This post will help guide you through the technical process of setting up your own self-hosted WordPress blog or website.
My goal is to not only help you get everything set up quickly and easily, but also to help save you time, frustration and money!
In addition to all of that, this post will also help you with the basics of choosing a WordPress theme, choosing a niche, adding pages, adding a contact form, adding categories and, of course, creating a blog post.
MY BLOGGING STORY
At the end of 2012, I quit my 9-5 job as a graphic designer to start my own design and marketing company (this one). However, a few months into entrepreneurship, I realized running a business was a lot tougher than I imagined; I didn't know how to get clients, I didn't know how to price my services and my savings account was quickly draining away.
So in June of 2014, I started a personal blog as a sort of "self therapy" outlet to help me work through the ups and downs of my personal entrepreneurial journey. I knew that writing had always been a good creative outlet for me and so I figured if I had a place where I could vent and write everything out, maybe it could help me process everything better.
Looking back, I've realized blogging was the best thing I could have ever done for myself!
Blogging has helped me:
- Organize and process a lot of my thoughts, which, in turn, has helped me work through a lot of my own personal struggles
- Feel like I'm in more control of my life
- Practice my online marketing, writing and SEO skills
- Bring more passive income, more time freedom, less stress and more happiness!
- Create a truly flexible lifestyle, as I can work from anywhere and make my own schedule
If you'd like to read more about my story, check out my personal blog, Tara Tierney.
My goal is to take my knowledge and experience and use it to help other women create their own brand and grow their own blogs or businesses online. If this is something you're interested in learning more about, this post should help get you started!
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED
Domain Name - The named address for your location on the internet (www.yoursitename.com).
Hosting - The service that allows your website to be viewed on the Internet. A web host simply provides space on it's server, so that other computers around the world can access your website through a network or modem.
WordPress - A free, yet powerful, web publishing platform you can use to create your own website or blog.
I AM GOING TO HELP YOU GET SET UP WITH A SELF-HOSTED WORDPRESS SITE USING BLUEHOST AS YOUR DOMAIN AND HOSTING PROVIDER.
A self-hosted WordPress site is best if you want full control over your blog without limitations. This is the platform I have always used and I highly recommend starting with it right from the beginning as this allows your blog to grow with you. If you use a different platform, you could run into "a wall" and have to switch later, so if you don't want to deal with the potential hassle of all of that, set yourself up right from the beginning!
Disclaimer: This post uses affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on each sign up, at no additional cost to you. I only promote products I personally recommend! Thank you for your support!
SET UP YOUR DOMAIN NAME + HOSTING
Click here to head over to Bluehost and then click on the green "get started now" button.
SELECT YOUR PLAN
I would start with the basic plan for $3.95 a month as you can always upgrade later if needed.
CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Your domain name is going to be something you're going to be using for a while, so choose something you love that reflects you and your brand/business. I recommend something that is easy to spell, doesn't include hyphens and isn't too long. Also, I would recommend using a domain that ends in ".com"
For more ideas, check out these tips for choosing a domain name.
CREATE YOUR ACCOUNT
Fill in your name, address, phone, email, etc.
CONFIRM YOUR PACKAGE
Choose your account plan:
12-Month Plan: $5.45 x 12 = $65.40
24-Month Plan: $4.95 x 24 = $118.80
36-Month Plan: $3.95 x 36 = $142.20
60-Month Plan: $3.95 x 60 = $237.00
I recommend getting the Domain Privacy Protection for .99 extra a month to keep your personal information private.
If you'd like to read more information about this, check out Bluehost WHOIS Domain Privacy.
Fill in your credit card info and check off the "confirm" box at the bottom. Then hit submit!
You should see this screen with a few extra offers. You can skip these for now and hit "No Thanks" at the bottom.
WELCOME TO BLUEHOST
You're now part of the Bluehost family! Yay! Click "Create your Password" to continue.
CREATE YOUR PASSWORD
Enter the password you'd like to use and then hit "Next."
Click "Log in" to get to your hosting account login area.
Log in to your account using your domain or username and your password.
Scroll down to "Website" and click "Install WordPress."
Click the green "Get Started" button to install WordPress.
SELECT YOUR DOMAIN
Select the domain you registered for installation and then click "next."
FINISH SETTING UP YOUR WORDPRESS ACCOUNT
This is what you'll need to log in to WordPress.
Fill in your site name or title, your admin username (this can be a username or an email address) and your admin password. Check off the 3 boxes at the bottom left and then click "Install."
WAIT FOR WORDPRESS TO INSTALL
Give it a minute to install.
You'll see this page when installation is complete!
LOG IN TO WORDPRESS
Log in to your WordPress site by going to http://YOURDOMAIN.com//wp-admin (bookmark this link for yourself so you can sign in quickly in the future.)
You should see this login area; fill in your username or email and your password and then click "Log In."
Once you're logged in, you'll see your WordPress dashboard. Click the "Business" or "Personal" button if you need help setting up your site.
Take some time to browse around the dashboard and familiarize yourself with all the customization options.
The sidebar on the left of your dashboard contains everything you need to build and customize your site:
- The "Appearance" section is where you can find new WordPress themes, customize your colors, add content to your sidebar, and more.
- The "Plugins" section is where you can find special add-ons and features.
CHOOSING A WORDPRESS THEME
You can choose a free theme (limited customization options) by going to "Appearance" > "Themes" > "Add New" and then choosing one of your liking.
To install it on your blog, click "Install" and then "Activate."
You can then go to your WordPress dashboard and click on "Appearance" > "Customize" and then play around with the colors, styles and features.
If you'd like more customization options, a premium theme might be a better choice for you.
Here are my top 3 resources for premium WordPress themes:
Restored 316 - Feminine WordPress themes specifically made for female entrepreneurs.
aThemes - Clean, well-structured WordPress themes.
In the sidebar on the left of the WordPress dashboard, click on "Page" > "Add New" to create a new page.
I would suggest creating an About page, a Contact page, a Blog page and maybe a Services page if you are offering services.
Your About page should include a nice photo of yourself with a bit about who you are and what your blog is about.
Your Contact page should include a form for people to contact you with. I recommend using the Formidable Forms plugin because it's easy to use (drag and drop!) You can download the plugin for FREE by going to your sidebar and clicking on "Plugins" > "Add New" > type in "Formidable Forms" in the search field (top right) > Click "Install" > "Activate." The plugin should be added to your sidebar where you can create your own form and get a shortcode you can copy and paste into your Contact page.
CHOOSING YOUR NICHE
What are you going to write about?
You can literally write about whatever you want, but if you really want to grow traffic and monetize your blog, I would suggest finding a subject you can focus on. Writing about things you are truly passionate about or have experience with will be more likely to keep you interested in blogging for a long time rather than writing about what’s in right now (unless that's your niche!)
Once you've done that, choose 3-6 categories to break up your niche.
Let's take this site as an example; my niche is helping women create magic online.
My categories include:
WRITE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST
To write your first blog post, click on "Posts" and then click "Add New." Create a title, write your article and then click publish! BOOM! You are now a blogger!
NEED ADDITIONAL HELP?
If you need any further recommendations, check out my Blog + Biz Resources page!
If you need helping installing premium themes, customizing the look of your site, designing a logo, adding SEO, or doing anything else that's creative or tech-related, feel free to get in touch with me!
Questions? Comments? Feel free to add a comment below!