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A blog is a great way to connect with other people, express yourself creatively, and maybe make a little income on the side.
Starting a blog for the first time can seem overwhelming, but I’ve got you covered. Follow the step-by-step tutorial below to create a blog of your own!
Step #1: Decide what you want to blog about
Are you going to focus on one particular topic, like budgeting, traveling, or parenting? Or are you going to focus on multiple topics, like all three of those topics together?
You’re not committed to these topics forever – your blog might change over time as your personal interests change. But because there are so many different topics to write about, it’s helpful to have a focus area to direct your efforts in the early stages of your blog.
If you haven’t decided on a topic or topics yet, write down a list of potential blog posts you’d like to write. Then categorize these items by topic. This can help you decide the focus of your blog.
Step #2: Pick a Name for Your Blog
The next step to starting a blog is picking a name. Blog names tend to fall into two categories:
- Topic-specific: The blog name refers to the blog’s primary topic. The topic(s) you picked in Step #1 can help determine a topic-specific blog name. A blog that mostly discusses money matters might be called Pam’s Pennies & Dimes or The Superhero Money Saver.
- Person-specific: Your blog name can simply be your own personal name. Or your blog name could refer to something about you. My blog name (East by Midwest) reflects my Midwest roots and my current status as an East Coast resident.
See How to Choose an Amazing Blog Name for more ideas on picking a name for your blog.
Step #3: Create an Email with Your Blog Name
You’ll need an email address to create your blog account. If you want to, you can use an existing personal email address. But if you’re hoping that your blog will become a business someday, it’s important to treat it that way from the start.
An easy way to separate your personal accounts from your business accounts is to create an email address that’s specific to your blog. You’ll use this email to receive any blog-related emails and to sign-up for any blog-related accounts.
Don’t get too concerned if the email address for your exact blog name is already taken. You can add “The” to the front of your blog name or “Blog” to the end of your blog name to find a unique email address. My blog name is East by Midwest – but that @gmail.com account was taken, so I use firstname.lastname@example.org instead.
Step #4: Choose a Web Hosting Service for Your Blog
To get your blog posted to the web for everyone to see, you need a web hosting service.
Each service had an incredible number of positive reviews. I ended up choosing SiteGround.
I chose them because bloggers were raving about its speedy and thorough customer support. This was important to me because I had zero experience with building and hosting a website. I wanted to know that someone would be there to help me if I got stuck somewhere.
I’ve been really happy with SiteGround and highly recommend using them to host your blog. Here’s what you do to start your blog with SiteGround:
A. Choose a SiteGround Plan
First, go to SiteGround’s website and choose a plan:
- StartUp for $3.95 per month
- GrowBig for $5.95 per month
- GoGeek for $11.95 per month
One of the major differences between the plans is how much traffic the site will support. StartUp supports 10,000 monthly visits to your site, GrowBig supports 25,000, and GoGeek supports 100,000. I like to dream big, but I still like to be cautious, so I went with the GrowBig plan when I first started. But the StartUp plan has everything you need to get your blog going.
B. Enter or Register a Domain Name
After choosing your plan, you’ll enter or register a domain name, which will be the website address of your blog. If you already have a registered domain name from another site, you can enter it into the SiteGround website and click “Proceed.”
If you don’t have a registered domain name yet, you can purchase one through SiteGround for $14.95 per year. Select the radio button for “Register a New Domain.” Then enter the blog name you selected in Step #2 above between the “www” and the “.com.” Now is the moment of truth!
Click “Proceed,” cross your fingers, and hope that your domain name is available! If you get an error message that it’s taken – don’t panic. You can enter variations of your blog name to find a unique domain. Like adding “The” to the beginning or “Blog” to the end (like, The East by Midwest Blog).
C. Complete the Requested Information
You’ll create an account on SiteGround. Here is where you can use your blog-specific email address that you created in Step #3.
Next you’ll enter your client and payment information. Before clicking the final button to complete the deal – you’ll need to consider whether you want to purchase optional features.
One optional feature is domain privacy. When you register for a website, certain information must be made publicly available. If you select the option for “domain privacy,” SiteGround will keep the information that it’s not required to post private. It’s debatable how valuable this option is, but I tend to be cautious when it comes to my personal data. For that reason, I opted for this feature.
A second optional feature is the SitegGround (SG) Site Scanner, which will scan your website daily and notify you if someone hacks your website or inserts malicious code. I opted out of this one, but it might be a good idea if you’re collecting any type of payment or personal information your website.
Click “Pay Now” for the big moment – you have a blog!!
D. Verify Your Account
And to make sure you don’t lose that blog – make sure you verify your account. You’ll get an email at the email address you used to register your blog. It will look something like this:
Click on the link that starts with “http://approve.domainadmin…” This will redirect you back to the SiteGround site. Once there, verify the information listed and click “Verify Information.”
Step #5: Install WordPress
Now it’s time to build your blog! I recommend using WordPress software. It’s free and very popular with blogging websites. That means that there are a lot of tutorials available to help you with any questions.
You can download the WordPress software using SiteGround.
A. Install WordPress using SiteGround
Log-in to your SiteGround account and follow these steps to install WordPress:
- Click on the tab that says “My Accounts”
- Click on the orange button that says “Go to cPanel”
- Once in the cPanel, scroll down to the section that says “AutoInstallers”
- Click on the icon that says “WordPress”
- In the next screen, you’ll see a blue tab in the middle of the screen that says “Install” – click on that tab
B. Register for WordPress
After clicking the “Install” tab, the next screen walks you through the process of registering for the WordPress software. Follow these instructions on that screen:
- You have the option to select an “http” or “https” website address. I recommend the “https” website address, since it’s more secure.
- The domain name should auto-populate. If not, enter the domain name that you registered in Step #4.
- Enter your blog name into the “Site Name.”
- Enter a brief description about your blog into the “Site Description.” You can change this later, so don’t get too worried about what to say here.
- Unless you have or plan on having multiple blogs, you can leave the “Multisite (WPMU)” box unchecked
- Enter the admin user name, admin password, and admin email for this account. *Very Important!!* This will be your login-ID and password, so make sure you know what they are to log into your site later.
- Select your language.
- Decide if you want to limit login attempts. This means WordPress will temporarily lock your account if someone tries to break into it using incorrect passwords. It also means if you enter the incorrect password too many times, WordPress will temporarily block *you* out of your account. If you want this feature (I opted for it), check the box.
- For now, click “None” for “Theme to Install.” The theme is the formatting for your website. You can select from hundreds of free themes after you install WordPress, so no need to try to find a theme right now.
- Unless you’re familiar with the “Advanced Options,” you can skip them.
- Click install!
After the installation completes, you’ll get a message that looks something like this:
One of the great things about WordPress is that you can make edits to your blog directly online. That’s what the administrative URL is – you’ll log-into that website to create blog posts and make real-time edits to your blog. You’ll want to bookmark or favorite that page for easy access to it in the future.
You can log-into your WordPress account directly through the administrative URL and start building your blog! WordPress.org has great tutorials and help forums for any questions you might run into as you’re building your blog.
Congratulations – you’ve created a blog!! I can’t wait to read all your posts!