HOW TO START A BLOG
Want to know how to build a blog? You’ve come to the right place.
Whether you want to work from home, author a book, get more exposure for your existing business or just write, to build a blog and/or website is highly recommended. Fortunately you can be up and running in about 15 minutes.
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The steps I use and recommend to build a blog
The following steps are exactly how I’ve built most of my own sites. By the end of this post, you’ll have a self-hosted WordPress site, the most popular type of site around. Ready?
What if Bluehost’s upfront cost is not in your budget?
Bluehost makes you pay a full year’s worth of hosting upfront, which amounts to about $100. Some of my readers have said this is just a little bit too much to come up with initially.
And I want to say, I. totally. get. that. Been there, got the t-shirt!
I’m all about alternatives so here’s my alternative: . With HostGator, your initial outlay will be about a third (or less).
* is a company I use as well (I’ve paid for hosting from two different companies for years) and they have the option of paying for hosting month to month.
The monthly amount works out to be a bit higher than Bluehost (and you don’t get a free domain as with Bluehost), but it’s great for anyone who wants to be able to pay a little at a time. Yay for options!!
Alright, here’s how to get started…
Step 1: Go to
Click the to start.
Step 2: Choose a hosting package
There are three options here. Choose a plan from Hatchling, Baby or Business. Which to choose?
I typically choose the Baby Plan simply because that way I can host unlimited domains on one account. This comes in handy when I add projects down the road and need a separate domain for my new project (common plight among bloggers). However, if you only have one site in mind, the Hatchling Plan will suffice. You can upgrade to a Baby Plan or Business Plan at any time.
Use the dropdown menu under the plan of your choice to choose how often you want to pay.
Obviously, the longer period of time you choose results in a lower monthly price. But, you must be prepared to pay the full amount at once. So for example, if you choose to pay for 1 year, you’ll pay just under $100 right away. If you choose to pay monthly, the monthly fee is higher, but you only have to pay about $8 at a time (plus the cost of a domain and domain privacy if applicable).
Note: If you use the coupon code ANISAAYNASHE during checkout, you’ll get 25% off your first payment. (So, if you choose to pay monthly, the discount applies to your first month only – 25% off of $8. If you choose to pay 1 year in advance, you’ll get 30% off $100.)
Once you’ve chosen the plan of your choice from the drop down menu, click the Order Now button.
Step 3: Choose a domain name
If you want, you can register your domain elsewhere. I use godaddy.com to register my domains. In July use coupon codeDOJU to get a discount, making most domains about $10 for a year.
If you are just starting out and do not have a domain name, select the “Register a new domain” option and type in the domain you’d like to use. You do not have to type your desired extension (.com, .net, etc.) into the field. Simply choose it from the dropdown menu to the right.
Already have a domain name? If so, select the “I already own this domain” option and type in your full domain (with extension) into the field.
Note: If you are using your existing domain elsewhere, this will not interfere with your other site. This is simply a way to identify your account. Once this new site at HostGator is set up and ready to go, you can then “point” your existing domain from your old site to this new one. So, you don’t have to worry that typing in your domain here will mess anything up that you’ve got going elsewhere.
What if your chosen domain is not available?
It’s very possible the domain you are hoping to register is not available in which case you’ll need to choose something different. I know this can be discouraging, but don’t let that get in your way. 😉
Step 4: Decide if you want to buy your domain with other extensions
Once you choose an available domain, you’ll get the green light and it will be added to your cart. Note that your domain will cost you about $13-$15 for a year. You will only pay this fee once a year, not every month.
HostGator will also ask you if you’d like to register other domains similar to the one you’ve chosen, but with different extensions. You can opt to purchase these for an additional fee. Because I’m not a huge brand, I typically do not do this. However, it’s up to you.
Step 5: Enter your account info
Next you will need to confirm your hosting package and billing cycle. (Don’t worry, I know this image says I’ll get 20% off but I’ll enter a coupon code later which will override this and give me the greater discount. At this point, just confirm how often you want to pay.)
Also, you need to choose a username and Security Pin for logging into your HostGator account.
Next, enter your billing information and whether you’d like to pay with a credit card or via PayPal.
Step 6: Choose addons
In the Hosting Addons section, I highly recommend opting for the Domain Privacy Protection, but the rest of the services are not necessary so I uncheck those boxes.
Note: if you are not registering a new domain but using an existing domain, the Domain Privacy Protection option will not be available to you here (although I highly recommend you opt for it wherever your domain is registered).
The Domain Privacy Protection is essential because it hides your personal contact information on the web. Without it, anyone could simply type in your domain address into the Whois database and up will pop your name, address and contact info. Yikes!
This protection is $9.95 per year and well worth it. Like the cost of the domain, you will only pay this once annually, not every month.
Step 7: Enter the coupon code
Next, enter the coupon code ANISAAYNASHE to get 25% off your first payment! (It’s a special coupon just for my readers, but feel free to pass it on to your friends too. That is totally acceptable.) Click the Validate button to register your discount.
Step 8: Check your total
Here’s the breakdown…
You’ll notice you have support 24/7/365 included (one of the main reasons I recommend a self-hosted WordPress site). Don’t be afraid to call HostGator with your questions either! They are very helpful.
Also, you can get a refund within 45 days if you decide this isn’t for you. Phew!
After that, you’ll see that you are paying for three things (again, this total is only to start, not every month going forward):
- Hosting plan & billing cycle (with the 30% discount applied).
- Hosting addons. In this case it’s the Domain Privacy Protection for $9.95. An annual fee. (See Step #6.)
- Domain registration. In this case, the discount comes from a special they happen to be running at the time I’m writing. It doesn’t have to do with my coupon code. Your numbers may vary slightly. This is an annual fee.
So the first month start-up fee totals about $30. (A lot easier to swallow than $100!)
Next month and going forward, you will only pay the hosting fee of $9.95 (remember the $6.97 total here includes my initial discount via the coupon code applicable to my first payment only. Starting with my next payment, the discount does not apply.)
Once you’re satisfied with the total, make sure you read the terms and conditions by clicking on the link and then check the box.
Click the Create Account button to complete your payment via credit card or PayPal. (If you paid via PayPal, simply click the link that allows you to go back to HostGator.com)
After your payment is made, you will receive an email with your
HostGator account info.
Step 9: Login to your cPanel
In the HostGator welcome email you receive in the previous step, you’ll see a link to your control panel (a.k.a. cpanel). The link will look something link this:
Your Control Panel: http://gator5555.hostgator.com:5555
Click on that link in the email to get to your cPanel login screen.
Grab your cPanel username and password from the email and plug them in. Click the Log in button.
Step 10: Open WordPress
When you login to your cpanel, especially for the first time, you’ll probably get some popup boxes trying to get you to register more domains or asking if you need help getting started. Just go ahead and close those windows until you see your cpanel as pictured here.
Click the WordPress icon (“Get Started with WordPress Today”).
Step 11: Use QuickInstall to install WordPress
On the next page, you’ll see this:
Once you are on the QuickInstall page, click the Continue button to initiate the WordPress installation.
You’ll be asked where you’d like to install WordPress. Unless you have a good reason (which is unlikely), you’ll want to install WordPress in your root directory. Basically, this just means WordPress will show up when someone types your domain into a browswer. To ensure this, simply leave the field next to your domain blank.
Then the rest of the form:
- Choose whether or not you want to Enable Auto Upgrades. I typically do not do this because I like to do things manually, but if you’d rather not think about it, go ahead and leave it checked.
- Next you can enter your Admin Email. Make sure this is a working email address as your WordPress information will be sent here.
- Enter your blog title.
- Choose an Admin User. Do not leave this field blank and do not use “Admin” here. This is because “Admin” is the default and hackers often use this to break into accounts. Your name is a good option.
- Enter your first and last name.
Click the Install Now! button.
After a few seconds, you should see the installation was successful.
Note your WordPress username and password (which I blurred out here). This is what you’ll use to login to WordPress. This is different than your login information for HostGator.
Whenever you want to publish a new post or work on your site, you will generally login to WordPress.
Step 12: Congratulations, you’re up and running!
You can now see your brand new website by either (a) going typing your domain in your browser or (b) clicking on “Your installation is ready. You can access it now by going [here].” Granted, it might not be pretty (yet), but it’s live! You’ve now managed to build a blog! Enjoy it 🙂
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