How To Start a Blog With Hostgator (Tutorial)

Last updated on June 8, 2017

This article contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase!

Blogging is one of the best ways to express oneself, make new friends, reach out to the masses, market a business, and, more importantly, make some money.

All over the world, blog readership has increased, due to a high number of internet users, coupled with the number of people worldwide who can access the Internet through their phones.

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, I only recommend products that I have verified (tons and tons of research go into it) or products/services that I have personally used. 

Blogs are listed amongst the most used online applications today.

This is because they contain everything: from comedy to school work, travel info to tutorials, news, entertainment and so on.

Now, you’ve probably been to some of the best blogs and thought to yourself, “Wow! This must have been very complicated to create!”

Fortunately, I’m here to let you know that starting a blog is very easy. It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever blogged or tried blogging before.

It’s not complicated. Take it from this non-techie work at home mom!

The process is so simple that if you apply every expert tip that I offer here as you read, your blog will be ready by the end of the article.

So, let’s see how you can get that blog up real fast, plus how you can get traffic and turn your blog into a moneymaker!

Decide What To Blog About

You need to decide on what the blog is being set up for. Maybe you need to market your business or give working moms some juicy tips.  Are you a health specialist? An expert at inventing recipes?

Whatever it is you’re good at, it can be turned into a blog, and hopefully, let it be something that has plenty of discussion around it.

At this point, you can also start to think about your domain name. Some people decide to go with their names, ie carolkay.com.   

.Com and .net are the most popular domains. io is also increasingly becoming popular especially for tech/internet companies. 

Choose A Blogging Platform

The blogging platform is the template or tool that will form the basis of your blog. This is where you will create your articles, tutorials, videos or images before making them available to the audience.

On that note, let me introduce you to the best blogging platform that I know of: WordPress.

If you’ve been working online for some time, then you must have heard this popular name.

It’s actually the most popular blogging platform on the planet.

Some reasons why I personally recommend and use it include:

  • Ease of use (it is very easy to use and provides step-by-step user instructions)
  • Flexibility (it can be used to create any form of site, ranging from very simple to complex)
  • Wide usage (owing to its popularity, a lot of people use it and share ideas on its tools and uses)

Some of the top blogs that use WordPress include Reuters, TechCrunch, The Mozilla Blog, among others.

In the event that you decide to explore different options, you can try out Blogger. It is the second most popular blog/site platform after WordPress.

Choose A Hosting Company

Once you decide on the platform, you need to find a hosting service.

Hosting refers to the process of enabling a web service, such as a website to be viewed on the internet. In short, once you have created a blog, it needs to be made available online so that people can access it via URL.

There are tons of hosting companies out there looking to host your site for you. There are, on the other hand, credible players in the game who are known the world over for simplicity and reliability such as:

  1. HostGator

This is one of the most popular hosting companies in the world. I have used them for some time and have several reasons to praise them:

  • Price: If you care about your pennies, then stick with HostGator. They have monthly subscriptions at a very low cost.  (from as little as $4.86 per month if you pay for an extended period). 
  • Uptime: HostGator guarantees you over 99% uptime. In short, you will almost never be offline. I’m proof of this. Never have I ever had an issue with my site being unavailable. (Update: It has since only happened once due to the SSL certificate installation process but it was rectified)
  • Fast transfer: Once you have your WordPress or Blogger site ready, you need to have it transferred to your hosting provider. HostGator provide you with a 1-click transfer service!
  • Control panel: HostGator provide a standardized control panel which you can easily use to manage databases, domains, emails as well as install vital software like WordPress.

2. BlueHost

  • HostGator competes sharply with Bluehost.
  • They’re very secure and protect your site/blog from internet fraud and/or malice.
  • They have very convenient customer support.
  • They also guarantee 99% uptime.
  • They have a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • They have a standardized industry control panel.

3. Kenya Website Experts

If you want to start a blog in Kenya, and prefer to buy Kenyan, then kenyawebexperts.com will be your go-to hosting company.

Kenya Web Experts provide you with hosting services just like HostGator and BlueHost. Some of their services include:

  • Localized “.co.ke” domains
  • International “.com” domains
  • Website and email hosting from 30 GB capacity to infinity
  • Website design
  • WordPress-optimized packages
  • Reliable customer service, and
  • Secure hosting

From my point of view, these three hosting organizations are almost similar. You need to evaluate their packages in more details before settling on one.

Now that we’ve seen the different types of hosting companies, let me take you through how to start your blog using Hostgator. If you already have a domain name registered, you can start your blog with as little as $0.01.

How To Start A Blog With Hostgator

Step 1:

Sign up on Hostgator and click on Get Started Now.  I asked for a coupon code for my readers and my readers will only pay $0.01 for the first month’s hosting, if you use my link.

Step 2

Click on the Baby  Plan; that’s the plan that I use. You can always upgrade later if you choose to do so.

Step 3

If you already own a domain, then click on I ALREADY OWN THIS DOMAIN.

If not and you’re starting from scratch, click on REGISTER A NEW DOMAIN.

Choose a domain name that will be memorable to your readers/customers.

.coms are more common and trustworthy, but .net is great too.

You’ll have the option of choosing domain privacy protection here. If you choose to protect your information from the public eye, it’ll be at the minimal cost of $1.08 per month.

If you don’t want to do so, you can uncheck the add domain privacy.

Once you have entered the domain name, it’ll be time to choose your plan. We’re going with the Baby plan.

Once you have filled in the details, you’ll need to move on to the next thing, which is entering your billing info.

The next section is the ADD ADDITIONAL SERVICES.  Here, you’ll see a couple of optional services that you can decide whether or not you want to sign up for or not. You can uncheck this for the time being.

Step 4:

Here is where you enter a coupon code to get the discount. The coupon code for you is WOK001 and make sure you validate it. 

Step 5

Review the order details, read the terms and conditions and click CHECK OUT.

Step 6

Once your account is ready, you will get a confirmation email from Hostgator.

You can then log into your Control Panel (Hostgator will send you the logins) and install WordPress!

Step 7

  • Log-in to your Hostgator control panel
  • Click on ‘WordPress One Click”

  • You’ll be redirected to another page where you’ll click on your domain name. Click next after doing this.
  • You’ll thereafter be redirected to a page where you’ll enter your details such as admin user, your name, etc.This is the installation page.

Once the installation is done, you’ll receive an email that shares your WordPress login info.

And that’s it! Congratulations – you’ve now made a blog using WordPress. 

After this, you’ll need to get familiar with the WordPress dashboard.

You’ll learn how to add a new blog post, how to manage comments as well as how to install plugins.

No need to worry as none of this is complicated.

On that note, I recommend this course that will be helpful in this area: WordPress For Beginners.
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Now that we have that out of the way, what else do you need to know about starting your blog?

Choose a Theme For Your Blog

Once you have the above steps sorted, you need to decide on an impressive appearance for your blog. This is what we call a theme. A theme simply determines the overall layout of your blog, its color, image/video presentation and so on.

For instance, if you market kids’ stuff, don’t make the website too “serious.”

If you sell books, don’t use fancy fonts and colors. Similarly, if you write about freelancing, don’t be too official (remember we hate offices!)

A good theme will match with your niche/ products, it will be easy to read, will make proper use of color, will make the blog attractive and will capture the audience.

Curious on where I get my themes?

If you use WordPress, it comes with some free themes. However, these are too basic and common.

Read Also: Awesome Ways To Make Money Online

Nobody wants their blog to look like another author’s blog, right?

To avoid this, I purchased mine, the Executive Theme, online, from StudioPress Themes for WordPress.

There are thousands of themes to select from that site. A few popular ones include:

Executive Theme– Same theme I’m currently using on my blog. As you can see from its design, it helps site owners showcase their premium services right from the word go. It also has feature boxes that display important products with images, so that your readers can see them first when they visit your blog. 

Foodie Pro Theme– A theme loved by food and fashion bloggers. It’s a clean, light-weight theme, with much of the focus going to the content section of the blog.  You can choose from unlimited color options to match your style and branding. You can see why it’s a favorite for food bloggers! 

Lifestyle Theme– A simple theme that is perfect for business people and enterpreneurs. If you want to start a review site, this theme is recommended too. It also offers and fitness, design and fashion, reviews sites or foodie niche sites and offers plenty of white space.

Choose a theme that best suits your niche. Before purchasing, make sure it is compatible with your platform. Also, consider its customization features (ease of use).

 Add Plugins (if need be)

A blog, once set up, can readily accommodate media like text and basic images.

However, to enable the site to have more functions, you need to install Plugins.

Below are examples of the three most popular WordPress Plugins:

  1. Akismet

Akismet is a comment spam filtering service. Akismet catches blog spam via an algorithm. When a number of sites report similar comments as spam, Akismet identifies that kind of content as SPAM in the future.

Spam comments can get as high as 85%. That’s a lot of comment moderation to do and as such, this plugin comes in handy.

It actually comes pre-installed in WordPress but you’ll need to activate it.

  1. Backup Buddy

In this era of internet technology, you need to be ready for anything. In as much as the hosting companies promise secure services, hackers or viruses can take down websites. This is why we have Plugins like Backup Buddy.

This is why we have Plugins like Backup Buddy.

This small software allows you to store your website (pus its content) on a cloud.

As such, in the event that your blog is hacked, you can restore it very easily and cheaply. The best thing about it is that it can automatically do the backups.

  1. Contact Form 7

You can be selling one of the most sought after products, but if your customers cannot reach you, then what’s the point?

A contact page on your site is therefore key. Here, your readers can contact you with any queries or feedback that they may have.

Contact form 7 plugin is one of the most popular plugins that you can install to help your customers /readers do just that.

4. Yoast SEO Plugin

It is important for a site to be search engine friendly. Writing search engine optimized articles is important if you want your readers to find you, especially on the first page of Google.

This plugin helps bloggers to control the way titles appear, helps you set keywords and even tracks how often you use them.

Blog Traffic Tips

What’s the use of a blog if no one accesses the content? It’s not enough to have a beautiful product.  People need to see that product right? Once your blog is up and running, you need to devise ways of creating traffic to your blog.

Here are a few proven ways:

  • Create worthy content

Ensure your content is high quality and valuable. If you write humor, let the funny part of your content stand out!

Once you provide people with what the blog promises them, they will naturally come back time and again.

When you write content for your readers, remember to include the keywords that people will search for.

This is what I was saying before, ‘search engine optimization’.

For example, people who are searching for ‘How to Start a Blog With Hostgator’ will land on this page.

The key is ensuring that I appear on page 1 of the search results, and not just page 1, but on the first three searches.

Which bring me to:

  • Be an active social media user

Once your blog is up and running, get active on your social media platforms such as Facebook and refer your followers to your blog.

You can post links to your blog, with a small intro on what the blog post is about to encourage click throughs.

  • Leave useful comments on social media and other blogs

People will judge you by your words online. As such, be sure to post useful comments, comments that will make people curious enough to click through to your blog.

This is one tip that has worked very well for me.

  • Join Forums

You can also sign up on forums such as Redditt, DigitalPoint, and our very own Wazua forum ( a forum where people discuss about wealth)

On these forums, you can show your expertise by answering questions that people have. Some forums allow you to leave a link to your blog and others don’t, so be careful to know the rules beforehand.

Quora, a Question and answer site has helped me gain a lot of traffic in the recent months. This is a site where people ask questions, ranging from relationship issues, to tech, to health issues.

How To Make Money Blogging

Unless you’re blogging as a hobby, you want to make money from your blog.

There are blogs that are making as much as $30,000 and over per month. One of the bloggers that I admire most is called Harsh Agrawal, an Indian blogger earning $34,000 and above monthly.

So how do you go about making money from your blog?

Some of the ways are:

Affiliate marketing

This is a form of marketing where you are paid for referring clients. When the client purchases the product – could be an eBook, or an app or even a service,  you’re paid a commission. 

One such popular affiliate program is Amazon Associates.

Google Ad sense

If you have a self-hosted blog, you can activate Google AdSense.

You’re paid for displaying ads  and when your visitors click on the ads on your blog, you’ll get paid.

Courses

If you’re knowledgeable or gifted in a certain area, for example, stitching shaggy mats, you can create a tutorial blog. People can pay you to learn the skills. It can be a PDF course or a video course.

Read: How to make money via an ecourse. 

Sponsored Posts and Banner Ads

Once your blog is attracting good traffic, some businesses can approach you and request that you review their products with links to their sites. and then pay you for it.

Banner ads are just ads that are posted on your blog. The owners “rent” space on it and pay you to display them for specified durations.

Selling eBooks

You can write an eBook or eBooks and post them for sale on your blog. Make sure they’re related to your niche. I’ve written an eBook and you can see the details here.

This is one of the best forms of earning passive income.

Consultation

In addition to being a specialist in a niche which you use to create your blog, you can be a paid consultant.

For instance, I nowadays see doctors setting up blogs where clients pay a little fee for consultation.

I am also an online jobs consultant and meet with people who are interested in learning more about freelancing.

This is possible with every field.

Selling Your Services

Yet another way of making money via your blog. 

If, for example, you’re a graphic designer, you can create a Hire Me page and design logos, eBook covers and more for your clients.

The same people who are reading your blog posts may turn out to be your most loyal clients.

Email marketing

Although this isn’t a direct way of making money off your blog, it boosts the income you can get from the other approaches mentioned above.

Email marketing involves collecting as many email addresses from your subscribers and storing them.

Then, when you need to market something or inform them of a new blog post, you can alert all of them with just one click!

In this way, you’re sure of getting a good number of visitors (thus better income). I use Aweber to do that and I’ve been their customer for the past four years now.

They have great customer service and reasonable rates. Start your free trial with Aweber today.

Final Words On How To Start a Blog

Start practicing these steps very carefully.

Gaining traffic to your blog will not happen overnight. You’ll need to be very consistent in writing your content and promoting it.

Once the money starts trickling in, it will be an investment for life.

Go now and start that blog!

About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • Very Nice!

    I’ve always wanted to set up a blog. I think it’s time I made the move!

    Thank you very much for this interesting tut 🙂

  • I really enjoyed your article. I thought you had to pay an SEO Firm to do backlinks and other technology to get on the first page of google. Another way of getting traffic is to start a Youtube channel and direct the traffic to your blog.

    • SEO specialists can be very pricey. If you can afford one, well and good. If not, you can get plenty of tips from forums such as Redditt and Quora. You can also follow blogs such as QuickSprout and the Moz blog. Thanks for the YouTube channel tip!

  • Thank you very much for the helpful information. I have tried like everything, from writing to transcribing and it doesn’t seem to work. Am very optimistic that blogging will work for me. Again thank you very much for the good work you are doing. Enlightening people like us. I really appreciate.

    • Hello Raquell. Happy that you found it helpful. Making money online is hard work, so I have found. Writing and transcription work is a good way to make you money as you work on your blog. It’ll take time and patience before you start earning from your blog, so it’s a good idea to have a side income as you do that.

  • Nice. I’m Kiarie, a natural therapy specialist dealing with alternative home-based recipes and I create probiotic drinks from vegetables, to address numerous cases of lifestyle diseases. My company is named natures best functional foods.

    We offer solutions beyond basic nutrition. My question is, who will guide me into blogging as I’m very green with technology. I can post links,videos, and do it yourself remedies on culturing foods to consultations.

    • Hello George. That is a good niche you have there. Will you be targeting Kenyans or will it be worldwide?

      That will help you decide on whether it will be a .co.ke domain or .com one. Once you have decided that,come up with a domain one, choose a hosting company of your choice, install WordPress and start posting your content.

    • Outsourcing works for me. You can either outsource the writing part of it or the promotion part of it, you know, blog commenting and all.

  • Am always blown away by your posts..I have so much I would like to blog about. Encyclopedia kind of thing.I would like to talk about my experiences, what annoys me- a diary like blog.

    How do i narrow down, will I attract/make any profit from my musings?

    How do i pay the blog host, through master card, visa?

    Are there free blogs?

  • Wow Sheeroh, it’s like you were in my head. I have been thinking about blogging for a very long time but I often shy off thinking it is too costly. I will definitely give it a try this year for sure! Thanks for your insight. This has been of great help.

  • Thank you Sheeroh for the elaborate step by step guide to starting a blog. I have a similar dream, but mine is a forum. I started a from 3 moths ago called BiztalKenya: BizTalk.co.ke. I’ts a forum for people to discuss business ideas and share tips and tricks on starting a business. And as you said, start small, I’ve started getting some traffic.

    Members here, should not think it’s an overnight millionaire success. You need to put some work and sleepless nights on it. You need to be consistently publishing Optimized articles. Well, to me it’s a hobby, but one that i intend to grow into a business.

    Please check it out and give me your honest opinion on the forum. And how i can make it better. The good thing about a forum is, when it has more active members, they generate the content themselves. You will not need to keep posting new content, unlike blogs.

    Am willing to get some people started on the forums. I’ts my joy to bring hundreds of like minded individual on one platform. The knowledge exchange and ideas exchange is just enormous and educative. You will not believe the amount of ideas you can generate from a discussion that you emotionally and personally relate to.

    • Thanks William. And all the best with your forum. Good to see you’re taking a different path.

  • This is an excellent article I must say.
    Starting a website has never been easier. All Kenyan freelancers should have a website.
    Keep up the spirit and lets change Kenya.
    Some Kenyans wishing to start a website find it hard to pay overseas companies due to lack of Paypal, Credit Card etc. Kenyan companies come in handy in such times.

    • I agree. That’s why I had to mention Kenya Web Experts 🙂 And yes, all Kenyan freelancers should have a blog.

  • Hi Sheeroh,

    Wow, what a great write up. While I am not from Kenya, I totally agree with you about money starts trickling in, it will be an investment for life.

    Starting a blog is easy, the hard part is staying persistent until you reach your goals. This is why I think it’s extremely important to have a huge why.

    It’s going to take some time to start seeing the income. However, as long as you enjoy what you’re doing and helping people, you’re going to have a blast.

    Totally agree with you about starting on a self-hosted platform.

    Thanks for sharing this, have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • Thanks Susan. I kind of see a relationship between blogging and compound interest. They both require time to see great results at first, but after a while, it seems to take off with a life on its own 🙂

  • Hie Sherooh, thank you so much for simplifying information and enlightening! You are an encouragement for those of us who are unsure of venturing into the realms of freelancing. Reading your articles gives encouragement and lights the path towards a promising beginning. Barikiwa sana.

    • Hey Grace. I am so glad to hear that you find my blog posts enlightening. Keep in Tech Money Mama. More good stuff coming.

  • I am planning to start a personal blog and so far I was going with Bluehost. They seem to have some special offers which can save you some money and compete with other cheaper alternatives. I have never heard about HostGator but I will compare the pro and cons of using HostGator vs Bluehost. Thank you!

    • Hostgator, Siteground and Bluehost are very popular hosting companies. Thanks for your comment Henry!

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