Starting a Self-Hosted WordPress blog

Starting a self-hosted blog has never been easier!

If you’re looking to start your own blog, it’s easier than ever. Blog hosting is cheap and affordable, and installing a blog platform like WordPress is easier than it’s ever been.

Why should you start a blog?

To introduce yourself to the world and find like-minded people

By taking your first steps into the world of blogging, you are starting to share a new side of yourself to the wider world.

Depending on what you blog about, you may find yourself being found by people seeking your knowledge or showing interest in the stories you have to share. Blogging helps you connect to like-minded people and form connections which could last a lifetime.

To take your social media presence to the next level

A modern self-hosted WordPress blog gives you a fully customisable space to write about your passions, document your experiences and share your knowledge.

You could write about anything. You may be someone who shares a lot on social media within your friend circles. A blog gives your content creation a new identity and channel which can be shared across the world.

Document your life and become a better writer

A lot of people use a blog as a daily journal or a travel blog. They document their life’s experiences and share tips on a wealth of topics, from advice about frugal living to step-by-step guides on hobbyist skills.

No matter what you are writing about, all bloggers agree that blogging has helped them improve their proficiency as a writer. Writing skill comes from constant practice, and blogging certainly provides exactly that.

Become an expert on many topics

Blogging often requires a lot of research, particularly if you are trying to advise on certain subjects. By researching and writing about certain areas, you will find yourself becoming an expert in your own right. Your content could even become one of the leading authorities on a topic you’ve chosen to write about!

This is why sharing your knowledge can be very fulfilling. So much so that you may inspire others to take their first steps towards blogging as well.

Make a bit of money on the side

Blogging done right can be lucrative. There are thousands of success stories of bloggers who make thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from various monetisation techniques. The most common methods are affiliate marketing and advertising.

Affiliate marketing is a referral marketing scheme which grants you a monetary reward for referring your visitor traffic towards a third party service. Some of the affiliate schemes available for bloggers can be very lucrative.

Time to challenge yourself

So, you’ve been researching why to start a blog, and you’re still umming and ahhing? Well stop. If you’ve read this far, then it’s not that much more effort to actually start one up!

How to Create a WordPress blog

If you’ve got the passion for something, why not start a blog right now. Here’s how to get started:

1) Register a Domain Name

The first thing you need to do is think of a catchy domain name which will be your online identity.

Arguably, this is the hardest step.

Don’t rush into it, as once you’ve purchased your domain you won’t be able to change it without buying another. Plus, even though it’s possible to change your domain name later, it could affect how well your website ranks, so it’s best to make a decision and stick to it.

So it’s definitely worth spending a little bit of time thinking about it.

Luckily, through Rusticated, you can get a free domain name for a year if you purchase hosting via BlueHost. More information on Bluehost, and what ‘hosting’ is below.

2) Purchase hosting

So what’s the difference between purchasing a domain name, and purchasing hosting?

The domain name is just that – a name. So http://rusticated.co is our domain name, http://www.google.com is Google’s domain name.

The hosting is then where the blog itself, and all its associated files, images, etc are stored. The domain and the hosting then get linked together, so when someone visits your domain name, they’re accessing your site’s hosting.

It’s perfectly possible to purchase your domain name and hosting at the same time, which keeps things simple. Bluehost allow you to purchase both at once, so you won’t have to worry about linking them up.

With Bluehost, hosting and setting up a WordPress blog is simple. If you click through our link you will see a few options. For a WordPress blog, the Basic package is all you really need.

If you’re lucky enough to do so well that you are exhausting the basic features, then you can upgrade anytime and pay the difference.

One of the optional extras is domain privacy protection. This protects your personal information from being published on the public domain record (or WHOIS domain information). It’s optional, but at only $0.99 I strongly recommend it. Without this, you’ll likely receive a bunch of emails from web developers and suchlike from all over the world, or spam emails telling you that you must register on unnecessary or dodgy domain registries.

2) (Optional) Connect domain to hosting if bought elsewhere

If you choose not to get your domain with Bluehost, or you already have a domain you wanted to use, then you can still easily connect it to your Bluehost account.

Log into your current domain provider/registrar, and go to the domain management admin panel. You will need to find where you set your name servers.For Bluehost they are:

  • ns1.bluehost.com
  • ns2.bluehost.com

Changing the nameservers links your domain to the hosting provider, and thus your blog.

3) Install WordPress

So you’ve set up your Bluehost hosting account, congratulations! It’s time to install WordPress, the platform on which you will run your blog.

Bluehost make this a very simple process.

In the Bluehost cPanel (you should receive a link to this in your email), they have a one click install page for lots of useful tools. One of these packages is WordPress.

To install WordPress, click the WordPress icon and then click the Start button.

The installer will ask you which domain you want to install it on and will ask you to choose a username and password for your site. This part is important. Make sure you choose a secure combination, ideally with upper and lower-case letters, numbers and punctuation. This will help keep your blog as secure as can be.

Don’t forget to save your details somewhere secure!

And now all that’s left is to click Install Now!Aaaand… You have your WordPress blog! Now you can get on with the fun part!

4) How to create your first WordPress post

So you’ve set up your first WordPress blog… Congratulations! The tedious bit is out of the way, and now you can start writing about whatever takes your fancy! But how do you do this?

  • First you need to login to your brand spanking new blog!
  • Go to http://www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. You will have received the login information in an email as well.
  • Once you’re here, type in the username and password you set earlier and click login.
  • You should now be on the WordPress Dashboard. From here you can manage every aspect of your new blog.
  • On the left hand side you will see the WordPress admin menu. Within each menu item is a plethora of functionality – but all we want to do right now is write a post.
  • Click Posts.
  • Click Add New.
  • Choose a suitable title.
  • Below that is the post body. Here you can write anything, and have lots of text formatting features at your disposal in the toolbar. You can insert all sorts of images, media and more.
  • Once done, press Publish on the right hand side. Or if you want to save your progress, just click Save Draft.
  • Now if you click the View Post link, you will see your first step into the world of internet blogging.

5) Next Steps/Customise your design

You’ve taken your first steps into the exciting world of blogging.

You’ve got your site, your blog and now your first blog post. It’s looking a bit basic though, don’t you think?

Well, luckily for you, you’ve only scratched the surface of WordPress! WordPress is one of the most highly customisable content management systems out there!

It is customised primarily through things called themes and plugins. Your ‘theme’ is your site’s design, while ‘plugins’ are little pieces of software which add additional functionality to your site, like photo galleries, or social plugins.

WordPress comes pre-packaged with three basic default themes. If you click Appearance -> Themes in the WordPress Admin menu, you will be able to see the three default themes, but if you click Add New, you can search through WordPress.org’s library of free themes and make your blog fit your tastes better.

It’s very simple to use, just install an activate whichever theme you want and it will take effect on your live site.

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