You are probably reading this article today because you’re interested in starting a blog for 2017. Let me assure you that you have come to the right place. Through a special partnership with Bluehost, I can offer you an incredible price to begin hosting your blog for only pennies a day. As a bonus, you also get a free domain and I’ll offer some advice on how to choose a domain name that best represents your blog. But like any great offer, you’ll want to act fast because I’m not sure how long this special pricing will last!
Imagine waking up every morning and looking forward to going to work. Going to work in your home office that is!
Blogging allows me and so many other people the opportunity to launch a blog and create content that brings value to people who read it. It also provides an income that allows me to work out of my home and gives me the flexibility of running my own business.
No more worries about booking time at work to travel or asking for time off for appointments. Blogging full-time gives you a flexible schedule where you aren’t tied up to your desk the entire day and allows you more time to focus on your family.
I quit my 9 to 5 job where I was managing media sites for other companies for nearly 16 years. Often, I would sit at my desk and wonder why I wasn’t creating and managing websites for myself instead! Even if you’re simply interested in blogging part-time after work, it still provides you with passive income and lets you share your passion with other readers. There are so many blogging niches and the opportunity to write about what you enjoy is extremely fulfilling and I love every minute of it.
Starting a business isn’t easy but nearly anyone can create revenue with a blog. If you are passionate about something and want to write about it, I can tell you that there are people out there that want to read about it. Whether it’s cooking, cars, DIY projects, or even tips to balance a budget, there is an audience waiting to read your content.
No other business opportunity allows you to start with nearly zero capital and has overhead costs that are no less than the price of a few cups of coffee. In fact, the only monthly expense is hosting your blog and when you host with Bluehost, you don’t even have to purchase your domain, it’s included!
Bluehost is one of the best hosting companies when starting your blog and it offers enough options to grow with your blog as your traffic increases. It is one of only a handful of hosting companies recommended by WordPress.org, the official site and developers of WordPress.
Starting a blog is straightforward with Bluehost. The last thing you want to deal with is a hosting company that makes you jump through hoops or makes the process so complicated that it turns you off.
You want to write about what you love and generate revenue in the process so leave the technical side like managing web servers to the professionals. Bluehost will allow you to build your audience while they manage the technical aspects of building and managing servers and WordPress installs. There are endless reasons why you should choose Bluehost but here are just a few:
- Bluehost has an incredible user interface to let you easily manage every aspect of your site.
- Bluehost has technical support staff that are easily accessible by phone, email, and chat.
- Did I already mention you get a FREE domain name!
- Bluehost offers extremely affordable web hosting plans. Start as low as $3.95 a month and as your blog gets more traffic and more revenue, you can easily upgrade to a new hosting plan that better fits the needs of your blog.
- Bluehost lets you try out their hosting plan for 30 days risk-free. If you’re not 100% satisfied with Bluehost hosting, you get your money back, no questions asked.
- By having your site hosted on Bluehost and having your own domain, your site will appear more professional. No need to piggyback off another company’s domain (i.e.: mywebsite.com instead of mywebsite.othercompanysdomain.com).
Are you excited yet? You won’t regret choosing Bluehost to host your blog and by signing up today, you’ll be one step closer to blogging your way to success.
Not only will I show you how to start a blog on WordPress, I’ll go over some tips to choosing great WordPress plugins to make blogging with WordPress even easier.
How to Start a Blog With WordPress and Host It With Bluehost
1) Brainstorm and register your domain name(s)
Choosing a domain name that is relevant to your blog is not easy but there are some tips to make sure you choose the right one. The trick is to choose a domain name that is short and easy to remember but chances are you’ll need to brainstorm more than one.
There are MANY domain names currently in use so you’ll want the flexibility of researching a few before making a decision on that one perfect domain name. You can search for a domain name with Bluehost and then follow along with this tutorial as you create your site.
Once you find a domain name that is available, you can purchase that domain directly with Bluehost. Another advantage of purchasing your domain and hosting plan together is that you won’t need to tie both of them together later on. Your domain name will instantly point to your website once you create it.
Remember, your domain name will be FREE if you purchase 12 months of web hosting with Bluehost. By purchasing your hosting plan for 12 months, you’ll save a lot of money and by choosing 24 or 36 month terms, you’ll save even more. With Bluehost, you still get a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not 100% satisfied.
2) Choose a hosting plan for your blog
After you’ve chosen the perfect domain for your blog, the next step is choosing a web hosting plan. When it comes to web hosting, the thing to keep in mind is that it is easier to scale up than it is to scale down. What plan you choose really depends on how many blogs you plan to manage and how much traffic you’re expecting. Let’s break them down:
a) Basic plan
For most new bloggers, this is more than plenty. It allows you to create one blog and offers enough space to store all of your content and images. The Basic plan is only $3.95/month when signing up with my link for 36 months. If you select 24 months, you still get a low rate of $4.95/month which is very competitive. If you would rather select 12 months, the price is only $5.45/month which is extremely affordable for all of the features you get with Bluehost. If you are new to blogging, I would recommend signing up for 12 months which still gets you a great price and lets you get your feet wet. You still get a free domain name along free setup and low-cost options like site backups and security if interested.
b) Plus and Prime plans
If you’re pumped about blogging and want all of the tools you need to blog professionally, you can’t go wrong with Bluehost’s Plus and Prime plans. If you’re planning to have not only one blog but multiple blogs, both plans offer you unlimited websites! You’ll also receive unmetered website space which offers peace of mind by not having to worry about uploading too many images or running out of storage space. Both plans are only $5.95 for 36 months and you will not find a better deal for professional web hosting.
Do I need site backups, security features, or search engine jumpstart?
WordPress has a variety of plugins to handle all of these functions and many plugins are free. Most offer one-click installs and there are several free plugins I recommend having and I’ll go through them later in this tutorial.
If you don’t want to research and manually install plugins to handle backups, secure your site, and handle SEO, then it would be a worthwhile investment to get these tools from Bluehost to ensure a smooth start.
OK, let’s do this!
After all is said and done, it really boils down to what you can afford and what long term goals you have for your blog. Again, if this is your first blog, I would recommend the Basic plan. If you feel you need more website space, don’t want to upgrade later or planning to create more than one blog then choose the Plus or Prime plan. Keep in mind that if you choose the Basic plan, you can always pay the difference and upgrade to Plus or Prime months or years from now when your blog is more established. When you are ready, follow these steps for setting up your account:
- Click here to go to Bluehost and click on the Get Started Now button.
- Select the Basic, Plus, or Prime plan.
- You’ll have a choice of getting a new domain or using an existing one. The free domain offer is only available when signing up so if you don’t want a free domain name, you simply need to enter an existing domain name that you already own.
- Next, you’ll need to enter your contact and payment information.
- You’ll want to review hosting plan information and make sure you choose 12, 24, or 36 months.
- If you signed up for a new domain, you’ll get an option for Domain Privacy Protection. I would recommend this if you want to keep your contact information private (only .99 cents/month).
- If you don’t need Site Backup Pro, SiteLock Security, and Search Engine Jumpstart, you can leave these blank.
- When you click Submit, you’ll be asked to enter a secure password and you are done!
3) Pointing your domain name to your new blog
If you claimed your free domain, you can skip this step and start step 4, installing WordPress!
If you purchased your domain with another registrar like GoDaddy, you’ll need to make some modifications to point it to your new blog hosted with Bluehost. Regardless of which company you registered your domain with, the steps are mostly the same if you search for ‘changing DNS’ on that company’s website.
However, if you did register your domain with GoDaddy, here are instructions for pointing GoDaddy’s DNS servers to your website hosted with Bluehost:
- Visit GoDaddy.com and login to your account.
- Under domains, you’ll want to click on the Manage button.
- Select the domain name you’d like to update, and choose Nameservers > Set Nameservers.
- There are generally two setup types, Standard and Custom. You’ll want to select Custom.
- You may get a notification message such as, ‘You’re currently using default nameservers…Enter custom nameservers >>’ Simply click on the link to begin entering your nameservers.
- Enter both DNS servers for Bluehost, NS1.BLUEHOST.COM and NS2.BLUEHOST.COM and click ‘OK’ when done.
What are DNS servers anyways?
DNS servers are what translates your domain name (yourwebsite.com) into an IP which is a string of numbers (i.e.: 188.8.131.52). A good analogy is that of a phone book only instead of a person’s name, it’s a domain name and instead of a telephone number, it’s a server IP. The IP is the calling card of the web server and DNS simply instructs your browser to connect to the IP of the server that is hosting that particular website. Having a domain sure makes it easier for your users and/or customers to reach your website instead of typing a string of numbers!
4) Installing WordPress
Now we are getting closer to the fun part…blogging! For me, creating the blog and making it look great is just as much fun. Now that your domain is linked to your hosting plan, follow along to install WordPress.
Installing WordPress with the help of BlueHost’s web interface couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is click a button and enter some information for your blog:
- Login to Bluehost cPanel.
- Find the website builders section and click on Install WordPress.
- Then, click Install.
- Select the domain name you’d like to use for your blog.
- Under Advanced Options, you have the opportunity to replace the default email, username and password of your WordPress installation.
- Read the license agreement terms and click Install Now.
There you have it! Within seconds you should have a new WordPress blog waiting for you. Login to your WordPress installation and have a look around and become acquainted with its features. You’ll quickly notice that it already has a theme installed but you can update it at any time.
5) Installing a WordPress Theme
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for blogging; therefore, it has incredible support from a development community which continually releases new themes and plugins. I have tried hundreds of themes over the years but one company that continually impresses me is MyThemeShop.
Their themes are consistently fast and contain important features like fluid and mobile layouts, built-in ad regions, search engine optimized templates, and many other countless features. Best of all, nearly all of them have prebuilt layouts designed for a variety of niche blogs such as cooking and recipe blogs, news blogs, e-commerce blogs, and a variety of other popular niches.
MyThemeShop have over a hundred themes for any type of website or blog and you are sure to find one that will make your blog stand out. Here are 3 popular themes that look great and have all the features you’ll need to build a professional blog:
MyBlog is a great theme that is specifically geared to blogs in a variety of categories. It has a minimalist style that doesn’t overpower the content and lets your articles shine. It looks professional and is a great fit for serious bloggers who want to build a strong brand.
Google has already stated that websites and blogs that load fast will be given better pagerank than slower loading sites. Not only does the Schema theme look great, it is one of the fastest loading themes they offer so your visitors won’t have to wait to read your content. It also fully responsive so your site will look great on desktops and mobile devices. It also has a built-in review system if you plan on reviewing products and monetizing your site with affiliate sales.
Ad blockers are increasing in use by users who don’t realize that it takes a lot of time to generate content that they can read for free. Bloggers have a handful of potential revenue sources at their disposal but display ads are one of the most popular ones for new bloggers. This Ad-Sense theme kindly asks visitors to turn off their ad blockers to enjoy the free content on your site.
It is fully responsive, ad friendly, and has a built-in ad blocker detector to let you maximize ad revenue without frustrating your visitors. It also has 8 pre-defined layouts to instantly make your niche blog look great.
Great, I bought a theme but how do I install it?
Installing a WordPress theme is much easier that most people think. You can install a theme by uploading a zip file or by uploading your theme folder by FTP. I’ll go over instructions for uploading a zip file since that is much easier and generally faster.
- First, you’ll want to download the theme files to your desktop or an easily accessible folder.
- Login to your WordPress site and you’ll find the theme section under Appearance > Themes.
- Click on the Upload button to upload your theme files.
- Upload your theme Zip files that you downloaded in step 1.
- Click the Activate button to active your theme and you are done!
If this is the first time you update your site theme, you’ll probably be amazed at how quickly you can change the look and feel of your site in seconds. Just one of the many reasons why WordPress is your best friend when it comes to blogging!
6) Installing Plugins
When I discussed choosing a BlueHost hosting plan earlier, I mentioned that there are several plugins that you can install. Plugins are used the extend the functionality of your WordPress blog and new WordPress installations already comes installed with a few plugins already. There are plugins to secure your site, make a backup of your site, and make your site SEO-friendly just to name a few. In fact, there are so many plugins available that it would take an entire blog post to write about all of the different types of plugins.
Here are some WordPress plugins that I recommend and personally install on most sites I create with WordPress. They will enhance your WordPress installation and give you more features:
- iThemes Security to help secure your site.
- Yoast SEO to improve your site’s content and make it SEO friendly.
- UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin to maintain backups and restore your site in one-click.
Again, installing WordPress plugins is super easy. You simply click on Plugins >> Add New and search for the plugin you want to install.
Note: Be careful when installing plugins that haven’t been updated in a while or aren’t 100% compatible with your version of WordPress. Some may cause your site to display errors or display a blank screen so make sure to have a backup to revert to.
I hope this tutorial provides you with the information you need to best start your blog and share your blog with the world. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck with your new WordPress blog hosted with Bluehost!