How To Start A Blog On Your Own .COM Domain Name Web Address… A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Enrich others, Share!

Welcome! This tutorial has taught thousands of people how to start a blog, and how to promote and write a successful blog, even for people who are technically challenged.

Whether you are setting up a blog for your own personal use, or for business and profit, at the end of this step-by-step tutorial you should be able to go from completely clueless to having your very own fully-functional blog.

Here are some blogs that our readers have built following this tutorial (please contact me if you have started a blog following this tutorial and would like to be featured here):

rainbowdonuts.com
learntennisquick.com
marilouisecarlisle.com
stevenchang.us
<< >>
If you are new to blogging, be sure to check out “What is a blog and why should I blog?” – it may also give you some blogging ideas.

Part of planning your blog is to decide whether to go with a free blog service, such as:

Blogger.com
WordPress.com
TypePad.com

Or pony up a few (Star)bucks to get a self-hosted blog. Be sure to read “free blog service vs. self-hosted blog” before taking a plunge, but if you are serious about blogging I highly recommend you go with a self-hosted blog with your own domain name.

Here is the table of contents for the tutorial.  You may click on any step below to jump straight to it, but I recommend you follow each step as outlined here:

Step 1:  Start with a purpose
Step 2:  Register a domain name
Step 3:  Buy web hosting
Step 4:  Point your domain name to your web host
Step 5:  Check that your domain name is live
Step 6:  Install the blog software
Step 7:  Customize your blog
Step 8:  Start blogging, and your free “35 Best Practices for Bloggers” guide
Q & A:  Questions & Answers about blogging

Step #1:  Start with a purpose

Have in your mind very clearly what your blog is about. In fact, don’t even think about starting a blog until you have thought this through.

Ask yourself what you are passionate about, and see how you can enrich* the lives of others with your passion.

To help you discover your own passion, ask yourself…

What do I do in my spare time?
What is the one thing I never get sick of doing, even if I’m not paid to do it

Chances are, you spend most of your time doing things that are not by choice (ie. go to work doing something you don’t love). But when you finally have some of that “me” time, what is that you do?

Then ask yourself these questions and make sure you have definitive answers before you set up your blog:

What is the purpose of my blog?
What value am I providing with my blog?
What am I selling** with my blog?
What can my readers expect to get out of my blog?

* If your blog is a self-serving one, then you may want to reconsider. I challenge you to start a blog that will not only enrich yourself, but also help others.

** Selling is not always evil. In fact, if you are selling something people are looking to buy, then you have just helped them (and in turn helped yourself). A good way to sell through your blog is by providing reviews of products that you personally own and have experience with – it’s truly a win-win as demonstrated by this very blog. If you are looking to make money from your blog, you have to sell something! If you are answer is “advertising”, buzz, sorry, wrong answer, please go back to the drawing board.

Step #2:  Register your domain name

Once you’ve picked your topic and decided the purpose of your blog, it’s time to get a name for your web address.

Getting a domain name is probably one of the most exciting part of starting a blog. I personally can spend days just trying to come up with a cool domain name.

If this is a personal blog, or if you are a professional, you may want to secure YourName.com before someone (with the same name as you) gets it.

Go to http://www.wholesalerdomains.com and start searching for your desired domain name:

domain-search

Ideally you would want to include your topic in your domain name.  For example, if your blog is a collection of funny email forwards, then something like “funnyonly.com” would do just fine – sorry it’s taken, and that’s my wife’s blog :)

You may have to keep trying new names as good names are most likely registered by someone else.  Search for the .COM of your desired domain name, if you absolutely can not find a .COM of your liking, then you may have to settle for a .NET or a .ORG web address extension.

Here is list of pre-fix and post-fix that may go well and help you come up with a cool domain name for your blog.

It may also be a good idea to register the 3 most common extensions (.COM, .NET, and .ORG) of your domain name to secure your “brand.”

Step #3:  Buy Web Hosting

A good name needs a good home – and that’s where web hosting comes in.  A web hosting account is where the blog software, content, images, and data is going to reside.

I run many blogs and websites, so I spread my sites across different hosting companies. Here are a few web hosting companies that I recommend and have personally used for years:

Hostgator ($3.96/month) – see below for instruction on how to get your 1st month hosting for $0.01 (1 penny).

WholesalerDomains ($3.99/month)

Hostmonster ($5.95/month)

Site5 ($4.95/month)

For beginners, I recommend Hostgator – go with Hatchling plan if you plan to have just one blog. Their Baby Plan allows you to host as many websites/blogs as you wish.

When you sign up, be sure to enter the coupon code “1CENT” before you checkout so your first month’s fee is only $0.01 (yes, 1 cent!):

So, for around $50/year you can have a blog with your own .COM domain name – later I will show you how to earn an income through advertisements and other means that will not only cover the cost of running a blog, but create a nice revenue generator (and turn it into a real business if you would like – be sure to subscribe to my blog to learn more!).

After you purchase web hosting you should receive an email with your account information – this is important so please save it!  In that email it will also tell you what the Nameservers are for the web host – note that down because you will be needing it next.

Step #4:  Point your domain name to the web host

This step is important because it tells the domain name where it is going to look for your web host.

Login to your WholesalerDomain.com account and click on the “Domain Manager” menu link.  A new window will pop up and your domains will be listed.  Click on the domain name and you will see this screen:

setting-name-server

Now click on “Set Nameservers” and copy and paste the 2 Nameservers your web host has provided you.

Once the Nameservers are updated there will be a lag time for your ISP to be notified of this update.  Usually this will only take a few minutes, but could take up to few hours.

Step #5:  Check that your domain is pointing to the web host

Now type in your newly registered domain name into the web browser and you should be getting a Hostgator Getting Started page that looks like this:

If you do not see a default Hostgator welcome page, then grab a coffee and start writing your initial blog content, and give it some time and check back again.

Step #6:  Point-and-Click install the blog software

When it comes to choosing a blog software, WordPress is by far the most popular blogging software being used.

In fact, it is so popular that the web host’s control panel has a point-and-click installation available (long gone are the days of FTP and HTML editor!).

Login to your web hosting’s control panel (usually cPanel) by going to:

http://yourdomain.com/cpanel

and substitute yourdomain.com with your actual domain name, then type in your login credentials (check your web host welcome email, it should be in there).

Once logged in, scroll down in the cPanel and you should see an icon that says “Fantastico” – this is the tool we want to use to install your blog:

cpanel1

Once you get to Fantastico you will be presented with a bunch of software that you will be able to click-install (okay, don’t get too excited now!).

Click on “WordPress”:

wordpress

Then “New Installation”:

wordpress-new-installation1

Then proceed to completing the installation form (read the form instructions!) and the rest of the installation steps:

wordpress-installation-step1

Note:  Do not worry about screwing things up or if you have entered the wrong information here.  Things can always be reverted back or changed once the blog is set up.

Once installation is complete your blog should be up and running!  Check out your blog by typing your domain name in the browser.

The following steps are completely optional, but highly recommended.

Step #7:  Customizing your blog

To make your blog unqiue, you may want to give it a new facelift.  In WordPress these “faces” are called Themes and there are tons of free ones out there.

Just head over to http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/ and browse or search for a theme that fits your topic.

Alternatively, there are themes that you can buy which makes your blog stand out even more (they tend to be more feature rich and only a limited number of people use the same theme as you).

Once you’ve got a theme picked out, go ahead and download the theme file (a .zip file).

Now go back to your web host’s cPanel account (http://yourdomain.com/cpanel -> substitute yourdomain.com with your real domain name) and click on File Manager icon:

file-manager

Then you would want to browse to public_html/[blog root]/wp-content/themes folder

If you installed your blog in the root directory then it will simply be public_html/wp-content/themes

Once you are in the /themes folder click on “Upload file(s)” link and upload the theme zip file you’ve downloaded.

upload-file

Once the file is uploaded the zip file will show up in the file manager.  Click on the file name and then click on “Extract File Contents:

extract-file-contents

Now the theme is ready to be activated.  Go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin and login to the WordPress Dashboard (this is where you can post/edit/delete blog posts and pages, and change settings for your blog).

Once logged in click on Appearance -> Themes link and you will see a thumbnail of the newly uploaded theme under “Available Themes”:

choose-theme1

Go ahead and click on the thumbnail and activate the theme.  Now your blog has a new face!  Check it out in the browser.

Step #8:  What’s next?

Start blogging!

Start by creating your “About me” or “About us” page that tells the world what your blog is all about and what your readers can expect.  A mission or vision statement will fit nicely in this page if you choose to.

Then go ahead and set up your initial blog post categories.  You can always add/edit/move categories in the future as you see fit.

Now, would you like to:

  • Improve your blog
  • Earn significant money with your blog
  • Become more savvy with your blog design
  • Increase traffic to your blog
  • Increase comments on your blog
  • Draw high quality partners to your business with your blog
  • All of the above?

I have put together a special report for you – 35 Best Practices For Bloggers – that you can download and learn all the secret tips & techniques to make your blog successful.

35 blogging best practices

Take a look at some of the tips you’ll find in this report…

7 Ways to Write Great Blog Headlines

7 Ways to Get Great Ideas for Blog Posts

7 Ways to Get More Comments at Your Blog

7 Ways to Make Money from Your Blog

7 Ways to Improve Your Blog Design

Even if you take just one of these 35 tips I give you I promise you will see an improvement in your blog

Q & A:  Questions, Comments?

Last but not least, I want to hear from you!

Did this tutorial help at all?  Do you have any questions about blogging, or any technical questions?  Was anything missing or something you would like to add?

Please use the comment form below to give me your feedback.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for more nifty blogging tips & tricks; receive case studies of successful blogs and how you can do the same; get free information on how to start a blog and make money from it; how to start a blog for your business, become famous, get out of debt, lose weight, or whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life – believe it or not, a blog can help you do all that!

Enrich others, Share!

246 Comments

  1. Hi Steven,

    I was wondering what kind of plug in or widget do I need to show on my page the amount of visitors I have coming in?

    Thanks, Connie

    Reply
    • Hey Connie,

      You can try this plugin:

      newstatpress.altervista.org

      I have not used it myself, but it looks promising from the plugin’s homepage.

      You can search around in your dashboard under Plugins -> Add New with keywords such as “stats” or “visitor”

      Thank you,
      Steve

      Reply
      • Once again thank you for the help! =)

        Connie

        Reply
  2. Hey Steven, I have bought a domain name for my blog. I am confused that should I self host it via Hostgator etc. or start the blog on WordPress.com? I want to monetize my blog by putting ads and stuff. What do you suggest And also what is the main difference?

    Reply
    • Hi Saurav,

      You should definitely go with a self hosted blog with Hostgator or a reputable web host. You can see my write up above for signing up and getting a blog set up using Hostgator.

      For ads, you can use Google Adsense or find products/services to sell as an affiliate (look into cj.com, linkshare.com, clickbank.com or simply search in Google for “[product] affiliate program” Be careful with ads, they don’t “sell” as naturally as “recommending” a product or service to your blog readers.

      What is your blog about, and what’s the URL?

      Look forward to reading your blog,
      Steve

      Reply
      • Hey Steve, thanks a lot for the response.I love your pro activeness and how you manage to patiently reply to all the queries, many times over. My domain is infowhistle.com. It’s going to be an information blog, the tag line that I have thought is Information with an opinion :D. I asked many people if this sounds fine and got varying responses but at the end I realised that a blog is your baby and not everybody can look it at the same way.
        I will keep troubling you every now and then as and when I face problems with my blog, hope you won’t mind ;). Thanks mate.

        Reply
  3. Steve,

    I am getting crushed with pingback and trackback spam. How do I make it stop? Captcha doesn’t seem to address that.

    Reply
    • Hey Richard,

      I find the Akismet plugin very helpful for my blogs. It comes with the WordPress install, and you just need to sign up for a free API account. Once you install it, you have the option to filter through all existing unmoderated comments and it will remove “spammy” comments for you – it came quite handy for a couple of my blogs with thousands of spam comments/trackbacks that I wanted to clean up.

      I want to know if it also works out for you – please let me know?

      Thank you,
      Steve

      P.S. Love your food blog!

      Reply
      • Well, this is the first day in a while I have logged on to find no trackback or pingback spam. So far, so good!

        Reply
  4. Hi Steven! I loved the article! It is really helpful. Thanks so much! :) I do have a question for you…
    I’ve been blogging for a while. And I want to buy my own domain. But I’m a student with limited budget. I can’t spend so much on hosting right now.

    My question is – can I buy the domain from the service provided by Blogger (blogger linked to godaddy).. and later on, when I start earning money, move to another host? When I buy a custom domain from Blogger, the blog is still hosted by Google right?

    Thank you! :)

    Reply
  5. steven,i just wanted to say that you were very clear on your blogging. let me get started and i will let you know the outcome.which should be a go.thank you very much.talk to you soon.

    Reply
    • Hi Jeanette,

      Congrats on getting started. Look forward to having you in the community.

      Thank you,
      Steve

      Reply
  6. steven,i had wrote you yesterday to say thank you on your info on blogging but my computer went down.so i am saying again thank you for your info.i am going to apply it as a new blogger and i will let you know the results. thanks again.

    Reply
  7. soo i decided to start a blog i do not know where to begin……i made a blog…i am a housewife i love craft, jewelery, making child care and cooking.i would like to select any of the above topics….can u suggest which is the best topic?is Google ad sense a good way to make some money…..?i stay in uae so can i earn trough,,,online?

    Reply
    • Hi Helna,

      I’m going to assume when you asked “best topic” that you mean “most profitable topic”. Honestly, I don’t know. It depends on:

      -What you sell on your blog
      -How many people read your blog
      -How well you can sell through your blog

      Certain topic lends itself to promoting products/services that are easier to sell and have bigger profit margin.

      I personally like selling education/information products because the profit margins are large, and they are easier to sell than commodity goods. However, it would also require knowledge in the field that you are selling (ie. I wouldn’t be selling a “how to start a blog” coaching program if I haven’t personally blogged for a long time).

      You can earn online, regardless where you live. How much you can earn from your blog would depend on your experience level with selling online. Please keep in mind that a blog is just a vehicle for delivery a message, be it a personal message, or a sales message, it doesn’t matter.

      If you are just starting, I recommend you pick up a few good books on selling and copy writing. Money comes from exchange of products/services, so once you learn why people buy what you have to offer, your next challenge is marketing (get your offer in front of people, via your blog, for example).

      My recommendation is to research the products/services that you can offer from your blog, that you are familiar with (preferably ones you already own and like), and can wholeheartedly recommend them to your blog readers. Your blog posts would then educate your readers on various issues and problems of your topic, and suggest products/services that can help them.

      You mentioned Google Adsense – yes, it’s a quick & dirty solution when you don’t know what to sell from your blog. You’ll just be making money from clicks to ads to products/services advertisers are promoting from your blog. Eventually you’ll want to move away from ads, and sell your own products (or as an affiliate) for a bigger cut.

      I hope this helps

      Look forward to work with you,
      Steve

      Reply
  8. hay found ya gonna try this. your insight was very helpful now all i got to do is apply it and start.

    Reply
  9. Hi Steven! Quick question, that probably has been answered and I’m just too tired to find it right now xP
    What would be your recommendation to start acquiring traffic in a clean manner? I don’t wish to spam forums and chat rooms just to get views. I think it’s rather rude, yet it seems that it may be one of the only ways. What would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi Jeff,

      “Clean” is a relative term. Some people have higher ethical standards than others. You can follow the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

      As a rule of thumb for myself, I make sure I provide value when I leave something behind on other peoples’ blogs, forums, or any web properties. This could be as “cheap” as my personal opinion on a topic :)

      Putting yourself (and establish credibility/authority) out there on blogs, forums, online groups, chat rooms, etc. is one of the best (and no cost) way to get initial traffic to your blog.

      But remember, there is no such thing as free traffic. Even though commenting on blogs, forums, social media doesn’t cost you, you’d still have to work for it. You’ll also want to make sure you hang out where your targeted traffic is hanging out. For example, if you have a game programming blog, it makes no sense to hang around fishing keeping blogs/forums/chat rooms.

      Another equally important thing to have set up on your blog is the offer. What are you offering your visitors on your blog that will want to make them stay? Most people do this by offering a free report/ebook download of some sort, then they would have that person’s email for follow up communication.

      Having an offer/email marketing setup allows you put in the effort of getting traffic once and “retain” that traffic via follow up communication.

      Other ways to acquire traffic in “clean” manner:

      1. Pay for it. Be careful, even if you pay for traffic, you want to make sure you are not misrepresenting your offer, or “bait and switch” – that’s not clean :)

      2. Hold a contest or giveaway.

      3. Create valuable content (ie. a great blog post, a useful software, code snippets, free graphics, etc.) that make people want to share it (viral traffic).

      Also, make sure you make it clear what your blog is about:

      http://www.howtostartablog.com/blog-will-fail-if-you-dont-have-this.php

      Let me know if this answers our question, or if you want some case studies or examples of getting traffic.

      Great question!

      Thank you,
      Steve

      Reply
  10. I’m very happy that I stumbled upon your site. Thank you for sharing this invaluable information for those of us who have now clue where to begin.

    I want to start a blog relating to all things beauty – hair/makeup/and beauty products. I have a website that I’m working on that is dedicated to my make up business and don’t want to use that name. Do you have any ideas on a domain name. I’d like to review beauty products, hair and makeup and provide quick tips on how to save time and money on beauty for busy moms. All things beauty is already taken.

    Thanks

    Reply
  11. Steve,

    I have been following your blog on how to start my own blog. I have finally found the name available and purchased the domain and the hosting. I haven’t even logged in yet! I wanted to ask a question before I end up spending anymore money. I not only purchased rewardsresource.com but the .net as well. Then I think I may have gone a bit overboard and purchased the varying names of rewardresources.com, rewardresource.com, rewardsresources.com – am I getting a bit obsessed or does this seem reasonable to protect my blog name from potential typos and traffic theft? Should I buy all the .net to these as well or was this enough to protect the name? I took your advise and bought myname.com as well.

    Reply
    • Hi Laura,

      I apologize for the late reply. Here is my take on registering domain names to protect your brand and “traffic theft.”

      If your main site, rewardsresource.com is gaining traction and making an income, then yes, you have the resource to pay for brand protection. If you are struggling to pay the bill on your registration fee or web hosting on your main site, then focus on generating cashflow first.

      Thank you,
      Steve

      Reply
  12. Great guide steven! I am a wordpress enthusiast my self. I see you recommended typepad. I highly don’t recommend using that unless its a personal blog though.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>