This is a step-by-step guide to start a WordPress blog. It’s simple and non-technical.
Once you’ve completed the 5 easy steps, your WordPress blog will be finished!
You’ll be ready to start blogging!
5 Easy Steps to Start a WordPress Blog:
- Create your Blog
- Choose a Design for your Blog
- Setup your Blog
- Install Plugins
- Start Blogging!
Create your Blog
In this step we’re going to create your blog!
WordPress blogs are self-hosted. To create your blog you’ll need to get cheap hosting and a domain name. I’ll you how to get a domain name for FREE.
Choosing the right host for your blog is the most important element to set your blog up for success.
I’ve tried a number of hosting companies:
HostGator was almost impossible to reach support, once I was on hold for 2 hours. When I wanted to cancel it they required me to call 3 separate numbers to cancel different elements of the hosting service. GoDaddy had too many network outages and sold my information to web developers who wouldn’t stop calling me. iPage made my blog so slow I cancelled my agreement the next day.
I recommend Bluehost for hosting your blog.
Bluehost is also recommended by WordPress.org:
Bluehost is the most well-known host in the blogging community.
I like Bluehost because:
|1. Low Price||Bluehost is CHEAP! Prices start at only $3.95 per month|
|2. Money-Back Guarantee||BlueHost doesn’t lock you into a contract- you can cancel anytime and get a refund|
|3. Unlimited Bandwidth||Good for blogs with lots of traffic|
|3. Reliable||Nearly a 100% uptime rate|
|4. Easy Setup||Simple 1-click WordPress installation|
|5. Fast-loading pages||Readers won’t leave your blog because it’s slow|
|6. Free Email Addresses||Free email addresses (email@example.com)|
|7. 24/7 Customer Support||and talk to a human being!|
|8. Worldwide||Anyone in the world can use Bluehost for their blog|
Bluehost has a simple 1-click WordPress installation.
With Bluehost it takes less than 10 minutes to create your WordPress blog.
I’ll walk you through each step…
STEP 1: Go to Bluehost.
STEP 2: Click the green ‘Get Started’ button
STEP 3: Select a Hosting Plan
Click on the green ‘Select’ button, under the package that best suits your needs:
Which Bluehost Plan?
|Basic||I recommend the Basic plan for new bloggers. You get 50GB of storage space, which is enough to start; 5 personal email addresses, each with 100 MB of space; and the bandwidth is unmetered, which is good for blogs with lots of traffic. You can start blogging cheaply with the Basic plan and see how it goes.|
|Plus||I use this plan because I have multiple blogs. Plus is good option if are you going to upload a lot of pictures or videos to your blog, if need unlimited email space, or you intend to create multiple blogs. However, it’s easy to upgrade to the ‘Plus’ plan anytime and just pay the difference.|
|Prime||Choose this option if you plan on customizing CSS code in the back-end of WordPress (most people don’t customize CSS code). The SiteBackup Pro option allows you to easily roll-back your code if you make an error. This is a good plan if you intend on customizing CSS code, otherwise I don’t recommend this plan.|
STEP 4: Get your FREE Domain
If you used my Bluehost link, you’ll also get a free domain to get started (a $15 value) which makes starting a blog very affordable.
1). Enter the Name of your Blog.
-Try to avoid using numbers and hyphens in your domain name – they are difficult to remember.
2). Select the domain extension of your choice (.com etc.)
-I recommend choosing a .com extension, if available, it’s the easiest for readers to remember.
3). Click ‘Next’.
STEP 5: Enter your Account Information
Fill in your name, address and email address:
STEP 6: Fill in your Package Information
These are the options I recommend for anyone creating a blog:
1). If you’re a new blogger, I recommend starting with the 12 month plan. It’s a little more per month, but I recommend it because the overall cost is cheaper and $5.45/month is still extremely affordable. The fees are paid upfront – but remember, you can cancel any time for a refund.
2). Check – Domain Privacy Protection (and uncheck – Site Backup Pro & SiteLock Security).
Domain Privacy Protection is optional and costs 0.99/month.
Domain Privacy Protection keeps your personal information protected. If you don’t select this option, you’ll be publicly recorded as the owner your domain name. Your home address, phone number and personal email will become public information. These details be easily be found when doing a Google search- it’s a good idea to protect your privacy!
STEP 7: Enter your Payment Information
1). Fill in your payment information
2). Read and check the box
3). Click ‘Submit’
You’ll be asked if you want to add any upgrades. These aren’t necessary so just hit ‘no thanks’.
STEP 8: Enter a Bluehost Password
Click the blue ‘Create your Password’ button:
On the next screen, enter a password.
This will be your Bluehost login password.
1). Type your password
2). Re-type your password
Keep a note of your password.
3). Read and check the box
4). Click ‘Submit’
It takes a few minutes for your account to be created. You’ll see this screen:
You’ll get a confirmation message when your account and password have been created.
STEP 9: Install WordPress
Click ‘log in’:
WordPress will start installing automatically!
You’ll see this screen:
STEP 10: Login to WordPress
Next, login to WordPress:
1). Make sure your domain is shown correctly. Otherwise select the correct domain from the menu.
2). Click ‘Login to WordPress‘
You’ll see your WordPress dashboard:
You’ve set up hosting, got a domain and installed WordPress!
Your WordPress Dashboard
The WordPress Dashboard is the back end of your blog.
Bloggers use WordPress to manage their blog and publish blog posts. WordPress is like a blogging editor and it’s completely free.
Here you can make edits and write blog posts.
The first time you see the WordPress dashboard it will seem daunting. Once you’ve become familiar with the WordPress dashboard, you’ll find it easy to use.
WordPress is the most popular choice for blogs and millions of bloggers use WordPress everyday – you’ll pick it up fast!
**If you’ve purchased Bluehost using my link, and got stuck at any point, please email me. I will help you resolve any issues. You can also use the ‘live chat’ feature on the Bluehost website. Bluehost support staff are available 24/7.**
STEP 12: Check Your Blog is Live
Bluehost automatically creates a ‘Coming Soon’ page for your blog. This is so other people can’t see your blog while your setting it up.
However, because you’re currently logged into WordPress, you’ll be able to see if your blog is live.
Open up a new tab, and type your domain name into the address box. (e.g. http://yourdomainname.com)
Your blog will look like this:
What you see right now is just the shell of your blog. In the next section of this guide we’re going to set up your blog and make it pretty!
Take a Note of your WordPress Login
Bluehost automatically logged you into WordPress.
However, you’ll need to know how to login to WordPress next time you come back:
Open the email you received from Bluehost:
1. This is your WordPress Admin link – Click this link to login to your WordPress dashboard:
2. Enter this Admin User name
3. Enter this Admin Password
You’ll be logged into WordPress!
In the next section of this guide, we’re going to choose a design for your blog!
Step 2: Choose a Design for your Blog
Let’s choose a design for your blog. We’ll do this by installing a WordPress theme.
A WordPress theme is like a design template. It controls the fonts, layout and colors of your blog.
A free WordPress theme will already be installed on your blog. It’s basic, but it’s usable. I like my blogs to look unique, so I install a new theme.
Installing a new theme will not delete any posts, pages, or content- so you can change your theme at any time.
You have two options for themes.
You can either choose a:
- Free theme – great if you’re on a budget. Create a blog and see if you enjoy it.
- Premium theme – better coded and the designs are much nicer.
I’ll walk you through each option:
Option 1: Install a New Free WordPress Theme
WordPress has thousands of free themes. They are pre-installed in your WordPress dashboard and will fit any blogging niche.
Many free themes are well-designed. However, some themes are old, unresponsive, poorly coded or ugly.
I’ll show you how to find a free theme that will give you the best chance of success.
How to Install a Free WordPress Theme:
Step 1: Search for a Free Theme
In your WordPress dashboard, go to -> Appearance -> Themes -> Add New
Step 2: Filter by ‘Blog’
1. Click ‘Feature Filter’
2. Check ‘Blog’
3. Click ‘Apply Filters’
Step 3: Filter by ‘Responsive’
Type in ‘responsive’ in the top-right search bar.
A responsive theme is the most important element because it ensures your blog will be coded for all devices, including mobile, tablets and desktop.
A responsive theme also increases the likelihood the theme is more up-to-date, and the quality of coding is higher.
Step 4: Compare Themes you Like
Click on ‘Details + Preview’ to view the preview version of themes you like:
Look for a theme which has:
- A high star rating
- ‘SEO optimized’, ‘SEO friendly’ (or similar) in the theme description:
Step 5: Install and Activate
Once you’ve found a theme you like, click ‘Install’:
Then click ‘Activate’:
Your new theme will be live.
Help Setting up a Free WordPress Theme
Each theme has a different setup process. Therefore there’s generally a lack of help and setup information for free themes. I’ve sometimes found it difficult to setup a free theme like the preview version.
If you’re struggling to make a free theme look like the preview version, read my article on Setting up a Free WordPress Theme like the preview.
Option 2: Install a Premium WordPress Theme
I use Genesis themes for my blogs.
I think Genesis themes are better than free WordPress themes.
Choosing a Genesis theme will save you time scrolling through thousands of free themes.
Advantages of using a Genesis WordPress Theme (versus a Free Theme):
- Better looking designs
- SEO friendly and responsive
- Coded using HTML5, the latest coding standard
- Easy-to-follow instructions to setup your theme
- Support staff will personally answer your questions for free if you’re not able to setup your theme like their demo
- Actively managed, helpful support forums
- Easy setup instructions provided, often with screenshots and videos
If you’re interested in installing a Genesis theme for your blog, see my article on Genesis Themes.
Here you’ll find my recommendations on where to buy Genesis themes, with easy instructions on how to install it.
Once you’ve found a theme you like, follow the developer’s instructions to install it on your site.
Whether you’ve chosen a free theme or a Genesis theme, there are common steps to setup your blog – which I will show you in the next section!
Step 3: Setup your Blog
Follow these steps to setup your WordPress blog:
1. Create a Homepage
The homepage is one of the most visited blog pages. There are two types of homepage to choose from:
- ‘Your Latest Posts’ – displays your latest posts in chronological order
- ‘A Static Page’
A static homepage is the most popular choice for modern bloggers.
To Set a Static Homepage: Click ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Customize’ -> ‘Static Front Page’ -> ‘A Static Page’
Your homepage has only one goal – direct readers to your most important pages. It should do no more than that.
Your blog’s homepage should have a clear and simple format. It shouldn’t have a long scrolling page.
Make it visually compelling and professional.
2. Choose a URL Prefix
Decide if you want to add ‘www.’ to your URL. In other words, do you want your URL to look like this:
clicksandbucks.com (WordPress default)
or like this:
This choice is purely personal preference. The only difference is how your blog looks in search results.
For example Facebook has www. in their URL, while Twitter does not:
I personally prefer having www. in my URL, so I change my URL in WordPress.
If you want to add www. to your URL:
1). Click ‘Settings’
2). Click ‘General’
3). Add www. to your URL (Do not delete ‘https://’)
4). Add www. to your URL (Do not delete ‘https://’)
3. Add your Blog Title & Tagline
Your blog’s Site Title is visible in search results, so make sure it’s correct:
Change your Blog’s Site Title & Tagline: Click ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Customize’ -> ‘Site Identity’ -> Enter your blog’s Title and Tagline
1). Site Title: The name of your blog
2). Tagline: What your blog is about – include your main keywords for search engine optimization (SEO).
4. Change Permalink Settings
Your permalink (URL) structure helps search engines understand what your blog posts are about.
By default, WordPress uses a numbering structure: e.g. https://www.clicksandbucks.com/?p=123.
However Google and other search engines find it more helpful to read words, not numbers.
Change your Permalink Settings: Click ‘Settings’ -> ‘Permalinks’ -> select ‘Post name’ -> Save
This will change your permalink structure from numbers to words.
5. Create an ‘About’ Page
The ‘About’ page is another highly visited page. Readers are interested in the person behind a blog.
Your ‘About’ page should tell your readers:
- Who you are
- Why you created your blog
- Whom your blog is meant for
- What your readers will find on your blog
- Social media links – so your readers can connect with you
To create New Pages: Click ‘Pages’ -> ‘Add New’.
Include a Photo of Yourself on your ‘About’ Page. This create a human connection.
To add a Photo: Click: ‘Media’ -> ‘Add New’ -> ‘Drop Files’ or ‘Select File’ -> select a picture from your desktop.
6. Create a ‘Contact’ Page
Include a ‘Contact’ page so readers can contact you to ask you questions. This helps build your community in the blogging world. You’ll find the blogging world very friendly!
Invite readers to contact you through a contact form, email, social media, or ask them to leave a comment in a post, so you can reply to them in-line.
I use a plugin called ‘Contact Form 7’ for my contact form. (We’ll learn more about plugins on the next page).
7. Create the Navigation Menu
Create some pages before you setup your navigation menu so you have something to work with. You can add some dummy pages for now and delete them later.
To Create a Navigation Menu: Click ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Menus’ -> ‘Create a New Menu’ -> name the menu: ‘Primary Menu’ -> ‘Create Menu’
Select the pages you want to add to your menu, and click ‘Add to Menu’.
Drag and drop the pages into the required position.
You can also create drop-down menus by offsetting a page slightly to the right underneath another page:
8. Add Footers
To add Footers: Click -> ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Widgets’
Drag and drop widgets from ‘Available Widgets’ into the Footer widget areas (Footer 1, Footer 2 etc).
You can also add widgets to the ‘Top Bar Left’ and ‘Top Bar Right’ widget areas (all developers name their widget areas differently).
9. Include a Photo of yourself in the Sidebar
Include a photo of yourself on the top of your primary sidebar.
To do this I use a plugin called ‘Image Widget’. (We’ll learn more about plugins on the next page).
Download the ‘Image Widget’ plugin (see next page for instructions).
Click -> ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Widgets’. Then drag and drop the ‘Image Widget’ from ‘Available Widgets’ into the Primary Sidebar widget area:
Click -> ‘Select an Image’
Step 4: Install Plugins
WordPress plugins are programs that can be installed on your blog to add more functions & features.
I will show you:
- How to install WordPress plugins
- A list of WordPress plugins I recommend installing on your blog – they are all free.
How to Install WordPress Plugins
STEP 1. Add Plugin
1. Click ‘Plugins’
2. Click ‘Add New’
STEP 2. Search and Install
1. Enter the name of the plugin in the search box and click enter
2. Click ‘Install Now’
STEP 3. Activate Plugin
Your plugin will now be live.
STEP 4. Configure Settings
Configure the plugin by clicking on the name of the plugin in the WordPress dashboard and edit it’s settings.
Recommended WordPress Plugins
There is a plugin available for almost any type of feature you can think of – and most are free.
I use and recommend the following plugins – they are all free.
|Useful for:||Plugin Name:|
|Website under construction||Maintenance||During the initial set up of your blog, put an ‘under construction’ sign or ‘coming soon’ sign up. This plugin will prevent people from seeing your half-finished blog. When your blogs ready for visitors, deactivate and delete this plugin.|
|Website Security||iThemes Security||iThemes Security helps prevent hackers from breaking into your site. iThemes Security is robust, simple to set up and has a lot of security options, including changing the URL for your admin login.|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||Yoast SEO||This plugin will help make your blog search engine friendly. SEO is very important for bloggers and this plugin created by Yoast makes it easy. Once installed, you’ll be able to edit a number of very important SEO features, including Title Tag and Meta Description. This plugin also indexes your blog with Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Search engines will also automatically be notified when you create new blog posts.|
|Contact Form||Contact Form 7||This is a simple contact form to add to your Contact page. Visitors can send you a message without leaving your blog or knowing your email address.|
|Formatting||Shortcodes Ultimate||I love this plugin! I use it all over my blog sites to create buttons, tabs and boxes. It has every shortcode you can think of. Turn a basic theme into a professional looking theme in just a few clicks!|
|Blog Comment Spam||Askimet||I use the base comment system built into WordPress. It serves all the functions I need and it’s faster than the top third-party comment systems. Couple it with Askimet, a well-known tool for preventing spam comments in your blog’s comment section and you’ll be set all set.|
|Social Share Buttons||Simple Share Buttons Adder||Add Social Share Buttons for your readers to easily share your posts on their social media. You are able to place ocial buttons of your choice in various locations on your blog. Readers simply have to click the share button – and tada – free publicity!|
|Related Posts||Contextual Related Posts||This plugin gives you the ability to automatically show the reader similar posts and pages, which they also might like. Like a ‘You Also Might Enjoy:’ format with featured images of the posts. This helps keep readers on your blog, and decreases the chance they will leave your page.|
|Sidebar Picture||Image Widget||This plugin makes it easy to add your picture to the top of your blog’s sidebar. You can also add a blog title and description underneath your picture.|
|Website Speed||W3 Total Cache||This plugin will speed up your blog, making your pages load faster. People have a tendency to click the back button when a website loads too slow and Google ranks slower websites lower in search rankings. This plugin will give your blog a noticeable increase in speed.|
|Build an Email List||MailChimp for WordPress||Collecting email addresses is important for growing your readership. I recommend using this plugin to encourage readers to sign up for newsletters. I have had a lot of success with MailChimp for WordPress.|
|Favicon||Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator||A favicon is an icon that is shown at the top of browser tabs (next to the page name). The icon is usually a logo and some bloggers use a picture of their face as their favicon. Some WordPress themes have this functionality already built in, making it easy to upload your favicon within the Theme. Otherwise you can use this plugin.|
Recommended Affliate Marketing WordPress Plugins
|Useful for:||Plugin Name:|
|Shorten Affiliate Marketing URLs||Pretty Links||Affiliate marketing URLs are typically long and ugly. This plugin shrinks the URL and renames it into a personalized link. Use these links on your blog and anywhere on the internet.|
Install the plugins you think will be helpful.
Some Tips on Plugins
- Only Install Essential Plugins – The more plugins you have installed, the slower your blog will load. When you stop using a plugin, delete it.
- Investigate Plugins – Be careful which Plugins you install. Plugins are created by third-party developers. Some are poorly coded and will slow down your blog. Before you install a plugin, check it’s reviews first. Underneath the ‘Install’ button you’ll see a link to ‘More Details’. Here you’ll be able to see the plugin’s star rating and read reviews.
- Check Compatibility – Check to see if the plugin is compatible with your version WordPress. You might have to update your version of WordPress before installing the plugin.
- Update your Plugins – Keep you plugins updated to the latest versions. This is very quick to do and helps prevent hackers from gaining access to your blog.
Well done for making it this far!
Step 5: Start Blogging!
You’ve set up a self-hosted WordPress blog! You’re ready to start blogging!
Here are 4 quick tips to get you started:
1. Be You
Don’t write what you think people want to hear. Be you.
Be positive and respectful but write what you really mean. People will enjoy your blog if you let your personality shine through.
2. Write High Quality Content
Publishing great content on a fairly frequent basis is the key to building your blog.
Don’t feel like you have to publish a post every day, but try to post frequently, at least once a week and preferably every 2-3 days.
Quality is far more important than quantity. Don’t waste your time writing thousands of pages of useless information no one will read.
3. Keep Writing
Many bloggers start writing, get discouraged and soon stop. Be the person who outlasts other bloggers.
The more you write and the longer you write for, the better the chances your blog will succeed. Commit to your blog and keep thinking of fresh ideas for blog posts – your readership will grow exponentially.
4. Promote your Blog
Connect with other Bloggers at the same stage as you. Leave useful, helpful and respectful comments on blog sites that interest you.
Connect and interact with other bloggers through social media. Build a blogging community and you’ll enjoy blogging a lot more.
Most importantly, enjoy your blogging journey!
Thank you for using Clicks and Bucks to create your blog!
Please Share this Guide!
If you’ve found this guide useful, please share it!
Forward to a friend who might enjoy blogging
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Again, congratulations! You can now legitimately call yourself a ‘blogger’!
Wishing you the Greatest Blogging Success!
Questions & Comments
If you used my link to Bluehost and have any problems starting your blog, please contact me, or leave a comment below.
My plan is keep this guide continually up-to-date with the latest information.
Your questions will help me improve this guide to starting a blog.
Feel free to leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!