Why should you start a blog?
A few months ago, I didn’t know anything about blogging. I was really looking for a way to express myself and for a place to share my ideas, but I had no idea how to start a blog. I really wish I had found a complete guide on how to start a blog on Bluehost before starting one myself.
To be honest, I found some resources online but most of them where lacking a lot of details or were only showing part of the answers I was looking for! That’s why I decided to create my own detailed guide about starting a blog with Bluehost which is exactly what I was looking for when I just started this website. Bluehost is a great web host and I have had a great experience with them so far, so I decided to write this post on my blog so everyone could check it out.
If you’ve always wondered how to start a blog but did not take the plunge yet, today is your day! I’m going to walk you through a detailed guide, as thorough as possible about starting a blog with Bluehost for as low as $3.95 a month, and the best part? You will receive a free blog domain name when you register with my link too!
Blogging can be challenging but starting a blog was definitely the best decision I ever made. Even if I’ve just started a few months ago, with the skills which I picked up from blogging and this website, I’m already starting to make some money from it! I’m confident enough that in a few months from now on this can even outperform my day job salary, thus maybe leading to a full-time blogging job.Blogging can be challenging, but starting a blog was definitely the best decision I ever made.Click To Tweet
Starting a blog has never been so much easier thanks to advancements in technology that made the process so easily manageable for normal folks like you and me. And the best part is that it only takes 15 minutes to get started when you sign-up with Bluehost!
There are so many reasons why you would want to choose Bluehost as your blog hosting platform, but some of them definitely prove that Bluehost is one of the best web hosting providers:
- You get a FREE domain name.
- It’s so easy to use, and by that I mean that anyone can create a WordPress blog. Bluehost also makes this wonderful one-click install to get you started in just a few minutes.
- Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you determine that this is not for you, which is a great reason to at least try it!
- It’s really cheap and you get to have your own blog for only a few dollars a month.
- Your blog will be self-hosted, as opposed to being host directly on WordPress.com where you lack a lot of control and where you can’t run any of your own advertisements, affiliate links, direct advertising, etc.
Just click here or on the picture below to get started and then continue reading my how-to guide in this post.
There are lots of questions for someone new to blogging. If you have anything to share with the world and if you have always wanted to start a blog, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started!
How to start a blog on Bluehost – A complete guide
- Register Hosting & Domain
- Install WordPress
- Install a Theme
- Install Plugins
- Create Content & Grow your site
1. Register web hosting & domain name
Before starting with the details, everyone should know what a blog is mainly comprised of:
- Domain Name
This is the address for your website, as an example mine is financeforgeek.com. You should be creative while picking a name. You don’t want to end up with a website name that no one will remember, or a name that people might have trouble typing from memory. But there are no wrong choices here, just try to be creative! You can get a free domain directly through Bluehost, which makes the whole process very easy. You should definitively pick a domain name that ends in .com for more credibility.
- Hosting Platform
This is the company hosting your website. For this blog I’m using Bluehost. There are many different web hosting companies but the great thing about choosing Bluehost is that you get a free domain for the first year if you buy 12 months of web hosting. You also get to have a cheaper monthly price if you buy at least 12 months of web hosting. To receive the cheapest price, you have to register for 36 months upfront. If you choose to register for a 24 month or a 12 month plan the price is a little bit higher, but still really affordable and still allows you to get a free domain name. If you are unsure, I would sign up for a 12 month plan, which is still a great price for one year of blogging!
- Blog Platform
This is the product which allows your website to run. For 99% of the bloggers out there, this is WordPress! WordPress is hands down the best platform to build your blog on. The majority of blogs that you see online are powered by WordPress, and many major companies use it as well.
Now that the basics are covered let’s get to it!
Once you get on Bluehost website, select the basic hosting plan for only $3.95/month (that’s 51% off from the regular price!).
You will then get to the next page where you can input your free domain name. Try a few names to find what’s available! If your domain name is not available, Bluehost will give you a whole bunch of suggestions as to what’s available.
After you’ve selected your package and a free domain name, you get to choose some hosting options. None of them are really worth it, and I would not pay for any of these options except the “Domain Privacy Protection“. This allows your contact information to stay safe and prevents phone number and personal address from being displayed.
After you’re done filling out the page with your personal details and payment method, press the submit button to finalize the process. Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of your own piece of the Internet!
2. Install WordPress with one-click install
Once you’re done registering your own domain name and your web hosting, it’s time to install WordPress. This part is quite simple, as Bluehost makes it very easy to create a WordPress blog and it is free!
- Sign in to your Bluehost account and when logged in, navigate to “Home” and then in the “website” section click “Install WordPress“.
- Click on the “Get Started” button. This will begin the installation.
- Choose on which domain you will want to install WordPress on (for example do you want www.mysite.com or http://mysite.com). Click the drop-down menu and choose the domain you plan on using.
- Do not click “Install Now” yet, be sure to check “Show advanced options“.
- Once in the “Advanced Options“, you will have to choose a Site Name, an admin username and an admin password. Please define a strong password for your admin account!
- You should also check “Automatically create a new database for this installation” unless you’ve already created a database (which should not be the case for most of the new users out there).
- Then click on “Install Now“.
You’re now done with WordPress installation (it usually takes only a few minutes after clicking install) and you can login to your website from your admin panel (check the email you received for the details).
3. Install a great theme
The next step in this start a blog guide is to choose a great theme! A theme is what will determine the visual aspects of your blog (background, colors, fonts, navigation, etc.). There are a lot of free WordPress themes and a fresh install of WordPress even comes with a few themes already installed.
For new bloggers, there’s always the question about free vs. paid themes. If you just want to do a blog for fun and don’t care about monetizing it yet, you should go for a free one. On the other hand, if you want full control, Search Engine optimized themes and a website that loads really fast (which is a key component of a good website), you should not even think twice about going for a paid theme.
On Finance For Geek, I tried many different free and paid themes, but I definitely found X-Theme to be the most powerful. It comes with 4 primary templates (stacks) which act as kick-off points to design a unique website. User-friendly and still powerful enough for more advanced users, it’s highly-flexible and bundled with multiple plugins and extensions, and it’s also one of the all-time top selling WordPress themes, so you definitely can’t go wrong with this one! For a one time fee through ThemeForest, you get X-Theme which is the ultimate go-to theme for a professional looking blog.
If you don’t want to pay for a theme that’s still ok, but it could be tricky to change back later when your blog is properly setup (due to specific configurations which might not be compatible). I’m using the X-Theme for this website (which you can find listed with my other recommended resources). However, there’s another one very popular which I’ve been using back a few years ago, Genesis Framework, which is also one of the most popular premium themes.
Once you’ve made your choice and downloaded a good-looking theme, just follow these simple steps:
- Login to the admin panel of your website: yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
- Navigate to “Appearance” then “Themes” on the left panel.
- Once there, click “Add New“.
- If you downloaded a premium theme (like X-Theme) click “Upload Theme“.
- If you want to browse through the free themes available, just search it there.
- Once you have chosen and installed your theme, hover it and click “Activate“.
Now you’re done with the core components of your website (domain name, hosting and theme)!
4. Install must-have plugins
After theme setup, it’s time to customize your theme with plugins. Adding plugins is a great way to add specific features to your blog without having to do anything on the technical side.
Just keep in mind that even if plugins are one of the best way to optimize your blog, the more plugins you have, the higher risk of issues (website speed and security) and incompatibilities you may experience. It’s just best practice to only use and install the plugins you absolutely need in order for your blog to be optimized and lightning-fast.
With that being said, there are definitely some *must have* plugins which everyone should be using. Here are my favorites which I’m using here on Finance For Geek.
- Akismet. This is a plugin designed to reduce spam comment. It checks automatically all comments and removes the ones looking like spam. One of the biggest problem with blog comments is spam. Whether you want it or not, you’re going to attract a lot of spam bots. There are many different spam blocking plugins for WordPress, but in my opinion Akismet is definitely the best.
- Google Analytics. Technically not a plugin by itself, but more like a tool (you have to implement a code or use a plugin to do so in order to make it work). It allows you to see where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your website. It’s the ultimate tool to track visits, page views, bounce rate, average visit duration and referrers. It also allows to track advanced parameters such as your site’s demographic and interest for advertising purposes.
- MailChimp. This is one of the leader in email marketing tools. I’m using MailChimp to design my email newsletters and to build a list of subscribers, which is a brilliant way to generate loyal readers. Very easy to use and with a great web interface, it’s really powerful. You get to have fantastic email templates, incredible analytics, a robust workflow process and it’s also free (up to 2000 subscribers). If you’re starting to get a lot of subscribers (as in > 2000) you might want to check out Convertkit which is a lot more powerful, automation-oriented, visually stunning and with a nice starting price. I’m currently trying it and it’s definitely awesome!
- Pretty Link Lite. This is a really cool plugin to transform, shrink and track *ugly* links to customize them into pretty links. It comes in handy when you have many different affiliate links and when you want to track them easily. For example I do recommend X-Theme as one of the best premium theme for WordPress. My normal affiliate link for X-Theme is https://themeforest.net/item/x-the-theme/5871901?ref=financeforgeek, but with pretty link lite I get to have a nice and clean URL: financeforgeek.com/go/x-theme.
- Social Warfare. One of the best social sharing plugin for WordPress at the moment. I tried many different social plugins before using this one here, but this one features everything you would expect from a nice and clean social plugin! It features visually stunning social share buttons, click-to-tweet functionality and it is fully responsive. If you want to have true professional sharing features, this is by far the best plugin to look for.
- UpdraftPlus. It’s a backup plugin which allows you to create complete backup of your website and stores it on the cloud or you can download it to your computer. You get to have scheduled backups and store them to your chosen location. As expected, you should be planning on taking backups of your website and this plugin automates this process and makes it really smooth at the same time.
- W3 Total Cache. This powerful plugin is one of the best and fastest way to optimize a website. It’s a caching plugin designed to improve page speed and user experience by caching certain elements of your website that don’t change a lot so that subsequent loading times get reduced. This is quite an advanced plugin and you should definitively be following a guide to configure it as it can get difficult sometimes.
- Yoast SEO. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process to affect the visibility of a website in search engines. It’s a top-notch tool for optimizing your website and making sure you’re bringing in a lot of organic search traffic to your website. Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin of all time, designed to improve WordPress core features so you can use it without having to be worried about being on the edge of best practices regarding SEO.
This is a list of plugins that I consider useful if not *required* in order to have a solid foundation to starting a blog!
If you want to search for and install these plugins or other ones, just go to the “Plugins” tab within your WordPress admin panel.
5. Create content & grow your site
Before diving into the last part, which is to create content and grow your site, here are a few tips regarding the next steps after setting up your website, installing an awesome theme and some required plugins:
- To add and create a new post, click “Posts” on the left-hand side when you are logged in your admin panel. If you want to add a page, simply click on “Page” instead.
- To add and change widgets in your sidebar and footer, you can go to “Appearance,” then “Widgets”.
- If you want to add an image, click on “Media” on the left-hand side of your admin panel.
- Before starting writing posts, you should at least create pages such as “About” and “Contact” and you can add other pages later.
To be successful, one extremely important step is to spend most of your *blogging* time writing and posting high quality content, particularly when you are first getting started. This is important but also the hardest part as you have to get into a creative mindset and keep writing and publishing even when you don’t feel like it!
Don’t Forget Social Media!
In order to grow your blog you HAVE to be on social media, and more specifically Pinterest. At first I was manually pinning my own pins and some that I found useful and interesting, but it took me way too much time. I’ve been putting off using a Pin scheduler, but then I found BoardBooster and it literally changed my approach and greatly improved my pageviews here.
Since using BoardBooster, I’ve seen my organic traffic explode! I’ve nearly quadrupled my traffic from Pinterest since I started using it and I definitely recommend you give BoardBooster a try.
If you want to be successful you should be posting on a recurring basis and there are a few tips to get you started:
- Your posts should be answering specific questions in your niche and you should give your point of view. Readers like useful posts and long posts tend to engage a lot more readers than short articles.
- Plan to spend some times on your headlines, as they are key to get people clicking on your posts. That does not mean to be doing “click-bait” post type where your headline does not really relate to your content with headlines falsely misleading.
- In order to grow your blog try to comment on larger blogs in your niche. If you happen to comment in well-known places that’s one of the first good ways to get people to come back to your website.
- Finally, you should be guest posting on larger blogs in your niche to enhance your traffic and create an audience. But in the first place, you should know where and who you will be guest posting for, so try and get to know the blog and its author for at least a couple months before asking for a guest post.
Here are some blogging-related posts you should take a look at after you’ve learned the basics of starting a blog:
This wraps up my detailed guide on how to start a blog on Bluehost. Now is your turn to create quality content with your unique story! There are definitely people out there which you can relate to and connect with. And as with a lot of stuff Internet-related, the sky is really the limit in terms of what you can achieve by starting a blog. Maybe you’ll find yourselves making new friends of maybe you’ll find new work opportunities and you can even make money blogging as many bloggers already do!
If you’re still reading, it must be that you liked what you read! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this detailed post. I can’t wait to see what will become of your future blog! One last time, don’t forget to take the chance to start blogging and get your own Bluehost blog and free domain. Feel free to get in touch if you get stuck in any step.
Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas regarding my post, and feel free to share and comment below this post!
Have you already started a blog with Bluehost? Do you plan on doing so?