How To Start A WordPress Blog Using Bluehost
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Congratulations! You found your way here because you’ve decided to start a blog of your own. When I started Mad Money Monster, I used a tutorial just like this one to launch it in just a few minutes. Before I knew it, I was tap, tap, tapping away on my keyboard creating my very first post! And now, I’m here to help you create your very own WordPress blog using Bluehost! So, let’s stop all the small talk and get right down to it! Strap in, here we go!
A Few Reasons You Should Start A Blog
Starting a blog can be really fun, not to mention lucrative! If you love to write and want to share your thoughts, ideas, and stories with the rest of the world, blogging just might be for you. By using this tutorial, you’ll be able to set up your new WordPress blog using Bluehost in just a few minutes. Let’s get started!
3 Pieces Of A Blog Puzzle
A blog has a few special ingredients to make it all work. First, you need a name, also known as a domain. This is a really fun first step, but it’s also a really important step. Make sure you devote the necessary time to choosing the right name for your blog so you don’t need to worry about re-branding anytime soon.
Next up, you need a host to make your blog live. That’s where Bluehost comes in. Think of a host kinda like a mobile phone provider. You can have a mobile phone but it won’t work unless you have it turned on by a host like Verizon, AT&T, or Republic Wireless. Bluehost is an award-winning web hosting company and is preferred by most top bloggers.
After you have a domain and a host, you’ll need a platform so you can craft interesting and engaging stuff for your awesome audience! A platform is akin to the software you have on your phone. Some phones run on Apple software and some phones run on Android software. In my opinion, the absolute best host/platform combination for bloggers is Bluehost and WordPress.
If you’re ready to get started, click the image below to take you to Bluehost and use this tutorial to set up your new blog!
Choose A Domain Name
When you sign up through Bluehost, you’ll get a FREE domain name. I’m not sure about you, but I absolutely love FREE. When choosing your domain name, you’ll want to make sure it relates to your blog. If you can make sure it’s also catchy and easy to remember, even better! Before choosing Mad Money Monster, I also checked out all the social media networks to make sure it was available before nailing it down.
Oh, and a short domain name is best! Shorter domains are easier to remember and easier to type into a browser. Remember, the fewer hoops your audience has to jump through to enjoy your blog, the more likely they are to come back and visit. Trust me on this one.
Make It Live With Bluehost
Now that you’ve chosen a name for your blog, head on over to Bluehost to get your free domain and make it live. This is where the fun starts. You’re going to choose a plan and register your domain name.
At this point, you need to select your plan. You’ll see something like the image below. Choose the plan that best suits your needs. If you’re just starting out and you aren’t sure how much time you plan to devote to building your blog, you might want to try a less expensive option. However, if you feel like you’re ready to blaze a new career as a blogger, I suggest going with one of the other plans that offer more perks and flexibility.
Word to the wise, pay for a full year in advance. It might seem like a lot up front but, if you choose to pay-as-you-go, your blog could easily be “turned off” due to failure to pay. You do NOT want your loyal visitors seeing that. Short attention spans mean they could write you off and move on to the next blog that is still live.
Now it’s time to register your domain name. Bluehost allows you to also transfer a domain name that you purchased through another host; however, for the purposes of this tutorial, we’re going to assume you are choosing a new domain for your new blog. The screen for domain registration is going to look like this…
You are almost there! Now you’re ready to create your account. The screen below is where you’ll enter all your pertinent account and payment information.
CONGRATULATIONS! You are moving at lightning speed! Now that you have your domain name and your hosting service, you can decide whether or not you want some additional services from Bluehost. You can cherry-pick whatever you think would be best for your site. Or, you can ignore them for now and add them later if you want them. Now, it’s time to install WordPress so you can start customizing your site and writing posts!
Install The WordPress Platform
Now, sign in to your new Bluehost account and navigate to the Home screen. Click on Install WordPress, located under the Website Builder tab. After the WordPress installation is complete, you’ll see a screen like this…
From here, you can follow the prompts to choose a theme. Don’t worry about signing up or paying for MOJO Marketplace. They have some sort of partnership with WordPress, but you don’t need to pay for anything if you don’t see value in what they’re offering. Just head on over to browse themes for your new, live blog!
Customize Your Blog
After you choose your theme, you can start customizing your blog! As a matter of fact, blogs have two sides or ends. There is a front end – the side that visitors see. And there is a backend (AKA your Dashboard) – the side that you use to customize your blog. Your Dashboard will look like the picture below, and you’ll be able to do everything from here. Everything means writing posts, changing themes, choosing colors, and even checking your traffic.
Go ahead and play around with some stuff and see how it affects the front end. The more you navigate your Dashboard, the more comfortable you will be with using WordPress and manipulating your blog and posts.
Free Or Paid Theme?
Let’s get this straight, paid/premium themes are NOT mandatory for your new blog. You can get started with a free theme offered through WordPress, or pay for a premium WordPress theme. There are definitely more options with paid WordPress themes; however, if you decide to pay for a theme, I suggest going with a third-party, premium WordPress theme, such as Thesis (by DIYThemes) or Genesis (by StudioPress). Most professional bloggers use one of those two themes. But remember, you’re not a professional blogger…yet. So purchasing a premium theme like Thesis or Genesis can probably be put on the back burner for now.
That being said, the customization options available with Thesis and Genesis are truly limitless. The great thing about both themes is that you don’t have to be a computer programmer to have a professional site! If you do happen to be a computer programmer, you’ll have a fully customizable platform to showcase your professional blog.
But, unless you’re ready to quit your day job to be a full-time blogger, I’d suggest starting with a free theme.
Start Making Money With Your Blog!
No doubt about it, blogs can be lucrative ventures. Growing your blog and your audience will depend on how much time and effort you are willing to expend. After you have steady traffic, you’ll be able to monetize your site and start earning money! Don’t put the cart before the horse here, but do consider it if you want to earn extra money or make it a full-time gig.
Running Into Problems?
If you’re running into a few problems or are confused somewhere along the way, feel free to contact Bluehost! They are super helpful and will get you back on track. I have called them several times with questions and have been really impressed with their customer service. I personally give them Two Thumbs Way Up.
That’s it! You’re all set to customize your very own blog and start creating content to share with the world! You can have the best looking site around, but if your content stinks it won’t matter. Parting words…Content Is King.