If there’s one thing that writing on the Internet over the last few years has taught me, blogs bring in traffic. Those new eyeballs, looking for whatever you’re selling, are valuable, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get a quality site up. So let’s break down what you’ll need to get your blog up and running for just a few dollars per month.
Why Your Business Needs a Blog
There is no shortage of individuals and businesses on the Internet selling their wares. E-commerce is at an all-time high, and more people buy off the Internet monthly. (Thanks to the pandemic, this is even more true!)
An online store with product pages, details, images, and reviews is table stakes for businesses. However, if you want to stand out and make your company known, search engines need a bit more to latch onto and make visible to potential new customers.
How much more important is it? According to DemandMetric, companies with a blog saw an increase in links to their sites by 97%. We might as well say double. Additionally, companies that utilized blogging as a traffic source saw an increase in leads by as much as 67%.
WordPress Makes Blogging Easy
Over the years, I have written hundreds of thousands of words publicly on the Internet, and one thing has always remained true. However, as time passes, it has become easier than I ever imagined to start a blog that is merely existing but functional, flexible, and powerful.
Let me introduce you to WordPress. I’ve created sites with WordPress for over a decade. I still remember installing WordPress in 2008 and how different things were then. Today, WordPress powers more than 1/4 of the Internet’s websites. Content, communities, stores, the United States government, the list can go on forever because so many new sites start with WordPress every day, we’d never catch up!
Even with my technical and programming background, I still consider WordPress my go-to platform for creating new sites and writing content. WordPress’s sheer capability allows you to make sites as straightforward or complex as possible.
And the best part? It’s 100% free. So besides the cost of web hosting, it’s entirely possible to create a site, fill it with content, and have a thriving business without paying a single dollar to anyone!
Affordable WordPress Hosting with BlueHost
Even with the expansive flexibility of WordPress, you’ll still need a place to host your blog. Calling upon my technical background again, I’ve spent more money than I care to admit on services to host Web sites over the years. However, I still have accounts in a couple of places that currently sit dormant and represent the journey I’ve taken across the Internet looking for the best place to plop a site.
One of my current favorite places to host a Web site and a WordPress blog is BlueHost. They’re one of the most popular companies, and their pricing is phenomenal. BlueHost has been in business since 2003, an eternity in Internet years, and operates over 2 million websites.
I’ve seen many web hosts offer high-quality services, but they charge what seems like an arm and a leg. BlueHost does excellent work and has built a great offering, but the pricing is where it shines.
Starting at $3.95/month, you can set up an entire WordPress site and be ready to grow for years to come. That might not seem like a big deal on the surface, so let me break down everything you get and why it’s essential.
50GB of SSD Storage – having enough space to store your content, images, videos, and graphics is critical, and 50GB goes a long way when building a Web site. I’ve created sites with hundreds of posts and pictures and used only a handful of GB of storage to make that happen. You’ll be growing into this quite happily.
Automatic WordPress Installation and Updates – This is big for the non-technical crowd. WordPress is best served without maintenance requirements, in my book. After updating and installing WordPress for what feels like hundreds of years, please take my word that letting BlueHost auto-update WordPress and ensure it’s always up-to-date and secure is a massive benefit.
Free Domain for the First Year – Domains aren’t expensive these days like they used to be, but we’re still looking at sizable savings. New domains can run anywhere from $8-18 for most types. So even on the low end, it’s one less thing to think about, and that $8 is like getting two months free.
Free SSL Certificate – SSL makes websites secure. The connection between your browser and the website is encrypted. Of course, you’ll see this with every e-commerce site (look for the padlock in your address bar), but SSL on your new WordPress blog is nothing to discount, either! Seeing a secure connection instills trust that the website your clients and visitors are accessing is what they expect it to be and safe; the boost to your reputation is worth it. BlueHost offers this automatically and for free.
Free CDN – CDNs are the kinds of website technologies you don’t notice until they’re not there. CDNs make sure your site’s content, images, videos, and anything a client needs to load is as close to them as possible. Think of it as a road trip. The shorter the distance you travel, the quicker it’s over. In the case of CDNs, the closer the files are to your client, the faster they load. Search engines love fast websites, and a CDN can positively impact ranking. Of course, Bluehost handles all this, as well, on the house.
How to Start a WordPress Blog on BlueHost
Here’s where it gets fun! Finally, you’re ready to take your or your company’s online presence to the next level and get that blog started. BlueHost makes the process incredibly simple.
The first thing is to click this button and pick a plan.
I recommend starting with the $3.95/month plan and upgrading as you need more. There’s no need to go to the high end unless you know you need it.
Next, we’ll decide how we want to handle the domain. If you don’t have one yet, this is where you’ll plug in the new one you want (1). If you have one already, plug it in here, too (2). If you’re unsure or would like to return to this later, feel free to skip this step (3).
You’ll fill in your personal information on the next page and finish setting up your account. I recommend keeping everything under the Package Extras section unchecked, including what is probably already pre-chosen: Codeguard and SiteLock. Plug in your payment information and agree to the terms.
Once you’re into your account, BlueHost has a fantastic walkthrough on getting WordPress set up via their control panel. If you like a guided experience, you’re in for a treat! There’s also a video and regular article to read if that’s more your speed.
After operating blogs for as long as I have, I can’t stress enough that one thing has remained true: long-form content like blog posts remain a fantastic way to draw in fresh, organic traffic through search. Posts build trust and help you convey your expert knowledge to your audience. That audience turns into customers, which turns into money.
BlueHost is my recommendation for someone looking to start a WordPress blog for only a small amount of money.
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