Hi loves! Today I am starting a new series here on Keeping Up With Keir. To kick it off, I am going to walk you step by step through how I started up my blog & show you just how you can do so as well! 🙂 Starting a blog is something I always wanted to do, and when I finally took the plunge I couldn’t have been happier. It is a great hobby and has many different opportunities that can come from it.
I wanted to create a step-by-step tutorial to show you how you can start a blog too. Even if you aren’t tech savvy, I’ll walk you through it all and show you how you can start a blog on SiteGround in 10 minutes!
*Some links in this post may be affiliate links, to read my full disclosure policy, click here.
Since you ended up on this page somehow, you’ve admitted that you’re at least kind of interested in starting a blog. It might sound like a totally daunting task, but the best way to find out if you want to have a blog is to just start one. You don’t need to have a whole business/finance/advertisement plan prepared, or even any writing skills, just a little motivation to try something that you could potentially fall in love with.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure by clicking here!
Starting a blog is actually extremely easy. You don’t need to know how to code, though you’ll probably learn a bit just out of curiosity. You don’t need a ton of money (the host I use costs just a few dollars a month, so fill a jar of coins and you’re covered), and it doesn’t have to be a full-time job (I’ll go months without posting, and then post 3 times in a week—you can literally do whatever you want).
While there are some free blogging platforms out there, like Blogger and WordPress.com (there are two versions of WordPress, one is free and the other requires a few dollars a month), I honestly recommend going all the way and starting a self-hosted WordPress blog. Why?
- There are endless possibilities for your blog in terms of design
- If you get really serious and want to branch out even more, you can easily add a shop to your website
- It’s a lot easier to look more professional with a self-hosted WordPress blog than on other platforms
- Tons of bloggers are making the switch to self-hosted WordPress, meaning you’ll be ahead of the game and jumping into a community of people on the same platform as you (so lots of help available!)
- You won’t have to switch over later (which could end up costing a lot more money than you would’ve paid by just starting self-hosted)
Okay, enough chit chat, lets get to the good stuff!
1. PICK YOUR NICHE
Your niche is essentially the topic that you want to blog about, it could be college, recipes, DIY projects, beauty, fashion or really anything that you love!
To find your niche consider asking yourself these questions.
- What do I enjoy talking about? Think of something that excites you. What types of articles are you up late reading about on Pinterest? That is what you need to write!
- What do I have experience in? Maybe you have worked in a certain industry or maybe you have had some hobbies you’ve dug deep into. If you have experience, you are qualified to write about it!
- Is this a topic that I can monetize? If you are going to commit all of the time to write great content for your blog most likely you are going to need to monetize it to justify your time. Almost every niche has income potential, but start brainstorming how you can make money from it.
Once you have a topic or two in mind, start brainstorming your blog name. You want it to be something that your readers will be able to relate with. Think of terms relevant to your topic and to your targeted reader.
Once you have a couple ideas check to see if your domain is available. When you sign up for hosting with SiteGround you get a free domain name! (Free is a college students favorite word.)
2. CHOOSE A PLATFORM
I recommend starting with WordPress.org. You will have more opportunities to customize your site and it opens up all of your options when you want to monetize your site.
With WordPress.org you will need to have “hosting.” This is access to the server that will run your blog. Think of it like this, your blog is your apartment, your domain name is your address and the hosting is your landlord. Fortunately, hosting is super inexpensive. You can get amazing hosting for less than $4 a month! Don’t we all wish rent was that cheap 😉
3. SET UP YOUR BLOG
The host that I use is Siteground. They have amazing stats and also are extremely affordable without compromising the overall value of what you are paying for. In this tutorial I am going to walk you through how to set up your blog, so you can start sharing with the world!
WHY START A BLOG WITH SITEGROUND?
1. Their Uptime Is Incredible.
One of the worst things that can happen as a blogger is to have your blog go down. Other hosting companies have frequent outages, but SiteGround has 99.9% uptime, which is pretty dang incredible. (My blog went down once for an unknown reason, and I immediately was able to chat with tech support online and it was up and running in no time!)
2. Their Customer Service Is Fabulous
No more waiting to chat with a representative for an hour. SiteGround’s tech support is lightning quick and super helpful. They can help you setup your WordPress site in under 10 minutes. Their service is available 24/7 and you can talk with tech support via phone or in an online chat (I always opt for the chat because I hate talking on the phone. I know, I’m a big baby).
3. Free Domain Name
When you sign up for hosting with SiteGround you get a free domain. Domain names run about $15 a year, so this is an awesome incentive!
Are you ready to get started? Follow these simple steps and you can have your blog setup in about 10 minutes!
First, click here to visit SiteGround.com so you can follow along with the tutorial! This will take you to their landing page and already you can see how simple it is to navigate. We will explore some of the other pages later, but for now click on the “Sign-up” button to get started.
STEP 1: CHOOSE A PLAN
The first and most basic plan is the StartUp Plan. As the name suggests, this is what you should start with when you are just starting out.
STARTUP PLAN (Perfect for beginners, great price and has all the essentials!)
The StartUp plan costs only $3.95 a month! That is a steal for starting your own business! + it comes with a free domain. This includes,
- One Website
- 10GB Web Space
- 10,000 Visits Monthly
- Plus, all of the essential features.
This package costs $7.95 a month, which is still a great deal since you get the basic features plus premium.
I personally recommend trying the GrowBig plan. This will give you even faster customer service response times and priority service which is so helpful when you are starting a new blog. The Grow Big plan includes,
- All of the features of the StartUp Plan
- Hosting for Multiple Sites
- 20GB Web Space
- Best for up to 25,000 Monthly Visits
- Extra Fast Response Times
- Premium Support
- The Super Cacher – This helps your site run faster which improves your SEO ranking with Google and helps keep your readers on your site.
Ready to take the blogging world by storm? The biggest SiteGround plan is the GoGeek plan, which costs $14.95 a month. This includes the basic features, premium features, and the geeky advanced features. In addition to the features of the GrowBig plan you get,
- 30GB Web Space
- 100,000 Visits Monthly
This is a great option if you already have a lot of traffic to your blog each month and want to switch from another host or if you anticipate a high amount of traffic to your blog when you launch.
If you hover over the highlighted and underlined feature links, you can specifically see what you get with each feature.
Continue by clicking on the Order Now button using the StartUp plan which will bring you to Step 2.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN
A domain name is important since it defines your brand. As a standard rule, domain names should be simple. You can’t make it complicated or else people won’t be able to find you or remember your domain name. (P.S. Don’t forget you get your domain for free when you sign up!)
You can use your own personal name as the title of your blog, or even use a catchy phrase just as long as it is related to your blog and what you are talking about. Just remember to keep everything simple and straight to the point. (I chose Keeping Up With Keir as this blog is literally about keeping up with me, straight to the point. 🙂 )
Here you can enter your existing domain name, or register one for free upon sign up. Type it in and the website checks if that domain name is still available. You can also pick your domain extension such as .com, .org, etc (however, if possible I recommend going with .com). Once you have one that’s still free to use, then you’re good to go.
STEP 3: REVIEW AND COMPLETE YOUR INFORMATION
Account Information and Client Information
Payment Information and Purchase Information
Extra services, and under here you can choose to select or unselect the extra features that you might need or might not need on your blog. For the most part, the basic features are fine. To remove the extra services just uncheck the boxes. (Be sure to leave the Domain Registration box checked! This will give you your domain name for free.) At the bottom, it will tally your costs and give you your total amount.
Below this you need to check off the box that you have read their Terms of Service.
If everything is understood then go ahead and click on the Pay Now button.
Congratulations! You can now have hosting for your blog! All you need to do is to install WordPress and get creative. It is pretty simple to set up, but if you are technophobic, guess what? The tech team at SiteGround will set it up for you!
All you have to do is go here and click on “Live Chat.” One of the ultra friendly SiteGround representatives will say, “hello.” and you just need to ask them to set up your WordPress site and send you your login details. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. This process will take a max of fifteen minutes and then you can access your beautiful new site!
Once they send you your login details go to www.yournewsite.com/wp-admin and login.
If you would rather install WordPress on your own follow the steps below.
Click on “WordPress” in the Autoinstaller section.
Then click the blue “Install” button.
On the next screen fill out the following:
Choose Protocol: most likely it is http://
Choose Domain: The domain for the site you are setting up
In Directory: Leave this section blank
Site Name: Anything to help you remember which site this is. Note: you can update this later.
Site Description: A brief description of your site. Note: you can update this later.
Admin Username: You will need to remember this! Write it down and keep it in a safe place.
Admin Password: You will need to remember this! Write it down and keep it in a safe place.
Admin Email: Your email address.
Language: Your preferred language.
Choose a Theme to Install: You can install a theme here or on the backend of your WordPress site.
My theme is the Madison Theme by Pish & Posh Studios. Her themes are SO cute, highly affordable and offer SO many customization options. She even has lifetime support. 🙂
I would recommend investing a little more and purchasing one that comes with the Genesis framework. Genesis has become the standard for WordPress sites and there are many inexpensive ($25-$35) themes out there! (PSSSSSSTTTT! All of Pish & Posh’s themes come with the genesis framework included (a $60 value)! WOO!)
Now using the username and password you just created go to http://www.yournewblog.com/wp-admin (your domain) and login!
See that wasn’t as hard as you thought! You now have your very own blog!
STEP 4: START BLOGGING!
Now that your blog is all set up you’re ready to start posting! Here are some tips for successfully launching a blog:
- Have at least 4-5 posts already published before you officially promote your blog, that way your viewers have more than one post to look at!
- Don’t stress about page views at first, things will build momentum naturally!
- Pinterest is your best friend!
- Interact with other bloggers and support each other.
STEP 5: SEND ME YOUR LINK!
I want to see what you have created! Send me the link to your new blog so I can check it out and add it to my list of blogs to read.
Whew, that was a long one! I hope it was concise and easy for you to follow along! Have questions? Comments? Leave them in the comments below or contact me from the contact page here on my blog. The next post in this series will be all about…. PLUG-INS! WordPress Plug-ins are vital to your blog an I can’t wait to share with you a few of my favorite!