If you’ve arrived at this page, we’re assuming you’re ready to start your own blog! If you’re not quite ready, we encourage you to go back to our homepage and explore some of our content like our income reports, blogging tips or read our story.
This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to launch your own blog.
Step 1: Choose Your Blog Topic
What are you interested in?
Blogging about what interests you is very important. If you like the topic, and are interested in what you’re writing about, your readers will pick up on that. You’ll also enjoy doing it more and that is especially important if you’re going to stick with it.
Click here for a list of the most common blog topics with ways to make money on each one!
Step 2: Choose Your URL or Domain Name
You will do step 2 and step 3 at the same time and on the same page.
Go here and enter your domain name.
You will then be given the option to add the .net and .org and other versions of your domain. You only need the .com one- not the other ones.
Having trouble? Here are some tips on choosing a domain name:
- Make it as short as you can. The shorter it is, the easier it is for people to remember and type.
- Make sure it conveys your blog’s message. While trying to keep it short, be sure to include something about yourself or your blog’s message in the URL.
- Don’t steal. It’s best not to copy someone else’s idea when it comes to your blog. I also don’t recommend using brand names in your URL.
Step 3: Get hosting
Continue on the screen to sign up for your hosting plan.
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You’ll see that “Domain Privacy Protection” has been selected. This is the only add-on that you NEED to keep. It’s $15/year, but it prevents your registration information from being public information. This keeps your email address, phone number and even physical address from being public information. Instead, they will see HostGator’s company information. Like we said- you NEED this.
Confirm your hosting package and billing cycle length and then create an account username and password. You’ll notice that the longer the signup term is, the less money per month you’ll pay. That said, it’s nice that you can sign up for any term from 1 month to 3 years!
Scroll down and enter your billing info. Note their site is 100% secure.
Note: if at any point during this process you get stuck, feel free to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or jump on the phone and call HostGator at 1-866-96-GATOR or click the “live chat” button in the top right portion of their page and they’ll be happy to help you out.
Scroll down a bit more for some extra options. You don’t NEED any of these, as they can all be achieved outside of HostGator. For example, there are plugins to back up your blog and to improve security. Basically, I’d take note as to what these add-ons do and look for ways to do them yourself. It’s cheaper and more effective.
Underneath of that, you’ll be able to review your order. It will look something like this (note the coupon code is already entered):
Check the box that you agree to their terms, move forward and complete your payment.
All set! Well, almost.
Step 4: Begin WordPress Installation
Once payment is complete, you’ll receive an email within a few minutes confirming your purchase and containing important information.
In the email will be a link to your control panel aka cPanel. Click that to proceed to the next step. You’ll have to login. The login and password will be in the email as well.
Now that you’re past that screen, you should get to your cPanel. This is the “back end” of your site and where all of the key technical matters will take place.
It will look like this:
Do not click the “Build a New WordPress Site” icon! Proceed to the next step.
Step 5: WordPress Installation
In the cpanel, you’ll see a LOT of icons. Ignore them all for now. You don’t want to spend a lot of time here unless you really know what you are doing. What we will do here is install WordPress. With HostGator, it is actually very easy to install WordPress on a domain. In your cPanel, scroll down and look for a “Software” section. It’ll look like this:
Click on QuickInstall. The next screen will look like this:
Choose WordPress and the next screen will look like this:
Choose your domain from the dropdown menu and leave the directory box blank.
This will be the next screen:
Fill out the boxes on that screen and click install.
A progress bar at the top of the page will let you know when installation is complete. Once complete, you will be able to start working on your WordPress site. Check your email for your WordPress username and password as well as a link to your WordPress dashboard.
Note: While most blogs will be able to be accessed right away, this process could take up to 48 hours. A very few amount of blogs will have to wait up to 48 hours, due to their location in comparison to the HostGator data servers. Feel free to use the HostGator chat support found right on their site to ask them for updates on this process.
Aaaaaaand that is how to start a WordPress blog!
Step 6: Find and Install a Theme
At this point, you might want to take a look at our How to Set Up a WordPress Blog course here.
Hold your mouse over “Appearance” and click “Themes” to browse the hundreds of free WordPress themes available.
While there are free WordPress themes available, we recommend a Genesis theme because of the functionality, moderate price and ease of use. All of our sites (including katiedidwhat.com) run on Genesis.
***Please note: you will need a Genesis theme, not just the Genesis Framework. When you get to the page linked here, the very first “Theme” you see is the Genesis Framework. Don’t buy that separately. As you browse the themes, you’ll notice that they are all priced to include the framework anyway. Choose one of the 60 themes. Our favorites are: Foodie Pro (Katie’s blog is run on a heavily modified version of this theme), Glam Pro, Simply Pro and Modern Studio Pro. Any of those themes make for a great blog design right out of the box.
There have been countless times where we’ve made a change here and a tweak there ourselves as opposed to paying a developer $50 to do it. Genesis makes changes easy for our blogs and that’s important to us.
Depending on how comfortable you are with HTML and CSS code, you will be able to customize your site on your own. If your knowledge is limited, a Genesis theme will look and perform better than any other right out of the box. If you don’t want to touch the design at all, take a look at this list of talented WordPress blog designers.
Step 7: Publish Your First Post
When you’re ready to post, hover over the “Posts” option and a new dropdown menu will appear. Click New Post and you’re off and running!
To delete the original post that they put there, click all posts and you’ll see an option to trash that “Hello World” post.
Visit MoreFromYourBlog.com for tips on gaining traffic, increasing your social media following, making money from your blog and much, much more.
Step 8: ADVANCED – Email List Building
If you want to really start with a serious thought about making money, build your email list from day ONE! We use ConvertKit for a couple of our blogs and love it. You can create an email series that automatically sends emails to new subscribers in time intervals that you set.
A good idea is to set ConvertKit up to send your new subscribers 6-8 of your best posts (send one per week.) This is great for traffic and for helping them to get to know your writing. You can also email your entire list when you have new posts/annoucnements/products to promote.
They offer a free trial, so definitely check that out!