If you have an idea and want to showcase it on the internet, then a website is one of the ways. Speaking of which, WordPress comes to my mind when someone asks me, “How to start a blog?“. WordPress powers more than 29% of all the websites that are active right now – that’s a quarter of all the websites. What if I tell you that you can get a free domain on Bluehost and create your awesome self-hosted wordpress website.
In this post, I will be talking about the following:
How to get a free domain on Bluehost
Who should use this plan?
How to set up a self-hosted WordPress website
Basic best practices for a new website/blog to grow faster
Without further ado, let’s begin😉
How to get a free domain name on Bluehost
Bluehost has a really long-term association with the WordPress community, you can say these two services grew together. Thanks to this association, Bluehost powers over 2 million WordPress as of now. This is convincing enough to opt for WordPress. If not convincing, I have proof in the subsequent sections.
Now coming to the free domain on Bluehost, there are a couple of things you need to know before beginning:
Domain name is not the only thing you need to have to start a website. You need to have a web hosting plan along with it. Hosting space is like an empty plot and the website is the house you build on the plot. Furthermore, the domain name is the address of your house you have just built.
This is not a one-time investment. You will need to renew both hosting space & the domain name after the period you chose the plan for. Generally, the plan is available ranging from 1 year to 5 years for hosting space and up to 3 years for the domain name. Now that you are going to get a free domain name on Bluehost, you wouldn’t need to pay for the domain name at the time of sign up.
This is a shared hosting plan in which you’d be getting a free domain on Bluehost. That is, a lot of other websites would reside on the same server as yours. You are allowed in this plan only till your traffic is under a certain number and your website consumes a certain percentage of the resource of the server. If your website crosses both the matrices, you’d asked to upgrade your plan appropriately.
This plan is only for one single domain. That is you get to host just one website in this plan. However, if you opt for a plus plan, you can have as many sub-domains as you want. Sub-domain is like the subfolder inside a parent folder.
Since you are going to purchase the web hosting online, you’d need a payment method for this. Be it the credit card/debit card or even a PayPal account would do. Keep either of these handy at the time of payment.
Below is the screenshot of various web hosting plans you’d get from Bluehost. Depending on your budget, you can go ahead with the plan. Furthermore, you’d get a free domain on Bluehost in either of these plans. So, nothing to worry about.
Shared hosting is the best plan, to begin with for beginners. Shared hosting is easy, it’s affordable, fast and light. And this free domain on Bluehost is applicable ONLY to the shared hosting plan. In other words, if you opt for a free domain, you’d be given a shared hosting plan by default.
If you are okay with this condition, then you can simply sign-up to get a free domain on Bluehost. You get an exclusive discount price of $2.95/month. In this package you get
Free SSL certificate
1 click wordpress install
Free site builders
Once you sign up and get yourself a domain, head over to the step by step guide on How to start a blog. You will learn how to set up your self-hosted wordpress blog and get started with blogging as a business.
That being said, let me answer the next question.
Who should use the free domain on Bluehost plan?
For those who are just starting out & if you are a blogger, designer, or developer. You don’t need a heavy server configuration. At least not since the beginning. So you can definitely make use of this free domain on Bluehost scheme. Once you have good ROI and traffic on your shared hosting website, you can switch to a better plan that serves your users/customers/readers/subscribers efficiently.
If you have a specific requirement and deep pocket you can opt for a managed wordpress hosting plan over a normal web hosting plan. Managed wordpress plan on Bluehost starts $19.99 a month. It has dedicated servers tailored to perform for WordPress. It’s worth the money, every cent of it.
That’s not all…
How to set-up a self-hosted wordpress website?
Now that you’ve made the investment on a good web hosting provider, it’s time to sowing seeds that you’d reap soon. Setting up WordPress is easy. Perform the following steps to set up your WordPress website/blog:
#1 Delete default posts/themes
WordPress is just one click away on your Bluehost servers. Once installed, you need to delete the default theme and posts that are on your blog. To delete the theme,
Head over to the WP dashboard
Hover on “Appearance” & click on “Themes”
Click on the default theme and then click on the delete button in the bottom right.
Similarly, to delete the default post
Head over to WP dashboard
Hover/click on Posts
Click on edit link of the default post
You can either move the post to thrash or edit the post as your first post and publish it
#2 Install important plugins
The best part about WordPress is plugins. It has over 55,000 active plugins. Plugins help you enhance the functionality of your website/blog. To begin with, here are some plugins you must have:
Yoast: This is a one-stop plugin for all your SEO needs. As a blogger, it is very important for us to reach in front of the right audience and Yoast is the catalyst for this. You can navigate to Dashboard» Plugins » Add new or directly navigate to their WordPress home page.
Jetpack: This plugin has everything you need to know about your audiences. Jetpack includes Stats & analytics, social sharing, Related posts section, SEO tools for Google, Bing, Yandex, twitter etc and advertising program. The plugin also takes care of the security of your website.
Contact form 7: This plugin helps you with creating contact forms for any purpose. You can create any number of forms using this plugin. You can also customize to look exactly the way you want.
Akismet: Spam detection on your blog is one of the major things as once your posts are live, they are vulnerable to a lot of spam. Akismet handles it with ease and grace. All the comments run through Akismet and only the genuine ones come to you for publishing.
Note: Once you install any plugin, make sure you activate the plugin. The install button will be replaced by the Activate button.
#3 Write your first post
Once you have the starters pack plugins, you are good to go to write your first post. Head over to post section, click on “Add new” button and just start typing. The Yoast plugin that you’ve just installed will help you do the best on-page search engine optimization.
It’s that easy.
A lot of you would be confused between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. If you are not aware, here’s a detailed guide to the difference between wordpress.com & wordpress.org. Where I have discussed the differences in detail.
SEO best practices: How to bring traffic to your brand new website/blog
I understand that over-whelming feeling after starting a blog. You want to cover everything about your niche that’s under the sun. You grow bigger and bigger, one article at a time. But what’s the point if no one’s consuming your content?
That’s when search engine optimization or SEO for short comes in the frame. Search engine optimization is a practice of optimizing your content in such a way that the search engine finds it as the best match for a particular search query.
The subject is really vast, but here are a few tips that you need to follow as a beginner:
#1 Focus on Keywords: Keywords are the building blocks of an SEO campaign. Try to use long-tail-keywords in your posts. As they tend to drive the most traffic from the search engine. Short tail keywords are useful but not fruitful in long run. Furthermore, if you are into a product/service business, you must target the search intent of keywords. Use tools like SEMRush, SERPstat, and Alexa to mine keywords for your blog posts.
# 2 Have evergreen and high-quality content: If you are not wanting to have a quick money mindset, I would encourage you to focus on content. Content is the king. When it comes to blogging, content is the most important element.
If you have great content, irrespective of the niche you are in, you are more likely to make huge out of this. Knowingly or unknowingly, your content will start ranking higher and higher in the search engine. Once you get to rank higher, you will start getting backlinks which will rank your content even higher.
However, you’d need to build links upfront too. As very less percentage of people will link to you without you asking for it.
#3 Optimize images: Images are a goldmine of backlinks. It’s recommended to add alt text, which is your focus keyword. When someone searches for that exact keyword or a similar one, the images will link back to your website/blog.
#4 Speed up your blog: Did you know that the attention span of just 3 seconds, it has shot down from 12 seconds to 3 seconds. If your website doesn’t load within 3 seconds, you lose the visitor. At least the first fold of your website/blog should load within this span of time. Use the W3 total cache plugin to speed up your website/blog. This plugin deals with the cache of your blog pages. It deposits the cache in your reader’s computer or mobile device.
# 5 Decrease bounce rate: Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors bounce back off your website/blog. A perfect blend of content, interlinks & topic will help you decrease the bounce rate. Whenever you add interlinks in any blog post, make sure you set to open the interlink in a new tab.
Such services completely manage your wordpress website, you just have to focus on creating & managing the content. Once you have a decent number of posts, you will see the traction coming. And once the traffic comes in, you will know how amazing the services are. But for now, this plan is just perfect for you.
Over to you. What do you think as a beginner about this plan? Is it legit? Fruitful? Let me know in the comments section below.
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