So you’ve been thinking about setting up your own blog, whether it be to generate some income for yourself or to just share your ideas with the world. If so then you’re also probably wondering about how to get started. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that it couldn’t be easier! In this post I will be providing you with a step-by-step guide on how you can start up your own blog today.
In order to set up your own blog, you will need to first decide which platform that you want to set the blog up with. With around a third of all websites in the world being used with this particular platform; I would personally recommend that you build your blog using WordPress. The reason why I recommend WordPress is because it’s a free, easy-to-use platform that’s great for SEO, and has a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to design and functionality.
When I refer to WordPress I am referring to WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. Without trying to make things too technical; the former (.org) is an open-source alternative to the .com version, which allows for third-party businesses to create dedicated plugins and themes for it, meaning that you have a greater variety of ways to improve the design and functionality of your blog. The .com is much more rigid in comparison, and actually costs a lot more if you want to get the premium version.
NOTE: To clarify, whichever WordPress platform you choose has no impact on your domain. Meaning that building your blog on WordPress.org will not force you to have an .org domain, such as mikewalterz.org. We will discuss sorting your domain shortly.
How to start your own blog
The first thing you’ll need to do when setting up your WordPress blog, is to choose which web hosting company you want to store your blog with. A web hosting company will provide you with the server needed to power your blog. The server effectively acts like the engine in a Ferrari. Yes all of fancy designs and colours may make the car (i.e. blog) look nice, but without the engine that Ferrari is going nowhere!
When choosing which web hosting company to hold your site with, you’ll want to consider the power of their servers, the consistency of those servers, the packages that they’re offering, the cost of their packages and the quality of their customer service. Trust me when I say that that last point is important!
With that being said, I would personally recommend that you host your website with Siteground. Over the last few years of building WordPress sites for my clients, I have had a great deal of experience dealing with different web hosts from around the world. I’ve even at times dealt with web hosts so abysmal, I now refuse to work with any client that uses them. Someday I may write a blog post on which hosting company that might be, but that’s a story for another time!
As I’ve already mentioned, I would highly recommend that you set up your website or blog with Siteground. They offer a selection of powerful server packages, with great pricing and fantastic freebies too; such as a free email address, SSL Certificate and even a 30 Days Money Back Guarantee! For my money, they also have THE best customer service around, the support staff are always welcoming and full of relevant knowledge.
For the purpose of this article, I will be advising you on how to start up your WordPress blog using Siteground’s Managed WordPress Hosting Package.
Setting yourself up with Siteground
First you’ll want to visit Siteground by using this link. You should land on the website’s homepage, which should look like the image below. Please be advised though that the layout of the Siteground website may differ depending on your location, however it should still be fairly simple to set up your WordPress blog. In order to get started, you’ll want to click on GET STARTED under the Managed WordPress Hosting section. If you can not see this option, then you will need to hover over HOSTING in the top menu, and then click on WordPress Hosting.
Once you’ve clicked on the Get Started button for Managed WordPress Hosting, you’ll be sent to a page with an option of three WordPress packages; StartUp, GrowBig & GoGeek. You’ll be pleased to know that you’re likely to only need the StartUp package, which is the cheapest option of the three. The StartUp package should be more than enough to power your new blog, and can still produce quick site speeds even with some decent website traffic.
NOTE: If you do find that your blog is beginning to slow down with the increased site traffic, then you can always contact Siteground support and ask them about upgrading to the GrowBig or GoGeek packages.
It’s worth noting that although the StartUp package is at a special price of £2.95 per month (currently), it does return to it’s regular price of £8.95 per month after the second year. This is clearly mentioned on the image below, however I thought it was worth noting as I know that some people miss this and face quite the shock after 12 months. That being said I strongly believe that for what you’re paying, both in the first year and each subsequent one following, the regular price is more than worth it given the overall service that they’re offering. Obviously though, it’s entirely up to you to decide whether this is a feasible investment for you.
Choosing your domain
Once you’ve chosen your Managed WordPress Hosting package, you will be asked whether you are registering a brand new domain, or whether you already have a domain. For those that don’t know, the domain is the URL of your website, for instance mikewalterz.com is my website domain. If you are registering a new domain then there will be an added cost for owning that domain, however once you do – that domain is yours and only yours!
If you’re struggling for ideas on what to call your business or domain, then you may want to take a look at this blog post I wrote on how to come up with a good business name, it should help you when you come to start your own blog.
Once you have chosen your domain name, whether it be by registering a new one or choosing an existing domain, you will then be taken to a secure page which asks you to enter your personal details, including your payment information. This process will also create an account for you simultaneously, and should prove to be quite self-explanatory. Once you have submitted the form then you will have successfully purchased a Managed WordPress Hosting package for your domain.
Just so you know, if you do have any technical issues or questions on how to start a blog, then please do not hesitate to contact me or the Siteground support team. We would be more than happy to help make this process as pain-free as possible.
Now that you have purchased your WordPress hosting (and domain), you will need to login in order to access the main dashboard. When logged in, you will have to click Websites at the top before finding your domain in the list below. If this is your first domain then there will only be one there. Alongside your domain you will see two options; Site Tools & WordPress Kit. Please click on WordPress Kit. A popup will appear with six options, you will want to click GO under WordPress Admin. This will begin the WordPress Setup Wizard.
The WordPress Setup Wizard will walk you through a simple process, as it asks you basic questions about the purpose of your site, the name of the site and which theme you would like to use. I recommend that you go through the wizard and tailor the site to your liking.
How to start designing your blog
There is an option to skip the setup wizard entirely if you’re looking to design the site by yourself from scratch. If this is something that you’re interested in, then it’s advisable as a beginner that you install a simple drag and drop page builder; more specifically I would highly recommend installing Elementor.
Elementor is a free WordPress page-builder plugin, which has been installed over 3 million times thus far! It allows you to drag and drop various elements into your website, such as; images, headers, text, videos, icons & more. It also has a great number of template designs that you can use, meaning that you’d just have to choose a template, replace the images & text before you’re good to go. As mentioned, the plugin is free however there is a Pro version available to anyone looking to take their blog to the next level. This Pro version is available for just $49 which is much cheaper than hiring a web designer to build your site/blog for you.
If you’re not looking for anything fancy, and you just want to focus on producing written content on a standard blog theme then feel free to use the default themes provided with the WordPress Setup Wizard. If however you would like your blog to stand out from the crowd, then please feel free to check out the Elementor Plugin for WordPress – it’s FREE!
Although Elementor is super easy to use, I will be providing further information on how to make the most of the plugin on my blog. That being said though, if I get enough interest I will also put together a course that will walk you through designing each aspect of your blog or website. Does this sound like something that you would be interested in? If so, let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this post!
Publishing a Post
Publishing blog posts with WordPress couldn’t be easier. When you’ve successfully gone through the setup wizard (or skipped it entirely), you will then be taken to the dashboard below. The dashboard works with your main admin panel along the left-hand side, which includes; pages, posts and plugins to name a few. For the sake of creating your own post, you will want to click on Posts and then click Add New.
Once you’ve clicked to add a new post, you will be taken to the screen below, with your post menu sitting on the right-hand side. This menu will allow you to add categories & tags to your blog posts, as well as give you the opportunity to upload a featured image for the post – amongst other things. The centre of the screen though is where you can begin writing out your blog content, and it too works off a drag and drop, block-style format.
You’ll want to enter the title of the blog post in the first block, with each subsequent block below it to be filled out with your written content, images, videos and more! To add different blocks to your post you can click on the plus sign (+) alongside one of the blocks, and then search for an element such as “Image” or “Video”, alternatively you will be shown your most frequently used blocks too, making it a simple experience.
Once you’ve done drafting your post, you will see a couple of options at the top right of your screen; Save as Draft and Publish. Obviously depending on how far you’ve gotten with your post, you can decide on whether you need to finish it later or if its ready to be made public.
Your next step after publishing your post would be to get it in front of people, after all it’s unlikely that anybody is going to see your very first post unless you show it to them.
If you really want to up your blogging game, then you can start filming videos for each respective blog post and upload them to sites like YouTube, which you can then embed into your blog posts, effectively killing two birds with one stone – Figuratively speaking. This will work wonders for your website traffic, and will give the reader the choice between reading your written content or watch the video instead. The increased traffic from YouTube will benefit your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) efforts, as will the improved user experience.
Setting up your own blog doesn’t have to be complicated. With the help of Siteground, you can have your WordPress blog set up within 5 minutes. For anyone looking to take their blogs to the next level, and implementing some creative designs to their site, you can install the free Elementor plugin and build your dream blog today. If you need any help along the way, then I’m more than happy to assist you in setting up your brand new blog!
Have any questions or feedback on this article? If so then please feel free to let me know in the comments section below!