If you hate reading long pages of instructions and want to get right down to it, click on this link.
It will open in a new window and follow the instructions to setup your account. (It is going to cost only $3.95/month.) Now browse back to this page to follow our step by step instructions.
Starting A Blog 101
Free and user-friendly programs have made it easier than ever for anyone to start a blog, publish posts, and share their ideas with the world. Sites like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and TypePad all allow visitors to enjoy a publishing platform without having to worry about paying monthly web hosting fees. However, for those of you looking to make money from your blog, use it as a starting point for a business or simply because you want to control the look and feel of the site, these free platforms just won’t cut it.
We suggest using WordPress as your blogging platform of choice. It’s free, it powers 25% of the Internet (including this site) and is extremely flexible. You can use it to build a blog, or use it to power an online business.
Keep reading to learn how you can setup a self-hosted WordPress Blog in under 20 minutes and get you on the road to running your own successful blog.
Step 1: Get Started
In order to get started, you only really need three tools:
1. A credit card
2. Twenty minutes of free time
3. A domain name
Step 2: Choosing a Hosting Service
There are quite a few reputable hosting companies that sell similar products at comparable prices. Essentially, you are paying to rent space on the internet. A hosting service will use their big, fancy servers to provide you with space and the power to edit and run your blog. While it all might sound a bit abstract, don’t worry too much about understanding the intricacies. In addition to allowing you to carve out your own little patch of real estate on the internet, hosting companies also provide a long list of other great services:
- Customer support. Any good service will provide you with 24/7 technical and customer support. Whether you have a question about your account or you are having problems with your site, you will be able to reach an expert by phone, email or online chat.
- Reliability and speed. Hosting companies make it there job to make sure that your site loads as quickly as possible and that you don’t experience any technical hiccups. You never have to worry about servers going down or hardware malfunctioning. They handle all that messy stuff and make sure that everything is operating at high speed.
- Easy downloads. As you will find out in a few minutes, as you continue through this process, hosting companies also make it easy for users to download and install WordPress and other programs.
Why Choose Bluehost for Hosting Services?
As mentioned before, there are quite a few hosting services to choose from. If you want some more information about what is out there, you can click here to read up on some of the nation’s most popular services. However, if you want to save some time and get started, I would recommend starting an account with Bluehost. Not only does it offer all the great services mentioned above, it has some other advantages worth taking note of:
1. Bluehost is one of the few hosting services that is actually officially endorsed and recommended by WordPress. In fact, it is the number one hosting service for WordPress.
2. Users have no limits when it comes to how much space, bandwidth of domains they want to use. You can pay one price and host unlimited domains and e-mails accounts.
3. Bluehost is one of the most affordable options on the market. Packages vary from $4.95 to $6.95 a month, depending on how many months you sign up for. The more months you commit to, the less you will pay. Use this link to lock in a $3.95/month rate for your WordPress site. And remember that you can cancel your account at any time, so don’t be afraid be getting locked into long-term contracts.
Step 3: Purchase Your Domain Name
Now that you have been thoroughly convinced that Bluehost is the best choice for you, let’s setup your account and get you well on your way to publishing your first blog post. Here we illustrate how to purchase a domain name on Bluehost.
Visit Bluehost and enter your domain:
If you notice, there is a drop-down arrow next to the box containing .com. This allows you to choose a different ending for your address ie: .net, .org, etc. Depending on what type of site you are creating, a different option may be more relevant, but for the most part, .com works just fine.
Once you have typed in your chosen domain name, Bluehost will let you know if it is available or if someone has beaten you to the punch and already purchased that domain.
Step 4: Choose a Hosting Package
After you find an available domain, you will be asked to create an account and choose a hosting package. Remember that the more month you opt for, the less you will pay. You might also consider adding some of their available security options, but they certainly aren’t necessary.
Enter your credit card information and you are now an official owner of a domain name and a little spot on the internet.
Step 5: Create Bluehost Account Credentials
Your purchase will be processed in a matter of seconds and you will then be prompted to create a unique password for your Bluehost account. I would highly recommend using the password generator so that you have secure password that won’t be easily hacked. Simply click create and copy and paste your random password into notepad so that you can have it handy as we finish the setup process. Also, make sure to save this password in a secure location for future reference.
Next, you will be prompted to visit your website. If your domain name doesn’t automatically appear in the navigation bar, go ahead and type it in and enter your the password you just created when prompted. This login process will take you to your Bluehost control panel, often referred to as the c-panel.
This is where you can manage your sites and download WordPress. A first glance, the c-panel, might seem a little overwhelming, but just keep looking for the WordPress logo and in a few more clicks, we will have you ready to blog.
Step 6: Install WordPress On Your Bluehost Server
There are a variety of different ways to navigate to the WordPress download. Perhaps the easiest and most direct is to click on the “Scripts & Platforms” tab at the top of the page. Then look for a section labeled “Blogs” and you should see the blue WordPress logo. Click on the WordPress button.
The very next screen that appears will tell you a little more about WordPress and contain a large green start button. Click start and the you will be asked to choose a domain name to add WordPress to. If you only have only purchased and created one domain name, this shouldn’t be a hard decision. Just make sure that the appropriate site is highlighted and click “Check Domain.”
Step 7: Create a WordPress Login
Be sure to choose both a username and password that will protect the security of your site. Stay away from obvious choices or reusing old passwords. You might be surprised to learn that hackers attack even small sites looking for a way to take over and spread spam, so take your time and create a strong password.
Click on “Install Now” and you can watch the progress as WordPress installs on your site! This should take just a few moments and then you can visit your blog URL. Once you have entered the domain address, WordPress will prompt your for login information. Simply enter the username and password you just created.
Step 8: Navigating the WordPress Dashboard
After you have successfully logged into you WordPress account, you will be taken to the dashboard where you can manage your site, create pages, and publish posts. If you are ready to start writing, click on “Posts” in the sidebar menu on the left. Choose “Add New” and you will be taken to a editor that looks and operates a lot like most word processing programs. Compose your first blog post, hit publish, and you are now the proud owner of your very own self-hosted WordPress blog!
It really is that simple, but if you would like a quick lesson on some of the other great features in the dashboard that can help you customize your posts and help spruce them up a little, click here. This concise article will walk you through the 15 best WordPress features that every blogger needs to know about.
Step 9: Customize Your WordPress Blog
Now that you are a big time blogger with your own self-hosted site, you may want to start thinking about customizing your site. There are plenty of free themes available that will help you create a simple and stylish website that best highlights the type of content you are looking to promote. To get started, check out this article: Starting Your First Blog? Checkout These 15 Best Free WordPress Themes.
In under 20 minutes you have setup your own self-hosted WordPress blog that will allow you complete control of your site. Start publishing, making friends with other bloggers and promoting your posts!
As your next step, we suggest you familiarize yourself with WordPress by going over the 15 most useful WordPress features.