Updated March 31, 2015
If you want to know how to start a blog, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you want to work from home, author a book, get more exposure for your existing business or simply write, starting a blog and/or website is highly recommended.
The following steps outline exactly how I’ve built most of my own sites. This guide has helped countless others get started too.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. Thank you for your support in this way.
What you’ll get from this guide
By the end, you’ll have your own self-hosted WordPress site, one of the most popular kinds of sites around. Ready?
Steps needed to start a blog – An overview
- Purchase hosting
- Choose a domain
- Install WordPress
- Start using WordPress
Step 1: How to start a blog – Find a host
A host provides server space for your site so others can find you on the internet. You could use a free service, but I highly recommend you opt for self-hosting. You get what you pay for. Trust me, you’ll be so glad you started out on the right foot.
Start by clicking here to go to Bluehost* (this link will open in a new window so you can reference these instructions as you work). I’ve been a paying customer of this company for over 10 years and can vouch for them.
Click the green Get Started Now button.
By the way, the images you see here may vary slightly from the ones you see on your screen. This is because they never stop making site improvements. Don’t worry, the general process is the same.
Step 2: How to start a blog – Select your plan
Choose the plan you’d like to start with. (You can upgrade at any time.) I typically go with the Plus plan because you get more features that won’t tap out quickly. Note that all plans come with one free domain which is good.
Just click one of the green “select” buttons to move to the next step.
Step 3: How to start a blog – Choose a domain
If you don’t have a domain, enter a new domain name on the left. A domain name is your desired web address, like AmyLynnAndrews.com. (See tips for choosing a domain below). Make sure .com, or the extension of your choice, is selected from the drop down menu beside it.
If you’ve already registered a domain name elsewhere, enter it on the right (don’t worry, it won’t mess things up if you’re using the domain already, this only identifies your account).
Click the blue Next button.
Tips for choosing a domain name:
- Go with a .com whenever possible.
- Make it easy to say and spell.
- Don’t include hyphens, numbers, obscure terms or confusing strings of words.
- If you’re not sure what to use, your name is a safe bet to start.
- Be creative and try a phrase if you’re having trouble finding an available name.
- Read more tips here if needed.
Step 4: How to start a blog – Enter your account info
On the next page, enter your account info. Make sure you use a working email address because this is where your login information will be sent.
Step 5: How to start a blog – Choose a hosting package
Under Package Information choose your Account Plan from the dropdown menu based on how far in advance you want to pay. Please note you will be billed a year a time, but as you can see, it works out to a very reasonable monthly amount. Not bad for your own blog or website, right?
I always skip the other add-ons except Domain Whois Privacy (sometimes called Domain Privacy Protection) which will keep your personal information private. I highly recommend it. (Note: the Domain Privacy option only shows up if you registered a new domain in Step 3 above. It will not show up if you used a transfer domain.)
Step 6: How to start a blog – Enter your billing info
Fill in your billing information, confirm that you’ve read the fine print and then click Next.
Step 7: How to start a blog – Skip the upgrades
On the next page you’ll be asked if you want to add any upgrades. I just skip them. Continue on to complete your purchase. After completing your purchase, check your email. You’ll find a welcome email from Bluehost with your control panel (cpanel) login info. Keep this information for future reference.
Now we’re going to install WordPress on your new site.
Step 8: How to start a blog – Login to your cpanel
Go back to Bluehost and click the Login button in the top right corner of your screen. Alternatively, you can use the link to your cpanel contained in the welcome email.
Enter your cpanel login info from the welcome email.
Step 9: How to start a blog – Install WordPress
Once logged in, click the WordPress icon under Website Builders.
Step 10: How to start a blog – Start the WordPress install
Next you’ll get a window that looks like this. Click the Start (it might say “Install) button to begin the WordPress installation process.
Step 11: How to start a blog – Choose where to install WordPress
Choose your domain from the dropdown menu (unless you have a good reason to create a subfolder which is unlikely if you are just starting). Simply click Check Domain.
Step 12: How to start a blog – Enter your WordPress user info
Check the box next to Show advanced options. Enter your Site Name or Title (ex. Amy Lynn Andrews, How to Blog, Sally’s Song Factory, etc.). Choose an Admin Username (do not use “admin” as your username) and password. These will be what you use to login to WordPress once it’s installed. Enter your email address (again, all site information will be sent here). Read and agree to the terms. Click the Install Now button.
Step 13: How to start a blog – Note your WordPress login credentialsAfter WordPress has been installed, you should see the “Status: success” indication.
Take note of the information to access your new WordPress site. This information will also be sent to you via email.
If you registered a new domain in Step 2, clicking on the Site URL link will take you to your brand new, live website. Clicking on the Login URL link will take you to the WordPress login page where you can enter your username & password and get into the backend of your WordPress site.
(If you transferred a domain in Step 2, see Optional Step 14 below.)
Congratulations! You (or anyone) can now type your domain into a browser and your WordPress site will appear.
So I have a blog, now what?
Do these 2 things:
- Sign up for The Useletter® – It’s hard to keep up with the latest info about blogging, online business and social media change. I wade through the internet and send out bite-sized tips every Saturday morning. It’s completely free and very popular.
- Learn WordPress basics – Visit my Contents page for an organized list of all my tips, tools & tutorials.
Optional Step 14: If you used an existing domain in Step 2…
Your existing domain will not display your new site until you change your name servers wherever your domain is currently registered. Changing your name servers points your domain to this new site.
IMPORTANT! As soon as you change your name servers, your domain will bring visitors to this new site. Therefore, if you are currently using your domain on another site, do not change your name servers until your new site is set up and ready to go. In the meantime, you can still access your new WordPress blog via a temporary URL. You may have received one in your welcome email from Bluehost. If you didn’t, simple call them and let them know you need a temporary URL for your new site.
To change the name servers where your domain is currently registered, first note your new Bluehost name server information:
Next, go to the registrar where your existing domain is currently registered (Namecheap, GoDaddy, etc.). You will need to enter the above information in the appropriate place. This varies among registrars so I recommend you call them if it’s not clear.
Once you’ve done that, hop up to the “So I have a blog, now what?” section above.