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You need a website but you don’t know how to build one and you don’t have the money to pay someone else. This is what you do. You start a blog. Blogs are the new websites. Static websites are dated. Blogs are dynamic and engaging because they help you interact with your clients. Your website needs to be a blog. I call websites, blogs.
So, you’re thinking about starting a blog, but you’re not sure how to get started. This article is Part 1 of a two-part series on How to Start A WordPress Blog and will walk you step-by-step through the process of how to start a blog.
I’m going to assume you already know why you need to start a blog. If you’re still on the fence, head over and read The One Reason You Need To Start A Blog.
You need to start a blog
So, from the get-go, I suggest you start a self-hosted blog through wordpress.org NOT wordpress.com. If you don’t know the difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com, here’s a trick.
If the website is www.coolname(dot)com then it’s a WordPress.org account and it’s self-hosted. That’s what you want. If the website is www.coolname.wordpress(dot)com, you have a wordpress.com account and it’s free. That’s not ideal. If you’re serious about your business, I don’t recommend a wordpress.com account.
For your business, you need a wordpress.org account that you can control and update as you see fit. It’s also just more professional to have a self-hosted site. If given the choice between www.coolprofessional(dot)com and www.coolprofessional.wordpress(dot)com, who would you rather trust with your time and money?
Step 1. You need a host
If you’re still reading, then you’ve seen the light and know that you need a self-hosted blog. Now, there are several hosting companies you can choose. There is Bluehost, Siteground, MDD Hosting, Hostgator, etc… There are a ton more.
I recommend Hostgator. I’ve used them for the past six years, and I’ve not had any issue with them. So, for the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to give you step-by-step instructions using Hostgator images.
If you choose to work with another hosting company, the steps will be fairly similar, but I can’t be certain because I’ve only used Hostgator.
Step 2. Choose Your Hosting Package
When you go to Hostgator, this is the first page you’ll see.
Since you’re building a WordPress.org website, I’m going to suggest that you purchase their WordPress Hosting Package.
When I joined HostGator (6 years ago), their packages were different, but this looks like the best path for a new WordPress site.
So, this is what you’ll see when you land on Hostgator. I recommend that you select WordPress Hosting.
Step 3. Pick a Plan
These plans are based on site visits and storage. If you’re a new business owner or you’re just creating your web presence, the Start Plan is probably fine for you. Plus, if you find you have more than 25K visits a month or need more storage, you can always upgrade your plan. My advice is always to start small and build as you grow.
Step 4. Add your domain
This is the next page you’ll see.
If you already have a domain, you can transfer your existing domain name—as long as it’s not a wordpress.com domain. You just have to hit the tab that says “I Already Own This Domain.” Then add your domain name. Then stop.
(Just a note: If you haven’t paid for the domain name, you don’t own it.)
If you don’t own a domain name, you can create and register a new domain name on this page.
This is always super fun. Type in the domain you want and Hostgator will tell you whether or not it’s available. If the domain you selected isn’t available, they’ll give you a few close alternatives. You can keep playing with the domain name until you find one that you LIKE and that’s AVAILABLE for purchase. Sometimes, this takes a while.
Step 5. Choose Your Hosting Plan
Once your domain is locked in, you need to choose your hosting plan. You can choose to host from anywhere from 1 month to 36 months. The longer you host, the cheaper your monthly fee will be.
Personally, I would choose at least 6 months but ideally a year of hosting to give yourself a chance to set up the website, add content, and start promoting it. Being online is no longer optional. You have to have an online presence these days.
Step 6. Enter Billing Info
This step is the hardest part (for me). I hate paying for things when I don’t know how or if it’s actually going to help me make money, but I know having a website and promoting my work is essential to being a business success.
I hope you get that too!
So, enter your payment information. Hostgator accepts credit cards OR Paypal (which I LOVE!), so they make it easy for you to part with your money. (HAHA) It’s funny but I’m not joking; they make it entirely too easy.
Step 7: Add Services
Ok, so I’m not generally a fan of adding extra stuff, but if you plan on selling stuff from your website, you may need to add https (see pink circle below).
If you don’t plan on selling things directly through your site, then you don’t need this. I’m not an expert in this technology stuff. So I suggest you do a little extra research if you plan on selling anything directly from your site. I think you can also use a shopping cart program that will host all of your transactions but again, I’m no expert. Research a bit if you think you’ll need this.
You can also just not buy it right now and add it to your site later.
Step 8. Review Order + Check Out
Make sure you accept the terms and conditions by checking the little box then hit check out.
Once you complete steps 1 through 8, you own a domain and own several months of hosting. So, you’re now ready to set up your WordPress site.
In the next article, I’ll walk you through how to install WordPress in Part 2 of the How to Start A WordPress Blog.