Free Step-By-Step Guide to Start a WordPress Blog
- Do you want a blog that can make you money? Do you want a blog that you control?
- If you want a professional-quality blog, you need to own a WordPress blog.
- WordPress is FREE. Just get a domain name and web hosting – we’ll show you how.
- You can start a self-hosted WordPress blog in less than 20 minutes.
- You don’t need to know anything technical to start creating online content now.
Join over 60 MILLION people creating great websites and blogs with WordPress!
Get A Domain Name
Use the search box below to search for your blog’s new domain name. If you already have a domain name, skip to STEP 2 below.
** You can register a new domain name for FREE when you sign up for a web hosting account at our recommended provider, Bluehost.
For tips and info on choosing a domain name, see our article: “How To Register A Domain Name.”
Get Web Hosting
To self-host a blog, you just need to sign up for a web hosting account. There are thousands of choices for web hosting, but we recommend that you go with Bluehost: the web host recommended by the developers of the WordPress platform. In fact, Bluehost is the only hosting company officially recommended by WordPress.org that offers 24-hour live customer support and a 1-click WordPress installation.
Bluehost is one of the biggest WordPress hosting providers in the world – they host over 1 million WordPress sites. If you ever need help, you can talk to a real, live person: Bluehost has phone support 24 hours a day, chat support, and email support.
Bluehost offers an anytime money-back guarantee with no contract. You can cancel at any time and receive a full refund of any unused months of web hosting.
Bluehost Plan Features
- Free Domain Name Registration (1 year)
- Unlimited disk space for your files
- Unlimited bandwidth for uploading and downloading from your site
- Unlimited number of email accounts
- Unlimited number of domain names hosted on a single account
- Unlimited number of WordPress installs on a single account
WPSetupSteps.com Bluehost Discount: Get hosting at Bluehost for only $3.95 per month - a 34% savings off of their regular price of $5.99 per month.
For detailed specs on Bluehost features and a detailed guide to web hosting terminology, see our article: “How To Buy Web Hosting for WordPress“.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world and it is absolutely and totally free. It is easy to use and is entirely open-source, meaning it can be used however you like and can be installed as many times as you want. You don’t need to know anything technical to install and use WordPress. It installs with one click, keeps track of all your files and content, and you control everything from a user-friendly “dashboard” in your web browser. And you can publish to your WordPress blog from any computer in the world with internet access!
NOTE: Do not confuse self-hosted WordPress (the subject of this guide) with the “free” hosted version at WordPress.com. The free version is extremely limited: you don’t own your content, you can’t make many changes, and they advertise on your blog. For a “real” blog that you control and own, follow this guide to get a self-hosted blog. Self-hosted WordPress is basically what everyone uses these days for professional blogs, business blogs, blogs that make money, or any blog that is meant to be taken seriously.
It is incredibly easy to create and edit a blog or website in WordPress. You can change fonts, add headings, insert pictures, create bullet lists, copy/paste…. everything – through the user-friendly dashboard. And if you prefer to code directly in HTML, you can simply switch to the HTML code with one click.
Follow the steps below to install WordPress on your Bluehost account. It only takes a few minutes to complete!:
How To Install WordPress On Bluehost
- Login to your web hosting account’s control panel.
- In your hosting control panel, go to the Website Builders section and click on the WordPress icon/link.
- Click [Start] “a brand new install” (green button)..
- From the drop-down menu, under “Select which domain you would like to install to:” select the domain (with or without the ‘www’).
- Click [Check Domain].
- You will probably get the message, “Install directory exists and is not empty. Please confirm that it is safe to overwrite any content in this directory.” Because you have just created this account, you can ignore the message. Check the checkbox for “OOPS! Looks like something already exists there! I understand that continuing will overwrite the files.”
- Check the checkbox next to “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2″.
- Click the green [Install Now] button.
Congratulations! You now have a WordPress blog!
After the install completes, you will see a link to your new WordPress site (Site URL), a link to login to your website (Login URL) and your username and password. This information will also be emailed to you.
How To Login To Your WordPress Blog and Access the Dashboard
- Open any internet browser and enter your new site’s domain name in the address bar. You should see the default WordPress page (currently, Twenty Twelve).
- To access the WordPress dashboard (control panel) for your new blog, click the login link or just add /wp-admin to the end of your domain name in the address bar. This will bring up the login screen for your WordPress site. The dashboard is where you will edit and post to your blog.
- Enter your WordPress username and password to access the Dashboard.
- Congratulations! You are now immediately able to edit and publish to your new WordPress blog or website. Read “WordPress Basics For New Users” for information on the basic initial setup.
For more detailed information about the installation steps above, read our article, “How To Install WordPress In Minutes“.
Choose A Theme For Your Blog
There are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from to start the design of your blog. For example, we use a customized version of the Eleven40 theme from StudioPress (pictured) for this website.
WordPress uses themes to control the way your site looks.
The look and style of your blog begins with your blog’s theme. WordPress has themes that “snap on” to your blog with the click of a button. There are free themes and also premium themes available to provide a template for the look and feel of your blog. You can change your theme over and over without affecting your blog’s content. Themes are easy to install (instructions listed below). All you do is download a ZIP file folder from the theme developer, then upload that to your WordPress site through the dashboard, and click a button to install a theme.
Free WordPress Themes
Thousands of free themes are available right on the official WordPress.org website. If you opt for a free theme, make sure you get one at the official WordPress.org Themes Directory. Don’t get a free theme from just anyone you find in a Google search. Some free themes have malicious code and spyware hidden in the code. It’s always safer to get one through the official site. When selecting a theme, take note of the number of downloads, ratings, and the level of support. If you ever need a little support customizing your theme, remember that the bigger the community of users for a particular theme, the better the support and information is going to be.
Premium WordPress Themes
With premium themes, you are not just purchasing the theme, but also the support and the frequent updates. Premium themes will typically come with better support, better code quality, and more frequent updates than free themes.
You can get premium themes relatively inexpensively. For example, Elegant Themes gives you 12-month access to all 80+ themes they offer starting at $69. StudioPress has a platform, called Genesis, that costs about $60 and child themes that cost about $25 each – with a lifetime license that includes support and updates.
Click the theme developers’ banners below to view their free online theme demos and compare pricing. For more detailed information on themes and theme providers, see the article “How To Select a WordPress Theme“.
Premium Themes For Blogs And Standard Websites
Premium Themes For eCommerce, Directories, Listings
1. In the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes on the left menu.
2. On the themes page, switch the tab at the top to Install Themes.
3. At the top, click Upload.
4. Click the Choose File button. This will open a file selection dialog box.
5. Locate the theme’s .ZIP file(s) on your local computer.
6. Click Open.
7. Click Install Now. The theme is now installed.
8. To activate the theme, go to the Manage Themes tab at the top.
9. Find the newly installed theme under “Available Themes” and click Activate.
WordPress Setup Steps was founded by members of the WordPress community to show beginners how to start a blog or website with WordPress in minutes. Please read our Articles section for additional WordPress setup tips and helpful information. Feel free to drop us a line on our email Contact page with any questions or comments. Disclosure: This is an independent website that recommends the products and services of third-party companies. Some of the companies, products, and services we recommend may pay us a commission if you access their websites from a link on this website and purchase their products and services. However, the companies, products, and services we link to are recommended based on our experience and independent research.