I’m no tech wiz, so tell me exactly what I need to do
It is so exciting to have you here on blog #4!
If you are here it means that you want to start your own public health blog. We hope that blog 1 and 2 pumped you up, and blog 3 helped you prepare by choosing a topic and a name for your blog. Here in blog 4 we want to help you get your blog up and running.
The option we are providing you here is by no means the only way to set up a blog site. There are endless number of ways to do this, but I am going to show you what I have used for PH SPOT, and what has worked for me. There are definitely options to start your blog for zero dollars, but these options don’t give you much flexibility. My goal is to save you time, and to get you up and running as quickly as possible. These services are also used by a lot of larger bloggers and companies, so I know that it is reliable.
Bluehost is a leading web solutions services provider founded in 2003 and powers up to 2 million websites. Bluehost is the solution I am going to tell you about, primarily because it requires a monthly investment equivalent to a single cup of a fancy coffee (approximately $4-6/month)!
Bluehost is the service that I recommend because it gives you the three things that you will need to get your blog up and running. You can certainly purchase each of these items from separate companies, but it saves you time and money when you keep it all together in one place, from one company.
To get your site up and running, you will need:
- A domain: this is the unique URL for your site which will allow people to find your blog (ex: www.HealthyLivingInThe6.com or www.PHSPOT.ca)
- A hosting service: a service that runs servers, allowing you to have content up on the internet
- A site builder: a platform to build your site on (i.e. WordPress)
Cost and features
Bluehost has 3 different packages. Since you are just starting up with your site, I recommend the basic package. The basic package gives you one domain and 5 email addresses (this allows you to have an email address tied to your domain – for example: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I said earlier, it will cost you approximately $4-6 per month depending on how long you sign up for (this price is actually a limited time offer; the original price is $7.99 – I have also seen the price drop to $2.95/month). The way to get a better bang for your buck is to sign up for a longer period. Not only does this save you from the hassle of renewing your service every year, you also save a good amount of money. Here is the breakdown:
|Options||Monthly Cost||Annual Cost||Three-year cost|
|Sign up for 1 year||$5.45/month||$65.40||$196.20|
|Sign up for 2 years||$4.95/month||$59.34||$178.04|
|Sign up for 3 years||$3.95/month||$47.40||$142.20|
Signing up for a three year period saves you about $54!
- You have three package options (basic, plus and prime). Choose the basic package.
- You can choose to sign up for one year, two years, or three years. Choose three years ($3.95/month) if you want to save $54.00. If you’d rather just start with 1 year, then you can sign up at the $5.45/month cost.
- Signing up with Bluehost gives you the three things you need to get your blog up and running: domain, server, site builder!
Let’s get started: step-by-step guidance
It’s really straight forward to sign up for Bluehost.
- Visit Bluehost’s sign up page.
- Click on the green GET STARTED NOW button.
- Select the BASIC package.
- In the next window, you will be prompted to get a domain. Enter the domain name (see blog 3 of this series if you aren’t sure how to decide on a domain name) and select the extension you want (i.e. .com). Then, click NEXT.
- Create your account by entering your credentials (or use your Google credentials to automatically fill in your information).
- In the “package information”, you can decide whether to sign up for any of the additional features (I personally unchecked all of these options). The only one I would consider is the “Domain Privacy Protection”.
- Enter your payment details and hit SUBMIT!
- Once you navigate through and complete the purchase, you will see the Bluehost dashboard. This is where you will install WordPress (where you will be building your site).
This great YouTube video walks you through the next few steps of setting up your site (start at 1:16). We figured a video was easier to follow than text.
The video will take you through the following:
- Installing wordpress through the Bluehost dashboard – this includes the creation of your admin credentials to log into your WordPress platform.
- Customizing your WordPress site by choosing a theme of choice (i.e. the design of your site) – there are thousands of free wordpress themes for you to choose from; as well as setting up all of the features of your site.
- Creating your first blog.
Some other resources that will be useful to you as you publish blogs are these two:
- Copyright free images for your blog posts: unsplash.com
- Create graphic designs for free (very easy to use): Canva.com
Congratulations – you’ve got a blog site up and running! We’d love to hear from you if you do end up publishing your site (please do share it with us so that we can also follow you). If you have any trouble getting your site up and running, don’t hesitate to contact us! Happy blogging :)
In case you missed it…
Start a public health blog (Part 1): Change the world with your writing
In a time where there is so much content on the internet, are my words really going to matter?
Start a public health blog (part 2): Investing in knowledge and the power of network
Passion is great, but what else can I really get out of starting my own blog? What’s in it for me?
Start a public health blog (part 3): Choosing a topic for my blog
I’m convinced and ready to share my passion with the world!
To be completely transparent, PH SPOT is an affiliate of Bluehost. The links above directing you to the Bluehost site are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase (which you do by clicking the Bluehost link), PH SPOT will earn a commission (yay!). Be assured that this commission comes at no additional cost to you. If you choose to go ahead and sign up with Bluehost, we want to thank you in advance for your click through these links. Should you have any trouble setting up your site, feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to help as best we can.
About the author:
Sujani Sivanantharajah is an Opioid Public Health Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), placed at Manitoba Health. Previous to this role, she was an Epidemiologist working on foodborne and zoonotic illness outbreaks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in Biology and Health Studies, and then went on to complete a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of Saskatchewan. After guiding a number of students and new grads over the past 7 years, Sujani created www.PHSPOT.ca to reach and inspire a larger number of emerging public health professionals in the country to build their career.