Have you been thinking about starting your own blog? Look no further.
In this post I’m going to show you how to set up a blog with Bluehost.
Just like most things, the hardest part is getting started.
Are you thinking that you might need to be a computer scientist in order to start a website?
Well there is good news… That’s not true!
With WordPress you can quickly and easily set up your blog, manage and create posts, adjust your theme, and much more.
Bluehost only makes this even easier with 1-click installation to make life really easy for those afraid to get started.
The hardest part is taking the first step… but I’m about to make that as easy as possible for you.
You’ll Learn How To:
- Set up your domain name and install WordPress
- Install a theme
- Install plugins
- Set up a child theme (don’t worry, I’ll explain what that is further down)
- Schedule website backups
- Secure your WordPress website
- Set up email capture
- Publish your first post!
Here are the Resources you’ll need:
BlueHost w/ Free Domain Registration – Start your blog and install WordPress with 1 click
MyThemeShop – Get access to premium themes and support
Thrive Leads – Capture visitor emails effectively from the start
Let’s get started!
1. Set up your domain name and install WordPress
Click the BlueHost link for your domain and web hosting.
*About hosting services* BlueHost provides a web hosting service for your website. Every site has a hosting service and it’s where all your website’s data is stored.
I recommend the plus plan because it offers unlimited websites. Although you may only be looking to create one website now, you may find yourself starting to build “niche” sites to create income in the not too distant future.
In my opinion, you are better off starting with the Plus plan right off the bat.
Once you’ve selected your plan, enter your blog’s domain name in the New Domain box and hit next.
Then you’ll need to create your account.
There are three sections to this page.
Section One: Account Information
In this section you’ll need to enter your basic information. Nothing advanced going on here.
Section Two: Choose Your Services
The package I chose was the one shown below.
Choose Privacy Protection if you’d like to keep your domain information private. It’s an extra $12 per year but I prefer paying the $12 over people having access to my information.
Section Three: Payment Information
Enter your payment information
Check the box at the bottom regarding terms of service
Then, click Submit
Once you’ve completed this step you have taken a major step toward starting your blog. Let’s keep it going!
Create a password for BlueHost
Create a password for your BlueHost account so you can login.
Login to BlueHost and Install WordPress
Go to the BlueHost homepage by clicking here or the clicking the BlueHost icon in the top left of the BlueHost page. The icon looks like this.
Once there, login to BlueHost with the credentials you created.
After you’ve signed in you will be taken to your homepage where you’ll see a whole bunch of colorful icons. Don’t be intimidated by this.
Scroll down to the Website section (4th from the top) and find the icon called Install WordPress.
Then, click to Install.
It may take a minute or two to download.
After the download completes you will be given a set of credentials. You can change your password later but make a copy of that super complicated one they gave you so you can login.
Login to WordPress
Head to wordpress.com/wp-admin and enter your credentials and login.
Welcome to WordPress. You officially have a website!
This is where you will manage your site. The main bar to left is where most of your navigation will stem from. This the WordPress Panel.
2. Install a theme
Time to give your website its own theme.
A theme is a downloaded template that helps give your website an overall look and arrangement.
Some themes are made to accomplish different goals. There are magazine themes, blog themes, corporate themes, foodie themes, etc. They all look different.
You want to find a theme that you think will represent you as well as help you accomplish your goals. For many, me included, this took a long time. (3 weeks or so)
I recommend starting with a free theme to get a feel for what is possible with customization… that way when it is time to shop for a premium theme you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect.
Want to save yourself some hair pulling and jump into a dynamic and more customizable theme right away?
Go to MyThemeShop. They have a bunch of cool themes and it’s where I found the theme for this blog. They’ve been great so far.
For this example I am going to use a free theme called Catch Box.
Hover over the word Appearance in the WordPress Panel
Then, click Themes
Once there, click the Add New Theme button.
Type Catch Box into the search bar to find the theme
Then, click Install
If you’d like to browse other free themes you can do that with the featured, popular, latest, and favorites tabs next to the search bar.
Once it has finished installing hit Activate
You have just added your own theme.
3. Install plugins
A plugin is like an enhancement to your theme. There are different plugins that achieve different goals. These include items such as pop-ups, social icons, popular post widgets, etc.
We are going to create a child theme in the next step so let’s download a child theme plugin to show you the ropes and kill two birds with one stone.
A child theme is a sub-theme to your main theme (parent theme). Over time, updates are made to your parent theme automatically to ensure your website stays secure.
The downside of an update is that if you are not using a child theme, when an update occurs all of your formatting gets reset.
A child theme ensures that even when your theme gets updates, the look of your website does not change. Important!
Go to the Plugins option on WordPress Panel and click Add New
When browsing for a plugin try to find one that has a lot of active installs. This usually means that the plugin has been vetted and it’s safe to use.
In the plugins search bar type Child Theme Configurator
As you can see it has 100,000+ installs and a 5-star rating so we’re good.
Click the Install Now button
Then, click Activate
It’s that simple to add a plugin to your WordPress site.
To manage your plugins simply go to the Plugins option from the WordPress Panel and click on Installed Plugins
4. Set up a child theme
Now that you’ve learned how to install plugins and have already downloaded the Child Theme Configurator, let’s set up your child theme.
You may not know it yet, but you’ll enjoy the stress free feeling of knowing you can’t permanently break your parent theme in the future.
Go to the Tools section on the WordPress Panel
Then, click the option for Child Themes
You should now see the below screen.
Don’t worry about creating a backup right now (as shown in the blue text next to the blue-circled number 2) because you are just getting started and there is nothing to back up.
Select the radio button to CREATE a new Child Theme
Select the Catch Box theme
Once you’ve clicked Analyze a bunch of other options will display and it will tell you if your “theme appears to be OK to use as a Child Theme”
Leave the default options picked unless you know what you’re doing. It is best to leave your child theme name in a similar format as the one shown above so your files stay organized ([parent theme name] – child theme)
Scroll to the bottom and click “Create New Child Theme”
Once you’ve created your child theme, go to Appearance —> Themes from the WordPress Panel.
Find your Child Theme (the icon will look identical except for the name)
Then, click Activate
You now have your child theme set up.
5. Schedule website backups
There are a lot of reasons why websites crash – users enter faulty code, hosting platforms accidentally delete data (I’ve never seen this), hackers, etc.
If any of these things happen it’s important that you have a backup copy of your data.
This step will allow you to back up your site automatically so that you won’t have to worry if any of the above blunders and disasters happen.
Go to Plugins —> Add New from the WordPress Panel, just as before.
In the Plugin Search Bar enter BackWPup
Once again, with over 500,000+ active installs we are good.
Click on Install
Then, Activate (in the below image I have already activated it)
On the WordPress Panel you will now see BackWPup
From the WordPress Panel go to BackWPup—> Add New Job
You will be taken to the screen below:
Scroll down a little bit to the section called destination
Choose where you would like your backup to be stored
At the bottom, click Save Changes
I happen to like DropBox and already had the app installed on my computer when I started this blog. That’s the reason I store my files there.
Choose somewhere you trust to have your website data stored. If you can, store your data in multiple locations.
Will you remember to manually back up your website?
Just in case you forget, let’s automate your backups so you don’t have to worry about it.
Click over to the Schedule tab 0n the BackWPup homepage
Select the “with WordPress cron” button
Scroll down and select the scheduling details you prefer.
I chose daily because I typically make adjustments to my site daily.
If you think you’ll only be making minor tweaks weekly then maybe weekly works best for you.
Check the radio button of your choice, pick the time (military time)
Then, click Save Changes
Now you need to tell the plugin where to save your backup.
Click over to the “To: [Your Location]” tab
For DropBox this is pretty straightforward so I imagine other locations would be as well. If you come across any issues just let me know and I will do what I can to help out.
Once you’ve finalized your location, click Save Changes
6. Secure your WordPress website
We are at the last plugin! You’re so close.
Navigate over to the Add New Plugins page and search for Wordfence
Guess what? You now have a backed up, secure, themed website!
7. Set up email capture
Capturing the emails of your visitors allows you to stay in touch with them and build a relationship.
You can reach out to them, provide quality content, and invite them back to your site.
There are many free plugins designed for basic email capture however after a month or so you’ll soon find that these plugins won’t be capable of doing what you want them to… and they won’t look good either.
Some don’t seem to fit your theme, the color is not adjustable, or you can only place sign-up forms in one location.
For this blog I use Thrive Leads for capturing emails. What I like is that you don’t have to pay for additional features. Everyone gets access to EVERYTHING.
AND. It’s affordable. I love this about them.
How would you feel if you payed $50 for a plugin and then found out later that it costs an additional $25 to get a feature you want? Awful.
You don’t have to worry about that with them.
I don’t want to waste your time setting up one of the free plugins.
8. Write your first post!
After taking the time to create your website from the very beginning, maybe you’re burnt out… Maybe not! Here’s how to add your first post.
Head over to the Posts section of the WordPress Panel and click Add New
Title your post whatever you’d like.
Click on Save Draft or Publish when you finish writing your blog post to save it.
Drafts cannot be seen by the public but once a post is “published” it becomes visible on your website.
That’s how to start a blog with Bluehost!
You are now all set up to start blogging.
When you start your blog leave a link in the comments so I can go check it out!
Talk to you later. -Kyle
The Resources used in this post:
BlueHost – With Free Domain Registration – Start your blog and install WordPress with one click
MyThemeShop – Get access to premium themes and support.
Thrive Leads – Capture visitor emails effectively from the start!