When I started blogging years ago, I was able to try out a number of different website hosts. Through A LOT of trial and error, I found both a website and a web host that had everything I was looking for. I just wish I could have found them from the get-go. Before you commit to a website host, it’s important to do your research. If my experience can help reduce your trial and error time, I’m here for it 🙂
My biggest hope is that I can take all of the confusing lingo surrounding the creation of a blog and break it into simple steps for you to get on your way. While choosing a web host probably isn’t on the forefront of your blogging mind, it truly is one of the most important steps that you do not want to overlook, trust me! Let’s break down the costs, WordPress.org, and Bluehost below.
Your web host: A web host provides the software you need to build your blog. I’ve chosen Bluehost.
Your website: A blogging platform. I’ve chosen wordpress.org.
A domain name: The name you’ve given your website.
Why I Chose to Pay for a Web Host After Trying Out Free Ones
I used to think free web hosts would do the trick for my very amateur blog. But after a year on a free hosting site (wordpress.com…which is different from wordpress.org), and then realizing I was better off switching. In hindsight, I wish I would have bit the bullet on the small investment from the start. Often times, free webhosts place several restrictions on how you can monetize your blog. I didn’t start blogging with the intention to monetize, but once naturally occurring money-making opportunities arose, I knew I needed to make the switch to a web-host that was made to help me monetize, not restrict me from it.
Because I knew nothing about the world of website hosts, I was looking for a platform that had hardly any learning curve, that was very self-explanatory when it came to the set up, and didn’t require me to know coding. My first priority wasn’t to make money blogging, but I did want to make sure the platform I chose allowed that as an option down the road, if I saw it to be a natural fit.
WordPress is the most popular platform for blogging with 40% of bloggers using it. It is an open-source content management system (CMS), which means you have tons of control over your entire website, allowing you to create your own plugins and wordpress themes, or select from over 60,000 of the already created free wordpress themes. As someone who knows very little about SEO (search engine optimization…aka how your blog is found when people search its topics), I loved that WordPress has a handful of SEO features already built into it. Google Analytics also comes in handy when choosing wordpress.org, making it easy to check on the stats of blog posts and new subscribers. Look, if you are looking to have an online store or sell online courses in the future, you will want to choose wordpress.org over wordpress.com.
Although WordPress software is free, your domain name will be around $14.99/year and hosting is usually around $7.99/month.
WordPress.org It Is! And Now We Need A We Host…
Remember that within the world of WordPress, there are wordpress.org and wordpress.com, which are two different website hosts that allow you to achieve different goals. WordPress.org was the one I went with because it was least restrictive with monetization. While other blogging platforms don’t need a separate web host, WordPress.org does. A web host provides the software you need to build your blog. Signing up for a website host is done separately from signing up for wordpress.org.
I use and have enjoyed many aspects of Bluehost. There is a reason why it’s the leading website host to more than two million websites-because it’s the easiest to navigate for beginners like me! Through Bluehost you receive a free domain (blog/website name) for a year before having to pay for it.
As enticing as it may be to buy a bigger and better plan, I encourage you to stick with the Basic Hosting Plan ($2.95/month) for at least your first year. It truly has everything you need and there is no reason to spend more than you need to when you are first starting out.
In my mind, owning my content and domain on this self-hosted site, knowing it wouldn’t all disappear if the platform got shut down, was totally worth the small cost of Bluehost’s Basic Plan.
Unfortunately, I had experienced enough free hosting platforms, like wordpress.com and Blogger, to learn that it was near impossible to find help for my site when needed. BlueHost has been a blessing when it comes to accessing their support team 24/7 whenever I’m stuck and need help.
Ready for your step-by-step tutorial of setting these all up? Head on over to my Setting Up Your Blog post to see exactly what order we will sign up for Bluehost, choose a domain name, sign up for WordPress.org, and connect them all into one, well-oiled, blogging machine!
This post contains affiliate links.
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