Building a WordPress blog from scratch can be pretty daunting.
Where do you begin, and how can you be 100% sure you’re doing it right?
Well in this post we’ll make a WordPress website aka start a blog (a website and a blog are the same thing when you start at WordPress, it’s your theme that decides what your site becomes but we’ll get to that later!) to perfection at Bluehost.
It’s an incredibly easy way to start a blog and our readers have been requesting a Bluehost WordPress tutorial for months now so the timing seemed just right.
So let’s begin… I can’t wait to introduce you to this fun, exciting process!
Disclosure: This guide contains a Bluehost deal to create a WordPress blog with a free domain name and 50% off web hosting. The discount is only applied on the first term and the free domain only applies to the first year. If a user clicks through our Bluehost links and signs up we will receive a commission. We review countless web hosts each year and feel Bluehost is the best bet for you to get setup quickly and inexpensively (plus they are recommended by WordPress themselves!) in this beginner WordPress tutorial. Learn more.
What Tools Do You Need?
I thought I’d provide a pie chart to begin to solidify our choice to go WordPress (mmm pie). A WordPress blog and a WordPress website both start the exact same way – by installing WordPress.org, which we’ll do easily below.
To create a WordPress blog today you just need the following:
- Domain name – your website’s name aka it’s address on the web (like google.com)
- Web hosting – your website’s space aka the plot of land where it lives (we’ll get both domain and hosting at Bluehost today)
- A place for free help if you get stuck. *cough cough points to his computer* That’s right here 🙂
- And, you need a little push.
That’s all you need.
For me, the push to make a WordPress blog was needing to make rent in NYC 2010. Kinda a hard push, more of a shove actually. That sure makes you learn how to make $100 from Adsense fast.
For you, the push might be same as mine, or wanting to have more freedom from work, or to share your expertise, or maybe get sponsored by companies for your writing because why not?! If you’re reading this page, I bet you’re pretty good!
I asked some of my blogging friends what one “thing” made them start a blog:
Freedom Greg! I wrote and published my first post nearly a decade ago because freedom overcame fear. Fun overcame fear, too. I felt blogging could be a fun, freeing way to express myself and to help people.
— Ryan Biddulph (@RyanBiddulph) January 21, 2019
The good new is, you can do it too, and because we help thousands of readers start a blog each month, you’re certainly not alone!
Hear from bloggers who came before you!
You can do it too.
You just need to make a small commitment to actually create a blog, right here super easily like the pros do, then invest a little time to learn WordPress (no coding required) then you’re on your way.
Here’s how to do it!
The first step to create a WP blog will be to pick that domain name you always wanted to register…
Step 1: Pick Your Favorite Domain Name
Fact: There is a 99% chance the domain name you always wanted to register will already be picked. It’s unfortunate, BUT this can be a blessing in disguise because most of us don’t think long term when we want to buy our first domain.
For example the first domain I wanted to register was thoughtsofayoungeconomist.com
Not smart. What happens when you get old? Also way too long to remember.
My best friend / musician / blogger bought timmytalent.com, then his PR agency decided that was too childish and made him change it. Kinda rough for him, he had to create a WordPress blog twice!
Domain name best guidelines!
As per the above couple stories (and so many more I’ve heard) you want to follow a few general guidelines when picking a domain name:
- Think for the long term
- Be professional
- Shorter is always better
- Two word combos are GREAT! Think “You+Tube, Net+Flix, Car+Soup, I’m sure you can think of more” and all are multi-million dollar brands thanks in part to a sound domain name strategy.
Picture this scenario at a blog convention…
Your friends drag you out to a concert. Randomly at the after party you meet this famous blogger you’ve watched or read. What an opportunity!
You two jive ideas and hit it up. The famous bloggers opens their phone and says:
Famous blogger: “So, what’s your domain name again?”
You: “Um, it’s forever-young-yolo-cat-lover-the-number-1999”
In the time is would take you to say that domain name you could lose that famous blogger’s attention forever. So keep it short and sweet!
Price of a domain name explained
Once you settle on a perfect domain name, you should know that the annual cost of a domain name is roughly $15/yr. That’s roughly what you’ll pay at GoDaddy (though coupons exist, like when you buy for 2 yrs upfront).
For most new bloggers, that $15 is actually a lot.
Fortunately, the web host we have hand selected for this tutorial, Bluehost, will give a domain name absolutely scotch FREE for 1 year.
This takes some of the pressure of starting a blog.
Bluehost is one of the web hosts I use myself, they make it easy to setup a WordPress blog, and are also the #1 recommended host by WordPress themselves.
Let’s move forward!
Step 2: Choose a Web Host
There are thousands of web hosts out there who want your business. Researching them can really throw a wrench in the whole create a WordPress blog thing.
You could even host it yourself.
But turning your computer into a web host is generally only meant for the Bill Gateses and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world. And when you shut off your computer the blog would go down.
So most bloggers including probably nearly 100% of the popular blogs you and I read have chosen instead to get an affordable web host, like Bluehost, to take care of the techie stuff for them.
What is the point of web hosting?
Let’s address a common question right now: What even is web hosting? By definition it is virtual space… Web hosting is the space where your blog lives. Just like you need a plot of land to build a house, you need web hosting to build a website or blog.
(and if web hosting is the land where you build, your domain name is like the address of your house).
Web hosting gives you WordPress install tools, tons of features like backups and security, and also sets you apart from others who don’t have it. It puts you on a level playing field with Mashable, Forbes, Beyonce and so many other blogs powered by WordPress, such as…
Price of web hosting explained
As mentioned above, a domain name typically costs $15/yr. Web hosting can run you up to $10/month.
For most new bloggers, that’s a lot.
Fortunately, along with the free domain name, Bluehost has agreed to give DearBlogger readers an exclusive 50% off discount, so the hosting costs basically nothing (and the domain is free).
Based in Provo, Utah, Bluehost has been in the hosting industry over 10 years, has servers in UK, Brazil, Singapore, India and more, and is known for tailored WordPress packages.
Their friendly support staff is always turned on too, you can contact them 24/7/365. They come with a 45 day money back guarantee as well.
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with Bluehost.
It’s actually an amazing feeling when you get web hosting and install WordPress because you’re like “Whoa, I can do that? I can do anything!”
Alternative option. What about a 100% free option?
The alternative (which I don’t recommend) if you want to cut some corners persay is using WordPress.com for free or maybe Tumblr or Blogger. The reasons I don’t recommend free web hosting providers like these is:
- You don’t get your own unique domain name. Instead, you get a .wordpress.com domain name which is bad for branding as per our example above, bad for SEO and hard to communicate with others.
- You can’t earn income through advertising. Aka you can’t post Adsense ads for free from Google. You also can’t add plugins, edit the code and do other basic tasks you’ll surely want to do eventually.
Putting all your work on a free blog host means giving up a ton of control and limiting what you can do. This can lead to some big regret, and may require you to migrate WordPress.com to WordPress.org or Blogger to WordPress later on. For these 2 simple reasons above, I and so many other bloggers recommend you create a WordPress.org blog from the get go.
These days it’s really cheap, easy, and you get all the tools to become a success like the other blogs we all probably read. And, Bluehost makes it all about as difficult as setting up Gmail..
That all said, let’s see how to create a WordPress blog from start to finish.
Step 3: Time to Finally Create a Blog!
So, you have your perfect domain name in mind (we’ll register it in one second, or if you already did, that’s fine too as there’s a step for that included here).
You understand web hosting (and if you don’t, that’s fine, we didn’t really get it until we made our first blog so it’s okay if you’re still in the dark).
MOST IMPORTANTLY, you know now that Bluehost offers new users a free domain and $3.95/mo web hosting.
So the last thing we need to do is just make the blog already … let’s do and see how to get this deal.
Settle in for about 30 minutes and we can do this.
Bluehost WordPress Guide – THE VIDEO
This video explains how to get a free domain and the best possible discount off hosting at Bluehost, then install WordPress with ease and login to your new blog.
Note: If you don’t like the video or can’t wait, the full written steps are below.
Bluehost WordPress Guide – THE WRITTEN STEPS
Here we go with our Bluehost WordPress guide written steps with all the screenshots you’ll need.
The first step is to visit www.Bluehost.com and click the green Get Started button.
You could also click “WordPress” in the menu, but this takes you to a more expensive, deluxe WordPress package. We want the cheapest option.
Once you click “Get Started” you’ll be taken to this screen with you can select your plan:
The basic and plus plans are the best value, so I’d go with one of those two. The main difference is the Plus Plan lets you run multiple websites while basic is just one. They both now come with a free SSL too, which is a huge upgrade over most other web hosts, and you can upgrade for more features at any time.
I just like the Basic Plan the most because it’s the most affordable – you’ll be a millionaire blogger someday but for now, if you’re like I was, even coffee feels expensive.
So choose your plan and you’ll then be taken to the domain screen:
Enter in a new domain name on the left (which you get for free) or pop in a domain you already bought on the right. Only fill in one of these boxes.
If you want to use another domain name from GoDaddy, Namecheap or elsewhere which you have already purchased ahead of time, we will connect it to your hosting after you get Bluehost hosting, so go ahead and proceed to just get hosting now if that’s your scenario.
Just click next and you’ll be taken to the account information screen.
Pop in your info, which Bluehost will keep 100% secure.
Then, scroll down to package information and select how long you’d like hosting for.
Here’s what to keep in mind: The basic 12 month price is $5.95/mo, however you can lower the price to $3.95 by registering more months up front.
When I first got hosting I signed up for 12 months, so this 12 Month Account Plan feels pretty good.
However as you can probably see the 36mo price is the best deal available. Basically for 12 months you are getting 33% off, however for 36 months you are getting 50% off!
If you want to keep your website up forever, it’s a good move to grab the 36mo plan. For example I’ve had my sites up for nearly 10 years now (making more than enough income thru ads and partnerships to cover the cost of hosting, btw!)
Once you’ve chosen your discounted plan, go ahead and feel free to uncheck the package extras. Bluehost can add them for you later on if you’d like.
Next, just complete your payment information, then scroll down, check the box, and click the green Submit button to submit payment and complete your domain and hosting registration:
Pretty neat, huh? It’s amazing to me that for basically the cost of a lunch you can have a real WordPress website like all the pros and get on their level!
Bluehost will then setup your account for you. All the hard stuff is done!
I’ll still walk you thru all the screens you’ll see on your way to getting your own copy of WordPress because I know it can still be a little nerve racking your first time.
On the next page, you’ll see a Welcome to Bluehost message. Congratulations!
Click on Create Your Password:
Go ahead and enter a secure password a couple times (don’t need a screen for that) then click Next.
Okay now click log in. This will take you inside the Bluehost dashboard, to the pick a theme screen.
For our Bluehost 2019 Tutorial which you’ll find below, we used OceanWP theme. It’s a very basic theme and works perfectly with Elementor page builder.
However, some themes will guide you through how to setup a blog a little more.
My personal favorites you won’t find on this screen at Simple Catch and Laurel. Check these out. The best move now, given you should probably research themes a bit more so you’re actually happy with it long term, is to just click Skip This Step at the bottom.
Bluehost will think for a moment, then show you this check mark screen. Click Start Building.
You’ll be taken to your WordPress dashboard for the first time! You’ve arrived, Welcome to WordPress!
Click on “I don’t need any help” as we don’t want WordPress to setup everything for you and guess what you want. I’ll show you how to create three different, equally amazing types of blogs + websites below in just a moment.
Once you click “I don’t need any help” you can then click Launch to get rid of your coming soon page.
I personally like getting rid of the coming soon page so my friends can view the blog from anywhere and give me their best friend test opinions.
But if you’re nervous about your boss seeing it before it’s done or something, you can keep that page up and don’t have to click Launch.
But I’d click Launch if I were you – it’ll convince you to actually start building cool stuff so people don’t show up and ask “what am I looking at?” 🙂
Your blog is now all yours! You have your own copy of WordPress.org just like Jay-Z, Tech Crunch, Mashable, Pinch of Yum, Star Wars Blog and more. Go ahead can create a WordPress blog however you want!
Time to see you free in the wonderful world of WordPress 🙂
Well if you want to run free, go ahead.
However, we have about a bagillion video tutorials that help new bloggers and website owners each day, with a huge community you can engage at any time as you create a WordPress blog so you’re never really alone.
Just hit that YouTube button in the upper right of the blog and you can find any WordPress video your heart desires.
Step 4) How to Setup Google Adsense Advertising
The first step is to create a WordPress blog, as Google will check to see if you have a real website before accepting you. You must also be 18 years of age, and in some cases have to verify additional information like location and bank info.
Step 5) JOIN IN: Let us know how it goes!
WordPress rarely works 100% of the time. When you build a WordPress blog maybe 60% of the time it works.
But it’s often not WordPress’s fault. We just need to use good ol trial and error to figure out our own way for the best way to do something.
Then, once you master WordPress, you have gained a skill that will open doors and some nice moola in terms of blogging and even web design. The sky’s the limit.
We’re here to help you create a WordPress blog and do anything else you might want to do! Join the DearBlogger community for two free eBooks with answers to common FAQ.
Also, get used to engaging others by just posting a simple comment here with a little love. Taking little steps to get going is what it’s all about! Talk to you soon!