Thinking about how to start a blog? No frickin' clue of where to start? Not to worry.
Today, I'm going to take you by the hand and show you the seven steps you need to know in order to get your blog up and running.
We're going to setup your blog using Wordpress - one of the most versatile, blogging platforms on the planet.
You might be thinking "Well, I'm not a techie."
But guess what? I'm not either!
So, I'm not going to let you off the hook that easily. Follow me, do the steps, and message me if you have any questions, Cool?
Great! Let me show you how to start your own blog.
What This Blog Tutorial Isn't...
I'm not going to show you how to set up a free blog in this tutorial. There's nothing wrong with free blogging, especially if you're just blogging as a hobby. However, the aim of finishsomthing.com is to eventually turn a blog into a business. So I'm going to show you how to set up a blog that you own.
The great thing about blogs is that it costs very little to set up. You can literally expect to pay an initial startup cost of just under $85.00 ($83.40) for the year! This gets you a blog that you own and control.
Yes, this tutorial contains affiliate links. If you purchase any of the services I recommend via the links on this page, I do earn a commission. However, I am only recommending services that you absolutely need to get your blog up and running. No more, no less. These are also the very services that I'm currently using on my own blogs.
When setting up your own blog or website, there are three basic things that are happening. Here's the simple, bird's-eye-view:
1) Purchase a domain name
2) Get hosting
3) Connect the two
The best way I ever heard this explained was like thinking of your domain as your house and the hosting as the land underneath your house. It's great to have a house, but it would suck to have nowhere to put it. By the end of this tutorial you will have accomplished all three of these things.
How To Start Your Blog - Items You'll Need
STEP 1: Choose A Domain Name
Your domain name is your site's identity and YES it does matter.
But does choosing your domain name matter to the point of over-analysis? To the point where overwhelm causes you to do absolutely nothing? No way!
Please don't let that happen to you, at all costs.
Think about it. What the hell is a "Google?" Why is "Amazon" the name of a site that dominates the online shopping space instead of a National Geographic site about a river? Or an adult site about tall, sexy women? (Shrugs.)
What your site becomes is based on your goals, the content you make, your unique spin on your topic, and the connections you create in your niche. Take as much time as you need to brainstorm which name works best for you.
We're going to use a service called Namecheap to purchase your shiny, new domain name.
Which Top-Level Domains (TLDs) Should You Use?
Don't let this techie word scare you. Top-level domain names are the suffixes at the end of the name you chose.
Think ".com," ".org," ".net," ".biz," etc. When it comes to these names, I think it's best to choose a .com because it's the type that people will search for most often.
What Happens When You Can't Find the Domain Name You Want?
Get creative! In the example above I give a silly example. I was pretty sure Facebook wouldn't be available, but I had to give it a try. Yes, there will be lots of names that are already taken, but there is a domain out there that will suit you.
One strategy that I enjoy is choosing something that says what you do (or what niche you're going to be a part of), but gives you some wiggle room to grow.
Choosing A Domain Name Example...
Here's an example. I have been living in Tokyo for the last ten years (true story) and I know quite a bit about teaching English to Japanese children and adults. I'm not exactly sure whether I want to target children or adults, but let's say I've decided to just focus my English-teaching skills on Japanese speakers.
The word for "English" in Japanese is "eigo." So an example might be "improvemyeigo.com."
This name gives me the flexibility to start off with any aspect of English-teaching that I want! Grammar, vocabulary, listening, etc.
But just by using the word "eigo" I end up targeting Japanese natives who want to learn English. Make sense?
Take some time to sit down, brainstorm, and get creative! Once you've chosen a domain name, let's move on to step 2.
STEP 2: Purchasing Your Domain Name With Namecheap
My go to service is definitely Namecheap.com. I've used them for years and have had zero issues with buying or setting up domains. I have also used name.com but only because they had a premium domain that I wanted (finishsomething.com). Let's do a simple walkthrough of how to get your domain name using Namecheap.
1. Look for the check. This let's you know that the domain name you want is available.
2. Click the "add to cart" button.
1. If you can see a check mark in the cart, this lets you know that your domain name has been added to your cart.
2. Next, click the "View Cart" button.
Click the "Confirm Order" button.
1. Have an account already? Sign in and continue the process of purchasing your domain.
2. Don't have an account yet? Fill out the "Create An Account" form.
Click the "Pay Now" button and fill in your payment details.
Congratulations! You've purchased your domain name! We're a third of the way there. Next, let's move on to getting hosting.
Should I use Bluehost? Siteground? Hostgator? WPX? Or something else entirely?
All I can offer here is my personal experience. I started off as a Hostgator user. Initially, I hadd no problems. Later in the life of my site, as it grew bigger, I had a couple of customer service issues that made me feel like I was just number instead of a person.
As a result, I'm now a Siteground user and I've been very satisfied with it. If one of my sites becomes big enough I will consider either upgrading my Siteground plan or looking into WPX.
Why Siteground Over WPX?
Why would I choose Siteground over WPX if WPX has a better TrustPilot Rating?
Simply put, to reduce your barrier to entry. Siteground is my favorite hosting service for the money. For the price you pay, you get a hosting service that has a great reputation. At the time of this writing, Siteground is ranked in the top ten of out almost 130 hosting services. That speaks volumes about the high quality you're getting for a great price.
Instead of paying $24.99/month (WPX), you'd pay $5.59/month for Siteground's "Grow Big" plan - their middle-tiered pricing plan.
Confused About Which Hosting Company to Choose?
Don't lose too much sleep over it. The great thing about hosting is that it's not set in stone.
As your site grows and your needs change, you can change plans or even hosts if you need to.
I can't speak to any differences in site speed, but Siteground's customer service is top notch, and that matters. For this part of our tutorial, I'll show you how to set up your own blog using Siteground because it's the hosting I use & recommend:
Click the "Web Hosting" button on SiteGround's Homepage.
Choose the plan that fits your budget. I'm currently using the "GoGeek" plan because of how big my largest site is, but I think you can with something smaller if you're just getting started.
1. Click the "I already have a domain" button & enter your domain name.
2. Click "Proceed."
1. Type in your name, email, & personal info.
2. Agree to the terms of service.
3. Click "Pay Now."
Guess what? You're done! You've just secured hosting. You're two-thirds of the way there. Keep up the great work!
Here's what we've done so far:
1) We've created a domain name
2) Secured hosting with a reputable host.
Now it's time to connect your domain name to your hosting service.
STEP 3: Login To Your cPanel
This is where people start getting scared because it's the backend of your website. Honestly, there is no need to panic here because it's straightforward. C'mon, I'll take you by the hand and walk you through it.
Remember the password that you entered in when you were signing up for SiteGround?
You'll need it now.
*If you need more detailed assistance with your cPanel, be sure to click the "How to use your cPanel button" in your Siteground welcome email.
Go to the SiteGround website and sign-in with your username and password.
Click on the "Go to cPanel button."
You'll see a "cPanel Access" popup. Make sure "Access cPanel Securely" is checked and click "Proceed."
There it is! You made it to your cPanel.
STEP 4: Create an Addon Domain Name
In this step let's walk through setting up your addon domain.
Click the "Addon Domains" icon.
Fill out this entire form; it's short and sweet.
1. Enter the "New Domain Name" field (this is just the name of your site without the "www.") - the next two fields (Subdomain or FTP Username & Document Root) will fill out automatically. MAKE SURE THIS IS SPELLED CORRECTLY! Or you'll have to redo it.
2. Enter a password of your choice
3. Reenter your password (or you can use the "Password Generator")
Click the "Add Domain" button
*Write this password down and keep it somewhere safe and secure.
If everything is successful, you'll see this page saying that your addon domain and FTP account have been created.
Double check to make sure your domain's name shows up on the "Addon Domains" list just below the form.
Step 4 is done!
STEP 5: Connect Nameservers
For this step, I recommend being logged in to both your Siteground and Namecheap accounts - it just makes things easier.
We'll start in your Siteground dashboard.
1. In your dashboard, click the "My Accounts" tab.
2. Click the Information & Settings tab.
3. Look for the "Account DNS" info. You'll see two snippets that you're going to need to copy and paste. Start by copying just the area in the top rectangle (the first nameserver).
Switch over to your Namecheap account.
Find your domain name (improvemyeigo.com in this case), and click the "MANAGE" button.
Look for the "Nameservers" section (the circled area).
Make sure to toggle this section to "Custom DNS."
Remember those two rectangles in your Siteground dashboard?
1. Take the first nameserver that you've copied from the "Account DNS" area in Siteground dashboard (that area inside the red rectangle above) and paste it in space #1.
2. Then take the second nameserver, the area in the second rectangle and paste it into space #2.
YES!!! Your Nameservers are connected! It only gets easier from here. Let's move on to Step 6.
STEP 6: Installing WordPress
For the next step, you'll need to log back into your cPanel. If you've forgotten how, you can scroll back up and repeat the process.
Click the WordPress button in your cPanel.
Click "Install Now"
1. Make sure this first box says http://
2. Enter in your site's domain name
3. You can enter in your site's name (optional) - you can also do it later.
4. Enter your site description (also optional) - enter it later if you like
5. CRITICAL STEP: Enter your "Admin Username"
6. ANOTHER CRITICAL STEP: Type in your "Admin Password"
I HIGHLY recommend writing your admin username & password somewhere safe because you'll need them to log into WordPress.
Click the "Install" button to start the process.
Give WordPress time to fully load before doing anything else.
If you've done all the steps correctly, you'll see this message saying "Congratulations, the software installed successfully."
STEP 7: Make Sure Your Site Is Up and Running
The hard part is done. Let's double check to make sure your site is working.
Type your url (http://yoursitename.com) into your address bar; the same way you'd look up any website. You should see a generic WordPress page come up, similar to this one.
Once you see that...IT'S OFFICIAL! You have an functioning WordPress blog that you own and control!
STEP 7: Login To Your WordPress Dashboard
To log into your WordPress dashboard, type in your site's url followed by "/wp-admin." It'll look like this:
You'll get a screen that looks like this. Enter the "Admin username" and "Admin password from Step 6 of this tutorial.
You'll then be able to tinker around in your WordPress dashboard. You can write posts, upload images and do so many wonderful things in WordPress.
Did It Work?
I hope you found this tutorial useful. More importantly, I hope you were actually able to get your blog set up using the steps I've laid out for you. Let me know how it went. You can message me via the contact page.
Or, if you have questions, let me know.