In this tutorial you will learn how easy it is to start your own blog using WordPress. Blogging can be a life changing experience and in some cases allow you to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month. What’s even greater is that you can create a money making blog with a reliable hosting company for as little as just $3.95 a month or sometimes even less, depending on what promotions the company is currently running. The company I’m talking about and have used for years is Bluehost and I like them because of their reliability and excellent live customer service. It’s important to choose a hosting company where you can still call an 800 number and actually talk to a live representative as not all hosting companies provide this service. Believe me, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a problem with your blog and having to submit your problem via an online form and having to wait for a response. 24/7 Customer service via phone, chat, and tickets as well as reliability is definitely what sets Bluehost apart from many other hosting companies. You can start your own WordPress blog on Bluehost for as little as $3.95 a month or less depending on what promotions they are currently running.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an excellent platform for blogs as it is a free and an open-source content management system (CMS) which means you don’t have to pay for upgrades every time there is a new release of software. Also, once you know how to use it, you can maintain your blog yourself so you never have to pay anyone every time you want to make a change. WordPress has been around since 2003 and, according to Wikipedia, as of April 2018, is used by more than 60 million websites.
There are actually two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com is free and OK If you just want to get started with a free site and be on your way to publishing in less than five minutes. It includes a WordPress.com subdomain, community support, dozens of free themes and basic design customization although it comes with drawbacks. While you could host your WordPress blog on WordPress.com or or other free sites like Blogger.com, I wouldn’t recommend it if you intend to make money from your blog. The reason is that free services like these place restrictions on what you can do with your blog in regards to advertising and affiliates as they also will need to make money from your blog through their own sources. Keep in mind that you do not own your website when you run your blog on WordPress.com . For example, your website URL will have a WordPress.com extension and look like the following: officeskillstraining.WordPress.com
WordPress.org is also free but in order for WordPress.org to work properly, it has to be installed on a web server such as Bluehost or downloaded to your local computer. You can start a WordPress blog for cheap by using Bluehost as your hosting company and be free to set up your blog any way you wish with no restrictions. When you host with Bluehost, you will also get a free blog domain name of your choice with your package not to mention excellent technical support. So in our example, our domain name would be officeskillstraining.com vs officeskillstraining.wordpress.com if hosted on the WordPress.com free website option.
How do you start a Blog?
Whether you need to create a blog for personal reasons, your classroom, your office or for your Virtual Assistant Business, having a self-hosted WordPress blog on Bluehost is the way to go. The rest of this blog post is dedicated in showing you how to do this.
Requirements – Before starting this tutorial, do the following:
- Decide on your Domain Name Registrar and Web Host: Decide if you want to purchase your domain name and hosting from the same company. Keep in mind that every Bluehost account registered for one year or longer includes one free year long domain name registration. Note: If you already have a domain name from a different registrar other than Bluehost, no problem, I’ll show you how to connect that to Bluehost servers later.
- Choose a Domain Name: Take some time and do some brainstorming to come up with an appropriate domain name for your blog. I personally like domain names that are meaningful to the subject I am blogging about. For example, my website is about Office Skills and I was lucky enough to secure the domain name officeskills.org way over a decade ago. For the purposes of this WordPress training blog, I am going to purchase the domain name officeskillstraining.com. That being said, it’s not always possible to get the exact domain name you want so get creative and pick a domain that’s suitable. Don’t let not getting the perfect domain name stop you from starting your blog.
- Decide which plan is best for you: Usually the Basic plan is sufficient for beginning bloggers and there is always the option to upgrade later if your needs expand. You will only be able to host one main website but you can have up to 25 subdomains which opens the doors up for creating other small blogs on your account in the future if the need arises. The Basic plan is also considered shared hosting which means you’re sharing the server and the costs associated with it with other websites. This is usually a good thing for small businesses and anyone starting out who wants an affordable hosting plan. I am currently running officeskills.org on the Bluehosts Cloud Performance Hosting plan but I used the Basic plan successfully for many years, not only running officeskills.org but several other small blogs.
- Decide on your yearly budget: Decide how much you want to spend per year on your domain name and hosting. Almost all web hosts offer better monthly rates for longer plans. Keep in mind that you will be paying for the full amount up front so for example, if you choose the 36 month plan at $3.95 per month, your total for 3 years of hosting should be $142.20. In comparison, if you choose the 12 month plan, your total for 12 months of hosting with a free domain will be $71.40. I would bypass most of the package extras except you may want to consider domain privacy for $0.99 cents a month as this protects your privacy from the public.
- Choose a secure username and password. It’s always best to decide on this in advance so you can enter it right away when the time comes in the sign-up process.
I am recommending a host I have personally used to host my website, officeskills.org, for over six years. (In addition to being a longtime Bluehost customer, I am also an affiliate so the links you see below are my referral links. This won’t cost you anything but it helps me to offset the costs of running officeskills.org. Thanks for your support!
Click here to start a blog on WordPress and you will be directed to the Bluehost.com homepage. Then follow the tutorial below to set up your hosting and blog.
- Click the green Get Started Now button to register your domain name and select your plan. Note the costs of hosting may differ from what you see below depending on what promotions BlueHost is currently offering.
- After you’ve decided which plan suits your needs, click the Select button. The Basic plan is usually sufficient for small businesses and anyone just starting out.
- Choose a domain name. Hopefully you’ve done your homework in coming up with a suitable domain name for your blog. Under the new domain box, type in the domain name of your choice and click the next button.
- Fill in your personal account information and choose your hosting plan term. You will also be required to pay here so make sure you are certain of your choices.
- After filling in your personal account information, choose a term from 12 months to 36 months. The longer plan you select, the cheaper your monthly cost will be. If you decide blogging is not for you, Bluehost offers full refunds if cancelled within 30 days and pro-rated refunds thereafter.
- You will now be required to create a login and password for your Bluehost account. You will use this login information to login to Bluehost to access the control panel and set up your WordPress blog. Before you can install WordPress, you will need to login to the cPanel at Bluehost.
- Refer to your welcome email from Bluehost which will contain your instructions for logging into your Bluehost account. Get logged in now to start installing WordPress.
Installing WordPress on Bluehost
- Once you are logged in, you should be taken directly to the cPanel. Scroll down to the Website section and then click on the Install WordPress Icon.
- You will be immediately prompted to choose the domain name to install it to. Where it says “Select Domain for Installation”, click on the box and choose your domain name from the drop down list. If you are hosting multiple domains, be sure to select the correct one. In the field next to the domain, you can also enter a subfolder such as ‘blog’ or leave it blank if you want the site’s main page to be the blog. Click the Next button.
- If you get the message “Install directory exists and is not empty“, verify that you are installing in the correct domain shown below the message and then check the message below that says “I confirm that it is safe to overwrite any content in this directory”. Click the Next button.
- Enter your Admin Information for your site. Enter a site name, the email address where you want to receive your notifications, your admin username and password for the new WordPress installation. Most experts recommend that you do not use the default user name of Admin and instead choose a meaningful name and strong password for your admin account. Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes if necessary. Click the Next button.
- WordPress will now start installing. When it is completed, you will get an indication on the screen that the installation is complete and also receive an email from the Bluehost Marketplace letting you know your URL, username and password. The installation is now complete and you can login to your blog.
- WordPress Login: The best way to check that your site is up and running is to type in your domain name directly in the address bar. You should see a generic web page indicating a New WordPress site is coming soon! Click the Admin button to go to the WordPress login page.
WordPress Login URL: In the future, you will need to know the URL of where to directly login to your website. It is http://yourdomain/wp-login.php. In my example WordPress site, it is http://www.officeskillstraining.com/wp-login.php. This will take you to a login page that looks like the following. Bookmark this page and then login to your admin dashboard with the user name and password you received in your Welcome Email from the Bluehost Marketplace.
- Assuming all went well, you should now be logged into your admin dashboard. This is the main administration area of your blog and the place where you will do all the organization and set-up of your blog. At the top left-hand side of the page you will see your site name and at the top right side of the page you will see your admin profile. You can update your admin profile here and also log out of WordPress. Congratulations! You now have a blog. The next step will be to start setting up your blog and I’ll show you how to do that in the next tutorial. In the meantime, if you’re anxious to get started blogging, you may wish to read the article from WordPress.org on First Steps with WordPress and follow the steps to take a test drive of your WordPress blog.
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