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An easy, straight to the point tutorial to get your blog up and running and get you clued up on blogging basics.
You want to start a blog. In fact you want to start a blog that will make you some dollar. You want to start a professional blog for profit. Am I right?
(Your not sure if you want to start a blog??? Whatttt??? You really ought to head over to my post on why I started blogging and 10 reasons you should to, today!!!)
But so far you’ve learnt one major thing about blogging. Theres a lot to learn. Overwhelming huh?
Don’t worry though because I’ve got your back. As an obsessive researcher (I kept chickens in my teenage years and let me tell you after 3 weeks what I didn’t know about those little feathered guys really wasn’t worth knowing. Vets use to ask my advice… hmm maybe I should actually be blogging about chickens…).
Anyway as I was saying, as an obsessive researcher I have shifted through seemingly hundreds of reviews, tutorials and posts. Written by top, full-time earning bloggers all the way down to the newbie bloggers. (Hello thats me right now but not for long!) So I feel pretty confident to give you the low down on setting up a (soon to be) professional blog for profit.
Note: This post will be discussing the technicalities of blogging. If you need help with your blog niche then you can check out my post on how to choose your blog niche and name instead.
What blogging platform should I use?
There are quite a few different places you can write to your hearts content, some are free and some you have to pay for. If you want to make money from your blog at some point then don’t even bother looking at a free platforms, its not worth it.
However, if you just want a place to write and don’t care about making money wordpress.com or blogger.com are your two best bets for easy to use blogging platforms. If you’re in this camp then sadly this tutorial is not for you, instead head over to one of those sites and get your blog going. For the rest of you…
Your going to want to use WordPress (sometimes referred to as wordpress.org) for blogging, now don’t confuse this with wordpress.com. They are different. WordPress is a software that you can create a website or blog with. It has open source software which means people can modify it. Hence why website designers love WordPress, because completely unique websites can be created. WordPress.com however is much more restricted. Less customisation and monetising is much harder.
But, when you go with WordPress you will need to host it. Confused? Don’t worry I will explain…
What is Hosting?
Hosting is literally where a company, using technology called severs, provides the necessary conditions for a website to be seen and used on the internet. So in the same way that Microsoft Word needs a computer for you to be able to use it. WordPress needs a host to be seen on the internet, because WordPress is a free software, not a website in itself.
There are a thousand and one hosting services out there. From the insanely cheap, like a few pounds per month, to crazy expensive, like thousands of pounds per month. As a general rule the more traffic your site gets (so the more people reading your blog) the more expensive your hosting will need to become. But don’t worry you’ve potentially got years before that even needs to come on your radar! Like we are talking hundred of thousands of page views per month before you need to consider that.
Here’s a list of a few hosting companies who are quite popular with bloggers:
So which host to choose?
That list above is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to how many hosting companies there are out there. So how on earth do you decide which one to go for?
When I was doing my research Bluehost seemed to be the one all the big bloggers recommended. Great I thought, I will go with them. But then I realised that most of the big bloggers no longer used Bluehost, that was just their starting host. Now they were so successful they required a more specialised and capable hosting service. They hadn’t been using Bluehost for ages, some even years.
Instead I looked into what the medium and small professional bloggers were recommending, and most importantly actually using. You know what the general feeling was, that Bluehost just wasn’t up to scratch anymore. People were experiencing a lot of downtime, site speed was slow and customer service just weren’t able to help. This post from Rosa really explains some of the problems associated with Bluehost, its worth a look.
Pretty much all the posts I read were recommending SiteGround instead. It was fast, easy to use, hardly any downtime, secure and best of all, their 24/7 online chat customer service.
On this basis I signed up with SiteGround. The price is great, the website is indeed fast with hardly any downtime. Plus their customer service has lived up to other people reviews. Honestly I can’t fault them. I really do recommend SiteGround.
If you want to do some further research this post reviews quite a few different hosting sites (with SiteGround coming out on top I might add). Or just type ‘blog hosting’ into Pinterest and you will get loads of posts from other bloggers all saying which hosting sites they prefer and why.
Don’t forget your domain…
Ah yes domains. The final piece of puzzle needed to get started blogging. Your domain is quite simply the words that go after www. and end in .com or .co.uk or .org or whatever option you fancy. So my website address is www.wellandwealthy.org, my domain is wellandwealthy.org.
You can buy your domain alone, without a website. In fact some people buy domains to sell on later, as a form of investment. Kind of like how some people buy personalised number plates. Domains are like the real estate of the internet.
The easiest way to get a domain however is to just buy it with your hosting. Then you have no need to integrate the domain and hosting service. It can all be done in one go. Luckily for you, SiteGround, my preferred hosting service also provide domain registration.
So now you know why you will be using WordPress as your blogging platform. Plus you know which hosting service your going to use *hint hint* SiteGround. And you know where your getting your domain from *further hints* SiteGround.
Lets build this blog baby!
The best bit is that it only takes a few minutes.
Go to SiteGround, you should see this page:
Scroll down so you can see the plans on offer fully:
Don’t worry the website will automatically display prices for where you are in the world and you can always request a different currency if you need it.
I went with the ‘StartUp’ plan as it had everything I needed to, well, get started. I’m using it right now and I would say its perfect for a newbie blogger.
Update: Having used SiteGround now for just over 4 months I can officially say they are awesome, however I am now understanding why you may want to go for either the GrowBig plan or the GoGeek plan even if you’re a blogging newbie!
Basically, as with everything, you get what you pay for. I will be upgrading my hosting plan in the New Year to take advantage of the extra benefits the other plans provide! Which includes even better support, as in you get priority!!!
Now SiteGrounds support is legendary, if you have a website problem they will bend over backwards helping you (trust me, the online chat chaps and I are like BFFs now). So the thought of having higher priority support kind of makes me weak at the knees. Afterall there is nothing (and I mean nothing) worse than your website being down, you having no idea how to fix it and you can’t get through to your hosting support!!!
The GrowBig and the GoGeek plan also offer you the opportunity to host multiple websites. I get it, when you haven’t even started one site yet the idea of wanting or needing to host multiple sites seems absurded, but trust me building blogs is kind of addictive… Plus if you are stuck between choosing to blog about two very different niches that cannot be combined then having a seperate, stand alone blog for each one is perfect!
As you can imagine the GrowBig and GoGeek plan also offer a bit more in the tech department! Namely better site speed using their own supercacher tool (don’t worry I don’t fully understand it either, but I know it’s a good thing!) and their free backup service (which is a paid option on the StartUp plan).
So now click ‘GET STARTED’ on which ever plan your going with. For the sake of this tutorial I will be using the ‘StartUp’ plan, but make sure you choose whichever plan is best for you, don’t just go for the cheapest (unless the cheapest is right for you of course!)
You should be looking at this page:
You want to make sure you have checked the circle next to ‘Register a New Domain’. And also make sure that the box is ticked next to ‘Domain Registration’. This will ensure that domain is yours for the year, just like renting a house. Except the Landlord won’t ever evict you as long as you pay the annual fee.
Now’s the time to decide what you want your blog to be called. Whats your domain going to be? If you need some help with this then you could have a look at my post on deciding your blog niche where I also deal with naming your blog.
But if you already know what its going to be called, type it in. For this tutorial I will be creating a site with the domain newbiebloggergettingstarted. Not the catchiest but hey whose to judge.
Then your going to want to press the arrow in the box that says .co.uk. Your box may say something different like .com or .biz. But just click on that arrow in the box and you should get something like this:
Now you can choose exactly what you want after your domain name. I went with .org but honestly choose whichever one you fancy.
Once you’ve done that you will get the screen below and you need to just click ‘PROCEED’
Hopefully you will get the screen shown below telling you your domain is available for registration. If your domain is unavailable then SiteGround will make suggestions of ones that are available. Which you can choose instead. Or just type in something different and see if that’s available instead!
Pop in an email address that you have access too as this will be where SiteGround sends you any important info. Plus a password that is both secure and easy for you to remember.
Put in your name and address and then your payment details. Don’t worry their site is totally secure!
Right once you reach ‘Purchase Information’ stop there because theres a few things you need to decide on.
If you get to this point and decide you want to switch your plan up bigger or small, just click on the circle arrows in the grey box next to ‘StartUp’. This will give you a drop down menu letting you have the choice of all three plans.
Next up you can choose your ‘Data Centre’. This is where the main servers are that hold your website. It makes sense for you to choose a server either closest to you or closest to your audience so the information has less distance to travel. Same again, click on the circle arrows in the grey box and a drop down menu appears for you to make your choice.
In the ‘Period’ drop down menu you can choose how long you want to pay for. You can choose monthly if thats what your budget allows. I chose 24 months because I have a bit of a weird thing about reoccurring monthly payments. I know I’m an odd one.
Again make sure ‘Domain Registration’ is ticked. Then you can decide if you want ‘Domain Privacy’. When you sign up for a website your name and address will be visible to everyone on sites like Who Is. If you don’t want people to be a able to search and get that information then definitely tick the box next to ‘Domain Privacy’. I personally didn’t bother with the ‘SG Site Scanner’ as there are free security plugins you can get once you have your site.
Then click in the terms and conditions box, check the amount is correct and click ‘PAY NOW’.
WAHOOOO you are now the proud owner of your own site!!!
Now we just need to install WordPress, nearly there! But first lets get you signed in.
Click on the ‘PROCEED TO CUSTOMER AREA’ and put in your username (the email you signed up with) and password.
You should now be looking at a screen like this one:
You can see at the top where I’ve cut the top off with my screenshot, this was just to keep my privacy. As we are now looking at screenshots taken when I actually set up my site. Very behind the scenes! Your name should be up there on your own screen. YAY!
Now you are signed in, let’s install WordPress. Click on ‘My Accounts’ at the top next to ‘Home’, ‘Support’, ‘Billing’ etc. And you should end up on the screen below:
Click on the red button thats says ‘Go to cPannel’. Its at the top next to the two green buttons ‘Renew’ and ‘Upgrade’.
Now you should be looking at this screen:
Go to the ‘AUTOINSTALLERS’ section and click on ‘WordPress’ logo. (It’s in between ‘Joomla’ and ‘Magento’)
That will take you to the screen below where you will want to click the blue ‘Install’ button next to ‘Overview’ and ‘Features’.
Ahhh now we are getting there!!!
Okay on this screen there are a few things that need filling out.
In the ‘Choose Protocol’ box your most likely going to want http:// unless you know otherwise.
In ‘Choose Domain’ pop in the domain you just brought. Just as I have put in wellandwealthy.org.
Leave ‘In Directory’ blank.
In ‘Site Name’ just put in anything you want to call your blog and in ‘Site Description’ write a little bit about what your sites about. You can update these at a later date. As you can see I didn’t really bother with the description at this stage.
Okay now you need to come up with your ‘Admin Username’ and ‘Admin Password’. Make sure you can remember it and write it down as you will need this info to get into WordPress and actually do some blogging!
‘Admin Email’ may already be filled in for you, if it’s not just pop your own email address in.
Choose which language you want to use.
Now here, you can if you want install a theme. Personally, I chose not to do it here as I think it’s easier to fiddle around with the look of your site actually in WordPress. So if I were you I would leave the theme for now. I use the Divi theme from Elegant Themes which I really recommend. But as I said it’s easier to install this once your actually in WordPress.
Then click ‘Install’ at the bottom. Your screen should change to the one below:
And then hopefully this one:
Wahhhooooooooooo you’ve done it. WordPress is now installed!!!!
This is the last step I promise!!!
Now go to http://www. whatever you blog is called .com / .co.uk /.org/wp-admin. So for Well and Wealthy it’s http://www.wellandwealthy.org/wp-admin. Log in with the WordPress username and password you just created and get blogging!!!
WELL DONE! You are now the proud owner of your own blogging site.
I would seriously love you to comment the websites you’ve made below so I can check them out.
And if ‘How to start a professional blog for profit: Domain, Hosting and WordPress Guide’ has helped you out please can you share it on social media, particularly Pinterest because I just adore Pinterest.