How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost
THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE DETAILS.
I remember when I decided I wanted to start a WordPress blog. I’d been blogging for years, on and off, and on wordpress.com. I wanted to improve my blogging, try to find a like-minded community, and share our ideas. I wanted to host it myself – meaning, I can have my domain name and it isn’t going to end with a wordpress.com or blogger.com or whatever.
The way I do things is, I do a LOT of market research. If I’m unable to zero in on the perfect choice for me even after learning more and more, I look to the people that I look up to in that niche.
A great example is when I was looking to buy my first DSLR. I wanted to go for either a Nikon or a Canon semi-pro DSLR. I was very nervous because a DLSR cost a lot of money, and I’d saved up for years for this, and I definitely didn’t want to make the wrong choice. I had gone over sooo many articles that went into great detail on the pros and cons of Nikon versus Canon. And all they did was confuse me even more. (Nikon/Canon users will understand my plight:))
At the time, I was working for a magazine and knew quite a few photographers. They all had their officially supplied Canon gear. Still, a couple of these guys waxed eloquent about Nikon, while a couple of others raved about Canon. None of this helped me.
Finally, do you know what I did? I looked into what gear Steve McCurry used. What Ami Vitale used (she was my #1 idol at that point). I looked at a few others among my favorite photographers. What I found, surprisingly, was that they all used Nikon.
My mind was made up. It was that easy. I went ahead and bought a Nikon D90 and haven’t regretted it since.
Now, I’m not saying Nikon is better than Canon. But, when you’re making a huge purchase that you have a lot of expectations from, it can be very intimidating. For me, seeing my favorites use Nikon reassured me that once I choose Nikon, it’s not the gear that will hold back my progress as a photographer. It’s a bit of a skewed way of mimicking your favorite expert in the hopes of emulating them eventually.
Someone else trying what I did may have found that her favorite photographers use Canon, and had she made the same choice, she would probably feel as reassured as I did.
So, this isn’t about Nikon versus Canon (I mean, they’re both top-class brands with impeccable products), but about feeling like you’re part of a special group, feeling more confident in your choices, and forgetting about the choice once you’ve made it – and moving on to work on perfecting your craft.
My belabored point is this: I used the exact same strategy to zero in on Bluehost when I decided to begin a blog for sustainable living. I knew I wanted to host it myself, I knew I needed good customer service, and I knew I’d be looking to others’ reviews of many different hosting companies and getting thoroughly confused. So I decided to check what some of my favorite bloggers used.
They all used Bluehost.
Except for a couple who were on Squarespace.
My decision was made. I went for Bluehost, and I have no regrets so far.
The beginning was, admittedly, quite frustrating – but not because I chose Bluehost. Self-hosting a WordPress blog isn’t a walk in the park for newbies, and boy was I a newbie! I spent hours and hours figuring out c-panel, and installing my WordPress theme and then customizing it – and then undoing it ‘cos I broke something. It was frustrating! But you know what? That’s part of the journey, regardless of your hosting and CMS choices. You have to struggle in the beginning to get to someplace where you’ve learnt a lot and progressed in your path.
THE HOSTING EXPERT
Having said all that, there are still many reasons why you may want to specifically choose Bluehost for your WordPress blog, over other hosting companies.
- To begin with, they are one of the best web hosting providers. And they make the process as easy as possible. I mean, if I can figure it out, trust me – anyone can.
- Bluehost offers great technical support. I remember my first time running to them. I’d messed up the all-important index.php file, and emailed Bluehost in a panic. It was late night, and I went to bed dejected, but by the time I checked the c-panel next morning, it was all fixed. So, yeah, my experience with their tech support started off on a great noteJ
- Also, $3.95 per month for hosting? That’s an excellent deal. It’s basically the only initial investment you have to make for starting your self-hosted blog, and it’s as low as it gets.
- PLUS, they throw in a FREE domain.
- Oh, yeah, and one of my favorite things on the internet – WordPress – is already open source and free, but just to confirm: it’s also free through Bluehost. (Don’t you love generous people who share the fruits of their genius for free?)
- You will be self-hosted (duh). So, you can go ahead and figure out ways to monetize your blog and get all professional about it (Google AdSense and most affiliate programs don’t accept you if you’re not self-hosted).
- WordPress themselves love Bluehost; it’s the #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org.
Finally, DO NOT WORRY: unlike most other decisions you make in life, this one is reversible. Bluehost offers a 30-day money back guarantee in case you determine that this is not for you after all.
Not yet? Ok, well, then let’s move on to the mechanics of it to see if that convinces you.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR A SELF-HOSTED BLOG
First, let’s go over the various items you need to set up a self-hosted blog:
- Content Management System (à la WordPress). This is what helps you create your blog without having to write a single line of code. It’s the backend engine of your blog.
- Web hosting (*cough* Bluehost *cough*). Where your blog is stored and made available 24/7 to all visitors.
- Domain (usually offered for free, if available, by the hosting provider). The unique address which when entered into the address bar leads to your blog.
- Theme/layout/template. The final appearance of your blog, and how visitors see it.
Next, you will need to hop on over to Bluehost. There are many web hosting companies you can choose from, but Bluehost is honestly one of the best. There is a reason why so many bloggers (especially beginners) choose Bluehost for their web hosting needs. Plus, Bluehost and WordPress are like besties.
The next steps? Read on.
Start a Blog with WordPress & Bluehost
1. Register your domain name.
You can click here to purchase a domain name and create your blog. Then, follow the steps below.
Do you have your domain name ready yet? This is pretty important. You can change it later, but you’ll then need to buy a new domain name. So, think about it now when you’re being offered a domain name for free! Try to make it unique and easily Google-able.
Once you’ve chosen a few options, check if it’s available on Bluehost. If it is, you can get your domain directly through Bluehost and make the whole process very easy. (If it isn’t, you may have to buy it from a domain name registrar, if available, and use it with Bluehost.)
You get a FREE domain for the first year if you buy 12 months’ worth of Bluehost web hosting at once. This is the frugal thing to do, since they have a discount if you sign up for 12 months right away.
I began with a 12-month plan, and then renewed it a few months ago for another year when it was about to expire. If you’re a very careful spender (like me), just go for the 12-month plan. It’s honestly the best deal to start off with.
2. Buy hosting for your blog.
Did you notice the three options that Bluehost offers? Basic, Plus, and Business Pro. I went for the Basic plan, which is really all you need if you’re (like me) still testing the waters.
It’s $3.95 per month through my link (for 12 months), which is a great price (and you get a free domain!).
Skip the Plus and Business Pro plans, unless you’re a pro (what are you doing here, then?!). You can always upgrade later if you want to.
An important thing you may want to opt for is Domain Privacy Protection, which comes at $0.99 per month. This is one of those things you don’t overthink; just select the option and be done with it.
You don’t really need anything else, so head on over to make the payment and start your blogging career!
Just a quick note here (from my experience): Bluehost only offers annual payment plans for new users. Now, don’t let that put you off. Opting for a monthly payment plan elsewhere may seem ideal when you’re starting out. I know you’re thinking, “Let’s see if I even keep up with this blogging business!” Oh, you doubting Thomases, I see you!
The thing with blogging is that it isn’t a one-month experiment – not if you plan to take it seriously. If you’re ready to invest in hosting and jump all in, then you also need to give yourself time to get it right. Which is why the 12-month plan is perfect. It gives you enough time to determine if blogging is for you, while also keeping your losses to the minimum in case you decide to pull the plug. Besides, remembering to pay at the end of each month is a pain – and you’re more likely to forget than not. And you’ll keep having this monthly mental battle: “Should I renew/should I not.” It’s so not worth it.
How to buy the hosting at Bluehost:
- Go to Bluehost and click on Get Started Now.
- Click on the Basic package (unless you’re a badass and want the other packages (then what are you doing here?!)).
- Enter your domain name, or sign up for a new domain name.
- Enter your payment information.
- Enter a password when prompted.
Remember I said Bluehost’s tech service is excellent? So, if you do face any problem signing up, just get in touch with them. (You can also get in touch with me, and we can cry on each other’s shoulders about how painful tech is and then laugh about how much fun blogging is. But for tech support, go to them.)
3. Connect your domain and your hosting (if you already have a domain with you)
(Skip this section if you’re getting your domain directly through Bluehost.)
Whichever domain name registrar you have purchased your domain from (such as GoDaddy) will have a support page for setting nameservers for your domain names. (So, from what I understand, nameservers kinda “point” your domain name to your hosted blog by linking it to the blog’s IP address, so the interwebs can direct visitors correctly. But don’t quote me on this.)
At this point, it’s best to contact the domain registrar for tech support if you’re not sure how to proceed. Just tell them you bought hosting at Bluehost, and you need to set the nameservers for your domain name. It’s like some secret password that makes sense to them.
4. Install WordPress on Bluehost.
Ah, the final, difficult step before you begin your awesome blog.
J/K! Bluehost made it super easy to create a WordPress blog, and it is FREE.
After you create your password, just follow the instructions given by Bluehost (they kinda hold your hand and guide you through, so don’t worry).
First, Bluehost will ask you to pick a theme. I freaked out here cos I wasn’t expecting this, and assumed this was the only time you could set a theme. But, no. If you don’t know which theme to pick, then you can scroll to the bottom and skip this step. I, however, immediately did some quick research and stumbled upon my current (and only) theme, called Activello, and Bluehost set it up. I’m lucky I like it!
Go ahead and click on Start Building
Next, choose between Business and Personal (I chose Business). Or, you can click on I don’t need help.
YOU DID IT!
Yayyy! You are now officially the owner of a self-hosted WordPress blog. Of course, you still need to set it up and stuff, but you have just done the equivalent of buying land (hosting) and registering the address of your property at the post office (domain name) so all your mail comes straight to you. You still have to actually build your house (blog), and decorate it and stuff (theme). But that’s the fun part. SO, HAVE FUN!
If you are still unable to decide, and have questions that aren’t being answered here or elsewhere, just contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll do my best to help you out. All of this appears very intimidating, but it really isn’t. You have tons of help at every stage, so stop worrying about screwing it up and “wasting all that money”. Once you go through all this, you’ll look back and wonder why you were so worried!
So, it’s all good. Take a deep breath, and go for it. Good luck!
THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE DETAILS.
If you’d like to read about my logo design, and how I went about it, please head to How to Design Your Blog Logo (and why I changed mine).