How to Quickly and Easily Start a Profitable WordPress Blog hosted by Bluehost
Go to Bluehost and click on the green “get started” button.
Select the hosting package you want.
If you are new to blogging and you want a hosting plan with the lowest cost, the “Basic Plan” will get you going. For those of you who are just getting started, the 12 month plan is a great price and very affordable for your first year of blogging. Plus, you’ll get the free domain name when you sign up for the 12-month plan (or greater), which saves you some dough. The very best value is in the 36-month plan, which reduces the monthly fee the most over the long term.
The Basic Plan will get you going, so you can move past the Plus and Prime plans, which cost more (but they also offer more features). If you find yourself in the awesome position of having a blog with booming stats, you can always change your plan later and just pay the difference. For now, there is no reason to sign up for extra web space or features you do not need.
If you have already purchased a domain name, enter it here. Or, sign up for a new domain name. And remember, you get a free domain name when you purchase a plan of at least 12 months.
If you don’t want to enter a domain name yet, you don’t have to. You can just click on “Choose Free Domain Later” (a popup will appear after just a few seconds) and move to the next steps.
Enter your contact information and your payment information.
Choose a password that is both secure and one you can remember. Or, just log in with Google.
If you already have a domain name, now you can get started on your blog. If not, keep reading for tips on choosing one.
You will see an option to purchase Domain Privacy Protection as well, and you will want to purchase that. Domain Privacy Protection keeps your contact information private.
If you don’t have ideas for a domain name yet, no worries. You can always pick one later by clicking on “Choose Later!”
The overall value of purchasing a 36-month plan cannot be overstated, especially on a blog that is about making money. Saving money is a way to make money, too. When you sign up for a 36-month plan, you get a lower price per month, you get a free domain name, and you won’t have to spend extra time remembering to renew your plan every month. If you get really busy and forget to renew your monthly plan, your website could go down and you’ll lose valuable visitors and web traffic. Plus, it goes without saying that you will end up paying more overall per month if you are on a monthly plan. So a plan of at 36 months is the smart way to go. If you choose this term, you will save more money overall.
If you purchased your domain through Bluehost, your domain and your hosting are already connected. But if you purchased a domain elsewhere, you’ll need to connect that domain to your Bluehost hosting plan.
For example, if you already have a domain name through GoDaddy, then you will need to connect your GoDaddy domain to your Bluehost account. GoDaddy has a helpful support page for setting name servers for your domain names. Here is a brief extract from GoDaddy’s website:
“When you register a domain name with us, we set it up on our parked nameservers so a temporary page displays when visitors go to your website. After you determine which hosting provider to use, you can change your domain name’s nameservers to remove the parked page and activate your domain name.
If you registered your domain name with another provider, you can still purchase a hosting account with us, use our Off-site DNS services, or use our CashParking® or Quick Content services. If you do any of those, you must view your nameservers in your account with us, and then set the nameservers with your domain name registrar.”
Here are the steps to modify your DNS nameservers from Go Daddy to Bluehost:
- First, go to GoDaddy.com and log into your Account Manager.
- Choose “Manage Domains” from the Domains drop-down menu or the Manage Your Account list.
- Choose the domain name you want to modify by using the checkbox and then select Set Name Servers.
- Enter your new name server information in the text boxes under the Name Servers heading and click Save Changes. Your new name server entries should be: ns1.bluehost.com; ns2.bluehost.com.
After you complete these steps, you will need to add your existing domain (the one you purchased through GoDaddy) to your Bluehost web hosting plan. You can easily do this by clicking on “Domains” on the Bluehost menu (after logging into your Bluehost account) and then choosing “assign.” Easy as pie!
Choose an application for your blog (this post focuses on WordPress)
An application, also known as a content management system (CMS), is the platform you’ll use to get your blog on the web.
All applications have the ability to manage blogs, and they all include a templating system that allows you to control the appearance and style of your web pages. More advanced applications can include a nearly endless list of additional features, such as categories, commenting options, user logins controls, polls and statistics, file managers, FAQ managers, and so on.
There are several options available out there, but many require some coding knowledge.
WordPress does not require any coding knowledge whatsoever. That’s what makes it great and by far the most popular application for blogging.
You have two options for creating a WordPress blog: (a) You can create a WordPress blog that is hosted on WordPress.com, or (b) you can create a self-hosted blog using the WordPress application. The latter is the option you’ll want to choose, and here’s why.
In theory, you could start a blog through a site that offers free blog hosting, like Blogger or WordPress.com. So why wouldn’t you want to start a blog there for free? Well, first of all, you get what you pay for. And if you aren’t paying for anything, you can’t expect much to help you succeed.
WordPress.com offers very limited customization choices, it will cost you to upgrade your site in ways you could do for free if you’re self-hosted, and you won’t actually own the content you create there.
Who wants to give up that much control? A self-hosted blog gives you the creativity to craft your blog exactly how you want it. And you can retain control of the content you create.
Choose Your Niche
Before you start your blog, you need to know what you’re going to write about.
That is your niche—the specific topic or area that you want to be the focus of your blog.
If you’re a business, then your niche is already known. You’ll blog about issues that are relevant to your specific business.
If you’re starting the blog as an individual, your niche could be anything under the sun.
When choosing your niche, you should keep these things in mind:
- Choose to write about something you enjoy. Something you’re passion about. Something that you just can’t wait to share with others. If you’re blogging about something mundane that you don’t really care about, blogging probably won’t be an enjoyable experience for you. The more fun you can have with your blog, the more you will enjoy it, the more you will want to write, and the more content you’ll have available for your readers to read.
- Pick a niche that is robust. You need to have plenty of potential topics to share with your readers. A good blog contains plenty of interesting content that is relevant to the people who visit.
- Help people solve a problem. This might be the most important thing to keep in mind.
- Make yourself an authority in your niche. This is very important. You need to know what you’re talking about. Otherwise, why would people want to read your content? You can focus on a single point that you know very well. Are you great at cooking southern style food? What about helping people travel at a low cost? Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom with great tips on how to raise small children at home. Or perhaps you’re a busy careerperson who has handy tips on juggling home and family life. Whatever it is, focus on a specific topic that you know very well. It will help you stand out against other bloggers.
If you can’t decide on a niche yet or are dealing with a bit of writer’s block, just start writing anyway and see where it takes you.
Choose a Theme.
There are literally thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. So how do you find the perfect one for you?
Your theme is the visual layout of your site. It’s what visitors will first see when the navigate to your blog, so it plays a very important role in how your site looks.
But that’s not all. Your theme also plays an extremely important role in how your site behaves, how it functions and performs, and how easily visitors can find the information they are looking for.
A good theme will not only make your blog look great. It will also help your blog load quickly and easily on both desktop and mobile devices.
WordPress is tremendously popular, so you can find WordPress themes for all sorts of different niches. For example, there are themes designed for traditional blogs, there are themes designed for photographers, there are themes designed for ecommerce stores, and there are even themes designed for viral news sites. There are also multipurpose themes that you can easily adapt to any type of niche.
Many themes come with both a free and a premium or pro version. This allows you to check out the look and feel of a theme, as well as its performance, and then decide whether you want to purchase a version with premium functionality.
How to Install a WordPress Theme
To easily install the theme you like, go to Appearance → Themes in your WordPress dashboard. Then, click Add New:
If your theme is listed at WordPress.org, you can type in the name of the theme to search for it. When you find it, click Install.
If you purchased a premium theme instead, then first simply click on the Upload button.
Then upload the zip file that you got with your purchase:
And there you go! It really couldn’t be any easier.
After you’ve installed your WordPress theme, you can easily update it by going to Appearance → Themes:
If you purchased a premium or pro theme, you might need to enter your license key before you can use this automatic update tool.
Another great thing about WordPress is if you do decide to change themes down the road, WordPress makes it really easy to do so.
Write content and add legal pages.
The next step for starting a blog is to write engaging content. If you’re having trouble deciding what to write, don’t despair. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do further research to gather more information, examples, and data points to back up your statements. Feel free to quote other sources, provided you give proper attribution to the original authors. And don’t forget to add your privacy page if you’re collecting information from your users (through a contact form, for example) and a terms page if you are offering a product or service.
And there you have it! Enjoy, and have fun blogging!