How to Start a Blog

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 just write, starting a blog and/or website is highly recommended. Fortunately you can be up and running in about 15 minutes.

how-to-start-a-blog

The following steps are exactly how I’ve built most of my own sites. By the end of this post, you’ll have a self-hosted WordPress site, the most popular type of site around. Ready?

Update: If you’re on a tight budget and want to reduce your starting costs, check out my recent post called A Cheaper Way to Start a Blog. It’s a great alternative for those who want to reduce their initial output by two thirds or more.

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 start a blog using a free service (like Blogger), but if you can spare a little cash, I highly, 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.

I’ve been a paying customer of the following hosting company for over 10 years so I can vouch for them. This couldn’t be simpler.

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).

Click the green Get Started Now button.

bluehost hosting

Step 2: How to start a blog // Choose a domain

Enter a domain name (your desired web address, like AmyLynnAndrews.com) on the left side under New Domain (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).

Then click the blue Next button.

bluehost domain

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 3: 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.

bluehost account info

Step 4: 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?

bluehost package

I always skip the other add-ons except Domain Whois Privacy which will keep your personal information private. I highly recommend it. (Note: the Domain Whois Privacy option only shows up if you registered a new domain in Step 2 above. It will not show up if you used a transfer domain.)

Step 5: 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.

bluehost billing info

Step 6: 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 all. 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.

Step 7: 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.

bluehost login

Enter your cpanel login info from the welcome email.

bluehost login panel

Step 8: How to start a blog // Install WordPress

Once logged in, click the WordPress icon under Website Builders.

bluehost install wordpress

Step 9: How to start a blog // Start the WordPress install

Next you’ll get a window that looks like this. Click the Start button to begin the WordPress installation process.

wordpress install

Step 10: How to start a blog // Choose where to install WordPress

Leave this section as is with your domain showing in 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.

wordpress domain install

Step 11: 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, etx.). 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.

bluehost wordpress advanced options

Step 12: How to start a blog // Success!

Done! Take note of the information to access your new WordPress site. This information will also be sent to you via email. 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.

bluehost wordpress install success

Congratulations! You (or anyone) can now type your domain into a browser and your WordPress site will appear.

Step 13 (optional): If you used an existing domain in Step 2…

(If you registered a new domain in Step 2, you can skip this step.)

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:

  • ns1.BlueHost.com
  • ns2.BlueHost.com

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.

Step 14: How to start a blog // Now what?

So now that your site’s set up, what’s next? I would do these things:

  1. Sign up for The Useletter. Things change at a rapid pace so this is the best way to keep up with what’s happening online.
  2. Check out my How to Blog table of contents for more tips to get you started.

Was this post helpful? I’d be grateful if you shared it and spread the word!

how-to-start-a-blog

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