How to Create a Blog with WordPress (Step by Step)
The easiest way to build your online presence is to start a blog.
While you can use free platforms like Blogger, Medium or WordPress.com, you will get the most control and customization from a self-hosted WordPress.org.
Considering it’s one of the most blogged topic in the online marketing world, WordPress.org is no doubt the number one choice for serious bloggers.
What’s even better is that you don’t have to be an expert to setup WordPress.
In fact, you only need to follow four simple steps
- Purchase a web host
- Choose a domain name
- Install WordPress
- Start using WordPress
In this guide, I will walk you through the entire process, one click at a time.
Are you ready?
Step 1. Purchase a web host
While the WordPress platform is free, you need to rent an external web host and domain name so others can find you on the internet.
The good news though, is that most web hosts worth using give away a free domain name. In other words, you only need to make one purchase.
Based on my experience and research, I recommend Bluehost. Their shared hosting is some of the best solution for WordPress users because
- They are recommended by WordPress. BlueHost is the only web host recommended by WordPress, more than that, it’s used and trusted by a bunch of influencers from Pat Flynn, Amy Lynn Andrews, Darren Rowse to Michael Hyatt.
- They are reliable. According to Web Hosting Secret Revealed, BlueHost has a solid 99.9% uptime record and lightning fast loading speed of only ~25 milliseconds from United States servers, this assures anyone can visit your site at all times.
- They are affordable. At as low a price as $3.95 per month, BlueHost is some of the cheapest quality hosting service in the market.
- And super easy to use. While most hosts nowadays are pretty much the same when it comes to usability, I think BlueHost takes the lead with its friendly user experience.
Quick note: I’m a BlueHost affiliate. This means I get paid if you click on my link and make a purchase. However this doesn’t influence my recommendation because all hosting services have similar affiliate programs. I’ve tried BlueHost and think it’s the most suitable web host for starters.
If you are serious about building an online business, you may want to try Wealthy Affiliate, an all-in-one web host, training and community on online marketing that I personally use to build Bloggingthing.
To point the obvious, it’s more expensive than a simple host at $49 per month (or $29.9 if you apply the discounts) but being a WordPress optimized host, Wealthy Affiliate works out-of-the-box, shaving off all the techie stuffs of installing anything.
In any case, to create a blog with WordPress — go to Bluehost (this link opens in a new window so you can reference the guide as you work).
Then click the green Get Started Now button once you see the image above.
Select your plan
Under Package Information, select your account plan.
Unless you want to host multiple sites, I recommend the Starter plan, it’s cheapest and has all essential features.
And of course, you can always upgrade later.
Click of the green Select button to move to the next step.
Step 2. Choose a domain name
Think of a domain as your virtual home address – it’s a must (my domain is Bloggingthing.com, for example).
Now you need to decide whether
You need a new domain (for free), then enter it on the left.
Or you already have one, then type it on the right.
- Dot com is the most popular domain extension
- Make your domain easy to spell
- And brandable (i.e. Twitter)
- Also be specific (i.e. 99Designs)
- Make every word count (i.e. You-Tube)
Then click the blue Next button.
Enter your account information
On the next page, enter your account information.
Make sure that you use a working email address since this is where your log in information will be sent.
Note though, that while BlueHost always display their monthly offers, you can only choose annual plans during purchase.
This means you need to pay for at least a year in advance.
This is actually a common tactic used by web hosts to attract customers including iPage, SiteGround, inMotion Hosting to name a few.
Here’s the math
- 12 months at $4.95 per month is $59.40 upfront,
- 24 months at $3.95 per month is $94.80 upfront,
- 36 months at $3.49 per month is $125.64 upfront.
Domain Privacy Protection (only available if you registered a domain via BlueHost) — If you’re using your personal contact information (your home address, for example) to register the domain, I highly recommend domain privacy to protect yourself on the internet.
Site Backup Pro — Backing up is extremely important to any bloggers. In case there is a security breach or bug, you may need backups to restore your data. There are other free methods though, so this is not mandatory.
Enter your billing information
Now enter your billing information, or click on More payment options if you prefer PayPal.
Check the “I confirm I have read and agree to the Terms of Service”, and then click the Next button.
Bluehost will next ask you to “Select the Upgrades that Best Suit Your Needs.” I would skip all of these for now.
Click the Complete button at the bottom of the page, this may take a minute for BlueHost to process your order.
Then you’ll see the “Welcome to Bluehost” page.
To create a password for your account, click the Create your password button. Type in your new password then check the “I confirm I have read and agree to the Terms of Service” again.
Click the Create button.
Once you’ve successfully created your BlueHost account, you’ll be brought back to Bluehost’s log in screen.
Since your username will be automatically inserted, simply type the password you’ve just created then click the Submit button.
Step 3. Install WordPress
If yes, click here.
Otherwise, read on.
You are now in the BlueHost Control Panel, or cPanel in web hosting terms. Click the Install WordPress icon under the Website Builders tab.
You’ll be directed to the Mojo Marketplace, click the Install button to begin the WordPress installation process.
Next, choose your domain from the dropdown menu.
Leave the directory field blank unless you have a good reason to create a subfolder. Then click Check Domain.
Enter your WordPress user information
Check the Show advanced options box to fill in your blog information.
Site Name or Title is how you want to call your blog, it’s usually the same as your domain (i.e. Bloggingthing, Michael Hyatt, Chelsea’s Messy Apron).
Admin Username and Password are the credentials you will use to sign into your new WordPress blog.
Then click the Install Now button.
You will now see a progress bar on top of the screen. This will take a minute, depending on your network connection.
Once it says “Your install is complete!” click the View Credentials button. This will take you to the Notification Center, click the View button.
Now you will get a screen with
- Your Blog URL
- Admin URL
- Username and password
All this information will also be mailed to you, remember to keep them for future reference.
Now click on the Admin URL link. This will take you to your WordPress login page at your-site.com/wp-admin.
First of all, take a moment to bookmark this page to access anytime. Then enter your WordPress username and password.
Now check Remember Me and click the Log in button.
Step 4. Start using WordPress
You’ve just created your first WordPress site. From now on this is where you are going to change the world. 😀
You are now looking at the WordPress dashboard.
Bloggers refer to this as the WordPress back-end. The front-end is what your readers see — your blog. The back-end is what you use to customize the blog — your control panel.
You can do just about anything at this point.
As Michael Hyatt says, this is “like being handed the keys to a car after just receiving your driver’s license”. There is no right way to proceed and you could go in any directions.
This can be intimidating at first though, so here are a few suggestions to make the most out of your brand new blog.
It goes without saying, life is a continuous journey. The more you learn the more chances you get at achieving your wildest dreams.
I think you’ll want to check these resources out.
- WP101.com — WordPress 101 is a tutorial site with hundreds of videos on everything you need to know about WordPress.
- Subscribe to Bloggingthing — This is a blog dedicated to passionate bloggers. Once a week, I publish highly motivational guides on everything you need to know about blogging.
Stand out from the crowd
One of the best ways to stand out when you just started is design. A well-designed blog goes a long way in terms of trust.
While there are thousands of free themes available, they are never perfect or comes with the support you need to fix bugs and customize. If you are serious about your blog, I recommend investing on some beautiful premium theme from Theme Forest.
Ultimate advices to new bloggers
Shout Me Loud
Blogging is one of its kind lifestyle where you will be learning something new every day. Sometime willingly & at times because you have no choice. Hiring a freelancer to design your blog is also a part of learning. Writing blog posts is also part of learning & so is making money from the blog.
The key to success & survival is to learn every day. Get ready to taste blood everyday.
A while back, I did something crazy.
I asked over a hundred experts for their one advice to new bloggers. To my surprise though, amazing guys from WordStream, Content Marketing Institute and Social Media Examiner replied with some of the most powerful insights I ever heard on the internet.
Now as you are starting out with your blog, I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.
- Add value. This is cavemen stuff — if you want others to listen to you, you need to be useful to them in some way. Adding value is a broad term, it can be answering questions, sharing experiences or something as simple as being entertaining. While not everyone agrees with Bill Gates on the fact that “content is king”, no one can overrule its importance.
- Know your audience. Why is knowing your audience so important? People responds best when they feel that they are understood. Take a moment to figure out who you are writing for, how old are they and what motivates them to wake up every morning. For example, Bloggingthing’s target audience are aspiring bloggers who seek to create the best content possible.
- Be consistent. We are often spoiled with all sorts of stories about instant successes, but that’s not how things work. Much less so when it comes to blogging. In fact, there is a 99.9% chance that you’ll receive zero comment on your first post. Even Wall Street Journal’s top influencer on the web, Neil Patel admits “it’s much easier to lose your traffic than it is to build it up, so make sure you consistently blog”.
- Keep learning. There are thousands of famous quotes about learning: you can never know too much. David Cain from Raptitude even goes as far as saying that you need to take “a blogging course of some kind, one you have to pay for”. Which I fully agree with, while there are so many free guides out there, you still get what you pay for.
- Be patient. As much as I can boast about how fun blogging is, it also takes a lot of endurance to keep going. As Marko Saric puts it “blogging is a marathon, not a sprint”. You might have to write for months on end with very few readers or revenue. That’s when you have to choose between giving up or pushing through. Remember, “small steps and tiny wins will result in big achievements over time”.
- Focus. It takes more than just holding on though, you also need to know which kind of content or traffic strategies work best and follow them. Julie Neidlinger says it best: “don’t be distracted by the peripherals. There are lots to consider in content marketing (engagement, brand, reputation, growth, etc.), but when it comes to blogging, it’s all about one thing: writing. Write well, write often. Writing now is your practice for future great writing. So avoid being overwhelmed by the rest”.
- Be genuine. Imagine building a relationship upon lies, it may work great at first but you quickly find yourself burnt out from the pretence. That’s still not the worst part though, once your partner finds out — it’s over. The same goes with blogging, it’s that important to maintain a healthy relationship with your readers: be real. What goes around comes around. Or as Emily Bennington puts it: “be honest. Honesty allows readers to know you.”
- Build relationships. “No blog is an island. You’re not Robinson Crusoe.” I couldn’t have said it better than Tadeusz Szewczyk. Getting to know other influencers and bloggers in your industry can not only help you build beneficial long-term relationships but also get your contents shared for free. How do you do this then? Small favours like sharing others content, replying to their questions on Social Media or commenting on their blog can go a long way.
- Enjoy. Enough about others, let’s talk about you. This is your blog after all, your internet appartement. Truth is, if you are not really enjoying what you do, the whole process will be a thousand times harder. At first, I also started Bloggingthing just so I can quit my 9 – 5 job, it takes months before I realize blogging is not a job and it’s much more than just profit. I deeply reflect on nomad traveller Joao Leitao’s words “don’t blog for money. Blog for the pleasure of sharing your experiences”. Whatever you do, I hope you are enjoying the journey as well.
- Stand out. Imagine you saw a new social media site that looks exactly like Facebook or Twitter, what would you think? Exactly, you wouldn’t care about it. The same goes with blogs, whether it be a rehashed design or content, it’s hard to pay attention to something that’s unoriginal. Share your unique perspective or as WordStream’s Larry Kim playfully jokes: “be a unicorn among a sea of donkeys”.
- Build an email list. It’s the online marketers’ mantra: “money is in the list”. Why? Let the results speak for themselves: over 90% of AppSumo’s 7 figure revenue comes from their emails, ~85% of Unbounce’s landing page traffic comes from email marketing. Subscribers who gave you their personal email address obviously trust you and are more inclined to follow your advices. While you may not have a big audience at first, it’s a good idea to put up a few sign in forms.
- Promote. “I see too many new bloggers knocking out 3 – 5 mediocre blogs posts per week with no active readers or followers. It makes no sense.” Brent Jones bluntly pointed out. It goes without saying that no one knows about your blog at first, no matter how awesome or regular you write. In fact, Brian Dean goes as far as arguing that it’s much more lucrative to create a few epic pieces of content and promote it like a madman.
To read every single answers I received, check out 108 Experts Give Advice to New Bloggers.
I hope this post gave you an inspiring headstart into the exciting world that is blogging. If you know someone else who would also like to start a blog, give them a little push on the back.
Remember, giving opens the way for receiving.
Feel free to drop a comment if you have any questions about self-hosted WordPress, I’ll try my best to answer!
Ready to start an online business? Check out my recommended resources.
If you’ve already registered a domain (optional)
Before installing WordPress, you’ll need to point your domain to Bluehost servers.
While the process differs from domain registrars. I’d like to show you how it’s done at a domain registrar I use, NameCheap.
After you’ve logged into your account, click on the Manage button on the far right, next to your domain name.
Now scroll down until you see the Nameservers section:
Choose Custom DNS from the dropdown menu. Then fill in the information as follows
Now click the green check mark button on the right.
It usually takes 24 – 48 hours to point your domain to BlueHost (in my experience though, it takes less than an hour).
In the meantime, click here to continue setting up your WordPress blog.
Quick note: If you are using another domain registrar like GoDaddy, I’m not sure how it works but you can always contact their support team for directions.