Note 1: Not sure why you should start a blog? Read my 13 + 1 Reasons Why You Should Start A Blog article which outlines why you should start your own blog!
Note 2: Looking for the best blogging tools and resources? One of the most common questions I get is what blogging products/services do I recommend to others. I spent months researching the best blogging tools in every category when I started my own blog and I’ve complied them into a list. Check out my Ultimate List Of The Best Blogging Tools for an extensive collection of the best free and paid blogging tools.
Learning how to start your own blog is way easier than you think. And once you get your blog set up, publishing new articles is as easy as pushing a few buttons. Don’t worry if you lack the technical knowledge, you need very little. Plus, we’re here to help you get through any speed bumps you may hit during the initial blog setup.
Now lets get you blogging! I will show you how to start your own blog, you just have to follow the step-by-step instructions below. You’ll see how easy it really is once you get started.
STEP 1: PICK A DOMAIN NAME
If you already own a domain name you can skip this step and move on to step 2. If you don’t own a domain name you need to decide on a domain name. A domain name is usually the name of your blog. Once you decide on a name go to Domain Name Availability Query Tool and enter your proposed name to see if it is still available. If somebody else already owns it then you’ll have to try another name until you find one that is available. I would recommend a .com domain name but you could always choose a different top-level domain name. Only domain names with the following extensions: .com, .co, .club, .us, .space, .website, .org, .net, .info, .biz, .name are included in the free Bluehost domain name offer so be sure to choose a domain name with one of those extensions if you want to take advantage of the free domain name offer. It is common for many shorter .com domain names to be registered so you might have to get creative. You should do some research before you choose a name. You want a name that fits your blog. Once you choose a domain name and you determine that it is still available you can move on to step 2.
STEP 2: SIGNUP FOR WEB HOSTING
Bluehost is one of the top web hosting companies and you can start your blog with them for as low as $3.49 a month through this promotional link. Also, if you sign up using this link, they will allow you to register a domain name for free (a $15 value), and include the #1 blogging platform in the world, WordPress at no extra cost. It’s what powers my blog as well as many of the top blogs in the world.
Signing up for the basic plan is the way to go. It is all you need. The other plans are more expensive and offer features you don’t need when starting out. If you sign up for a 36-month plan the price is $3.95/month for a total of $142.20 USD. If you sign up for a 24-month plan, then the price is $4.95 per month for a total of $118.80 USD. If you sign up for a 12-month plan, then the price is $5.95 per month for a total of $71.40 USD. The full amount is due up front. If you are not sure about blogging, I recommend to sign-up for the 12-month plan as it is a great price and you get a free domain name. You can always upgrade to a larger plan later but the standard plan is plenty for 99% of blogs for at least the first few years. You shouldn’t need to upgrade until you’re getting, at least, 2500+ visitors to your site each day. You can cancel anytime if you decide it’s not for you. They offer a full refund within 30 days and the refund is pro-rated at any time after that.
-Premium customer service, reliability, and usability
-Free Domain Name
-Free WordPress blog software
-Easy to use control panel
-Free expert 24/7 technical support
-Unlimited websites, email accounts, and domains
-Bluehost is extremely affordable with their hosting starting at just $3.49 per month
-No gimmicks, no contracts. Enjoy the comfort of a 30-day money back guarantee and the option to cancel at any time
-My tutorial that will guide you through setting up your blog
2A) Click on this link and once on the Bluehost page click the green button picture below to get started.
2B) The next step is to select your hosting plan. The Basic plan is all you need for now. Once you click on the Basic plan you’ll be taken to the domain name page.
2C) You’ve already decided on a domain name at this point. To register your domain name with Bluehost, enter it under the “new domain” box and click “next.” If for some reason you already have a domain name you can enter it in the box on the right and click next.
2D) Now it’s time to enter all of your account and contact information.
2E) After you enter all of your account information scroll down on the page and you’ll see the “Package Information” Section. This is where you select your account plan and get to see the other items that Bluehost sells. You get the cheapest monthly rate by selecting 36 months ($3.95/month) but you can always select a 1-year term ($4.95/month) or 2-year term ($5.95/month) for just a little more per month. It’s important to note that Bluehost charges you for the full the 12, 24, or 36 months upfront. This is a common practice in the web hosting industry. Remember though that Bluehost has a money-back guarantee. You do not need any of the additional services that Bluehost sells so you can uncheck the boxes for the add-on services such as the box next to “Domain Privacy”, “Site Backup Pro” and “Site Security Pro.”
You do not need any of the additional services that Bluehost sells so you can uncheck the boxes for the add-on services such as the boxes next to “Domain Privacy”, “Site Backup Pro” and “Site Security Pro.”
2F) Finally at the bottom of the page enter your billing information, agree to the terms of service, and then click “next.”
2G) On the next page there are some more additional services you can buy, but I don’t recommend it as you will not find them very useful. You can always add them later if you so desire. Click the green “complete” button. The additional upgrade total should read $0.00 prior to hitting the “complete” button.
2H) Your sign up is now complete! Just click the “Create your password” button and select a secure password that should include both capital and small case letters and, at least, one number or special character. Don’t forget to write your password down.
2I) After you set your password you can log into your account. Be sure that the “hosting login” box is blue so that you log into your hosting account rather than your web mail account. If you want to login to your web mail account just click the “web mail login” button so that it turns blue.
STEP 3: INSTALL WORDPRESS
You should log into your account. Once you’re logged in you should see a screen similar to the one below. This is called your CPanel dashboard where you manage the brains of your website. You should also receive a link in your welcome email from Bluehost. Notice that the “Hosting” Link and the “CPanel” link are highlighted green in the below image. You need to navigate to your Cpanel page if you aren’t automatically taken there upon login. Once on the CPanel page check out the following video which will walk you through the steps of installing WordPress. You can view the video by clicking the following link: BlueHost CPanel Video.
Once you finish installing WordPress you’ll see a page that has a title that reads “Step 1: Access your new install of WordPress.” Directly under that, you’ll find your SiteURL, LoginURL, username, and password. Be sure to copy this information down. The login URL, username, and password is how you access your WordPress dashboard to manage your site in the future.
STEP 4: LOGIN TO WORDPRESS & SETUP YOUR WEBSITE
From the previous step, click the Login URL. It will take you to a page that looks like the one below. Enter your username and password and login.
Once logged in you’ll be presented with your WordPress dashboard. This is the place you will spend most of your time as you publish pages and content to your website through this dashboard. Do not get this WordPress dashboard confused with your CPanel dashboard that you were just in. The CPanel dashboard is like the brains of your website whereas the WordPress dashboard is like the skin.
Explore around in WordPress until you get comfortable with it. You can go to the WordPress website to read the documentation and to watch videos on the different things you can do through your WordPress dashboard. They also have handy support forums if you get stumped. However, the first thing I would do is to go to my Best Blogging Tools List where you can find out about different plugins and services that I recommend. Many of the recommendations can be installed on your website through the “Plugins” link on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard.
STEP 5: CUSTOMIZING YOUR WEBSITE
As I recommend on my Best Blogging Tools List, if you want to customize the design of your blog, by far the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way is to install a theme. The Genesis Theme by Studio Press seems to be one of the most popular. Alternatively, WordPress has free themes you can use too. Just navigate to “Appearance” on the left side of your WordPress dashboard, click on “Themes,” then activate the one you are interested in trying. I think you will find however that the Genesis theme is worth the $59 price tag if you want a professional looking website pronto. By going with the Genesis Theme, or a different theme by Studio Press you don’t need to mess around with any complicated code, nor do you need to hire an expensive web designer to design your website for you. Even though I know how to design websites I still chose to buy and install a theme as it is way faster and less expensive. The themes from Studio Press also come with excellent service and support.
STEP 6: CONNECT YOUR DOMAIN NAME TO YOUR WEB HOSTING
You can skip this step if you just bought your domain name through Bluehost. If you already owned your domain name, then you will need to connect your domain to your Bluehost hosting account. To do that you will have to log into your domain name registrar and transfer your domain name to Bluehost. Once in your account, you need to modify your DNS Nameservers to the following: ns1.bluehost.com; ns2.bluehost.com
STEP 7: CELEBRATE! YOU JUST STARTED YOUR OWN BLOG!
Congratulations! You have officially started your own blog! You can totally handle the technical side of blogging. Yes, you will have some learning to do, but you have the basic building blocks in place and you are close to the fun part, creating content.
If you have any questions about the technical side of blogging, you can always post a comment below or you can email us. The folks over at the WordPress forums are also a great resource. If you are stumped with something rest assure that many people before you have been stumped with the same thing and a solution is likely posted in the WordPress forums.
If you are having issues with the design aspects of your site, the folks at Studio Press are a great help if you buy a theme from them. Alternatively, the good people at 99 Designs will help you out if you are looking for a more customized design package such as a logo or graphic design. And remember, once you get your site up, let everyone in the Fit Kid Rich Kid community know so we can all check it out!