Since a great many of you out there don’t know how to start a blog, I’m gonna walk you through it in a series of posts.
I recommend you set up your own domain right off the bat. Sure, you can go with one of those freebie blog sites like Blogger.com, WordPress.org, etc., but you really want to start establishing your own brand as soon as you can.
So, let’s get your domain on…
How to Start a Blog – Step 1
I’m gonna use a really off-the-wall example for my sample blog site. Let’s say, um… we’ll set up a blog about alien abductions.
Pay attention… This is a test, you know… if you’ve been a good student and read up on what you should be blogging about, you should’ve been smackin’ your monitor and yelling “How the hell am I gonna make money off of that?!?” or you should’ve at least been thinking it… right?
But for now, just humor me, and we’ll just pretend that aluminum foil hats and probe-resistant undies are HOT and sellin’ for big bucks right now…
So, I’m gonna haul my butt over to Hostgator and set up my new domain. You can use your favorite hosting provider if you want, but Hostgator has been great for me and their customer support is awesome.
I’ve negotiated a special 25% discount coupon for my readers, so if you go with Hostgator, make sure you enter the coupon code “longtail25” at checkout. The discount only applies to hosting plans.
Next, click on the “Domains” tab and type in your domain name choice name to see if it’s available.
Awesome! HaveYouBeenProbed.com is totally available. go figure!
Now you need to add a hosting plan. A hosting plan is the engine under the hood of your domain. It’s gonna give you a server to host your blog and store your files.
You can start out with the smallest plan and you’ll probably be just fine. I tend to hoard domain names, so I have the Baby plan. It lets me tack on as many domains to my account as I want.
Don’t forget to enter the coupon code “longtail25” at checkout. Not getting 25% off would be sucky.
Go ahead and enter your billing details, billing cycle, address, etc, etc.
Make sure you see your 25% discount reflected in the final price before you fork over that credit card info.
Submit it, then wait a little while for the Hostgator elves to work their magic. You’ll get an email from them with your login info once you’re set.
How to Start a Blog – Step 2
Once you get your setup confirmation email, click on the link to access your account and let’s get logged into your cPanel. This is where you’re gonna control the inner-working of your website.
Set up an E-mail Account
Now we’re gonna get you set up with your very own little email account. Look for the “Email Accounts” icon in the Mail category and click that bad boy.
Go ahead and type in your email address. You’ll see your domain in the pull down list. For our example, we’d see firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d type in something like ‘admin’, ‘ken’, ken.mabry’, or something else that makes sense for me and my site.
Pick your password, pick your storage quota (max mailbox size), and click “create account”.
Set up WordPress (your blogging platform)
Pop back to the main cPanel page, and now you’re gonna scroll down to the Software/Services section and click on “QuickInstall”
When QuickInstall launches, look to the left and expand “Blog Software” and click on “Wordpress.” Then click “Continue.”
Now, just fill out the form:
If you want the blog to be the main thing your visitors see when they visit your site, just make sure your domain is selected in the pulldown box and leave the area after the “/” blank.
I’d go ahead and select “Auto Upgrades”
Admin e-mail: the email address you just created (or another if you prefer).
Blog Title: <Whatever you want to appear at the top of your blog> –It’s easy to change this later
Admin user: “admin”
First Name: “Your first name”
Last Name: “Last Name”
Click “Install Now” and then on the next screen, click on “Finish Installation”.
You’re almost done!
Once your blog is installed, you can access is at http://yourdomain.com
Access your blog’s admin area at http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin –you’ll wanna bookmark this
In the next How to Start a Blog post, we’ll go over how to customize your WordPress install so you can get busy bloggin’.