visual person, this video will walk you through it as well!
3. Install WordPress
Okay, the final and most exciting step—actually installing WordPress on your new Bluehost hosting.
Once you’ve logged into Bluehost, navigate to the top menu area and click on ‘WordPress tools’ from the top menu bar-it’s the second item.
It’ll open this page next. Make sure ‘New Install’ comes up. If it doesn’t, just select it from the left-hand menu.
From here, select the domain (if you need to transfer your domain, read step 2.5 first) you want to use for your blog—with the basic plan, you only have one domain so it should be obvious. You don’t need to select a ‘Path’ either. Drop in your site title or blog name (not the url) and then select your username, password and email and hit ‘Install WordPress’. Keep this information on hand because it’s what you’ll use to login to your WordPress blog.
That’s it—WOO HOO! You did it! Pretty easy, right?
AOnce it’s installed, you’ll be notified and you can login to your WordPress blog and start blogging away!
How to Login to your WordPress Blog & Basic Usage:
- Make sure you have that have that information from above saved.
- To sign in, go to your URL and add the extension ‘/wp-login.php’. It’ll look like this “http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php” or “http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin”. Either one will take you to the same place. Type in your username and password and you’ll be logged in.
- To create new posts, click on “Posts” on the left-hand side. You can create post categories under the “Posts” drop down as well.
- To create a page, hit “Page” > “Add New”
- To update your menu bar, go to “Appearances” > ” Custom Menus” and drag and drop pages and categories (don’t create extra pages if you want to display a category. You can simply select a category and it will create a page on it’s own. To make drop-downs, slide an object underneath the top menu item and slightly to the right. Make sure to check the box titled “Primary Navigation” (this name might be different depending on your theme. Save it and check your blog.
- To add items to your sidebar, go to “Appearances” > “Widgets” and add them here.
- I also recommend changing your permalinks under “Settings” > “Permalinks”. These are the individual links to posts and pages. By default, they display something like “http://yourdomain.com/p?2312” which doesn’t tell search engines anything! I recommend picking the
- To make your site prettier and get a nice looking theme, hop down to the final part of this tutorial!
Make it Pretty
Congrats again, you have a fully functioning blog that you created all on your own! Your next question is likely, how do I make it prettier. The default theme that comes with WordPress is totally fine, but most of us want something that better suits our brand or personal taste.
In the past, you’d have to go out and find a designer and developer and spend thousands of dollars to get a blog design you loved—not anymore! This is one thing I love about WordPress. There are literally hundreds of thousands of free and premium themes (what WordPress calls a blog design) that look incredibly professional and are super easy to install and configure.
You can of course go the free route, but most free themes look, well free. I always recommend purchasing a premium theme because they look so much nicer, have more custom features and sometimes come with updates and support which is a bonus. There’s lots of places to get them, but not all themes are created equally! There’s tons on Etsy that don’t work that well, so it’s best to stick to a reputable company so you don’t waste your money. I run another blog, Blogging 4 Keeps, and we have a shop there where we have several themes that were created specifically for fashion and lifestyle bloggers. Since that’s our niche, we picked all the features we regularly use! Of course, anyone can use them regardless of what you’re blogging about.
I also highly recommend Studiopress. All of their themes are built for their Genesis framework and are amazing. My blog is actually built on the Studiopress theme, Cook’d Pro! I have made some customizations over the years, but I’ve been so happy with this product and don’t plan on going the custom route again. A few of their other themes I was deciding between were Brunch Pro, Foodie Pro, Refined Pro, Market Pro, Glam Pro and Modern Studio Pro. They’re seriously all awesome though, so take a peek here! Studiopress’ themes are a bit more than other shops, but they come with more customization and options and that makes it totally worth it in my opinion. The support is great too!
Lastly, another affordable spot to look for themes is Themeforest. They have a lot of blog layouts and also designs that work better for businesses as well!
To install a theme, login to your WordPress blog and go to “Appearances” > “Themes” and hit the button that says “Upload New”. You must select a zipped file, otherwise it won’t work. Then hit Upload. Once it’s uploaded, hit Install and follow your themes instructions to get it set up properly! Before you reach out to support, make sure you’ve read through all the documentation—chances the answer to your question is in there!
If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out and ask here! Make the subject line “Bluehost Help” or “Blog Design Help” so I can get back to you quickly! Or leave your question below and I’ll get to it as soon as I can!
*This tutorial was updated on September 8, 2017