So you want to start a blog?
Anyone can start a blog, yes. But how to start a blog and make it make money? That’s a little more complicated!
I decided to start a blog when I became a mom. I wanted a place to showcase my creativity and knowledge, also make an income. I wanted to help people who want to create their own online business.
I believe the money-making potential shouldn’t be your only reason to start a blog, then you will lose interest in blogging very fast.
And, anyone can take the simple step of starting a blog. This guide will walk you through the steps you need to take to start a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Choose your host: free-host or self-hosted?
When it is about hosting a website, there are free hosts like wordpress.com and paid hosts like Siteground are available.
I recommend you not to go for a free host if your main goal is to start a blog and make money online.
- Free hosting has a lot of limitations.
- With free hosting, you have to adhere to your host’s Terms and Conditions.
- They can shut your site down at any time because they own your content.
- Your host may have restrictions when you start monetizing your blog.
This blog is a WordPress.org blog, hosted with Siteground.
It might be confusing, but yes.
WordPress.com and a self-hosted WordPress blog are different. WordPress.com starts as a free hosting service.
Self-hosted WordPress blogs (or WordPress.org software) can be installed to your very own WordPress website.
With a self-hosted WordPress blog:
- You own your content.
- You can have a personalized and professional e-mail address (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Your website will perform better on search engine
- You have more control over the customization of your blog.
If you are serious about blogging, the small investment to start your own self-hosted blog will be the best decision in the long run.
Plus, as you own your content, you can start earning the most money possible from your blog immediately.
In this post, I am going to guide you through the process of purchasing your very own self-hosted blog from Siteground, and installing WordPress on your blog (don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!).
Set up your hosting and domain
Starting your self-hosted blog requires two things: a domain, and hosting for that domain.
Choose Domain Name
Once you know what your blog niche will be and who is your target audience, you get to decide on a domain name.
Choosing a domain name for your new blog can be a challenge. You want to choose something unique that reflects what your blog will be about and something you’ll still love years down the road.
Here are a few things I would like you to consider while choosing a domain name.
- Choose something that is easy to spell and easy to remember.
- Use a “.com” domain when possible.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens in your domain name. Both confuse people and it’s hard for people to remember.
- Short and memorable is preferable to long and descriptive.
- Don’t stress too much about getting the perfect name for your blog – what you blog about is much more important than the domain name you choose.
Choose your Hosting provider
When I decided to start Smart Home Economist, I wanted to try a secure and reliable web host and found that SiteGround is one of the best hosting companies out there and a great value too! This blog is hosted with SiteGroud and I am so happy with their service.
Why Choose SiteGround?
There’s a lot of other hosts to choose from, so why choose SiteGround to host your blog? There are many reasons why I started my mom blog with SiteGround.
>> Siteground offers superior, fast 24/7 customer service – You can choose to phone or chat online with their tech support team. Since their support team is available 24/7 you have access to their support team all the time
>> They have amazing uptime – they have an incredible uptime – 99.99%.
>> SiteGround is Equipped with SuperCacher – The SuperCacher makes your site load extremely fast (which helps you get better rankings in Google) and increases the number of visitors your blog can handle. SuperCacher is available on the GrowBig plan and higher (which I highly recommend)!
>> They install WordPress for you for free
>> If you already have a website, they offer free website setup and transfer
>> They offer SSL certificate for one year completely free.
Follow this quick tutorial and you can get your blog up and run in 10 minutes!
Before we begin, the best way to follow this tutorial is to also do it with me! So click over to SiteGround right now and follow along!
Step 1: Choose Your PlanSiteGround has three plans to choose from: StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek. The most basic plan is the StartUp, but the plan I recommend bloggers running WordPress start with is GrowBig.
Smart Tip: Many people don’t think of this, but you can lock in the special discounted pricing for longer than one year. Choose the 2-year or the 3-year term for big savings up front. And another good thing about that is you won’t have to worry about a hosting bill for another 2 (or 3) years!
***when you’re on SiteGround’s plan page, hover over the highlighted links and you can see exactly what the features are for each plan***
If you’re a new blogger, starting a blog just as a hobby, OR you just want to get your new blog up and running, you could go with the StartUp plan. You can host only one site with this plan. The StartUp plan starts at only $3.95/month.
I use the GrowBig plan because it gives me high performance, super fast priority customer support and allows me to host multiple websites. Also, it includes the SuperCacher feature. It’s also very budget-friendly – starting at $5.95 a month!
Finally, if you want to get your geek on, the high-performance GoGeek plan is $11.95/month to start. If you’ve already got an existing high-traffic site, if you’re a developer who loves advanced features or if you’re running an e-commerce site that demands PCI compliance, you’ll get top-of-the-line performance and support with the GoGeek plan. This plan also comes with Priority support.
Here are the features the GrowBig and GoGeek plans offer:
>>Priority support available on GrowBig and GoGeek: I’ve never waited too long for Siteground’s customer service; they have insanely fast response times. But they do prioritize GrowBig and GoGeek clients with priority, which would definitely be helpful if you’re a non techy like me.
>>SG Optimiser: One of the most important things for every serious blogger is how fast our websites load! Siteground’s WordPress caching solution (the SG Optimiser) is available with the GrowBig and GoGeek plans and it helps speed up a website up to several times.
>>Host Multiple websites: Like I mentioned, Siteground’s StartsUp plan allows only one domain name and website. So, if you’re interested in hosting more than one website in the same hosting account, definitely consider either the GrowBig or GoGeek plan.
Once you decide the plan, click on Order Now button.
Step 2 – Choose your domain name.
If you already purchased the domain name, then click on “I already have a domain name”.
If you want to buy a domain name, type in your website’s name, and it will check if it’s available. You can pick your domain extension like .com, .org, .net, but I highly suggest you stick with .com since it’s easier to brand and remember.
After you select your plan and either purchase or transfer your new domain, all you have to do is take a few minutes to fill out your information
Step 3: Your Account Info
Fill out your account and client information.
Next, fill out your payment and purchase information (make sure you pick the 12 month period (or longer) in order to get the 60% discount for the whole year).
Seriously, you can start a website at less than $3.95/month! It’s one small sacrifice (like skipping the coffee) every month in order to start the profitable blog of your dreams.
Before you complete your purchase, Siteground gives you the option to select extra services. If you don’t want your own personal information to become publicly available, spend the extra $12/year to purchase domain privacy. They also give you the option of purchasing the SG Site Scanner which checks your website daily and lets you know if your website has been hacked.
Below the total, make sure you click the box that you agree to the terms of service and then click Pay Now.
Congrats mama boss!
You now have hosting for your blog! Pretty simple right? Now you just need to install WordPress and design for your new blog.
Immediately after you set up your domain and hosting, you can install WordPress!
Time Saving Hack – If you feel that you cannot install wordpress, you canget the great support team at SiteGround and get the work done. Go here and click on LIVE CHAT. Ask the customer support rep to setup your site for you and send you your WordPress login details.
That’s it! In about 15 minutes you’ll have access you new blog!
Use your login details and go to http://www.YOURNEWBLOG.com/wp-admin and login.
If you want to configure WordPress yourself, you can totally do it – it’s easy too!
First, got to the My Accounts tab and click on Go to cPanel.
Next, click on WordPress in the Autoinstallers section.
Click on the blue Install button.
After install, fill in the information on the next screen.
Choose Protocol – generally keep it the same – http://
Choose Domain – choose your domain name from the choices in the drop-down menu.
In Directory – unless you know you want this, leave it blank.
Site Name – This is the name of your site you picked out earlier. You can change this later.
Site Description – A brief description of what your site is about, or you can leave this blank. Again, you can change this later.
Admin Username – This will be the name you use to log into your WordPress blog (or you can always use email address here)
Admin Password – This is the password to access your WordPress backend (your blog’s dashboard). Choose a strong, but easy-to-remember, password.
Admin email – Enter your email address
Choose Theme – While you can install your theme right in SiteGround, I suggest not installing any theme until you’re in the backend of your WordPress blog. There are many free themes to choose from so you can find one that will fit your brand easily!
Click Install and that’s it!!
You did it,! Now, you can log in with your username (or email) and password!
Are you excited? I know when I started my blog and I was so thrilled and tending to start publishing posts.
Login to Your New Blog
Now use the username and password you chose in the previous step and login to your site below.
Just navigate to http://www.YOURNEWDOMAIN.com/wp-admin
Install a theme
Now it’s time to select a theme for your website.
You can start off with a free theme provided on the WordPress.org dashboard, but they all have limitations.
I recommend purchasing a theme for your new WordPress website. I use a theme from Bluchic, which has all the features I need.
My favorite places to buy WordPress themes include:
Elegant Themes – I LOVE the Elegant Themes collection, in particular, the Divi framework theme. The Divi framework provides you with a professional looking and customizable design. If you use our link you can get a 10% discount on your purchase.
Themeforest – You can also find a variety of themes on Themeforest for anything you’re trying to pull off or accomplish.
Studiopress – Genesis Framework by Studiopress with a child theme will be a great option.
Mythemeshop – It has wide Varity of themes and plugins to design your site.
Navigating the WordPress dashboard
If you’re new to WordPress you might be overwhelmed by its Dashboard. Don’t worry, once you learn all the terms, you’ll realize how simple it can be. Let me walk you through the WordPress dashboard options on the sidebar.
Posts: –The “Posts” option helps you organize your posts, including your post categories and tags. You can view “All Posts” including drafts and edit your posts from here. When you add a new post, you can also manage its categories and tags.
Media: – The “Media” section showcases files you upload, including images.
Pages: -Different than posts, Pages do not show up on your blog’s feed. You can get creative with the type of pages you make, but essential pages to write are an About Me page and a Contact page.
Comments: -This section is where you can manage the comments on all your posts. You can approve comments, mark them as spam, and even reply to them!
Appearance:-The appearance section of your Dashboard is where you can select or upload your theme, and customize the look of your blog.
Plugins: – Plugins are an additional way you can customize your blog. Think of them like apps that help you make your blog do what you want! Plugins are what make WordPress.org software so much better than free hosted blogs.
Here is my list of the top ones you should start with.
Akismet spam protection for your blog
BackupBuddy backup your blog’s database for an extra layer of protection
CommentLuv shares the love with your readers by allowing them to link back to their most recent blog post in their comments
JetPack offers many features that can be used to enhance your blog, I primarily use the feature that auto-posts my new blog posts on social media
Social Warfare adds a section in WordPress below your content that allows you to control the picture and description that preloads when someone uses the social share icons on your articles or pages
Wordfence Security protects your site against hackers
Yoast SEO optimize your website and articles for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), basically get yourself found in Google search results!
And now what?
Once you start your blog, it can feel like there’s sooo much to do. If you need help on getting started with your blog and turning it into a business, you’ll love this Free, 7-days Blog to Biz course. This course is designed to help you plan your blog and draft a monetization plan. If you’re a beginner blogger who can’t wait to start a blog and make money online, you’ll love our step-by-step course. Sign up and get your first lesson now.
My little advice to blogger friends is blogging has a learning curve.
You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes along the way, and there gonna be a lot of things you wanna change. It’s okay to make mistakes, Learn from them and keep going. Never give up. There will be days you feel that nothing is working. But you have to believe in yourself and be proactive and figure out the how to get things done.
I love helping mom bloggers take the first steps in their blogging journeys, and build successful and profitable blogs. Click here to join the Smart Mom Blogger community!