I have been working with more and more brand new bloggers through Design by Christi, so it’s time for an updated tutorial on how to start a blog. There are many blogging platforms, with WordPress and Blogger being two of the most popular. If you haven’t read my previous post on WordPress vs. Blogger, that’s a good place to start. For the majority of new bloggers I’ve worked with recently, WordPress has been the clear answer so this WordPress tutorial is focused on how to start a new self-hosted site. As always, I am happy to help you set up and customize your new site through my website design services if you get stuck on any of these steps.
Step 1: Find a Host and a Service Plan
Unlike Blogger, WordPress requires you to have a hosting service. I personally use and recommend Bluehost for its ease of use, affordability, and excellent customer service. I’ve had to use support a few times and they are always quick and helpful. I have installed sites with other hosts and Bluehost is by far my favorite. You can click here to sign up with Bluehost in a new window so that you can continue following the instructions here while setting up your new site. You’re going to click that bright green button to get started.
Then you’ll need to select a service plan. While the basic plan will definitely get you covered for starting out (I haven’t exceeded the basic plan yet on my own blogs), there are a few nice features in the other plans that are worth pointing out. First of all “unlimited” is always nice, right? It gives you enormous room to grow. But the main thing I like about the Prime plan is something I pay extra for with domains that I’ve purchased for other projects… domain privacy! If you don’t currently own a domain (www.yourwebsite.com), then you may not realize that buying that domain means your contact information becomes public. Then you get a bunch of spammers trying to contact you to sell you extra services (that you don’t need) to go with your new domain. If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the basic plan though.
Step 2: Pick Your Domain
Your domain is your unique personal website address, like mine is www.ChristiFultz.com. If you already have a domain name, you can connect it to your new Bluehost account to use with your WordPress site. If you don’t already have a domain name, one is included in your Bluehost plan. Hooray!
Step 3: Get Out Your Wallet
Now it’s time to pay for your new plan. Note that Bluehost bills in annual installments.
Step 4: Create Your Password and Login
This is an easy one. Set up your new password, write it down somewhere safe, and then click to log in to your new account.
Step 5: Pick a Theme
This is where things start to get really fun! For now, just to get your site up and running you can choose to SKIP THIS STEP at the bottom of the screen. Your new site will come pre-installed with a default theme that will work to get you going. To get the most out of WordPress, you will need a better theme for your site. I actually wrote a separate post for this because it’s a major step in branding your new website. For help with that, you can see this post: How To Select a WordPress Theme. For now though, just skip selecting a theme to finish this tutorial and set up your site.
Step 6: Start Building
Now you’re ready to rock-and-roll with your new WordPress site. If you purchased a brand new domain, it can take 24-48 hours to register. Don’t panic! You can still begin to explore your new site and Bluehost will automatically connect your new domain when it’s ready. If you already had your own domain, you will need to connect it to your new site yourself. This is something I can do for my blog customers, or you can contact Bluehost for help.
This is what your site will look like when it’s brand new. You can choose to click through and have WordPress help you set up your site, or you can skip straight to the sections on the far left in black if you prefer to explore yourself. This is where a blog designer can really come in handy! I help my clients select the perfect theme, do all of the installation/configuration of that theme, and provide custom design work to bring their vision to life.
Step 7: Bluehost Tools
Bluehost has really simple tools to start adding content to your site. You’ll simply click LAUNCH in blue to get started with a name and description for your site. You can also add new posts and pages here. You’ll also want to add your navigation menu, which is the top bar that displays all the important links for your site (like home, about, contact, shop, etc.).
Step 8: Enjoy your new site!
If I can help you at all, please send me an email. Helping clients develop their new websites is truly a passion of mine. I offer the complete Bluehost/Wordpress installation as shown above along with installing the Genesis theme for you in my WordPress Start Up package. You can also visit my Design by Christi page to see all of my other Blogger, WordPress, and Branding services.
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