Now that you’ve got a domain name, you’ll need to host your domain name. Hosting is like renting space on the internet to display your vegan blog. Bluehost will give you a domain name for free if you decide to host with them. Yup, I said it- for free. Nothing is cheaper than free.
Here’s the package I chose when I signed up with:
Let’s talk about Domain Privacy Protection for a minute. Domain Privacy Protection is commonly referred to as the Domain Whois Privacy and it’s pretty important.
WHOIS (pronounced as the phrase “who is”) is a query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name. In other words, Whois finds information about a domain name. This information typically includes the name, address, and phone number of the administrative, billing, and technical contacts of the domain name.
Domain Privacy Protection shields your personal information from being displayed to the public. Trust me, you want this. I did not renew the privacy on my account on a past renewal, a first since I started Your Daily Vegan, and I was inundated with spammy scammy internet schemes ever since. Not good. I’ll never renew without privacy again! The extra money is completely worth it! Spend the extra money.
2. Installing WordPress
Once you’ve completed your registration with Bluehost, you’ll need to install some blogging software. WordPress is the software that I use for yourdailyvegan.com and other blogs. It is incredibly easy to use and installation couldn’t be more simple- a couple of clicks and you’re done in minutes.
Here’s a walkthrough:
Login to and find the “Website Builders” section. Click on the WordPress logo.
On the next screen, click the green “Install” button in the “Do it yourself (FREE)” section.
On the next screen you will select which domain you want to install WordPress on.
If you have multiple domains they will be listed in the drop-down menu. Make your selection and then click the “Check Domain” button.
Place a check mark next to, “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2,” and then click the “Install Now” button.
WordPress will take just a few minutes to install. Once done, you’ll receive a message that says “Your install is complete!” Be sure to click on the “View Credentials” button. Find your Admin URL, Username, and Password then write them down. Don’t skip this step. Write them down. Don’t worry you can change these later (Or you can do it now if you want- who am I to tell you when to change your password!), but you’ll need them for your first time logging into WordPress.
Finding Your New Blog
Let me tell you a secret. The most confusing part of starting my first blog wasn’t registering a domain or hosting plan with Bluehost, or installing WordPress, it was finding out how to log into my new blog. I don’t know why, but I thought that there would be an area to sign onto my blog from Bluehost cpanel. This is not the case. Remember that Admin URL you wrote down? Type it into your browser. You should see a log-in screen that asks for your Username and Password.
It’ll look like this:
Enter in your Username and Password and then click the “Log In” button.
Welcome to your WordPress dashboard. This is where you’ll be spending a lot of time. It’s the hub of your blog. If you’ve never used WordPress before you’ll be happy to know that it’s so intuitive and really easy to pick up. Not only that, if you do run into problems you can visit the WordPress Forums for support.
3. Choosing a Theme
At this point, it’s official. You have your own vegan blog! Congratulations!
Now it’s time to turn your blog into your own personalized space. A theme refers to the design of the website. A great blog has more than just a pretty color scheme. When a theme works well it reinforces the site’s mission and keeps readers engaged with the content. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s fun to make something uniquely our own.
WordPress offers thousands of free themes for your new blog, which you can browse by clicking here. If you don’t find a free theme you like, you may want to buy a Premium WordPress Theme to customize. After a few trial runs with several free themes, this is what I did for Your Daily Vegan and I’m really happy with my decision.
If you plan to purchase a premium theme, it’s a good idea to look for a few key selling points:
- Excellent technical support. This is invaluable if you are new to working with themes or have problems with the installation.
- Regular software updates. You don’t want to spend time building your awesome blog using a theme that the author doesn’t keep up to date.
- Security. All bloggers are vulnerable to those who want to take your blog down or exploit it for malicious reasons. Don’t lose all your hard work to a hacker; make sure your theme follows all of WordPress security best practices.
- The right functions for the right blog. Aesthetics matter, but content is king. Pick a layout that makes your content easy for readers to access and navigate.
Here are a few themes that I have used and love, or have researched and like because they are extremely flexible- which will help you build not just the blog you want, but the blog of your dreams.
1. Avada – This is the theme that I use for Your Daily Vegan. It’s flexible, easy-to-use, and comes with a dedicated technical support staff. I also like that the developers continually upgrade the software for bug-fixes.
2. The Thesis Theme – This theme would be on a short list of themes to choose from if I wasn’t already using Avada. Thesis is pretty cool. Every aspect of it is complete customizable in a very friendly, you-don’t-have-to-know-code kind of way. If you are a fan of drag and drop modules, this is the theme for you.
3. Genesis Framework – This is another theme that would be on my shortlist, and it would also be near the top. Genesis is clean, optimized, and loaded with smart design architecture. You want to achieve the best rankings possible and Genesis helps you do that. You’ll also want to take some time to browse the available StudioPress Themes, like the Sixteen-Nine Theme, a slick modern theme to display your work.
4. Elegant Themes –Elegant Themes offers more than 80 different themes to choose from. Are you like me and you like to design your blog from header to footer? Try the Divi Theme. It’s a smart and flexible theme with pre-made layouts, modules, and a responsive design. Plus, once you join Elegant Themes you’ll have access to any of their themes. This means if you install a theme that isn’t working for you, you’ll be able to switch it to another one at no additional charge. I like that a lot.