So you’ve finally decided to start a blog in 2020, congratulations!
Blogging is an exciting, fulfilling, and rewarding adventure. It’s one of the few times in life that you get to reap what you sow. Therefore, it’s good you’ve jumped into the bandwagon.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to start a WordPress blog on HostGator. The good thing is that it’s not as difficult as it seems. But it does require enough time and consistent effort to be successful and make money from a blog.
By continuously putting out informative content on your blog, you will be able to create a list of loyal followers. These are the people that will support and encourage your blog growth.
But why choose HostGator when starting a WordPress blog?
It’s simply because HostGator is one of the best web hosting companies in the industry (more about that below). This is mainly because of its affordability and newbie-friendliness.
With that out of the way, let’s get started on how to make a WordPress website with HostGator.
Table of Contents
- What Blogging Platform Should You Use?
- So Where Do I Get Hosting?
- How To Start A WordPress Blog On HostGator
- What to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name
What Blogging Platform Should You Use?
There are a bunch of blogging platforms on the web that you can choose to create your blog. While you might be tempted to choose the free ones, nothing beats having your own domain name and hosting.
And among the numerous platforms out there, there’s always a great winner: WordPress (the .org version).
WordPress.ORG has the largest community, the freest plugins, and themes. You also don’t need to possess any coding experience to create a WordPress.org blog. Best of all, it is totally free once you buy a domain and hosting following the steps below.
Additionally, over 35% of the internet’s top 10 million websites are running on WordPress.org. That includes Forbes, Mashable, TechCrunch, Beyonce, Zoella, etc.
Still not convinced?
Here are other reasons why you should choose WordPress.org over the free platforms:
1. Total control: You have total control and authority over your website. You can choose how your blog should be and what to do with it. Things like design, advertising revenue, layout, searching engine optimization, and others are all under your control.
You also have full access to your backend files. This means that you’re free to make any changes and customizations as you deem fit.
2. It’s easy and affordable: With HostGator, you only pay $2.75 per month for hosting if you use our link. This is 60% OFF the regular price. You’ll also get free domain registration for your first year.
3. WordPress.org makes it easy to earn a living online: From display ads to affiliate marketing, coaching to eBooks, paid ads to web dev, ghostwriting to sponsored posts, the opportunities are limitless. You can start making money immediately you established your blog.
4. Brand recognition: Using your own domain name is also vital to brand recognition. Unfortunately, the free version of WordPress (WordPress.com) uses domains with the wordpress.com extension.
So for instance, our site would be hostingmonks.wordpress.com, instead of hostingmonks.com. The same goes for Blogger, Tumblr, etc.
5. Massive community: You can discover like-minded bloggers anywhere on the internet. However, if you want the majority of pro-bloggers to notice and take you seriously, setting up a WordPress.org website is the best first step.
6. Lots of SEO tools: WordPress.org also has many free tools that’ll help you rank higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs) without being an SEO expert.
So starting with WordPress.org is your best chance at success from every angle. Professional designs, ranking high in Google, making money, you name it.
So Where Do I Get Hosting?
I believe by now you already know that we’ll be using HostGator for this tutorial. But do you know why?
While there are numerous hosting solutions on the web, HostGator is one of the most popular and most beginner-friendly for starters. It also makes setting up a WordPress blog insanely easy.
Below are some of the reasons (in details) why HostGator is so highly recommended:
1. HostGator is very easy to use: HostGator was the first hosting provider I used when I started years back. Their Quick-Install feature is overwhelming, the backend is easy to understand, the support is top-notch, and the result is always good.
Furthermore, with HostGator, you can easily create a WordPress blog with just a few simple clicks. You won’t believe how seamless the whole process is.
2. Reasonable support team: HostGator’s technical support team is very good and highly responsive. You get 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat.
Even when it’s just a WordPress plugin or theme related problem, the support team still does everything they can to handle it in time without issues.
3. Great performance: They also offer a 99.96% uptime guarantee, impressive loading time, and hardcore security.
Other things you’ll get from HostGator hosting includes:
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited email
- Easy to use cPanel
- Free website builder (up to 4,500 templates)
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Free SSL certificate
Don’t you think that HostGator is really incredible? If all these features did not excite you, then I wonder what else will.
Now that all these are clear, let’s now see how to build website with HostGator. Bring your sit closer and give me 100% attention so you don’t miss anything.
How To Start A WordPress Blog On HostGator
Note: This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase, I’ll earn some commission at no extra cost to you. It helps us with the running of this blog in order to continue publishing helpful content. Thanks for your support.
And if you get confused or stuck at any point in this guide, kindly ask for assistance. You can easily reach out to us via the contact form, or simply leave a comment below.
Before we start, we’ll also need to talk about your domain registration. This typically costs around $15 per year, and it’s the first step before anything else.
Excitingly, we’ve partnered with HostGator to offer HostingMonks readers 100% free domain name registration for your first year and 60% OFF on hosting. But you must sign up for their annual plan to enjoy the offer.
So rest assured that by the time you’re done with this tutorial, you will have your own self hosted WordPress blog up for all your family and friends to see. And soon, you’ll start making money from your blog, if you put in the necessary work.
Now, let’s get started:
Step 1. Choose a Hosting Package
>>> Click here to open HostGator in a new browser tab. I’ve screenshotted all the steps to simplify the entire process for you.
HostGator basically has different hosting plans depending on your needs and budget, see below:
Choosing the best hosting package could be confusing. I would advise you to begin with the least you can afford. The good thing is that you can always upgrade later as your site grows.
As you can see on the screenshot above, the most popular and recommended HostGator plan is the “Baby Plan.”
If you are not creating a big business website, then you can choose the Hatchling or Baby plan. With the Baby Plan, you’re allowed to run multiples blogs. But if you’re new to blogging, then the Hatchling plan would be the perfect option for you.
The major difference between the two plans is that with the “Hatchling plan,” you can register only a single domain, which is ideal for starters. However, if you’re planning to host multiple blogs on your account, then the Baby Plan will certainly be your go-to choice.
Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning the fact that you will be able to save the most on hosting if you choose a longer plan that goes for over a year. That is when you’ll enjoy the highest discount from HostGator.
And like I mentioned earlier, all the hosting plans come with unlimited storage and email addresses. HostGator also has the drag-and-drop site builder option which is extremely easy to use – you’re not required to know how to code to use it.
That’s not all, you’ll also get a Google AdWords and Yahoo/Bing credit so you can advertise your blog on the web to reach more audiences faster.
Once you’ve decided on which hosting package is good for you, click the big, bold “Buy Now” button and proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Register a Domain Name
Your domain should be a reflection of your business or whatever it is you are doing. It’s very crucial because your blog name is the first thing your users will see once they visit your site.
It’s equally how people will find you on the internet. You want to choose a domain name that will make a positive and lasting impression.
Once you’ve decided on what name to use, proceed to check it’s availability on HostGator. On their Order Wizard page, just type in your chosen domain and click the “Enter” button on your keyboard.
It will tell you if that particular domain name is available or not. If the name is already taken, then you have to brainstorm again for another one. You must use a domain name that no one has already registered.
For instance, my domain name is hostingmonks.com. So your blog name would be yourchosenname.com or .org, .net, etc.
Like I said before, new Domain name usually costs from $0.95-15.95 per year, but you’re getting it absolutely free from HostGator for your first year as a reader of my blog.
What to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name
1. It should be easy to spell and memorize: Don’t use a long and confusing domain name. You don’t want your users to mistype your domain and end up on another blog. Go for a name that is short and easy to remember.
Sadly, most of the short names have been taken. You can use a good domain name generator to discover some fresh, available domains that meet your criteria.
2. The .com extension is better: There are many domain name extensions today, such as .net, .org, .info, .biz., .store, etc.
According to Registrar Stats research, “more than 75 percent of the domain names on the internet have “.com”, followed by “.org” and “.net.” This is simply because the “.com” extension is always easier to remember and more familiar.
3. Think long term: Your domain name will define your business and brand for years. This is why it’s good to choose a very good domain from the start.
You don’t want to go through the hassle of changing your domain in the future as it will cost you time, money, SEO rankings, and branding.
You can also register your domain with another domain registration company. The two most popular ones are NameCheap and GoDaddy.
However, you’ll have to go the extra step of connecting your domain to your HostGator account. This can be done by logging into your NameCheap/GoDaddy account and changing your DNS Nameservers.
If you need more assistance on this, visit this HostGator support portal.
But if you don’t have a domain yet, then I recommend you leverage this free domain registration from HostGator. That way, HostGator can handle everything for you and you don’t have to spend extra money on a domain.
Once you’ve chosen a domain name, you will see the “Domain Privacy Protection” option. You can decide to pay an extra $1.25/month to add an extra layer of privacy to your domain name.
While this is not compulsory, it’s somewhat good if you want your identity to be hidden. For example, when someone searches for information about your domain at ICANN or in WHOIS, your personal details (name and contact information) won’t be visible.
But without any domain privacy, your contact information will be available to anyone online. It’s entirely up to you to choose whether you want to be anonymous or not.
Step 3: Complete Your Hosting Order
The next step is to choose your hosting plan. Remember what I told you earlier. You will save more money by opting for an extended period in the “Billing Cycle” section.
For example, by paying for 36 months upfront, you’ll enjoy the cheapest rate per month. For the Hatching plan, it costs you $2.75 per month, which is $99 for 36 months (3 years).
Once you’ve completed the step above, the next thing will be to enter your personal and billing information, choose any extra add-ons, and finally create a HostGator account.
Then accept HostGator terms of service and click on the big “Checkout Now” button, and that’s it.
Once you click on the button, here’s what you will see next:
And immediately everything is completed and successful, HostGator will let you know via the screen below, telling you that your order is completed.
You’ve completed the first step. Let’s now access your cPanel and proceed to install your blog.
Step 4: Install WordPress
After creating your account on HostGator, you will instantly get a welcome email from HostGator. The email contains your account information, including your control panel (cPanel) link:
Open the email so you can login. Then click on the cPanel link that is in the email, and you’ll land the page below:
Now, enter your login details and click on “Login.” Here’s what the cPanel looks like:
Once you’re on the cPanel, scroll down to the “Special Offers” section and click the “Get Started with WordPress Today” tab.
You’ll be taken to a new window. Here, click on “Install WordPress” to continue:
On the next page, select your domain name from the drop-down, and leave the /directory box blank.
In this section, you can choose where want WordPress installed. Either at the root directory or under the subdirectory.
- Root Directory: https://www.hostingmonks.com
- subdirectory: https://makeblogging.com/blog/
NOTE: If you’re new to HostGator and signed up for the “baby plan” or higher plan, then you are allowed to add multiple domains. You can also host as many websites as you want on a single hosting package.
Now we are almost done.
Enter all the necessary details as shown on the screenshot above. Most importantly, choose a good username. This will be your “WordPress admin” login username and will display as your author name when you publish your first post.
Furthermore, you want to double-check your email because WordPress will send your login details via the email you entered. So it has to be correct.
Ensure that you don’t use an easy-to-guess username such as “admin.” This is a security risk. Rather use your nickname or your email address.
The idea is to make it very difficult to guess. Now, cross-check if you did everything right before clicking the “Install WordPress.”
While your WordPress installation is running, HostGator might try to upsell you by offering services such as WordPress theme and others.
I suggest you skip it by clicking on the “No thanks, I’m a web designer” link. It’s very easy to install themes on your own.
Please leave this screen open. You want to ensure that you get the “WordPress Installation complete” welcome email before closing it. So the best thing is to take a 10-minute break right now.
After some minutes, your WordPress blog installation will be completed:
Then you will receive an email with your WordPress admin login link, username, and password.
Once you’ve gotten the email, use the login instructions given to you to login and change your password. Like your username, use a strong password that will be hard to guess.
And that’s it! Now you’re done with HostGator WordPress install.
There’s one problem though.
If you click on your admin login URL immediately, your blog might not be ready yet. It usually takes some minutes for your files to properly settle into place. So if you check and the link isn’t working yet, there’s no need to panic. It’ll open once everything settles.
While your WordPress blog gets ready for your first login, there’s something you need to take a look at now.
That is checking your “Nameservers.” They’re used to connect your domain name to your hosting. But if you bought your domain from HostGator, you don’t need to do anything here as it’s already taken care of.
However, if you bought your domain somewhere else, then you have to connect your nameservers to the domain.
First of all, visit your inbox, and open the email HostGator sent to you.
Step 5: Login to WordPress
To use WordPress, the first thing is to login to your admin Dashboard. Your admin Dashboard is the backend of your WordPress blog, where you make all necessary changes and updates.
Now, to access the login screen, click on the Admin URL in your welcome email, or simply type in yourdomainname.com/wp-admin into your browser. That will take you to the screen below:
It’s also advisable to bookmark your login URL for easy access later on. But if you can memorize it instantly, then it’s fine.
Login to your WordPress admin for the first time with your username and the password you got from the WordPress welcome email.
Welcome to WordPress!
You’ve made it!
If you haven’t signed up yet, use the button below to register for HostGator hosting today and enjoy the discount.
Step 6: Get a Theme and Plugins
That’s it about how to start a WordPress blog on HostGator. The next step now is to work on the design of your new blog by choosing a theme for it.
There is a lot of beautiful free themes on the WordPress repository to choose from.
Sometimes, you might not find a good free theme. In that case, just perform a Google search for “best premium WordPress themes” to get your ideal theme.
WordPress also has a lot of plugins that will add different features to your blog. It all depends on what functionality you want, just search the plugin section and you’ll find a plugin for it.
And if you can’t find a suitable plugin, a simple Google search will reveal a lot to you.
Step 7: Start Blogging
Now your WordPress blog is up and running, it’s time to publish your first blog post.
Still logged into your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Posts” on the left sidebar menu and click on “Add New.”
You’ll see a post editor screen as shown on the screenshot above. That is where to write your blog posts.
You can also add images, videos, and GIFs to your blog post by clicking the “Add Media” button.
The WordPress post editor also has lots of other formatting features to use on your blog.
Once you’re done writing your post, click on the “Publish” button on the top right of your editor to publish it.
Now, you’ve seen it all. This is exactly how to start a blog with HostGator in 2020. As you can see, the process is very effortless and straightforward. Once you’ve successfully created your first WordPress blog following this guide, the next one will be even easier.
Don’t forget that you have to use our link here to sign up for HostGator hosting. If not, you’ll not be able to enjoy the massive 60% discount on hosting and free domain.