How to Start A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
I started Shoeaholic No More in December 2013, and since then I’ve learned a ton about blogging.
I’ve learned that you don’t have to be a tech whiz. You don’t have to have prior blogging experience, and you don’t need a ton of money.
To start a self-hosted WordPress blog, you just need to have a vision, a little bit of free time, and determination to start your journey. I want to help you get your blog up and running in one day and give you the motivation to create a space you can call your own. Are you ready?
1. Create A Plan
If you fail to plan you plan to fail.
Even if you are just wanting to create a blog as a hobby, not as a way to make money, planning will help keep you focused and help you understand what it is you want to achieve. Sit down for 30 minutes to an hour, and write down anything relating to your blog.
Have you narrowed down your niche? What will your blog be called? How often will you post? Will you need social media accounts? Write all of this information down.
While you don’t have to do everything in one day, you want to have some idea as to what your passions and interests are, and how you plan on making your voice heard. One of the biggest mistake people make when they start a blog is not having a specific niche in mind.
2. Purchase Your Domain Name
Okay, so you’ve made a plan, and you’re ready to start writing…right? Not quite. Now is the time to purchase your blog name!
Since you’ve already created a quick plan, you may already have a blog name in mind. If not, take a few minutes to think about what you want to call your blog.
Here are a few tips when choosing the name for your blog:
- Choose something simple.
- Don’t try to be witty. If I could it over again, I’d chose something much more simple than “Shoeaholic No More”.
Don’t be discouraged if the name you want is already taken. There are so many other names out there that you can create!
Try to stick to .com or .net if you can. If you can’t, it’s okay to go with another domain extension, but just know that it could keep people from finding you as easily.
Don’t think too long about purchasing a domain that is available. There are thieves out in the cyber world that like to take domains once you’ve entered them in. If you find a domain name that you like, get it!
There are lots of places to buy domain names, but I always buy mine through GoDaddy.com. It’s quick and easy to buy a domain name and they are fairly inexpensive.
3. Set up a Hosting Account
Now that you’ve made a quick plan, you are ready to proceed to the next step. Setting up a hosting account can seem like a complicated process, but I promise that it is not as hard as it seems.
So first, what is a hosting service provider?
A hosting service is defined as a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet.
So what does this mean for you? Having a hosting provider means that you can set up your blog with your own domain name vs. having a company’s name attached at the end (ex. www.mynewwebsite.blogger.com). If you even think about turning your website into a business, you will want to be self-hosted.
You may be thinking, “Won’t this be expensive?”.
Sure, if you want all of the upgrades and specialized information it can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You could start off with a simple plan, and upgrade when your budget allows and when you website traffic grows to need more space.
I use Host Gator, and I haven’t had any issues with them at all. They are a good choice for a someone who is just starting out.
1. Visit HostGator.com and choose “Get Started Now!”
2. Select a Plan
Hosting with their “Hatchling” plan is enough to get you started and is only $3.95/month. Plus you can get 20% off with my link!
3. Choose the tab “I Already Own this Domain” and enter the domain name you bought through GoDaddy.
You will have to go back to GoDaddy to change your DNS servers to point to Host Gator later on.
Enter all of your profile and billing information. If you use my link, you should automatically get 20% off the price of your hosting package.
The longer term you choose for your hosting package, the cheaper it will be. So if you know you’re in this for the long haul, make sure to choose the 36 month package to save the most money.
There are a few add-on offers you can choose to use, or not, at your discretion.
You’re all set! Now it’s time to move on to the next step.
4. Sign up with WordPress
Okay, your domain and hosting is ready to go. What next? Now it’s time to add WordPress to create your blog.
Again, this might seem complicated, but Host Gator has worked hard to make it easy for you.
All you have to do is access your cpanel (control panel) with the information they just emailed to you.
Right at the top under “Popular Links” you’ll see the WordPress Installer. Just click the button and you’re good to go!
5. Make it Pretty
Now that the boring parts are all over, it’s time to make your website look pretty! The great thing about WordPress is that there are so many options for themes and customization.
You can go the cheap route and choose a free theme and plugins, or you can invest a little and buy a theme from places like Etsy, CreativeMarket, or from other bloggers.
I started with a free theme and used it for almost TWO YEARS before I hired anyone to help me with my web design.
Lots of bloggers start with a free theme, but there are plenty of inexpensive options if you choose a paid one.
6. Create Content
Now that you’ve chosen a theme and a few options to help you run your blog smoothly, here comes the best part. Creating your first blog post!
Many bloggers start off with their About Me page, but you can always add that in later. If you want to jump right into what you’re doing, now is the time!
In WordPress, it isn’t hard to start writing your blog posts. All you do is click “add blog post”, give your post a title, and start writing. Once you are finished, you can edit your post, add a photo, and hit publish! Simple and super easy.
7. Do A Happy Dance
Yay, you’ve done it! You’ve created your first blog. Now it’s time to do a little happy dance and keep moving forward!
If you want to learn about how to leverage your blog to become your own boss, you can schedule a chat with me or sign up below to get my FREE e-book!