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One of the best ways to get your unique message out to the world is to create your very own blog or media platform. There are free hosted options available, but you lose creative control when you go that route.
In addition to losing creative control, you may find it difficult to monetize your message (if that’s your goal) if you are not using a self-hosted WordPress.
Below is a step-by-step guide for launching your own blog or media platform. We walk you through the entire process, including screenshots and detailed steps. If you just want to get started with a one-click installation through Bluehost (recommended) click here.
TheSTRIVE.co, 80% of all serious bloggers, and many major media companies use a self-hosted word press setup. Unfortunately, many people think that the process of setting up a hosting service and installing WordPress is complex and time-consuming. So they never set one up.
Believe me, it’s not difficult. You don’t need any technical know-how, and you can do it in less than half an hour. In this guide, we will walk you through the entire process. Follow these steps, and you can have your very own media platform or blog set up in no time at all.
STEP 1: RESOURCES YOU WILL NEED
To set up a self-hosted WordPress blog, you will need:
- A Domain Name
- A Credit Card
- 20 – 30 Minutes
If you haven’t already registered your domain, that’s great, as purchasing it through Blue Host is cheaper than if you purchased somewhere else. You can use Bluehost to search what domains are available to use. Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you can come back to Bluehost to register it. The great news is, your first year of domain registration is FREE.
Disclosure: We are Bluehost and WPX affiliate, which means the companies may pay us commission every time someone signs up through one of our links. This didn’t influence our recommendation, because all hosting services have similar programs. We’ve used other hosting companies, and Bluehost has been the best so far for beginners, while WPX is better suited for novices to intermediate site builders who are more interested in a fast site, vs. the cheapest. We endorse them both because we honestly believe they offer the greatest hosting available. We used Bluehost for this site, until we upgraded to WPX hosting when as our site grew.
Bluehost offers a thirty-day, money-back guarantee, which we have tested and have easily got our money returned to us within a few hours. So there’s absolutely no risk on your part. They also specialize in shared servers, which is why it is the best choice for the majority of all bloggers.
STEP 2: SET UP YOUR HOSTING ACCOUNT
The Hosting Account is where your blog will be housed. This is essentially a server (i.e., a remote computer), where you will rent space to install and run the WordPress software to manage your blog.
That may sound complex, but it is far easier than it sounds, trust us. There are a hundreds of hosting services available—perhaps thousands. However, based on our experience and research, we recommend Bluehost. (if this is your first site). Here are few of those reasons:
Reliability. Bluehost is extremely reliable. It boasts an up-time average of 99.9 percent. This is hard to beat and it doesn’t get much better than this in the hosting world.
Support. Bluehost has great 24/7 customer support via phone, email, or chat. Plus it helps that all of the company’s support staff are located in the U.S.
Ease of Use. Bluehost is ridiculously easy to use. After you get all set up, we are sure you will agree how effortless the whole set up process is. You’ll seriously wonder why you didn’t launch your hosting service sooner. Not to mention they have an excellent how-to library for quick tips.
WordPress. It is not surprising that WordPress itself only officially recommends three hosting services. Bluehost is its top recommendation, as it hosts over 2,000,000 WordPress blogs.
Limitless. Bluehost offers unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains (i.e., you can host multiple blogs or sites on one account), and unlimited email accounts.
Affordable. Bluehost is really inexpensive. It’s about $3.95 to $5.95 a month, depending on which plan you select. The longer you are willing to commit, the cheaper it is.
OKAY, Are You Ready to Launch?
If you’re looking to launch a super fast site, and you can figure it out on your own then we highly recommend WPX (PS.. their chat customer service is amazing, and they make it SUPER easy, even if you are a beginner). But if this is your first time, and bare bones cost is crucial, then keep reading for our Blue Host walk through. When you’re ready, click on the launch button below, and it will take you to the Bluehost home page.
Once there, click on the Get Started Now button. (See image below.)
Now you need to decide on your plan. we want to suggest that you select either the Plus Plan or the Prime Plan. These are Bluehost’s most popular options—and for good reason. It’s only $2.00 more a month than the Basic plan, but it gives you the ability to host an unlimited number of websites on this one account. We think the options and flexibility you get with the Plus and Prime Plans make your choice an easy one.
Regardless of the plan you pick, our instructions will work for you; the math will just be different. Continue by clicking on the Select button.
Now you need to decide whether you need a domain name if you don’t already have a domain name. I’m going to assume that you haven’t previously registered a domain, using some other domain registration service (e.g., GoDaddy.com).
Now enter your domain name in the left-most box, choose the appropriate extension (.com, .co, .net, .biz, or whatever) and click on the Next button.
Fill in your account information and then scroll down to select your package. As you can see, the prices range from $3.95 to $5.95 per month. (Again, this is for the Plus Package.) It all depends on the length of your commitment.
Note: It’s important to know ahead of time, that you will be required to pay the annual rate in advance. That’s how Bluehost is able to offer these extremely low prices.
You don’t have to sign up for any of the other services listed on this screen, but it’s up to you, and the plans you have for your site. Now enter your billing information. Confirm that you have read and agree to Bluehost’s Terms of Service, and then click the Next button.
The system will then verify your credit card information.
Bluehost will next ask you to “Select the Upgrades that Best Suit Your Needs.” You can skip all of these, and upgrade as you go. Click the Complete button at the bottom of the page. This could take a minute or so, so patience is key.
You will now see the “Welcome to Bluehost” screen, along with a “Congratulations” message. So your next step is to choose a password for your account. Click on the blue Create your password button:
Use the Password Generator option to create a strong, difficult-to-hack password. Copy this to the clipboard by pressing ⌘C if you are on a Mac or Control-C if you are on a PC. Now click the Paste button to paste the password into the appropriate fields.
Now click the checkbox that says, “I confirm I have read and agree to the Terms of Service.” Then click the Continue button. This creates your new Bluehost account.
[callout]Warning: You might get an error message here. It is simply because it sometimes takes a few minutes for the Bluehost robots to create your account. Don’t panic. Worst case scenario, call BlueHost Support at (888) 401-4678.[/callout]
This will bring you to the Bluehost login screen. Here you will be asked to login to your domain. Your domain should be automatically inserted for you. If it is not, just type it into the field that is provided.
You can now use the password you just selected in the password field. Since you previously copied it to the clipboard, go ahead and paste it with ⌘-V on the Mac or Control-V on the PC. Now click on Submit.
You may see yet another upgrade offer, perhaps for Optimized hosting. Feel free to ignore this for now. You can always add it later. Instead, click on the Hosting link in the upper left-hand corner. This will take you to the main Control Panel. You might get another pop-up. This one is offering to walk you through the process of setting up your website. You can close this screen by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner. We will walk you through this.
STEP 3: INSTALL WORDPRESS
You should now be at the Control Panel, sometimes called the cPanel.
You are going to see a bunch of different buttons on this screen. Don’t let them intimidate you. This step is amazingly simple. Bluehost makes it super easy, so anyone can do it. Trust me, anyone can do this.
Scroll down the page to the “Website” section. Click on the Install WordPress logo and wait for the new page to load. Be patient. It might take a minute.
A new “WordPress” screen appears. Simply click on the Install button. That will bring you to a new screen. Now select the domain on which you want to install WordPress. It should default to the correct one. Click on Check Domain.
The next screen will say “Last step, you are almost there.” Click on Advanced Options. Type in your site name or title. (Don’t worry. You can always change this later.) Accept the “Admin Username” and “Admin Password” that Bluehost suggests.
Now click on the item that says, “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2.” Now click on the Install Now button. The installation process should begin and will keep you updated on the process. Be patient, this will take a minute or two.
Bluehost may offer you another upsell (Bear with me, you are almost done). If a pop-up appears, just close it by clicking on the X in the upper right-hand corner of the pop-up.
You should now see a progress meter at the top of the screen. Again, this will take a minute or two, depending on how busy the Bluehost robots are. It will eventually say, “Your install is complete!”
Now click on the View Credentials button. This will take you to the Notification Center. Click on the View button.
When it is done, you will get a screen with your Blog URL, Login URL, username, and password. Bluehost will also email this information to you, but we like to have a backup. We recommend writing it down or taking a screenshot. Also, copy the password to the clipboard (again, using ⌘-C on a Mac or Control-C on a PC). You’re making great progress! You have completed the most difficult part of the process. Now things will speed up considerably.
STEP 4: LOG INTO WORDPRESS
Click on the “Admin URL” link. This will take you to the WordPress login page.
You can always access your admin page of your site, but entering wp-admin after your url. For example: www.yournewsite.com/wp-admin
Go ahead and enter in your username and password. Click on the “Remember Me” checkbox and then click on the Log In button.
You should now be looking at the WordPress “Dashboard.” Bloggers and website owners typically refer to this as the WordPress back-end. The front-end is what your readers see—your normal blog site. The back-end is what you see—how you control what appears on the front-end. It is basically your admin section.
STEP 5: TEST YOUR FIRST BLOG POST
Click on the Posts | Add New option in the left-hand side menu. You should now see the New Post screen. Enter the title of your post, perhaps something like, “The Start of Something Great”! You don’t necessarily need to have all your ducks in a row before you start blogging. You just get started, and then started adding on all the bells and whistles as you go.
Now write your first post in the field directly below the title. Consider explaining why you are starting your blog and what you plan to write about.
Go ahead and click the Publish button. This publishes your post for the whole world to see. Well done! You have just published your first post on your very own self-hosted WordPress blog. The world is yours for the taking!
STEP 6: LOAD YOUR NEW BLOG
Simply click on the View Post link. Your new blog should load in a new browser tab.
WordPress has a very standard theme by default, but there are hundreds and thousands of different themes to choose from so you can make your blog as unique as you are.
STEP 7: BOOKMARK YOUR BLOG
There’s no doubt you’ll be coming back to your blog site often. As such, it may be a good idea to bookmark your main page and your admin page.
MAIN PAGE =
ADMIN PAGE =
CHOOSING A THEME
The next step is to install a theme. There are literally thousands of free ones available, and you can find these in the Word Press back-end under Appearance. You don’t have to purchase a premium theme to get started.
There are plenty to choose from i.e.
The choice is yours….
Powerful FREE Plugins We Recommend
Plugins are the micro programs behind your site. They add specific functionality to help you get your site to do what it is you want it to do. All the programming has been done, you basically just add it (activate it), and then start using it. There are literally hundreds of them to choose from. To help you quicken your plugin search, we’ve included this list of the free plugins we use below. They have worked terrifically for us, as such, we highly recommend them. (just click on plugins, and there is a search box in the upper right corner. Enter these names in that search box to learn more about them).
Advanced WP Columns
Disqus comment system
Updraft plus – backup/restore
W3 total cache
MORE ABOUT WORDPRESS
If wordpress is completely new to you and you’d like more information to get you feeling comfortable with it…take a look at WP101.com. It’s a tutorial site with tons of videos on just about every aspect of WordPress.