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Today we’re going to build a blog using Bluehost!

Today it is so much easier to build a blog than ever before. Gone is the time that you had to be an experienced coder or developer. Before you start I suggest you use this worksheet to find out what it is you want to do with your new website.

Reasons To Start Your Own Blog:

  • You own a small business & need to bring more users to your website
  • You want to promote your own products or services.
  • You want an income that you can earn from any location around the world (as long as you have a wifi connection).
  • To become part of a community that is 500 million strong & growing!

I began blogging in Jan of 2014 and fell in love with it immediately. I found my tribe, started creating content and before I knew it I was training (under the powerhouse Julie Stoian). After training with her I purchased her business in 2016 and began to build websites for my own clients & customers. That was 4 years ago and every single day I’m excited to wake up and get to work!

I will admit though, I do have a website addiction. Just don’t tell anyone okay?

The first thing you want to do after you’ve answered those questions is to purchase your domain name & hosting. For that, I always use Bluehost. It is reliable, affordable & their customer support is out of this world.

What you will receive is:

A free domain with the purchase of your web hosting package, a free SSL certificate to show your readers that your site is safe for them to use, & WordPress automatically installed and a fantastic price. You better hurry these prices are subject to change at any time! PLEASE USE THE LINK BELOW!

 

I have been referring clients to Bluehost since the very beginning, but I must share a secret with you.

SSHH! Don’t tell anyone. I use to be an affiliate with all kinds of web hosting companies! Thinking I could make tons of money I soon realized that if my clients weren’t happy with their web hosting they weren’t going to be happy with me. I realized my reputation was much more important than a few dollars so I began working with Bluehost exclusively.  It’s been a win/win!

If you filled out the worksheet you know that you need to choose your domain name. Your domain is the address that your readers will put into their browser to reach your website. (YOURDOMAIN.COM) Once you find that (and it might take two or three tries to find on that isn’t already taken REMEMBER: 500 MILLION BLOGS)

 

Bluehost is one of the leading hosting platforms. When you click the link you will be taken to a screen like this:

As you can see you have a few choices. If you’re just creating one site the BASIC plan will be sufficient. If you want more than one site then try some of the bigger packages.  Every single hosting package includes the following:

Once you’ve purchased your web hosting WordPress will automatically be installed and you will receive an email from them with all of the information you will need to continue the build. SAVE THIS EMAIL! I cannot tell you how important this step is. You will use this email over and over.

WordPress is really just a skeleton of what your website will eventually look like. The next item to take care of is choosing a theme. A theme is important because it is the framework that basically goes over the skeleton if that makes sense.

WordPress is the skeleton, a theme is like the skin and then a child theme which would be the makeup you use every day. I hope that helps you make sense of this process.

To do this you will need to log in to your Bluehost account. Once you sign on you will be taken to a dashboard. On the right side, you will see two buttons click on the BLUE WORDPRESS button. This will take you to your new dashboard! Look around and make yourself familiar with it!

On the left, you will see a list of items from Dashboard to Settings. To start with; follow these directions.

WordPress.org offers tons of free themes that you can use by simply activating them in APPEARANCE>>THEMES. You can also purchase themes from developers such as GENESIS which I use exclusively as well. Genesis is the only framework I use and I purchase my themes exclusively through STUDIOPRESS.COM & if you’re looking for a feminine theme you can’t go wrong with RESTORED 316.

BUT it is not necessary to purchase a theme to get started. WordPress.org provides many themes you can use absolutely use for free!

You will either activate one of the free themes or if you decide to purchase a theme you will download a .zip file. Once you have that file go to APPEARANCE>>THEMES. Click the button at the top that says ADD NEW THEME and then choose that .zip file and upload and you’re all set.

Once you have chosen the theme of your choice the next thing to do is create the pages that you will want on your website. For beginners, and this example, we’re going to start out with an ABOUT PAGE– which will tell you about the author (in this case you). A BLOG – the page where all of your blog posts will live & a CONTACT page will hold a form that people can get in touch with you. Click on PAGES>>ADD NEW to create a new page then on the right-hand side click the publish button. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! YOU HAVE JUST CREATED YOUR FIRST PAGE.

I want to take a moment to talk about posts & pages. There is one major difference between the two. Pages are for static content that doesn’t change very often if at all. Posts are chronologically published in order. You can publish posts or even schedule them for a later date.  These are called BLOG POSTS & your site is called a BLOG. You will drive people, including me, insane if you call your blog posts “blogs”. 

Now you have installed your theme & created your pages let’s build a menu! On your dashboard look for APPEARANCE>>MENUS. Depending on your theme you may have several options for creating a menu. You can use pages, posts, categories & even custom links on your navigation (menu). Today, we’re going to build a simple menu for the pages that you created above.

The first thing to do is click on MANAGE LOCATIONS & just take a peek at the different places that you can have a menu according to the theme that you have chosen. For this example, we’re going to click the EDIT MENU button. Then in the box name your menu (you may have more than 1 later on so it’s important to remember the name). I always start with PRIMARY NAV. Click the SAVE MENU BUTTON.

Once you’ve created your menu you can start adding your pages. Simply check the boxes of the pages you want to add and then click the box ADD TO MENU. Your pages will appear on the right. You can drop & drag them in any order that you’d like. Make sure to check the box ADD ADD NEW TOP-LEVEL PAGES TO THIS MENU & then click the SAVE MENU.

Go back to the MANAGE LOCATIONS button and choose where you’d like your menu to show up on your website. Generally, above or below the header image (logo). Either one will do. Take a look at the front end and you should now see your menu. If you don’t clear your browser cache and take another look.

So now we’ve created a website, added a theme, created pages & installed a menu. Now we’re going to move on to the very best (& worst if I’m totally honest) about WordPress. PLUGINS!!!! I’m sure you’ve probably heard that term before. Basically is a plugin that you install that extends the functionality of WordPress & your theme.

Most plugins are free & for this example, we will stick with totally free plugins. This is a link to the WordPress Plugin Directory. There are currently 44,622 plugins with more being added daily. I want to start of by saying for the health of your website you need to practice safe plugin usage.

WHAT THIS MEANS: When choosing a plugin look for these three things:

  • You’re looking to see when the last time it was updated. Make sure that is pretty recent. WordPress updates all of the time and it’s very important that you’re plugins keep up with those updates.
  • Make sure it is compatible with the type of theme that you are using.
  • Look to see the # of active installations. When you see huge numbers like above you know that you have a trusted plugin and that it is more than likely safe.

Plugins will slow your site down so it’s very important not to overload it with too many plugins. Below is a list of plugins that I always start with. Remember I use Genesis exclusively so I use a lot of Genesis plugins. You can find other options for the must-have plugins all sites need.

WEBSITE BACKUPS You need to be backing up your site often. I back mine up every single day and for that, I use UPDRAFT PLUS. Follow the plugins instructions for set up. You can have your backup sent to something like Dropbox, Google Drive or even emailed to your inbox. I use Dropbox. I only use the free version, but if you need to send your backups to more than one place you can use the Pre

WEBSITE SECURITY I always use WORDFENCE for my website security. It’s also free (with a premium version).

DATABASE OPTIMIZATION I also use an optimization plugin called OPTIMIZE DATABASE AFTER DELETING REVISIONS.

SEO is a very important term that stands for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. SEO is how Google knows which sites to pull up when something is Googled. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using the free YOAST SEO plugin. Their setup wizard is easy to use and easy to understand.

JETPACK is a plugin that provides a great bundle of tools that you can use to enhance your website. It contains everything from sharing buttons to site stats. WARNING: Be very careful with this plugin. It can you bloat your site so much that it slows your site down majorly. I wrote a post here that tells you everything you want to know about JetPack.

AKISMET A part of Jetpack it now comes automatically installed. This is a great anti-spam plugin.

CONTACT FORMS – On my sites, I use the CONTACT FORM 7 plugin but OPTIN MONSTER recently been added to the Bluehost set up.

As I stated before there are over 44 thousand plugins and I’m sure before long you will have added more but these will get you started. 

The last thing to do is to start adding assets & content! YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!!!

If you get want to customize your theme you may be able to. It depends on the theme itself. Go to APPEARANCE>>CUSTOMIZE to make any customizations. In here you will find things like color options, site layout (whether you only want your content to show or to add a sidebar with widgets).

This is where your header (logo) can be installed or changed if you don’t like the way your site name is presented. You can always make a new one by using the measurements listed for your theme. Mine is 800px by 400 px. Menus, widgets and additional CSS can be found under the Customization tab.

You will need to go to SETTINGS>>GENERAL and fill out the information requested so that Google and everyone else will know your website name & a little bit about you. Go down that line of options under settings and fill out what you can.

WIDGETS are small sections of content that can be placed on the front page, the footer section or the sidebar. You can find them under APPEARANCE>>WIDGETS. Take a look at my sidebar & footer for ideals. You can drag options on the left over to the spots on the right to build out the rest of your website.

Congratulations!

You’ve built your very own blog!

If you want to keep that site healthy and maintained correctly I suggest purchasing my

ANNUAL MAINTENANCE PKG.

It gives you the security and the knowledge you need to have a safe, secure & user-friendly site.

WANT EVEN MORE BLOGGING KNOWLEDGE CHECK OUT SOME OF THESE POSTS!

THE ESSENTIAL BLOGGING DICTIONARY(from my sister site)

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO USING STOCK IMAGES

CHECK OUT SOME OF MY OTHER POSTS!

 

 

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