So you’re ready to set up your blog? Congratulations!
You are ready to set up WordPress, along with purchasing your domain and hosting!
Looking at what you have already completed is super exciting!
You made the decision to start your blog, you chose your niche, and you are now ready to move forward and get WordPress set up (the blog platform I use and teach.)
You have a super start and your blog will be up and running in no time at all!
You know what one of the most exciting parts is?
We will get your domain purchased, your hosting account finalized, and set up WordPress in the next 15 minutes!
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
Your blog platform is the company that will run your blog.
I like to look at it like your blog’s home. When someone shows up to your website, they will walk through each page and read the information you have added to help them out.
Don’t get your blog platform confused with your blog hosting company. The hosting company is what allows your blog to be on the internet.
I like to think of your blog hosting company as the power to your home – like the electricity in your house.
There are multiple blogging platforms available for you to choose.
Other blogging platforms that will likely show up if you are researching are Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, just to mention a few.
This blog is built in WordPress.org and everything I teach is centered on this platform (so we will be setting up WordPress in this detailed how-to guide). There is also another WordPress platform that I do not recommend, which is WordPress.com.
It is important not to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com, which are two different blogging platforms.
Have you ever entered a street name into your GPS but didn’t include the last part of it? For example, you left out the last part – Street, Lane, Parkway, etc.?
When you arrived at the location, you were completely in the wrong place!
You couldn’t figure out what happened and started yelling at Siri (this would be my case since I use an iPhone), only to realize you weren’t specific on the address you entered (sorry I yelled at you, Siri!) ?
You were taken to Smith Lane not Smith Street.
If you enter ‘WordPress’ into the internet search bar, you could get information on either WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
Again, they are not the same platform!
WordPress is often referred to as a CMS, which stands for Content Management System.
A CMS allows you to provide the content and the platform provides the coding and organizing of the content for you.
WordPress.org is an open-source platform, which means the user can make any changes they want to meet their blog needs. An open source platform allows full flexibility and versatility so in this case, the user’s website can be created without limitations.
Another key component of open source software is there is not a fee to use it.
The most important difference in WordPress.com and WordPress.org (and the reason I recommend and use WordPress.org) is because WordPress.org is self-hosted.
This means I will pay for my own hosting and have my own website domain.
You might be thinking, “Why do you want to pay for your own domain and hosting when it is included with WordPress.com?”
This is an excellent question and one I also had as a new blogger!
If I am paying for my hosting and domain, I have full control over my website and content, including how my website looks because I can customize it any way I want. Simply put, I own it.
Look at it as the difference between renting a house vs. owning your house.
When you rent there are limitations as to what changes you can make. For example, you may not like the color of the paint on your bedroom wall, but if the landlord likes it that doesn’t really matter if you like it or not! You cannot change it if they don’t allow it to be changed.
If you own your house, you can paint your bedroom wall a different color as many times as you want and as many different colors as you want – whenever you want!
The versatility of your website with WordPress.org comes with thousands of different themes available. The theme you choose gives your site the look and feel you want to achieve with your brand.
WordPress.com has several basic themes available and little change can be made to them.
Again, you can compare it to a house. The way you decorate your house matches your personality, which is likely different than the way your friend decorates their house.
I like choices, how about you?
Another important factor and significant difference are with WordPress.org your website will be ad-free unless you want to put ads on it (which you would get the income from). This is not the case with WordPress.com.
Because you essentially do not own your website (remember you aren’t paying for the hosting) ads can be placed on your website and you would not get any of the money generated from them.
Here are a few of the main differences (this is far from a complete list of all the minor detailed differences but it offers a visual for the key factors):
- Your blog address: www.YourBlogAddress.com
- Full Customization
- Self-Hosted (You Choose Your Host)
- Choose Theme
- Earn Money From Your Own Ads (If You Want Ads On Your Website)
- Your blog address: www.Blog.Wordpress.com
- Limited Customization
- Hosted by WordPress
- Use Pre-Loaded Theme
- WordPress Makes Money On Ads They Put On Your Site
Even though both options are free, there are fees associated with each one. WordPress.org fees include your hosting plan and any customization you add to it. WordPress.com fees start if you need to move to a tier above their lowest pricing tier (which is free.) They have five plans to choose from.
Now that we have the foundational information out of the way, let’s hop into setting up your blog!
1 | Set up your WordPress website with Bluehost
As previously mentioned, everything I teach is centered around WordPress.org.
With WordPress.org, you can’t start your blog without your domain name and a hosting company.
A quick review of your domain name and Webhosting:
- Your domain name is the address of your website. It is what is typed into an internet browser to get to your website.
- Webhosting is the power behind the internet that allows your website to be viewed online.
Bluehost hosts millions of websites. You can see the multiple reasons I recommend Bluehost for new bloggers in the post How To Start A Successful Blog And Crush Your Goals.
Even though I earn a small commission if you sign up with Bluehost using my link, it is not the reason I recommend Bluehost! I started my first three blogs with Bluehost and the experience was awesome.
Every new blogger needs a starting place and Bluehost keeps the process simple, they are super affordable and your hosting includes your SSL certificate (this is huge because most new bloggers don’t understand the necessity of this so they bypass it to save money.)
If you aren’t familiar with the definition of an SSL certificate, you can reference it in my post on 175+ Blogging Terms For New Bloggers.
Get started with Bluehost
Once at the Bluehost website, click ‘Get Started’ link.
The screenshot below is an example of what you will see with the special pricing for using my link.
NOTE: Bluehost changes the image periodically so as long as you connected to Bluehost from the link in #1 and you click the ‘Get Started’ link on the Bluehost web page you are good to go!
When you click the ‘Get Started’ link, the page that pops up will be your pricing plan options.
Select the plan that best fits your blog goals.
2 | Choose your website domain
After you select your plan, you will be taken to the next step, which is choosing your domain name.
On the screenshot below, you can see on the left you will create a new domain, on the right you would enter a domain you previously purchased, or if you want to skip this step and pick your domain name later you can go to the bottom option and select “I’ll Create My Domain Later.”
We will move forward with the assumption you are just starting and you are ready to pick your domain name now!
If you are still trying to find the perfect domain, jump over to my two posts on this exact topic, 11 Ideas When You Have No Idea What To Name Your Blog and 10 Top Tips To Choosing The Best Domain Name.
3 | Create your Bluehost account
Once your domain is selected and it is available, you will get the go ahead to create your Bluehost account.
There are several options for add-ons that you will need to decide if you need when you create your account.
Under the ‘More Information’ link you can read about each one. I recommend purchasing at least the domain privacy option.
Keep in mind if you aren’t sure which add-ons you need, you can always add them on later so don’t stress about this step and spend hours of time researching.
After your payment is completed, you will need to create a password for your Bluehost account.
Be sure to make it strong so your website is safe from spammer’s logging into it (this is a nightmare if it happens!)
4 | Install & set up WordPress via Bluehost
Yay!! We are moving along quickly!
After your Bluehost account is created, you will get an email from them with your login details to your web hosting control panel. This is usually called a cPanel.
Login to Bluehost using the information and navigate to the Marketplace on the left side of the screen.
Select the ‘Add Website’ option.
This will launch the WordPress installation setup.
The next screen will ask you to provide your website title and your site tagline. You can leave the line for ‘Site Tagline’ empty if you are unsure what to enter.
If you create a tagline for your blog, it can always be added at a later time.
Hit the ‘Next’ tab.
]You are now at the screen to create a new website and WordPress will actually be installed so it is connected to your domain (your URL and website home!)
Select the domain you want to install WordPress on.
After selecting your domain name from the dropdown list, leave the directory path blank and Bluehost will choose it for you.
The installer will also show some free plugins you can check to install on your website or bypass them by not checking the box by each one.
Click next and patiently wait for WordPress to be installed!
Wait for the process to finish. You can see Bluehost working on the setup.
This can take from a few minutes or up to an hour so don’t panic and start pushing buttons on your computer because you think something is not working!
Don’t forget the support team is phenomenal and they are available to help if you run into any problems! They can walk you through any part of this process in just a few minutes.
You will get the ‘Success’ message when the installation is complete.
This message will contain your WordPress details.
These are important so be sure to keep them. They will also be sent to your email address.
I like to take a screen shot and store them in a file on my computer, as well as snap a picture of them and put them in a file on my iPhone so they are easily and readily available when I need them.
5 | WordPress is installed! Let’s get your essential WordPress settings set up!
We set up WordPress, so now you are ready to log in to your admin dashboard and set up the essential settings to start your blog.
These are basic structure settings every blog needs for it to run effectively and be set up for organic traffic.
Basic essential settings:
- Permalink structure
- Make sure your blog can be seen on the internet
- Configure the basic settings to customize WordPress (site title and tagline, favicon, and theme-specific settings)
- Create a navigation menu (in your header)
- Set-up sidebar and footer
- Create a back-up schedule
- Add and configure must-have plugins
- Decide if you want to allow comments (set up or disable)
- Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
- Set your time zone
To get to WordPress, click on the prompt ‘Log Into WordPress’ on the left side under the details that were provided to you (see the example in the above screenshot.)
What are some takeaways from setting up your blog with WordPress.org?
Now that you have the initial steps completed starting your blog, you can take a quick breath and then get ready for the next step, which is setting it up and adding content!