In this simple, step by step guide you will learn how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost in 2020, even if you’re a beginner and have never done this before.
You don’t need any previous web design experience, you certainly don’t need any expert programming experience and you definitely don’t need to pay anyone anything to do it for you (I will even setup your blog for you for FREE if you want).
Even if you have ZERO experience right now, you can use this simple guide to start your very own blog on your own domain & server in the next 10 minutes.
Starting a blog from scratch and growing it all on your own can be daunting at first, especially if you are a beginner. But it’s far easier than you think, with my help.
No matter whether you want to:
- Build authority in your market
- Sell more products/services
- Document your personal journey
- Make passive income on the side
By the time you reach the end of this simple step-by-step tutorial, you will have launched your very first live WordPress blog online and published your very first blog post.
Before we move on, I just want to first let you know that…
- I’m NOT a professional blogger who has generated millions
- I DON’T have any web design skills and don’t need any
- I’m NOT a ninja programmer who can code in my sleep
- I’m certainly NOT an expert at marketing, SEO or social
Yet (with my lack of tech skills) I’ve still managed to start and grow simple blogs that generate passive income online in my spare time (while working night shifts as a truck driver), all you need to do is follow this simple formula and you can too.
I have also built hundreds of WordPress websites for myself and for small business owners across the globe over the last decade, as WordPress is so simple to use.
You don’t need super powers to start a blog, all you need is the desire to get the ball rolling and learn some basics, plus some level of interest in your blog topic, as most of the setup process can be done for you which you will learn later on.
To put this into perspective, If I can learn how to start a WordPress blog, ANYONE can do this, which means EVERYONE who follows this guide can too, including YOU! So even if you have a full-time job and 2 kids like me, there’s no excuse.
So let’s get started.
Pick Your Blog Topic
Before you even think about starting your WordPress blog, you need to make sure that your not going to be the only one reading it, as some blog topics are more popular than others.
The more people that are interested in a specific topic, the more opportunities you will have to not only attract a decent amount of readers, but also have a better chance of making money from it (IF that’s what you want to work towards).
You would not get very far blogging about underwater basket weaving, as not many people do that or spend much money on it.
Where as if you focus on a topic related to health, wealth, love or happiness then you are going to find there is a massive amount of people who are searching for solutions to specific problems in thousands of sub-topics.
It’s a good idea to blog about something you have some level of interest in or experience with, but if there’s not much activity in that topic online, then it’s not entirely necessary to do that.
I have created successful blogs in the past based on topics I have ZERO experience in at all and simply had other professional writers create the content for it as I knew nothing about it, all because the topic was extremely popular and profitable.
If you cannot find a popular topic you are interested in or have experience with then you can still learn how to start a blog and can hire affordable writers to create optimised content based on keyword research that we will cover later in this guide.
The more focused you are with your topic selection, the easier it will be for you to find success with it, although the more focused you get, the smaller your potential audience will become, so you need to find a good balance.
It’s also safe to say that the more interested you are in the topic, the easier it will be for you to stick with it, as it can take at least a few months before you start gaining some traction within search results, which is completely normal.
When I pick a blog topic I never go too broad, but I also don’t go too narrow on the topic to make sure there is plenty of sub-topics to work with when creating content.
Research Potential Blog Topics
Here’s a list of ideas you can use to research potential blog topics, so you know the topic you choose has legs and is worth starting a WordPress blog about.
If you can find a few online communities such as Forums, Facebook Groups and Subreddits that have several thousand members then there is a good chance that your topic is popular enough.
A good selection of different products on shopping sites like Amazon and eBay that have hundreds of positive reviews is a good indication that people are spending money in your topic.
If you can find a ton of freelancers on popular freelance directories and companies who offer services related to your topic then that is also a good indication that your topic has a healthy audience of buyers.
Search online for blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels that are related to your topic. If you don’t have a hard time finding any then that’s a great indication that you have an opportunity in your chosen topic.
It’s not necessary to cover ALL 4 of the above areas before you decide on your blog topic, but if you can cover at least a couple then that will be enough proof that it’s worth focusing on.
It really does not have to be any more complicated than that.
Free VS Paid Blog Hosting
When you first start a WordPress blog, you may be tempted to search for free blog hosting and that’s how a lot of people start as they don’t know the issues this can cause.
However, if you decide to skimp on your blogging venture by joining a free WordPress blog hosting platform, then you drastically limit your functionality and put the future success of your blog at risk.
The one thing you must keep in mind is that you NEED 100% control and ownership of your blog, so you are free to customise, develop and monetise your blog in any way you decide, WITHOUT limitations set by free blog hosting sites.
Free WordPress Blog Hosting Issues
With free WordPress blog hosting sites, you have the following problems.
#1: You will have limited theme options chosen by the platform and may not be allowed to upload your own theme, when there are thousands of premium themes.
#2: You will not be able to add extra functionality to your blog such as that provided by WordPress plugins such as SEO improvements, analytics and newsletters.
#3: You will have limitations on how you can monetise your blog such as been unable to sell advertisements to private advertisers making it harder for you to create a passive income.
#4: You will have platform branding (logos, links or both) and a sub-domain on the platform which you don’t own and makes it harder for readers to take you seriously.
#5: You are governed by their strict content guidelines and can lead to your blog been completely deleted without notice if you break rules or get spammed.
Why Use WordPress For Your Blog?
WordPress is my platform of choice and is the most popular blogging platform, although there are 2 different sides to WordPress which are WordPress.com (they host with limitations) and WordPress.org (you host WITHOUT limitations).
If you decide to choose WordPress as your CMS (content management system) like I have, then it’s free anyway, although I strongly recommend you host the software on your own server, giving you 100% control over design, content and functionality
Don’t get too caught up or overthink which blogging software to use as you really cannot get any better than the WordPress CMS, it’s friendly for beginners and you can literally build anything you want WITHOUT web design or programming skills.
The best thing about WordPress is the fact that there is a global community of developers that have created tens of thousands of amazing premium themes and plugins that allow you to bring your ideas to life, there really is no limitations.
Here’s a few facts about WordPress:
- WordPress is free and open source
- WordPress is available in 68+ languages
- WordPress has more than 55,000 free plugins
- WordPress powers more than 34% of all websites
- 11,700+ premium WordPress themes on ThemeForest
- WordPress is utilised by Governments across the globe
- WordPress is used by thousands of schools & universities
- The Rolling Stones, Beyonce & James Bond use WordPress
- WordPress has more than 60% CMS Market Share (W3Techs)
I really do hope that by now you have all the facts you need to be convinced that the best way to start a blog is with a self-hosted WordPress blog, just like the website you are reading right now.
Brainstorm Domain Names
Your domain name is like the address to your house, without it no one will be able to find your home, this is the same for your blog. Without a domain name, no one will be able to find your blog and read it. A domain name is something you will need to start a blog that you own.
The name of your blog has to mean something to you, it has to represent the vision you have for your brand, the topic you decide to focus on and the specific audience you want to attract, but don’t spend too long dwelling on this as you must be constantly moving forward.
Besides all the above, you need to make sure the name you choose is available to register as your domain name, as this will be the web address people will visit online to read your blog.
When you setup the web hosting for your blog in the next step, you can register a FREE domain name, so it’s best to use the domain name generators below to simply brainstorm your blog name and to see if the domain is available to register right now.
You’re going to really enjoy this part of your blogging journey, as you now have the chance to get your creative juices flowing, to find the perfect name for your brand spanking new blog.
This part of the process used to drive me absolutely barmy as every time I thought of the perfect domain name, someone else has already beaten me to it and used to take me ages to find a domain name that was actually suitable and available.
That’s why I want to share few websites with you that will make your life easier and give you instant access to hundreds of domain name ideas for your blog that are available to register right now, so you don’t have to spend too much time on this.
Best Blog Domain Name Generators
Domain Wheel has an excellent algorithm that picks up related topics with creative suggestions: “sounds like”, “rhymes with”, random but related suggestions. You have the ability to select the domain name extensions that you want to include in the search.
Panabee is a simple way to search for domain names. In case the perfect name is already taken, you get a ton of suggestions inspired by your original ideas derived from phonemes, syllables, abbreviations, suffixes, prefixes, and popular domain trends.
Namelix will help you generate short, catchy names instantly. The more specific your keywords, the better the results and you can prioritise a shorter name, having a specific keyword or domain extension. You will surely find something worth using here.
NameMesh is known as the domain name generator for the perfectionist, so if you are looking for a ton of domain ideas that are currently available to register then this tool will spit out domains by the hundreds in categories such as short, fun & SEO.
By using the blog domain name generators above you can quickly find the perfect domain name without having to check the availability one by one and once you have found one, you can now get a free domain name on the next step.
Setup Bluehost WordPress Hosting
Think of web hosting as the land you would need to acquire if you were to build your own house. Without the land, you would have no where to build your home, the same goes for your blog – without web hosting you will be unable to build your blog.
With the web hosting for your blog, you will be renting a server (on a monthly or yearly basis) that is connected to the internet and this is where all your files will live online (WordPress software, images, text), allowing them to be found by search engines and your audience.
I recommend the WordPress web hosting provided by Bluehost, which offers you all the features you could ever need to start building your blog on a solid foundation and is a provider that’s been recommended by WordPress.org for more than a decade.
Overview of Bluehost’s WordPress Hosting
Upon creation of your WordPress Hosting plan, Bluehost automatically installs the latest and most secure version of WordPress. You simply login and start adding content.
Bluehost keep your WordPress Hosting plan secure even after account creation by keeping your account up to date everyday, improving the overall security of your blog.
Build with confidence using a WordPress staging environment. This helps you test any changes to your website before making it visible to search engines & your visitors.
FREE Domain Name
When you join any WordPress hosting plan, Bluehost will give you a FREE domain name registration for one year along with other freebies including advertising credits.
With the above features, you no longer have to worry about installing WordPress as Bluehost will do this automatically for you and will send you the login details for your WordPress admin panel once the installation is complete.
The Basic plan is designed to offer you the space to create one blog only and if you are a beginner, then this plan is ideal when you are just getting started to test the waters. To get the best price, you must commit to 36 months, although this is optional when you checkout.
There is always the option to upgrade your plan at a later stage if you feel the need to add more blogs or websites for yourself, family members, friends or clients as once people know you can build them, you will be cranking them out like a boss.
Bluehost WordPress Hosting Walk-Through
STEP 1: Head over to Bluehost.
You will first need to head on over to the correct page on Bluehost that lists the shared web hosting packages that are optimised specifically for those that want to start a blog or website using the WordPress content management system.
If you want to install WordPress yourself from within the Bluehost control panel then you can order standard shared web hosting on Bluehost, although this tutorial is for beginners and the WordPress hosting allows you to get WordPress installed for you, plus it costs the same.
This is the most quick and easy way to learn how to start a blog, even if you have ZERO experience and have never done this before.
If you click the “Choose Plan” button as shown on the image above, this will scroll you down to the 3 different plans available for the WordPress blog we are going to build in this guide.
STEP 2: Select your WordPress hosting plan.
The plans you will find are called “Basic” (ideal for hosting just 1 blog), the “Plus” plan (ideal for hosting unlimited blogs and websites) and “Choice Plus” (which offers additional features such as CodeGuard Basic Backup).
Once you have decided on the plan that’s best for you, simply click the green “Select” button as shown in the image above to move onto the next step.
STEP 3: Select blog domain name.
In the previous section we discussed how you can find suitable domain name ideas in bulk that are available to register, so you already know that the ones you are interested in are actually available to register right now.
Now it’s time to make your final decision and enter the domain name you want to register for your new blog. The domain registration comes free with any WordPress web hosting package you buy from Bluehost for the 1st year.
In the first box you see in the image above you would enter the domain name without the extension (.com,.net,.co), you then click the downward facing arrow on the box to the right to select your domain extension, now you can click the “next” button.
If you already have a domain name registered with another company then you would leave the first box empty and enter your existing domain within the box to the right with the title “I have a domain name”.
All you need to do if you are using an existing domain name is change the nameservers on your domain (within the control panel of your domain registrar) to the ones on Bluehost.
STEP 4: Create your hosting account.
The domain name you have decided on should be available to register as you have already researched available domains in the previous section of this tutorial and that will be confirmed by Bluehost on this step, as shown below.
As you are new to Bluehost, you will need to create your account as this information will be used for ownership of your domain name and your contact details will be required to send you invoices and welcome emails.
To make the creation of your account even easier, Bluehost offer a Google single sign-on feature that you can use to speed up this process by clicking on the “Sign in with Google” button as shown in the image above.
STEP 5: Hosting package info and extras.
The cost of your web hosting can be massively reduced if you commit to a longer term with Bluehost, with the cheapest requiring a term of 36 months which is reasonable if you are serious about building your blog.
At the time of updating this post, if you were to commit to 36 months, you can reduce the already discounted monthly fee by 40% from $4.95/month, down to just $2.95/month, so it’s worth thinking about the benefits of long term.
When you click the drop down selector on the account plan within the “package information” section, you can select a 12, 24 or 36 month hosting term and as mentioned previously, the longer you decide to commit, the more discount you will be rewarded with.
In the “package extras” section, you will find a selection of optional extras that you can order to improve your experience, although the only one that is really necessary in my opinion is the “Domain Privacy Protection”, so your personal information remains private online.
If you don’t add “Domain Privacy Protection”, then your full name, address, phone number and email will be made visible online, so anyone who searches your domain name on a website such as whois.net can access it, where as with this option, the details are replaced with information from Bluehost.
Other extras are simply bought based on your own personal preference, although most of what is on offer here, the same features can be achieved using the free WordPress plugins we will be installing later, which are related to improving SEO, Security and Backups.
STEP 6: Hosting agreement & payment.
To finish things off you simply enter your payment information, make sure the ticks are activated by clicking on the small boxes as shown in the image above to accept all agreements and then click the green “submit” button that you will find further down the page.
If you want a different method of payment, then you can click the “more payment options” link as shown in the image and this will give you a different options.
You would select the second box if you do not want Bluehost to send you emails related to additional special offers, new products or services, although if you leave this unchecked, you can revoke your consent anytime by the unsubscribe link in the emails Bluehost send you.
Bluehost WordPress Hosting Onboarding
Once your payment is complete, you will now be placed through a simple step-by-step on-boarding process from Bluehost, which will help you setup the most basic settings for your new account and your WordPress blog.
First up will come the confirmation that your payment was successful, the details of your purchase will be sent to the email address you entered when you completed the signup process earlier and your receipt will also be visible below.
To setup your new password that will be used to access the Bluehost portal, you can click on the green “set password” button as shown on the image above.
Double check that the domain name you registered is listed correctly within the “Domain Name” section at the top and then choose a suitable, hard to crack password that you are most likely to remember.
Bluehost require a password of at least 8 characters that must include both numbers and a special character, so keep that in mind when trying to create yours, as the green tick icons must be visible before you are allowed to continue.
That is pretty much all there is to do on the first stage of the Bluehost on-boarding process and once you have hit this point, you can click the blue “go to login” button to gain access to your new hosting account.
When you login to Bluehost, they will automatically select the hosting login option and enter the domain name you registered when you created your account, so all that leaves you to do is enter the new password you created earlier and click the blue “Log In” button to proceed.
You are now on the WordPress section of the Bluehost on-boarding process where you can setup the basic settings for the new blog you are starting in this tutorial.
First you can choose the name for your blog, which would usually be the domain name, then you add a tagline that will be visible in search engines (something that explains what your blog is about).
Click the selector that says “Do you want a blog?” and select that your blog displays blog posts on the homepage as shown in the image above (we can change all of these settings in future when required, so it’s not too important right now).
You are not creating an online store in this specific tutorial, so leave that selector unchecked and now you can click the blue “continue” button to move on.
So Bluehost can recommend the best plugins and extensions for your website, you will now see a simple quiz to give Bluehost a better idea of what you are trying to achieve with your new blog, so they can customize your experience.
As you are learning how to start a blog, the first option which is “share my ideas, photos, stories or videos” will more than likely be the best option and then choose how comfortable you are with creating websites.
On the last stage of the WordPress on-boarding process, you are given the option to choose from a selection of free WordPress themes that Bluehost think are suitable for your blog.
Although in this tutorial we can click the “skip this step” link as shown in the image above (unless you find something you really like and know how to edit it), as I will show you how to install and setup my favourite blogging theme (the one you are looking at right now).
Congratulations, you have now finished the process of registering your domain name, setting up web hosting and installing WordPress on your domain, I bet that was far easier than you thought, am I right?
To quickly move onto the next step in this tutorial, you can click the blue “WordPress” button on the top right of the Bluehost portal, as shown in the image to access your WordPress admin panel.
When you login to WordPress for the first time, it will look like the image shown above and is where you will manage every aspect of building your new blog including themes, plugins and content which we will cover later on.
Additional WordPress Hosting Information
When you first setup your domain, hosting and WordPress, your blog will not be available online when you visit your domain name right away, as it can take some time for the domain to be registered and connect to your new hosting.
If you do visit your domain name right away, you may see something like this:
When I created this tutorial and went through the exact same process, my new domain was available within less than 30 minutes, but even if the domain is not yet connected, you can still access your WordPress admin and edit your site on the temporary domain without any issues (as shown above).
If you followed this tutorial exactly, then you will know when your domain name is registered and live online as when you visit your domain name, it will load the default “Coming Soon” page as shown in the image above.
PLEASE NOTE: The above “Coming Soon” page will only load for your website visitors until you launch your blog from within the Bluehost Portal, which we will do later on, after we have a few posts.
When you are logged into the WordPress admin panel and you visit your domain name, you will NOT see the same “Coming Soon” page as you are “Admin”.
You will see what your website really looks like before you go live to the public so you can get everything setup correctly. You will see the default theme that will look the same as the image above (if you followed me step by step).
Ensure SSL Is Activated (Automatically)
SSL is important for your blog as it increases overall security and trust with both your visitors and also the search engines as any information sent to or from your website is secured.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.
Besides this, if you don’t have SSL activated on your domain name, most web browsers on both desktop and mobile will show your website as “not secure”, which stands out on your blog visitors browsers and can put people off.
If you have any areas on your website that requires people to enter information such as comments on posts, registering an account and contact forms, then you must have SSL to protect your blog visitors.
A great thing about Bluehost is the fact that they automatically activate SSL for you within a few hours after creating your new web hosting account, so you don’t have to make any complicated changes.
To check if SSL is active on your domain, simply type in https:// before you enter your domain name and if you see the green padlock in your browser, then SSL has been setup by Bluehost correctly and no further action is needed.
If you still don’t see the green padlock after 24 hours, then all you need to do is contact live support over on Bluehost and their friendly team will be able to get that setup for you pretty quickly, without any complications.
Publish First Blog Posts
You may be thinking to yourself, “OK I have already started my WordPress blog and everything is online ready for me to start blogging, but what the heck am I going to write about” and that’s a normal feeling to have, but it’s far easier than you think.
Look at this blog you are reading right now, the content you will find here is based on questions that several people are actually searching in Google on a DAILY basis.
To attract your first readers and start building your own audience, all you need to do is figure out what questions people are trying to find an answer for in Google that are related to the topic of your blog, then you create content to answer these questions.
Launch Your WordPress Blog
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people claim it can take less than 10 minutes to start a WordPress blog from scratch, but in reality, if you are starting a new blog as a beginner, it may take a day or two to get your head around everything that’s involved.
However, if you read our tutorial first & get free 1-on-1 support from 987MB, then you can start a blog in literally 10 mins and can start writing your first post as soon as you have decided on the topic to write about.
There are several tools you’re going to need as your blogging skills improve, although as a beginner, you simply need a domain name, reliable WordPress optimised web hosting provider and a premium blog theme (which is optional).
WordPress optimised web hosting from Bluehost that we recommend that has actually been recommended by WordPress themselves for the last decade can cost as little as £3.25 per month, which comes with a free domain and there are tons of premium blogging themes that cost less than £50.
It is very unlikely that you will make money online with your blog as a beginner, although this is definitely something you can work towards if you are willing to learn, put in the work and be patient for the results.
You must first focus on creating or outsourcing content that offers value to people and build a relationship with your readers, then you can start recommending products or services that you personally use that can help your readers achieve the same results that you have already proven to achieve.
They are similar in the fact that they both use the same content management software although on WordPress.com you create a free blog which is hosted with many limitations by WordPress themselves, where as WordPress.org can be hosted on your own server without limitations.
WordPress is free, but It’s recommended that you host WordPress on your own server as this will improve security and remove any limitations such as limited theme and plugin choices, slower loading speeds and advertising restrictions.