Setting up a blog doesn’t need to be intimidating. Based on everything that we covered in the previous chapter, you should have now registered for an appropriate domain name and set up your web hosting plan with HostGator. Now, it’s time to walk through the process of going live with a new blog using the popular WordPress content management system.
Back in the ancient days of blogging, many website owners chose to code their own software and infrastructure. Needless to say, this left a very big barrier to entry for most bloggers. Thankfully, times have changed and just about anyone can have a blog up and running in a matter of minutes.
While there are some other options out there, like MovableType and Joomla, I highly recommend using WordPress as the software powering your blog. First of all, it’s completely free to download and to use. There are no restrictions and you can use it on as many sites as you’d like. It also has an increasingly large community of developers and other helpful people. This means that it is constantly evolving, being supported, and growing with such things as plugins and other tweaks.
No matter what you want out of your WordPress blog, chances are that there is someone out there who is willing to lend a helping hand. The platform is popular for good reason.
Fantastico One-Click Installation
Even though WordPress is much easier to use than coding your own website, it used to be that you had to install it manually. That’s no longer the case! There really is an installation method that requires very minimal effort on your part and it’s called Fantastico. It is quite literally a “one-click installation” of WordPress, giving you a full-fledged blog in a matter of moments.
HostGator has the latest versions of PHP, MySQL, and Apache with the mod_rewrite module. This means that it is perfectly equipped to handle WordPress and there are thousands of installations of WordPress running reliably on the stable network of HostGator servers.
To install WordPress, log into your HostGator cPanel (control panel). From there, scroll down to the lower portion of the page where software and services are located. Click on the Fantastico icon; it’s the one with the blue smiley face. On the Fantastico page, you’ll find an option to install WordPress. Click on the link for a new installation. This can be found in the left sidebar.
Choose your domain from the menu and define your login credentials and other pertinent information. For example, this is where you’ll put in the login name and password for your WordPress blog. Choose something that is secure, but something that you’ll remember. Click on “Install WordPress” and give the system a moment to complete the installation. Based on your Internet connection, it should only take a second. And that’s it; your WordPress blog is installed and ready to go.
If you need any help with installing WordPress, the HostGator support staff are there to help you. The forums and tutorials available on WordPress.org are very useful too.
Make Your Blog Your Own
Over the course of the rest of this chapter, we’ll go through the various options and features that are available in WordPress. It really is amazing what you can do with this software, because each WordPress blog can be incredibly unique and distinct. There are so many things that you can do to make your blog stand out from the crowd; on the flip side, the core functionality is already there after you’ve completed the Fantastico One-Click Installation.
As you make your way through this chapter, you’ll learn how you can create and edit new blog posts, how to publish new pages (and how they are different from posts), how you can add images and other multimedia, how you can define different categories and tags for your posts, and how you can customize the look and feel of your site. And yes, you can connect your blog to social media too.
Don’t be intimidated. It’s actually a lot easier than you think it is.