My goal with VitalDollar.com is to help people who want to improve their own financial situation by saving more money, making more money, or (ideally) both. My own financial situation changed drastically after I discovered the power of blogging and how a blog can be used to generate income while working from home.
When I started my first blog I didn’t have any clue what I was doing. Fast forward several years later and I’ve now been working full-time in my blogging-based business for more than a decade.
It’s truly been a life-changing experience for me and my family. I’ve been able to earn a good income, work on things that I enjoy, and avoid commuting to a job that I don’t like. The #1 factor in all of that has been blogging (read about how I’ve made more than $1 million blogging).
So when other people ask me about ways to make money online or from home, blogging is one of my first recommendations. If you’re on this page, chances are you are at least considering start a blog of your own. On this page I’ll show you how simple it is to get your own blog set up.
Why You Need Web Hosting for Your Blog
While there are platforms out there like Blogger and WordPress.com that will allow you to start your own blog for free, there are some very significant drawbacks to going the free route:
- Your blog will be hosted on their website (blogger.com or wordpress.com) and you’ll have very little control.
- If you want to appear professional you will need to have your own domain name, rather than hosting your site at johnsmith.wordpress.com.
- You’ll have better options and better possibilities for monetizing a blog with your own hosting and domain name.
It’s virtually impossible to make money while using one of the free blogging platforms. If you hope to make any money from your blog you need to invest in a domain name and web hosting.
The good news is… a domain name and web hosting really doesn’t cost very much. The cost of a domain name registration is about $15 per year, and I’ll show you how to get web hosting for just a few dollars per month.
When you have your own domain and web hosting you own your website. It will look much more professional, and you can monetize the site/blog any way you want. And if for some reason you don’t like the web host you’re using, you can always move the site to a new host.
How to Start Your Blog
Ok, so now that we’ve looked (very quickly) at why you need your own domain name and web hosting, you may be feeling a bit intimidated. Don’t worry, getting your own blog set up is very easy and I’ll walk through the process.
There are countless hosting companies out there to choose from, but not all of them are equal. For new bloggers, I recommend the hosting services from Bluehost. Bluehost’s prices are great (which is ideal for new bloggers who are just getting started), their customer service is very good, and the reliability and uptime is better than what you will get from most low-priced web hosts.
As a Bluehost customer, you’ll be able to get support 24/7 by email or phone, and the response to email tickets is quick. I recommend never purchasing web hosting from a company that doesn’t offer customer service 24 hours per day (fortunately, most of the bigger hosts do). The last thing you want is to have an issue with your blog or website and to have to wait hours, or even days if it’s a weekend, to get in touch with a support rep. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Bluehost also makes it super easy to install WordPress and get your blog set up, as I’ll show you. You can follow along with the text-based instructions or watch the video below if you prefer.
Now that you know why Bluehost is the best choice as a host for your new blog, let’s go ahead and get you signed up! Head over to Bluehost’s website and click on “WordPress hosting” to see the packages that are available (you don’t need WP Pro or eCommerce), just the regular WordPress hosting.
From this page, you’ll be able to see the details of a few different hosting plans.
The Basic plan is sufficient unless you want to be able to host multiple websites on your account. If you want to have more than one site on the hosting account, go with the Plus plan. Otherwise, go with Basic. Click on the “select” button for whichever plan you choose.
Next, you’ll come to the screen that is shown below.
If you’ve already registered a domain name somewhere (like GoDaddy or Namecheap), enter it where it says “use a domain you own”. If you haven’t registered a domain name already and you know the domain name that you would like, enter it where it says “create a new domain.”
Bluehost also gives you the option to skip this step and create your domain later. This is great because you can still go ahead and sign up for hosting even if you haven’t chosen a domain name yet.
After you enter your existing domain name, create a new one, or choose to skip the step, you’ll be led to a page where you can enter your payment details. You’ll create your account, choose the package that you want, and complete the payment.
The price of the pack depends on the length of term that you select. You can pay for 12, 24, or 36 months of hosting. The monthly price is cheaper on the longer terms. Personally, I always choose 12 months, but if you want to get a lower monthly price, you can go with 24 or 36 months if you’d like.
After you’ve completed the payment, you’ll be led to a confirmation page like the one shown below.
Click the blue “create account” button to proceed. Next, you’ll see the screen shown below where you’ll create the login and password that you will use to sign in to your Bluehost account.
After you create the account, you’ll be led to the confirmation page shown below.
Click on the blue “go to login” button and enter the login credentials that you just set up.
Now Bluehost will lead you through the process up setting up your WordPress-powered blog. You will only be able to go through the following steps if you’ve chosen a domain name. If you haven’t chosen your domain name yet, you’ll need to come back to this part later.
The first screen asks you what you want to name your site and for your site’s tagline. You’ll also be asked if you want a blog, change the toggle to indicate that you do want a blog. After you select that you do want a blog, you’ll be asked if you want blog posts to appear on your homepage or on another page. Select the homepage for now (you can always change that later in the WordPress settings if you want to). You’ll also be asked if you want an online store. You can leave that unselected.
When you’re done, click the blue “continue” button. The next step will ask you about your goals and your comfort level creating websites. Select the most appropriate goal and to follow along with the tutorial, select “very” for your comfort with creating websites.
After you complete that step, you’ll be able to select your blog theme, or you can “skip this step” and have the default WordPress theme installed. For the purposes of this tutorial, I skipped it so the default theme was installed.
Now your WordPress blog has been installed! You’ll be led to your dashboard (shown below).
If you click on the blue “WordPress” button it will take you to the WordPress dashboard for your blog.
Your site is in maintenance mode by default at this point. You can either click on the “launch my site” button from the page shown above, or go to the WordPress dashboard and launch it from there. Once it is launched, the site will be publicly visible.
You can also use a free logo maker and customize your theme’s appearance (in the WP dashboard) to give your site some character.
If you have any trouble following these written instructions, please watch the video embedded earlier in the article as it will lead you through the process.