When I started blogging I was travelling S.E.Asia and used it as a way to communicate my travels with my friends and family.
Five years later I now treat my blog as a business and have spent hours learning about what works best for me and my readers. Blogging has been amazing for me and is my way to share my story and how I have changed my life in the last five years.
As I write this post I am at home, concentrating on writing about my Overland adventure to Bhutan researching World Happiness, while running betternotstop.
I have created a life that I love and I’d love to share with you how to start your own blog using my help below. As someone that has been self employed for years, I know how important it is to focus and get the best value service.
I have spent years researching and testing the best hosting and web platform. I use Siteground and wordpress personally so these are the ones I recommend.
Whats the difference between a free blog or a hosted blog?
A free blog is a blog that you set up on a platform like wordpress.org, blogger or blogpost. These sites have domain names (web addresses) that include the name of the platform (such as hannahcox.wordpress.org). The platform also ‘hosts’ your blog, which means that they have ownership of anything you create on that platform.
But if you want to ever make money from your blog or turn it into a business, then choosing the right platform and hosting is so important.
I wanted to turn my blog into a business so taking control of the hosting was a must. This means having ownership of your content and paying a monthly or yearly fee for a hosting service to ‘host your blog’. Imagine it’s the choice between renting or buying a house. If you want to get serious about your blog and your business, you need to look at a hosting service.
It’s really cheap and you can run your own adverts, affiliate links and have control and support over your content. It’s a sure fire way to make your blog viewed as professional. It also allows you to have access to full technical support at your fingertips! If you are looking to start a wordpress blog (my favourite platform) on a budget, then choosing Siteground would be my recommendation. WordPress is the platform for over 26% of websites!
I was previously hosted by GoDaddy. The service wasn’t great, it was pretty expensive and the load time for my site was really slow. After some research I decided to change to Siteground and the transfer of my site was easy and quick.
The basic plan is £2.75 a month, and since my site has been hosted so well I have upgraded my plan £5.45 a month which allows me host multiple websites and one of the ways I have grown my consultancy and events business.
Siteground is a great hosting site and if you sign up using my link I will give you a free one hour skype call. I will give you a beginners workshop on how to use wordpress, plus offer support and advice on building your blog. Plus, if you need any additional support, all you have to do is email me!
Why should I choose Siteground for my WordPress blog?
- It’s really easy to use. Below I give you a step by step guide on how you can set up your own blog today.
- There is 24/7 free technical support. I have used the instant chat on several occasions and the customer service team are brilliant and quick to help!
- It’s super cheap.
- Once you have chosen your domain name and set up your hosting, you can integrate WordPress for free!
- It means that you will be self-hosted. If you want to monetize your blog, then you will want to be self-hosted.
There are many other webhosting companies our there that you can check out, I recommend Siteground because it’s proven to me time and again how good they are.
It’s really easy to start your own blog – you don’t need to pay through the nose to have your own website. I want to show you just how easy it is, so I have created this step by step guide to help you along the way, plus offer a free hour 1 on 1 Skype session and additional follow up email support.
I have been doing this for years, and I know how scary it can be to try and set up on your own. If you have any questions about how to set this up, please feel free to drop me a message and I’ll help you out!
How to start a WordPress blog on Siteground
STEP 1: REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN
The first thing is your domain – the name of your website. I choose ‘betternotstop’ because my Dad told me to always move forward and create my own happiness. Choosing a name can be hard, so you need to give it some thought.
I suggest brainstorming some ideas and then asking friends and family what they think. Do you want something with your name in or something that relates to what you are writing about?
Make your name short and simple, something easy to remember! Give it some serious thought. For me, my name represents respect for my Dad so I can’t imagine changing it. That said, it’s quite easy to change your name if you do what to in the future and transfer your website to a new name. Siteground can help with this, for free. Phil and I originally had a separate website for our Road To Happiness expedition, but chose to interegrate that with betternotstop.
It took less then 30 minutes for me to transfer over all the blog posts, media, add and navigate them to the site and redirect the web link. If all you are doing is changing a name, it takes less then 5 minutes.
Click here to purchase a domain name and create a blog, then carry on with the steps below! A domain name with Siteground costs £9.95 a year. The basic hosting package, of £2.75 a month is all that you need.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR HOSTING PLAN
First you need to say you want a new hosting plan and enter your domain name. This is the name of your blog. If you already own a domain name you can just change to ‘I already have a domain’. Throughout this whole process you can ‘Live Chat’ with the siteground team or call them. Do not get stressed out, this is super easy and they are there to help. So if you need them get in touch!
Enter your blog name, and make sure you choose how you want it to end – ‘co.uk, .com, .info’ there is loads of options so make sure you choose one that works for you.
Siteground will check to make sure that domain is available. If not, no worries! Just come up with a different variation, or try a new ending. SiteGround will also give you some ideas. Once you choose a domain, you’ll create an account and enter in your contact information and payment. I use “.com” since it’s just easier for people to remember.
Choose your hosting plan. Just £2.75 for the ‘startup’ plan which you can always change if you choose to increase your website portfolio.
At the end you’ll see your total payment. This covers you for the whole year. If you want to change it you can that. You can choose a months trial, or just pay month by month.
The best plan to go for is the 12 month hosting plan. It’s cheaper overall then paying month to month and shows commitment from you for your blogging journey.
If you forget to renew your hosting or your bank card expires when you choose the trial or month to month plan you could run into problems. Your website will be down and you risk losing the domain name.
Once you have done this – you’ll get an email confirming the set up – well done you! Easy wasn’t it!
STEP 3: INSTALL WORDPRESS
Now that you have your domain and hosting, it’s time to install WordPress. This is simply showing what platform you want your blog made on. Siteground can set this up for you.
When you get to the customer are you’ll get a pop-up asking if you’d like to have WordPress preinstalled on your account. Click that option and click “proceed.” The Siteground team will be with you the whole way going forward.
Here are my tips for this process.
- You’ll be asked to enter your login details for WordPress. This is your admin email, username, and password. Choose these now and make sure you write them down somewhere safe.
- Choose a WordPress theme. Don’t forget, you can change this whenever you want (and I have some cool ideas below) So just pick one to get started.
This is easy as the Siteground team will do this for you – once complete, you will get another email to your inbox confirming you are ready to go!
Using the username and password you created to login to your WordPress blog.
Visitand enter in your login details.
Well done – you now have your own website!
STEP 4: YOUR DESIGN
I think it is so important to choose a design for your blog that represents you. For most people it’s the first thing they notice. I have changed my blog look several times over the years! I have chosen different free themes and even paid a wordpress developer to build me a custom website which cost me hundreds of pounds.
However, I realised that throwing money on my site wasn’t the solution to making it work. While it is important your site looks good, whats more important is you create great content!
I made the decision recently to use the Genesis Framework. This is the most popular option and it’s what I use on my blog. I also bought a beautiful theme from Restored 316.
All their themes are lovely, and it’s made it really easy to customise and update my blog. Restored 316 also have a fantastic guide to how to use their themes, and when I had a question the Customer Service was quick and really helpful.
There are also free themes through WordPress you can use. On the left hand side of your blog, go to “Appearance” then click on “Themes” then activate which one you want to test.
STEP 5: UNDERSTANDING WORDPRESS
Siteground has fantastic guides on how to navigate and understand wordpress. These tuturials are totally free and really easy to understand. Just visit ‘Resources’ on the top bar in the Customer Area and click on ‘WordPress Tutorial’
The tutorial will talk you through how to add posts, pictures and more to your site. It also discuss your theme and how people will ‘navigate’ (look around) your site.
Take your time doing these tutorials with a pen and paper till you feel confident. Remember, if you sign up through my Siteground link you can also have a free hour 1 on 1 skype session and additional follow up email support from me.
Plus, if you have any questions or need support, Siteground have free live chat, email and phone support available 24/7.
STEP 6: NEXT STEPS
Now that you have the above, you have the foundations to start a blog and a business that you love. What’s important is creating a blog that YOU care about, writing GREAT content and that you ENJOY working on.
The most important thing is to WRITE. Once you have decided on your blog message and what you want to share you can start creating blog posts which people can enjoy and share.
Over the next few weeks I will also be writing blog posts on:
- My Top Blogging Resources
- Finding your Voice
- Growing your Audience
- Creating a Community
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