Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to start a blog in 2017! I couldn’t be happier to help you take the first steps on your blogging journey.
In this step-by-step guide for beginners we will cover the entire process, including secret ingredients for success a long the way. Lets get started!
Why start a blog?
This is an excellent question, here are a few popular reasons:
- It can bring awareness to your business
- Make money working from home
- It is freeing to simply write, sharing your story with others
- It’s a fantastic outlet for authors, especially if self-published
Now that we’ve covered why starting a blog has huge upside, it’s time to actually get into the meat of this post which is how to start a blog!
Step 1: Decide the direction
What is your north star with starting this blog?
- Do you want to share with the world your expertise on the subject of decorating?
- Do you want to create a change, or in other words have your writing manifest some type of social movement?
- Or do you simply want to use it as a diary to share your thoughts and feelings about your life?
Regardless of your reason, setting your sights on a north star is critical!
So, give it some thought if it’s not abundantly clear yet.
Keep in mind, it’s best if your blog theme is something you are passionate about… otherwise like with most things that aren’t built on passion it’ll eventually fizzle out.
Step 2: Pick a domain name
I’ll be honest, choosing a domain name has always been an area of struggle for me. Here’s why:
- Your domain is not set in stone, but it’s close. Just like your name… what if every month or so you changed it from Sarah to Rachel to Shawna to Jessica. It would be impossible to reference you!
- A domain name functions as a first impression.
Personally, I think a domain name is very important, and needs some good thought put into it. However, beware of falling into the name creation black hole.
I give it this name, because if you are not careful you’ll end of second guessing yourself endlessly on the name of your blog… trust me on this!
Rest assured, after coming up with dozens of domain names for various projects, there are some tricks to the trade that will make this process A LOT easier!
Name Generating Process
- Start by picking a keyword that will clue visitors into what your blog is about. Plus, this helps immensely with discoverability! As an example, lets pick the word gardening.
- Now, come up with another word that is unique, funny, memorable… something that you’ll pair with gardening to make a punchy brand name people will remember. For example: “ninja.” Together, the domain name would be www.ninjagardening.com, not bad 😀
- If you get stuck on that second word, this is an excellent resource that generates (available) suggestions for a domain name after you put in your keyword
Feel free to go outside of this strategy to come up with a name, but again be weary of the name creation black hole, you’ll be sucked in before you know it!
- It’s best to avoid strange spelling variations, because most people will spell the domain incorrectly if someone says it to them.
- Keep it simple, less is more with a domain
- Give yourself a deadline! Tell yourself, you are pulling out the credit card in 3 days and locking into a domain no matter what! I have done this several times myself, and it has saved me tons of time.
Step 3: Pick a Host
A hosting service acts as the foundation for your website to be built on.
It is certainly more technical than that, however for a new blogger I think the decision comes down to 3 major concerns:
- Customer Support
Without question, SiteGround is the hosting service that offers the best combination of these three factors!
Starting at just $3.95/month, they offer a very low barrier to entry. From my experience you REALLY get what you pay for with a hosting service!
Additional benefits included:
- 30 Days Money Back
- Unlimited Domain Unique Email Accounts
- Daily Backup with SSD Storage
Customer support goes above and beyond with SiteGround, considering they provide true 24/7 customer support. Many companies flaunt “24/7 Support!” but what you get 9 times out of 10 is 30-minute wait times and a vague answer.
SiteGround’s customer support feels like I have a personal assistant, willing to answer questions within minutes.
As I said earlier, you get what you pay for with most things in life, and a hosting service is no exception.
So, we are looking for the best bang for our buck website hosting service, that offers excellent customer support, great quality, at a good price… and without question that service is SiteGround!
Click here to go to SiteGround and start your own blog! Click “sign up” to see the 3 different plans offered (feel free to follow along with the instructions below outlining the process)
Keep in mind the images you see might change slightly, but this is due to constant improvement across SiteGround, and they might even have a sale going.
Select Your Plan
I personally went with the “GrowBig” option, to give me a little more room to grow plus you get the premium features as well (you get ultra fast technical support and more backup for your website and its files).
On the next screen, you’ll plug in your domain name (unless you want to purchase it on another site to save a few dollars, but I bought it here to keep it simple), and then click proceed.
Next, you’ll add in your contact information, and fill out a few details regarding your hosting info.
You’ll be able to adjust the hosting period, and add SG Site Scanner if you want, which adds an extra layer of security in case anything out of the ordinary happens to your website.
Finally, check the standard policy and Terms of Service and hit the pay now button!
Congratulations, you are now the owner of a new website!!!
Go ahead and click “Proceed to Customer Area.” A setup wizard will likely appear; feel free to utilize this if you want, but I find it unnecessary so I recommend clicking “Thanks, but I don’t need help” and then proceed.
Step 4: Setup WordPress
You are already at the final step of starting your blog! At this point we are going to create the website’s online presence by installing WordPress!
WordPress powers 28% of the internet, this fact still stuns me when I think about it… and for good reason. It is incredibly powerful, and can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be (lets keep it simple for now).
Now, lets go ahead and install WordPress!
Click the “My Accounts” tab at the top of the screen.
Click the red button that says “Go to cPanel”, and click proceed if the “cPanel Access” window comes up.
In the AUTOINSTALLERS category, click “WordPress.”
Software Setup Fields:
The website protocol will depend on your hosting package:
- GrowBig & GrowGeek = https://www.
- StartUp = http://www.
Https is a little more secure, which was introduced under the premium features starting in the GrowBig option.
Site Settings Fields
Fill in your “Site Name” and “Site Description.” You will be the only one to see these, and they can be changed later.
Admin Account Fields
- Admin Username: this will be the login for your blog (that you’ll type in often, so write it down)
- Admin Password: this is the blog login password (write it down)
- Admin Email: in this field you are able to create an email using your @domain.com handle which is a lot more professional (this can be easily changed later).
Select Plugin(s) Fields
I recommend turning on Limit Login Attempts, to help prevent someone from being able to repeatedly try to get into your blog; before turning it on though, again be sure you have the admin username and password written down in a safe place.
Choose Theme Field
Choose “none” for now, we will select our theme in WordPress instead.
Click “Install” and wait several minutes for it to set everything up!
Once it is loaded, click the administrative URL link (this is the main login link for your blog… you will be using this A LOT so it’s best to go ahead and bookmark it).
Now simply type in your admin username and admin password, and click login!
The WordPress dashboard will be your main navigation screen on your blog for things like customizing the blog design, adding blog posts, responding to comments, etc.
Congratulations!!! You have successfully started your very own blog, and are ready to conquer the world!
Best of luck! Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to SAVE the pin below, to refer back to this post 😀
This post may contain affiliate links, please read my disclosure for more info.
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