Hello my fellow creative! I’m so excited that you have decided to take a leap of faith and start your own blog. Whether you are starting your blog for fun or for your business, blogging is a journey and it takes good planning to set up your blog the right way. If you have been researching how to set up blogs, you’ve probably come across different ways to get started and probably a lot of words that don’t make sense: self-hosting, frameworks, plugins, domain names, SEO, and the list goes on.
While there are many options for starting a blog for free and getting your name out there, I suggest investing in the right blogging tools to set you up for success in the future, if you want to become serious about blogging. Good news is that BlueHost can help.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, where I earn a commission if you purchase using one of the links. There is no extra cost to you. Please note I only recommend products that I have used and all opinions are 100% my own.
So what are the tools you need to start a blog the right way?
- A Blog Vision & Focus: You have to know what you are writing about and why. Are you building a blog community? Are you promoting your business? Sharing recipes? Are you a travel blogger? Choose a focus and you set yourself up for success.
- A Domain Name: A domain name is the URL that directs people to your blog. This should be the name of your blog or something really close to it. Make it short and easy to remember. I recommend a DOT.COM, as these are the go-to’s for bloggers. Also, make sure to check to see if your domain name is available. You can do that when you sign up for a web host.
- A Web Host: Self-hosted is a good way to start a professional blog, for many different reasons. For a list of reasons I switched to self-hosted, read this post on my switch. Picking a web host is your next step. I recommend BlueHost or JustHost, sister companies, as I have had great results with their hosting options. With great customer service and a good interface to work with, BlueHost has made it easy for me to make extensive customizations to my blog and other website projects.
- WordPress: BlueHost comes with a quick installation process for WordPress, my preferred blogging platform – and the preferred platform of more than 20% of websites online. WordPress is a great tool to learn to use, and you can learn the ropes easily with many tutorials found on Pinterest.
Now that you have an idea of what we’re working with, here’s how we set up your blog using BlueHost.
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How to Set Up a New Blog with BlueHost
1. Choose your BlueHost plan.
BlueHost has three plans to choose from: the Starter, Plus and Business Pro. For new bloggers, I recommend the Starter plan, which gives you hosting for one website at the best price. If you are thinking of starting multiple websites with different domain names, the Plus package may be good for you. I decided to do the Plus package so I could host both my blog and my professional portfolio website, plus any other websites I may build in the future. But the good news is that you can upgrade from Starter plan at any time, so it’s a good idea to start with that one as a new blogger!
2. Sign Up With Your Domain
Next, type in your domain name. Choose to either use a new domain or sign up with a domain you already own. For me, I already had my domain name, so I chose the second option. If you do have a domain hosted through another hosting company, like GoDaddy or HostGator, that is okay! I currently use one host for my domain name and then use BlueHost for my website hosting.
3. Enter in your Account Information, Package Information and Billing Information.
Submit all your information to purchase your web hosting. The most important part of this section is understanding the components of your package. Pay attention to the following as your set up your package:
- Account Plan: I suggest doing the 36-month plan for 3 years. While you do pay upfront for your hosting, you save money over time by paying $3.95 per month versus $4.95 for 24 months or $5.95 for 12 months.
- Domain Privacy Protection: I highly suggest the protection plan. This means BlueHost shows up as the host behind your site instead of your personal information (your name, address, phone number, website). Without BlueHost privacy, anyone can look up the details behind your site and get your contact information.
- Site Backup Pro: I purchased Site Backup Pro with my hosting in order to have a backup plan in case something happened to my blog or website. Site Backup Pro makes daily backups, which is awesome for bloggers who post everyday or multiple times a week. This service also makes restoring your website very easy to do so. It’s always good to have a Plan B!
After you make your selections and purchase your hosting, you are ready to set up WordPress and your blog!
4. Navigate to your cPanel & Install WordPress.
Next up is going to your cPanel. Your cPanel, or control panel, is where you can access everything to set up and manage your hosting. The cPanel link is located at the top of the navigation under the “Hosting” tab. Here is how you install WordPress from your cPanel:
1. Under Website Builders, click “Install WordPress.” This brings you to MOJO Marketplace used for installing WordPress.
2. Press the green “Install” button to get the process started.
3. Choose where you want to install WordPress. Go to the dropdown menu and click your domain. Then press “Check Domain.” This may give you a warning, but if you haven’t installed WordPress or have set up a blog on your domain yet, you are all good to continue.
4. Select “Show Advanced Options” and set up a username and password to log into your blog. Make sure you choose an original username and stay away from using something like “admin.” Make sure that the “Automatically create a new database for this installation” box is checked, too.
5. Read the terms & conditions and select the box.
6. Click Install Now!
Then, you will see a screen that tracks the installation process. After the installation is complete, it will give you your credentials for your login: your URL, admin URL, username and password. You will also receive this information (except your password) by email, so make sure to keep it in a safe place!
5. Log Into WordPress & Set Up Your Blog
Hooray! You can now get started on WordPress and set up your blog! This is where the magic happens.
To log into your blog go to: www.yourblog.com/wp-admin.
From here, you can set up your design, your pages and publish your content. Here are some tips for the early stages of using WordPress:
- Start with the “Settings” tab on the left dashboard. Go through the General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, and Permalinks settings.
- Set up starter pages for your content. Navigate to your Pages section, and create an About page, a Contact page and any other pages you would like to include on your blog. Don’t worry about getting all the content right at once, as you can fix it later as you fine tune the appearance of your blog.
- Browse the Appearance section of WordPress. This is where you set up menus, your sidebar, your theme and more.
- Find a WordPress theme that you can customize to your brand. I recommend using the Genesis framework and a Genesis child theme, because they are very easy to work with—a favorite among blog designers. Not only does it give your blog an appealing layout, but also has built in SEO features, great code and more to make sure your template is on point. Check out this post on how to customize your WordPress design!
- Write 5-10 blog posts before launching your blog. After getting your theme and blog set up, write several blog posts before launching your blog to the public. Why? Having more content encourages people to stay on your site longer. This gives your audience more to read if you start out with more content on your blog!
You are now on your way to blogging success! Whether you want to make some extra money from your blog or online business, or create powerful online communities with epic content, welcome to your new home for your creative endeavors. The journey doesn’t end here.
Begin your blogging journey with this tutorial to start a blog the RIGHT way! Click To Tweet