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Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those kids whose parent’s told them that they could “do anything”. My folks wanted me in the medical field. But it just didn’t feel right to me. So, after years of contemplating it, I finally started a blog. When I first started my blog and website three years ago, I never thought that it would amount to much of anything. I was blogging for fun, to hold myself accountable, and to have a creative outlet that I could use to write.
Now, three years later, my blog has opened up some amazing opportunities for me. I get paid to write, seriously! It’s also offered me the opportunity to start my own business, work from home, be there for my daughter, and so much more. I am forever grateful for what this “little ole’ blog” has given me.
That’s exactly why I’m writing this post. I want to show you how to start a blog so you can take that first step into the world of writing, blogging, and maybe even entrepreneurship (if you choose to go that route). So let’s get started, shall we?
*Side note: I am writing how to start a blog with WordPress. There are many other blogging platforms, including Squarespace and Wix. However, I’ve never used those platforms for my own blog, so I can only write based on my personal experience. Thanks for understanding!*
Choose Your Platform
Because there are so many different blogging platforms out there, you may be wondering why I decided to go with WordPress (.org, not .com). While WordPress does have a slight learning curve, I found that it offered more of what I was looking for in terms of flexibility. Also, with WordPress, all I had to do was pay for my hosting. While other blogging platforms are affordable, they just didn’t have the options, plans, and freedom that I found with WordPress.
Choosing the right platform for you will involve research on your own and a little bit of playing around with the platforms. Remember, you aren’t stuck to the platform you choose at the very beginning. You can always switch platforms and transfer your information, blog posts, and more. However, after three years of using WordPress, I never want to switch. I love it too much!
Figure Out What You Want to Blog About
Your niche, or what your blog will be about, is just as important as choosing your blogging platform. What are you good at? What do you want to write about? Who is your audience? While this may not matter to you right now, if you ever want to monetize your blog or use it to get you other opportunities, a niche will help.
For me, I started off as a “lifestyle” blogger. I was really just blogging for the hell of it. Once I really narrowed down what I did and what I loved (being a mom and entrepreneur), I was able to tailor my blog to fit my audience properly. Once I did that, my blog views, audience, and even profits started to grow!
If you’re confused on what niche you want your blog to be, or how to even figure it out, my client Amanda at Amanda Abella talks all about it in one her podcast episodes. This episode really helped me hone in on what I wanted to talk about and which direction I wanted my blog to go in.
Pick A Name
Once you’ve found your platform and discovered your niche, it’s time to name your blog. You could keep it simple and have it just be your name (like www.yourname.com). Or, you can do like I did and get a little creative with it. I chose The Entrepremomer, because I liked the term “mompreneur”, but wanted something I could grow with.
Things to Remember
When choosing a name, there are few things to remember. For one, don’t forget to check to see if the name you choose (if it’s creative) isn’t trademarked or copyrighted. Even if the name isn’t either of those, you could still be held liable if you choose a name that someone already has in use and is making money from it. For example, I own The Entrepremomer, so I have all of the intellectual rights to it. I could sue someone if they started parading around as The Entrepremomer and were making money off of the business that I’ve built. I really don’t want you to be sued, so remember to thoroughly research the name you choose.
Second, make sure the name is easy to pronounce and try to get the .com version if you can. While some blogs and websites have .co, .org, or .net, most people will assume you mean .com when telling them about your blog. So unless you want to say your entire blog name every single time you talk about it, stick with .com. Then, make sure you’re truly happy with that name. While you can always change it later, it can be a hassle. You don’t want to regret your name a few years from now!
Purchase Domain Name
Once you’ve decided on a name, it’s time to purchase it! I’ll go more into detail about getting a domain below, but I actually recommend buying your domain BEFORE setting up your blog and don’t buy the domain through your host. There are a few reasons for this, but for me personally, when I broke up with my old hosting company, it was a pain to get my domain from them. So, if you’re testing out a new hosting company, or if you aren’t sure that you’ll keep it long term, buy your domain name through a third party. A good one that I like is NameCheap.
Choose Your Hosting Company
The next step in starting your blog is to choose your hosting company. There are many hosting companies out there, like BlueHost and GoDaddy. But my absolute favorite host (and the one I’ve been with for the last two years) is SiteGround.
I love SiteGround for two main reasons, their customer service, and the fact that my blog hasn’t gone down once since I’ve been with them. My old hosting company (won’t mention any names) was crap when it came to customer service, and my blog was constantly down or in maintenance mode. It would take hours, sometimes even days, to get my blog back up and running. It was a pain, and honestly, it would piss me off. If I’m paying money for hosting, I expect my blog’s uptime to be high.
But with SiteGround, I haven’t had any issues! Are they more expensive compared to my old hosting company? Yes. But they’re more user-friendly, have A+ customer service, and are awesome to work with. And the best part is that they help people who aren’t tech-savvy, like me!
Whenever I have an issue with my website (which is rare), I’m able to live chat with someone in less than a minute, and they’ll usually handle the issue for me! In my mind, I’d rather pay more for convenience and happiness than to pay less just to have a ton of issues.
Side note: SiteGround isn’t much more expensive than the other hosting companies, and you do get a discount for your first year with them. I paid less than $100 for my first year of hosting.
With all of that being said, I’ll be showing you how to start a blog through SiteGround. However, these steps will most likely work no matter what hosting company you choose. Just follow their instructions and you’ll be good to go!
Set Up Your Blog
So you’ve picked out your domain name, niche, and you’ve decided that you’re ready to start. Now let’s talk about how to start a blog and get it live. Again, I’ll be showing you how to do this via SiteGround since that is the hosting company I use. Feel free to use the hosting company you prefer!
Choose A Plan
SiteGround has three hosting plans available.
The StartUp plan is their lowest tiered plan. It starts at $3.95/month, is suitable for up to 10,000 monthly visitors on your website, and you can host one website with it. The plan also offers a ton of benefits, including:
- Free Website Builder
- cPanel & SSH Access
- Free CMS Install
- 24/7 Technical Support
- SSD Storage
- Free Auto Daily Backups
- 30 Days Money Back
- Unlimited Email Accounts & DBs
- HTTP/2 Enabled Servers
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSLs
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- GDPR compliant
If you’re just starting out with a blog, or if you want to test out SiteGround specifically, I suggest starting with this plan.
The Grow Big plan starts at $5.95/month, is suitable for up to 25,000 monthly visitors on your website, and you can host multiple websites with it. Not only do you receive the benefits of the StartUp plan, but you also receive SiteGround’s premium features, which include:
- Free Site Transfer
- Priority Technical Support
- SuperCacher For A Faster Website
- Free Backup Restores
While SiteGround considers this plan their most popular plan, I only recommend this if you’re planning on taking blogging seriously. No need to waste money if your blog is just a hobby or if you aren’t sure you’ll stick with it long-term.
A new blogger wouldn’t really need the Go Geek plan, but if you do want to go all out, it starts at $11.95/month, is suitable for up to 100,000 monthly visitors on your website, and you can host multiple websites with it. It also offers the regular features, premium features, and even some “geek” features, which include on demand backup restores.
Choose Your Domain (If You Haven’t Yet)
Once you’ve chosen the plan you want to use, it’s time to buy your domain if you didn’t purchase it beforehand. Again, keep it simple, and try to get the .com version if you can. If you already purchased your domain name, all you have to do is enter it in under “I already have a domain”.
Decide If You Want Extra Services
Once you’ve completed that portion, it’s time to create your account and add on extra services (if you prefer).
Extra Services To Choose From
- Domain Registration – This is if you purchase your domain through SiteGround. The domain name you choose becomes your property once it’s registered. Once your hosting is activated, your site will automatically point to it.
- Domain Privacy – This is something that I paid for when I first hosted my blog, and I continue to do so for privacy reasons! If you don’t want your private information becoming public (like your address, phone number, email, etc) I HIGHLY recommend going ahead and paying the extra bucks for this.
- SG Site Scanner – This is a monitoring service that checks your website daily and immediately notifies you if your website has been hacked or injected with malicious code. While I don’t pay for this (I use this plugin instead), it can be useful if you don’t have protection on your website.
Once you’ve checked all of the applicable boxes, all you have to do is confirm and pay. It really is that simple!
Once your hosting is activated, it’s time to get your blog up and running. This is the last technical step that you need to take in order to get your blog going. With SiteGround, installing WordPress is easy. All you have to do is log in, click to go to your cPanel, and click the WordPress Auto Installer.
To install WordPress, you’ll need the following information:
Protocol: The protocol will be either http:// or https:// (most likely it is https://).
Choose Domain: This is the domain that you purchased and are setting up.
In Directory: You can leave this section blank.
Your Site Name: This is to help you remember which site this is.
Your Site Description: Just a brief description of your site.
Admin Username: This is the username you will use to access your WordPress site. REMEMBER IT. Write it down if you must, but please don’t forget it!
Admin Password: This is the password you will use to access your WordPress site. You’ll need to remember this also.
Admin Email: This is whatever email you want to use to access WordPress or use if you set up contact forms on your website.
Language: Your preferred language.
While this process is super easy, if you want to make sure it’s done correctly, you can have the team at SiteGround help you! Just click on their “Live Chat” option, let them know you need help setting up your WordPress site and make sure they send you your login details (you can always change those later in WordPress if you want to).
This process takes less than 20 minutes, and you’ll be on your way to having a brand new and beautiful website!
Choose A Theme
I wrote a blog post on the best themes for WordPress, but basically, a theme is what people see when they first access your site. While there are free themes available on WordPress, I like the customization that I get from paid themes. You can choose whatever you want, but choose something that you like!
Once you’ve chosen a theme, this blog post is helpful and teaches you how to install it easily.
Write Your First Blog Post!
Yay, you’ve done it! You know how to start a blog, you’ve got a beautiful theme, and you’re ready to rock and roll. Keep the momentum going by logging in and writing your very first blog post to let the world know that you’ve arrived!
To log in to your WordPress website, you’ll first need to go to https://www.yourblogsdomainname.com/wp-admin. From here, enter in that username and password that you wrote down, and that will send you to your dashboard.
Once you’ve done that you can create a new post, write whatever your heart desires, and hit publish. Easy peasy!
While this all seems like a ton of information, I promise, this process is super simple, especially when working with WordPress and SiteGround. I was able to get my new blog up and running in less than an hour, and I’m not techy at all! If I can do it, so can you, so don’t be afraid to start!
Have any questions on how to start a blog? Send me a message and let’s chat!