There are many hosting companies out there, but someone who is just starting out on a WordPress site, Bluehost.com is probably the easiest option for getting started. It is the only hosting service officially recommended by WordPress and has been the number-one recommended hosting service for their platform for almost 10 years. If you sign up through this tutorial, you’ll get a special offer of shared hosting at $3.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year!
To set up your hosting account with Bluehost, follow the steps below. It will speed up the process to think of a domain name you want to use and to have your credit card for payment ready to go before you get started.
1. SET UP YOUR HOSTING ACCOUNT
Next, you need to choose a domain name for your site. If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost. If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one from right in the sign up process, and the best part is, it comes free with your new hosting account purchase.
Once you’ve entered a domain name, you’ll fill in your personal information.
Then, you’ll choose which hosting package you want. Normal, shared hosting is priced at 12, 24 and 36-month terms. To help save you money, the longer term you purchase, the lower the monthly rate will be. For example, by choosing a 36-month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $3.95/month. And, because you’ve chosen to host with Bluehost, if you ever need more than a shared hosting account, Bluehost provides seamless upgrades to VPS or dedicated server hosting accounts from inside your control panel.
There are few other offers provided at sign up, which you can include at your discretion.
After you’ve filled in your information and chosen your hosting package, click the “Next” button to complete your purchase. You’ll then be asked to create a password for your account. You can use the Password Generator to create a strong and secure password, or create one yourself. It is required to have both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?!#, etc.) in order to have a strong enough password to protect your account.
Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you can get started installing WordPress!
2. INSTALL WORDPRESS
This may seem like the most complicated step, but Bluehost has worked hard to make this one of the easiest things for you to do by using the new MOJO Marketplace for installing WordPress and other applications. In your cPanel, scroll to the section titled “MOJO Marketplace” and choose the “One-Click Installs” button. This will take you to a page inside MOJO Marketplace called Scripts and Platforms. The blog section is at the very top, so all you have to do here is click on the WordPress icon.
This will open the installation window. Click on the green “Start” button that will start the WordPress installation process, which has a few easy steps.
Step 1: Choose where you want to install WordPress. This can be any domain on your account, or a subdomain or a folder for one of your domains. Next, click on “Check Domain,” which will make sure the domain is assigned and pointing to your account. You may get a warning that you are overwriting files, but as long as you don’t have another website built yet, you can check the box and continue. This is mostly to make sure that you really want to install in that location. If you do have other sites built, you will want to make sure you’re not overwriting something important.
Step 2: Show Advanced Options. This section allows you to set up your own username and password for your WordPress install. IT is recommended to use a different username than “admin” and a very strong password. Make sure that the “Automatically create a new database for this installation” box is checked, unless you have a database already set up that you want to use.
Step 3: After you’ve read the terms and conditions, check the box indicating that you’ve done so, then click “Install Now.”
Now you’ll see the progress page, which will show you how far along the installation is. Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password. You will get a copy of this information, except your password, in your email as well. Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
Now you can log into your WordPress site by going to the admin login URL. Enter your username and password, then click “Log In.” This will take you to your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can control everything to do with your WordPress site, such as creating pages, writing posts, and changing the appearance.
Step 4: Once you have your blog set up, it is time to start writing! Figure out what it is you want to write about–pick a main theme, then a 3-5 subtopics, and a few sub categories under your subtopics. This will give you a framework for how to organize your thoughts and your blog posts. I strongly recommend that before you worry about making your blog look pretty, you take the time to do some writing and to learn your way around WordPress.
At the very least, you should understand how to start a post and how to create a page, as well as how to installs some basic plugins. WordPress to Go is a great resource to help you get more comfortable with the WordPress platform.
Here are a few plugins you may want to install:
- Google Analytics Dashboard– Google Analytics Dashboard gives you the ability to view your Google Analytics data in your WordPress dashboard. You can also allow other users to see the same dashboard information when they are logged in or embed parts of the data into posts or as part of your theme.
- WP Supercache – A caching plugin that helps your site load faster.
- Yoast SEO – Yoast WordPress SEO is the most complete SEO plugin available for WordPress. It offers everything you need to optimize your site.
Step 5: Make it pretty! Once you have a clear idea of what you want to write about (and you are sure you can do this), it is time to start thinking about the presentation of your words, not just the words themselves.
Unless you are a skilled designer, I don’t recommend doing this all by yourself. Instead, you can find ready-made themes for WordPress for less than $50, or hire someone to create a custom theme for as little as $500. I’ve been really impressed by the crowdsourcing options at 99designs!
Step 6: Make it grow! Once you’ve been writing for a while and are also happy with your presentation, it is time to start growing your audience and earning an income.
My book, How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) is a great source of super practical information that you can begin to implement right away, while Elite Blog Academy is also a great option for anyone who is truly ready to take their blog to the next level.