How to Start Your Own Website or Blog

Do you have something to offer this world? Having a website will help you do it.

That’s exactly what I thought when I started my personal blog, calebcurry.com, which focuses on teaching beginners how to code and get into technology. I knew that I could help beginners break into technology without getting overwhelmed and feeling like they have to know everything. 

Now I want to teach you how to get your message out there by creating your own website with WordPress.

Why WordPress?

I recommend the use of WordPress with Bluehost. WordPress is one of the most popular and most powerful website building platforms. In the tech world we call WordPress a CMS (content management system). It allows us to create content without having to worry about coding or touching the database. 

Although WordPress is often used for blogs, it can equally be used to showcase a product or personal portfolio. If you’re looking for a way to show the world what you’re working on, setting up a WordPress is the way to go!

Because WordPress is a widely adopted platform, it’s very easy to create new content. Anything you’d ever need to do with WordPress has probably already been done (in some form) and made available in a plugin. When it comes to the look and feel of your website, there are unlimited theme options available

…And what is Bluehost? They are a hosting company that will run your website from their servers. They are the hosting company I would recommend as they have excellent customer satisfaction. I’ll show you how to set up a site with Bluehost soon 🙂.

The look of your website can always be changed, so don’t get caught up in the default looks of the website. Anything is possible with WordPress. Many bloggers have a much more visual look instead of the blogging look (maybe large background images on the home page instead of blog excerpts). This is all possible with WordPress!

Step 1 – The Importance of Self-Hosting

There are various other ways to create a blog. The method I suggest is running the wordpress.org software using a hosting service like Bluehost. This is known as self-hosting and is in contrast to wordpress.com (more limiting than the WordPress.org we’ll be installing here). I’ll show you how to go through the one click install (as easy as it sounds). 

When you self-host, you enable yourself to have complete freedom with your site as you are not limited by guidelines of another website. This is especially beneficial when you want to run your website as a business.

To start with self-hosting, visit the Bluehost homepage. This is a referral link that will give me a bonus if you sign up. Which obviously you should do 😉.

Hosting comes pretty cheap starting at $3.95 a month for 3 years of hosting. All you have to do is click get started now.

Step 2 – Select Your Plan

I recommend the basic plan to start out with. 

Step 3 – Choose a Domain

Your domain is the web address people will visit to get to your website, such as www.calebcurry.com (although that one’s taken 😊).

Step 4 – Choose any Extras

There are some extra packages available. All of these are optional, but I’d highly recommend Domain Privacy Protection. This will ensure that your name and address stays private. Any time a domain is registered, this information is made publicly available. This is an internet thing and not just a Bluehost thing.

I’d worry about the first one. The others not so much 🙂

Your privacy without protection (left) vs. with protection (right). 

Step 5 – Pay Up!

Now you just need to put in your info and pay for your hosting!

Step 6 – Finish Setting Up Your Account

You’re basically done, all you have to do is choose a password for your account.

You did it!

If you’ve made it this far, you’re golden!

Step 7 – Choose Your Theme

Now we get to the fun part. Building the website! Step one is to choose a theme. Don’t worry, nothing is permanent and you can always try out different themes later. 

Step 8 – Start Building!

Woot woot!

You’ve finished setting up your WordPress site with Bluehost. Now all you have to do follow through to the Start Building link and begin creating content.

The basics of site building is shown in the video I created (which may be easier to follow), but here are the key pieces of your site you need to know before creating content.

The Home Page

Here is how you can visit your site:

On the home page you’ll find recent articles, comments, archives, categories, and meta. These are different links that allow users to navigate and use your site.

Settings

Before you go ham creating content, I recommend you update some site settings. Specifically, I’d recommend changing your link structure.

By default, your links will have the dates in them. Personally, I believe this is only valuable for sites directly tied to dates (news sites):

The majority of users are going to want to change links to skip the date portion. You can do this by selecting Post name and saving your changes.

If by chance you created posts before you change your site’s URL structure, you can get redirect plugins to fix this or you can tinker with some site scripts. You’ll want to look it up though.

While you are in settings, you can also adjust other pieces of your site such as your Website title and description: 

Explain what your site is for so people know what to expect.

Posts

Now that you’ve updated your settings, you’re ready to create new posts.

You’re hopefully using Gutenberg (the newest WordPress post editor which is freaking awesome). It’s on by default but some people prefer the older editor.

There are also pages, which are similar to posts but are often more prominent on your website (such as an about page) and may not follow the typical style of your content.

Plugins

There are numerous plugins you can use to make your WordPress experience the best. I’d recommend Akismet and Yoast SEO

Themes

Found under Appearance, themes allow you to quickly change the look and feel for your website. There are both free and paid themes. The free ones typically work, but paid may suit your needs best. Start with free and wait it out and see. 

Menus

Menus show up on your site allowing users to click to different pages. These can be edited under Appearance -> Menus. Once you create a menu, you may need to add it to your theme under Appearance -> Customize. 

Publish Your Blog

Once your blog is legit and ready to go, you can launch it.

Your site will show as under construction until you launch it by first clicking the Bluehost menu button on the side menu.

What’s next?

Obviously I only scratched the surface of WordPress. This should be enough to get you started creating your own site. You can look things up as needed or leave a comment below with any questions and I may be able to make some content to help you and others in similar situations.

What do you like / dislike about WordPress? Let me know in the comments below 😁.

Conclusion: I’d highly recommend WordPress as it will give you the easiest experience creating content instead of fixing your broken website. Even better if you’re hosting with Bluehost (They’ll do anything they can to give you a good experience).

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