Links in this post may contain affiliate links, read my disclosure for more info.

What can you expect from this guide? In this newbie-friendly guide I'm going to show you the exact steps to launch your own WordPress blog or website on your own domain for less than the cost of ONE latte every month... EVEN IF you've never built a website in your life. So ditch just one latte every month (good for the waistline, too, eh?), and let's get started..

If you've already read this and want to get started with my Bluehost Discount go here.

If you want to skip ahead to the tutorial section for setting up your blog, click here.

Updated March 20, 2024 - "Today's the day!" you tell yourself, pumping yourself up to FINALLY start that blog or website you've been thinking about for months...

Then you sit down at your computer, and like so many times before, start with a few Google searches, motivated and eager to get your site up.

And then, like so many times before, overwhelm creeps in, the headache is back!

You give up in frustration, there's a new episode of your favorite show available on streaming...

"Ugh!" you tell yourself... "next time I'll finish this puppy!"... and it's a relief because it's REALLY HARD to set up a website!

It's hard because there's terrible information out there, and too much of it. It's the Internet!

I hate bad info, so I created this detailed guide for you, the easily-overwhelmed. It's simple and you can finish this in 30 minutes or less and then BOOM! New site live! πŸ™‚

Getting your own blog up and live on your own domain is so easy that there's absolutely no reason you can't have yours up by the end of the day.

There's really only one blogging platform for serious bloggers, and that's WordPress. You'll learn exactly why you should use WordPress instead of free sites like Tumblr below.

I'll also show you how to get a FREE domain for your new WordPress website.

I'm going to give you the exact step-by-step process to launching your own WordPress blog or site TODAY and I'll also give you all the tools and services I use to get this done with an absolute minimum of fuss.

I hate fuss, and I want you to understand that blogging and making money online doesn't have to be painful and you can easily build a second income pursuing your passions. It sounds clichΓ©, but it's the truth.

I'm actually really lazy and seriously, if I can do this, you can too. So follow this guide step-by-step and by the end of the day your site will be live on the web.

NOTE: This process works for almost any kind of website and you don't need any technical or programming skills. Not interested in blogging? Want a personal or professional portfolio site, company site, forum, fan site, review site, or photography site? Anything you can think of is possible with a WordPress website.

1. What You Will Learn in This Easy Guide

  1. You will learn the exact steps to set up your own blog site live on the web, on your own domain, without the help of web developers - even if you have zero technical experience... and if you follow along and take action, you can accomplish this whole process in 30 minutes or less.
  2. You will learn all about WordPress, and why I recommend it for your site. I'll also show you why it's critical for you to have your site or blog on your own domain and why it could be a HUGE business mistake to go with a free blogging option like Tumblr or Blogger.
  3. You will learn how a blog can become a lucrative home-business, and the 7 most popular ways of making money from a blog.
  4. You will learn about web hosting and why you must have a reliable host. You will also receive a specially negotiated discount (by yours truly) to the web host that I use for all my sites  which will let you launch your site for $3.95 / month or less (no opt-in necessary for the discount).
  5. I'll show you how to pick the perfect domain for your new site and using my link and the discount I've negotiated for you, you can also claim a FREE DOMAIN for your first website.

I've done this many times before so this whole process only takes me about 20 minutes, but even if you're totally new to this with no technical skills it shouldn't take you more than a couple hours at the most including reading the post.

Help me spread the love on this post?

how to build your blog fast

I heard you never get anything if you can't ask, so here I am asking: 

Do you mind pinning the image to the left if you found this post helpful? I'd love to get this post in as many bloggers hands as possible πŸ™‚

2. Can I Make Money Blogging?

Yes. The simple answer is "YES!" You can make money with a WordPress site. With your own site or blog you have the ultimate freedom to explore topics and subjects that you love and are passionate about - or have expertise in - and turn those interests and experiences into a side income or a full time business.

In fact, the earnings potential for a great blog and passionate blogger far outstrips what most people can earn in a regular salaried position. There are many bloggers out there who have turned their passions into 6-figure businesses, and a select few are in the mind-blowing 6-figure-per-month range. Stop and think about that for a moment... Six. Figures. Per. Month.

Sound nice? Now the hard question...

Is it EASY to make money with a blog?

Nothing is ever easy is it? Unfortunately no "magic bullet" for making money exists online. Trust me, I've chased them all. Sorry. I know that's not the answer people want to hear, but just like any business venture - and it's critical for you to approach your blog like a real business - hard work, passion, and a whole lot of sweat is the key to earning an income from a blog.

As a side note: if you're the type that learns better from an online course, you should check out our review of Blog Growth Engine by Adam Enfroy. BGE is our # 1 recommended blogging course to help you start and scale a blog that makes money fast. Adam will teach you monetization strategies, content, link building, SEO, and so much more. 

So if you're serious about blogging, you owe it to yourself to give it everything you've got.

2.1 How Do Bloggers Make Money From Blogging?

Now the fun stuff. If you've made it this far you're about to get a peek into how something as simple as a blog can turn someone with a passion into a 4, 5, or even 6-figure online earner.

There's too many ways to monetize blogs to list every single one in this post, but here are 7 of the most popular ways to make money from a blog:

  1. Sell complimentary services. If you have a blog about Internet Marketing (like this one), you can sell consulting, or marketing services to your visitors.
  2. Sell your own products and courses. You can create your own offerings, including educational courses, eBooks, or any other digital or physical products of relevance. This can include things like webinars or even t-shirts. If you're wondering how to start a t shirt business, this could be a fantastic addition to your portfolio of products, adding diversity and potential for additional income.
  3. Advertising / Ad Arbitrage. Using a service like Google AdSense, you can place ads across your site and earn money every time someone clicks on the ads.
  4. Affiliate Marketing. By far one of the most lucrative and popular monetization tactics for bloggers is by linking to other brands products via affiliate links. Affiliates get paid when someone clicks on their affiliate link and buys a service (or takes a specified action).
  5. Sponsored posts and partnerships. Get paid to review peoples products on your website. Depending on your traffic and visibility, you can make 50 - 1,000 per post.
  6. Sponsored banner ads. In this option you're basically selling ad space for a pre-determined amount. Usually you would negotiate the ad for a fixed amount of time, so you can renegotiate later based on performance.
  7. Email Marketing and Sales Funnels. You've probably heard the phrase "the money's in the list." This is a reference to email list building. In 2024 it doesn't have to be email, it could be SMS or even Facebook Messenger. Whatever the channel, the phrase applies. Owning your own distribution channel lets you easily sell more products to your subscribers via sales funnels.

Each of the above methods deserves it's own post as each one is unique, suited to different personality types and different websites, and a lot of work.

Hopefully I'll have time to cover these soon in future posts so stay tuned!

2.2 Is Blogging Right For You?

Blogging is suited to individuals who can organize their time well when they're on their own, don't get bored easily, and want a place to explore and share their passions.

If you want to help people learn and grow in a particular niche, than blogging might be the perfect way for you to pursue your dreams, and help others pursue theirs.

Blogging is unique in the sense that it really can suit the needs of almost any type of person and any type of goal. For example if all you want is a place to share your thoughts with a wider audience, or even just with yourself, blogging can provide that outlet.

Blogging is a great option people who love to write, and people with a passion or interest that want to chronicle their journey for other people with the same interests.

You don't have to be the best writer on the planet, or even love it that much, but it certainly helps. A popular misconception about blogging is that you need to be an amazing writer. Not true! Just read this blog (yikes!)...

As long as you can convey information in a way that provides value, you can be a blogger. People mostly read blogs to get a deeply personal perspective on a topic, and the personality of the blogger is a big piece of this puzzle.

You don't have to win any Pulitzer prizes with your blog posts - just add value to other people's journey in life and learning and you're good to go.

3. Before Getting Started: A Newbie Guide To WordPress

WordPress is what is known as a Content Management System (CMS), and is the most common blogging and website builting platform on the planet, with an estimated 25% of all websites built on the WP framework.

WordPress (WP) initially began as blogging software, and morphed into a website building platform than can handle almost any kind of site you want to build.

chillreptile start a wordpress site

Basically it gives you an interface to easily manage and display content on the web and is great for the non-technical folks like me. You don't need to know how to write code or design sites to launch a website, as the entire process is managed through pre-built themes, plugins, and an easy-to-use interface.

"A content management system (CMS) is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment." - Source: WikiPedia

3.1 Why Is WordPress The Best Blogging Platform?

The magic of WordPress lies in it's nearly unlimited site-building potential. From blogs to business sites, it's all possible.

In fact, some of the worlds largest websites like CNN and Huffingtonpost are build on WP.

Because it's open source, anyone in the software development community can build an app or theme that works with it.

And millions of smart developers have done exactly that, building millions of themes, plugins, integrations, and more. So if you're wondering something right now like, OK, but will it integrate with my email marketing provider, or can I accept payments, etc., the answer 99.99 times out of 100 is going to be YES. Someone somewhere has already built a solution for your problem, you just need to find it and integrate it.

3.2 Here's 5 Reasons To Choose WordPress For Your Blog

#1. WordPress is 100% FREE with tons of free themes and plugins.

WordPress itself is free and easy to install - if you follow my guide in this post I'll show you how to install WordPress on your new domain in 5 minutes or less. There's a huge community of designers building beautiful themes and awesome plugins for WordPress  - all you have to do is download one and upload it to your WP dashboard.

#2. It's beginner-friendly and doesn't require any technical expertise to get started.

Adding pages, posts, galleries, images, text, etc. is super easy with WordPress. If you're comfortable with word editing systems like Google Doc's or Microsoft Word, then you can easily use the text editor in WordPress to create and publish posts and pages. With a variety of "plugins" also available from the wider WP community, you can easily add almost any piece of functionality to your site you need like contact forms, email capture forms, maps, archives, images, and so on.

#2. You can build any kind of website on WordPress. From small blogs to business sites or artist portfolio sites, it's all possible.

WordPress began as blogging software: write a post, publish the post, have a list of archives, etc. Pretty simple stuff. Not anymore. While the core blogging functionality has remained - and evolved - the framework itself has gone so far beyond blogging that WordPress now powers over 25% of the web in almost every website category. You can easily create forums, social media networks, business sites, news sites, startup launch pages, you name it, and it's all easily accessible to the non-technical layperson.

#4. It's mobile friendly (responsive) and cutting-edge technology for 2024

Make sure to choose a WP theme that is automatically "responsive", and your site will adapt to any screen size automagically. You don't have to hire developers or tinker with the code as long as you keep the plugins and theme up-to-date. Having a mobile responsive website is no longer an option in 2024. If you want to be taken seriously, you must present your content in a format that's readily accessible on any device.

#5. Tons of support from the WP community and developers

It's easy to find support from the wider WordPress community. With so many people creating websites, themes, plugins and tutorials, you can almost always find what you need with a few Google searches. Most theme developers have their own support forums and guides, so make sure when you pick a theme to review the developers reviews and their support features.

Quick WordPress Terminology Guide

(Skip ahead if you're already familiar with basic WordPress lingo):

  • WordPress is a website framework that manages your website backend and frontend.
  • The "Framework" gives you all the basic functionality you need to build a real website without being a developer or web designer: create a page, create a blog, write and publish a post, etc. etc.
  • The "dashboard" is the online interface that you - the administrator - access to accomplish all the above tasks. See below screenshot for what my dashboard looks like.
  • The "theme" is a seperate file that you upload to via dashboard. The theme controls the look and feel of your website. On this site, the theme is "FocusBlog", designed by Thrive Themes, and is what makes it look the way it does. There's millions of themes out there; everything from portfolio /artist themes, blog themes, and more.
  • Quick exercise: Do a Google search for "[Your Interest Keyword] + Free WordPress Theme." Example: "Musician Free WordPress Theme." You'll likely get a ton of results. We cover tips for finding your perfect theme in greater detail below.
wordpress dashboard interface 2017

So, now you understand WordPress a bit better, let's move on to why it's so important to own your own site on your own domain.

3.3 Why You Should Stay Away From Hosted Blog Solutions Like Tumblr or Blogger

You might be asking yourself right now, "why can't I just use a free website building solution like Tumblr, Blogspot or Blogger instead of" You definitely have this option, but there are some massive downsides to using a free blog solution.

First, mentally answer "YES" or "NO" on each of these 3 fundamental questions about your blogging goals to see if a free solution is for you:

  1. Do you want your website to generate real traffic and get found by search engines?
  2. Are you planning on turning your WordPress website into a home business that generates revenue?
  3. Are you planning on creating a brand that's easily recognizable, has the capacity to create a following online, and gives you freedom over content and publishing rights?

Ok, if you answered "YES" to any of the above and want to start a site that one day can generate revenue, you don't want a free solution like Tumblr and MUST have your own site hosted on your own domain.

Four Reasons To Stay Away From Free Blog Solutions

Take a look around at successful bloggers. Are they hosting their blogs on free sub-domains? Nope. There's a very good reason this website is on "", not "". If you host your website on someone else's domain, like a Tumblr domain for example, they OWN your content and the ability to monetize it.

  1. When your website is on a sub-domain of someone else's website, you lose ultimate control over your content, brand, and business. You're basically borrowing space from them and they make all the rules. If you look at my example above, the "chillreptile" part in "" is the sub-domain.
  2. You are often severely limited in your ability to design your site, add unique functionality, or turn it into a legitimate business due to the fact that these "free" site-building / blog solutions limit functionality for free-tier users in an effort to either a) up-sell you to paid tiers and services, or b) keep their bandwidth down to limit costs for free users.
  3. You should never, NEVER, give control over your business and brand to a company that can get rid of you at any moment. If you build your business on the back of someone else's product, you're at their mercy; they can change terms of use (TOS) at any moment, or simply go out of business. All your hard work can be gone in an instant and they owe you nothing.
  4. Your hard work is building their business, not yours. Web businesses rely on SEO and the ability for people to find them organically, and through paid advertising. All your amazing posts with killer SEO practices baked-in are ultimately just adding juice to the top-level domain, in the case of this example, to Tumblr.

No disrespect intended to Tumblr, etc. πŸ™‚ but if you're serious about making money from a business, you absolutely MUST have your website on your own domain and you must control the publishing platform.

With WordPress (which is a free download), you have ultimate control over your publishing ability and it's free to add to your own domain. That leads us into why the domain itself is so critical for your business.

3. 4 The Difference Between &

WordPress is confusing when you're starting out because there are actually TWO versions of this incredibly popular software.

There's, and vs
  • is the software we are recommending in this guide. It's free open-source software anyone can download, upload to their web host, and use to build their blog or website. It's what we use on and all the benefits have been discussed already above.
  • is a free version that gives you a sub-domain like Tumblr or Blogger - we've discussed why you don't want this in the section above. You can switch this solution to your own domain, but again you're severely limited in terms of functionality, etc.

The free software gives you total freedom to build your business, and we show you how to buy your first domain, and upload WordPress in Step 1 of this guide below.

4. Why Having Your Own Domain Is Critical For Your Success

The reason is simple. You must control and own your own brand and have total control over the ability to monetize your traffic. For internet geeks and marketers like me, "monetize" means "turn into revenue."

Many of the reasons discussed in the last section apply to your domain as well.

Imagine if you get and then gleefully start building up your business, then...

A domain squatter buys and the .net version and so on....

Suddenly all your customers are accidentally going to the .com version of the website, and your competitor can do whatever they want with your traffic, INCLUDING something malicious like redirecting them to something shady.

Yikes. You're out of luck. Look, it comes down to this: If you are serious about building your business, then own your domain, host your own website, and build your own brand. Free domain extension sites promise a lot, but deliver little more than a place to publish words and videos etc.

Remember: with my Bluehost discount, you also get a FREE domain. This tiny investment now is where you take a stand for the future health of your business - I don't care if it's a blog or a coffee shop website - and commit to being a serious company.

Here comes the more specific stuff:

SEO becomes much harder, advertising becomes much harder, making money on a free site is much harder because you might violate their TOS, building an email list is harder, and on and on.

If you're serious about your business, own your domain and thank me later πŸ™‚

And don't forget, I'll show you how to get your first domain for FREE in this guide, so stick with it.

5. All About Web Hosting & Why You Need it

Why do I even need web hosting? What even is it!? Yup. We've all had this reaction at some point in our journey to starting a website.

That's the risk-averse part of your brain that evaluates any purchase you make and always tries to tell you "NO". You go through that with every purchase - especially new ones.

The bad news: Unfortunately web hosting is an unavoidable cost if you want to have your own website.

The good news: It's pretty stinking affordable. If you consider that it's minuscule investment into your business, it's pretty easy to justify. I've seen people spend ten thousand dollars on custom furniture for a coffee shop, but balk at the idea of spending ~$4.00/month on the infrastructure required to host their website.

More good news: as I've mentioned with my discount at BlueHost you can get web hosting and a FREE domain for less than the cost of ONE double latte every month (about $3.95/ month depending on the options you choose) πŸ™‚

What exactly is it, though? The "web host" is the company that stores your website files on their servers and displays them on the internet.

The hosting company gives you all the infrastructure you need to get online. You could store and display the files yourself, but you would need to set up your own servers and have the technical expertise to configure them.

5.1 Why I Recommend Bluehost for Your WordPress Site

I've been using Bluehost for all my hosting needs for years. The reasons are simple: unparalleled customer service, 99.99% up-time, great cost, their very trustworthy, and basically I've never had an issue with them that I couldn't solve.

Any time I've had a technical issue or billing issue or even wanted help with some HTML or CSS I've been able to call them, get a technician or support person on the phone right away, and solve my problem.

why we recommend bluehost

1. Endorsed by WordPress. WordPress actually endorses Bluehost as the "ultimate WordPress platform". Though it's a paid endorsement, the relationship between the two companies seems genuine, and it's clear that Bluehost does everything it can to make WordPress site owners happy.

2. 1-Click WordPress Tools. Bluehost has a fantastic suite of WordPress tools that are easy to access, and can get you up and running fast. You can install WordPress with 1 click on your domain (complete guide below), install a FREE SSL certificate (HTTPS) to add trust and security to your site, and take advantage of 1-click backups, and more. You need SSL to accept payments on your site.

3. 30-day Money Back Guarantee. Bluehost sticks by there product with a generous 30-day full refund. If you're not happy after 30 days, call support and ask for your money back. I've never had to do this with them.

4. Great Uptime. You don't want your site to go down for a week with no warning do you? Bluehost makes sure your site is always live, though they make it clear that downtime is possible. I've never had an issue with it and always get notified if the server is going down for maintenance.

See how I score Bluehost

Customer Support Score

Technical Support Score

Newbie Friendly Score

Budget Friendly Score

Features Score

6. Getting Started & Choosing Your Domain

The next 7 sections are the actual tutorial for launching your new blog or website.

Please note: this tutorial is for people who DO NOT currently have a domain or hosting and are starting from scratch. If you already have a domain and hosting, there's lots of good tutorials out there just a quick Google search away.

You should set aside about 20 - 30 minutes to do this, it takes me 5 to 10 minutes to setup a new website on Bluehost, but if this is your first time 20 - 30 minutes is reasonable if you follow every step below exactly.

How easy is this really? Super easy. I give it 5 beers on the chill-o-meter. Just follow the instructions below. Don't get frustrated and just go step by step.  

How To Choose The Perfect Domain For Your Business or Blog

Before you get hosting, let's think of the perfect domain name for your new WordPress website!

The most obvious choice is "yourcompanyname".com or something similar, which might be the way to go. However, if your a local company, you might consider something with your city name in the domain to make it easier to find on search engines like "YourCompanyNameAustin".com.

Maybe you're starting a personal savings blog, in that case using words in the domain that identify your interests to new readers can really help. Maybe something like "ThePennyPincherBlog".com would be the right choice for you.

Whatever it is, go with something memorable, not too long, and not too spammy sounding.

I can't remember how I came up with "ChillReptile", I think I literally was looking at pictures of funny lizards on the internet and came up with the name. It was an "AHA" moment for me because it fit my personality and I thought it would be super easy for someone to remember.

6.1 Get Web Hosting & Register Your FREE Domain Name

Alright! You've read all the WHO, WHAT, WHY stuff above and you're ready to register your domain and launch your site. So, let's get started, eh?

Step 1 is claiming your Bluehost discount and registering your FREE domain name.

Let's do this! Time To Setup Your Site on Bluehost. 

The link below will take you directly to my Bluehost discount to purchase your domain and web hosting package. Below you will find my tutorial for doing this headache-free, so follow along! Ready? You need 20 - 30 minutes to finish this.

6.2 Choose Your Bluehost Hosting Package

As soon as you click my link for the Bluehost discount, you'll see a page that looks like the one below with the discount already calculated.

Note: Keep this tutorial open in a separate tab or page to follow along.

Click on the green "Get Started Now" button once you're on the page.

bluehost discount chillreptile

Now you need to decide the hosting package that suites your needs and budget. 

You should now be on a page with the title "select your plan."

It's OK if it doesn't look exactly like the screenshot below, they are always testing out new designs and special offers.

9 times out of 10 someone just starting out only needs the "Basic" plan. Scroll below the image and I'll break down what's included.

bluehost discount chillreptile

The Bluehost "Basic" plan is the perfect starting package for anyone launching a single WordPress website or blog. 

You're getting great hosting and a free domain and hosting space for one website.

With the Bluehost basic shared hosting plan you're getting unmetered bandwidth, 5 email accounts with your domain, and a ton more not shown on this page including a free SSL certificate, easy WordPress tools, and a lot more.

Note: If you're switching from another host and have multiple websites to transfer, pick the Plus or Prime plan as they will both allow unlimited website storage.

Now it's time to claim your free domain πŸ™‚

Don't overthink it. There's no such thing as the perfect blog name, just go with your gut, make it memorable, and pick something that feels right to you. If you've already got a brand name, go with that.

Oh no! What if your chosen domain is NOT available?

Don't Panic! Chances are if you are searching for something generic it's not going to be available. You can add something like "blog" to it, or you can choose your free domain later. Just wait for a little pop up that says "Choose Free Domain Later", click that, and continue with the process.

OK, let's continue. You should be on the page below where there's two options. Choose your NEW domain, or use an existing domain. Maybe you've purchased one in the past. Enter that in the second field.

For a new domain, you can choose a .COM, .NET, .ORG, or several other options. The .COM is always the best to own if at all possible.

free domain bluehost

Now for the final few steps in the registration process... Queue the drumroll please! 

Step 1: Create your actual account. They need your personal or business information to create your account.

Tip: If you're currently logged into a Google account while doing this, you can use the "Sign in with Google" option to speed this up a bit.

Step 2: Choose your package options. You're going to be faced with a few choices here, to make it easy I've selected the easiest and most affordable options in the screenshot below. Get it to look just like this below and see if that is right for you.

Note: I've unselected stuff I don't think most starter sites need and the options below represent the best "bang for your buck". You can always upgrade to these options later if you want. For example I don't think you need domain privacy when first launching your site, but it might be useful to you later on for whatever reason. 

Paying for 3 years in advance will give you the best monthly price and is the best value.

how to choose your plan bluehost

Final step, gulp! You've got to actually pay πŸ™‚ you can use Pay Pal, Visa, Master Card etc. Pay with confidence, Bluehost is a huge corporation with all necessary safeguards in place to protect your financial information.

bluehost payment options at checkout

Congrats πŸ™‚ You now own a domain and are hosted for the length of time you chose. 

Now let's go setup your brand new WordPress website!

6.3 Connect Your Domain To Bluehost (Only Necessary if You Already Have a Domain)

Skip this section if you're getting a new domain! This is only for transferring a domain you already have to Bluehost.

If you already have a domain and are transferring it to Bluehost, it's super easy, all you need to do is select the "I have a domain name" option on the domain picking page and enter your domain in the field provided.  

free domain bluehost

Add your domain and click next, and you will be sent to the "choose your package page" which I show in detail above. They will walk you through additional details needed in transferring your domain.

6.4 Setup WordPress in Minutes and You're Live!

Alright, next Bluehost will walk you through the initial WordPress setup with an easy guide.

This part is super easy, take a deep breath and let's dive into creating your new site.

Step 1: Pick your WordPress theme. Look through the Bluehost selection and find a theme you like that fits your needs, business, and brand. 

You can skip this if you want! Remember that you can also always change your theme directly from the WordPress dashboard, so don't panic! This isn't permanent, just pick something you like for now, and you can come back to it later if you want.

bluehost wordpress themes

Step 2: It's time to start building your Bluehost WordPress site. After choosing your theme you'll land on the below page, if you want to continue to your WordPress dashboard and get started, click "Start Building", otherwise, you can exit to your Bluehost account. 

Remember: your WordPress site and Bluehost are two seperate things. Bluehost makes it easy to setup a WordPress site with their walkthrough, but they're completely seperate software tools. 

bluehost wordpress

OK, assuming you clicked on the "Start Building" button, you're now on your WordPress dashboard, shown in the image below. This is where you control everything about your new site including pages, posts, aesthetic, functionality, and more.

new bluehost wordpress dashboard

Step 3: Choose to continue the Bluehost WordPress guided setup, or start tinkering on your own.

If you're setting up a business website, click "Business", if you're setting up a personal site like a blog, click "Personal", or click "I don't need help" to leave the guided setup.

bluehost wordpress tools

Step 4: Now you're on the Bluehost WordPress tools page. This page acts as a command center with quick links.

By default your site is private and not viewable live on the web when you first setup a new site. You can choose to launch the site now (make it public), or wait until you're done customizing the site.

From here you can navigate to anywhere you need to go in WordPress to get started.

6.5 How to Navigate WordPress & Start Blogging

Login to Bluehost and click "Log in to WordPress".

You can also login directly to your WP dashboard by navigating to "your site".com/wp-login.php

For some people it's confusing that they have Bluehost login details AND WordPress login details, but just know that these are two totally seperate companies with seperate functions.

Bluehost gives you access to the stored files, other websites you might own, etc., and WordPress is the software that Bluehost is hosting and we're using to build your website.

So login now and you will immediately be taken to your "dashboard", which will look something like the below image.

Important note: my dashboard will look different from yours since I'm probably using a different theme and plugins.

2017 wordpress dashboard

The 6 sections of the WordPress dashboard beginners should learn first!

Ok - the above image shows you the the dashboard, let's break it down so you know what's what!

1. The WordPress Dashboard. The dashboard itself gives you top-level access to all the WordPress functionality. It's like the captains chair! You navigate to everywhere from this one central area. (Learn more about the dashboard here.)

2. WordPress Posts. Click on the section with the little push pin icon called "Posts". The next page is where you manage all of your blog posts, create new ones, edit old ones, save drafts, etc. This is the blogging section of WordPress. It's distinct from section 3, pages! A WordPress post is not by default a "page", but it can be if you chose to link to it in a navigation bar. Not recommended! Use PAGES for actual pages like "about us", "Contact", etc. and use POSTS for your blog posts or podcasts or v-log posts. (Learn more about posts here.)

ACTION ITEM: Create your first post and start tinkering around with it!

WordPress Posts

3. WordPress Pages. Next click on the section called "Pages", this is where you build pages that are more traditional website-type pages like "Home", "About", etc. Much of the functionality of posts is the same, but often pages have additional features depending on your theme. (Learn more aboutο»Ώ pages here.)

ACTION ITEM: Create your about page and give it some love!

WordPress Pages

4. WordPress Appearance Section. The "Appearance" section of the dashboard is where you add new themes, switch themes, and control the overall visual appearance of your new WordPress website. You can upload themes, add or change widgets, control colors and fonts, and lots of other "appearance" related stuff depending on your theme and plugins. (Learn more about the appearance section here.)

In the image below you can see that currently my active theme is "FocusBlog" (more on this in section 6.6).

ACTION ITEM: Navigate to appearance and mess around with different available themes! In section 6.6 I'll give you tips on choosing a theme, but for now, play with what's available, then visit your site to see what changed!

wordpress appearance section

5. WordPress Plugins Section. Plugins are programs that add new functionality to your website. Many are made by the WordPress development team, and many by the extended community of WP developers. You can find a plugin that does almost anything you want. And if you're theme or WordPress doesn't do something natively that you want, it's a good bet you can find a plugin that will. Plugins can add social sharing buttons, security challenges, Facebook comments, analytics, and more. (Learn more about WP plugins here.)

ACTION ITEM: Review a list of my recommended starter plugins here.

6. WordPress Settings. The settings section is where you set functional settings for your website. For example you can set your timezone (mine's LA in the image below), email address, link format, new user roles, etc.

ACTION ITEM: Go to "Settings" and change the timezone to your local timezone

wordpress settings area

Here's a few more sections to familiarize yourself with as you start your blogging journey:

1. Media. The media section of your dashboard is where you upload and manage images, audio files, video, etc. More >>

2. Users. The user area of your WP dashboard is where you control the actual authors and users that have access to your dashboard. More >>

3. Comments. This is the section you use to control comments on your site, if you want to allow them, mark them as spam or if you want to publish comments, etc. More >>

PHEW! That was a long section, now to the fun stuff! Move on to learn how to find your perfect theme and add it to your site! πŸ™‚

6.6 How to Choose a Theme for Your WordPress Blog or Site

These days there's a free or paid WordPress theme for almost any kind of site.

WordPress sites aren't limited to blogging or personal sites. You can build just about anything you want, and chances are someone's already developed a theme that matches your needs.

Got an idea for a forum where users can post, reply, and interact around a specific topic? There's amazing forum plugins for WordPress, BuddyPress is the one I'm most familiar with. It will turn your entire site into an amazing forum. 

Steps To Define Your Perfect Theme, Then Find It!

Step 1. Define who your WordPress site is for, and what the site is about. Example: a blog about eating gluten free for gluten free enthusiasts and people who want to switch to a gluten free lifestyle.

Step 2. What kind of content will you provide? Next give some thought to what kind of content you're going to create in order to communicate with your target audience. Podcasts? Blog posts? Video? 

Step 3. What other functionality do you need to accomplish your site goals? Chances are you're going to want to do stuff like collect email addresses, register site users, take payments (eCommerce is advanced stuff!), host products, etc. Make sure you know some of the basic functionality you're going to need before searching for themes. Tip: lots of functionality can be found with 3rd party plugins, so even if your chosen theme doesn't natively give you the functionality you want, chances are a plugin can do it for you.

Step 4. Research competitors and find sites you love. Now spend some time researching WP sites you love and your competitors and try to find the WordPress theme they're using. This is often a good way to find the perfect theme. 

Pro tip! How to find any WordPress site's theme: You can find any WP theme fast in Chrome! Let's try it on to practice. 1. Right click anywhere on this page with your mouse. 2. Click "Inspect". 3. A side page will open, now you're viewing my HTML and other sources. 4. At the top there's a menu, click "Sources". 5. In the top left it will show you my file tree. See the one that says "Themes/Focusblog"? Focusblog is my theme πŸ™‚ DONE!

Step 5. Start searching for themes. Now that you know some basic requirements for your site and visitors, it's time to find a theme! The first place you're going to want to look is for free themes. You can find tons of awesome free themes right in your WP dashboard in the "Appearance" section, or you can search for them online. Let's say we're going with the Gluten Free site example above. If I search "Nutrition blog wordpress theme" in Google, I get a ton of results. Your turn! Go find your perfect theme. 

We recommend Thrive Themes if you want to build a high-converting WordPress website. 

Let's do this! Time To Setup Your Site on Bluehost. 

The link below will take you directly to my Bluehost discount to purchase your domain and web hosting package. Above you will find my tutorial for doing this headache-free. Ready? You need 20 - 30 minutes to launch your site!

About the author 

Sam Rexford

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