If you are wanting to start a blog, I think that is fantastic! Blogging is incredibly fun, and a wonderful and creative outlet.
It seems like every tutorial about how to start a blog comes with a section on why you should start a blog. I’m just gonna skip that section because if you are reading this post, I’m going to assume you already know why you want to start a blog.
However, I definitely recommend you read the intro to this series, Are You Feeling Called to Blog? Practical Tips for Beginners that Works!
Read it? Awesome.
Most people begin because they are passionate about something and they want to help others. These are very noble reasons to start a blog, and were the same reasons why I wanted to start my blog. But let me tell you something, if you want to blog – and you want your blog to be successful – simply being passionate I’m afraid, is not enough. You need to know what you’re doing. Scratch that – you need to be willing to learn what to do.
Click here to start your blog, and keep reading this post for guidance.
We are probably getting ahead of ourselves, but I am lingering on this one because going from simply having a hobby blog to actually trying to make money from your blog is a completely different ball game. My intention with this series is to help you start your blog off the right way. I want you to gain pageviews, gain readers, and gain an audience who loves you and your content. And ultimately I want you to make money from your blog. In all honesty, blogging is hard work. There is no shame in wanting to make money off of it, none at all.
So with that said, the foundations of blogging begins with our good friend WordPress. So, let’s begin!
How to Start a Blog
The Blogging Foundations
1. WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – What’s the Difference?
Okay, I am going to clarify one thing that I found confusing when I first began. If you are starting your blog I recommend using WordPress. There are other options (like Squarespace for example) which I do hear works well, but WordPress is simply the industry standard and is what I recommend you use.
There are two WordPress options; you have WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a FREE platform vs. WordPress.org is the much-preferred and wildly popular self-hosted (paid) platform. WordPress.org is the platform you’ve heard such great things about. And as I said before, WordPress.org also happens to be the paid version.
When starting a blog, you can choose to either use a free or self-hosted platform. While I know free sounds super appealing (trust me, I know), there are many reasons why a free platform is a bad idea.
Reasons to NOT Use a Free Platform:
- With a free platform, you don’t own your blog or the content on it (and you could be shut down at any point)
- It’s almost impossible to make money from a free blog
- Readers, advertisers and other brands and companies won’t view your blog as professional
- Your URL won’t look professional (ie, tiffanynicole.blogpost.com)
- Free platforms offer no support and are limited in design options (keep reading – having a nice theme is key!)
If you’re interested in truly growing your blog or making money from your blog, then paying for hosting is a MUST. So, let’s move on to the second point, choosing a hosting plan.
2. Choose a Hosting Plan
There are many hosting options for you to choose from, but I recommend SiteGround. The biggest thing that separates SiteGround from other hosting sites is it comes with FREE daily backups (so important!) and EXCELLENT customer service.
Siteground has three great hosting plans (and using my link you can get some great discounts, too!)
- The StartUp Plan – If you are just starting out, this plan is for you! This plan is perfect for a new blog and handles up to 10,000 unique visitors per month, free WordPress install (umm..yes!), 24/7 support, free email accounts, and as already mentioned, free daily backups – most hosting sites charge extra for this. Regular price is $9.95/month but get 60% off ($3.95/month) through this link.
- Grow Big Plan – This is a great plan for when you start to grow bigger and as it handles up to $25,000 visitors a month. Regular price is $14.95 per month or 60% off ($5.95/month) with this link.
- GoGeek Plan – This plan is for you if you have a more established blog. It can handle up to 100,000 visitors a month and includes some more advanced features for maintaining fast website loading speed and other techie things like that. Regular price is $29.95 per month or just $11.95/month with this link.
So how much does it actually cost to start a blog? Friends, it can cost as little as $3.95 a month. Not too shabby if you ask me.
3. Choose and Register Your Domain Name
I recommend choosing your domain name wisely. Yes, you can always change it later, but it’ll cost you money and be a massive pain. So, definitely put some thought into it.
If you already have a solid idea of what you want to write about, try to make your domain name match your niche. Don’t worry about your name being super clever or catchy. Honestly, short, simple, and easy to remember is what you’re really going after.
First, you’ll have to check and see if the name you want is even available by using Siteground.com. Click get started under any of the plans, and the next screen that pops up will ask you to enter in a domain name to see if it’s available. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a name that ends in .com. It simply looks the most professional, which is what we are after.
Pro Tip: Once you have your blog name, go snag that name on all social media sites even if you don’t plan on actively using them right away, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Good places to start are with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube)
It’s easy to purchase and register your domain name with Siteground. However, IF you already have a domain name purchased through a website like GoDaddy, it’s easy to connect it to Siteground. With the StartUp Plan Siteground hosting offers a plugin to migrate it for free, and you can use their 24/7 support to help with this. If you go with the Grow Big Plan, their tech team will transfer the website for you, which is included for free. 🙂
4. Checkout Time!
One of the biggest reasons I LOVE Siteground is because when they advertise $3.95 per month, they MEAN $3.95 per month. This discount applies to ANY initial signup period you decide to use, whether it’s 12 months or 36 months. This means you can choose to sign up for only one year and actually only pay $3.95 per month. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.
With other hosting websites, they may advertise a low rate, BUT you have to commit to three years of hosting. Which is a lonnnngggg commitment and a lot of upfront money. And if you do end up growing your blog like I am helping you to do, you’ll need to upgrade to a bigger plan to handle all of that traffic your website is getting.
This is why I absolutely recommend Siteground if you’re just wanting to try blogging out for a year, or if you just don’t want to invest 3 years’ worth of hosting right now.
5. Install WordPress.org
Don’t get nervous, you do not need to be a computer wizz to do this. Siteground offers excellent support for a reason. 🙂 Simply use their 24/7 customer support and let them hand-hold you through the process. No stress required. 🙂
6. CONGRATULATIONS – YOU OWN A WEBSITE!
Eeek! Take a second and get excited because you now own a little slice of the interwebs. So, what’s next? Now you gotta login! Go to your website at www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and log in. You’ll find that WordPress is already installed on your website because you did that in Step 5. 🙂
Next you will see the WordPress dashboard – this is where you’re gonna live from here on out.
Get excited, it’s a lot of fun!
If you do this blogging thing right, you can use your words to connect, influence, and inspire others – and even make some money while you’re doing it.
I know, it’s pretty cool.
If you have no idea what to do next, continue reading as we get more into the nitty gritty. Next up: The Blogging Essentials: The 5 Things Your Blog NEEDS to Have.
This is what you can expect from the rest of this series:
- Are you Feeling Called to Blog? (read the intro to this series!)
- The Blogging Essentials: The 5 Things Your Blog NEEDS to Have
- 8 (Sneaky!) Tips for Writing GREAT Blog Posts, Every Time
- How to Increase Your Blog Traffic with Pinterest
- How to Get More Blog Traffic – Let’s Get You Some Pageviews!
- How to Make Money Blogging for Beginners
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If only I’d read this before I started my blog! I chose WordPress.com instead of .org, not realizing that there were two different sites. After my paid year is up (upgraded account), I think I’ll take your suggestion to switch over!
Oh no! Yes definitely switch over when you can, but in the meantime you can still create lots of GREAT content. 🙂
Im confused, is siteground part of wordpress? I stated wordpress.com as a start up, but you said siteground sets up a wordpress? Help!
Hi Sheyla! I know, it’s so confusing. So, you can blog by using wordpress.com but you won’t be self-hosted. When you switch to wordpress.org and then choose a hosting plan, such as Siteground, then you will be self-hosted. Siteground’s customer service will help you with the details of setting it up, which is one of the reasons why I love them 🙂