For all of you who already have established blogs, you may need to skip today’s post.
I mentioned yesterday that I switched hosting companies from Go Daddy to Bluehost. Since my blog has gone from Blogger to free WordPress to self-hosted WordPress and now to a different hosting platform, I thought it would be a good idea to lay out the path I wish I would have taken when I started. For anyone who has been contemplating starting their own blog but has hesitated at taking the plunge, hopefully this walk through will assuage any fears you may have.
Before you start a blog, REALLY take some time to think about where you may want to take it. When I started Erin’s Inside Job (formerly An Inside Job), there was something inside of me that knew I wanted to someday pursue goals that would require me to have more creative freedom than a free blog would offer me. Starting off on a self-hosted platform is one of the 5 things that I wish I had done differently when I started this blog.
If you have even the smallest desire to maintain creative control over your content and have the freedom to grow your site as you desire, then you HAVE to self-host your blog. It sounds more complicated than it is, but it takes less than 5 minutes and is a much smarter decision than migrating from one platform to another, then another, then changing hosting companies. THAT’S when things get messy.
1. Select Hosting Package and Domain Name
A blog requires two things: a domain name and a hosting provider. The domain name is the url that people type in to go to your site (e.g., www.erinsinsidejob.com).
A hosting provider is a company that hosts your site. In basic terms, your site and all its information reside on their servers. It’s your site’s home. I originally bought my domain name through Go Daddy, so I just went ahead and signed up for their hosting as well. I experienced a couple issues with Go Daddy, so when it came time for me to renew my hosting this month, I decided to change.
Currently, I am using Bluehost as my hosting provider for a couple reasons:
- They are recommended by WordPress
- They are less expensive than Go Daddy
- They have an amazing reputation from other bloggers
- Customer service is top notch
- I like their design better (not necessarily a practical reason but important to me)
Disclaimer: Any Bluehost links in this post are affiliate links. This means that I do earn a commission if you sign up using the links on this site. This is at no additional cost to you and if you decide to start your own awesome blog by clicking on these links just know that YOU ROCK and thank you for your support!
When you sign up with Bluehost with their discounted rate, you are also given a free domain name. This means that you don’t have to purchase one separately from your hosting which could run you up to $15. It’s all rolled into one!
Note: Until Aug 7th you will have access to a higher discount by signing up using the links provided on this site. Bluehost is just awesome like that.
The first step in signing up with Bluehost is to choose your hosting package. The starter package is more than enough to get started.
After selecting which tier you want, it’s time to choose your domain.
Type the domain name you want into the box labeled “new domain.” By clicking “next” you will be able to see if that domain name is available.
Tips to consider when selecting your domain name:
- Make your name relevant to what your content will be about
- Consider your first and last name
- Your name should be easy to remember–domains that are too long or too complicated can be harder to market and for people to remember when in conversation with you
You can even use the box below to check for available domains without even leaving this site:
2. Enter Account Info
After choosing an available domain name, you will have to enter your account information.
3. Choose your package information
The next step is to choose which plan you are interested in and any add-ons that might be beneficial for you. I only paid for the hosting and unchecked the other boxes.
There are three pricing levels within the starter package. You have the option of signing up for 1, 2, or 3 years, with the lowest cost to you being the 3 year (36 month) option.
4. Enter Your Billing Information
5. Installing WordPress
After you have received payment confirmation for your hosting plan, you will be taken to the cpanel of Bluehost (see below). Find the icon that says “Install WordPress” under the Website Builders heading (red circle).
You will be given the option to install it yourself or pay up to $399 to have someone else do it for you (DON’T DO THIS). SAVE YOUR MONEY! You are more than capable of setting this up on your own. Seriously, you’re almost done.
Choose to install it yourself and you will see the following screen. Select “Install.”
Select your domain name and then choose “advanced options” to bring up the following prompts. Fill in your blog name, username, and password. This is the information that you will be using to log in to WordPress daily in order to post and maintain the back end of your blog. Once that information is entered, select “Install Now.”
6. That’s It!
Your screen will tell you when the installation is complete and you will then be able to log in to WordPress using the username and password that you selected in the previous step. Anytime that you need to log in to WordPress, go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin/. It may be helpful to bookmark that site for the future. Congrats!
Take some time to familiarize yourself with the WordPress dashboard. There are videos you can watch as well as walkthroughs to help you make your blog your own. WordPress has a large library of free themes available for download to use with your site. They can be found here. Also be sure to check out the EXPANSIVE amount of information available on the internet if you have any questions that aren’t answered by WordPress itself.
One final note: it is easier to set up a self-hosted blog through Bluehost than it is to actually start blogging. Once your site is live, jump right in! If you are having trouble coming up with where to start, take a look at my post of 25 blog post topics to help you save time.
Thanks so much for reading and if anything wasn’t clear or I can help in any way, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.