One of the most common ways to get started trying to make an income online or to promote your brand or whatever else, is by starting a blog. Blogging has been around for long time, and yes, it can still be a worthwhile venture for folks to pursue. Lots of newbies, begin with a free blog on sites like Blogspot, before realizing that they will need to upgrade to their own hosted website. The most popular blogging platform for this is WordPress. One of the most popular inexpensive web hosts for this is Host Gator. But where to start? How do you set up a Worpress blog on HostGator, if you aren’t that tech savvy. No worries, it’s actually quite simple to get things up and running, quickly.
Why Get Web Hosting for Your Blog and Why HostGator?
I too, started out with Blogspot, when I began blogging over 10 years ago. It was great, super simple to use, and free!
Problem was, I was very limited in terms of monetization of that blog. Making money outside of Google’s Adsense was troublesome. It could also be shut down, at the whim of Google. Plus, I really didn’t ‘own’ my brand or my blog. All those posts could go down the drain in a minute.
I ultimately chose HostGator to host my first new blogging ventures because:
- It was really cheap to get started and upgrade when needed later.
- The process was easy to get my domain name and hosting in the same place.
- Setting up WordPress was a breeze.
- I immediately had a wide array of ways to make money with my content, just by having my own independent website. I went from making next to nothing, to making decent side cash, in a pretty short period of time.
I still use HostGator for a number of my websites, having upgraded from the very basic plans over the years with shared hosting, to utilizing Cloud hosting. That’s not something that we need to get into now, though. For now, I am going to cover the very step by step basics of getting WordPress set up on a HostGator account. It really doesn’t take long.
Full disclosure: Some of the links on this page, are affiliate links. What that means is, if you click on them, and make a purchase from HostGator…I get a percentage of the sale or a flat fee for referring you. It doesn’t cost you any extra money, but helps me out, and keeps this website going. As I wrote above, I do use Hostgator for hosting and purchasing domains for many of my sites, and recommend them.
Choose Your Hosting Plan
There are different plans available through HostGator for hosting your website on their servers. Each has its own distinct options, capacity, etc. So, obviously to get started, head on over to HostGator.com. Use code: 25MODEL at checkout for 25% off new hosting plans.
For someone just starting out, you really only need to host one single domain. So, unless you’re planning on launching multiple websites in the near future, the Hatchling Plan should suffice.
If you are wanting to create multiple blogs or websites, go with the Baby Plan. It allows you to host an unlimited number of domains, instead of just one. When you’ve decided, on which plan to go with, hit the ‘Buy Now!’ button on HostGator’s site to begin the process.
You will be asked to register for HostGator’s website, put in your billing information, and choose for how long you want to purchase a hosting plan. More years equals more upfront money, but you get a cheaper rate per month.
Note: You pay for the hosting plan up front, it is just showing you what it breaks down to per month, not an actual payment. So, plan to pay for the hosting all at once.
You can choose to have a hosting plan for between 1-3 years. After, that, you’ll need to renew your plan. Once you’ve gone through the whole process, you can move on to Step 2.
Choosing Your Domain Name
At this point, you already have purchase a hosting plan. Meaning, you now have access to servers, to host your website on.
Now, you need a domain name, the actual web address that is hosted on those servers. For example, this site is aestheticodyssey.com.
This is the step that takes the longest in the process. Not because it is technically complicated, but rather, because your site’s name is so important.
Ideally, you already have a brand name or ideas about what you’d like to call the blog. I’ll leave the naming up to you.
Now, you can either purchase a domain name, directly from HostGator or you can buy the domain name from another service and HOST it on HostGator. It’s easier to just do everything on the one site, but you might be able to save money, doing it the other way.
The first thing you will want to do, is to check to see if your domain name is actually available, or if somebody already owns it. All you have to do is type in the name into the search bar, as seen above, and HostGator will check. If possible, you want the .com, name versus .net or .org. or whatever.
That’s what the page will look like, if your domain name is available. As you can see to the right, you have the option for how long, you’d like to purchase the domain name. Plus, you can add Privacy Protection. This means, that if people search for who owns your blog, it will show a Third Party LLC (usually) and not your name and info. I usually always grab this option.
Click Continue to Checkout and buy the domain.
Installing WordPress on Your New Domain
Alright, we are almost home free and have this beautiful new blog, up and running. However, we still have to actually Install and set up WordPress on the domain.
You should have received an email from Hostgator, after your purchases. You are going to need to log into your hosting account.
Once signed into your account, you will be in your Customer Portal. Click on the tab called, ‘Hosting’. It should be on the left side menu.
The next screen will show your hosting package. Click the link that says, ‘cPanel’. This will launch your Control Panel, which looks like the below screen cap:
In the above picture, you can see that there is an option that says, ‘Build a New WordPress Site’. Click on that, to get started.
Once there you will select the domain that you want to install WordPress onto. It will then take you to this page:
Fill out the information above. For the Admin user, do not use Admin, for the log in credentials. Have an actual user name for security purposes. Jot down your Admin name, so you don’t forget it. You need this to log into your blog.
Check the box that says, ‘Automatically create a new database for this installation’. Once filled out, hit Install.
WordPress will finish installing on your domain. Once completed, you will be given a randomly generated password with which to log in with (you can change it later). Along with the log-in Admin Name you chose, when filling out the info in the above screen capture.
To sign into your WordPress blog each time, you need to go to the following link (replace with your domain name): http://youractualdomainname.com/wp-admin
Use that Admin name and the password for the log in info. Then, you’ll be signed into your WordPress account, on the domain. You’re ready to start blogging.
You can start posting now, but your blog will have the default WordPress theme (what it looks like), so you’ll want to search for one. You can get free ones through the ‘Appearance’ tab on the left side, once you’re in your WordPress workstation.
Also, here are some posts I’ve written about blogging on this site:
Eventually, you’ll want to get some useful plugins for your WordPress blog, that help with making it run faster and rank better in search engines. I like to use: All in One SEO Pack, Smush, and Hummingbird. Those are pretty basic things, that can really help out with the blog.
Other than that, you can get to writing, and creating new content for you blog. This set up is super simple and probably won’t take much longer than 15 minutes, if you’re going slow. You will then have a WordPress blog hosted by HostGator. Remember: Use code, 25MODEL for 25% off new hosting plans.