This post is part of a series.
A little while ago we discussed “Why move from Blogger to WordPress anyway” and I answered some common questions.
Today we will discuss “How to get started” once you have made the decision to move from Blogger to a Self-hosted WordPress site…
Step 1: Hosting
Firstly you need to decide on how you are going host the site. There are thousands of hosting services available that it’s a bit overwhelming trying to decide which one to use. I’ll share which one I use and why and that might help you figure out what you want in a hosting service.
I use Bluehost to host flutterkat.com. I first heard about Bluehost over at Jennifer’s blog because she uses Bluehost to host her blog. Even though I trusted Jennifer’s opinion I felt like I needed to do some more research before making my decision.
After a few hours on google I found one that I thought was good and I almost signed up for it (I can’t remember which one now sorry). The main factor at the time was that it was really affordable since we had just learned that Mr Flutter had lost his job. Then just before I signed on the dotted line I compared what I was getting more closely and ended up going back to Bluehost.
WordPress recommends them.
Wordpress.org only recommends 3 different hosts to host their self-hosted blog service. Bluehost is the number 1 top of the list. They recommend them for value as well as customer service and the Bluehost dashboard is fully set up to easily coordinate with WordPress.
That all spoke pretty loudly to me!
Bluehost offers 24/7 support and a money back guarantee.
I decided that since I knew nothing about how to do this (and I mean nothing!) then both of those had to be great things!
I was right!…
Within 24 hours I had used support twice (they have live chats available) and had been refunded my money once.
I know you are thinking “huh- why’d you get refunded when you still use it?!” – That would be because I’m an egg. No really I am!
It’s a long story which is not really that important because all you need to know is that 24 hours after that refund I was asking Bluehost to charge me again and signing right back up. They were unbelievably great to me each and every time and I feel like their level of service is amazing!!! When I decided I wanted to stick with Blogger they immediately refunded my money with no fuss. Then the next day when I contacted them back in a panic they reinstated my account without question or making me feel stupid for mucking them about.
I’ve spoken to them on the phone (they even offered to ring me so I didn’t have to pay for an international call!) and through live chat multiple times. Unbelievable!
And I guess you can feel reassured that you are covered either way if you change your mind or not.
The don’t host pornography sites.
(Yeah that’s right – no picture for this one!) The fact they don’t host adult sites is important to me because those sites go against what I stand for. Bluehost are one of the few host services (and the only one in the list of WordPress recommended hosts) that don’t also ‘support adult sites. I dont know about you but I don’t want my site hosted by a company that also has porn on their servers thanks. Not cool! So that was a no brainer to me to support their stance and reward them for that.
They are affordable.
Their prices are competitive. I think I pay $5.95 per month which is at the top end because I only signed up for 12 months. If you can sign up for longer then it can go down as low as a few dollars per month. I think that’s pretty great value for what you get.
** Please note that I have signed myself up to be an affiliate of Bluehost so I will get a commission if you join up with them using my affiliate links above. However, please know that I only recommend them because I use them myself and strongly believe in their product (as outlined above). I appreciate in advance you using my affiliate links if you plan to sign up. Thanks.
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Step 2: Registering your domain name.
Ok so now that you’ve found a hosting service, if you haven’t already then you need to choose your url name. Most hosting services can help you with this as well (it’s usually part of the package), or you can choose to register your url through a separate company. I like to deal with as few companies as possible and since it was included in the price I just registered mine with Bluehost also.
It’s just a matter of making a decision and seeing if your chosen one is available. You might also want to check that it’s not a trademark on the trademarks register.
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Step 3: Signing up for your WordPress Account.
Once you have confirmed your url name you can sign up for your WordPress Account. If you are with Bluehost then the easiest way to do this is through your dashboard because it’s fully integrated with WordPress.
It is as easy as clicking on the WordPress icon and following all the prompts.
I assume other host sites have this integration available but a lot might not, so be careful there. I would suggest finding out about their wordpress integration before you purchase.
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Next you need to choose your theme. WordPress comes with 2 themes already installed, so if you choose to go with either of those then you are good to go as soon as you sign up. If you want a more unique or polished look then there are literally THOUSANDS of WordPress themes out there to choose from. There are also many awesome free ones. A quick “WordPress theme” google search will pull up millions of options for you. Although I guess like anything you pay for what you get, and if you choose to use a free one just check it out carefully before you install it. Because free ones can sometimes be known to include malware and viruses etc which would not be cool.
I use a genesis powered theme for my blog by StudioPress Themes for WordPress. I initially found them through the e-book I bought to help me navigate the move from Blogger to WordPress. Then I found out that 3 of my close blogging friends also use genesis for their blogs and I was sold.
How it works is that you purchase the genesis theme which is the parent theme along with a “child” theme which changes the look and makes it customisable to how you want. There are at least 50 to choose from and after hours of research I can honestly say I like the polished look that studiopress themes have the best.
I was tossing up between two of their themes so I went with the one recommended in the book even though I liked the other one slightly better. Then I regretted it and decided to go for the one I liked best in the first place. Lucky it doesn’t cost as much once you a returning customer and already have the genesis theme eeek. At least you know now that I have learned the hard way 😉
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Once you have purchased your theme and saved it to your computer you need to install it. This is done in your wordpress dashboard. Just click on the link “change your theme completely” and upload your theme from where you saved it on your computer.
Usually the “out the box” theme needs some personalisation. You should have lots of options down the left hand toolbar of your blog under an “appearance” tab or similar.
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Let me know if you need any help specifically on hosts and themes etc and I’ll try and help where I can…
Next time I will talk to you about Plugins. What are they and what do I use.