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How To Start A Blog on WordPress

Every week, I get at least a couple email questions about how to start a blog on WordPress, so I thought it would be helpful to create a whole page with all the tips and nitty gritty details you need for starting your own blog, all in one place. If you’ve already started a blog and are looking for some tips, check out my Tips for New Bloggers” page instead!

Just a note that some of the links below are affiliate links – I wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t believe in, so thanks for your support!

how to start a blog

Original Photo taken by Ben Powell Photography

1) Choose a Blog Name & Purchase the Domain

This is seriously the hardest part of starting a new blog – coming up with a name! It took me days (weeks?! months?!) of agonizing before I finally decided on fANNEtastic food.

Once you have decided on a blog name, you’ll want to purchase your domain name, e.g. www.YourBlogName.com. There are a lot of websites that you can use to buy your domain (and host your blog – that’s coming up next!) but I recommend Bluehost because it’s cheap and easy.

But what about hosting directly through WordPress.com?

WordPress is an awesome and easy to use online-based blogging software. I blog through them, but I don’t host my site through them. You can host your blog for free through WordPress.com, but that means your URL will have “.wordpress.com” at the end of it instead of being a pretty stand-alone URL (unless you pay for your own domain through them). Fun fact: for the first month of life of fANNEtastic food, it was actually located over at www.fANNEtasticfood.wordpress.com. The site is still up if you want to see my very early blog beginnings (and less than stellar photography skills)!

Obviously there are some pros to hosting through WordPress (it’s free if you don’t buy your domain!), but there are a lot of cons, too, especially if you’re looking to grow your blog. For example, if you host for free through WordPress.com, you can’t use plugins (and plugins are awesome… more on those on my next page – Tips for New Bloggers), you don’t get as much control over your site, you can’t use custom themes (you have to choose from the ones that WordPress.com offers), WordPress.com will host push ads on your site (unless you pay a fee to take them off), and you’re also not allowed to host your own advertising on your site from third party vendors, use affiliate links (like with Amazon.com), or do sponsored/paid posts with brands. I know some of these things might not matter when you start your blog, but they will if you stick with it! I’d really recommend saving yourself the trouble of transferring everything later and just going ahead and buying your own domain and hosting package with Bluehost up front right when you start your blog. It was such a pain to switch it all over a couple months of content into the journey!

So – head over to Bluehost and click on “Sign Up Now” on their homepage to see if your domain name is available. A page will come up with this box, where you can enter your desired webpage address to see if it’s available.

domain_name

If it’s available, buy it! If it’s not, Bluehost will offer some alternatives for you to choose from.

Once you have your domain name set, you’ll also need to host your domain name, which is basically like renting space on the internet ever month so you can display your blog. Bluehost has really cheap monthly hosting rates and you’ll also get your domain name registration included for free if you decide to host with them! I used them as my host for about 2 years and I was a fan. I only switched to a more specialized host when my blog traffic became too much for their shared server to handle.

Here’s a screenshot of the package information screen. I’d recommend purchasing the optional Domain Whois Privacy – this will shield your personal information (like your home address and phone number) from being displayed to the public.

bluehost_package_options

2) Setting Up Your Blog Through WordPress

Once you’ve completed registration with Bluehost, you will need to install WordPress so you can use it to publish your posts! Blogger is another option that many people use but having used both options before, I’d recommend WordPress. It’s easier to use and has better options, as far as I’m concerned!

Here’s how to get yourself set up on WordPress:

  • Login to Bluehost and scroll down to the Software/Services section of the first page. Click on WordPress logo.
  • On the next page click on “Install a brand new version.”
  • A page with installation preferences will come up. Under “where would you like WordPress installed?”, the left box should have your new domain name (e.g. http://www.YourBlogName.com) – leave the right box blank.
  • Click complete. If you get a warning message, click “Overwrite Existing Files.”

Next, you should get a message that your installation was completed! Write down your Login URL (which will be www.YourBlogName/wp-admin), username, and password.

Type your Login URL into your web browser. You’ll see a login screen like the one below. Enter your Username and Password you copied down from the previous step.

wordpress_login

3) Customize Your Blog and Start Writing!

Now, for the fun part – the content and making it all look pretty!

First things first – you need to pick your theme. A theme is a name for the layout/visual properties of your blog, and you can customize the themes based on your preferences (e.g. two columns, three columns, color schemes, a header image, etc.).

Theme Options:

  • WordPress has tons of free themes to pick from – click here to check them out!

If you’re looking for a premium theme (which means you’ll have more ability to edit the theme based on your preferences), check out these:

  • Nimbus Themes – if you’re a food/recipe blogger, their food blog theme is GORGEOUS. Highly recommend! Great tech support, too.
  • The Genesis Theme – This is the theme I use! Basic and somewhat easy to customize (like the header/navigation bar), but colors/layout are hard to change without html knowledge.

Now that your blog is up and running, want some tips for making blogging easier, staying motivated, and increasing your traffic? Check out my page on “Tips for New Bloggers.” I also share some of my favorite plugins and some ethical tips for new bloggers.

I hope you found this page helpful! If you have just started a new blog, please give me a hello on Twitter or Facebook to let me know! I’d love to check it out. :) And please let me know if you have any other questions!

Good luck and most of all – have fun!

Comments

  1. 1
    Courtney says:

    I totally just pinned your baked apple cinnamon oat bars from your old blog! LOL! So, don’t close it down! :-)

  2. 3

    Thanks for the tips! This post was quite timely for me. I am finishing up my MBA and wanted to re-start a science blog that I began a few years back. I never really knew what I was doing with it or where to start so this helps a lot!

  3. 4

    Hi there! I was wondering something as I was reading this post. I use WordPress and bought my domain from THEM for 18.00 per year. I am new to the blogging (only 3 weeks or so!)world and wonder if I should have gone through BlueHost right from the get-go? (I do not have .wordpress in my URL). Could you shed a little light on this for me?

    • 5

      If you don’t have .wordpress in your URL, you must have purchased a hosting package with someone? There are lots of places you can sign up for your domain and hosting – it’s up to you! I recommend BlueHost but that’s just because that’s what I used for a couple years so I know it. :)

  4. 10

    I’ve been blogging for awhile now, but am just about to start a redesign with a lot more customization of my site so this is really helpful! Thanks for posting on it!!

  5. 11

    This is so wonderful, Anne! Thank you for taking the time to put these instructions and helpful tips together! One question, I am finally ready to make the switch to becoming self-hosted (I don’t know why it’s taken me this long..) and was wondering if you thin it’d be better to hire someone to transfer all my old content? I’ve been blogging for almost a year now (time sure flies by!) and have over 100 posts. And as you know, I’m not tech-saavy at all! But then there’s the cost…

    • 12

      Anytime I’ve switched hosts I’ve had someone else do it for me! Ryan at WPSiteCare.com is amazing and his prices are reasonable. Worth the peace of mind, as far as I’m concerned! Tell Ryan I sent you if you go to him! Good luck :)

  6. 13

    Anne, I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this info. I’ve been running my blog through wordpress for 6 months and finally you gave me the motivation to make the switch. It took all weekend (I wish I’d done it from the start!) but it’s finally up and running. I’ve been following your blog forever and appreciate you taking the time to put this together. You’re the best!!

  7. 15

    I, too, have found this to be SO helpful! It seems easy, and then once you dive into it, it’s anything but easy!! The step-by-step guide really helped, Anne. I made the switch, and still have a lot to learn, but it’s coming along, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed. : )

  8. 17

    this is so confusing!! im trying to switch over my blog now and i dont see the domain whois privacy option you mentioned above..any ideas?

    • 18

      That’s weird… maybe they changed their options recently to have that option later on in the process? I would just keep going and finish the process, then if you still didn’t see it once you’re done, give them a call to clarify. Also, let me know if I need to update this page! Good luck!

  9. 19

    Thank you Anne. You’ve given me the inspiration along with instructions to become a blogger.

  10. 20

    AHH! I wish I had read this almost 2 years ago! I didn’t know about going through bluehost. Hmm, there are so many things you can do, but I just haven’t made any bigger leaps yet. Some day.

  11. 21
    Claire Annette says:

    Hi Anne,
    I was looking for ma recipe for chicken and white bean chile and found yours (tonight’s dinner). I then looked at your great blog. Thanks for posting your tips on blogging. I am in the process of starting a blog so I really appreciate your generosity.

  12. 22

    Hi Anne,
    I just started my blog with WordPress.com about 2 weeks ago. I just now realized that it doesn’t have plugins, and other useful stuff (the technical part is soo confusing to me). I’ve read your post on “how to start a blog”, and seems like I did everything wrong. So what do you think I should do now? I really appreciate your time, and hope you could help.

    • 23

      To have plugins you need to be self hosted (not hosted through WordPress). I’m not sure how to switch it all – I’d contact Bluehost and ask them. I’m sorry!

  13. 24

    Thank you! I pretty much used this tutorial exactly to set up the blog my friend and I are writing about our adventures marathon training.

  14. 26

    Anne, thank you for the blogging tips! The step by step on Bluehost and WordPress was particularly helpful for someone like me who is not very tech savvy! You got me through some rough days in establishing my blog!

  15. 27

    Hey anne! I’ve also looked into setting up with weebly, have you heard/do you know anything about them?

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