So you’re ready to start a blog… how exciting! I’ve been blogging off and on since 2012, and it’s been an incredible journey. It’s both fun and rewarding to share your thoughts with the world, and can be a really lucrative venture if you’re smart about monetizing it.
Since the technical part of getting started can be confusing, today’s post will be specifically about how to start a blog with SiteGround, my favourite hosting provider.
We’ll walk through the steps involved in getting set up.
(Psst… if you’d like a broader overview of starting a blog including choosing a niche and name, and getting some of the foundational elements in place like a logo, check out my post The Best Way to Start a Blog in 8 Easy Steps.)
Step 1: Register Your Domain Name
Once you’ve chosen a blog name (and a few back-ups just in case!), it’s time to register your domain name and sign up for hosting.
Your domain is your site’s address or URL. It’s where your site operates and where it can be found on the internet. Website hosting, on the other hand, is sort of like your rent: monthly payments that enable you to operate at that address. While a domain registration is typically an annual payment, hosting is generally charged monthly but paid up front on an annual or multi-year basis.
While you can always buy a domain and hosting from different sources, I’ve found it to be easiest to have them with the same company. This prevents the few extra steps involved in pointing your hosting to an external domain, and just makes things a lot simpler for a newbie.
This walk through will show you how to sign up for both a domain and hosting with the same provider. In this case, SiteGround.
While I’ve used GoDaddy in the past, I’ve since switched to SiteGround and have been incredibly impressed with their customer service. The day I joined, I received a personal phone call from someone at SiteGround welcoming me to their services and asking if there was anything they could help me with.
In the first few months, I used their Live Chat feature at least 10 times! Each time, I received a quick response from knowledgeable staff. They truly went above and beyond by providing me with guidance and links to aspects outside of their scope, like G Suite email questions.
I’m a member of multiple blogger groups on Facebook, and consistently hear positive feedback from others about SiteGround as well. While GoDaddy and BlueHost are longstanding companies in the hosting world, it seems their customer service is lacking, sites go down more frequently, and they aren’t as reliable. SiteGround, on the other hand, is well-known for their customer focus and reliability.
Once there, you’ll see a few options for hosting. This is because we’re going the route of getting both our domain and hosting from the same provider. We’ll cover the intricacies of setting up hosting in the next step. But for now, you’ll just need to choose a plan.
I recommend signing up for the StartUp package (the one on the far left). It should cover everything you need if you’re new to blogging. And it’s also the cheapest! Click the “Get Started” button underneath it.
You’ll be prompted to Register a New Domain or enter if you already have one. Assuming you don’t yet have a domain, keep the radio dial selecting “Register a New Domain” and enter your desired domain name. Since the “www.” and “.com” are already present, enter your site name, without spaces.
For the sake of this walkthrough, we’ll set up a new domain. I’ve entered TestSiteSetup (exciting – I know!) Click “Proceed”. If your domain name isn’t available, SiteGround will let you know and you can choose another one.
Next, enter your email, create a password, and fill out the Client Information section. Scroll down and enter your payment information.
Step 2: Sign up for Hosting
Scrolling down, you’ll see the Purchase Information section.
Plan: This should reflect the plan you selected earlier. As I mentioned above, the StartUp plan is just fine if you’re starting out.
Data Center: This should automatically select the centre closest to your location. Unless you’re using an IP address blocker or if the location seems way off, keep it as is.
Period: Opting for 12 months is good, since it’s the shortest time commitment to secure the $3.95USD/month price. While you can opt for a one month trial, you should ideally give blogging a shot for at least one year. And, the trial option charges you a total of $18.90USD for 1 month given the setup fee. It’s worth the up-front cost since the full year costs $47.40USD (about two and a half times that).
Hosting Price: This will automatically populate with your plan’s monthly price.
Extra Services – Domain registration: As I mentioned, it’s much easier to have your domain and host provider be the same. (And $14.95USD to register your domain is quite standard.)
Extra Services – Domain Privacy: I would highly suggest keeping this one checked. This protects your name and address from being publicly available to anyone who searches for your domain information. The $12USD per year fee is cheaper than I’ve seen with other hosts.
Extra Services – SG Site Scanner: This is SiteGround‘s monitoring service that checks your site daily to ensure it hasn’t been hacked. I added this service since it seemed easier than figuring it out on my own. This one is up to you, though if you don’t select this service with SiteGround, I’d suggest investigating alternatives.
Click “Pay Now”, and you’re all set!
Step 3: Install WordPress on Your Blog
WordPress is completely free and is pretty easy to install. SiteGround even offers the SiteGround Wizard which pre-installs it on your site! Their full tutorial walks you through every step and even shows you how to install a free theme.
If you have any trouble, just use the Live Chat function on the SiteGround website and someone on their team will be able to help you.
There you have it – the key steps involved in getting your blog set up with SiteGround.
For guidance on choosing a theme, creating a logo, and getting some of the other elements set up, check out my post The Best Way to Start a Blog in 8 Easy Steps.
New to blogging? Let us know what your blog is in the Comments below!