If you want to compete in today’s digital marketplace, you need to build a platform. Today’s platforms consist of: Contacts, Customers, Prospects, Followers and Fans. These are people who share your passion and who want to connect with like-minded people. First, you need a platform to reach them. The easiest way to begin to accomplish this is to start a blog.
While there are a variety of free hosting options such as Blogger.com, Typepad.com, and WordPress.com, you will benefit from greater flexibility and control by choosing to use self-hosted WordPress. This is the platform that the big bloggers use, including a variety of news websites. This is also what I use here at Marketaire.com.
This is where a lot of people get stuck.
It’s widely assumed that there is a complicated process involved when it comes to selecting a web hosting service and installing WordPress. Most of all, this is thought of as time consuming.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
In fact, I’ll show you how to get a blog up and running in less than 6 minutes. I’ll also show you how to write and publish your first blog post. If you already use WordPress or have a self-hosted website and don’t need this information yourself, please consider passing this article along to someone else who could benefit.
The great news here is that there is zero technical expertise required to get your blog setup. This is a very straight forward, step by step tutorial. I’ll walk you through the process one step at a time.
So, here we go: you can create your blog simply by following the seven steps below:
Step 1: Some quick must haves
To get started setting up your self-hosted WordPress blog you will need the following:
- A domain name in mind (.com, etc.)
- Your credit card
- 10 minutes of free time (roughly)
The setup process is much easier if you have yet to register your domain. This approach is also cheaper! I’ll show you how you can get a domain name for free, using the web host I will be recommending in step 2.
If you’ve already registered your domain, don’t worry about it. There’s a quick and easy step you have to add, but I’ll explain exactly what you’ll need to do at the end of the post.
Step 2: Setting up your hosting account
Your blog will “live” on a server on the Internet (a remote computer), and you will rent this computer space which will allow you to install WordPress’ software, allowing you to create and manage your own blog. This may sound a bit confusing at first, but trust me, it’s much easier than it sounds. I’ll walk you through it.
Throughout the Internet there are literally hundreds of web hosting services to choose from – probably even thousands. However, based on my personal experience and research, my recommendation is Bluehost. I believe this company is the best solution for the majority of people for the following 6 reasons:
- Reason #1: Support. Bluehost offers 24/7 support via phone, email, or online chat. I have personally spoken to support a variety of times and their staff is courteous, professional, and is able to help with any questions you may have. To make things less complicated, Bluehost’s support staff are all U.S. based.
- Reason #2: Reliability. Bluehost is extremely reliable, boasting an uptime average of 99.99%! You really can’t get any better than that.
- Reason #3: Ease of use. Bluehost is extremely easy-to-use, so much so it’s shocking! They’ve invested lot of money in the user process and have worked hard to ensure that non-geeks can use it too.
- Reason #4: WordPress. If the reasons above haven’t completely sold you, you’ll be happy to know that WordPress itself officially recommends only three web hosting companies. Bluehost is #1, and presently hosts more than 85,000 WordPress blogs!
- Reason #5: Unlimited. With Bluehost you have unlimited disk space (where your site and files are stored), unlimited bandwidth (no traffic limitations), and unlimited domains (you are able to host multiple blogs or websites under a single account), and unlimited email addresses.
- Reason #6: It’s affordable. Bluehost is incredibly inexpensive. In fact, you can get started for $4.95 – $6.95 a month, depending on which plan you choose to go with. If you’re willing to commit to a longer period of time, you’ll save even more money.
By the way, Bluehost also offers you a 30 day money-back guarantee, which is included in their Terms of Service. This is something I have tested personally and my money was back in my account within a few hours. There’s certainly no risk here.
Okay, so you’re still with me! Head on over to the Bluehost homepage. Click on the Sign Up Now button. Now, you will see this:
At this point you either need a domain name or you already have a domain name. In this example I’ll assume that you have yet to register a domain using another domain registration service (such as GoDaddy.com). If you have, I’ll explain the steps to take at the end of the post.
Now, enter a domain name of your choice in the far left box, choosing the appropriate extension (.com, .net, .biz, whatever) and click on the Next button.
You will now see a page asking for your account information. Fill that in and scroll down to select your package. As you can see in the Account Plan drop down menu, packages range from $4.95 to $6.95/month, all depending on how long you’d like to commit.
I personally wouldn’t choose to sign up for their suggested service add-ons presented on the page, but that’s your decision.
Next, enter your billing information. Check the box to confirm that you’ve read and agree with Bluehost’s Terms of Service, then when you’re ready, click on the Next button. The system is now verifying your credit card information.
Bluehost will now ask for you to “Select the Updates that Best Suit Your Needs.” Feel free to skip everything here. When done, click the Complete button located at the bottom of the page.
Bluehost will require you to select a password to be used with your account. Click on the Create your password link:
You have the option of using the Password Generator option that will create a difficult to hack password for you. Copy this generated password by holding Control + C on your PC keyboard or Command + C if you’re on a Mac. Now, click on the Paste button to paste your password into the appropriate fields. When finished, click on the Create button. This will create your new Bluehost account!
Attention: If you get an error message here, don’t panic. It can take Bluehost a few minutes to create your new account. In a worst case scenario, feel free to give Bluehost Support a ring at 1-888-401-4678.
Once complete, you’ll be asked to login to your domain. In this case the domain should already be inserted for you. If not, just type it into the field provided. You will also use the password you just created. Since you still have it copied from the creation stage, you can paste it with Ctrl + V on PC or Command + V on Mac. Now, click Login.
You may have to click through another upgrade offer. Feel free to decline by clicking on the “No thanks” link and proceed to the next screen.
You should now be presented with the Welcome screen. Make sure that you’re under Hosting and click on cPanel (“Control Panel”). You will now see a lot of icons and more as you scroll down.
Step 3: Installing WordPress
Don’t be alarmed by the number of icons here, this is a very straight forward step. Once upon a time this was an annoying and complicated process, however Bluehost has made it incredibly simple. Believe me, everyone can do this!
1. Begin by scrolling down until you see “Website Builders.” Click on the WordPress logo (seen in the screenshot below), which will load a new page.
2. You will now see a page that tells you it’s loading your Mogo account. Mojo is what Bluehost uses to manage automated scripts, which is what will be responsible for your new WordPress blog installation. This is exactly what you should be seeing here.
3. Once the account is loaded you will see a WordPress installation box. Click on the “Start” button and select the domain where you’d like to install WordPress. The default should be the domain we created earlier. Click the “Check Domain” button.
4. Once the check is complete, you should see an error message just above the button. This is normal. Check the box next to “Oops. Looks like something already exists there. I understand that continuing will overwrite the files.” Because this is a brand new blog, this is precisely what you want to do.
5. The next screen tells you that “You are almost there.” You don’t have to select the “Advanced Options,” so just leave that unchecked. What you do need to check is the box next to “I have read the terms and conditions.” Click the “Check Domain” button and the installation process will begin. This takes a couple of minutes, so just be patient here.
6. Once complete, you will be presented with a screen containing your new Blog URL, your Login URL, and your username and password. Bluehost has also emailed this information to you, but it’s always nice to have a backup somewhere. You could jot it down somewhere, take a quick screenshot, or copy and paste it to a secure document.
7. You’re doing great! Things will speed up considerably from here on out.
Step 4: Check out your new blog!
You’re now ready to click on your blog URL address, which should load your blog in a new browser tab.
The overall appearance isn’t anything fancy, WordPress uses a generic theme as a default. The wonderful side of WordPress is that there are literally thousands of themes available, some free themes are available here.
Step 5: Log into WordPress
While still on your blog, take a look at the right-hand side of the sidebar and scroll down until you see the Login link. Click on it.
You should now see your WordPress login page.
Now, enter your username and password – this is the same info from Step 3.
Once logged in, you will see your WordPress “Dashboard.” This is also commonly referred to as the WordPress back-end. The front-end is what people see when they visit your blog. The back-end is what you see as an administrator, and is also how you can control what appears on the front-end.
Step 6: Writing your first post
Now that you’re in the back-end, you’ll see a variety of different things you’re able to do within the left-hand side menu. To create a post, simply click Posts -> Add New. You should now be looking at the New Post screen.
Type something in as the title of your post, I used “Welcome to my blog!” in the example above. So creative, I know.
Now you can type whatever you like in the field located directly beneath the title, which will be the actual post content. As a first post you could always share why you’ve decided to start a blog, provide an overview of some of the topics you may like to write about, and how often readers can expect you to post new content. As a general rule, you want to under-promise and over-deliver here.
Once you’re done (and you can edit the post later, by the way), click the Publish button. You have now published your post for the world to see. To take a look at it, click on the Preview Changes button.
Well, you’ve done it – congratulations! You have successfully set up a self-hosted WordPress blog of your very own and even published your first post.
Step 7: Bookmarking your blog
With your blog created, you’ll want to come back to it on a regular basis, so it makes sense to bookmark the two primary pages you’ll be using: the front-end and the WordPress back-end.
If you’ve already closed the back-end page, you can get to it by visiting http://[your blog name]/wp-admin.
I appreciate you sticking with me until the end! If you know anyone else that could benefit from this guide, please feel free to pass along the link to this post.
I’m also interested in any other tutorials you may be interested in the future, so please feel free to drop me a line!
Optional: Have you already registered your domain name on another service? No Problem!
The first step you’ll need to take is pointing your domain name to the Bluehost servers. This action varies depending on where you registered the domain name, however Bluehost describes the process here.
Since GoDaddy is an incredibly popular solution, I’m going to cover how to point your domain name to Bluehost using their site. First, use your GoDaddy login info to sign in, navigate to Products -> Domains -> and click the Manage Now button in the bottom right hand corner, as shown below.
Click on the domain you wish to use with your Bluehost account. You will be taken to the “Domain Details” page. If you have to, scroll until you see a section titled “Nameservers.”
Click on Manage. A new window will pop-up. Under Setup Type select Custom and click the “Enter custom nameservers” link.
- Input ns1.Bluehost.com in the field for Bluehost’s Nameserver 1
- Input ns2.Bluehost.com in the field for Bluehost’s Nameserver 2
Click Save and log out. It can take anywhere from 24-48 hours for the changes to take effect, however many of my domains have been ready to go in a couple of hours.
Please note: Bluehost or your domain Registrar (the company you bought your domain from) may change these processes as improvements to their systems are made. If you run into any issues, please contact the appropriate technical support teams.
Once you’ve made the necessary Bluehost nameserver changes, you’ll be ready to begin the setup process for your new WordPress blog. Please refer back to Step #2, and after clicking Sign Up Now, enter your domain name in the box that says “I Have a Domain Name.”
Click the Next button and the process should be the same. If you’re unable to add your domain name, it may be possible that the Nameserver changes are still taking effect. This will require a bit of patience.
Best of luck!