Starting a blog using WordPress is one of the greatest things I have done. It allowed me to meet new people in the blogging community, expand my knowledge of creating my blog and is always keeping me on my feet. I am a social person, so this was fun and exciting! It also presented me with ideas to earn additional income. In this post, you will learn how to start a blog on WordPress and be up and running in less than 20 minutes!
Starting a blog can be intimidating and overwhelming. Having the right resources is critical and makes the process run smoothly. You will have your own reasons for starting a blog; sharing your experiences, selling a product or just wanting to find a group of people that share your same interest. Whatever path you have chosen in life, blogging could really add an empowering perspective to your journey.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links through different companies, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I trust! My goal is to provide rich content that will help others.
Today I am going to be giving you some instructions on starting a blog using WordPress. I am newer myself to the blogging community, I learned having the right tools makes the experience stress free and I want to save you time by skipping over the mistakes I made.
Main Two things: Hosting and Software
There are two things that you will need right from the beginning, a hosting service (SiteGround) and software (WordPress) to create your masterpiece of a blog. This might be confusing at first, it will all be cleared up further down.
I started with SiteGround, after doing extensive research I learned they are the most utilized for blogging (just check any Google search). They have amazing customer service, are easy to set up, very reliable and offer some of the cheapest fees around. I have used SiteGround in the past for other hosting needs and I never had a problem! SiteGround also make for an easy transfer, if you already have a hosting service and decided to use them.
The customer service is important (good customer service is appreciated if you run into a problem), they will help you with anything and have no problem walking you through an issue. Rates are always changing, but they usually have the best prices and guarantees around. It’s also comforting to know that tons of other bloggers use SiteGround, so I’m not a rare case and just testing them out!
On top of the exceptional customer service, they’re known for top-notch page load, fast performance speeds and awesome security features which is a must. Starting off with the right foundation is important, as your blog grows the vast array of features are helpful to keep things running smoothly.
Paid vs Free
Yes, starting a self-hosted blog comes along with a cost. There are plenty of free platforms such as Blogger and it may be right if you’re just wanting to do your basic writing.
The question that I asked my self in the beginning was, do the free blogging sites offer you growth? The simple answer is NO.
Here are my thoughts on the two:
A free site doesn’t offer you much in terms of freedom. They have many restrictions on earning money and getting your website designed the way you want it could be difficult.
It’s great if you’re just looking for a hobby and do not really care much about design or growth and just want to have a place to share your writings. But if you want to add sidebars and other widgets in your customization you will have to pay a small fee.
I did not want to be limited to my opportunities to make money when growing my blog. Most of the free platforms have restrictions on ads and other money making methods.
That does not mean I wanted a blog filled with ads with hopes of clicks. It was just a reason I was willing to pay from the start. Adding banners and linking material to appropriate pages is a game changer when it comes to customization.
The choice was obvious for me, I like my freedom and that’s what a self-hosted blog such as SiteGround offers you (as long as its legal)!
If you look at the benefits of what less than around $6 a month could get you, it’s really is a small price to pay. If you are serious about blogging as a hobby or starting a business, just the income earned from your site could cover the hosting fees for the year.
Last two thing, most companies such as SiteGround offer a discount for selecting 12 months, 24 months, 36 months etc. and offer Domain Privacy Protection.
I went with the slightly longer months, which resulted in an amplified deal. I used a link on a blog I was reading, of course, you can use mine HERE. As for the domain protection, I highly recommend paying the $1.00 a month to keep your info private. Note prices change, so that’s just what it cost at the time I wrote this.
It’s almost a must to have the privacy protection feature, it keeps your personal identity protected. I am sure almost any blogger will tell you that they recommend this feature.
Terms Explained: Self-Hosted, WordPress and Domain
This allows you to simplify things, you are using the toolset WordPress.org provides, which includes an easy to use dashboard where you take control of almost everything!
The WordPress.org (self-hosted) option is simple and SiteGround takes care of the installing and if you run into a problem that’s where the amazing 24/7 customer service comes into play. Luckily, it’s all included in the purchasing and there is no need to visit multiple websites.
Domain: The domain is your web address, for example using my site Addicted2Motivate.com. If you use blogger you most likely have a subdomain, like Addicted2Motivate.blogspot.com.
WordPress requires you to use a regular domain and since SiteGround offers a FREE domain with purchase of there hosting service you can create your own unique one!
Of course, if you already have a regular domain name you can transfer it to SiteGround. You also have the option to use your own domain that is with another site and point the nameservers to SiteGround as the host.
Domains can run all different prices, it really depends on the availability and if you choose to go with a top level domain. I found a great article from Lifewire.com that explains what a Top Level Domain is and gets in more detail if you are curious.
How To Start A Blog On WordPress With SiteGround
1. Setting Up Your Hosting and Domain
First, go to SiteGround website. It should bring you to the page directly with the discounts and correct WordPress integration by clicking my link. On the site, choose the plan the coralloates to your needs.
Next, you’ll want to select your plan. Depending on your needs they offer 3 different plans and you can take the time to decide what is right for you. I personally went with the GrowBig plan because I wanted to take advantage of the Free Website Transfer option (more explained Below about that).
The StartUp plan is a great option for newbies that want to start a new website. It will get you up and running and you can adjust as you figure things out.
After selecting your plan you will be brought to the domain page.
You can either, create a new domain or sign up with a domain you already own. I already owned a domain and decided to transfer the domain over to SiteGround. I had other domains I purchased through Godaddy.com and BlueHost in the past and would recommend them if you wanted to keep things separate.
BlueHost has amazing prices and the customer service is top notch if you are looking to purchase a domain through them.
Everyone has there reasons, I prefer to keep everything in one place at the moment. It’s all about trial and error and that’s how we learn what works best for our personal needs. Buying a domain is as simple as typing in a domain you want and seeing the availability.
FREE Website Transfer
Do you already have a website and want to transfer it to SiteGround?
GrowBig and higher plans at SiteGround come with one free professional website transfer, while StartUp plans can pay an additional fee for the service. The support agents have broad experience in this as they move hundreds of websites every single day.
You can request a site transfer by using the Account Setup Wizard. On the pop-up window, just select Transfer a website and click Confirm.
I used the Account Setup Wizard and had no problems. Then shortly after unlocked my already owned domain over at Bluehost and started the official domain transfer to SiteGround.
Note: Transferring the domain is not required. All you have to do is to make sure you point the Name Servers where you own the domain over to the SiteGround Name Servers and it should work properly. If any of that is confusing, the simple solution is to get on with an agent and just ask them to update it or walk you through the process.
Finally, you are at the last step and have to select the months you want for your plan.
This is where SiteGround separates itself from the other hosting competitors. They offer the discounted rate you get through me for any of the months selected. In other
Kudos SiteGround for offering the discounted price for any length selected.
For people starting out its nice to know that you can buy a year and still get the cheapest rate.
SiteGround stands behind there product and offers a 30 day Money Back Guarantee. That’s comforting because if you are anything like me an impulse buy needs to have a return policy.
SG Site Scanner
I did some research and found out most people found it not
Once you’ve gone over all your choices and made sure everything was right, you can now fill out the payment information. This will now instantly have you set up and ready to start setting up WordPress!
2. Setting Up WordPress In SiteGround
Setup is a breeze and honestly, SiteGround couldn’t have made it simpler.
If you run into a problem do not hesitate to reach out to customer support. They legitimately can solve any problem you are having.
To install WordPress using the SiteGround Wizard, first access your Customer Area. After you signup for your WordPress hosting
Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to Start a new websiteon your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.
A new section will appear where you should enter the login information for your new WordPress application. Once you are ready click on the Confirm button.
Next, choose what Enhancements you wish to add to your account – if you want to add any. When you are ready with this step – click on the Complete Setup button.
Congratulations! That all there is to it. You now have a website ready to be customized, shared and inspire millions with what you have to offer.
3. Choosing A Theme
Maybe you already have one in mind or want to browse for one. It’s easy to select one and make changes along the way. When logged into your WordPress cPanel head over to the left side of the screen and select Appearance and choose Themes. This takes you to the currently active theme which WordPress automatically selects. Then there will be a box that says Add New Theme.
After clicking that you are directed to the search page. Have fun and try out different themes and see what you like best and what features may be valuable to your needs.
There are also sites out there, where you can buy custom designs or make your own. I went with Newspaper 9 by. TagDiv. I liked the look and it has endless customizable options which sold me.
If you have a theme that has to be uploaded, you would have to click Upload Theme.
Upload the .zip file for the theme you downloaded and click Install Now. Last step would be to click Activate on the theme you chose to install and it is now active!
Yay, you have just finished! Congratulations on your blogging journey.
Quick Beginner WordPress Tips
Here are a few basic things to know when you start exploring WordPress and building your new blog;
From the cPanel on the left side, you will see multiple options.
- Posts: This will be your main way to add new content to your blog.
- Media: This sole purpose is to upload your images and they are stored here. This allows you to insert them into your posts.
- Pages: This one is for the important information on your blog that doesn’t get published to your main blog feed. This is a great way to add important information that will be available to your readers. I used pages for my About, Privacy Policies and a bunch of other important information. There is no limit on the pages, so create as many as you want.
- Appearance: This one has a lot of sub-tags when you click or hover over it.
- “Themes” as we already used is where you go to add or change a current theme.
- “Customize” can have a lot of features or very little depending on the theme you have installed. Mostly it lets you change design features of your blog (like colors, logos, and layouts) also the theme developer could add there own options for further customization to this section.
- “Widgets” gives you the options to add new widgets to specified areas throughout your blog. For example, in your sidebar, you can have the About section added so its present when and where you want it to show up.
- “Menus” adds all those navigation bars to your blog with links to the important pages (like the ones on my blog at the top). There are a few more options, but I went over the basics.
- Plugins: These are one of the best parts about using WordPress! They add new functionality to your blog and let you do things past what your theme/WordPress comes with standard. (Make sure you’re using plugins that are updated regularly for security issues)
Settings this is where you control your blog and plugin settings. There is a lot in this category but the main ones I found useful right away are;
- Tagline: Under the general settings button you can input information that shows up on google. I have mine set to “Blog that will help you Believe, Motivate, Inspire “.
- Front page– Found under the Reading button, is useful if you want to make your homepage “a static page” where you want to showcase a particular item at all times. (Some themes let you control this within there customizer option under appearance)
- Blog post to show at most– Found under the Reading button. This is useful if your blog is loading slow, you can adjust how many posts are displaying on your front page. I read many different ideas to set the numbers to, but I found 6 works for me.
- Permalinks– SEO, the keyword here. SEO is what gets your blog out into the search engines of the world for people to find. When your website is found it displays information, I suggest setting it to “post name”. Just my opinion for having it clean cut looking and not distracting from someone clicking on your link. (dates and other numbers, for example, could be added to show up)
I covered some of the basics on how to start a blog on WordPress. In the future, I will be updating information and trying to keep up with the fast changing internet to stay current.
Now get started and see how blogging can change your life! Head over to SiteGround and take advantage of these prices they are offering for me to share!
Please let me know if my article was helpful? Leave a comment below or if you have any questions ask away!
Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay – Simone de Beauvoir
Also published on Medium.