The hardest part of blogging maybe just getting started. Starting this blog for me is actually an ongoing question. I’m hoping you can learn from my mistakes and just get started already! Blogging can change your life and only costs a few dollars a month. Technology makes everything simpler, but knowing where to start is key. I’ve tried to summarize what I’ve learned below and provide a go-to start-up guide for getting started. You can get a discount by using links I set up from the same companies that I use to run this blog.
If you’re looking for a cheap, easy, and effective way to start blogging, then you’ll want to use a combination of WordPress and a good hosting provider. WordPress powers over 25% of the world’s websites, hence why some say this technology ate the internet. And for good reason! It’s simple and easy to use and while it takes some time getting used to, it makes a bloggers life easy.
Click here to start a blog on WordPress, then use the tutorial below to guide you through the process.
There are several hosting providers out there, but after trying out a few I went with SiteGround. Some say choosing Bluehost for your hosting needs may be your answer. I disagree. Why? Customer Service at Siteground is superior. At Bluehost, my experience was multiple customer service agents and chats and calls to resolve a simple question. At SiteGround, you get 24/7 live Chat with a customer service department that has always been prompt at solving whatever issues I bring to their attention. Plus, the same free 1-click WordPress installation process. Price per month is the same.
Blogging for some is about the money. You might read other sites discussing the millions they’ve made through blogging. This is true and can happen. However, if you
‘re like me, blogging is a stress relieving exercise more than anything. Blogging gives my creative side of the brain an outlet. I can share ideas and experiences with others.
You can work from home, travel, and maintain a flexible schedule. Blog about what gives you excitement and passion, and I guarantee you’ll find others that share your interests too.
Blogging is for everyone, yes that means you too! With just a little work, you’ll more than make back enough to cover the hosting fees. Hosting fees are low though for blogging, as low as $3.95 a month at SiteGround. Sign up for 12, 24, or 36 months at my link and you’ll get this deal. Keep in mind, renewal at the end of this period is the regular rate of $9 a month so maybe worth signing up for a longer period. But up to you. Keep in mind too the big picture if you’re thinking….hmmm, that’s a bit expensive. Hosting fees of even $9/month is peanuts when the blog is making you thousands or more and gives you a creative outlet and feeling of accomplishment with every blog post.
If you want to try blogging are interested in signing up for a WordPress blog, you can sign up below. As always, email me or comment below with any questions (plan types, services, etc.).
Let’s get started! 5 steps: Hosting, Domain, Nameservers, WordPress, Themes.
- Buy Hosting – Choose Plan
There are really 2 ‘big’ up-front costs to blogging are your hosting fee and domain fee. To get the cheapest option that works well for any blogger starting out, you just need the basic plan. This is called the ‘StartUp’ plan on SiteGround. It’s $3.95/month through my link. You pay up front for at least 12 months, so you’re looking at $50 for hosting for year. The intro price is also available for 24 and 36 months as well. Just remember, after the intro period, you’ll be given the option to renew at the regular price of $9/month.
For comparison purposes, here’s the basic review of the three options above. I’d recommend the StartUp plan if you’re starting out.
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now.
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress and Joomla website speed
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration
That’s about it for hosting. You can also sign up for a one month trial too, but it’s really cost prohibitive as they charge an additional $15. I would just sign up for the 12 month option, at a minimum. If you’re like me, you’ll ebb and flow in your blogging as you get started. It may take a few months to ‘get in the groove’. Worst case, you’re out less than $100 for the year and you can at scratch that itch no more. But, more than likely, I think you’ll enjoy blogging enough to keep at it from time to time. Your site will always be yours and you can look back after some work and say that you made this.
Once you decide on your plan – you should be staring at a screen like this – You should have the service button ‘get a new hosting account’ clicked and one of the three plans selected. Next step is that middle ‘enter domain’ section – time to move on to this step #2!
2. Buy Domain – Choose New or Transfer Domain
You can choose to buy a new domain, or sign up with an existing domain. If you already have a domain – free website transfer that is included in the SiteGround hosting service.
This may be tricky, or not, depending on your domain ideas. What I did was go search the web for domain registrars and then settled on namecheap.com. I searched for domains on their site and eventually bought a few of them, and then settled on using merrygoadventure.com. Remember – you can always change your domain later. Don’t let this stop you from getting started. Pick something, anything that you like and go with it. Then, change it later if you find something you like better. You can search their site if you’d like and buy a domain for an intro price of $0.88 for year 1 through this link and then come back to SiteGround and put it into the Domain section. Or if you have one, just put it into SiteGround. They do not have an intro price, so the price is $15. Almost all registrars will charge you $10-$15 a year to keep your domain registered, after some promotion period.
My advice: Buy 1. JUST 1 and BLOG. Pay whatever for that 1, $15 is good. But don’t make the mistake I made, which is get a bunch of ideas for different sites. Then, sign up for a bunch on promotions and then fail to get started. Focus is key. Your time is valuable. Try to find a domain that relates to topic you want to blog about. For me, it’s adventure travel. Hence my last name and a couple words that fit the occasion.
Last thing: Extra Services – Back to SiteGround
My Advice: Nothing must-have here. But Domain Privacy is something I signed up for. The Site Scanner is un-necessary. You can set up a plugin in WordPress for free that does the same thing. Plus you already have much of this protection embedded into your browser.
To Summarize again:
- Go to SiteGround and select plan.
- Enter Domain and Choose Service
- Select Period (12, 24, 36 months)
- Select Extra Services
- Enter Payment Information
3. Point Namer Servers – Skip if you bought through SiteGround
Ok – Now that you’ve made it thus far – you’ve got a hosting plan and blog!
If you bought through or transferred into SiteGround, you can skip this step. Otherwise, If you bought through NameCheap or elsewhere, you’ll need to do one extra step. You need to point the Domain to the Host. Or in other words connect your domain company with your hosting company so that they are talking to each other. If you’re logged into Siteground – go to My Accounts. It’s going to look like this picture. See the Account DNS (Domain Name Servers)? You’ll need to go over to NameCheap and copy these numbers over there to the domain you purchased. At NameCheap, find your domain and click manage on the right. Then enter in those numbers. It can sometimes take a day for the transfer to take place for some reason I don’t understand. But, good news – SiteGround customer service is great. If you go to Live Chat, they can tell you right away if the domain is pointed to their servers. Each client on StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek uses a shared server. Once it is – your site is live and ready to go.
4. Install WordPress
Maybe the easiest part here. Back to that screenshot above of the My Accounts tab, you see the red CPanel button? Click that button and a little down the page you’ll see the auto installers section. See WordPress? Click it and then click Install on the next page. You’ll create a user name and password during this process. Once installed – go back to your My Accounts tab and click the green ‘Go to Admin Panel’ green button on the right. That’s your entry point to WordPress. You can bookmark this so you don’t have to log into SiteGround every time. Just go to whatever your domain and /admin, like mydomain.com/admin, to get to your WordPress site. Bookmark this for easy access.
5. Install WordPress Theme/Plugins
General Tips on WordPress:
- Themes – WordPress operates like the AppStore, but instead of apps you have themes and plugins. So, picking a theme can overwhelm you in other words. But, don’t let it. Go to appearance and search themes until you find one that looks halfway decent. There’s plenty of free options. You can buy one, but you don’t have to. The secret to hack any theme is PageBuilder or Elementor!
- Plugins – Go into plugins and install both of these – PageBuilder or Elementor. These plugins allow you to modify a theme however you like. With these plugins, you can modify a page or blog post however you like. Experiment with both if you’d like. I use both, with Elementor modifying my homepage and PageBuilder in other circumstances. If you don’t like the look of a page, you can modify it without needing to write any code. Just drag and drop however you like with these plugins.
Here is one other tutorial on WordPress as well to check out if you’re so inclined. Thanks for reading through this guide, hope it helps. All the best blogging!
Share you comments or questions below!