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You did it! You got the courage to go ahead and start a blog!!! I’m excited for you. It’s my hope that you’ll find this to be as rewarding of an experience as I have! In this post, I’m going to help to walk you through a simple process for setting up a blog.
Let’s get started with hosting. Often one of the more intimidating aspects of setting up a blog is the hosting. When a company hosts your site, basically they handle all of the technological services needed in order to host your website on the internet.
I personally prefer Bluehost. I have tried other companies; however, I’ve found that Bluehost is the most user friendly (trust me: as someone who spent her doctoral work researching website usability–I don’t pass out that stamp of approval to just any site!).
You can literally set up your website within minutes, and for a cost as low as $3.99/month.
Let’s Get Started With Signing Up
First go to the Bluehost website. Now the homepage will likely change from what I’m showing below, since companies tend to change up their homepage every now and then, but the gist will be the same, click the call to action to get started!
Select Your Package
It then shows you different options for a plan. Since you are just starting out, I recommend sticking to the basic package:
Pick Your Domain
This is one of the fun parts! Picking your domain! Take some time to think about the focus of your website and have fun testing out some names that have a ring to them!
If you can’t decide, you can purchase a domain later for $11.99 (after a few seconds a pop-up window may appear to give you the option to decide later). But if you set yours up now, they offer that domain registration for free.
Note: if you already have a domain purchased from elsewhere, Bluehost helps you set that up as well. Simply enter in that domain and follow the next steps.
Create Your Account
Now you simply enter in your personal information to set up your account:
Customize Your Package
Next you’ll get a chance to customize your package a little more:
Now here’s one of those “Do as I say, not as I did” moments! I skipped through the Package Information section (shown below) and didn’t realize I purchased a pretty hefty package!!!! I ended up paying a whopping $200+ (which I was able to later get adjusted! Thank you Bluehost for forgiving human error!). I encourage you to select the dropdown arrow and select the package that works best for you and your budget right now.
Also, note that there are options such as “Site Backup Pro” and “Search Engine Jumpstart.” You’ll see under each it says “More information.” I encourage you to take a peek at that and decide for yourself whether or not that is an option that you’d like.
Next you simply enter in your financial information.
As a daughter of a bookkeeper and granddaughter of a tax preparer may I offer a tip for you? Keep these records! Keep a running spreadsheet of business expenses and track all receipts. This will save you so much of a headache during tax season!
If you truly believe you are moving this towards a full-fledged business, you might even want to set up a separate bank account to help with tax purposes.
Once you have entered in your payment information, be sure to read their blurbs about their Terms of Service and such. Check the box if you agree, and then click Submit.
Receive Confirmation Email
Next you will get a confirmation email to get you started. This will be sent to the email address that you entered in at sign-up. Heads up though–this might take a few minutes as they need to get things set up for you.
Once you get the email, you can click Get Started and it will take you to the Bluehost cpanel. That’s basically the dashboard for your hosting, and we will talk about that in a second. But if you scroll down below that, you’ll see a lot of important information about your blog. Honestly, most might look like jibberish if you are a newbie, but just save that email in case you need certain parts in the future. This information is also available in your Bluehost account as well.
Woah Nellie, right? The Cpanel looks a little scary at first! But don’t worry, I’ll point you in the right direction. We are first going to start with the quick installation of WordPress.
WordPress is a fantastic way to manage your website. That is where you will set up your website theme, write your posts, etc.
Under the Website section of your cpanel click Install WordPress.
Bluehost makes the installation process of WordPress incredibly simple. I’ve used other hosting services in the past and it’s involved me talking on the phone with a customer service representative for over an hour!
Next, you’ll see a screen that’s basically giving you a heads up that the company handling the WordPress set up is called “MOJO”, so expect to get some emails from them right after set-up. Click Continue Installation.
Enter in your domain. It also gives you an option to enter something into the “Directory” field. This is basically a sub-folder that you can create (for example, “Blog”). Honestly, if you are just starting out, you don’t even need to worry about that. After entering in the domain, click Next.
Heads up–below that (and on many pages to follow) they will try and promote some plugins (extra tools for your website) & themes. I recommend skipping that for now.
Next, enter in your administrative information. You will be using this username and password to log into your WordPress Dashboard (basically where you go to write posts, create blog pages, etc). Once you have entered in your information, click Next.
Now you wait a few minutes for the installation to complete. It will suggest some theme/plugins for you no this page. I personally recommend the Divi theme.
Once the Installation is finished, it will give you the option to View Your Credentials:
You’ll then be taken to a page where you can view your username & password. This is what you’ll use when logging into your WordPress dashboard (which I go over in the next section).
Log Into WordPress
Logging into your WordPress dashboard is so incredibly simple! In your browser, simply type in your domain url and end it with /wp-admin/
For example, if your domain name is StarWarsFan.com, then your WordPress dashboard will be at: www.StarWarsFan.com/wp-admin/
Now you are in your WordPress Dashboard! There is a helpful tutorial to help you get set up right there in the WordPress Dashboard.
It first asks you if you are a Business or Personal page. It then asks you some questions to allow you to best customize your website. I personally skip this step because I prefer my own theme and set-up system (which I lay out for readers step-by-step in my Build Your Blog Online Course). If you aren’t in my course, then you might want to go through their setup.
One thing I like is WordPress makes it clear what your first steps are. They walk you through how to get started with things like:
- Customizing your website (for example, picking your theme)
- Creating your first post
- and so on
So What Now?
You might want to check out my guide to setting up a blog. I walk you through all of the key steps to setting up your website so that you can hit the ground running.