So, you want to start your own blog? Awesome!
Whether you’re looking to blog just for fun or you want to really make money from blogging, the starting point is the same — setting up your blog. And if you want to get through this part without hassles, you’re just on the right page.
Here, you’ll learn how to set up your own blog within 30 minutes or less — even if you’re a complete newbie with no prior knowledge of HTML or other technical stuff.
All you have to do is read the comprehensive guide below, and follow the steps to create your own WordPress blog. Within thirty minutes or thereabout, you should have your own blog live on the web!
Now, let’s get started with the basics.
At this point, I want to assume that you’ve already figured why you want to start blogging, and you’ve decided on the topic you want to blog about. So, I won’t bother dwelling on those aspects. Let’s move on fast.
Before proceeding to set up your blog, you need to do two important things: First, choose a domain name. And second, decide on which blogging platform to use.
Choose a domain name
Your domain name is going to be your identity in the “blogosphere”, so you need to choose it carefully. Opt for a domain name that is unique, easy to remember, and short. Though including words that reflect your blog topic isn’t a must, it is recommended.
Bear in mind that your most preferred name might not be available, so you should have a number of other options by the side. Better yet, consider other domain extensions (that is, if yourpreferredname.com is no longer available, consider yourpreferredname.net, or yourpreferredname.org).
And if all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to use your own name (or a pen name if you prefer that). Many successful bloggers use their names as their blog’s domain names.
Decide on blogging platform
This area can be really confusing for most beginner bloggers because they really don’t know the options they have. And when they do, they don’t know which option is preferable and why. But I’ll explain the options in simple terms here, so you can make a well informed decision.
Your blogging platform is the program that holds your blog and makes it available on the web. The two most popular blogging platforms are Blogger (owned by Google) and WordPress. While Blogger is a totally free platform, WordPress has both a free option (WordPress.com) and a self-hosted option (WordPress.org).
If you ask me and most other professional bloggers out there which platform is the best, our answer will be the same — self-hosted WordPress!
While Blogger and WordPress.com come at no cost, there are so many pesky limitations to using both (and other) free platforms. And here are some of them:
- You’ll have to include an ugly extension in your blog URL, so you get something like blogspot.com or yourblog.wordpress.com. (Though you can get a yourblog.com name, it won’t come for free).
- You don’t have access to the thousands of plugins and themes available to a self-hosted blog. To gain access to some — not even all — of them, you have to part with some bucks.
- Your blog can be deleted anytime you post information that is regarded as spam or sensitive content by the platform’s overzealous bots. And most of the time, you can’t get it back.
- You can’t easily get a custom email like firstname.lastname@example.org. You can only get that easily with a self-hosted blog.
- You can’t monetize your blog as freely as you like. While Blogger allows a number of monetization options, WordPress.com allows none (unless you agree to share a whopping 50 percent of your profit with them — and that’s just crazy!).
However, with a self-hosted WordPress blog, you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits:
- Get started with a cool domain name like com or yourdomain.org.
- Customize your blog as much as you like with the thousands of plugins and themes available.
- Share whatever content you like on your blog without nursing any fears of having it deleted.
- Make money through any monetization method you want. In short, you’ll be in absolute control of your blog.
So, how much does it cost to create a self-hosted WordPress blog?
Well, very cheap!
With less than $60, you can set up a self-hosted WordPress blog — and you won’t get to spend anything extra until after one year.
First, you have to register your domain name for about $12 per year. (But don’t worry about this. Here, I’ll tell you a smart way to get a free domain name for the first one year. Read on to get the details.)
Next, you need to purchase a hosting plan. In simple terms, this plan provides the space that your blog will occupy on the web.
There are more-than-countable web hosting services that cater to individuals and companies looking to host their blogs and websites. And trying to figure out the good ones can easily get you confused. But I’ve done all the homework for you.
Which web hosting company should you choose?
Having worked with a good number of hosting companies and learning about other people’s experiences with many others, I have developed strong confidence in a few of them, and I can vouch for the services of those few.
However, I recently stumbled on Host1Plus, and I’m loving everything about them — from their affordable rates, to their excellent customer support, and to their efficient overall service. Just so you know, this site is hosted with Host1Plus, and I recently published a review of their services, detailing my experience with them so far.
Now, to be frank, Host1Plus isn’t the only good web hosting company around, but I particularly recommend them for these reasons:
- They have a clean and user-friendly interface; you can easily find your way around without getting lost.
- They give you a free domain for the first one year (if you buy at least 12 months hosting plan).
- Their customer support staff are responsive and are always ready to help you with any issues you may have with their service.
- They guarantee and provide amazing server uptime of 99.9%.
- They offer unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth. So you don’t have to worry about exceeding space limits as your blog becomes more robust with content and traffic.
- They have a one-click WordPress installation feature, so you can get your blog live on the web within few minutes.
- Their services are cheap, and their renewal prices are the same as the first-term prices. So, unlike most other web hosting companies who only entice customers with low first-term rates but have exorbitant renewal rates, Host1Plus charges the same rates year after year.
- They offer a 14-day no-risk, money-back guarantee. So, if you set up your blog with them today and decide within 14 days to stop using their services or quit blogging altogether, you can get a full refund of your money by simply cancelling your account.
Now that you’ve understood why you should go for a self-hosted WordPress blog and why you should choose Host1Plus as your hosting service provider, let’s discuss how to quickly set up your self-hosted WordPress blog using Host1Plus.
How to set up your self-hosted WordPress blog with Host1Plus
At this point, you’re just a few minutes away from getting your self-hosted WordPress blog live on the web. Just get your credit/debit card and follow the steps below.
First, click here to visit Host1Plus (don’t worry, it will open in another browser tab, so you won’t lose this tutorial). Right on the page, click “Web Hosting” in the top menu.
You’ll be taken to the web hosting plans page showing the 3 plans available and a comparison of their features. As a beginner, you should be fine with the cheapest (“Personal”) plan.
Choose the plan by clicking the “Select” button below it. You’ll be taken to the server configuration page, where you can select your preferred server location.
The default location is Los Angeles, and if you really don’t know much about this aspect, just leave it as is. You should change server locations only when you understand what you’re doing and you have good reasons to do so. Note, however, that prices might change with different server locations.
On the same page, select a billing cycle. While you have the option of 6 months, you can only get a free domain name by choosing 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months.
As for the options under the “Recommended” section, leave them unchecked unless you really understand what each option means, and you’re sure you really need them. Note that if you select any option here, your payable total price would increase.
Once you’re done with all sections on the page, click “Next step” to proceed to the next page.
The next page is the domain names page.
If you already have a domain name registered elsewhere, simply choose “Configure an existing domain”, enter that domain name and click “Next step”.
But if you intend getting a free domain name from Host1Plus along with your purchase, choose “Register new domain”, enter your preferred domain name in the box provided, and click “Check availability”. If the domain name isn’t available, you’ll be prompted to choose another one. But if it’s available, you’ll see something like the page shown below.
Simply tick your preferred choice from the list, and click “Next step”.
You’ll be taken to the billing information page, where you’ll be required to register an account with Host1Plus by entering your email address and any password of your choice. You’ll also be required to provide your billing information as well as payment information. You can choose to pay via credit card, PayPal, or Bitcoin.
Once you’ve provided all the required information, click “Complete order”. If your order is successful, you’ll see a page like this:
Shortly after, you’ll receive a series of emails from Host1Plus. The first is an order confirmation email. The second contains your payment invoice. And the third contains some details you’ll need in order to proceed with your blog setup. Note that the third email might take some minutes to land in your inbox.
After receiving the third and last email for Host1Plus (with the subject, “Web Hosting Account is Ready”), you’re good to go. That is, you can now proceed with the next step — installing WordPress.
Now, visit Host1Plus website once again.
But this time, you’ll click “Log In” in the top right hand side of the page. Then enter your username and password in the space provided.
You’ll be taken to your client area Home page.
Under the services section, click the tab showing your hosting plan and domain name.
Here’s the next page you’ll see:
Click “Login to cPanel”.
The next page is the cPanel dashboard. Here you’ll see a number of different sections, each comprising many icons. Now, scroll down to the bottom of the page. The last section is “SOFTACULOUS APPS INSTALLER”, under which you’ll see the WordPress icon placed first.
Click on the WordPress icon.
You’ll see a page like the one shown below.
On that page, click “Install Now”.
The next page you’ll see is a fairly long one with a number of empty fields that you have to complete.
The first section on the page is the “Software Setup section”. Here, choose your preferred protocol (leave it as the default — http://), choose your domain (most likely selected for you already), and clear the “wp” text in the In Directory field, leaving the field blank. Again, be sure to leave this field blank!!
Under the “Site Settings” section, enter your preferred site name and description. You can always change them later.
Under the “Admin Account” section, enter your preferred username in the “Admin Username” field (don’t use the default “admin” value as your username), and enter a good password that you won’t forget. Your best bet is a password that is hard to guess and that comprises letters, numbers, and even symbols. Also enter your email address in the “Admin Email” field.
Don’t bother with any other thing on the page. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page, and enter your email address in the “Email installation details to” field right under the “Install” button. Then click “Install”.
In case you get an error message stating that some errors were found:
Just click the checkbox next to “Select the checkbox to overwrite all files and continue”, and scroll down to click the “Install” button again.
You’ll be shown a page confirming that the installation was successful. The page will also show your Admin URL.
Now, copy the Administrative and save it somewhere on your computer, or bookmark it. That’s the URL you’ll visit any time you need to customize your blog, publish posts, or do anything else on your blog.
And that’s it! Your WordPress blog has been successfully installed.
To confirm the installation, enter or paste your blog URL in your browser’s address bar. You’ll see your new blog now live on the web.
To start making changes to the blog, you need to login to the back-end by entering the Login URL provided (something like yourblog.com/wp-admin) in your browser’s address bar. Your blog’s login page will be displayed.
Enter your username and password in the spaces provided, then click “Login”.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the promised land — the WordPress dashboard.
The dashboard above might look somewhat overwhelming at first, but you’ll get used to it in no time at all, I promise.
Now, you can see how easy the whole set up process is.