When’s the last time you had a wonderful idea that just had to be talked about? Do you have a remarkable story from your trip to Spain or several cool tricks you’ve learned from your years as a gardener?
Everyone has a story that begs for exposure, and a blog gives you the tools to get out there and start writing. Blogging used to require some more advanced technical knowledge to program a website and share your story. That has changed drastically since all the tools are sitting around for you to play around with.
A story is an extension of your own life, sending your voice to the masses, and bringing your experiences to a whole new crowd who might benefit spiritually, physically, or even just through a little entertainment.
The coolest thing about blogging is that you can make some great income if you pour your heart into it. Many regular people are blogging everyday to bring in full-time incomes, while others simply work on their blogs to generate some passive income for the little extra glories in life.
It all starts with a blog, and WordPress is the best platform to get going. Below I have outlined a valuable guide for those just getting started with a blog, demonstrating how to choose a blog domain name, all the way to adding a theme.
Let’s learn how to setup a WordPress blog in under 15 minutes.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
The first step to launching your WordPress blog is understanding the framework. Basically, WordPress is the content management system (CMS) that helps you upload photos, type words and post your content. It’s designed to work nicely for people of all experience levels, so that you don’t have to know much about coding.
WordPress comes in two forms: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Here’s a detailed guide on the differences between the two, but in short:
- WordPress.com means that the WordPress company hosts the site for you.
- WordPress.org means that you own your site and host it yourself (This guide outlines this method).
- WordPress.com is a nice system, but you don’t get much control or customization over your blog.
- WordPress.org is where you can secure, backup, and customize the site yourself. You even get access to thousands of cool plugins for making your site unique. This is typically what serious bloggers use.
What Do You Need to Get Started With Your WordPress Blog?
- An idea for your domain name
- A Bluehost hosting account (use our link to save 50% off first transaction)
- WordPress (Completely free)
- A theme (Sometimes free, sometimes a small fee depending on what you choose)
- A credit card (Hosting is rather inexpensive)
Step 1: Thinking of and Purchasing the Perfect Domain Name
The domain name is your online identity. The domain for this site is WPKube.com. It’s what people type in whenever they want to find your site, and it ties into your branding strategy so folks remember who you are. Take some time to think of a domain that relates to what you want to offer on your site.
Many people just use their names, while others might have company names to use. Many other websites try to focus on keywords, which can help a bit, but this isn’t going to make or break your search engine optimization.
Domain names are generally sold by the company you buy hosting from. In this case we are using Bluehost, so luckily Bluehost is nice enough to give out domain names for free along with the hosting signup.
We’ll talk about choosing a domain in the next step, because it goes hand-in-hand with buying hosting, but first I wanted to explain why we like to recommend Bluehost at WPKube:
- Bluehost is a large and experienced company, and lots of the top bloggers use their services.
- The interface is easy to use, so beginners shouldn’t have any problems.
- If you run into problems, they offer 24/7 customer support (the online chat is wonderful).
- The service loads your pages super fast.
- Compared to other brands, you get a great deal, starting at $3.95 per month (plus the free domain).
- Their site up-time is unrivaled in the industry.
Step 2: Go to Bluehost and Start With Your WordPress Site
To start, go to Bluehost and click on the green Get Started Now button.
This prompts you to choose your plan for hosting. The Starter plan is a decent option for those interested in just testing the waters with blogging. You receive hosting for one website, 100 email accounts and 100GB of website space.
The Plus plan is the most popular option, and it isn’t that much more expensive than the Starter plan. For $5.95 per month you get as many websites and subdomains as you want. Pretty much everything is unlimited with this plan, and you receive some money to buy extras if needed down the road.
The final plan is for businesses that need things like an SSL and dedicated IP. Try this out if you plan on running various websites for your company. Click the Select button for the hosting plan you want to get started with. I’d recommend the Starter or Plus plan for beginners.
Step 3: Completing Your Domain Acquisition
Now that you thought of the domain you want to use you can go ahead and add it onto your hosting account. Like stated before, the domain is completely free through Bluehost, so start by typing in the domain you want to test out.
Bluehost also helps you transfer over a previously owned domain name if you already purchased one from a site like Namecheap or something similar.
Click on the Next button to see if the domain is available. If the domain is being used by someone else online you have to try another domain name. If it’s available, you will see a screen like this one below.
Step 4: Filling in Your Account Information
Now that you’ve landed the coolest domain name in all the land, start filling in your account information.
This information is used by Bluehost to offer you the best support. They send you emails if your site is having problems and much of it is simply processed securely to ensure your credit card goes through. Punch in things like your name, address, zip code, phone number and email address.
Scroll down a bit and you’ll find an area to choose your account plan. The monthly rates change depending on how long you sign up with Bluehost. So, if you sign up for three years your monthly rate is cheaper than if you were to sign up for one year.
I personally like the 24 and 36 month packages since they push your monthly rates below the $4 mark. You’ll notice a few other check boxes below this. You can typically just leave these all blank, since WordPress provides free plugins for things like backups and SEO.
Google Apps is actually a nice little package for managing your emails and working through Google Docs and other items, but you can always implement this system later.
After that, type in your billing information so Bluehost can charge you for the hosting. Keep in mind that Bluehost charges per year upfront. It’s actually one of the primary ways they are able to keep their prices so low.
Check off that you confirm you have read the Terms of Service and click the Next button.
Step 5: Installing WordPress on Your Bluehost Hosting Account
Now that you’ve completely setup your Bluehost account you can install WordPress on the host. Login to your Bluehost dashboard using the credentials they gave you upon checkout. On occasion they automatically log you in after you pay for everything.
On the primary hosting page, scroll down to the subheader called Website. Click on the button called Install WordPress.
Click on the green Install button to proceed.
Choose the domain name you want to install the WordPress system onto. Keep in mind you may only have one option here. If so, choose the primary domain name.
Push the Check Domain button, then you’ll be shown a page where you have to fill in some information. Select the Show Advanced Options box.
This area prompts you to fill in your site name, admin username and admin password. Leave these as the defaults or make your own. Regardless of your decision, remember the Admin Username and Password, because you use these to login to your WordPress backend. Check that you’ve read the terms and conditions and click the Install Now button.
Wait for the status bar to completely install WordPress. You don’t really need to install any of the addons they offer you right now. Once complete, click on the View Credentials button on the upper right hand corner of the page. Scroll down and click the View link right underneath the Action header.
This reveals the URL, Admin URL and login credentials for your site. In order to login to the backend of your site you will always use the Admin URL. Click on this and bookmark it. Then, type in the login credentials to enter your WordPress dashboard.
Step 6: Adding a Theme and Managing Your WordPress Blog
This is the WordPress dashboard. You can go to the Posts tab on the left to write an article and post it to your blog. You can even manage items such as your menu and pages. I particularly enjoy the Plugins tab where you can find cool addons for anything from SEO to contact forms.
The final primary step is to add a theme. This is basically what your site will look like on the frontend. Go to Appearance > Themes on the left hand side and feel free to search for and install a free theme in the WordPress database.
What are Some Suggestions for Places to Buy Premium WordPress Themes?
ElegantThemes – ElegantThemes has a focus on beauty when it comes to premium WordPress themes. You can download all of their themes for $69 or choose from one of the many industry options like magazine, eCommerce, portfolio, business, and blog themes.
MyBlog Theme – MyBlog is a clean, responsive, and minimalistic WordPress theme designed by yours truly, wpkube team. Costs around $39 and include features such as Post Formats support, advanced options panel, responsive design, and premium support.
That’s it for learning how to setup a WordPress blog in under 15 minutes. Share your thoughts in the comments section below if you have any questions. Congratulations!
If you need any help or have questions please let us know in the comments below.