Beginners Guide to Start a WordPress Blog with Bluehost
Bluehost offers one of the cheapest and reliable hosting services for self-hosted WordPress sites. It is also one of the officially recommended hosting companies by WordPress. Nowadays, Bluehost automatically setup WordPress site when you purchase a hosting plan. In this article let us explain how can you create your WordPress blog with Bluehost in less than 30 minutes. Also we have covered additional stuffs like generating XML Sitemap and submitting to search engines.
1. Before Starting – Requirements
Before creating a hosting account, you need to have the following things:
- A valid host name with admin access to modify DNS settings. You can also use the free domain name for the first year with Bluehost.
- An email, either with the domain name or with generic emails like Gmail or Yahoo!
- Hosting account with Bluehost
These are the minimum things you need. If you have any premium theme or plugins that you want to use for your WordPress blog, you can do this later point of time.
2. Signup for Bluehost
WordPress.org sites need a paid hosting. Therefore, the first step is to register for an account with Bluehost. Go to Bluehost website and signup for an account and click on the “Get Started” button.
Bluehost offers four different shared hosting plans for different types of customers. Basically you can choose the Basic plan for $2.95. Other plans also have considerable discounts as shown below.
3. Choosing a Domain
Signup process needs you to enter the domain name for account creation. Bluehost offers one-year free domain with all the hosting plans. You can also register a domain with other registrars like GoDaddy to get the domain and email. You have three options when signing up with Bluehost:
- Use existing domain
- Register a free domain
- Decide later
When you choose to decide later the site will be created with temporary domain, which you can change it later from WordPress dashboard.
4. Deciding Contract Length
Basically your hosting plan is a contract with Bluehost like rental agreement for storing your site’s content. The contract period varies from 1 year to 5 years term and generally mentioned in months. We recommend creating hosting account for 36 months contract. This will ensure your commitment level at least for 3 years. Also the initial offer price is only valid for the first payment, from next time onwards the full rate will be applicable. So the rates will be cheaper when you choose long-term plans.
5. Getting Account Details
Use the domain name and pay the required amount to complete the signup process. Bluehost also offers additional features like domain privacy, SEO tool, SiteLock, etc. You can choose domain privacy and uncheck all other packaged offers like SiteLock, Codeguard, etc. If required, you can add these items later when you want to have them on your site.
After payment, you will get confirmation message like below.
Next step is that you should create a password for logging into your account. Click on the “Create your password” button to proceed further. Otherwise click on the change password link in the email you will receive from Bluehost containing your account details. This email is very important, because it will contain account username and the change password link. Username is generally created based on the domain name you have used for signup.
6. Creating First WordPress Blog
Now that you have username and password, continue to proceed to next step or login to your hosting account with these credentials.
You will see the progress when the account is being setup, it should not take more than a minute to setup your hosting account.
Bluehost will ask you to choose a theme for your site. You can choose one of the good-looking themes or skip to choose the theme later. If you skip this step then the site will be installed with the default twenty nineteen WordPress theme.
Now you will see the next screen showing that WordPress is setup for you.
7. Login to WordPress Site Dashboard
After the completion of WordPress installation, you will see a button with start building. Click on it to go to WordPress admin dashboard. You can also choose to go to your hosting cPanel account and from there login to the dashboard.
You can get free SSL, register a new domain and browse free themes / plugins from cPanel.
8. Setting Up Your First WordPress Blog
When you first time go to the WordPress dashboard, you will be prompted with the help asking what type of site you want to setup. Choose personal or business (if you want a business site).
Enter the site title and description and click next step button.
The next steps onwards you will be prompted with various help questions for setting up static home page, contact page, etc. This help will be really useful, if you have no idea about WordPress site setup. If you already know WordPress dashboard, then skip the help to move on to the cleanup process.
Or follow all the instructions and finally click on the “customize your site” button to go to the customizer screen.
9. Cleaning Up WordPress Installation
One of the problems with WordPress is that it will come with lot of dummy data like post, plugins, page, comment, etc. In addition, Bluehost also adds many plugins like Mojo Marketplace, WPForms Lite, Google Analytics, OptinMonster, etc. So you should cleanup all the unnecessary things before you start creating your site. When you go to “Plugins” section, it will look so ugly with lot of popups and plugins like below:
Plugins are backbone of a WordPress site, but using them too much will hurt the loading time of your site. So, we strongly recommend to have only required plugins and remove all others. Simply disable all and delete the ones like Hello Dolly and Mojo Marketplace. You can decide to use other plugins or delete them and install your favorite plugins.
10. Changing Theme and Customizing
After initial cleanup, go to “Appearance > Customize” section and start customizing your WordPress site. You can switch the theme under “Appearance > Themes” section.
11. Creating Posts and Pages
Before creating content, go to “Settings > Permalink” and setup the required URL structure for your WordPress site. Finally you should delete the dummy posts, page and comment under corresponding sections. Check out this launching checklist for setting up your WordPress site for the first time. Most importantly, hide the site from search engines till the time it is ready by enabling the search engine visibility option “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” under “Settings > Reading” menu.
Slowly start creating your own content and publish it. Till that time you want to launch, find a maintenance mode plugin and put your site under maintenance.
12. Launching Your Site
Start playing around till the time you are getting familiar with the dashboard. Checkout the complete list of WordPress tutorials for learning. Once the content is ready, then go to “Settings > General” and change the “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL)” to your domain name. This will point the content to your domain name. Now that you site is ready and visible online with the correct domain name.
13. Submit to Search Engines
Unfortunately WordPress by default does not offer XML Sitemap option. So you need plugins like Jetpack or Yoast SEO to generate XML Sitemap for your site. When XML Sitemap is ready, go to “Settings > Reading” and disable the search engine visibility indicator. Go to your Google Search Console account and add your domain as a new property. Submit the XML Sitemap of your site and wait for few days so that Google can crawl and index your content.
Congratulations!!! You have successfully created your first WordPress site with Bluehost for the cheapest price. Also we have touched upon the Sitemap generation and submission process to make your site visible in search engines.