How to Start A Blog: Siteground + WordPress Tutorial
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If you've been around this blog much, you probably know by now that I'm a huge believer in entrepreneurship and its ability to propel us towards financial independence.
You see, I've noticed a common trend in the fire movement.
It's the idea that you should work a job you don't like in order to make the money to invest and ultimately become financially independent.
Of course, many people in the FIRE movement don't follow this idea. I'm not trying to make a blanket statement. But, it is something I've noticed.
So why does that matter?
Because life is short.
Personally, I don't want to waste years of my life hating the majority of my day in order to become FI. What if things don't go to plan? As often happens in life, things can go haywire at any moment.
What if you spend all those years at that crummy job, only to die early? Or miss some of the most special moments in your life that you can't get back later on?
It's something to keep in mind.
That being said, everyone must work to make the money to become financially independent. Unless you've already got that trust fund, you'll need to use your time and resources to produce an income.
Here's the amazing thing.
We now live in a technological world that allows anyone to start a business with super low overhead costs, and make a living doing it.
I propose that instead of staying in jobs we don't like to make an income, we start businesses we absolutely love that in turn make a greater income and impact than any job could.
You can have your cake and eat it too.
Overview of Starting A Blog
(We'll cover the step-by-step instructions below this!)
1. Register your domain name.
Here's where you get to decide what you will name your blog! My blog's name is simply my first and last name. I highly recommend using your name as your domain name for a number of reasons.
- First, it's completely unique to you and you own your name. You won't have to worry about accidentally using the same business name as another company who has already trademarked it.
- On top of that, blogging under your own name gives you more flexibility in what you write about. If you choose a name like Financialsense.com, for example, it will be hard down the road to expand your writing past personal finance topics if you want to.
With your own name however, you will have the freedom to adjust your perspective and angle in the future if you want to. If using your name isn't your thing, I'd recommend choosing a blog name that is easy to spell and remember.
Avoid using lots of dashes in the URL as these can be hard to convey to other people if you are trying to tell them your URL. And lastly, make sure that all of the major social media accounts have that name available.
It would be really disappointing to register your creative blog name only to find out that the Twitter handle has already been taken by someone else. And lastly, go with a .com or .org URL. They're just much more professional than things like .Biz or .TV.
2. Buy your hosting plan.
One of the reasons I love and use Siteground is because it includes a free domain name in your package.
Siteground is super affordable, they have great customer service, and they are already integrated with WordPress. This means that the entire setup of choosing a domain name, getting hosting, and starting your site is rolled into one.
3. Install WordPress.
WordPress is the program that actually publishes your blog. Thankfully, Siteground offers a one-click install of WordPress, so you will find the process really simple.
All you have to do is choose your domain name, purchase your hosting and then click install WordPress, and you're done!
4. Purchase and install your blog theme.
Your theme is the piece of software that gives your blog it's look. WordPress comes with a few free options you can choose from, which is great for hobby bloggers. If you are hoping to make money from your blog, I highly recommend purchasing a Thrive theme.
I use Thrive themes and love it. It makes my website look professional and their team keeps any glitches away. Thrive themes are super easy to use out of the box, and are also easy to customize.
One reason I highly discourage potential pro bloggers from using free themes is simply because they often break or glitch. This isn't an issue if you are just blogging for fun, but if you are running a business it really isn't acceptable.
Can You Start A Blog for Free?
The short answer is yes, but there is an important distinction to make.
Free platforms like Blogger and Blogspot are great for people who just want to blog for fun. They're easy to set up and you can be blogging within a day.
In all honesty, however, most people I hear from are hoping to turn their blog into a side hustle or profitable business.
Trying to run a business on a free web platform really isn't a good idea. The biggest reason I don't recommend using a free platform is because that company owns your blog (not you!)
In these scenarios you are considered to be hosted by that company, whether it is Blogger or Weebly or something else. All this means is that you are at the mercy of their terms and conditions.
They can change the rules, shut you down, and essentially do anything else that they would like because your blog is their property.
Why You Need A Self-Hosted Blog
This is why I highly recommend that you opt to self host through a hosting company like Siteground. Doing this allows you to truly own your domain name.
This is perfect for bloggers who want to create a business and make money from their blog. You also will have access to many more customizable features that free platforms simply can't offer.
(Here's a slightly confusing difference to keep in mind when you sign up with WordPress-
WordPress.com is a free platform, whereas WordPress.org is their self hosted platform. I purchased hosting through Siteground that connects to WordPress.org.
Trust me, it's not as complicated as it sounds when you are setting it up!)
Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Start A Blog
1. Pick Your Hosting Plan
This is the first set of options you will see when you visit Siteground. Go to the Reliable Web Hosting section, and click "Get Started".
After that you will see this page with a few blog hosting options...
I purchased the StartUp plan from Siteground for my blog. The little extras on the GrowBig and GoGeek plans really aren't needed in my opinion.
Once you choose your plan, you will see this page...
If you already have a domain name you've purchased elsewhere, you can choose that option instead.
If you're starting a new blog, however, you'll want to register a new domain name.
Choosing your domain name is an important step, but it isn't the be-all-end-all of your business.
For many people I highly recommend reserving yourname.com.
It's what I use for my blog and seems to do really well for others. Using your own name gives you a lot of flexibility and helps you build a brand around you!
This is a great perk because it will allow you to pivot your business in the future should you need to. That being said, there are some downsides.
One, for example, is if you have a pretty complicated name like I do.
My name isn't exactly easy to remember, which is something I took into account when I started my blog. If you have a name that is difficult to spell or pronounce, it might be better to go with a blog name that relates to what you will be writing about instead.
Another option is to choose a creative name or "stage name". Some examples of these are:
Creative names are a great option if you're pretty sure of what you will be writing about and don't think you'll deviate from that blog topic too much. Creative names are also a lot of fun, and they're generally pretty easy to remember too.
The next step is to fill out your account information and pay.
When you get to the Purchase Information section, you'll see that they give you the option to buy a trial period, 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months.
It's up to you which you choose, but I highly recommend choosing either the 12, 24, or 36 month package.
The reason is that these packages give you the domain registration for free, whereas the trial month option doesn't.
Do you need Domain Privacy and SG Site Scanner?
After you've selected the package you wish to buy, you'll see a couple of options to add on domain privacy and SG Site Scanner.
I don't recommend anyone buy these because they simply aren't necessary.
SG Sitescanner is their web security product that they encourage everyone to buy, but to be honest you can get the same level of protection from FREE WordPress security plugins.
If it would make you feel better to have these, then I say go for it! But otherwise, I'd pass on them.
Connect Siteground to the WordPress Platform
I love that Siteground makes it so easy to connect to WordPress. It's a free feature, and it makes setting up your blog really simple.
Here's how to install WordPress on your Siteground account.
Step 1: Login to Siteground, click the "My Accounts" tab, and then click "Go to cPanel".
Step 2: Click "Proceed" when the pop up asks you to securely access the cPanel.
Step 3: Scroll down to the "Wordpress Tools" section and click the "Wordpress Installer" button.
Step 4: Click "Install".
Step 5: Enter the required fields for your site- Title, description, admin email and password
Step 6: Click "Install" one more time.
Once Siteground and WordPress are connected, you'll be able to see your new WordPress page! This is your main dashboard that allows you to create posts, add plugins, customize your look and feel, and so much more.
Purchase Your Theme
WordPress comes with several free themes already. Once you connect it to Siteground, it will allow you to choose one. That being said, I don't recommend using a free theme if you are planning to create a business with your blog. For hobby bloggers, a free theme is perfect.
I use Thrive themes and absolutely love them. Their themes are affordable, attractive, and their support is incredible. On top of that, their Architect feature gives you a drag-and-drop builder that is just crazy easy to use.
I'm not a very technical person, so I really wanted a blog builder that was visual and easy-to-use. You can purchase a Thrive theme and the Architect Builder separately, but it's cheaper to purchase a Thrive Membership instead.
The membership is only $19 per month and you get access to tons of features like their entire catalog of themes, their email builder, quiz builder, comments, and other useful widgets. It is a very cost-effective business in a box feature.
Install Your New Theme
Installing your new Thrive theme is as easy as clicking a few buttons. You can read the instructions guide here.
Congrats, You're Done!
You've just completed the first step towards creating a new business that brings in revenue month after month. Way to go! Make sure to grab my free Profitable Blogging Blueprint below to learn the exact steps you need to take to create a profitable blog.
How to (Finally!) Start Making Money From Your Blog
Tired of spinning your wheels trying to figure out this whole blogging thing? Ready to create an actual money making blogging business? I'll show you how.
Join the Full Time Bloggers Hotlist and receive the blueprint as a perk of becoming a subscriber.