So you want to know how to start a WordPress blog or website! Perfect. I’ll guide you through, step by step, on how to get your website started with self-hosted WordPress in 2018. This platform is incredibly popular and a top choice for you to go with if you want it to have the best chance of success from the beginning no matter what country you’re in, even here in Australia. Getting WordPress hosting for Blog Pixie was one of the best decisions I’ve made – I wish I’d done it sooner!
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We need to get your blog happening! The platform I recommend most if you want a successful blog is self-hosted WordPress.
Benefits of WordPress
- You can create an inspiring website/blog
- You can make money with your blog and run your very own online store
- When you purchase hosting you can get your domain for free and it’s automatically added to your blog
- The designer themes you can find for WordPress blogs are incredible
- You install easy-to-use Plugins to your blog to add functionality rather than messing around with HTML
- You can easily boost your SEO and rank higher in Google
- It’s the best platform if you’re working towards having a successful blog.
I highly recommend going with WordPress, as you can make your blog a stunning website, rather than “just a blog”. You will be able to run your own business and make money with your blog. Blog Pixie is on WordPress and it’s the best investment I’ve made. I now have a beautiful, interactive website (and you can too)!
When you’re just starting out there are some blogging terms that may seem a bit confusing, so I’ll try and make it easy for you:
Domain – Your domain is your web address, your home on the internet. When people type your domain into the web address bar, they’ll land on your blog. The domain for Blog Pixie is www.blogpixie.com, so your domain would be www.whateveryouwant.com
WordPress – WordPress is a web-creation platform which is installed to your hosting account. It’s where you go to run your blog, just like opening a program on your computer. It allows you to create a blog, change the look of it, publish posts, pages and run an online store.
Hosting – Web hosting is the service that makes your blog appear live online at your domain. If you didn’t pay for web hosting and went straight to your domain, nothing would be showing there. All your website files (your theme, posts, images, content) that you upload to WordPress are pushed live by your hosting.
All three of the above are required to have your own online space, and the best thing is that you can organise all of them in one go. Instructions below!
First we will be organising your domain, hosting and WordPress. You can get all of these sorted at the same time at a website called Bluehost. This is the #1 recommended hosting website for WordPress blogs and websites, plus it’s so fast to set up.
If you sign up for hosting with Bluehost, they’ll actually include your domain for free and connect it with your website straight away – you don’t have to worry about purchasing your domain somewhere else and any other complicated technical steps. They also install WordPress for you, as you’re signing up. Everything is done for you!
Go to Bluehost and you will land on their home screen, where you’ll see this banner. Click on the green ‘get started now’ button.
Next you will land on this screen, where you’ll need to select your plan. If you’re just starting out, the first package has everything you need.
Keep in mind that to get the low price they’re showing you, you’ll have to pay for 36 months up-front. Your new blog will be all paid for, ready to make it a success in the next 3 years. Definitely worth the investment! Plus if you change your mind in the first 30 days, you can cancel and Bluehost will give you a full refund.
You can of course choose a 12-month plan instead, but when you think about it, paying for 3 years upfront is probably way cheaper than the amount you spend on coffee each year!
The basic plan includes:
- Your domain
Make your blog look professional from the beginning with a web address (www.yourblogname.com) instead of yourblog.blogspot.com or yourblog.wix.com
Paying for the space to keep all your blog content safe and making it appear live online
- A perfect amount of hosting space
Lots of space to upload all your blog images, products and content
- 5 email accounts
So you can have firstname.lastname@example.org as a stylish email address, instead of a gmail or hotmail address
Now you’ll need to choose your domain (www.yourblog.com). This can take some time, trying to find one that hasn’t already been taken. Try and find the closest domain you can to your blog or business name (need help choosing a blog name?). The shorter it is, the more memorable it will be.
Once you’ve clicked next, you’ll land on a page where you have to fill your info in. This is your main information for your Bluehost account. Make sure your email address is correct, as this will be the email Bluehost uses to contact you.
On the same page, you’ll need to confirm your plan and account information.
Next to Account Plan, choose exactly which one you’d like (I know, again!), and it will let you know next to ‘Hosting Price’ what the total for that package comes to.
The extra options with checkboxes underneath aren’t necessary, but it’s up to you. Read ‘more information’ besides each one to see if you want them. Otherwise, uncheck all.
At the bottom you will see the total amount you’ll be paying to Bluehost (depending on which account plan you’ve chosen).
Down the bottom of the same page, is the area where you fill in your payment details. Have a read of their Terms Of Service and Cancellation Policy, and then click Submit.
Next you will need to create your Bluehost password.
You can see your menu on the left which has all the sections you need, including Posts (to publish blog posts), Pages (to create your About and Contact pages) and Appearance (to change your theme).
5. Install a Blog Theme
Now we’re at the fun part. Installing a blog theme changes the appearance and layout of your blog/website. It’s all the complicated coding done for you, in one file which you simply have to upload to your blog. You don’t need to hire a web developer to design it all for you if you install a theme.
There are so many different layouts to choose from – some with a side bar, some just a header and body section. When you preview themes, ignore what content is currently in the preview. Imagine your content (logo, posts, photos, writing) in there. A theme just organises where your content is going to be displayed on your blog.
Free WordPress Themes
In your dashboard menu (the dark menu running down the left hand side), go to Appearance > Themes and click the ‘Add New’ button at the top. You can find a selection of free themes to install to get started. Remember you can change your theme any time throughout your blog journey, so if you start with a free one now, you can always purchase a designer one later.
My favorite free themes include:
To find them, just search their name in the ‘Search Themes’ search bar.
Designer WordPress Themes
If you want your blog to look absolutely incredible from the start, I recommend purchasing a designer theme. My favorite place to buy WordPress themes is Hello You Designs. She has an installation service if you want her to set it up for you, or you can do what I did and follow her free step by step Support guide. I knew nothing about WordPress but was able to set up my whole theme myself.
To install one of her themes, you will need to purchase the Genesis Framework, install and activate that in the Themes section first. Then install and activate the theme you’ve purchased.
My favorites from Hello You Designs include:
Last Updated September 2nd 2018