So, you want to start your own blog…
I’ve broken it down, step by step, to make it as easy as possible for you to get a domain, set up hosting, and install WordPress so you can get started TODAY!
Step 1: Think of a good domain name (a domain means your website name. Your URL)
What will be your focus? Cruising? Travel? Some popular travel blogs are NomadicMatt.com, ExpertVagabond.com or ytravelblog.com. What will your domain be?
Step 2: Sign Up With Hostgator
Once you’ve decided what your website will be called (your domain name) you will need to register the name and buy hosting. Hosting is a service which will “host” your website. It’s where your site will sit on the internet. Two of the biggest hosting providers are Hostgator and Bluehost. I’ll be upfront here. I recommend Hostgator. Why? Because Hostgator guarantees 99.99% uptime for your site. Hostgator is #1 in customer service (if you have an issue). They are available 24/7/365/. Their pricing is amazing good. And finally, it is incredible easy to get set up from the ground up. It is important to note that I am a Hostgator affiliate. While this costs you NOTHING EXTRA, I get a little something when I refer people to Hostgator. They’re a great company, affiliate or not. Truth is, I could be an affiliate for any hundreds of companies out there, but I choose to recommend Hostgator. I use it for all my sites, and so does The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, General Motors and People magazine and 25% of the web!
Here’s how to register your domain and get set up with hosting:
First, click here to go to Hostgator.
Once you choose the Hatchling plan, you’ll be sent to the order form. Enter the domain name you picked and choose your hosting plan (Hatchling). They will also ask you if you want to purchase any add on services. DO NOT PICK ANY. You won’t be needing them. From here, they’ll run your credit card and Boom! You now own a domain name!
Once you pay, you’ll be directed to a screen where you can see your domain name and account info.
Great, we now have a place on the internet for our website to live. Next we need to set up your website. We’ll do this using WordPress. (WordPress is what actually runs your website – hosting is just the computer your site sits on. In other words, the place your site will live on the net).
Step 3: Installing WordPress
You’ll be at this screen. Click “WordPress”
OR, it might take you to the “Quick Install” page. Find where it says “Install WordPress” and click it.
Enter your user information. Under blog title, enter your blog name. Create your username and hit install.
Once you click “Install WordPress” a screen like this might pop up. Its just another up sell, so ignore it. Click “No Thanks, I’m a Web Designer.”
When the install is complete, it will take you to this screen. At the top, click on “View Credentials”
Your credentials are your Admin name and password. You’ll get an email with this same information. THAT’S IT! You’ve got a new website at your domain all set up! Now, let’s make your new website look good!
Step 4: Bringing It All Together
Your new website might not look like much at this point. It’s essentially a blank canvas. If you type in your new domain, your site might look something like this:
Let’s get under the hood and make this thing look great!
To get to the back end of your site (called the “dashboard”) you can either click the “Admin URL” that you received in your email, or type yourdomain.com/wp-admin and it will take you to your sign in page which looks like this:
Enter your Username and password to log in! You’ll then be in the back door of your new website. From here we can change themes (how your site looks) using free themes and we can also install plugins (which add more functionality to your site).
Let’s change the “Theme” of your site. Changing the theme means to change the look of it. There are TONS of free themes available for you to use. Here’s how to change it:
While in the back end of your site, on the left side, click “Appearance” then click “Themes”
Next, click “Add New”
Scroll through the different themes until you find one you like! Once you find one, install
Once it installs, click “Activate”
Your site will now have a different look! Play around with the look of your site.
A word on self hosting vs. free hosting – When starting your blog, you have a couple of choices: Selfhosting ($4-$8 a month) or Free – Getting free hosting is NOT RECOMMENDED (Wix, Weebly Blogger, Tumbler etc)
Why not a free platform?
There are a lot of reasons you shouldn’t use a free platform for your blog:
- You won’t own your blog when it’s on a free platform. It’s like building a house on someone else’s land. Some free platforms may also put ads on your site. Ads that you don’t get paid for!
- You will have a long, ugly URL such as www.yourblog.blogspot.com.
- Let me stress, If you are on a free platform, you DO NOT own your blog or the URL. This means your blog could be shut down at any time. You don’t want to put your site in someone else’s hands just to save $5 a month.