How to Start a WordPress Blog in Three Easy Steps
How to Start a WordPress Blog in Three Easy Steps

How to Start a WordPress Blog in Three Easy Steps

A Little Leopard may have launched in 2015, but I had been dreaming of starting a blog for many years before that. And I think I will echo many, many others when I say that my only blogging regret is that I wish I had started sooner.

Sometimes, the most difficult thing about blogging can be taking the leap and getting started. I’d had blogs on some free platforms before (heck, Atlantic Pacific is still rocking her .blogspot URL!), but never kept up with them. That is why, if you’re serious about blogging — even as a hobby! — I recommend starting with self-hosted WordPress.org. Investing financially in my blog forced me to finally commit to it and post on a regular basis, and it was just the kick in the pants I needed.

Quick background: when starting a blog, you need to host it somewhere. Think of it like your little home on the Internet. There are free options, like Blogger (many people start here) or WordPress.com (which I don’t recommend, since it has super limited functionality and doesn’t really allow for monetization). If you’re willing to invest, your options are pretty much Squarespace (one of my favorite bloggers, Jess from the Golden Girl, started on Squarespace) or WordPress.org.

I highly, highly recommend WordPress.org and will be sharing my favorite resources and the easiest way to start a WordPress blog in this post. Many professional bloggers use WordPress.org, and while there can be a bit more of a learning curve at times, it’s well worth it for the creative control you get over your website. Lots of bloggers start on another platform and switch to self-hosted WordPress (aka WordPress.org) later, which is totally doable, but can cause major headaches during the process.

Think of it this way: if you play guitar as a hobby, there are going to be costs associated with that, right? The guitar, strings, possibly lessons, etc. Blogging is similar — if you want to grow and develop as a blogger, you should seriously consider investing some of your money as well as time into your hobby. I’m pretty sure I first heard this analogy from Jess and Blair, actually, but it’s so super spot on. And even if you’re “just” a hobby blogger, with enough time and practice, it’s a hobby that can financially give back!

So, if you’re ready to start a WordPress blog like the badass blogger you are, here’s how to do it in three easy steps.

Step One: Sign Up For Hosting

First, you’ll need to find a hosting provider and get set up with a domain name. I love Bluehost for both of these — they are literally a one-stop shop!

Go to Bluehost.com and click “get started” to choose your plan. I would choose either the basic or plus plan. Now is a perfect time to sign up because Bluehost is hosting a flash sale, and you can get hosting for as little as $2.95/month through today! Basic is likely enough for most bloggers, but big images can take up a lot of space and slow a site down, in which case it might be a good idea to upgrade to Plus.

If you haven’t yet purchase a domain name, this is also included with your Bluehost hosting. (See? One stop shop.) Select your domain and any additional options — I chose to add on domain privacy protection, and some recommend including site backup pro and SiteLock Security as well.

Then, just check out! You’ll pay for the hosting all at once, rather than per month, and secure hosting for 1-3 years (depending on which plan you purchased). The cost per month usually works out to less than $10…that’s less than what you’d pay for Netflix or Spotify. Or two fancy lattes.

Step Two: Install WordPress

Access your Bluehost dashboard and look for the icon that says “Install WordPress.” This is how you will access self-hosted WordPress.org on your blog and have access to all those fancy customization and monetization options (more on customization in step three).

Select which domain you’d like to install WordPress for, then choose advanced options and enter your blog name, username, and password. Then, click “Install Now.”

Once your site is installed, be sure to view your credentials and store them somewhere safe.

Now, you’re ready to access your site — just go to yoursite.com/wp-admin and you’ll be able to login and post from there!

Step Three: Customize!

There are free theme options available for WordPress.org, or if you’re coding savvy you may even want to design your own. (In which case, you probably aren’t reading an article about how to start a WordPress blog in the first place…)

If you’re just starting out as a blogger, it’s probably not worth it to hire a designer or web developer for a full custom design. However, there are so many wonderful prepaid theme options available to make your blog look polished, professional, and, yes, uniquely yours. Here are three of my favorite theme designers:

  • 17th Avenue Design: My first theme was from 17th Avenue Design and Kate makes wonderful, affordable themes. She also designs for Blogger, which is a great way to make your free site look more polished and professional!
  • White Oak Creative: I have long admired Lindsey’s work. Her pre-made themes are perfect for those who aren’t quite ready for a full custom design, and can be easily customized with add ons like graphics templates, logos, and more. (I use her classic graphic templates for A Little Leopard!) Her blog is also chock-full of wonderful WordPress and blogging tips, which I reference frequently.
  • The Fox & She/Leap Blog Design: Blair is one half of Blogging 4 Keeps, another great resource for bloggers, and designed the theme I am using currently. They’re simple, stylish and perfect for fashion and lifestyle bloggers.

Once you purchase a theme, you should be able to upload the ZIP file under the “appearance” tab on WordPress.org. Most themes come with installation instructions and support!

So there you have it: how to start a WordPress blog in three easy steps. I hope this post was helpful, or inspired some of you to get out there and finally start your own blogs. Let me know if you do in the comments, or if you have any questions about the process!

Image: Alexa Dagmar