How To Start A Blog With WordPress

Follow our free step-by-step guide to start a blog with WordPress in 3 easy steps!

STEP 1

Get Your Domain Name and Web Hosting


Registering A Domain Name

A domain name is your site’s address on the internet (example: www.wpsetupsteps.com). When you register a domain name, you own the rights to that name. As long as you continue to renew your registration, the domain name is yours. Domain name registration only costs about $15 to $20 per year. When you sign up for a new web hosting account at Bluehost, you will get first-year domain registration for free. You can use the search box below to do a quick search for your domain name.

 — Search For Domain Names —

 

See “How To Register A Domain Name” for detailed information and tips on choosing the perfect name. If you already have a domain name and need to get web hosting for it, you just need to point your existing domain name to your new web hosting account (see this article for more information).

Buying Web Hosting For Your Blog

Web hosting is basically rented space on a computer server to host your blog or website. All of the files associated with your site reside on your web host’s server. Visitors who enter your domain name in their internet browser will be accessing your blog on that server. The web hosting company will make sure that everything is working properly in terms of the data being uploaded and downloaded.  All you have to do is add blog posts and edit content on the website, which you access through a regular internet browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.) using the WordPress dashboard.

The most cost-effective way to get a blog online is with a shared web hosting account. Shared hosting means that your blog is on a server at the web hosting company that is shared with many other websites. Unless your site receives a lot of traffic or transfers a lot of large files like video and music, a shared hosting plan will provide you with more than enough resources to run your new blog. A shared web hosting account is an affordable way to host your blog and you can get services from a good-quality provider for as low as $7 to $10 (US) per month.

Bluehost Is The #1 Host For WordPress

Because I use WordPress exclusively for my blogs and websites, I recommend Bluehost for WordPress web hosting. Bluehost is one of the largest web hosting companies in the world and is officially recommended by WordPress.org. They host over 1,000,000 WordPress installations.

The great thing about Bluehost is that you get “unlimited everything” and a free domain name for only $6.95 per month: unlimited disk space for your files, unlimited bandwidth for uploading and downloading from your site, an unlimited number of email accounts you can create, and you can actually host an unlimited number of domain names on a single account. Additionally, you can install WordPress multiple times on a single account.

I also recommend Bluehost because they have been around since 1993, they have over 500 employees, and their staff is 100% in house at their own facilities. If you ever need help, Bluehost has phone support 24 hours a day and they have average hold times of less than 30 seconds. They also offer chat support and email support.

Right now you can get hosting at Bluehost through our guide for a special promotional price of $4.95 per month, discounted from their regular price of $6.95 per month. Just click this link to visit Bluehost and you should see the price discounted to $4.95 right on their home page (with the regular price crossed out). Purchasing web hosting from Bluehost is “no risk” because they offer an “Anytime Money Back Guarantee” with no contract. You may cancel your account anytime and receive a prorated refund. If you decide to cancel within the first 30 days you will receive a full refund for your web hosting. For more detailed information about hosting, see this article: “How To Buy Web Hosting for WordPress“.

 


STEP 2

Install WordPress


What Is WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world. But WordPress is more than just a blogging platform – it is a full content management system (CMS). A content management system (CMS) organizes all of your content into a database. If you are not familiar with databases, don’t worry. You don’t even have to know what a database is or ever look at the actual database in order to use WordPress. Just know that it is storing, indexing, and organizing all of your blog’s content “behind the scenes”. WordPress is the most popular CMS because it is easy to use, yet powerful and advanced at the same time.

WordPress is as easy to use as many of the common desktop applications you are probably familiar with. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can create and edit a blog or website in WordPress. You can create posts and pages in a visual editor (like using Word) to change fonts, add headings, insert pictures, create bullet lists, copy/paste…. all of the same formatting buttons and options used in everyday desktop programs. And optionally, if you prefer to code directly in HTML, you can simply switch to the HTML code with one click.

WordPress Is Free

WordPress is totally free. It is an open source platform, meaning you can use WordPress however you like and install it as many times as you want, absolutely free. There are two different kinds of WordPress: hosted and self-hosted. The instructions in this guide are for self-hosted WordPress, meaning a copy of WordPress is installed by you on your own web hosting account (or even your own computer) versus getting the limited “free” version of WordPress that they host. IMPORTANT: you don’t want to use the hosted version (WordPress.com) for any site that you want to truly own and control yourself. Read “Self-Hosted vs. Hosted WordPress” to learn about the difference between hosted and self-hosted WordPress.

Below, I’ve listed the steps to install WordPress on Bluehost in one click. Again, using the analogy of MS Word, think of your hosting account as the hard drive of your computer and WordPress as a program you are installing on your computer – just like MS Word. The difference is that you are installing the program on your rented computer space at Bluehost (their server) instead of on your own computer. Completing the simple steps below gets WordPress installed on your hosting account and an actual live blog online. If you need more detailed information about the installation steps below, read “How To Install WordPress In Minutes“.

How To Install WordPress Using Simple Scripts
Instructions for Bluehost
WordPress Logo

  1. Login to your web hosting account’s control panel.
  2. In your hosting control panel, scroll down to the Software/Services section and click on the Simple Scripts icon/link.
  3. In Simple Scripts, under “Blog Software” click WordPress.
  4. Click [Install].
  5. Under Installation Preferences, select the latest WordPress version and your domain name from the drop-down. Leave the second box blank (after the ‘/’) to install WordPress to the root. This makes WordPress your main website.
  6. Fill out the rest of the form, (username, password, agree to terms). Settings can be changed after the install through the WordPress dashboard.
  7. Under “Plugins and Themes” uncheck everything (unless you want the free trial software).
  8. Click [Complete].
  9. After the WordPress install completes, you will see a link to your new WordPress site and your username and password. This information will also be emailed to you.

 

How To Login To Your New WordPress Blog
WordPress 2012 Default

  1. Open your favorite internet browser and enter your new site’s domain name in the address bar. You should see the default WordPress page (Twenty Twelve).
  2. 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.
  3. Enter your WordPress username and password to access the Dashboard.
  4. 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.

 

 


STEP 3

Get a Free or Premium WordPress Theme


WordPress Themes

The  default WordPress theme is fully functional and can be used to start any blog or website. But if you want to start with a better design or more built-in functionality, a new theme can be added easily and you can start with something like this:eleven40 Theme By StudioPress

Big difference, right?

WordPress uses themes to control the way your site looks. The theme is like a “skin” that presents your content in a certain way. Colors, fonts, formatting, and some functionality can all be handled by a theme. And there are pre-made themes you can install for just about everything you can think of for a website or blog. There are themes for business, blogging, portfolios, directories, job boards, classified listings, corporate sites, churches, non-profit organizations, consultants, e-commerce, resumes….you get the idea.  You can use themes as-is or you can customize them as much as you want. Themes, just like WordPress, are easily modified. They can be changed by making small changes to the code, but there are many WordPress themes that have drag and drop user interfaces and user-friendly settings screens to make changes.

The main point is that you don’t have to like everything you see when you choose a theme. Just pick one with features and styles that you generally like – one that is closest to the concept you have in mind for your site. As you can see from the screenshots here, you are getting a major head start on your blog and saving potentially hundreds of hours of design time by starting with an add-on theme.

Like everything with WordPress, the 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. BAM! The theme is installed. And because the theme is separate from the content, you can switch back and forth between different themes with one click, without changing the actual content of your website. You can essentially snap on a different theme on top of the pages and posts that make up the content of your blog.

There are free themes and premium (paid for) themes available to download. If you opt for a free theme, make sure you get one at the official WordPress.org Themes Directory. DO NOT get a free theme from just anyone you find in a Google search. Many 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.

With premium themes, you are not just purchasing the theme, but also the support and frequent updates. If you need a sophisticated design or a specific advanced functionality out of the box, consider purchasing a premium theme. 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 $39. 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. I’ve listed some of the premium theme providers below. Click the theme developers’ banners below to view their free online theme demos and compare pricing. For more detailed information, see the article “How To Select a WordPress Theme“.

Premium Themes For Blogs And Standard Websites

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

 

Premium Themes For eCommerce, Directories, Listings

 AppThemes - Premium WordPress Themes

 

How To Install A WordPress ThemeWordPress Logo

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 a community of WordPress developers 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.