How to Start a Blog – Simple Steps to Begin your Blogging Experience.
If you are reading this article it means that you are most likely looking for tips on how to start a blog. Well, I’m very happy and excited for you. Blogging is a great way to express yourself whether you want to just journal your thoughts, help others, promote your business or even make money with it. It’s an affordable way to start something that’s truly all yours.
Since I began blogging, a lot of my friends asked me how to start a blog. Well, for me, the planning process before I even purchased a plan, was draining. I searched and searched several web hosting platforms, compared them and read hundreds of reviews. It was so overwhelming. I changed my mind so many times between potential hosting providers. I guess I didn’t really know what I wanted.
You will find yourself in a position where you have to decide what’s a priority for you. I knew mine was budget. I didn’t want to spend too much since I didn’t really know what I was doing in relation to blogging. Secondly, I was looking for a plan with easy to install steps and customization. As a new blogger all the steps and instructions would have been foreign language to me. So the easier, the better.
You might know you can start a blog for free. Free hosting companies are tempting because they don’t cost any money, but they come with some cons. Fist of all, you don’t actually own your domain and consequently they can just shut down your site at any given time. Additionally, they limit the customization of your space and it’s very hard to generate a revenue from them. Therefore, I think it is wise to invest in a web hosting service. They are affordable and most of them have superb costumer service.
After weighing all the options, I decided to start a blog with Hostgator. It seemed the best suited plan for what I wanted. The price was great, it had all the features I was looking for, and the costumer reviews were outstanding. I loved the fact that they offer unmetered disk space and bandwidth and free site migration.
1- PICK YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Before signing up for your hosting plan I suggest you have a domain name already picked out and available for your blog. This is your website name. You want to choose a catchy, easy to remember name, preferably ending in .com. Remember a lot of domain names are already taken so you may have to play around with words to find that unique name that nobody has yet used. There are some websites that will tell you if a domain name already exists by just entering it in their engine. This is one of them. http://www.check-domains.com/
2- CHOOSE YOUR HOSTGATOR PLAN
Now that we are all set up with a domain name, it’s finally time to sign up with the hosting provider. You need to reach the Hostgator home page, compare their plans and pick the one that fits you best. I picked the hatchling plan. I think for a beginner like me it was the perfect fit. If you plan on having more that one website though, the baby or business plans, with their unlimited domains feature, are a better choice. Are you ready? Click on “Sign me Up!”
If you decide to start a blog with Hostgator, you can use the promo code ITSJUST60 to get up to 60% off your plan and only $4.99 on select domains.
3- ENTER YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Enter your unique domain name. Remember to choose .com over .net or .org. It’s easier to recall and performs better in web search engines.
4- CHOOSE YOUR BILLING CYCLE
Once you choose your plan, you need to decide on the billing cycle you want to sign up for. Of course the three years plan is the cheapest one if you break it down on how much you pay monthly, but you have to commit to pay it all at once at check out. I went with the one year billing cycle to stay within my available budget. Also, Hostgator often offers discounts or coupon codes plan packages. Just another plus! Set up a username and a pin number and enter your billing information.
5- CHOOSE YOUR ADD-ONS
Hostgator will now prompt you to choose some add-ones. You don’t have to get any of them if you don’t want to. The only one that I highly recommend is the Domain Privacy Protection. This way if somebody tried to look up your website information, your personal data wouldn’t be available. The other suggested add-ons are great, but the same functions can be achieved with free plugins from WordPress.
You can find the Domain Protection option right after you pick your website name. Don’t forget to check it!
6- CHECK OUT
Ok, so now you are ready to check out! Don’t forget to enter the coupon code ITSJUST60 to get up to 60% off your plan. You will pay for your domain registration, your hosting plan and the add-ons you decided to buy. After you submit your payment, you will receive an important email containing your Hostgator client portal URL, your control panel (cpanel) URL and their passwords. These are very important information that you need to save. Remember that Hostgator has a 45 days-money back guarantee policy and 24/7 support center available.
7- INSTALL WORDPRESS
I assume you want to use WordPress as your blogging platform. It is the most used, beginner friendly platform out there. It offers many customization choices, a lot of free themes and plugins, and great costumer support. So, now it’s time to install WordPress. You need to log in your client portal. Your username should be your email address connected to your Hostgator account, and then enter the password you received in the email.
Once you are in, under the Hosting tab, you will see a section named special Offers. There you will find your WordPress install command. Click on the Get Started with WordPress Today! You will reach the “QuickInstall’ page, click “continue” and fill out the text fields. Enter your domain name, enable the upgrades, fill out the admin email address and select an admin name. You are almost there! You are ready to hit “Install Now”
Once the installation is completed, you will receive a new email stating your WordPress username and password. You can finally access your website with the URL http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. Sign in, get familiar with your dashboard, select a theme you like and blog away! Congratulations in starting your blog with Hostgator!
If you have any questions on how to start a blog, send me an email, I will be happy to clarify any uncertainties!