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On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Short Guide to Launching a Self-Hosted Blog in 8 Minutes or Less [Screencast]

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I’m gonna cut to the chase: You need a blog. The world is changing and moving on without you, and it’s time you had a platform of your own to share your message.

The best and easiest way to launch a self-hosted blog is with WordPress.

Self-hosted blog

Photo Credit: dreadfuldan via Compfight cc

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? [Tweet that]

The opportunity you don’t want to miss

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).

Launch a self-hosted blog in less than 8 minutes

In this eight-minute video, I share what I wish someone would’ve told me years ago when I started blogging. It would have saved me a lot of time and pain. And I would’ve been able to start sharing my message sooner. I hope it does just that for you or someone you know.

Note: In this free tutorial, I share my affiliate link to Bluehost, a company I highly recommend that makes the whole process very easy. If you click the link and buy, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please know I only recommend products I use and love, and offering affiliate links is one way I am able to keep this blog going.

Five 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):

  1. 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). I recommend Bluehost for less than $3.95/month (a special rate for my readers). It’s one of the most popular web hosts on the Internet and offers excellent, 24/7 customer service.
  2. Register a domain. You can get a domain name (e.g. goinswriter.com) through your hosting company. I recommend doing it this way, so you can keep everything streamlined. With Bluehost, this service is free with a hosting plan (as opposed to paying extra through a service like Godaddy.com). 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 (here’s a video on how to do that).
  3. 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 (Bluehost does this for you for free). 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. This infographic explains how.)
  4. 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 Platform; it’s a simple, elegant theme. I used it for the first year of my blog, before upgrading to a custom theme.
  5. 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!

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.

Bluehost

Bluehost is an excellent hosting service.

What if you have already have a domain name?

If you already have a domain registered with another service like Godaddy.com, but need a place to host it, you have two choices:

  1. Transfer the domain registration to Bluehost.
  2. Change the name servers on your domain to point to your new host.

This video will show you how to do that:

For more on getting started with a blog, check out: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Own Blog.

If you’re ready to get started blogging with Bluehost, you can use my affiliate link to get an extra $3/month off the normal $6.95 price (only $3.95/month). They’re a top recommended host by WordPress and have great customer service. I’ve worked with them before and been very pleased with the service. Click here to get started.

If you want to share this with someone, please do. Feel free to link to this post or embed the video on your website. You can find the screencast on YouTube and Vimeo.

Do you have your own self-hosted blog? If you do, what do you love about it? If not, what questions do you have? Share in the comments.

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About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • Mouna

    I woke up this morning and said to myself: ” I miss writing”, and so I started a blog which I named “Turtle on a Journey”  =)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      awesome.

  • Kessleda

    how is wordpress w/ bluehost better than the free blog via wordpress or blogger?
     

    • http://twitter.com/robertkennedy3 Robert Kennedy III

      It’s just different.  With a self-hosted blog, you can control quite a few more things, how you appear in search engines, etc.  You can determine where certain things are uploaded.  You have quite a bit more control.  With the wordpress.com site, you only have a subdomain.  You can point a URL to it but it is still a subdomain of wordpress.com.  With the self-hosted option, you control all of your URL’s and that is helpful with SEO and creating traffic.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      This explains it pretty well: http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/self-hosted-wordpress-org-vs-free-wordpress-com-infograph/

  • DDF

    I use blogger through gmail.  It’s free and easy.  I use Feedblitz to send my posts via email to my subscribers.  I am not thrilled with it.  I put my posts on Twitter which posts them to Facebook. So I am trying to build my tribe.  … I would like your quick thoughts on Blogger versus WordPress.  

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I’m not a fan of Blogger. It works for some people, but for me nothing beats WordPress. Lots more opportunities to customize, and in my opinion, WordPress has better-looking themes.

    • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

      When I switched from Blogger to WordPress, I struggled. A few friends told me they considered switching back. I’m glad I suffered through it though and am I dedicated wordpress user now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/depression.getaway Depression Getaway

    Yes I have blogged for over four years and love it since I enjoy writing so much. I like having a project and a purpose which helps me manage a mental illness which makes it difficult for me to do a lot of other things. A blog makes me feel engaged, expressive and active.
    Since my blog is about mental illness I feel I am making positive use of my chronic illness by encouraging others with ideas that I have found useful.
    But I can only put so much time into it and so cannot do all that might be required to make it more successful than it is. I have done everything pretty much on your list but I can’t do the social media thing and it seems that this is key these days. For starters, I don’t like social media, and secondly, it takes too much time.
    The other challenge I have is that for some reason, people that use Internet Explorer, and that is a lot of people, have trouble logging onto my blog.
    Even if someone is doing a blog just as a passtime, like I do, it is a great hobby. It is challenging, creative, stimulating, satisfying and motivating.

    • http://www.unchartedstreams.com/ Josh Taylor

      Blogging’s been around before sites like Facebook, twitter, etc.  You might be able to use a sight like Blogger.com, which is easy to use and interact with other bloggers.  You don’t need to put a lot of time, but it’s a great outlet when you feel expressive.  All I saw for your site was a facebook page, but if you have questions about fixing your blog feel free to let me know. My email is  josh@unchartedstreams.com

  • Katharine Trauger

    I have a WordPress.com site. Would I be able to keep the same theme I already have? Would I be able to alter it a bit? Would I have to rebuild my following, if I changed?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yes. You’d have a LOT more options to alter and change and such. You wouldn’t have to lose any followers, as you can transfer them (I believe) using the Jetpack plugin.

  • Renora

    Jeff,
    Out of frustration and the sadness of dealing with my son’s learning disabilities, I started a blog…blindly sort of by using WordPress. So far, it is just sitting there and has not been read by the world. Is it because I don’t have a website host yet?

    • http://www.unchartedstreams.com/ Josh Taylor

      Renora, that sounds like an interesting idea for a blog (I also have family with disability), although I can’t find a link for it here.  You have to share it for it to be read.  :-)

  • Priya Shah

    If I want to switch my domain name
    services from godaddy to bluehost, can that be done? Or do I continue to pay
    godaddy while bluehost connects it? I think I want to leave godaddy, I haven’t
    had much support from them. If I leave them, can I still keep the domain name and transfer it to another service?

    • http://twitter.com/robertkennedy3 Robert Kennedy III

      You can absolutely transfer.  I have been with bluehost for about 7 years now and LOVE them.  I have had great support and no problems to speak of!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yep. Here’s how: https://my.bluehost.com/cgi/help/45

  • http://somewiseguy.com/ ThatGuyKC

    Sweet little how-to guide. Nice job, Jeff.

    However, if you start promoting this every 5 minutes like Michael Hyatt I will shave your head.

  • http://www.unchartedstreams.com/ Josh Taylor

    I second bluehost.  Cheap and reliable.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cool. :)

    • http://twitter.com/robertkennedy3 Robert Kennedy III

      I 3rd, 4th, and 5th bluehost.

  • Mksalvado

    Great post, Jeff. I will forward it to couple of my friends who are talking about starting a blog, but never know how and where to start. :) Thanks!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/robertkennedy3 Robert Kennedy III

    Thanks Jeff.  I have never considered myself a writer per se.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t like it much because I hated writing papers in school.  However, I am restarting my blog as of Feb. 1 and just need to work on a platform and way to share what I have to say.  I will be reading your blog for more tips on writing.

    • http://www.theconfidencelounge.com/ Aaron Morton

      Good luck Robert on your blog.

      • http://twitter.com/robertkennedy3 Robert Kennedy III

        Thank you.  I’ll try not to get too anxious about it.  I’ll just share what comes ;-).

  • Vicki

    Hi Jeff –   Thanks for the post.  I have a blog that I started a couple months back.  I began reading your newsletter and blog about the same time.  So first let me thank you for some great tips.
     I  used an outside vendor to help design the website and it is done in WordPress.  My domain is with Go Daddy as are the email accounts with the website. One of the frustrations I have is that the web designer has to do all the updates on WordPress so I continue to pay a monthly service fee.  I am wondering if that is because I had the website customized and word press puts out a lot of updates to their software.I am thinking that I need to have a conversation with the vendor so I am clear about the hosting versus the upkeep of the site itself.  I have also learned that I need to do search engine optimization — which is another piece of the puzzle to drive folks to the site.  I have been contacted by several folks wanting to charge for that as well but I have learned it is something I can do myself once I learn how.  Any resources you recommend on that piece of the puzzle?  

  • Robyn

    Thanks, Jeff, this is a great post and really helpful. I’ll definitely be taking your advice.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Glad to hear it, Robyn.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I did this with the help of a friend about 20 months ago.  It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I grabbed the domain http://www.danerickson.net, my friend set my hosting up through “Fat Cow,” who I would recommend, and I was off and running.  I’ve since learned much about blogging and my blog improves daily.  I just added new, professional headers, and I’m adding some of my own recordings of songs from my book on February 27.  I’m having a blast.  So take Jeff’s advice and start a blog, build your brand, and have fun.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Very cool, Dan. Way to take the next step!

  • http://createhullabaloo.com/ Hullabaloo

    I’ve set up tons of blogs and I’m still not sure I could do it eight minutes. Sounds like a challenge!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      have at it!

  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    When I set mine up, I was amazed at how easy it was. (Joe Bunting’s coaching me through it helped a lot too)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Very cool, Katie. I like your theme. ;)

      • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

        Thanks :)

  • Julie

    Found your blog today. Love. Thank you for sharing…all of it. I’ve done all of the above and have been blogging for a year, and after reading several of your articles, I feel more motivated than ever! Blessings to you and your family!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Awesome. Thanks, Julie! Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.lindalochridge.com/ Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    Hi Jeff.  I have a WP.com blog and am moving it to a WP.org blog.  I am having my webmaster do it though…because, frankly, I’m scared.  I want to put a free e-book up with a opt-in email list.  Are the instruction for this part somewhere in WP’s blogs?  Thanks!

  • Pingback: Set Up a Self-hosted Wordpress Blog in 8 Minutes or Less | Quick Blog Setup

  • http://livetheneweconomy.com/ Mike

    I found my home at http://livetheneweconomy.com alongside creating some niche sites and spending time at a whole host of great examples like your site Jeff (I enjoyed your book!) and I’m happier, healthier, and better off financially only nine months after starting my blog!  I’m also beginning to make a decent bit of coin, too, which really helps!  Thanks for the encouragement!  I can’t encourage your readers enough to just get out there and write!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Awesome!

  • http://www.moneymakingmodes.com/ Anup @ MoneyMakingModes.com

    Wow, Jeff! This is definitely a quick handy guide for anyone who wants to start a new self hosted blog. Thanks for the video. I actually prefer video than usual post tutorial ;)

    Best,
    Anup

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cool!

  • http://twitter.com/Totally_Taryn Taryn DiMartile

    Thanks for this, Jeff! The timing was perfect and the ball is rolling – I’ve bought my domain name (well, names – got one for misspelling) and am one step closer to launching. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I saw that. Congrats and great meeting you!

  • Katharine Trauger

    Jeff, I just saw Taryn’s comment about misspelling, and have a question: If my name is misspelled, it points to a different person, whose name is actually the misspelling of mine. Any suggestions? I really am tired of beginning again, again, so want to get this right. Thanks.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Try doing a simpler version of your name (for example, what if you did your first name and middle name?) or a mashup with a more common word (e.g. goinswriter.com).

  • http://journalmissionalliving.wordpress.com/ Sharon Hoover

    Hi Jeff! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the months. This series is the prompt I need to moved into the self-hosted blog world. I have been blogging for about a year and would like to move from a WordPress.com to a WordPress.org site. Does Bluehost help with transferring a whole blog? Or…(gasp) would you recommend starting all over again??

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hi Sharon. You can move all your old content via an export/import. Here’s how to do that: https://my.bluehost.com/cgi/help/wp_migrate

  • Alexi George

    I’ve been inspired by you to write regularly.  Now I blog weekly and the interest is slowly picking up.  I am finding my tribe with a weekly readership of about 400.  I am using Blogger.com and it is working out fine.  I am not sure what benefit I will have in self-hosting.  Is there a reason I should do that as opposed to what I currently do?  I have my own domain and point that domain to by blogger account. So what will be the added benefit to a self-hosted blog?  Thanks Jeff.

  • Meena

    Thanks Jeff! My question is, what is the difference between self hosting where one has to pay monthly fees and upgrading to pro on WordPress where it’s one payment for the entire year?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hi Meena. That’s a good question. Having a domain on WordPress.com is what’s calling “domain mapping,” and it’s technically not a self-hosted WordPress blog. You are still limited in what you can do, but having your own domain is certainly a start. Also, when you have your domain, hosting, and content all on WordPress.com, you are putting a lot of trust in one company. With a self-hosted blog, you can easily move your content from one service to another.

      • Meena

        Brilliant! That is very helpful Jeff.

  • John Hall

    Thanks Jeff. I’ve been dragging my feet with this for months. I’m with Host Gator, but the principle is the same. I guess it’s like I know once it’s up and running, then I’m going to have produce blog copy on a regular basis. And then I might be successful…. and then what would I have to whine about . . . . ?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hah! Indeed.

  • http://indispensablemarketing.wordpress.com/ Patrick Mcfadden

    All you have to do is act. Great statement. This reminds me that initiative is never given, it’s taken! Great post. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Well said, Patrick.

  • adm123

    Mr. Jeff,

    You are making a dent in the universe. (I was just listening to Seth Godin.)

    Thanks for all your powerful communications. Thanks for your ‘hand feeding’ on how you do what you do.

    I just completed reading your book: ‘You are a Writer’. Loved it. I was indeed inspired. Thank you so much!

    I’ve been published by local and regional newspapers and also a local magazine. I’m at the threshold of opportunity.

    In one line: Your book was ‘a kick in the pants.’ Thanks for the courage to do it. Thanks for shipping. You inspire me. A line that I have copied from your book to hang on to is this one: “…The best way to practice is to do it publicly.”

    Thanks again so much,

    Arlen Miller

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Arlen!

  • http://twitter.com/ContentByDawn Dawn-Renee Rice

    Thanks Jeff! I didn’t know about the difference between WordPress.com and .org and wish that I had when I first started blogging 2 years ago. I’ve been struggling with trying to find a way for me to change to the self-hosted option without knowing all the techy stuff. Going to give this a shot!!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Dawn-Renee! Just so you know, Bluehost makes it easy to transfer from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that: https://my.bluehost.com/cgi/help/wp_migrate

  • EricP

    Jeff, thank you so much for posting this. It definitely made the technical aspects of starting a blog a lot less intimidating. Now I can get to what I really love: writing. Thanks again.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yes!

  • Lizzi

    Hi, so, for a couple months before I stumbled on your blog I thought of writing my own. Then I saw this and just did it. (after talking it out and creating a plan w/ my hubby). Now, I’m about to post my first blog but still trying to figure out wordpress and bluehost and all their shenanigans. WordPress wants me to “Jetpack” and connect doinglifebetter.org (my sight) to WordPress.com.

    Do you advise this? It sounds like it comes with a bunch of perks but does it have the same drawbacks as having a wordpress.com site?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yeah, it’s fine. Jetpack is just a plugin. You can take or leave it.

      The only drawback to going the self-hosted route is it can be more expensive and require more maintenance. But the payoff in the amount of freedom and control you get is substantial.

  • http://twitter.com/kcvearner KC Vearner

    A very helpful post Jeff. Thank you, very much.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, KC!

  • elbee

    Wondering what the benefits are to paying for this type of blog vs blogspot for beginners?

  • http://www.facebook.com/erulaeriel Lydia Hart

    Hey, I don’t know if this is a silly question, but is there any advantage to having a .com or .org address or other. Does it matter in any way?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I think .com is still the best way to go.

  • TG Barnes

    So what if you have a free blog through WordPress.com? Can you still get the benefit of this?

    • Sandra June Romano

      I found this link to be useful: http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/

      It shows the main differences between the two. I’ve used wordpress.com but it seems to be very limiting. I’d say wordpress.com is really great if you just want to create a personal blog or share it with a small audience. Otherwise wordpress.org is definitely the way to go in my opinion.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  • AllisonRivers

    Thanks for this, Jeff!! I just registered allisonrivers.com :)

    Is there a quick and easy way to transfer all the posts from my free WordPress account to my Bluehost-hosted one?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You just do an export/import. Google it. :)

  • Dawn Russell

    I have a new blog on blogspot, should I change it? Also…my struggle right now (weird or not) is wanting to share and shameless self-promotion. I am such a dork! How do I get over this?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I recommend self-hosted WordPress, not Blogspot.

  • hosterforg

    Really a great
    post .Thanks for posting such useful information.

  • Melissa

    Thanks for the tips Jeff! When signing up with BlueHost, will the special rate last indefinitely, or will they raise the price at some point?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Should last indefinitely.

  • Dennis Turner

    Jeff,

    I purchased the new Tribes theme you shared a few weeks ago. How do I incorporate
    it into the process of starting my blog?

    Thanks for the help.

    Dennis

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Dennis, you’ll need to get a host (like Bluehost), then install Worpdress, and then your theme. In the above video, I walk you through how to do all that.

  • Jodi Woody

    Thanks Jeff, my wordpress blog is up for renewal and I wanted to upgrade, but was a little scared about how to do that. Now it looks pretty simple.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yup! Totally is. :)

  • Blogercup

    Thanks for providing good article. http://www.blogercup.com

  • Eff

    Jeff! You’ve just given me all the information I need, after scouring the internet for hours I’m so glad I finally stumbled across your article. Like you, the technical side of blogging has been the biggest hurdle for getting my blog up and running – no longer. Getting started this afternoon. Thank you.

  • audreizencowski

    First of all, I would like to appreciated Jeff to share a super article. If i talk about myself then I use blogger through gmail. It’s free and easy. I use Feedblitz to send my posts via email to my subscribers. I am not thrilled with it. I put my posts on Twitter which posts them to Facebook. I think after blogger the most people like WordPress which also a good plate form to learn and make a blog free of cost.
    http://www.hostoople.com/reseller-hosting/

  • Simon Borkin

    I would like advice on setting up a blog as I am new to this. I have an idea for a novel and would like to post parts of it online, the sketches of it, as I write. Does anyone have any advice on this? Is this a good/bad idea?

  • Coll

    Hi Jeff, this is great for a non techie like me! I have a blog http://www.joyfuljumbies.wordpress.com and want to monetize it . Is this the best way to do that?

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