Starting a blog is one of the very best things that ever happened to me, and I love to share with folks why blogging is a great way to connect with others, build your platform, and change the world.
In 2006, I hit publish on my first post. I was holed up in a hostel in Madrid, having just run my first marathon, and on my first stop of a year-long trip around the world. Hitting publish on that post was one of the smartest things I ever did.
Wherever you are in your career (or in the world), a blog can help you reach your goals of learning, connecting, change-making and profit-building. I want you to get started. And I’m going to tell you how to do so.
In this post, I’ll show you the exact steps to set up your own self-hosted WordPress blog.
It should take 9 minutes, tops. (8, maybe). At the end, you’ll have your very own blog, which you can shriek loudly about.
In a good way.
(Oh, and if you like what you hear here, and want ongoing tips on turning your blog into a business, signup here.)
So, back to starting your blog.
We’ll be doing it all with BlueHost, the host that most bloggers these days recommend due to its prices, excellent service, and serious ease of set up.
Going with a hosting company like BlueHost means that you’ll be “self-hosting” your website using your own .com address. Although this costs some money (< $50 a year), I firmly believe this is a better route than going with free options like Blogger.com. For a full explanation of why I believe paid hosting is the way to go, see this post.
So let’s review what you need to get going:
- A host. As mentioned above, I believe self-hosting on your own URL is the way to go. Most well-respected bloggers recommend BlueHost. It’s known for great customer service, ease of set-up, and cost (for about $2.95 a month you can create an unlimited number of websites).
- A domain name. Got a name for your blog? Great. Now turn that into a domain name. (Domain names look like www.ClaireDiazOrtiz.com, www.MeatIsYummy.org, or www.MuffinsRock.net). BlueHost will ask you what yours is when you’re setting up the blog.
- A credit card (or Paypal). This is where you get to throw your cash money on the table. Note that there are free ways to blog, but for most people I don’t generally recommend them, as I explained above. Here’s an explanation of why you (usually) shouldn’t be using free blogging services.
Here’s the video below (linked here) walking you through exactly how to set up your new blog.
How to Set Up a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog (Video)
Don’t like videos?
Written Directions w/ Screenshots
Go to BlueHost. Click on Sign Up Now.
It will ask you for a domain name. For now, let’s assume you do not already have a domain name and need to buy one now. What do you want to call your site? Muffins4eva.com? DuckDynastyRecipes.com? Think of something good.
A few more tips?
- Don’t use dashes. Go for peoplelovelongcats.com, not people-love-long-cats.com.
- Don’t use weird punctuation. Avoid iloveu2much.com. Go for iloveyoutoomuch.com.
- Get a .com if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry about it.
Enter it in the box “I Need a Domain Name” and see if it’s available.
If it’s available, it’ll tell you “Congratulations!” Now it’s time to fill out your basic personal information and credit card information (or paypal). Fill that in.
You’re once again a winner. “Congratulations!” You set it up. Now it needs you to set up a password. Do that.
Once you set up the password it wants you to log into the account. Do that.
Now you’re in your account. Click on “Websites”, the blue icon in the middle of the screen.
Once you click there, you’ll see a screen that will say “WordPress” on the left hand side with a big logo. Click on “WordPress” — that’s what we’re going to use to blog on.
Click WordPress, and it’ll ask you to install WordPress. Deselect a few extra plugins it will select for you. If you get an error message that says “Oops! That directory exists!” don’t worry. This is just meant for people who are installing WordPress on a site that is already live. Just click the box saying you know this would override any existing files. You may need to deselect those plugins again.
And then, success!
Click on the link it gives you for your new blog and put in your password.
Now look at the left hand side of the screen and click “Add New” under “Posts”.
Write your first post, and hit “Publish!”
Your first post is up!
What to Do After the First Post
To make your blog a bit nicer, here are a few key things you’ll want to think about doing in the first few days or weeks of blogging that can help get off on the right foot:
- Choose a Theme. Under “Appearance” in your WordPress you can click “Themes” to see some free themes available. One good free one that many folks use is called Platform. Here are a bunch more free WordPress themes. I use a great paid theme called Genesis which I highly recommend.
- Download some good plugins. Some of my favorites include Askimet (to prevent Spam), Google Analytics (to see stats about your blog), and Contact Form 7 (to have an easy way for folks to contact you).
- For more general information on WordPress and getting your site looking awesome, try WP101.com, a great site with tons of good videos.
So remember, it all starts with BlueHost.
Want to download a PDF version of these steps? Go here.
Want to skip ahead or review a past lesson? See all lessons below:
- Day 1: Why You Want to Blog
- Day 2: This is How You Set up a Blog – in 9 Minutes or Less.
- Day 3: The Basic Bells and Whistles You Need
- Day 4: Content is Queen, and Other Things Bloggers Know
- Day 5: Share the Love, You Blogger You
- Day 6: Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
- Day 7: Money, Money, Money, Money.