Are you ready to start your blog, but the only thing holding you back is knowing how to start it?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
This quick guide will take you, step by step, through starting a blog – from installing your new site to getting your blog configured. If you follow each step, you’ll be up and running in as little as 10 minutes!
A few quick details to go over before you start clicking.
While it’s possible to blog on a completely free platform (like Blogger), the real costs are hidden. You have less control over your design, you often don’t own the rights to your own images, and if you ever decide to upgrade and move to a more professional platform with more powerful tools for growing your blog, you’ll have to pay big bucks to have someone do it properly. Let’s just say…you get what you pay for.
Start with a WordPress blog and you’ll save lots of time, frustration, and in the long run, yes, money.
If you’re nervous about learning WordPress, don’t worry – I’ll introduce you to some super helpful resources in Part 2 of this tutorial where you can learn to your heart’s content.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start a blog!
Your hosting company is the place that stores and delivers the files for your site, and it’s one of the most important decisions you can make for your blog. A good hosting company will load your blog’s pages quickly, have excellent customer service (hopefully with a “live chat” feature during office hours), and will keep regular backups of your site just in case.
I’ve done setup, troubleshooting, maintenance, or design for over 270 WordPress sites, and I’ve had a full range of experiences with hosting companies – from true excellence to total disaster. I now personally use and recommend the company below because not only does my site run lightning fast, but they have reasonable rates and their servers are configured specifically for WordPress. Plus, if you ever need help or support, they’re fantastic.
To get started, click here to go to SiteGround and then click “Order Now.” Since you’re just starting out, their starter package will be a perfect fit.
Order their “StartUp” plan if you’re a beginner. When the time comes and you need a higher level of service, you can just file a ticket and ask them to upgrade you – it’s that simple.
If you don’t already have a domain name (aka “URL” or “dot com name”), this is where you’ll buy that. One reason to love this company is that domain names are free with them when you’re using them for hosting.
A few tips for making a good choice when starting your blog:
So for Step 2, enter your domain name and click Proceed.
If you do already own a domain name (because you’ve purchased it through GoDaddy, eNom, or another registrar), then at the end of this tutorial you’ll visit your registrar to point the domain name here.
Now you’ll just enter your personal details (name, address, etc.) and select a password for your account. It’s a good idea to use a strong password here – and don’t forget to write it down! This is where you’ll enter your billing details, as well.
If you pay for a year in advance, setup is completely free. If you decide to just wait and “see how this blog thing goes” for a few months, they do offer another option for paying monthly, but you’ll have to buy your domain name separately.
You can take a look and see whether the add-on packages are important to you. The only one I feel is a must is Domain Privacy. For $12/year, they’ll hide your personal contact information as the owner of your domain – which means less spam email for you (those spammers are vicious!), and a much higher level of privacy.
And privacy is good.
When you submit your order, you’ll be taken to a waiting area for 10-ish seconds while they set up your account. Then you’ll click Proceed to Customer Area, where they’ll lead you through installing WordPress.
This is where SiteGround does the heavy lifting for you. Just select Get WordPress preinstalled on this account and then Proceed, and you’ll be taken to the next step.
Enter whichever email address you want to use with your site, followed by a username and password. My recommendations?
They’ll prompt you, at this point, to pick a design for your site – in WP speak, a “theme” or “template.” You can pick one if you wish, or just hit Submit. No need to worry about your design here; you’ll be able to take more time in a little while, during your blog’s setup, to weigh your options and make an informed choice on a theme that’s best for your blog.
Here we have it! The URL of your new blog, with your username and password. Do yourself a favor and write that down. Copy your Admin URL (hint: it ends in /wp-login.php) and paste it into a new browser window…so you can head over to your new blog!
If you already had a domain name you had purchased elsewhere, like GoDaddy, eNom, or another domain registrar, you’ll need to log in to that site to change your Domain Name Server (DNS) settings. The process for doing this varies from company to company, so contact your registrar if you need help.
A helpful hint, though: SiteGround will be sending you a welcome email with your new DNS settings listed there. It will look something like this:
Make sure you have those on hand when you contact your registrar or log into their administrative panel.
Once you update your DNS settings, registrars advise that it may take up to 72 hours for your new blog to show up at that URL…though in most cases it takes just a few hours. That will give you plenty of time to check out your different theme options for your blog’s design.
Paste your new blog’s admin URL into a new window, then enter the username and password you created. This will unlock the back end of your site, and VOILA! You’re in like Flynn.
You didn’t think I’d just drop you off at the front door, did you? I have several more posts in this series to help you navigate your first steps in your new WordPress home.
But first –
Would you do me a favor? If you’re finding this series helpful, please share it.
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Check out the rest of the posts in this series, below. I’ve got your back.
How to Start a Blog (you’re here)
Best WordPress Plugins: 15 Essentials Every Blog Needs (Hint: 13 of them are FREE!)
…and once you’ve made it all the way through, check out my favorite Blogging Resources.