Last updated in September 2020
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost tutorial
Learn how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost. Blogging is my favourite side hustle and the best thing I started. It gives me the space to voice my opinion, educate my readers, and provide value to society. And the best of all, I make money from it.
Setting up an amazing blog is dead easy and you do not need any special skills. Let me show you how you can claim your own space on the internet in under 15 minutes with this step-by-step guide.
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase or sign-up through my links, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
In this tutorial I am going to show you:
- Why blogging is the best side hustle
- What you need to get started
- Why you should use WordPress.org
- Why you should use Bluehost
- How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost
- How to navigate the admin dashboard
- Which pages and plugins you may need
- How to write your first post
- How to get traffic to your new blog
Why you should start a blog
Blogging is only one of many side hustles that you could start. However, it has one key advantage. Setting up a blog is cheap and low risk. The worst that can happen is that you find out blogging is not for you and quit. If you have your hosting with Bluehost, you can get a full refund for your money within 30 days after purchase.
But that is not all blogging offers. If you stick with it, blogging is a low-cost hobby/side hustle that comes with a range of benefits:
1. Earn money from home
Blogging enables you to make money without setting a foot in front of your door. All you need is a computer or laptop with an internet connection and you can work from wherever you want: your bed, a local coffee shop, or a beach.
2. Make a passive income
Some mornings I wake up to find an email notification telling me that I just made money because someone used my affiliate links. Let me tell you, there is nothing better than making money in your sleep.
3. Improve your communication and marketing skills
As a blogger, you may want to sell your own products or affiliate products which you believe in. Furthermore, your readers and followers will reach out to you with questions. At first, all of this may seem daunting, but over time, you have the opportunity to develop strong communication skills.
4. Learn how to network efficiently
Networking has always been my weakness. But blogging helped me to improve (although I still have much to learn). The blogging community is really friendly and supportive and you may find a new friend or two along the way.
5. Deepen your knowledge about a subject you are passionate about
When blogging about your favourite topic, you will naturally learn more about it as you will explain it to others in great detail. Plus, blogging offers you an excuse to stay up-to-date with new developments in your chosen area.
6. Find people who are passionate about the same topic as you
Blogging is a great opportunity to make new friends who share your passion. Over time, you will get to know other bloggers in your niche and converse with your readers and social media followers. Plus, you can attend blogging conferences and meetings if you want to.
7. Be your own boss
Not having someone who tells you what to do feels really liberating. If you want to sleep in and start at noon, you can do that. If you feel like working at midnight, you can do that. Plus, the business decisions are all yours. You can grow your blog the way you like.
8. Add all these new skills to your CV
All these skills I mentioned make a great addition to your CV. As a blogger, you can breeze through many competency-based job interviews as you will have lots of examples of where you used a certain skill.
Skills You need for blogging
There are no special skills required. Anyone can learn how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost. There are also countless tools available to help you. For example, I am not a native English speaker so I rely on Grammarly to help me out with spelling and grammar.
Good writing skills are not a prerequisite and neither are marketing skills. You will naturally be better in some areas than others. And that is okay. Over time, your weaknesses will improve and once you are successful, you can easily outsource tasks you do not like doing.
Furthermore, if you use my guide on how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost, you will not need any computer skills beyond being able to operate a mouse.
How to get your blog online
Compared to starting other side hustles, a blog is easy to set up. You only need three things:
- Domain (your website name)
- Host (the server on which your website is running)
- Blogging platform (the software to build and manage your blog)
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost will teach you how to use Bluehost as your host and WordPress as your blogging platform. The domain is included in your Bluehost package (free for your first year) and WordPress is free to use. Thus, you only have to pay for your hosting.
Why you should use WordPress.org
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) used by bloggers to build and manage their blogs. There are alternatives such as Wix and Squarespace. However, they just cannot compare to WordPress. WordPress is free to use and super flexible, meaning it can fully adapt to your needs.
Furthermore, it is search engine optimisation (SEO) friendly, meaning it is much easier to get traffic from search engines with WordPress compared to other blogging platforms. And because everyone is using it, there are a myriad of free plugins to enhance and customise your blog.
If I cannot convince you, then perhaps you will be swayed by the fact that WordPress is used by 63.5% of all the websites whose content management system is known. This is 38.1% of all websites.
Why you should pay for hosting
There are several free blogging platforms. You may have heard of the free WordPress (wordpress.com), or Blogger. (Note that the WordPress we use in this guide is wordpress.org.) However, these have huge drawbacks:
- A free blog cannot be monetised meaning you will not make any money
- You will have a hard time gaining traffic as free blogs rank poorly in Google
- Your blog will feel less professional and you are more likely to give up quickly
Setting up a professional blog requires a small initial investment for hosting, but you will easily gain that money back quickly.
Bluehost will give a full refund should you decide that blogging is not for you within the first month. Therefore, you have plenty of time to decide whether you want to be a blogger.
Why you should use Bluehost
There are several hosts you can choose from but I have been with Bluehost since I started blogging. Bluehost is the recommended host for WordPress which means it will work seamlessly and is super easy to install. Millions of bloggers have been using Bluehost with great success.
There are also several advantages for using Bluehost:
- Their basic plan is low cost and totally sufficient for bloggers
- You get a free domain name for your first year
- And a free secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate for your blog
- The sign-up process is simple and you do not require technical knowledge
- You know exactly how much you pay and you can lock-in the cheap price for three years
- If blogging is not for you, you can get a full refund within 30 days of your purchase
- The live chat is super helpful and you do not have to wait for longer than a few minutes
Special offer for my readers
I have partnered with Bluehost and am able to offer you a hosting plan for $3.95 instead of $7.99 per month. This is a huge saving of $4.04 per month for your first three years of blogging. Thus, your hosting will cost you less than a cup of Starbuck’s coffee.
If you are not from the US, you can switch the currency in the top right corner. For my UK readers, this is £2.98 instead of £6.04 per month, meaning you will save £3.06 per month. The exact cost may vary for you depending on the dollar:pound exchange rate. Nevertheless, it will still be cheaper than your Starbuck’s coffee.
Note that you have to pay upfront for the three years.
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost in 2020
Before you can start a blog, you need to decide on two things:
- Niche (the topic you blog about)
- Domain name (the name of your blog)
Your niche should be a topic you are interested in and that you can write about without becoming exhausted. If you are unsure, you may want to start with a broader topic and narrow down later own. Alternatively, you can start with one niche and add other related niches later on.
For example, Monethalia is a financial independence blog but I also write about ideas about making and saving money. Or you could simply write about everything and anything under the sun and call it a lifestyle blog.
Your blog name
Finding a name is a major obstacle for many bloggers. Thus, when trying to come up with a name, keep in mind that the name is less important than it may seem. Rather, you should focus on producing good content.
There are a few approach to naming your blog you can take:
- Your own name
- Keywords relevant to your niche
- A fictional name
Using your own name means your blog will be very personal and readers can easily connect with you. However, you will not be able to blog anonymously. Using keywords will help you rank well in search engines but you cannot change your topic.
I decided to go with a fictional name with Monethalia. This has the advantage that the name is more memorable than just keywords and I can change my topic, all while blogging anonymously if I wanted to. Of course, what works well for me, does not necessarily work for you.
how to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost in 2020
You will then be asked to choose a plan. For beginners, basic is totally sufficient as this will give you access to all the tools you need. I am now nearly two years into my blogging career and still find the basic plan sufficient. Plus, if you decide that you need to upgrade your plan, you can always do so later on.
When I first signed up to Bluehost, having to pay scared me a bit. However, keep in mind that you can make that money back quickly. For me, it only took four months to recoup the costs and make a profit. Note that I am a very part-time blogger alongside my regular full-time job.
Click on select to confirm your plan.
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost: Your domain
Now you need to buy your domain name. Luckily, this is free for Bluehost users. Simply enter your domain name under new domain and click on next. Bluehost will automatically check whether the domain is available for you.
If you have previously bought a domain, use I have a domain name and click on next.
How to start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost: Your account
In the picture above, Bluehost shows us that the domain is available. Next, you need to put in your name, contact details and address. These details will not be publicly available on your blog, they are only for your Bluehost account (and the WHOIS database–more on this later).
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost: Your package
In the top box, you can see the plan you have chosen, the total price and your free extras. All you need to do is to confirm that these details are correct.
In the box below you can choose your extras. The options are:
- Domain Privacy Protection: Normally, the contact details of website owners are publicly available on the WHOIS database. If you purchase Domain Privacy Protection, Bluehost will replace your details with their own.
- SiteLock Security: You will be protected from malware and malicious attacks with Bluehost’s technology.
- Codeguard Basic: Codeguard provides you with daily backups and saves these as a separate version. This means you can easily restore your website in case it breaks.
- Bluehost SEO Tools Start: This tool offers you a separate dashboard where you can analyse your website and get a marketing report, do your keyword research, and submit your site to search engines.
- Office 365 Email Essentials: Normally, you can access your blog emails through open-source software (Horde, Roundcube, or SquirrelMail). If you purchase the Office 365 Email Essentials, you can access your emails through Microsoft Office instead.
You do not have to buy all of these. Several extras can be replaced with free plugins or tools:
|SiteLock Security||WordFence, Jetpack|
|Codeguard Basic||Updraft Plus|
|Bluehost SEO Tools||Google Analytics, free SEO tools|
|Office 365 Email Essentials||Gmail|
The only extra you may wish to purchase is the Domain Privacy Protection, although you get one month free. Therefore, there is no need to pay for this now.
Below you need to enter your payment information. Note that you will need to pay your hosting costs upfront. Initially, this may seem like a lot of money but remember, you are paying for your domain name plus hosting for three years.
Congratulations, you are a blogger now! Bluehost has already installed your blog in the background for you. That is how easy it is to get started. There is nothing else need to do now apart from starting your blog.
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost: Your theme
You can now pick a theme for your blog. Because WordPress is used by so many people, there is an unlimited variety of themes. If you have a limited budget, you can start out with a free theme and upgrade once you are more established.
Scroll to the bottom and click skip to choose your theme later.
Why you should use a paid theme
For beginners on a low budget, a good free theme is fine. However, in the long term, you may wish to think about using a paid theme. These have several advantages:
- Paid themes are SEO optimised and it will be easier to rank on Google
- They tend to be faster meaning you will lose fewer users due to long loading times
- With a paid theme, you have more customisation options
- Thus, you can earn more money meaning the theme will pay for itself
Changing themes is an effort (unless you pay somebody on Fiverr to do it for you) and you may have to change some elements of your blog entirely. Thus, I recommend starting with a paid theme if you have the funds.
Monethalia is currently running Genesis. Genesis is a popular WordPress framework that has been built using clean and efficient code for a fast loading website. It provides a powerful core for your website and you can run many different child themes on it. The term child theme essentially means a subtheme. Basically, you still have all the functionality and benefits from Genesis but use a child theme for the design element.
The child theme I use is Refined by Restored316. I absolutely love their feminine but functional designs. However, if that is not for you, do not worry. There are many child themes you can choose from.
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost: admin dashboard
You can log into your WordPress control panel by clicking Log in to WordPress. Then, you will see the WordPress admin dashboard:
Do not click on Launch yet. You still have a few things to do before you are ready to showcase your writing to the public.
First, you should spend some time familiarising yourself with the WordPress admin panel. With the top menu bar, you can switch between the admin area (backend) and your blog (frontend). To do this, click on the house symbol. If you want to go back, click on the dashboard symbol that is in the same place as the house symbol.
With the menu on the left, you can navigate between the different areas of the admin area. You will also be able to access the menu for each of your plugins, though what you see in this menu depends on which plugins you have installed. Some of the main menu items include:
- Dashboard: An overview of the important aspects of your blog
- Posts: This is where you will write, edit, and publish your posts
- Media: The place for uploading images and other media files for your blog
- Pages: This is where you can write, edit, and publish pages for your blog
- Comment: If you have the comment function active, this is where you can view and moderate reader comments
- Appearance: You can change and edit your theme here
- Plugins: The place for installing and managing your plugins
- Users: If you want other people to be able to write or edit a post, you can create an account for them here
- Settings: Your blog’s settings
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost: Install plugins
Plugins are little add-ons that add further functionality to your blog. There are many different plugins available. Some are free, whereas you have to pay a fee for others. Personally, I am not paying for any plugin and as a beginner, I recommend you to use free ones as well. (However, if you find a plugin you really like, there is nothing wrong with buying it.)
Here are a few popular plugins you may want to have a look at:
|AMP||Enables Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for WordPress, which creates a better user experience for people visiting your blog from their smartphones|
|Autoptimize||Increases your blog speed by optimising your cascading style sheets (CSS), images, fonts and more|
|Cookie Notice||To comply with the ePrivacy Directive (EPD) or Cookie Law, you have to inform your users that you are using cookies on your blog|
|Easy Table of Contents||Automatically generates a table of contents for each post. This makes it easier for readers to find relevant information|
|Social Warfare||Adds sharing buttons for social media to your posts and category pages meaning readers can share your content more easily|
|Updraft Plus||Regularly backs up your blog, thus you can easily restore your blog in case it breaks down|
|WP-Sweep||For a good database clean. You can uninstall it after each use|
|Yoast SEO||Helps you to improve your posts to gain more traffic from search engines such as Google|
This is not an exhaustive list, and my How to start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost tutorial only highlights the most popular plugins. For example, there are many plugins that increase the speed of your WordPress blog. Feel free to have a look yourself and explore the world of plugins.
To install a plugin, click Plugins and Add new, then search for the plugin you want using the search box.
A word of caution when using plugins
Firstly, when using plugins, you should only install as many as you need. Having too many plugins will slow down your blog or may even break it when different plugins interfere with each other. Thus, it is generally recommended to keep the number of plugins you use under 20.
Secondly, you should always check that the plugin comes from a reliable source. Have a look at a plugin’s rating and check how many other people are using it. Highly rated, popular plugins are more likely to be legit and work properly.
Creating pages for your blog
Once the theme and plugins are set, it is time to generate some content. Of course, your blog will need a few posts as well, but first, you should create the necessary framework by publishing your blog’s pages.
Pages and posts are both parts of a blog but they are not the same. In contrast to posts, pages display static content, are undated and cannot be categorised. Which pages you need depends on you and your blog but a few examples of pages are:
- Homepage: The first page viewers see when they navigate to your blog. By default, your blog roll will be your homepage
- Start here page: Introduction to your blog where you can narrate your most important blog posts
- About me page: A space for you to introduce yourself and your blog
- Disclaimer: Another mandatory page that limits your responsibilities and also discloses your affiliations
- Terms and conditions: Your rules visitors must adhere to
Writing your first post
Now it is time to fill your blog with posts. Posts are the main component of your blog and refer to the individual articles you write. To add a new post click Posts and Add New. This will open up the post editor:
All you have to do is add a title and some content. Your title goes into the Add title field and to add text, you can click into the Start writing or type field. This field is called a block, a paragraph block to be specific. To add further blocks (more paragraphs, headings, images, etc.) click on the plus symbol:
There are many different types of blocks but the ones you will probably use the most are:
- Paragraph: Adds a normal text field
- Heading: Adds a heading or subheading to your text
- Image: Adds an image to your text, either from your media library or from your computer
- Custom HTML: Adds a field for HTML code
Then, once you have written your post, click on Publish. You can also assign your post to a category and tags.
As a new blogger, you probably do not need tags yet; these are for organising content when you have a lot of posts. However, you should establish categories by clicking on Categories below Add New.
Launching your blog
If you have followed my tutorial How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost, you now have:
- A theme
- Pages for your blog
- Your first post
And with that, you are ready to launch your blog. Simply head to your dashboard and click Launch. Your blog is now available for everyone to see. However, it will still take some time for Google to index your blog (up to three weeks).
Even then, gaining traffic (i.e. visitors) from search engines is hard as a beginner because older, more establish websites will outrank you. Thus, in the beginning, you may want to focus on easier (but less consistent) sources of traffic.
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost: Traffic
Once your blog is set-up, establish a FaceBook or Twitter profile and set up your Pinterest account. As for Facebook, you can post in groups relevant to your niche to gain awareness. But make sure you adhere to the group’s rules!
Pinterest is an entirely different story. It is a social search engine, meaning sort of a hybrid of a social media platform and a search engine. This works to your advantage as a new blogger as your posts (called pins on Pinterest) can be found without you having to rank or have a large following.
Reality is a bit more complex but, in essence, you join Pinterest group boards which let you borrow the followers of other members of this group board. Taking a course to understand how you need to set up your Pinterest profile and how you can maximise your traffic is totally worth it.
Next, you may want to maximise your traffic from Google. This is a bit more complicated and will probably take two to three months. When your blog is new, Google will rank you at the bottom, giving priority to bigger and more established websites. To increase your ranking you need:
- Quality blog posts
- Good SEO
SEO means using proper titles, headings, meta descriptions, keywords, images, and more. There are many elements of SEO and the Yoast SEO plugin I mentioned earlier will help you with some. For the beginning, following Yoast SEO is sufficient and, over time, you will become more proficient with SEO.
Other tools you may like
There are millions of bloggers out there on the world wide web. Unsurprisingly, there are many tools, free and paid, that target bloggers and website owners. Here is a selection of tools you may like to use, although this is by no means an exhaustive list:
- Buffer: A social media scheduling tool. The free version is sufficient for new bloggers
- Tailwind: A scheduling tool for Pinterest. It is totally worth the cost as you can gain traffic quickly. You can also read my review
- Google Analytics: A tool for analysing your traffic so you can more efficiently target your readers
- Canva: A free tool to create images, even if you have no experience with image creation
- Grammarly: A free writing assistant that ensures your posts are free from errors
How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost summary
As you have seen in this How to start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost tutorial, starting a blog is super easy and has numerous benefits. I highly recommend giving blogging a go as I greatly enjoy it. Monethalia feels like my baby and it makes me proud to see it grow. To get started, head over to Bluehost and simply follow my step-by-step guide.
If you have any questions or feedback on this tutorial, let me know below. You can also choose from 99 other ways to make money if you decide that blogging is not for you.
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