I just wanted to take some time today to discuss how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost.
I have been blogging for over 15 years now and I can testify that it can be a passion that if done right can turn out to be your full-time income.
However, this does not happen overnight. It required hard work that might seem not to be bearing fruit in the early days.
But as months go by you will start to see the fruits of your labor.
Bluehost is a web hosting company owned by Endurance International Group.
Together with its sister companies, hosts over 2 million domains.
You can sign up today with Bluehost and within minutes you will have launched your website.
Besides the hosting, they will offer you a free domain and free SSL. All this for less than $3 a month.
You can start your WordPress blog here and come back afterward for the tutorial.
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost
The following are the steps in creating a WordPress site on Bluehost.
- Setting up your Bluehost account
- Choosing a domain name for your blog
- Installation of WordPress
- Customizing your WordPress blog
- Drive traffic to your new site
1. Setting up your Bluehost account
To do this you need to click here (affiliate link) and you will be taken to Bluehost. When you arrive on Bluehost you need to click the ‘Get started’ as shown below.
Click “Get Started” you will be taken to the screen below. This is the window where you will be asked to pick a plan.
There are 4 available plans namely, Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro.
As a new blogger, I would recommend choosing the Basic plan as you need to focus on one blog first. Do not overstretch yourself in the early days by having multiple blogs.
It is better to focus on one blog until it is able to reach a stage where it is generating enough traffic and revenue.
By doing this you will learn a lot and will be able to use your lessons from this blog in the creation of future blogs.
The other advantage is that because of the price you can pay for 12 months subscription and thus take advantage of the introductory price reduction.
This will give you peace of mind as you will now just focus on pumping content to your blog and not worry about hosting fees.
The low price is an introductory price and will change once the period specified in the application ends.
However, Bluehost has a money-back guarantee.
If you are unhappy with your current host you can also purchase any of these plans.
Bluehost can do free migrations of your site from your current host to Bluehost.
Therefore if you are not technically gifted like me then Bluehost can do the migration of your WordPress site for you.
2. Choosing a domain name
Once you choose your hosting plan you will be asked to pick a domain name.
You can either create a new one or if you already have a domain name you can add it.
Tips for choosing a domain name
- Pick a short name. Short names are easy to remember making it easy for your visitors to come back. If you choose a long one most of your visitors may not easily remember it.
- Choose a .com domain if you can. A .com is more popular and therefore easier to remember. However, you can choose whatever you want as it matters not in the eyes of Google.
- Make it easy to type. Use common words used in formal English language. If you use slang and short forms of words other people may struggle to type and therefore harder for your customers to find you.
- Use keywords. If you can, it is better to use words that describe your business. For example, if my site is about herbs, I can add herbs in my domain name.
- Add your area name if your business is local. If your business targets just your local area, then it is recommended to add your area name in your domain name.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. Numbers and hyphens are difficult to remember.
Once you choose your domain name, you will be asked to create your account. Here you will provide your personal information and will choose some offers.
This form has at the bottom some package information and package extras. You do not necessarily need these extras.
Therefore make sure that you untick the pre-ticked ones.
If however, you have extra cash you can purchase the extras because even though not critical they may help you in your early days of blogging.
I especially like the Bluehost SEO extra. SEO stands for search engine optimization which is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your site.
You can learn about SEO from sites like Backlinko or Smart Blogger and be able to apply it to your site yourself.
3. Installation of WordPress on Bluehost
WordPress is the software or rather tool that you use to create your blog.
It enables bloggers to create their sites without having to learn coding or programming as all the technical bits take place behind the scenes.
There are other content management systems like Wix but WordPress is by far the most popular.
Bluehost has made it easy to install WordPress as it is a one-click installation. You, therefore, don’t have to go through some complicated steps.
However, in case you get stuck, Bluehost support staff are available 24/7 to help you. You can call them or chat with them online.
There is, therefore, no chance that you will fail to install it.
To create your WordPress site you first need to log in to your new Bluehost account.
When you log in you will have the option of choosing a WordPress theme.
Themes determine the appearance and display of a WordPress powered website.
At this point, you can pick any theme as you can change it later to another free theme or a premium theme.
After you choose one of the themes like the ones above, you will then be taken to the page below. Here you will have to click on, “Start Building”.
Once you click this you will now be taken to your WordPress blog.
From now onwards to login to your WordPress site you will have to login directly into WordPress.
To do this you need to type in yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Therefore if your blog name is malo.com then login to WordPress by typing, malo.com/wp-admin.
When you do that you will see the following page.
The login details for your WordPress will have been sent to your email by Bluehost.
4. Customizing your WordPress site
One of the first things you can do at the start is to replace the theme you chose earlier. If however, you are satisfied with your original choice then you can leave it.
If the purpose of your blog is to make money then I recommend that you get a premium theme.
Below are some of the most popular themes that you can purchase.
- Thesis WordPress theme
- Elegant WordPress theme
- Thrive WordPress theme
- Themeforest WordPress theme
You can change, add, or manage a theme from the WordPress admin area under Appearance > Themes.
In the Theme section, you can click on “Add New”.
On the page below, you need to click on “Upload Theme” and upload the theme of your choice.
Once it is installed you can activate it and start customizing it to match how you want your site to look.
How To Install A Free Theme From WordPress.org Directory
If you are short of cash and still want to change the theme that you got during the installation you can find free themes in the WordPress.org directory. You do this by clicking on “Appearance” in the dashboard > Themes and then search for in the search box.
Here you need to click “Add New” and in the put the name of your desired theme in the box below.
Once it is downloaded you can hover the cursor over it and click “Install”.
There are so many free themes in the wordpress.com directory and some of them included, Generatepress, Minimalist, etc.
Install WordPress Plugins
One of the benefits of using WordPress is the number of plugins that are at your disposal that you can use to customise your WordPress blog.
There are literally thousands of plugins out there but you will find that you probably only need less than ten plugins.
You need to be careful with uploading too many plugins as this can compromise your WordPress security.
This is because some plugins can have too many vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Another thing that you need to know that if you have too many plugins they can slow down the loading of your blog.
This is not a good thing as it may drive visitors away from your blog. No one wants a blog that takes long to load when there are many others that are faster.
There are however so plugins that you cannot afford not to have. In my opinion, the following are plugins that you need to have.
Wordfence security plugin
There two versions of Wordfence, one is free and the other is a paid version. If you have money I would suggest that you seriously consider going for the paid version.
It offers more security and also access to Wordfence experts on WordPress security. I have been through a situation where I need experts to help me out after my site was hacked.
You therefore need to learn from my mistakes and secure your site.
However, if you are short of cash you can still get some level of protection with the free version. It is still much better than having none.
I installed Wordfence after some hackers put malware on my sites and since then I have been malware-free. I would therefore strongly recommend them.
Yoast SEO is a plugin that handles the technical optimization of your site and assists with optimizing your content.
For example, It reminds you if you are not using sufficiently your chosen keywords. It can also show you if your site is the correct length and many other things.
You can do all this manually but having a plugin do this makes your life easy.
While our main focus is to meet the needs of our readers, we also need to make sure that Google bots understand what our post is all about. Otherwise our posts my not rank.
This is why this plugin is one of the most popular on WordPress.
There is both a paid and a free version.
WP Super Cache
Another plugin that you need to have is WP Super Cache. If you want your blog to load faster and meet other performance issues then you need to install WP Super Cache.
There are however some hosting companies that offer you their own caching plugins. In that case, then you will not need to install this plugin to avoid conflict.
Website or blog speed appears to be a ranking faster nowadays. You therefore cannot afford to have a caching plugin to reduce loading times.
This plugin is free but there is also a paid version.
Updraft WordPress Backup Plugin
If your hosting company offers backups then you may not need this plugin. But if it doesn’t then you canot afford not to have this plugin.
Any serious blogger needs to prepare for times when they may need a backup. You may think that you don’t need this but as you continue blogging you will come to understand why you need one.
I have been in situations where I needed to install a backup after I messed my site by accidentally deleting my posts.
Sometimes this can be caused by evil people out there who are hell-bent in messing up your hard work. You, therefore, need to be prepared by frequent backups of your site.
There is both a paid and a free version of this plugin. The paid version offers the ability to migrate your site if you need to.
Another must-have plugin for your site should be a social sharing plugin of your choice. I am in this post promoting the Social Warfare plugin (affiliate link) because it is a lightweight plugin and is does its job perfectly.
Nowadays Google appears to like sites that load fast, you therefore cannot afford to slow the loading of your website or blog. Therefore whatever plugin you choose, you need to make sure that it does not slow down your site.
You may be asking why a blogger needs a social sharing plugin. One of the reasons is that social media can be a good source of traffic. I have a site that gets most of its traffic from social media.
Another reason is that search engines like sites that are getting social signals. I know that Google does not tell us how its algorithm works but I can testify that sharing my content on social media appears to improve the ranking of my content in Google.
The pro version of Social Warfare costs $29 a year. However, if you are short of cash you can opt for the free version
How To Drive traffic to your blog
Traffic is like fuel for any blog. Regardless of your motive for starting a blog you still want people to visit and read your content.
The more traffic you get the more motivated you are to churn out more articles.
Unfortunately in the early days of any blog, there is zero traffic from the search engines.
Actually, nowadays it may take 6-12 months before you start seeing serious traffic from Google.
However, there are a few things you can do while waiting for Google to start driving traffic to your site.
1. Post more articles for future traffic from search engines
First, you need to continue posting articles to your blog.
There is a correlation between the number of articles on your site and the traffic you will get from the search engines.
I am assuming here of course that you are writing some quality content.
If your go is to become a full-time blogger then you need to make sure that you continue posting even if there is no traffic.
At least post an article each day in the early days if you can.
As a new blogger, you need to focus on low competition keywords. You can check this on Moz.com or on Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest.
From my experience, I have found that as a new blogger you can easily hit the first page of Google results by focusing on low volume low competition keywordS.
Keywords with a traffic of 250 and below. This is because most people are interested in low competition keywords making them easy to rank.
2. Use social media to drive traffic to your site
Secondly, you need to create social media accounts for your blog.
You can, for instance, open a facebook page, Pinterest account, twitter account, etc.
Once you open these accounts you can join groups related to your niche.
Right now some bloggers are getting huge traffic from sites like Pinterest.
I know of full-time bloggers who get over fifty percent of their traffic from Pinterest. These are bloggers who make thousands every month.
In my case, I have found success with Facebook for one of my cultural blogs. I am at the moment thinking of focus my attention on Pinterest.
Frequently Asked Questions
WordPress versus Wix
Both Bluehost and Wix offer hosting services to site owners. But Wix goes further in that it helps you with the tools to set up your website.
Wix offers drag and drop page builders to site owners.
Therefore if you have no technical knowledge and you want to create an attractive site that fully functional then go for Wix.
However, once you choose a template you are stuck with it.
Is WordPress Free?
The content management system software itself is free and can be downloaded on this link.
However, once you download it you will need to host it somewhere and this is where you will need to pay.
If however you still like WordPress but have no money you can open a free WordPress blog on wordpress.com.
Unfortunately, since it is free you are restricted on what you can do on that site. For example, you will not be able to use Adsense advertising.
How Much Does A Blog Cost?
Unfortunately, there are no uniform prices for running a WordPress blog. It is a free market economy and companies charge whatever they want.
Another thing is that while things like hosting and buying a domain are unavoidable some are discretionary.
For example, you may wish to pay for a plugin to improve the look of your site. You can also pay for a firewall from your hosting company or through other third parties.
Because of the high incidences of hacking, etc it is important that you seriously consider purchasing some sort of security package to protect your site.
I will in this answer focus on the cost of the two unavoidable costs, namely, hosting and domain name.
It costs about between $8 to $20 dollars a year to purchase a brand new domain. If you opt for an expired domain then be prepared to pay more.
I have seen prices as high as a couple of thousands of dollars for some most sought after domains.
But you can also get a less glamourous domain for less than $20 as a one-off payment and thereafter you can pay a normal annual fee afterward.
Hosting for a brand new account can be as low as $3.50 per month for two years with hosting companies such as Bluehost, SiteGround, etc.
To take advantage of these prices you may have to pay for a year or two in advance in the case of Bluehost.
What is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is the new editor for WordPress blogs that was first introduced in December 2018. It replaced the old editor, TinyMCE classic editor.
Gutenberg works through blocks that you can use to insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with ease. You now no longer need to use custom codes like in the past, all you need now is to insert a new block.
Does Bluehost offer free domain
Yes, Bluehost will offer you a free domain when you purchase web hosting services which start at $2.65 for the basic. You can get it below.
I hope you have learned a thing or two on how to start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost. What remins is for you to take some action and start on this journey to make extra money for your yourself and your family.