The Awesome Guide To Setting Up a Blog

how to set up wordpress

Whether you want to blog for your business or have a blog as your business, you will (obviously?) need a blog. It is very easy once you know how. This article will take you through it step-by-step.

Everything I talk about below is what I use. It doesn’t cost me a fortune. In fact I could afford it while being a high school student working at the local supermarket.

Once you’ve set up your blog, you will then have a powerful platform for you to spread your word (and make some money!).

This article shows you how to set up your blog from zero to an awesome, fully functional and professional blog in five clear steps. I provide plenty of pictures and some videos too for those who love a bit of visual learning.

Well, let’s get started.

Setting Up A Blog – Step One

Get Hosting

You may have heard of BlueHost – it is because for the price they are simply the best. BlueHost is a webhosting service – it is sort of like a hard drive for the internet. It is where your blog is stored so that others can see it.

The great thing about BlueHost is you get a free domain name when you sign up (this is your www.something.com – your website address).

set-up-blog

How To Get Hosting For Your Blog

Step One
Go to BlueHost.com, and click on “Sign Up Now”

blue host sign up

Step Two
On the next page you want to enter your desired free domain name.

blue host domain name

Step Three
From there you just need to enter your details and you are done!

  • Hosting Unlocked!

If you already have a the free domain name and want to purchase another name, I highly recommend NameCheap – sometimes they will have a sale or a coupon that makes it less than half the price of BlueHost.

As you are going through the sign up process with NameCheap, I recommend you put in BlueHost’s nameservers. This will make it easier later as you don’t have to come back and add them it. BlueHost’s nameservers are:

ns1.BlueHost.com
ns2.BlueHost.com

Once you have your new domain name from NameCheap, you will have to assign it to you BlueHost account. Remember, this section is only for those who have bought an additional name, you don’t have to do this if you are using BlueHost’s free domain name offer.

set-up-blog

How To Assign A Domain Name To Your BlueHost Account

Step One
I your BlueHost account you will want to go to:

Domains > Assign

assign domain

Step Two
Choose a “domain that is not already associated with your account”

To get your domain to verify you have to have the nameservers in your domain set (see above)

In “Step Three” choose Addon Domain.

In “Step Four” you want to create a new directory.

Then click on the button “Assign This Domain”

Step Three
And then you are done!

 

Setting Up A Blog – Step Two

Install WordPress

With BlueHost it is very easy to install WordPress. In the old days (heh!) you used to have to set up databases, be able to edit files in a text editor, and then upload and install files by yourself. Not understand any of that – that’s OK, because these days BlueHost does it all for you with an easy click of the button. Here’s how:

set-up-blog

How To Install WordPress On Bluehost

Step One
In your Bluehost account, look carefully until you see “Site Builders” – in that section, click on “WordPress”

install wordpress

Step Two
You may need to scroll down and click on “WordPress” again on the next screen if there is no “install” button.

On the next page you will need to click on the “Install” button.

install wordpress 2

Step Three
Now you want to fill in your installation preferences.

Under the first step, you will want to choose your domain name. You can choose to install wordpress in a subdirectory, or in your main directory. Most will want to install it in the main directory. If this is the case, then you do not have to fill out anything in the text box next to the “/”

In the Advanced options, you can fill out details such as the blog title, and create your own username and password. You don’t have to fill out any of this as you can change everything later if you wish.

Under plugins and themes, I usually untick everything. I don’t need that clutter!

Then, make sure to agree to the terms and conditions.

Step Four
If you installed wordpress in your root directory, you may need to confirm that this is what you intended. Just tick the box, (untick the themes again) and again click “complete”.

Step Five
Wordpress will now be installed for you! It will let you know when it is done. Save the information on the screen if you wish – I usually add it to Evernote.

  • WordPress Installation Unlocked!

 

Setting Up A Blog – Step Three

Install A Theme

Themes, beautiful themes! Themes are what makes your website look the way it does.

This part (and another section below) is where you will spend too much of your time. Let me say it now – they are all pretty, just pick one and get on with the important stuff!!

OK, I’ve said it, but I know you wont listen. I rarely listen to myself either! But in all seriousness, it is easy to get lost in a sea of themes. There are so many cool ones out there, and with cool features and… I guarantee you are going to spend far too long trying to decide which one to pick for your blog. I am getting better at choosing now – I roughly know what kind of, say, navigation features I am after for a particular blog, and choose one that fits.

There are two types of themes – free, and paid ones called “premium”. I highly recommend premium ones; you can find great ones for $40-50. The reason I recommend premium ones is:

  • You are far less likely to have the same layout as other websites
  • There are usually lots of special features that make it easier for you to do things with your blog

That second point being the more important one in my opinion. You will also get support for your theme (in most cases), so if you are having a problem you have someone to email for help.

There are many places you can get premium themes from, and everyone has their favourites. I personally love Theme Forest. This is a marketplace for themes, so each theme is designed by different people. Their themes are simply awesome, great value for money and jam packed full of features. Love them!

Once you have chosen a theme you will download a .zip file. No need to extract it, we will upload it as is (although, open it up and check first – some themes have instructions and a zip file within a zip file).

set-up-blog

How To Install A WordPress Theme

Step One
In your WordPress admin, go to Appearance > Themes

How To Install Theme

From there you can click on “Install Themes”

Step Two
Upload your theme – the zip file you downloaded earlier.

You can also choose to search for a theme – this will allow you to search for free theme.

upload theme

Step Three
Once the theme is installed you have to activate it. And then check out your site, you have a brand new theme installed!

  • WordPress Theme Installation Unlocked!

 

Setting Up A Blog – Step Four

Set Up Your Permalinks

Before you start getting crazy posting on your new blog, it is a good idea to go through your Settings. Go through each section to set your preferred settings.

One setting that can often be overlooked is the permalink setting. This may be because people don’t know about it, or don’t understand it completely and are afraid to change them. Well, change them now!

Basically your permalinks refer to the structure of what your URL will be for posts. Sometimes you will see websites that have letters, numbers and symbols for names of pages when you look in the address bar. This is hard for humans to understand and remember, and it is also harder for search engines to understand what your page is about as well. You want to have a URL like this: www.yourdomain.com/this-is-good, not www.yourdomain.com/?p=123

In my recent installations the permalinks have already been set to the setting I prefer – postname – but just in case you should check them and make sure that the default is not selected as this setting can break some plugins and it doesn’t help your SEO.

set-up-blog

How To Change Your Permalinks

Step One
In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Permalinks

permalinks

Step Two
Select your preferred permalinks structure. Choose anything but default – most people choose “post name”.

permalinks 2

Save it and you’re done!

  • Permalinks Configuration Unlocked!

 

Setting Up A Blog – Step Five

Install Plugins

Here is the second place you will spend way too much of your time. Plugins add extra functionality to your blog. Here is how you install new plugins:

set-up-blog

How To Install WordPress Plugins

Step One
In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins 1

Step Two
Search for the name of the plugin that you want to upload – we will cover some great plugins later.

plugins search

Step Three
Choose the plugin you want to install and choose “Install Now”

Step Four
Once istalled, click “Activate Plugin”

plugin activate

You may have to configure the plugin’s settings to get the plugin working correctly on your website. This is usually straightforward to do.

  • Plugin Installation Unlocked!

Like themes, you can also purchase premium plugins. In these cases you will download a zip file and will need to upload it and activate it.

set-up-blog

How To Install WordPress Premium Plugins

Step One
Like before, go to Plugins > Add New. This time you will have to select “Upload”

plugin upload

Step Two
Choose your file from your hard drive and upload it.
plugin choose upload

As before, you will have to activate it, and you may have to configure it.

Here are the plugins that I highly recommend. These are all free; to install them just do a search for them.

Plugin Akismet

Spam Filter

You will want a spam filter to stop spammers from commenting on your blog. I recommend Akismet, as it is the one I have been using for years.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form

You will want an easy way for visitors to contact you. I recommend Contact Form 7.

updraft

Backup

You will want to back up your blog regularly. I have tried many and currently I use Updraft to automatically back up my blog files to dropbox.

Yoast SEO

Search Engine Optimisation

You will want to optimise your posts for search engines. I find that by using YOAST and making sure that the SEO check is green is all I need to rank well in search engines.

 

Setting Up A Blog – You’re Done

Your Blog Is Now Set Up!

You did it!

Or, you didn’t. Don’t worry if you found all this too hard or would take up too much of your time. If you find it too technical then it may be better to spend money to get someone else to do it. After all, your time is valuable and could be spent doing other things if this isn’t your speciality.

Also, please note that some links in this post have been affiliate links, to help support this website so that I can create more awesome guides like this one.

 

You Have A Blog, What Now?

Tips On Getting Started

The next two things you need to do are to create some awesome content, and market your blog. Each is as important as each other – one will get eyeballs on your site, and the other will keep them there.

The important thing to differentiate yourself from other blogs out there is to write great content. What ever you write, make sure before you press post that you take it a step further. What can you do to make your post even more epic?

The second thing to do is to make sure you solve problems. A great way to do this is to think about what you think your target audience may be having trouble with.

Do not forget to market your website. With blogs, the saying “build it and they will come” does not apply. You have to work on building relationships and getting people to your page. Some ways you can get people to your site include:

  • SEO (use the YOAST plugin)
  • Commenting on other blogs
  • Guest posting on other blogs
  • Participating in forums

 

 

 

No Comments

@AttractionMark2

As usual your post is very informative and thorough. The step by step process should be easy for anyone to follow. Thanks for the tip on UoDraft, have been looking for a back up solution and will give them a look.

Reply

Carlie Hamilton

Thanks again for visiting I am glad you think this will be a help.
I had trouble finding a good free plugin that would back up everything I wanted it to when I wanted it too. I may even upgrade to the paid plugin version later.

Reply

Tim Bonner

Hi Carlie

A very thorough and informative walk through.

I use HostGator for my web host but I know lots of people that use and love Blue Host too.

It’s definitely worth buying a premium theme as you mention. It’s also likely to be supported in the future so you won’t have issues as WordPress gets updated.

I use most of the plugins you mention. I use a different backup plugin WordPress Backup To Dropbox but it does a similar thing to Updraft.

Reply

Carlie Hamilton

Thanks for the info on the backup plugin. I will check it out.

I haven’t used a free theme in many many years. A long time ago I used to make my own from scratch! Premium themes make everything so easy. It’s great.

Thanks for visiting again Tim, looking forward to seeing you again soon

Reply

Vijesh

Wow Carlie,
You have made it as simple as possible anyone who reads this post can setup their WordPress blog all by themselves. You have also mentioned those useful plugins like Yoast, contact 7, Akismet etc and you have also mentioned regarding changing the permalink structure. I can say its simple and informative.
5/5 Stars * * * * *
Regards
Vijesh

Reply

Carlie Hamilton

Hi Vijesh!

Thanks for leaving such a great review. Now my mind is buzzing with ideas of adding testimonials to this post!

– Carlie

Reply

Wilson

Hi Carlie… This is a very informative post that any newbie blogger has to read! It didn’t take me too long to get used to WP since i moved from blogger…. Nice post though!

Reply

Carlie Hamilton

Thanks for the comment. Moving from one blogging platform to another is fairly easy because you have the concepts down. WP is of course much better

Reply

Cody Stevenson

Carlie your work is awesome! You really take your time and provide amazing content for your readers. I have been watching you over the past few weeks and it is just mind blowing how much you accomplish! Keep up the awesome work

Reply

Carlie Hamilton

Hi Cody,
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I am glad you like what I am doing. I am continuing to refine my message and what it is I do. Let me know if there is anything that you would like me to cover!

– Carlie

Reply

Alvin Chadwick

This is a really good guide, I am going to share this with any friends who ever want to setup their own blog!

Reply

Carlie Hamilton

Thanks Alvin! I hope it is helpful, I designed it so that all new people can jump right in to blogging. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Montone Zalesky

Woah this particular web site will be great i really like researching your content regularly. Keep up the good art! You’re sure, most people want circular just for this details, you could potentially guide all of them greatly.

Reply

Carlie Hamilton

Thanks Montone.

Reply

Yeshua

Hi Carlie,

This is very informative. Though I’m using Hostgator, I’d love to try out Bluehost someday. You know, what sets you apart from the other bloggers is the design you pour in to your articles. Their like artworks! Cheers!

Reply

Yeshua

*they’re

Reply

Gary Silversmith Lawyer

Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I liked this
post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

Reply

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