How to Start a Successful WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes (2016)
Every Online Business Needs a Website with a Blog
This post is a comprehensive guide on how to set up a WordPress blog using Bluehost in just a few minutes for cheap.
A website with a blog is the first essential of any profitable passive income business done online. Blogging allows you to connect with your readers and build a following. It can also have a big impact on your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Click the link below to to start a blog on WordPress, then follow the tutorial below for easy directions.
You Should Self-Host Your Website
There are a few free options and website builders like Strikingly, Blogger, or Tumblr — some of which we’ve talked about before. Those are great options, but I don’t recommend going down that path for three important reasons:
1) When you use a free service, your domain name will almost always be an “extra” extension to the service provider’s own domain.
2) You have fewer customization options for design, functionality, and revenue.
3) When you build your business on someone else’s platform, your business is vulnerable to any changes they might make.
For example, if Tumblr closed tomorrow, you would lose your business entirely.
These three reasons alone are exactly why I recommend creating a self-hosted website. You have more control, it looks more professional, and you can truly call it your own.
You Should use WordPress for Your Blog
If you want to have a blog on your website, then WordPress is your best option. It’s the most content management system for blogging hands down. Here are some quick facts about WordPress:
- WordPress was first released in 2003
- Over 20% of all websites are powered by WordPress
- You can pick from 30,000 free themes to choose from for your website
- 30+ Best Portfolio WordPress Themes of 2015 (Colorlib)
- 30+ Best Blog WordPress Themes of 2015 (Colorlib)
- WordPress is “open-sourced”, meaning that you can find information and documentation to help you get started
Creating a website with WordPress is also the cheapest option by far. WordPress is free to use, so all you have to pay for is domain hosting, which is less than $10 a month.
WordPress Blog Setup Tutorial
To set up your website, we will use Bluehost as the hosting service. Bluehost is one of the top web hosting companies in 2016 and you can start your own blog with them for as low as $3.45 a month using my special link for The Remote Lifestyle readers!
Bluehost is the only hosting service officially recommended by WordPress and has been the number-one recommended hosting service for their platform for almost 10 years. Here are a few reasons that I choose to use Bluehost:
- Amazing 24/7 live chat customer support.
- Great documentation for any questions you might have.
- One-click WordPress install.
- 30-day money back guarantee and the option to cancel at any time.
To get started you’ll need to register and purchase a domain name for your website.
1. Register Your Domain Name
You can click here to purchase a domain name and create a blog, then continue to follow the steps below. On Bluehost’s homepage, hover over “Products” and click “WordPress Hosting” on the top of the page.
Next, you need to choose a domain name for your site. If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost. If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one from right in the sign-up process.
Once you’ve entered a domain name, you’ll fill in your personal information.
2. Buy Hosting for Your WordPress Blog
After selecting your domain name, you’ll choose which hosting package you want. The “Basic” package is all you will need and will be the cheapest option available.
It’s only $2.95 per month through my link, due upfront in full if you sign up for 36 months. If you sign up for a 24-month plan, then the price is $3.45 per month. If you sign up for a 12-month plan, then the price is $4.45 per month. $4.45 is still extremely affordable and it’s a great plan to choose.
If you are unsure about blogging, I would sign up for the 12-month plan as this is still a great price and very affordable for one year of blogging. If you purchase a 12-month plan, your total price is only $53.40 a year, which is still a great price.
The other item you may want to pay for when it comes to blogging is Domain Privacy Protection, which is only $0.99 per month. This is so that your contact information stays safe. Other than the above, you do not need the other items that Bluehost sells, so I would uncheck any of the extras that are listed.
After you’ve filled in your information and chosen your hosting package, click the “Next” button to complete your purchase. You’ll then be asked to create a password for your account.
Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you can get started installing WordPress!
3. Installing WordPress
Click on “Hosting” at the top of your page. On the next page, click “cPanel”:
In your cPanel, scroll to the section titled “MOJO Marketplace” and choose the “One-Click Installs” button:
This will take you to a page inside MOJO Marketplace called Scripts and Platforms. The blog section is at the very top, so all you have to do here is click on the WordPress icon.
This will open the installation window. Click on the green “Start” button that will start the WordPress installation process, which has a few easy steps.
Step 1: Choose where you want to install WordPress.
This can be any domain on your account, or a subdomain or a folder for one of your domains. Next, click on “Check Domain,” which will make sure the domain is assigned and pointing to your account. You may get a warning that you are overwriting files, but as long as you don’t have another website built yet, you can check the box and continue. This is mostly to make sure that you really want to install in that location. If you do have other sites built, you will want to make sure you’re not overwriting something important.
Step 2: Show Advanced Options.
This section allows you to set up your own username and password for your WordPress install. IT is recommended to use a different username than “admin” and a very strong password. Make sure that the “Automatically create a new database for this installation” box is checked, unless you have a database already set up that you want to use.
Step 3: Check the “Terms and Conditions” box, then click “Install Now.”
Now you’ll see the progress page, which will show you how far along the installation is. Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password.
You will get a copy of this information, except your password, in your email as well. Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
Now you can log into your WordPress site by going to the admin login URL. Enter your username and password, then click “Log In.” This will take you to your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can control everything to do with your WordPress site, such as creating pages, writing posts, and changing the appearance.
4. Navigating The WordPress Admin Panel
WordPress is a system that’s pretty easy to use and navigate. There are a lot of great tutorials out there as well. But to get you started on the right foot, I’ll go through the basics with you.
Here’s what you’ll see when you first log into the WordPress dashboard:
First, we will go over are the links in the sidebar. These links cover the core functions of WordPress. Note that hovering over each of these links will cause additional options to show up. Also, the one that’s active will show its additional options by default right underneath it.
WordPress Sidebar Options
- Dashboard — what you see when you log in. It contains whatever widgets you have selected to show on it.
- Posts — this is where you’ll go to write or edit a blog post.
- Media — database containing pictures, audio files, video, and other media you upload to your site.
- Pages — create new or edit existing pages. Pages are different from Posts because they will show up in your site’s main navigation instead of going on your list of blog posts. Pages are suitable for timeless content and common ones are the About and Contact pages.
- Comments — here you can see the comments on your blog. You have the option to turn off comments.
- Appearance — where you’ll customize the look and feel of your site. There are options for your site’s theme, menus, and the widgets you want to display.
- Plugins –where you can add and manage your plugins. Plugins are small apps that can give your site new functionality.
- Users — here you can manage the user profiles on your site. Since this is a personal site, the only one that should be here is your own.
- Tools — you won’t need to worry about anything in here.
- Settings — the settings and configurations for your website. There’s lots of stuff in here and we’ll dive into this momentarily.
Now that you know what does what, you should have an easier time navigating WordPress and creating your site.
5. Configuring Your WordPress Settings
When you create a page, WordPress makes the URL string the page title. For example, a page titled “Contact” would get a URL like “website.com/contact”.
However, by default WordPress doesn’t do this for blog posts. Instead, it creates an ugly URL like website.com/?p=123. So the first setting we need to change is to make your blog post title be the URL.
To do this, you need to change your permalink structure. This is pretty straightforward:
- Hover over Settings and click Permalinks.
- Choose the option for Post Name.
- Save your changes.
Next, we’re going to set our time zone so that your publishing time for your blog post will reflect where you are.
- Go to Settings -> General.
- In the Timezone field, choose your timezone.
- While you’re here, you can also go to the bottom and change week’s starting day if you want.
- Save your changes.
6. Adding Content to Your Blog
Next step is to start adding content to your blog. You can either add a new page or a new post.
Creating a New Post
To write a post:
- Log in to your WordPress Administration Panel (Dashboard).
- Click the ‘Posts’ tab.
- Click the ‘Add New’ sub-tab.
- Start filling in the blanks: enter your post title in the upper field, and enter your post body content in the main post editing box below it.
- As needed, select a category, add tags, and make other selections from the sections below the post. (Each of these sections is explained below.)
- When you are ready, click Publish.
Description of Post Fields
The title of your post. You can use any phrases, words or characters. You can use commas, apostrophes, quotes, hyphens/dashes and other typical symbols/. WordPress will then clean it up to generate a user-friendly and URL-valid name of the post (also called the “post slug”) to compose the permalink for the post.
Body Copy Box:
The blank box where you enter your writing, links, links to images, and any information you want to display on your site. You can use either the Visual or the Text view to compose your posts.
Allows you to view the post before officially publishing it.
Contains buttons that control the state of your post. The main states are Published, Pending Review and Draft.
- Published status means the post has been published live on your blog for all to see.
- Pending Review means the draft is waiting for review by an editor prior to publication.
- Draft means the post has not been published and remains a draft for you.
Stands for “permanent link” and is the link for your post
Allows you to save your post as a draft / pending review rather than immediately publishing it. To return to your drafts later, visit Posts — Edit in the menu bar, then select your post from the list.
Publishes your post on the site.
Refers to micro-categories for your blog, similar to including index entries for a page. Posts with similar tags are linked together when a user clicks one of the tags.
The general topic the post can be classified in. Generally, bloggers have 7–10 categories for their content. Readers can browse specific categories to see all posts in the category
A summary or brief teaser of your post featured on the front page of your site as well as on the category, archives, and search non-single post pages.
Options to enable interactivity and notification of your posts. This section hosts two check boxes: “Allow Comments on this post” and “Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on this post”
Password Protect This Post:
To password protect a post, click Edit next to Visibility in the Publish area to the top right, then click Password Protected, click Ok, and enter a password. Then click OK. Note — Editor and Admin users can see password protected or private posts in the edit view without knowing the password.
A list of all blog authors you can select from to attribute as the post author. This section only shows if you have multiple users with authoring rights in your blog. To view your list of users, see Users tab on the far right.
A list of all revisions made to the current post or page. Clicking on a revision will open a dedicated revision change where you can compare the current version of the post or page with any previous versions. There is also an option to restore any previous versions.
Creating a New Page
Creating a page is much simpler than creating a new post.
- Log in to your WordPress Administration Panel (Dashboard).
- Click the ‘Pages’ tab.
- Click the ‘Add New’ sub-tab.
- Start filling in the blanks: enter your page title in the upper field, and enter your page body content in the main post editing box below it.
- When you are ready, click Publish.
7. Setting the Front Page of Your Blog
By default, WordPress will set your homepage or “front page” to be your blog page. Your blog page is a page that displays excerpts of all your blog posts.
If you want to have a custom front page, you will need to create a page and then manually set that to be your front page.
There are two steps critical to creating a static front page on your site with WordPress.
- Assign the Front Page
- Assign the Posts Page (blog page)
The Page assigned as the front page of the site will display the static information you wish readers to know. It may be customized to direct people to welcome or offer instructions, featured content, highlight specific posts, articles, categories, or contributors.
The Page assigned as the blog page (posts page) of the site displays posts in reverse chronological order. Posts set as Sticky Posts will stick to the top of the queue, and navigation and organization of post content is through categories and tags.
8. Customize the Look of Your Blog with Themes
A theme is basically a skin for your site. It changes the look while retaining all the content you created.
One of the best things about WordPress is vast numbers of themes available for your to use. Using a theme, you can change the look of your site without needing to know any CSS or have any graphic design skills.
The first step in customizing your site’s look is to simply find a theme you like.
To look for themes, just hover over “Appearance” on the left sidebar of the dashboard and click themes. On the themes page, click on “Add New Theme” and you’ll be taken to a page where you can search for all the free themes available to you.
Another way you can look for themes is to hop on Google and search for the best themes.
Note that not all themes are created equal. Some themes are simple, offering just the basics, while others are much for elaborate. Some themes are made for specific types of sites, like magazines or restaurants. Likewise, some themes are free and some are premium ones that you’ll need to pay for.
Congratulations! You are a Blogger Now.
Believe it or not, this is all it takes to start your own blog. In a few minutes, you can have your very own blog spun up as well. So what are you waiting for?
Originally published at theremotelifestyle.com on October 17, 2016.