I know what you are probably thinking, “not another how to create a blog with WordPress” post? Yes and No. Yes, this post is about creating a blog but the difference is the experience and knowledge it’s author (me) brings. I’ve been online for 15+ years, creating blogs before it was the hip thing to do, even before WordPress. In addition, I’m able to break down all of the tech speak and provide tons of money-saving hacks.
With all that said, I’m super excited for you that you are ready to get your small business blog online. Therefore, I’ve created this super easy guide using what I learned to help get you online with less hassle. Plus, I made it easy to navigate. Just click on one of the links below to go to the section you want to read.
How to Create a Blog with WordPress in 4 Easy Steps
Step 1: Decide on a platform
Well, this step should be easy because I am going to assume that you want to use WordPress. That’s why you are here, right? But just in case you are thinking about using a different platform, you can either request a tutorial or use Google. Now, let’s get back to WordPress. There are two different versions. There’s the free version that you can get started with at WordPress.com. Basically, they will host your site for FREE but you site URL (web address) will look like this “businessname.wordpress.com“. This setup comes with some limitations.
For instance, using additional plugins & themes, along with the option to monetize (make money from your site), and more. Don’t worry; you do have the option to upgrade to one of their paid plans, which will wipe out all of those roadblocks. Or you can always switch or started to the self-hosted version at WordPress.org from the beginning. The self-hosted version is free to download but you will need to place to put the files.
Why can’t I just do a free site?
By all means, you can start with a free site, especially, if you are working with a very small budget. I would highly recommend that you have a plan for the future because you won’t be able to host your blog on a free platform forever. Continue reading and I will show you how to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog for your small business on a budget.
Step 2: Choose a domain name
The name of your blog is also known as your domain name, which is the address someone will type in the browser to access your blog. For example, artiatesiadeal.com is the domain for the site you are currently on.
Tips for choosing a great domain name
- Avoid using special characters and especially numbers (for example – $, #, 4, 9)
- Try and keep it short, if possible
- Make it easy to remember and spell, if possible
- Try and get a “.com” first. If it’s not available, you may want to choose another name before exploring other extensions like “.net”, “.org”, etc. Although, in the future, you may want to buy the other extensions for branding purposes.
Step 3: Decided on a host
Now that you have your domain name (or multiple ones if you couldn’t decide), you just need a place to host your blog. What is a host? Think of it like this, it’s the online home for your blog. Just like you live in an apartment or house, your blog needs a place to call home as well. Web hosting companies provide this for you. For beginners, I recommend HostGator (aff) because of their affordable plans. If you want to know more about this web host and what they offer, read this post where I talk about why you should host your blog with HostGator.
Getting started is super easy, just click the link to open the HostGator website (aff) in a new window so this one can remain open for reference. Once the site opens, click on the “Web Hosting” option from the menu at the top.
On the following page scroll down and select your plan. HostGator offers 3 shared (you share the web server with others which is why the cost is so affordable) hosting plans – Hatchling, Baby, and Business. Choose the one that’s right for you but since you are just starting out I would recommend the Hatchling which will allow you to host one domain. You can always upgrade in the future. Then click on the yellow “Buy Now” button to start making your account.
- Cost of Domain Name for 1 Year: $15 // You will be purchasing your domain name through HostGator. You do have other options. Read this post on why I purchase my domains separately from my web hosting to find out how you can too.
- Cost of Domain Privacy for 1 Year: $14.95 // Domain Privacy blocks your personal info from being added to the WHOIS Directory. Read this post on why you should purchase domain privacy to learn more.
- Cost of Web Hosting for 1 Year: $107.40
- Cost of a Basic SSL Certificate for 1 Year: $0 // HostGator now offers this free for all new accounts. Click here to read more about SSL Certificates.
Create your account
First, you will input the domain name you want to purchase. It will tell you if it is available and if not, it will also share some suggestions. Make sure you keep the Domain Privacy option checked. When you purchase a domain name all of your information is collected and publicly display in a directory called WHOIS (read more).
Then you are going to choosing the Hatchling Plan for 1 year (12 months). Most people start out with only one year to see if they (1) what you continue with this business, (2) like the hosting service, among other things. This will also allow you to stay under a $200 budget. Next, you will create your username, security pin (use to contact consumer service), and insert your billing information.
Under section 4, uncheck everything except the free SSL Certificate. You don’t need any of those services at this point. You can add them if you want (now or later). Lastly, review all of your information to make sure everything is correct. Then agree to their terms of services and checkout. You may have to wait a little while to get into your account but generally, it should be ready right away.
Step 4: Installing WordPress
One thing I love about using HostGator (aff) is that you can install WordPress on their servers with just one-click. This is so much easier from when I first started and had to download a copy to my computer and upload it to my host using their famous 5-minute install tutorial. Once you are login to your Control Panel (the behind the scenes of your web hosting account), do not be alarm. You will see a lot of things but there is a simple way to navigate it all.
For this part, all you need to do is to click on the link “Software” on the upper left-hand side, which will take you to the right section. There you will click on the “Quick Install” icon or button, which will get you started with installing WordPress.
You will be taken to the website essential page where you should click the column showing WordPress. On the next page, you are going to select your domain name and leave the directory area empty. Hit the orange “Next” button. Next up is the settings. Your blog title should be your business name, choose a username, type in your name and email that you have access to.
Before moving on, make sure that “automatically create a new database…” and the “terms and conditions” are checked. Then click on the orange “Install” button to allow HostGater to finish the install.
Once the installation is complete, you can then log-in your new WordPress blog. Make sure you take note your login information.