I’m an affiliate for Bluehost, which means I get a kickback at no cost to you if you sign up through the following links!
Howdy there, Picky people!
Do you love to write? Do you have lots of interesting ideas (or pictures of cats) that you want to share with the world?
Do you sort of know how to spell?
Perfect! You should totally start your own blog.
And you’ve come to the right place to get started, my friend. Blogs are a fun way to get your ideas out there while making a bit of money, too! I’ve been blogging at Picky Pinchers for going on a year now, and I can honestly say that this site makes me happy to wake up every morning.
I typically turn “DIY” into “DOY,” so trust me when I say that setting up a blog is super duper easy. This page will give you step by step instructions on how to set up your own blog in about 20 minutes.
If you get stuck during the setup, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org! I love to help new bloggers!
How to Start a Blog in 20 Minutes
Let’s get this show on the road!
Step 1: Set up hosting with Bluehost
A host is what puts your blog on the internet by storing it on a server. I personally use Bluehost and I’ve had great results with them for the last year. It typically costs $7.99/mo for their basic package, but through my link here you can get it for $3.95/mo.
Not bad, eh?
Step 2: Select your plan
Select the basic package. If you need more storage or domains later, you can upgrade further down the road, so no biggie! I’m still on their basic package and it’s just right!
Step 3: Add your domain
If you’ve bought a domain and still own it, enter it into the “I have a domain name” box and click Next.
If you don’t have a domain name, which is likely if you’re creating a new blog, create one under the “New Domain” box.
For example, if you want your site to be www.ILovePuppies.com, enter that into the box and click Next. Bluehost will tell you if the site is available–if it’s already taken, don’t sweat it! You can try different variations of the domain like .org, .net, and more.
Step 4: Create Your Account
Once you’ve nailed down the domain name, enter your information here to create your Bluehost account.
Step 5: Confirm Package Info and Payment Information
Here’s where you’ll see your total. I highly, highly recommend opting in for the Domain Privacy Protection. I signed up for it to prevent people from accessing my contact information when looking up my site. No thanks!
Proceed to the next page to check out. You’re well on your way!
Step 6: Create Your Password
Congrats! You’ve set up hosting. Not too shabby, right?
You’ll be prompted to accept additional offers from Bluehost. If you’re good, continue to the next screen, where you’ll be asked to create your password.
Step 7: Log in and choose your theme
Don’t worry–you can change your theme later; this is just to get you set up for now. The theme is the skin that stretches over your website and makes it look fantastic.
Step 8: Start building your WordPress site!
Step 9: Start building
Bluehost will automatically redirect you to your snazzypants WordPress dashboard. Choose whether you’re setting up a business site or a personal site. If you aren’t sure, don’t worry. This is just so Bluehost knows how to help you with the setup process.
Step 10: Prep your site
Once you’re in your WordPress dashboard, feel free to start preparing your site. This is where you can set up your site’s content, menu, and any other kind of functionality. If you aren’t ready to make your site live right now, wait to click on the Launch button. I did this when I built Picky Pinchers: it gave me time to write blog posts so my site wouldn’t look empty to new visitors.
Step 11: Launch your site
Once you’re ready to go live (go you!!), click on the Launch button and enter your details.
Boom! You’re on the world wide web, baby!
Now is when you can finally start building your blog on WordPress. There are infinite things you can do, but here are just a few actions you can take to let your blog take off:
Install a WordPress theme
You can access WordPress themes in two places. The first is in your Bluehost dashboard under the “Website” section. Just click on “WordPress Themes” to jazz up your blog. You can also access themes in your WordPress account by going to the sidebar and clicking on Appearance > Themes. Click “Add New” to browse different themes. I recommend starting off with a free theme, but paid themes are also out there if you’d like something more customized. Choose the theme that works best for you and click Install. That’s it! You can always change your theme if you decide later that you want a new look, too!
Update your WordPress settings
There are a few things you can do to make your WordPress experience a little easier. ShoutMeLoud has a fantastic guide here of a few quick actions you can take to improve your new blog!
The plus of using a WordPress site is that you can add plugins. These little dudes add extra functionality to your site in endless ways, whether it’s making your site attractive to search engines, more secure, or more shareable on social media. Check out this awesome guide from WP Beginner for a list of the best plugins for new WordPress blogs. I don’t recommend installing all of them since they could slow down your site, but I definitely recommend Akismet (prevents spam), Jetpack (lots of cool features here!), Sucuri (added WordPress security), Yoast (search engine optimization), and W3 Total Cache (tightening up your site’s settings for speed).
Write badass content
It’s your moment to shine! Add new posts to your site by going to Posts > Add New to begin sharing your ideas with the world. Don’t forget to throw in some pictures and plenty of descriptive content for your readers to fall in love with.
Stuck or need some setup advice? Shoot me at email at email@example.com. I’m always here to help with questions big or small!