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Having successfully started and grown a blog to over 10,000 monthly views in my first year, I have been approached time and again with questions about blogging. So, I am dedicating this month to imparting all my blogging knowledge and wisdom onto you. This four-week series will progress through the many stages of creating and growing a blog, culminating in a post on the question I am asked most frequently: how do you make money blogging? But first things first: you have to HAVE a blog before you can start making money with it. If you follow the steps below on how to start a WordPress blog with SiteGround, you will have your blog up and running in the next 30 minutes. And if you would rather watch a video tutorial, you can find that in my online course, Travel Pitch Masters.
Week 1: How to Start a WordPress Blog With SiteGround
Week 2: How to Write Blog Posts That Matter
Week 3: How to Get More Views and Traffic to Your Blog
Week 4: How to Make Money Blogging
If you’ve never created a website before and you’re not a tech guru, the thought of creating a blog might be intimidating enough to deter you from even attempting it. Don’t worry – this guide is written for the complete newbie and has step by step instructions, with screenshots along the way, to teach you how to start a blog in the next 30 minutes.
Just to be clear, this guide is specifically focused on setting up a WordPress blog with SiteGround as your host. Although there are many blogging platforms and hosting sites to choose from, I firmly believe that WordPress is the best blogging platform and SiteGround is the best hosting site.
Why WordPress Is The Best Blogging Provider
I have tried a number of blogging providers over time, including Blogger and SquareSpace. While I was a big fan of the design elements on SquareSpace, it does not have nearly as many plugins as WordPress and is less easily discoverable. Additionally, WordPress is extremely easy to use and has an excellent support team, so if something goes wrong or you have a question about anything, you can contact support and have your issue resolved immediately.
Why SiteGround Is The Best Hosting Site
I have also tried a number of hosting sites over time, including HostGator and BlueHost, and neither compare to SiteGround. I actually started my travel blog with BlueHost and tried really hard to be a loyal customer despite the many hiccups I experienced on my site. Eventually, the constant shut-downs became unbearable, and I finally gave up in early 2018 and switched over to SiteGround. With BlueHost, my site was constantly down, and there was no support team to help me. Since switching over to SiteGround, my site has never been down, and every time I have needed help with a technical issue, I have been able to reach support and have the issue resolved in a matter of minutes. With SiteGround’s low cost, it is a no brainer for me to choose and recommend SiteGround over any other hosting site.
Step 1: Purchase Hosting and Register a Domain Name
The first thing you’ll want to do is go to SiteGround and purchase a hosting plan. You can think of a web host like a house. In the same way that you need a house to live in, your blog needs a host to live in. The good news is that hosting typically costs less than $20/month, so it is much cheaper to house your blog than to house yourself. Go to www.siteground.com, and click on the second box from the left, titled “WordPress Hosting.”
You will see a page with multiple pricing options. I recommend purchasing the GrowBig Plan if you are serious about blogging. However, if you are planning to use your blog merely as a hobby, or if you are unsure of where you want to go with your blog, you can always start with the StartUp Plan and upgrade to the GrowBig plan once your site outgrows your hosting allotment on the StartUp Plan.
Once you select your plan, the next step is to create a domain name. This is where you’ll need to get creative and strategic. Remember that this is the website where you’ll be sending to all your friends, family, and future business partners, so make sure your domain name represents you and your brand well. If you are looking for more guidance on how to come up with a blog name that’s appropriate for your brand, check out my online course, Travel Pitch Masters, where I have an entire module dedicated to this topic.
Once you’ve chosen your domain name and typed it into the box, click PROCEED to continue. Make sure “Register a New Domain” is checked. This will automatically check the “Domain Registration” box at the bottom of the page.
If the domain name you have chosen is not available (i.e. there is already a website with that name out there), you will receive a notification that the domain name is not available, along with a few suggestions for alternate domain names you can choose from. If you do not like any of the suggested domain names, feel free to keep typing in different domain names until you find one that is available. Typically “.com” endings are best as they are most widely recognized, but if you are dead set on a domain name that is only available with a different ending, you can explore that option as well.
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, the next step is to fill in your contact and payment info. At the bottom of the page are a few optional services you can add on for an additional fee. SiteGround gives you a free SSL certificate for your first year, which encrypts the data on your site and helps protect your privacy. You also have the option to purchase Domain Privacy for an additional fee, which I would recommend doing. For only $12/year, you can ensure that your personal data remains safe.
Congratulations! You have now created a name for your blog and given it a home. The next step is to dress it up so it looks good to viewers.
Step 2: Install WordPress
Installing WordPress with SiteGround could not be easier because you don’t actually have to do it! All you have to do is open a ticket on SiteGround, and a SiteGround representative will install WordPress for you. Once WordPress is successfully installed, you will receive an email with your WordPress login information.
To open a ticket on SiteGround, log in to your SiteGround account and click the “Support” tab at the top. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “+” sign under “Request Assistance From Our Team.” This will open up more options. Next to “Technical Assistance,” you will see an option for “WordPress Assistance.” Click on “WordPress Assistance.”
You should now see the “Request Assistance” form. Find your site name under the dropdown menu, and type your request into the request box.
Click “Continue,” and you’re done!
Step 3: Pick a WordPress Theme
While you wait for the SiteGround support team to set up your WordPress site for you, you can start browsing through WordPress themes. This way, you will be ready to upload your theme and start customizing the appearance of your WordPress site as soon as your site is ready.
If you are brand new to all of this and have no idea what kind of theme you want for your blog, a good place to start would be www.wordpress.org, or simply run a google search for WordPress themes.
Once you’ve chosen your desired theme, download the theme to your computer. Most themes will download as a .zip file. If your theme does not download as a .zip file, right click on your theme folder under “Downloads” and select “Compress.” This will compress your folder into a .zip file, which you’ll need to upload your theme to your WordPress site.
Step 4: Install Your WordPress Theme
Once you receive an email from SiteGround support that your WordPress site is set up, click the link in your email to go to your WordPress admin panel. In your admin panel, click on Appearance >> Themes on the left hand panel, and click “Add New” at the top.
You’ll be taken to a new page titled “Add Themes.” Next to “Add Themes,” you will see an “Upload Theme” button. Click the “Upload Theme” button, and you’ll be taken to the page pictured below. Click “Choose File” and double click on the .zip file containing the theme you just downloaded.
You should then see the theme you just purchased under your Themes in your Dashboard.
Click the “Activate” button under your theme, and you should see it say “Active: [YOUR THEME]” like it does in the screenshot below.
Voilà! Now head on over to your site to see your new theme!
Step 5: Customize Your WordPress Site
The last step before going live with your WordPress site is to customize your site to your tastes. Do you have a blog title you’d like to include on the blog? Do you have a logo for your blog? Do you have brand colors? How do you want to organize your blog posts? These are the questions you’ll be asking yourself and making decisions on at this stage. If you would like more guidance on branding your blog, make sure you check out my online course, Travel Pitch Masters, where I dedicate an entire module to this topic.
To customize your site, go to Appearance >> Customize in your admin panel. If you are having trouble customizing an element to your desired tastes, make sure you consult the theme guide, which is typically available on the theme’s website.
Now that you know how to start a WordPress blog with SiteGround, and your brand new blog is up and running, the next step is to create awesome content! Week 2 focuses on how to create content that matters. Stay tuned!
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