You need a blog and you need it now. The world is always changing, and it’s time you had a blog platform of your own to share your views and thoughts. The best and easiest way to launch a self-hosted blog is with the self hosted WordPress platform.
There are over 60 million blogs on WordPress, one of several platforms that helps you to publish online. This number, according to one source, represents only 43% of all blogs, making the total somewhere around 160 million blogs. (I recently heard this number could be as high as 300 million).
These blogs are viewed by an audience of over 400 million people each month — and that’s only one place people are connecting online.
Incredible, isn’t it? You’d be hard pressed to argue there’s not a tremendous opportunity here. But are you taking advantage of it? It’s never been easier to connect with an audience and get your message heard… but are you engaging in the conversation?
Forget for a second all the technological hurdles and learning curves you think are associated with blogging, and imagine for a moment: If you had the chance to share a message with the world, what would you say? And what would happen if people actually listened?
We all have something to say. Blogs not only make that possible, they make it easy. All you have to do is act. It’s time to dive in and figure out what it takes to get your message heard, to see your cause spread.
What happens if you don’t do this? Well, nothing. You keep getting what you’ve always gotten, which probably means:
- No more attention
- No more trust
- No more permission
You stay invisible, and your message remains irrelevant. If that’s okay with you, keep doing what you’re doing. But if not, it’s time for a change.
For years, I dreamed of having a personally-branded website I could have control over. But once I started getting bogged down by the technical aspects of blogging, I froze. Then I’d stall and eventually give up.
But you don’t have to do that.
Setting up a self-hosted blog sounds technical but is, in fact, easy to do. And yes, I think it’s worth investing a little money into having full control over your website. I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do (if you already have a blog set up like this, feel free to share this post with a friend).
5 steps to launching a blog
If you prefer reading text versus viewing a video, here are the quick steps you can take (however, the video shows you everything you need to do):
- Get a host. A web host is where your website “lives.” You own it, but you pay a small fee to keep it online (kind of like paying property taxes to the government).
- Register a domain. You can get a domain name (e.g. thehtmlcoder.com) through your hosting company. I recommend doing it this way, so you can keep everything streamlined. If you’ve already registered a domain through another service and need to host it, you’ll either have to transfer your domain registration or point your name servers to the host.
- Install WordPress. Blogging requires software, and the best that I’ve found is
WordPress .It’s easy, quick, and best of all, free. You can set up WordPress through your host. Otherwise, you have to go through WordPress.org to download the software and then upload it to a host. (Note: Using WordPress.org is different from signing up for a free blog at WordPress.com).
- Get a theme. When you start using WordPress, you get access to a bunch of beautiful blog designs (called “themes”), many of which are free. For those just getting started, I recommend Twenty Sixteen; it’s a simple, elegant theme.
- Log in and start blogging. The URL for your dashboard (which redirects to the login page if you’re not logged in) is yourblogname.com/wp-admin/. Once logged in, click “Posts” on the left-hand sand, and then select “Add New.” Write a title and create some content for your new blog, and you’re off to the races!
3 big reasons you should blog with self-hosted WordPress
Free blogging platforms have one obvious thing going for them: they’re free!
But there are just too many downsides for us to recommend them. The #1 reason you should not be blogging on a free platform is that it looks unprofessional.
Your visitors can tell you’re using a free platform. Whether it’s because of the generic-looking themes, tell-tale widgets in your sidebar, or credit links in the footer, it’s quite obvious when you’re blogging on a free platform.
And it gives a very unprofessional first impression.
Unfortunately, many of your visitors won’t take you seriously when they see that you’re not willing to invest in your blog.
WordPress gives a more professional impression to your visitors than an obviously free blogging platform. When they visit your site at www.yourname.com instead of yourname.myfreewebsite.com, it looks so much more professional and trustworthy.
Compared to other blogging platforms or software, WordPress is supported by an enormous online community.
No matter what you want to do with WordPress, or what obstacles you encounter, it’s easy to find help.
In fact, just googling “WordPress help” yields 542 million results.
Chances are, your question has already been answered online. There’s likely even a tutorial or walkthrough for it, or a plugin that will provide the exact functionality you need.
And if not, it’s easy to find a forum or site where you can ask for help, or a developer you can hire whose rates are within your budget.
Another crucial feature of self-hosted WordPress is its incredible flexibility. You have the control to do whatever you want with your website, unlike with free blogging platforms that severely limit what you can do.
With self-hosted WordPress you can:
- Choose from thousands and thousands of themes, including official themes from WordPress.org, or premium third-party themes, or even create your own custom theme.
- Modify your site’s code, so you can change whatever you want, including customizing the text of your footer credits, switching fonts or colors, or even changing the whole layout of your site.
- Install plugins. Plugins are one of WordPress’s most important features. They make it easy to change or add whatever functionality you want, making WordPress infinitely flexible and allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind website. You can easily find a plugin to grow your email list, build a landing page or almost anything else.
- Monetize your blog. Often free blogging platforms don’t allow you to implement third party advertising or monetize in other ways. If you want to monetize your blog by selling direct ads or sponsored posts, or create a premium membership site, you’re probably going to be limited by a blogging platform’s terms of service or technical restrictions. With self-hosted WordPress, you own your site, so you can monetize it in any way you want.
- Control your own site and content. Many free blogging platforms include a clause in their terms of service that state that they can immediately delete your entire site without warning if you violate their terms of service. They may even have ownership of your content. With self-hosted WordPress, you retain ownership and control of everything posted. (Still, you should make sure to backup your site!)
And that’s it; now you’re blogging. Which is where the hard, but good, work of writing begins. If you’re ready to jump into this world of blogging, click the image below to get started with Bluehost.
See you on the other side!