How to Set Up a WordPress Blog in 3 Easy Steps

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How to Start a WordPress BlogThis year marked the fourth year anniversary of The Dough Roller! Before starting this site, I had no idea how to set up a blog. I’ve come a long way. Recently, several people have asked me to walk them through step by step how to start a blog using WordPress.

The good news is that setting up a blog is quick, easy, and inexpensive.

Setting Up a WordPress Blog in 3 Easy Steps

You need to do three things to set up a WordPress blog:

  1. Get a domain name;
  2. Sign up for web hosting; and
  3. Install the WordPress software (which is free).

So let’s cover each step, and by the end of this article, you should be all set to start your first site.

How to pick a domain name

There are a number of factors to consider when picking a domain name. And the first thing you should consider is why you are starting a site in the first place. Do you want to set up a social blog where making money online is just one of many goals? Are you setting up a site solely to generate revenue? Or Are you setting up a site to promote an off-line business? There are a lot of different and valid reasons to set up a site, but it’s important to know the purpose behind your site when you pick a domain name.

With that in mind, here are some of the factors to consider when picking a domain name:

Branding: If you are promoting an off line business, a domain name that matches the name of your company is critical. But even if your business is entirely online, a memorable domain name can help you build reader loyalty and trust. This is the approach I took with the Dough Roller. Exactly how well I accomplished that goal I’ll leave to you, but the people I talk to say its catchy and memorable. That’s the goal if your focus is branding.

Generic Domains: With a generic domain, you focus on what the site is about, rather than your own brand. For example, if it had been available, I could have named this site www.personalfinance.com or www.money.com. Those domain names were taken, but it gives you the idea of what a generic domain name is.

Visual Appeal: You should also consider things like the length of the domain name (the shorter, the better) and use of hyphens (none is best).

Top Level Domains: Does it matter if your site ends with .com, .net, .org, or some other TLD? Yes and no. Domain names with .com extensions are more valuable than other TLDs. It’s as simple as that. In addition, most folks assume that a website is a .com, so they can have trouble finding your site if it ends with a different extension. I have no doubt that some have had trouble finding the Dough Roller because it ends in .net. I think that’s why I get a handful of visitors each day who find the site through the search term the dough roller.

Availability: So you have a great domain name in mind and want to know if it’s available. There are a million places on the net to find out if a domain name is available. I use www.hostingsesame.com. It’s easy to use and will give you alternative suggestions if the name is not available. You should expect to try a lot of domain names before you find one that you like and that is available.

Hosting your site

There are many hosting services to choose from. And if you ask five bloggers which is the best, you’ll get five different answers. I’ve used several hosting services over the past four years. Of these, BlueHost is my top pick. It’s inexpensive, reliable, and the telephone support is top notch. It also happens to be the hosting service I started with back in 2007.

You can check out the details by clicking here.

Since we are building a WordPress blog, the starting point is the WordPress hosting package. At Blue Host, the option screen looks like this:

WordPress Hosting with Bluehost

At just $4.95 a month, Bluehost is hard to beat. Once you complete your purchase and sign in to your account, you’ll see a list of the items you’ve purchased (which at a minimum needs to be the domain and hosting).

How to Install WordPress on BlueHost

Most hosting companies use what’s called cPanel. This is software that runs all of the applications available to you on the server. From the cPanel, scroll down to the Software/Services panel and click on the Fantastico De Luxe button. The image below was taken from Bluehost:

This will take you to the Fantastico page where you can click on the WordPress link in the left sidebar underneath the “Blog” heading. Here’s what the WordPress installation page looks like:

From here click the “New Installation” link to go to the WordPress installation page. In the drop-down box at the top, select the domain name where you want to install WordPress. In my example, I’m installing it in the CoolMoneyTools.net directory:

After that just work down the page inputting primarily the password you want to use and email name. Once you’ve filled in the required fields, click the “Install WordPress” button and Bluehost takes care of the rest. The next page will allow you to email the installation details to an email address of your choosing. This is very important, as you’ll want to save this information.

You can also use a program called Simple Scripts to install WordPress, which is also available with BlueHost and most other hosting services.

I know this has been a long post, but as I said, I do plan to cover this information in detail. Next week I’ll cover choosing a WordPress theme, including the SEO considerations that should go into your decision.

Published or Updated: April 3, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. AndyS says:

    That was a great post on setting up a custom wordpress install.
    I recently did a review of pf blogging platforms at my blog and
    wordpress is clearly the most used. I will have to think about moving to it soon and will bookmark this article for future reference.

    Great to discover your blog and have added to my RSS reader.

    • Ironically, I noticed this comment from Andy of almost three years ago, (Feb 2011) and WOW has WordPress and the available themes come a long way!
      There a ton of incredible themes you can purchase, but there are so many FREE themes, that you could have several great looking blogs/sites up, without ever spending a penny now!

  2. Todd McKeever says:

    Great article, but you knew I would bite on it. Keep these articles coming and we won’t need to meet on Wednesday:0) Through this article alone you have helped fill in some blanks for me.

  3. Great series! I plan to keep up with it. Unfortunately, I started out with wordpress.com, but I’ll be looking for tips for the time when I move my site to my own domain. Thanks!

  4. DR says:

    TM, I think we’ll still need to meet on Wednesday!

  5. Susan says:

    Wow, what a tutorial!!

  6. DR says:

    Susan, glad you enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to adding to the series each weekend.

  7. Hi DR

    What a brill tutorial.

    The only thing is I will have to read and re-read it again to take it all in but thanks for the time it must have taken to write it.

    I’ll be back (she said in an Arnold voice).

    Sue

  8. DR says:

    Sue, I think you’ve perfected the art of commenting!

  9. fordy says:

    When looking for the domain name, try some of the tools such as Available Domain Names

    • DR says:

      fordy, thanks for the resource.

  10. Kelly from My Small Cents says:

    Brilliant post. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. I started a blog on blogger and am in the process of transferring it to wordpress (and bluehost) under a new name. Long story short, this came at the right time!

    • DR says:

      Kelly, I hope you find the series helpful. If you have any specific questions or comments, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.

  11. blood debt and tears says:

    I set up my site on bluehost and wordpress a few months ago and it was really easy… wish I had had this info then though! Well written and look forward to future posts… esp. since I’m just starting out! Thanks!

  12. brenda johnson says:

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    • DR says:

      Brenda: you heard it here, you heard it there, spam comments make us all want to despair. Get rich quick, get rich slow, which way does your system make the cash flow? From me to you, or you to me, who ends up with all the dough? Your comment’s got spunk, your comment’s got flair, and that’s the only reason I’m keeping it here. But I don’t know Ralph and I don’t know Mike, so the link to your system will take a big hike.

  13. Backlinks generator says:

    Amazing tutorial!!!

  14. kiana zhane gaskin says:

    hay friends,
    how are things going with the quala`z web page

    love,
    quala`z

  15. Eric says:

    Thanks for your hard work and sharing it. I’m trying to get started at this and you’ve filled in a lot of the blanks. There are still a lot but your resource is great.
    Thanks
    Eric

    • DR says:

      Eric, I’m glad the articles have been helpful. If there are some more specific topics you’d like me to cover, just let me know.

  16. Chris Desouza says:

    I deal with domains and this is by far the best relevant tutorial I’ve seen.

    Good job. Great stuff!

    Chris

  17. i made my blog with blogger and want to move to wordpress what to do.

  18. Lisa says:

    I agree with the above. This was a great tutorial for installing WordPress on BlueHost. It really did only take a few minutes. Thanks!

  19. Beth says:

    Thank you Big “D”….

    I feel much, much less lost. hmmm, that sounds odd.

    ?:^)

    You’re down to earth and it’s truly appreciated. I am starting from cyber-scratch (hey, I just made that up), and I need a comforting soul to guide me without judgment, you da man. I like the way you “roll”. Ba doom, cha.

  20. Alan Neath says:

    Excellent tutorial and guidance, and Starting a wordpress blog does sound a bit frightening, but there are lots of resources and help out there, in fact it is even possible to get the blog set up completely for you, and take heed of the advice here to get your own domain and hosting, great advice!

    A wordpress blog is an excellent way to test your business idea and even better still, by the very nature of its interaction with visitors, you will soon discover what to focus on and plan how to align your business idea with what your audience actually wants, which of course means more success for your ideas and even a real business opportunity.

    There is so much more to blogging than many people believe, and its worth remembering that many huge corporations use blogs as a tool in their business, so it must be worth your effort to do the same.

  21. Yosef says:

    DR,
    This tutorial was so illuminating that I guess it’s what people mean when they use the term : “Light at the end of the tunnel…….”
    Thanks!
    Yosef

    • DR says:

      Yosef, I’m glad it helped. I wish I had something like it when I started!

  22. rowe says:

    what an amazing tutorial. clear, concise but direct to the point. great! thanks

  23. joe says:

    Thanks for the help

  24. I’ve been working from home for some time now and it really is possible to make a great income. In order to find something that is legitimate, you must first understand what you are looking for (e.g. work or business opportunity).

    Most online work requires you to have some sort of specialized technical skill sets. You should never pay to start an online job. Any site that requires you to pay to work is definitely a scam. On the other hand, if you are not technically qualified for most online jobs, then your best bet is starting your own home based business. Starting a business does require up front cost.

    The quickest way I know to make some extra cash is by selling stuff on ebay or searching craiglist for work- these are normally only short-term fixes. I’ve tried them both and lost interest very quickly.

  25. Netfleet says:

    Thanks for the info – don’t forget to post about the Australian domain name industry – it’s really starting to take off… Thanks again

  26. David says:

    Where is it determined whether I can make MP3 links or link to YouTube videos? Does that depend on host?

  27. jessica says:

    What happens if you transferred and imported your wordpress blog to Blue host but can’t get to it by typing in your new domain name. It is in your account but not when you go to your domain.

  28. dr says:

    @David, if you just want to embed a YouTube video, grab the script from YouTube and insert it into a post. It’s very easy.

    @jessica, I would need more info to answer your question. When you say you transferred the site to BlueHost, are you referring to the domain AND hosting. Remember that domain registration and hosting are two different things. That said, I would call Bluehost. They are very responsive.

  29. Jen says:

    I’m a long-time blogger, with little to no technical knowledge. Bad combo! Thanks to posts like this, however, I can manage to get by. Thanks much!

  30. Thanks DR for the info. I had a pdf of 42 pages to set up WordPress. Your info made it easier. Thanks, Michael

  31. Mark says:

    If I had more than one client site hosted on my bluehost account that wanted to use wordpress, would I do multiple installs or is there something else I would need to do to get it to use its own template?

    • DR says:

      Mark, I think multiple installs is the way to go. Each client has its own url, and you’d set up a different wp install for each.

  32. leo says:

    The quickest way I know to make some extra cash is by selling stuff on ebay or searching craiglist for work- these are normally only short-term fixes. I’ve tried them both and lost interest very quickly.
    ———————-
    Leo

  33. DR, You’ve done a great job explaining many of the reasons why folks who want to make money blogging should do it this way!

    Kudos!

  34. Michaela says:

    I’ve already purchased my domain name from GoDaddy, and as you can see have a blog started on wordpress.com. What are your thoughts on purchasing the hosting through GoDaddy? I would like to change from wordpress.com and don’t know where to start. Thank you for any advice you can give.

    • DR says:

      Michaela, GoDaddy is a good web hosting option. I’ve never used it, but I know many bloggers who have and they’ve been happy. Switching from wordpress.com to a self-hosted blog is a great idea. Depending on how much content you have on your site, it can be a big job to make the switch. But in the long run you’ll be glad you did. One think to remember is to 301 redirect all your current pages to your new domain.

      • Michaela says:

        Thank you. We’ll see if this “technologically challenged grammy” can get it done!

  35. Sheila says:

    Congrats on your 3 years!!! (notice the 3 exclamation points for each successful year) :-)

  36. Dan says:

    This was also extremely insightful. Hosting Sesame was extremely helpful with any questions I had.

  37. Jon says:

    Thanks for the help.

  38. Payday Loan says:

    Hi Rob, Thanks for your guidance, I had problem in Bluehost to install wordpress, Now it will be easy for me to follow your step and may be i will be able to install blog for my payday loan website. Thanks again Rob.

  39. Jonathan says:

    FYI, #3 is spelled incorrectly.

    • Rob Berger says:

      Jonathan, thanks. It’s updated.

  40. Jonathan says:

    I have to admit, I was intimidated with the whole idea of website hosting and switching to WordPress, your guide helped a ton! Thanks!

  41. Sandra Hagan says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I have been wanting to start a blog for a long time now and your article was the push I needed to get started. Today I followed your instructions and now have a domain name and hosted website that is now under construction. Kudos for getting me to do this when so many other sites and articles left me spinning my wheels. Dough Roller, you rock!

    • Rob Berger says:

      Sandra, thanks so much for the comment and good luck with the blog! I’m actually helping a friend now set up his own blog. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me.

  42. Randy Berdin says:

    Hi, I’ve got a question; I would like to start a sports blog and I think I know a lot about this particular sport, but in order to create a blog and include nice sports pictures and pasting them from google onto your blog is considered plagarism isn’t it? How am I going to post good pictures of players then? Thanks a lot!

  43. Karel says:

    Thanks for this post. I recently started my own blog. This very helpfull.

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