For as long as I’ve had an Internet connection (I can’t believe it has been for almost two decades now), I’ve enjoyed reading online content, participating in different forums, and for the last few years, following and reading a few blogs.
Blogging has become a great avenue for regular people like you and me to learn and share ideas. As you may know by now, there are blogs about pretty much any topic you can think of: Home Improvement (like this one), Personal Finance, Self-Improvement, Health & Fitness, Travel, Food, and many, many more.
If you are willing to set up and start your own blog but think that you don’t have a good topic to write about, think again, because if it is something you’re passionate about, you can be sure that someone else is passionate and interested in the topic as well.
I can tell you that starting this blog has been great for us. It is nothing big, but people still get all wowed when they see what we’ve done. It is also very exciting and fulfilling to see something you’ve created from scratch, slowly grow.
With all that said, are you ready to learn how to set up your own blog? On this post, I share everything you need to know to get your own self-hosted blog up and running. Don’t be scared, you don’t have to be a programmer or possess outstanding computer skills, anyone can do it.
WHY SET UP A SELF HOSTED BLOG?
Before I answer the first question, in case you are wondering, a self-hosted blog (or website) is one in which you own the domain name, all website files, etcetera and basically rent the web server, in which it runs, from a web hosting company such as Bluehost.
There are a few platforms you can use to run your own blog, WordPress is by far the most popular. You can not only use WordPress for a self-hosted blog, but you can also use their free version at WordPress.com. Keep in mind, though, that if you do it that way, you will always be way too limited.
I don’t know about you, but I always think big, and the fact the free alternative completely limits what you can and cannot control, I believe it is always better to go with a self-hosted one.
When I decided to go ahead and start this blog, the idea of not being self-hosted didn’t even cross my mind. For way too many reasons, many bloggers recommend hosting your blog with Bluehost, so when it was time to choose a hosting company, and after doing a bunch of research, I decided to give them a try.
I cannot speak for others, but based on my experience, I can comfortably recommend them. Even when I’ve had issues (a couple of times so far), their Technical Support department has been very helpful and able to resolve the problem on the spot.
HOW TO SET UP YOUR OWN BLOG
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Your domain name is basically the name of your website (in this case cheapesthouseontheblock.com). Put a lot of thought into it. You want your domain name to be catchy, unique and easy to remember, it is even better if you can share the story behind it. For example, ours, even if it’s not the best domain name ever, there’s a reason why I chose it.
Once you are happy with your domain selection, you can go ahead and proceed to the Bluehost, website. Please note that if you use our link, you not only get a 50% discount, but you also get a free domain, which is a great deal, because they’re usually about $14 a year.
STEP 2: SIGN UP WITH BLUEHOST FOR YOUR WEB HOSTING
After you click our link, the next step is to click the “Get Started” button. This will take you to the sign-up page, where you get to enter your new domain name. In our example below, I used “myowngreatblog.com”.
After typing in your new domain name, and hitting next, you’ll be ready to select your hosting plan.
Even though I consider the Plus Plan offers the best value, the Basic Plan offers everything you need to get your new blog up and running.
On the next page, you get to create your account, select your hosting package, and other features. You may not need to buy any of the extras, but you can always read their description and decide if they’re worth it to you or not.
Congratulations! You are now ready to set up your own blog!
STEP 3: LOGIN TO YOUR NEW BLUEHOST ACCOUNT AND INSTALL WORDPRESS
Now that you have set up your account, you can go ahead and login to it. This will take you to your Bluehost account’s home page. Once there, you can click the CPanel link located in the upper left corner of your screen.
In the CPanel you can find most of the features you need to run your website. The first one of them is the “Install WordPress” option in the “Website” section. When you click on it, you will be taken to the WordPress installation process.
Once you click “Get Started”, you have the chance to select the domain name in which you wish to install WordPress. My example below shows “cheapesthouseontheblock.com/myowngreatblog, however, in your case, it should be the name of your website, the domain you chose in Step 1 of this post.
Right after you click next, you will have to enter your new blog’s name, a username, and a password. These are the ones you will use to log in to your WordPress installation and manage your new blog.
It should take less than five minutes for WordPress to install. When you get a confirmation screen like the one I show below, you should be able to access your new website by typing in your website’s (domain) name in your web browser. For example, myowngreatblog.com.
If WordPress has been installed successfully, you should be able to see a screen like this one:
You can go ahead and click the “Admin Login” button, which will take you to your new website’s WordPress login page.
Are you excited yet? If you’ve made it this far, you are almost ready to start blogging!
STEP 4: LOGIN TO YOUR NEW WEBSITE FOR THE FIRST TIME
When you get to the WordPress Admin login page, use the username, and password you chose when installing it in the previous step. Once you log on, you can start posting right away! However, you may want to customize your blog a bit, as it will look like the screenshot below.
Before you start customizing it, though, I would recommend that you first get familiar with the WordPress Dashboard. Pretty much all the settings you can modify are on the left side of your screen. From here, you will manage your blog, add new pages or posts, plugins, approve, reply or reject comments, upload images, videos, create menus, and a lot more.
STEP 5: CUSTOMIZE YOUR NEW BLOG AND START BLOGGING
One of the first things you may want to change on your website is the Theme. A Theme is basically a template for your blog. As you can see on the screenshot below, there are three by default. However, as you can also see, you can either look for Premium Themes, which you’ll most likely have to pay for, or you can get a free one from WordPress.org. There are literally thousands to choose from. All you have to do is find one you really like and install it.
Then, I would encourage you to go down all the submenus under “Appearance”. You’ll be surprised by the huge amount of things you can modify and by how easy it is to do it!
At this point, you should be ready to publish your first post!
When you’re happy with the way the blog looks, you can click on “Plugins” right under “Appearance”. Plugins are small programs that allow you to add features to your website without having to do any coding. They are amazing! And you will most likely have to install a few of them.
My favorite plugins are:
- Akismet: Protects your blog from Spam.
- All 404 Redirect to Homepage: If someone enters a page that does not exist on your website, this plugin will redirect them to your homepage.
- Contact Form 7: As the name implies, this is a Contact Form plugin which we use in the Contact Us Page.
- Jetpack: Connects your self-hosted blog to WordPress.com so you can use all the features they offer.
This is basically it! Did you think it was easy? Well, it is!
Please share with us if you find this tutorial useful, or even better, share your new blog in the comments section!
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