If you’re about to set up a blog for the first time, let me welcome you to the beginning of an amazing journey.
Today, I’m going to show you the simplest and cheapest way to set up a blog.
By following the steps in this guide, you can be up and running in as little as five minutes — even if you don’t know the first thing about building a website.
There are four steps to building a blog:
- Choose a domain name
- Get a hosting account
- Install WordPress
- Select a theme
The Insanely Simple Guide To Launching Your WordPress Blog
My goal in writing this guide is to give you all the information you need to get your new blog online as quickly as possible, with as few headaches as possible.
In the sections below, you’ll learn the following:
- The cheapest way to host a blog
- How to get a free domain name (a $15 value)
- How to pick a perfect domain name — even if you’re not sure what your blog will be about
- A simple way to install WordPress
- Where to get a professional-looking website design for little or no cost
Step #1: Sign Up for Website Hosting
From a technical standpoint, a website is simply a collection of files. Text and code and images — all the “stuff” that makes up the web.
If you want your website to be available to the general public, you have to store those files on a computer that’s connected to the internet and configured to serve them up to your site’s visitors on demand.
That’s what a web hosting provider does. It gives you a physical home for your website and ensures that people can access it 24/7/365.
Of course, you could host your website yourself. But you’d need to install specialized software on your computer, keep your computer turned on and connected day and night, and worry about things like security and downtime. Not to mention, your site probably wouldn’t be very fast.
Given how inexpensive good web hosting is these days, you’re better off paying a few dollars a month and letting the pros handle it.
My Web Hosting Recommendation
There are thousands of different hosting service providers and many different types of hosting plans. And when you’re first getting started, choosing the right one can be a bit overwhelming.
That’s why I recommend beginner bloggers use Bluehost to host their website.
It’s a great option when you’re launching your blog because:
- Bluehost is extremely inexpensive (under $3 per month)*
- Out of all the hosting companies I’ve researched and worked with, Bluehost has the simplest way to install a blog — it’s just one click.
- You get a free domain name (which normally costs around $15).
- They offer a 30-day money back guarantee, which is great if you decide that blogging isn’t for you.
I’ve been a happy Bluehost.com customer for over eight years, and I’ve always appreciated their solid customer service (especially the live chat option).
*I was able to negotiate a discount with Bluehost for readers of The Ways To Wealth. As such, the price noted above is only available if you click a link via this website.
How to Get Started With Bluehost
Head over to Bluehost.com’s homepage and click “Get Started.”
For now, you only need the basic blog hosting plan (it’s easy to upgrade later):
Step #2: Choose the Perfect Domain Name
Upon choosing the basic plan, the next screen prompts you to pick your new domain name.
With Bluehost, you get a new domain name for free if you sign up for 12 month plan.
Choosing a good one is important, because your domain name is more than just a way for visitors to get to your site — it also tells them what your site is all about.
When choosing your domain name, one important question to ask yourself is: What is the long-term vision for my blog?
In my case, my long-term vision was to build a site around all things money. That included topics like saving money, making money, investing, etc.
Because of that broad scope of coverage, I picked a domain name with a broad meaning.
Now, compare this to a site that features content mostly about retirement investing. A domain name like The Ways To Wealth wouldn’t be a good choice, because it doesn’t tell visitors what the site is about.
If you’re not 100% sure of your niche, my recommendation is to take the topic you’re thinking about and choose a domain name around that topic’s broader niche.
For example, say I was thinking of starting a blog about dairy free cooking. Instead of choosing a domain name like dairyfreereceipes.com, I’d pick a domain name like allergyfreecooking.com.
This way, you give yourself the opportunity to cover additional niches in the future.
Here are five more tips for selecting a good domain name:
- Pick something that lets your visitors know exactly what the website is about
- Make sure it’s easy to spell
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
- The shorter, the better!
- Select a .com domain name
Don’t be surprised if you have to spend some time researching options: most of the “obvious” domain names are already owned by other people. As such, you’ll probably need to think of something that combines two or three words (but avoid anything longer than that).
How to Choose a Hosting Package from Bluehost
After finding an available domain name, you’ll be taken to a screen to set up your account.
After filling in your account information (name, address, etc.), you’ll choose your hosting package information.
In the screenshot above, three of the available package extras are selected. In most cases, you do not need those extras when you’re first getting started. The possible exception there would be Domain Privacy Protection, which means that people won’t be able to find your name and contact information when they research who owns your domain.
Next is simply setting up your payment information, then clicking submit.
Step #3: Install WordPress
Once you’ve input your payment information, you’re ready to set up your blog with WordPress. Don’t worry… it’s easy.
WordPress is the content management system for your blog. It’s where you’ll create new posts, manage existing content, configure your site’s design and settings, and install plugins (which are add-ons that extend your site’s functionality). Think of WordPress as your blog’s operating system and Bluehost as the hard drive.
WordPress powers about 30% of the websites on the internet. It’s incredibly intuitive. If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word of Apple’s Pages, you can use WordPress.
What’s really great about Bluehost is that your web hosting plan comes with WordPress pre-installed. This was a feature added in late 2018, known as Bluerock. That means users no longer have to manually install WordPress, a process that would often trip up new bloggers.
Upon submitting payment, you’ll be taken to a “Welcome Page” screen that asks you to log in to WordPress. From there, you can choose to start a business or a personal site (this really doesn’t matter, so I’d go with business).
Then, you’ll be asked to pick a theme that inspires you.
Step #4: Select and Install a Professional Looking WordPress Theme
The default WordPress template is a pretty basic design. But one of the best aspects of WordPress is that you can change how your site looks with just a couple of clicks, and without knowing a single line of CSS or HTML.
In WordPress, site templates are called themes. And picking a new one allows you to quickly and easily upgrade the look and functionality of your blog.
When it comes to switching WordPress themes, you have three options.
- Choose a free theme from the WordPress database.
- Choose a professionally-designed theme that’s sold for a set price.
- Hire a website designer to create a custom theme just for you.
In my opinion, since you’re just starting out, hiring a website designer would be overkill — you’ll spend thousands of dollars on a design you may want to change in the not-too-distant-future, when you have a better understanding of your blog and your business goals.
As a beginner, I’d either start with a free theme or a professional template.
Bluehost has a number of custom free themes you can use, which you can install with one click.
Also, don’t put too much thought into this, as you can easily change it later.
For choosing a premium theme template, I’ve always found StudioPress themes to be a great resource. Their customer service is first-class. As I’m not very technical, they’ve saved me hours of frustration on multiple occasions.
Setting Up a New Blog – You’re Done!
I hope this step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your own blog with Bluehost has helped. I know getting a new WordPress site up-and-running can seem highly technical, but once you do it, you’ll be surprised how easy it is.
From choosing a plan to choosing your own domain name to hassle-free WordPress installation, Bluehost makes the whole process fast and simple. You can go from aspiring blogger to actual blogger in just a few minutes.
Just click here to sign up for your discounted Bluehost account, and get started now!
And if you want to learn the details about how I grew The Ways To Wealth into one of the top personal finance blogs on the web, sign up for my 100% free, 14-lesson email course titled “How to Make Your First $1,000 Blogging.” It’s a step-by-step guide to starting a blog and growing one into a successful (i.e., profitable) business.