How to start a blog with WordPress and Bluehost, two popular website creation tools on the market.
WordPress is the most used content management system on the internet; 43 percent of websites used it in 2022, according to statistics from W3tech. Second is Shopify with 4 percent, Wix with 2.5 percent, Squarespace with 2 percent, and Joomla with 1.7 percent. In addition, it is open source and free; therefore, anyone can modify their WordPress site.
1.2 percent of all websites use Bluehost. It is significantly less than Godaddy with 6 percent and Amazon with 5.8 percent of the hosting market.
I have been using Bluehost since I started my WordPress blog a few years ago. Their integration with WordPress is easy. With just a few clicks, you will be up and running. Beginners can easily navigate.
Table of Contents
What you need to start a blog
Before starting a blog with WordPress and Bluehost, here are a few things you need to consider.
- The name of your blog.
- The purpose of your blog
- Your budget
- Type of security you plan to use
- The plugin you will use
Domain name/blog name
Before setting up your blog, decide on the name you will use, then see if it’s available and if you can afford it.
I thought I had the perfect name for my website, but unfortunately, somebody purchased it. Although it was unavailable on the domain name site, the owner had it for sale. But the asking price of US$10,000 was too much for my pocket, so I had to find a cheaper alternative.
Please search Bluehost for your preferred domain name availability and affordability. Also, check if it is on social media platforms. Branding is essential and having the same name on all platforms makes your content more accessible.
While the .com domain extension is better because of its popularity and because people trust it, you can use other alternatives such as .net or .org.
You get a one-year free domain registration with your first sign-up with Bluehost, so have your domain ready before you start. Unfortunately, the first time I signed up with Bluehost, I got an auto-generated name with random letters because I didn’t have my preferred domain name ready. So I had to buy one later, losing out on the free option.
The purpose of your WordPress blog
Knowing your WordPress blog’s purpose is vital before you start creating it. In addition, it will help you to choose a hosting plan that’s the right fit and begin with the correct foundation.
Your budget will influence the hosting plan you will buy. Luckily, Bluehost has affordable plans, although the cheaper package offers fewer options. But if you are a beginner, it can work until you can afford more expensive options.
Your site security
While considering starting your blog with Bluehost and WordPress, remember security. Both platforms have some level of protection, but you will need a security plugin to complement them.
I didn’t know anything about securing my blog, so my site got hacked. Cost me sleepless nights and hours wasted trying the fix it. I almost gave up because the attack was so persistent.
Start a blog on WordPress and Bluehost.
Now follow these simple steps, and you are good to go.
- Log on to the Bluehost website from the menu options, and select WordPress. Then, on the sub-menu, choose WordPress hosting.
- Choose your hosting plan. Note: the renewal price is much higher than the purchase price. Recommend getting the 36-month program. You will save a lot in the long run.
- Create your domain name or enter your domain name if you have one. You can skip this process.
- Create your account and enter your payment details. Then submit.
- You will get an email with your login information. Sign into your Bluehost dashboard.
- Select my site on the right of your screen.
- You will get two options. a) simple WordPress site, b) Bluehost website builder with WordPress
- Choose a simple WordPress site and select get started.
- Click advanced. Enter your email and password. (The advanced setting will allow you to access your WordPress backend without logging into Bluehost.)
- Select your domain name.
- Deselect the plugin options and click next.
- Answer the simple questions.
- Next, log into your WordPress site back office.
- Congrats, you have set up your WordPress blog with Bluehost. Now it’s time to customize.
Customizing your WordPress blog
Not that you have created your blog with WordPress and Bluehost. It is time to customize it to look like a modern website. Your WordPress site has a customizable default theme _Twenty Twenty Three, but I recommend changing it to Astra or Generate Press. They both have a free and a paid version which charges an annual subscription fee. These themes are easily customized, light, and fast, which will help your site rank on Google, where speed and user-friendliness are major ranking factors.
- On the left of your WordPress control panel, click on themes. Your default theme will pop up.
- To its right, there is a plus button. Click on it and search for Astra or any theme you like. To try Generatepress, sign up and download here.
- Click on Appearance and select customize; you can change the blog layout color, typography, and more.
- For site identity, you should include a tagline and your site logo. If you don’t have a logo, go to Canva.com and create one. They have a free and premium service. You can also search for free logo makers online or pay someone on Fiveer to design one. I have tried all three options, but Canva worked best for me.
- This YouTube video will show how to customize Generatepress.
Now that you have customized your WordPress site, you can make your first post and share your ideas with the world.
From your WordPress dashboard, go to post and click on Add New. Put in your headline and start writing. You can copy and paste your content created in editing apps like Grammarly.
Organize your content so it is easy to read. Use the correct heading; also include pictures where it will help enhance your subject. Save in draft for later or publish immediately if you’re ready.
Essential plugins To Include on your WordPress blog.
When I created my first WordPress blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I followed all the recommendations from Youtube and google. Years later, I realized some were recommended only because of their affiliate payout and not because they were the best or needed.
Here is a list of plugins I wish I had known then.
Security is essential on all sites; hackers are also probing for vulnerabilities to exploit. So it should be one of the first plugins you install. Here are some excellent options.
For starters, you can use the free version, which provides some level of security, but the paid version gives better options and lives updates.
Malcare also has a free version and is a good option if you can’t afford premium service.
They provide security at the site level, which will slow your blog down if it’s under sustained attack.
Sitelock and Securi
I prefer the paid version of these two, even though one is a little more expensive. Unlike the previous two, they filter traffic to your site, so their servers get the brunt of all attacks intended for your blog. Therefore no resort is wasted dealing with unwanted bot traffic searching for weaknesses to exploit. In addition, they will clean up and fix loopholes if your site gets hacked.
Forms and email tools
Forms are necessary for every blog. You use them to collect emails for people who like your content and subscribe to your blog. For people to contact you through your website for business or other reasons. There are several great form builders, but Nijah Forms, WPforms, and WP Forms For Mailchimp worked for me.
Communicating with subscribers or doing email marketing campaigns are essential parts of blogging. Mailchimp, Sendinblue, and Hubspot are free email marking tools I have tried. They are perfect for new bloggers who dont have a massive email list or do much email marketing. However, as you grow, the premium version will better suit you because it has better features and customizability. You even try other great email tools, such as Constant Contact.
Seo is vital if your want your WordPress blog to rank high on Google and get traffic. I have used the free and paid version of Yoast Seo, which helps a lot. In addition, I recently came across All In One SEO which I am using on this site and future projects.
Adding codes to your blog header and footer
Sometimes you will need to add code to your site header or footer. For example, when you install Google Site Kit or other web traffic trackers. I use WP Code to make this process easier.
Tracking your blog traffic
Knowing how much traffic your WordPress blog gets and from where is essential for your site’s growth. There are tools on the market, free and paid, but Google Sit Kit works well for me. I get all the information that I need for my content creation. Furthermore, it is free.
Bluehost makes it easy to start a WordPress using their hosting service. It is simple as choosing a plan that fits your budget and a few clicks. They have tools and services dedicated to WordPress site builders. Their pricing is among the cheapest for beginners, with special rates for new users for less than $3 per month.
Although WordPress blogs are relatively easy to set up, you should understand security and SEO, which are critical to your blog growth. Take advantage of the paid and free tools available and get a good theme. If you have challenges with anything, many blogs and Youtube channels can help you. Also, you can find WordPress specialists on Fiveer, Upwork, and Bluehost.