How To Start A WordPress Blog -Checklist

1. Register a Domain Name
Do this step first, as you'll need to enter your domain name when you set up your hosting account.

I use to locate available domain names, and then register them at Only register your domain here, skip the other offers. You always want to set up your hosting separately from your domain.

-How to Choose a GREAT Domain Name!

2. Set up your Hosting Account
I use HostGator to host my WordPress blogs because they make it easy to install, and they have great online & phone support. They are also very inexpensive at less than $10/month for unlimited domains, sites and/or blogs on that one account.

Use this link or click on the image above, and use the coupon code "wordpress". That will give you the first month free (or, for a penny - which is about as close to free as you can get).

3. Update Nameservers
Check your email for the account details for your new hosting account. Inside this email you'll find 2 nameservers. Keep the email open and go back to Log in to your account, find your new domain name, and edit the nameservers to the two shown in your HostGator email.

It can take up to 72 hours for your domain name to point to your new hosting account, so you want to do these steps right away.

4. Install WordPress
You don't have to download WordPress and then try to manually install it yourself - that's doing things the hard way. Instead, go back to your HostGator welcome message and find the link to your control panel. You will have to use the temporary IP Address link since your domain hasn't propagated yet. Log in to your control panel with the username and password in that same email.

Once you log in, scroll down and look for the Fantastico button. It's towards the bottom, under Software/Services. Under the navigation on the left, choose WordPress and follow the instructions to install your WordPress blog.

5. Choose a WordPress Theme
While you're waiting for the domain to propagate, do a search for "free wordpress themes". Pick one (or pick a few) and download the zip files. Unzip or extract the files.

Next you'll need to upload your new theme to your hosting account. I prefer FTP, but you can also upload files from within the control panel. Upload the entire theme folder to the wp-content/themes directory in your account. If you need help, see this 6 1/2 minute video: How To Change, Edit, or Install a WordPress Theme.

6. Still Waiting?
At this point you are probably still waiting for your domain name to propagate (meaning the nameserver update hasn't taken effect yet so you still can't see your new WordPress blog when you type your domain name into a browser).

There isn't much you can do at this point since most of your links - including your WordPress admin login - depend on the domain name. So while you are waiting, decide what your first few blog posts will be about. This is a good time to do some keyword research. I use Free WordTracker - just put in words related to your topic to get some good 2-3 word phrases to start with.

Now open Notepad and write a few blog posts, based on the keyword phrases you selected. It's a great starting point because you know people are searching those phrases, and are specifically interested in those topics. Save your notepad file and go have dinner.

7. WordPress Customization
Once your domain is working, you'll be able to log in to the WordPress dashboard. Just go to yourdomain/wp-admin/ in a browser, and put in the username and password you chose when you installed WordPress on your hosting account.

Now that you're logged in - Welcome to WordPress!! - follow these steps:

- activate your new theme (under appearance > themes)
- change permalink structure -help
- edit/delete the default post (Hello World) and delete the test comment
- fill out About Me page -help
- edit/add categories
- install comment spam plugin

Now you're all set and ready to blog! 😀

Be sure to sign up for Problogger's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series. This will give you a great start, and a perfect blueprint to follow. Even if you've been blogging for years, it's a profitable series to follow. I signed up myself! 😉


About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. I've been planning to set up a WordPress blog for several months. I have free blogs but wasn't sure how set up an independently hosted blog. Thanks for the checklist. Encouraged me to figure out the process with my hosting company.

  2. I am trying to access your video mentioned above "How to change, edit, install a WordPress Theme" and it will not allow me to join the membership area...can you please direct me as to how to do this.
    I would sooo love the info/help!
    Thx so much.....

  3. Syed Akram says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I always find a
    gem in your posts. Everyday thousand of people decided to join blogging community, this kind of basic knowledge always welcome.

  4. It is so important to have a list made of all the things to successfully launch a WordPress blog. The customization section is where the real things start to happen. Things like permalinks, categories, plugins and doing this all with SEO in mind.

  5. matthew scarlett says:

    I've been blogging for many years, and WordPress is becoming so easy to use, and so easy to have a professional looking site. From your sliding headers (jquery) to creating an online store, you can do it all. I've never been able to retire on the income from my blog, however, now I'm very much a part timer.

  6. I wished that I had found all this great information on WordPress two years ago.
    Thanks for the help.

  7. I have tried setting up a wordpress site but none of my affiliate links work there - instead I get a message that wordpress is disabling them! I'm not sure what to do now.

    • Jessica,

      Are you setting up on, instead of setting up your own wordpress blog per the instructions in the post above? is the free hosted version, similar to, and they are not affiliate friendly...

      • I went through since I can't afford to pay for hosting at the moment.

        I ended up switching over to and it seems to be working okay there, though their widget gallery isn't as fleshed out and themes are a little less impressive. But it's free, and the aff links work!

  8. Great's an article I recently published which includes some extra points to consider before choosing a web host titled...Free Web Hosting Guide: 33 Secrets You Probably Didn’t Know!

    Let me know what you think.
    Herman recently posted..Free Web Hosting Guide: 33 Secrets You Probably Didn’t Know!My Profile

  9. Unfortunately, after many years of being with I stopped using them as I found that the service became highly unreliable.

    My (then) blog/site, as well as my other blogs, were crashing on a regular basis, I had payment issues and I began to find the support staff less than reliable/helpful.

    One live chart conversation I told the person at the other end 3 times what the problem was, and they kept on asking me the same question in a different way. I lost my resolve and asked the person to; read my previous response, as I had already given the answer. After that I left HG.

    I'm now pursuing a career in my chosen field as an artist, and I'm finding that far more beneficial than working semi/full-time having a website/blog.

    However, WordPress is still the best and simplest platforms out there. I do use it to document my work, but promotion of myself and my ideas is down to me, and WP is simply one of the many avenues I use.

    But before you start a blog, please, ask 'Why?'. Don't just jump on the bandwagon because you see someone else doing it.


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