Last Updated on December 25, 2020 by Kelly Thoreson
Wanna start a money making blog? Of course you do!
If you want to turn your blog into a business, you need to be using WordPress. Learning how to start a blog with WordPress is easier than you may think. In fact, you can go from no blog to writing your first post in just a few hours!
Below, I’ll walk you step by step through how to start a blog complete with screenshots, tips and video tutorials.
Starting a blog changed my life … let’s change yours too!
You’ve Picked Your Niche, Right?
This guide assumes that you have already picked out a blogging niche (what you want to blog about).
Common blog niche examples are:
- Interior Design/Decor
Really, you can blog about anything. It just needs to be something you are passionate about.
Thanks to the internet, we can now find and connect with our tribe no matter where they are in the world.
If you haven’t picked your niche yet, I suggest reading 5 Elements of a Fabulous Blog Niche first to help you narrow in on your topic.
That is really all you need to get going with this guide!
Why HostGator / WordPress?
This tutorial uses examples and screenshots from HostGator for domain name registration/hosting and WordPress for content management (where you create your blog).
This is because I used both of these platforms to start my first blog, still love and use them today for Blogfiti, and have zero reservations recommending them to any blogger.
I know I can confidently put my name behind both HostGator and WordPress.
And if you have no clue what I’m talking about right now, don’t worry – I will show you exactly how to register a domain and sign up for hosting with HostGator below and how to install WordPress on it.
Now, let’s get onto the tutorial and start your blog!
How to Start a Blog Step #1: Pick a Domain Name
What is a Domain Name?
Your domain name is the “name.extension” part of your URL.
For example, Blogfiti’s URL is, “https://www.blogfiti.com”. Blogfiti’s domain name is, “blogfiti.com”. Observe:
How to Pick a Domain Name
This step stops a lot of aspiring bloggers in their tracks, but it doesn’t have to.
Yes, picking a domain name is intimidating. You realize that your domain name is going to be part of your brand identity and that’s when the fear-mongering thoughts start to creep in … “what if I pick the wrong one?”
Well, tell the fear-mongerer inside your head to stuff it, we’ve got work to do!
Just use the tips and tools below to guide you, let’s get goin’!
Awesome Domain Name Tips
“.com” Is Queen
Yes, I have seen successful blogs and websites with, “.co”, “.oi”, and “.net” but that is just one more hitch in the path to an already convoluted road to blogging success.
Best to keep it simple and go with, “.com”.
Double Letters = Double No-No
While MomMuffins would be a really cool name for a baking blog, the two m’s in the middle can pose a problem.
Double letters can add confusion and lead to mistyped URLS.
Hyphens Look Spammy & Cause Confusion
No one knows who you are yet, what your brand represents, or if you can be trusted. Since hyphens can look a bit spammy, if you can leave them out, I would.
Hyphens can also cause some potential readers to not remember your exact domain name since people are used to typing out URLs without them.
Be Different but Simple
Example: Blogfiti.com; Avocadu.com; BatCat.com; MomMuffins.com
Having a memorable domain name is important!
I will always encourage you to be a little different than the average Joe, but try to keep it simple while being original.
Don’t name your blog supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.net.
You can use a variety of tactics to make you URL stand out:
- Rhyme (example: BatCat.com)
- Combine 2 words together (example: blog + graffiti = Blogfiti.com)
- Be alliterative (example: CrazyCritterKittyCats.com <— I just made that up)
- Twist a familiar word (example: Avocadu.com)
I want to offer you one caveat here: all of the tips above should be considered best practices, not do-or-die.
If you have your heart set on naming your blog Kelly’s Kitchen and the only URL available is kellys-kitchen.com or kellyskitchen.co – go for it.
Here’s the only blogging tip you really need: always follow your intuition.
Domain Name Generators
I’m not going to mince words here, a lot of the domain name generators out there suck.
I surveyed 15 of them and only found 5 worth using, the other 10 were just trying to sell you something without adding any value.
If you need help getting your website-naming mojo going, these are the 5 domain name generators I recommend:
Okay, now that you’ve got your domain name picked out – let’s get it registered so it belongs to you and sign up for hosting!
How to Start a Blog Step #2: Register & Host Your Domain
What Does it Mean to Register a Domain?
Registering a domain takes the human-readable domain name and links it up to a computer-readable IP address.
That way, people don’t have to remember an IP address (a special string of numbers) that looks like this in order to access your site:
When you register a domain name, it’s often called, “ownership” but it is more akin to renting than owning. You pay a monthly or yearly price for your domain and if you ever stop paying for it, you lose ownership.
What Does it Mean to Host a Domain?
Your website is full of stuff and that stuff has to be stored somewhere. That is where a host comes in.
Hosts have servers (giant computers) to hold your website’s information so you don’t have to.
Which is good because servers are pretty freaking expensive … and big.
How Much is This Going to Cost?
This step can cost you as little as approximately $23.90 upfront or approximately $99.00 upfront depending on the duration you chose.
***Please note: domain name registration and hosting fees fluctuate slightly almost constantly. For this reason, all the costs mentioned are approximate but should not be too far off.***
I don’t know of many other businesses that you can start in an afternoon for under a hundred bucks.
That is part of why I love blogging so much: the barrier to entry is so low that it levels the playing field. Anyone can start a blog, everyone gets a shot.
If you pay for a year or more of service, your initial out-of-pocket cost will go up but your monthly/yearly cost will go down.
The choice is yours, here’s your options:
|HostGator Domain Name Purchase||Yearly $12.95/yr||free||free||free|
|HostGator Hosting||$10.95||$71.40 ($5.95/mo)||$85.92 ($3.58/mo)||$99.00 ($2.75/mo)|
|Initial Out of Pocket Expense||$23.90||$71.40||$85.92||$99.00|
|Ongoing Monthly Expense||$10.95||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
Now, onto the action!
Register/Host Step #1: Go to HostGator
The first step is to go to HostGator’s website.
I use HostGator to host Blogfiti and I have been very happy! It’s low cost, user-friendly and their customer service rocks socks!
Register/Host Step #2: Click Get Started
Register/Host Step #3: Choose Your Plan
Don’t get too caught up in which plan to choose, you can change this later if you’d like.
As a brand new blogger, the Hatchling Plan will probably suit you just fine which is great news cause it’s also the cheapest!
Register/Host Step #4a: Chose Your Domain Name
Register/Host Step #4b: What if My Domain Isn’t Available?
If it’s not available, the search box will be shaded in red and underneath there will be a list of related suggestions for your URL. Stay flexible and don’t stress too much!
Register/Host Step #4c: Do I Need Privacy Protection?
A quick note on the Privacy Protection option: for the sake of this tutorial I’m going to keep it simple: it’s optional but I recommend it! It’s a small price to pay for the benefits (personal info not out there for everyone to see, less spam, lower risk of scamming).
You can learn more about what Privacy Protection entails here.
Register/Host Step #5: Add Your Billing Info
After you’ve found a domain name that’s available and to you’re liking, go ahead and fill in your billing information.
Register/Host Step #6: Choose Your Add-Ons
You don’t need to know right this minute which add ons you need, you can add them later.
Honestly, you can uncheck all these boxes and not miss a single one of them. Like I said, if later you find you want to add on a service, you always can.
Register/Host Step #7: Review Your Order
Register/Host Step #8: Click Check Out Now
Register/Host Step #9: Done!
That’s it for this step. You are now the proud owner of a website, congratulations!
Next, we will turn your website into your blog by installing WordPress. Let’s do this thing.
How to Start a Blog Step #3: Install WordPress
34% of the whole worldwide web is powered by WordPress according to this survey. That is a whopping 37.5 million websites.
Either nearly forty million websites got it wrong or WordPress is an amazing FREE tool on which to build your blog (hint: it’s the latter).
I use the crap out of WordPress and I adore it. I’m going to walk you through installing it on HostGator below so you can get onto being the blogging mogul you were made to be.
Watch the Video!
No time to read? No problem, watch this part of the tutorial instead:
Install WordPress Step #1: Login to cPanel
The first step is to log in to your HostGator cPanel. If you don’t know where to find this, go back to the email you received from HostGator when you signed up for hosting.
Now – bookmark your cPanel link! Right meow! Then, login.
Install WordPress Step #2: Under Software, Click Quick Install
Scroll down to the software section or press ctrl+F and type in, “software” if you wanna skip the visually overstimulating madness that is cPanel!
Install WordPress Step #3: Click WordPress
In the middle of the page, you’ll see the WordPress logo. Click it!
Install WordPress Step #4: Select Your Domain
Use the arrow down to open the drop-down box and select the domain you want to install WordPress on.
Install WordPress Step #5: Enter Your Info
Go ahead and enter your information. Don’t stress over the blog title if you don’t already have one – you can change this anytime and doing so is very easy.
Install WordPress Step #6: Check the Box and Install
After adding your pertinent information and not worrying about our blog name cause we can always change that later, we’re gonna check the Terms of Service Agreement box and click Install!
Install WordPress Step #7: Copy & Paste
Now, copy and paste your username and computer-generated password into a word document.
Install WordPress Step #8: Click Login
You did it! You now know how to install WordPress! Once the installation has finished, click Login.
Install WordPress Step #9: Login to WordPress!
Using the username and password we copied and pasted into a document earlier, login to WordPress!
You did it! OMG, you have a blog!
I’m so happy for you and excited to be going on this adventure together.
I’m sure you’re excited to start writing a publishing content. Use these next steps to get going:
Starting a blog can be done in just three steps. Not too shabby for a decision that will change your life for the better!
How did your blog starting experience go? Do you have any questions about this tutorial? Leave your reply in the comment section below and I will help you out!
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