Learning how to start a blog can be a little overwhelming, even if the desire to start blogging comes easy. You know you need a decent topic idea. You also know you need a platform that can host your blog. Maybe you even know about the dozens of other things you need to worry about, but how do you get started? That’s the focus of this tutorial. Here’s what you’ll learn in this post:
- Learn to pick an idea for your blog.
- How to register a domain name.
- How to start a blog with Bluehost and WordPress.
- Choose the right WordPress theme for a blog.
- How to decide which WordPress plugins to use.
- Where to go from there to run a successful blog.
Without further ado, here is the MH Themes tutorial on how to start a blog with Bluehost and WordPress. Starting a blog can be very easy by following these steps:
- Finding your blogging niche
- Think about a suitable domain name for your blog
- Start your own blog with Bluehost & WordPress
- How to find a WordPress theme for your blog
- Choosing WordPress plugins for your blog
Finding your blogging niche
This is where you need to begin if you want to start blogging. Blogging has grown from its roots as a fun hobby for many to a lucrative business generating thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions for businesses all around the world. This is why it’s important for you to find your niche and define your target audience from the get-go. You may find yourself working too hard for very few benefits if you choose an over-saturated niche.
The solution? A new take on an over-saturated niche. It’s nearly impossible to find a niche that doesn’t have at least one active, high-profile blog in it, but you don’t need to completely re-invent the wheel to be successful in this industry. You just need to provide something other blogs in your niche are missing. You need to connect with your audience and solve real-world problems.
Examples of clever niche markets to inspire you
We’ll begin with the blogging world. You are a foodie in this scenario, and you’re interested in starting your own food blog. Should you simply upload a blog post discussing how to make each and every little recipe that comes to mind? You could, but you’ll only find yourself winding up in the “working too hard for too few benefits” camp.
Think about the individuals your niche could attract instead as well as the problems they face. For example, if you come across a large amount of people interested in vegan recipes that have small grocery lists and minimal steps involved, jump in on this niche, and optimize your blog post topics for it. Your niche or “gimmick”, if you will, would be “quick vegan recipes” in this scenario.
Here’s a list of businesses that have brought new takes to over-saturated markets:
- Tesla Motors with “sexy” electric cars.
- Airbnb with cheap, real-life living spaces to book.
- Uber with cheap and efficient transportation services.
At the end of the day, your topic should be something you know, but you don’t necessarily need to be an expert at it. You also don’t need to have everything figured out from the start. Find a problem to solve for now, and optimize your blog, and your site in general, as you go.
Think about a suitable domain name for your blog
Your domain name goes hand in hand with the identity of your website. That statement’s true for humans and machines. You may lose your reputation in terms of brand recognition and SEO if you choose to your site’s domain name at some point down the line, so choose wisely. Here are some tips on choosing the right domain name for your website or blog.
It’s much more efficient to name your website after the name of your blog, so think of it in terms of that. Choose something that’s short, catchy, easy to remember and easy to spell. Just be certain the name you do decide to go with can’t be confused with something.
For example, SumoMe, a suite of applications for websites, recently shortened their name and domain to “Sumo” and “Sumo.com”. CEO Noah Kagan is really pumped about the name and even spent $1.5 million to acquire the domain, but nearly all of the results that show up when you search for “sumo” have to do with sumo wrestling, not his business.
Most people prefer to use .com, but plenty of popular businesses have gotten by just fine with .net and .org extensions, so keep that in mind. You should also be careful about where you register your domain. You can either register your domain with a dedicated domain registrar, such as Namecheap, GoDaddy or 1&1, or register it with your host. Bluehost, for example, offers a free domain with every new hosting plan. This is great for people who want to deal with only one company.
The problem with registering your domain name with your host is the fact that it’ll be tied with that host, which can be an issue if you ever decide to switch. Domain transfers can take as long as 15 days, which means 15 days of possible downtime. You will, however, need to pay to register a domain if you choose to go this route.
Start your own blog with Bluehost & WordPress
Finally, we’re getting to the meat of our how to start a blog tutorial. Bluehost and WordPress have become powerhouses in the blogging industry. In fact, many WordPress blogs run exclusively on this duo. In short, WordPress is what you’ll use to build your blog and publish your posts while Bluehost is what you’ll use to host your website. Hosting your website or blog at Bluehost is available for an annual fee while WordPress is open-source and free.
Here’s a brief overview of who Bluehost is and what their contributions to WordPress have been over the past decade or so. Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth founded the company in 2003 in Provo, Utah, a prominent capital for tech companies. Bluehost was quick to support WordPress when the content management system launched the same year the host was founded.
They have a team full of WordPress experts, including a few engineers in the development department who work with WordPress core full time. They also power over 2 million websites across the web. Now let’s get started to create your blog at Bluehost:
How to start a blog by getting started with Bluehost
Click here to visit Bluehost’s website. Here’s the image you’ll see when you arrive.
You can see our link gives you access to a Bluehost discount that lowers the price of hosting from $7.99/month to as low as $2.95/month. Click Get Started Now. You’ll see three pricing tiers. The Basic tier is perfect if you only plan on running a single, small-scale blog. The Plus and Prime tiers are ideal if you plan on growing your blog quickly and expect higher traffic.
Enter your desired domain name in the New Domain box if you’re registering your domain with Bluehost. Enter the one you registered elsewhere in the I Have a Domain Name box.
Bluehost now comes with a Google Sign-In feature you can use to make creating an account even easier. Enter your personal and billing information in the fields below if you don’t wish to use this feature.
Learning how to start a blog can be daunting, and many delay launching their blogs due to cost. Thankfully, Bluehost lessens this cost for you. Pay attention to the “Total” in the Package Information section.
This is the price you’ll be expected to pay today. You can lower this price by unticking the Site Backup Pro and SiteLock Security – Find options. There are free security solutions you can implement once you finish this how to start a blog tutorial.
Pay attention to the Account Plan selection. You can see you need to sign up for a 36-month plan if you want to take advantage of the $2.95/month price. Choose a 12-month or 24-month pricing plan if you don’t want to be locked into a three-year hosting plan. You’ll also reduce the amount you’re required to pay today if you choose these plans. Enter your debit/credit card in the next section one you’re ready to pay. Click the “More Payment Options” link if you want to pay via PayPal.
Click Submit to submit payment and create your hosting account so we can continue with our tutorial on how to start a blog with WordPress.
Installing WordPress to start your blog
Sign into your Bluehost account once you receive all of the confirmation emails. You should land on the home screen for your hosting account. Scroll down until you find the Website section, and click Install WordPress. Make sure your domain is selected, and click Check Domain. The installer will check your domain and install WordPress on it.
Click the View Credentials button once it’s done. You’ll see the login URL you’ll need to access to sign into WordPress, which is typically yourdomain.com/wp-login.php for all WordPress sites. Navigate to this URL, and enter the login credentials you received in your email from Bluehost.
How to find a WordPress theme for your blog
Speed and the overall user experience of your website can have a major impact on how well your site does with search engines and visitors. This is why it’s important for you to choose a WordPress theme carefully, and it’s also why we’ve included it in our how to start a blog tutorial.
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to choosing a WordPress theme for your blog. The first is whether you want a dedicated blog theme or a business theme with blogging capabilities. When you start learning how to start a blog, you’ll come across a variety of business tips. If you’re at all interested in generating revenue from your blog, you may be better off with a theme that comes with a landing-page design as a homepage and features powerful blogging capabilities.
Here are a few additional features to look out for:
- Responsive layout
- Mobile friendly
- Multiple blog page layouts
- Multiple post layouts
- Plenty of features in the live theme customizer
You should also consider whether you want a free or premium theme. Premium themes typically come with a lot more features than free themes, but the most important feature premium themes offer is support. Free themes have a tendency to go unsupported, which means little to no security patches and no word from the developer should you experience an issue with the theme.
Choosing WordPress plugins for your blog
We’re nearing the end of our how to start a blog guide, and we wanted to touch base on WordPress plugins before we go. Plugins to WordPress are what apps are to mobile devices. Do you remember the first time you used a smartphone and how excited you were about the number of apps that were available? Do you remember how many you installed? You may have experienced how slow your phone got when you opened all of these apps and didn’t close any of them?
WordPress plugins are incredibly useful, but you need to be careful about installing them. Unsupported and/or poorly-coded plugins are at the core of most WordPress hacks and malware attacks. This is also why WordPress security should be on your to-do list when it comes to learning how to start a blog. Here are a few of simple rules to follow:
- Only install WordPress plugins that have been updated within the last two years.
- Only install WordPress plugins that have a decent star rating.
- Keep the number of plugins you install on your site to a minimum.
Here are a few resources on WordPress plugins to check out:
- Basics of WordPress plugins for beginners
- Top caching plugins to speed up your WordPress site
- Popular SEO plugins for WordPress
- Best image optimization plugins for WordPress
- Best WordPress analytics plugins
- Top security plugins for WordPress
Wrapping up our how to start a blog tutorial
You’ve now learned how you can get started with blogging in no time. That concludes our how to start a blog guide, but that doesn’t conclude your overall journey on learning blogging. Be sure to follow our own blog so you can continue learning and optimizing your knowledge on this subject. If you have any questions or want to share more tips on blogging, please let us know in the comments.