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Starting a WordPress Blog
Have you been wanting to start a WordPress Blog but the thought just seems too overwhelming? Starting a blog is essential if you want to start a business. A blog helps get the word out about you. Your blog is also where you have a voice, can display your services and talents, and provide a way for others to contact you.
If you follow the steps below, you will no longer wonder how to start a WordPress Blog but will be able to take action. This tutorial will walk you through step by step how to set up a WordPress blog in no time.
If you are ready to start a blog, the first thing you will need to do is find a host. Hosting is important because it provides a place for your blog to reside. Some popular places where people choose to host their blogs include Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace. However, none of those sites are self-hosted. You will want your blog to be on a self-hosted platform, such as WordPress (WordPress.org, not WordPress.com) for a few reasons.
I never recommend WordPress.com as you don’t actually own your website when you use their platform – WordPress.com owns it. And since they own it, this means they can do as they please with your account/blog. They can disable it at any time and where will this leave you? Although WordPress.com may be easier to get up and running initially and is an easy way to create a blog, there can be issues if you want to create an income from your blog. They have restrictions on themes, plugins, and advertising. With your own self-hosted blog, you have full control.
If you’re a new blogger in search of hosting, I highly recommend getting set up with SiteGround. I use them myself and have never had any issues with them. They also are very prompt in addressing any questions or problems, and give many options to choose from to contact them such as through online live chat, phone, and ticket submittal. They also respond back pretty darn quick. I’ve only used the live chat and ticket submittal and they always get back to you within minutes. Or they will let you know quickly if your issue needs further research. Their support team is top notch.
When it comes to hosting your website, you don’t necessarily want to go with the cheapest option. Sure, you may save a few bucks but in the end is it worth it? When it comes to your business you want a reliable, fast, and secure site. SiteGround offers all those things. Hosting companies that offer cheap services often have poor performance. With SiteGround the price is not only affordable but they are a quality hosting company you can depend on.
Because of their great good customer and reliable service, I can’t recommend them enough. I’ve heard horror stories about some hosting companies, so I feel confident giving my recommendation for SiteGround. For only $3.95 per month, you can purchase their beginner plan which is really all you need when first starting out anyway.
Another plus about SiteGround is how easy it is to set up your blog with WordPress. They make it super simple and easy with the SiteGround Wizard. You can literally have your blog set up with WordPress in a few minutes. It took me only 10 minutes when I set mine up.
By the way, did you know that as of July 2018 Google penalizes any site that doesn’t have an “SSL certificate” installed? An SSL certificate helps ensure that data transmitted between computers and servers stays secure and private. Those that go to your blog may even get a warning that your blog address is unsafe if you don’t have an SSL certificate. You do not want this to happen! But don’t worry, SiteGround offers you an SSL certificate that’s included in your hosting package. All the more reason to choose SiteGround.
Please note that I won’t ever recommend any product that I don’t believe is high quality or isn’t something that would benefit you and your business.
Start a WordPress Blog on SiteGround
Click on this link to go to SiteGround.
Follow these steps to set up your blog.
There are 3 hosting plans which are:
- The StartUp plan: perfect if you are just starting out and only have one website. Don’t worry you can grow into this one. It’s a good choice if you have less than 10,000 visitors per month
- The GrowBig plan: gives the option to have multiple websites as well as other great features. You get a basic backup and restore service with this option and it’s ideal for those with less than 25,000 visitors per month
- The GoGeek plan: if you have a large site, have e-commerce, or have advanced needs such as staging or GIT integration this is the plan you should go with. By the way, congratulations if you need this plan! This means you have arrived! You can host as many websites as you need with this plan, get a premium backup and restore service, gets tons of space, and is great for 100,000 or less visitors.
I currently have the Grow Big plan because I have more than one blog.
My recommendation is to start with the basic plan, the StartUp Plan. You can change your plan at any time as your site grows. If you change before your term is up, you just pay the difference in price for the time you have left.
You can see a visual comparison of the 3 plans below.
Now time to head on over to Siteground where you can click on “get started” on the plan you have chosen.
Choose a Domain
Your domain name is the name of your blog/website. Be sure to choose wisely when thinking of your name. Don’t make it too long. People will not want to type out a long name to get to your website. Make the name something that people are likely to remember. Better yet, head on over to Google, and do some research on keywords that people search for. Then try to implement that keyword into your domain name. Take your time in thinking about your name and don’t make up a name on a whim.
If you already have a domain name, then make sure that you check the box to say that you do and it will transfer over.
Once you have picked out a plan, it’s time to register your domain name. You can register a new domain through SiteGround for $15.95, or you can transfer one over for free when you begin the registration process.
Enter Your Information
Once you’ve chosen a hosting plan and decided on a domain name it is time to enter your information.
You can choose how long you would like to pre-pay for SiteGround’s hosting services at the introductory rate and can lock in the rate for up to three years. I pay annually as I do not like to lock myself in no matter how great a company is.
In addition to choosing the length of your initial contract, you can also choose any extras, such as Domain Privacy. Domain Privacy is so that your personal information such as address and phone number does not show up when people look at your domain information. Another extra I like is SG Site Scanner which monitors your website and lets you know if you have been hacked.
Both services offer more peace of mind and privacy in different ways. The choice of extras is up to you.
Your total amount will show and then you will need to check at least the first box below. I recommend also checking the second box to receive news and updates. Afterward, just click the “pay now” button.
Yay! You have now set up your account with Siteground! Now the next step is to set you up with WordPress.
Once you pay the final bill your account will be created.
After you sign up for your WordPress hosting package you will receive all the necessary information you need to log in.
Setting Up WordPress
You have 2 choices for setting up your blog with WordPress. You can use the Siteground Wizard to install WordPress or install WordPress via Softaculous. Either way is easy. However, installing WordPress via the Siteground Wizard is the simplest way.
Once you log in to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to start a new website on your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button. This will allow you to go ahead and set up WP via the SiteGround Wizard.
If for some reason you forget to click on the Customer Area or want to connect your site to WordPress later then you can install WordPress via Softaculous.
I’ve included how to install WordPress via the SiteGround Wizard and via Softaculous for your convenience below.
Installing WordPress via the SiteGround Wizard
To install WordPress using the SiteGround Wizard, first access your Customer Area.
Once you login to your Customer Area for the first time, you will see a pop-up asking you if you want to start a new website on your account. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.
A new section will appear where you should enter the login information for your new WordPress application. Once you are ready click on the Confirm button.
Next, choose what enhancements you wish to add to your account (if any). When you are done with this step click on the Complete Setup button.
That’s it! You can now go to the front page of your site and check out the newly installed WordPress application.
Installing WordPress via Softaculous (if you want to install later)
Log in to your cPanel account.
To do that go within the Siteground site, go to the ‘My Accounts’ tab and then to the red button that says, ‘Go to cPanel’.
Find the Softaculous icon under the Autoinstallers section.
Next, in the ‘Autoinstallers’ section, click on ‘WordPress’.
Once you click on the Softaculous button, you will be redirected to a page where you must choose the application you want to install. Click the WordPress icon in the list of applications.
On the next page, click the Install tab at the top of the page to specify that you want to perform a brand-new WordPress installation.
After you have clicked on Install, fill in the information on the page. Enter the required fields for your site – title, description, administrative username and password, administrative e-mail etc. and click on the Install button. You should use a strong password to make sure your admin area is secure from hacks and attacks.
At the bottom of the page, ignore where it says about choosing a theme. I would recommend choosing your theme within your site once it’s all set up. I show you how to do this further down the post. Click on ‘Install’ at the bottom.
The automated installation process will proceed and once done you will see a page informing you of the successful completion of the installation. You can use the Administrative URL link to automatically log in your newly installed WordPress application:
You’re all done!
If you Already Have a Website and Just Want to Switch Hosting Service to Siteground
Do you already have a website but are tired of your hosting service and just want to switch over to Siteground hosting?
The easiest way to migrate your site is to use Siteground’s Migrator plugin. Just the thought of moving themes, plugins, and content to a new host can be scary! At SiteGround, you also have the option to request a manual website migration by one of their support professionals. This service is even complimentary for your first site on their GrowBig and GoGeek plans. However, this can take more time because it depends on the availability of their workers. That’s why SiteGround offers the Migrator plugin.
Regardless of technical skill, this is a good solution because it’s so easy. You can transfer all your sites to one account. Here’s how to do it:
This tutorial will show you how to use the SiteGround Migrator plugin to move a WordPress site from any other hosting company to your SiteGround account. You should note that this solution is not suitable for migrating from a localhost environment and Multisite installations!
The process is very straightforward and easy to follow. Read on for detailed instructions.
Step 1: Generate a migration token in SiteGround cPanel
First, you need to generate a Migration Token that will tell their system which account and folder you want to transfer your site. To start, log in to your cPanel account and go to WordPress Tools -> WordPress Migrator.
On this page, you will see a list of all your domains and subdomains. Select the domain you want to use and add a path if needed (if your WordPress site is installed on yourdomain.com/blog for example). Hit the Generate button.
You will receive a long string of symbols – the Migration Token. It’s unique per each transfer and has all the information our system needs to start moving your files and databases.
Step 2: Install SiteGround migrator plugin to your WordPress
Once you have the Migration Token, log in to the WordPress installation you want to move to SiteGround. Install and activate the free SiteGround Migrator plugin from the official WordPress plugin repository.
IMPORTANT! Make sure that your WordPress application has a valid email so you can receive notifications about the success of your transfer (You can edit your admin email in your WordPress admin panel -> Settings -> General tab).
Step 3: Paste the migration token in the plugin to start the migration
Once you have the plugins installed, select the SG Migrator menu on your left column.
Now, paste the Migration Token you’ve generated in the first step and press the Initiate Transfer button.
That’s it! The system will create a copy of your account, move it to their servers and install it for you. .You can follow the progress in the plugin interface:
Step 4: Check your website and update NS records to finish the migration
Once the transfer is finished, you will receive instructions on how to complete the transfer both on the confirmation screen and via email. Siteground creates a temporary URL for each transferred site that can be used for 48 hours to check how the site looks and functions in the new location. If everything looks OK on the temporary link, they recommend switching the DNS settings of the domain to point to your SiteGround account. The new DNS settings will be displayed in the plugin and in the email they send you. You can also get the DNS settings at any time from your SiteGround User Area.
IMPORTANT! Do not make any changes to your site for 48 hours after switching DNS settings to avoid data loss during the propagation time.
Of course, if you are transferring your site to a domain that is already pointing to SiteGround, you do not need to make changes to the DNS settings after the transfer.
How to Access your New Site
To access your new blog you will want to go to http://yournewdomain.com/wp-admin, filling in your domain name, of course. Then just enter your login information and you will be in your WordPress dashboard.
See how easy and effortless it is?!
Installing a Theme
There are tons of free themes to choose from at http://wordpress.org/themes.
Free themes are okay, but, premium themes are easier to customize and offer a lot more customization. One of the best is Elegant Themes and Themify Drag and Drop themes.
Themify is a great option as their themes allow for the best in customization and are feature rich with all types of widgets, components, and elements to make a truly useful site.
Also, they feature the Drag and Drop technology that allows you to easily and quickly create a site without messing with code and complicated setups.
In general, premium themes are better because Google prefers sites on premium themes, they’re designed to bring you income, they’re mobile friendly, you don’t need tech skills, and you have the support of the theme developer and community. However, don’t get caught up on this if you can’t afford premium themes. You can still be successful and design a good sight with free themes.
The first thing you need to do when you want to install a new WordPress theme is to log into your site admin page. Once there, go to Appearance -> Themes.
All the themes you currently have installed will be here. To add another theme, click on the Add New button.
You can use the search field to find more themes or one that suits you better if you don’t like what’s already there in your dashboard. Most times, you will find a few themes that WordPress has already uploaded in your Theme section.
You can choose preview to see how your website will look with that theme. Once you choose which theme you want to use for your site, click the Install button.
Once WordPress downloads and installs the theme for you, you can then click the Activate button to activate the theme.
Uploading a theme you already have
If you have a theme that’s not listed in the WordPress directory, you can simply upload it from the Themes -> Install Themes section in WordPress. To do this click on the Upload Theme button at the top of the page.
Now, click the Browse button, select the theme you want from your local computer and press the Install Now button.
In a few seconds, WordPress will upload and extract the theme zip folder for you. All you need to do next is to press the Activate link under the message to enable the theme on your website.
You can now go to the front end of your site and see the newly activated theme.
If you’re first starting out you may feel intimidated and want to just use one of the free themes by WordPress. This is perfectly fine if you just need a simple website. But if you want to be able to customize your website or create a more appealing site, you may want to purchase a theme. Themes can be changed at any time. Just be sure you know how to do so safely (or hire someone) without losing any of your content and settings.
Essential WordPress Settings
After installing WordPress successfully “now what”? you may ask.
Well, now you need to apply some settings so that your site will run as smoothly as possible and be set up for SEO.
Change your WordPress username after installing WordPress. You don’t want your site to be vulnerable, so this is a must. The default is set to admin. Personalize it and change it to something you like and can remember.
Login to your WordPress dashboard > user (on left sidebar) > your profile.
There you can change your WordPress username.
You should always change your password after installing WordPress. You can do this on the same window where you’ve changed your WordPress Username.
Go to WordPress menu on left sidebar > setting > general.
After clicking on general, a window will open. On this window change the following things.
- site title
Whatever site title is there replace that with your blog’s name.
By default, your WordPress blog tagline is “just another WordPress site” which is not good for your branding and also not good for SEO. So replace it with your blog tagline. Since my website is about entrepreneurship and making money online I created a tagline that I feel encompasses those 2 topics.
My blog’s tagline is “Escape the 9 to 5 working smarter not harder “.
- WordPress address (URL)
This is your blog’s URL or blog’s web address. Put your blog URL here in this field. Your blog URL should be https://domain.com. For me this would be:
- site address (URL)
If your blog’s homepage is different from the WordPress installation directory you have to enter your blog’s homepage address here in this field.
You can do this on the same window (WordPress dashboard > setting > general).
- Email address
On the same window enter your email address in the email field. This email address should be the one where you want to get notification of new users of your blog.
- User Registration
If your blog is a single-authored blog, then you don’t need this setting. But if your blog is multi-authored blog or if you allow guest posting in your blog then you need this setting.
Tick off the anyone can register tick box under the membership option in general setting window to allow multiple authors in your blog. Set the new user default role as a contributor.
Keep in mind allowing multiple authors will also allow the spam registration.
On the general setting window you can set the language also.
If your target audiences are global then set international language like English (us).
If your target audiences are local, then set this language as your local language.
Set your time zone so that your scheduled post goes online timely.
For setting time zone login to your WordPress dashboard > setting > General.
And look for the time zone field.
I recommend setting your time zone as EST (eastern standard time) or as your local time.
- Set Date and Time Format
On the same window that is WordPress dashboard > setting > general, set your preferred date and time format.
- Default Post, Page and Comment
When you first install WordPress, you’ll see a default post titled Hello world, and a default page and a default comment. You should delete those things to make your WordPress ready to publish your blog posts.
For deleting default post, go to the left sidebar of WordPress dashboard > posts > all posts.
Now select the post and click on trash to delete the post.
For deleting the default page go to the left sidebar of WordPress dashboard > pages > all pages.
Now select the page and click on trash to delete it.
At last click on comments and delete the default comment by following the same procedure.
- Delete Unused Theme
After installing a new theme, you shouldn’t leave your unused WordPress theme there because this will slow down your blog.
Delete unused themes from your WordPress directory.
For deleting themes, go to the left sidebar of your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes.
Now select the unused theme and hit on the delete button.
Keep at least one default theme so if the current theme somehow doesn’t work then the default theme will help you recover your site somewhat.
- Delete Unused Plugin
You WordPress installed with some default plugins depending on the installation process and your host provider.
Delete those plugins which you are not using to increase site speed.
- Discussion setting
Discussion setting has four sections.
- Default article settings
- Other comment settings
- Email me whenever
- Before a comment appears
For these settings go to WordPress Dashboard > Setting > Discussion.
Default article settings
In the default article setting you should tick off all the checkboxes.
Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article – If you linked any blog in your post it’ll attempt to send them a notification.
Allow link notification from other blogs – When someone links your blog anywhere in their website allowing this will send you a notification.
Allow people to post comments on new posts –Allowing it will allow your reader to post a comment on your post.
- Setup permalink
Permalink is a URL of a post or page. It isn’t SEO friendly so you’ll want to change it.
Go to your WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks.
Click on “post name” radio button to change the default permalink.
Remember that once you publish your post don’t change the permalink for that post. It’ll harm your blog’s SEO.
- google analytics
One of the most important elements of blogging success is to understand your blog readers. If you want to track statistics and more regarding your site and visitors, then you’ll need to install Google Analytics on your site. There is also a plugin.
- Verify Your Site Ownership on Google Search Console
It helps your blog to be found on google search results. To make this easier, use the Google Webmaster Console plugin. Just go to the Plug-in section of your website and do a search for the plugin and install it. It will instruct you on what to do.
- Update WordPress User Profile
This is the author profile which we most often see below the blog post.
In this setting, you need to provide your name, email address, display name, bio, Gravatar etc.
For this setting go to WordPress Dashboard > Users > your profile.
Enter the required information in the opened window.
You can create a Gravatar profile in this setting window by clicking on the link provided there. The gravatar is a profile picture and is useful for branding.
A logo is a major part of branding. Create a logo and upload it to your blog header.
For uploading a logo in your WordPress blog go to Dashboard > Appearance > Customize > Site identity and click on select image button to upload your logo.
Here are some standard plugins you should install to keep your site running smoothly. At a bare minimum these are the essential ones to install:
Akismet – This plugin protects you from the spam.
Google Analytics Dashboard – See above regarding this plugin
WP Supercache – This plugin will help your site loads faster.
Yoast SEO – For SEO optimization
WPSmush – Images can significantly slow down your website. WP Smush allows you to optimize images without losing quality.
JetPack – useful for auto-publishing your post on social media.
iThemes Security: It’s straightforward to use and has a quick setup that makes a number of important security tweaks with a single click
- Add google XML sitemap
Adding Google XML sitemap to google search console allows your site to be indexed on google search results. You have to create an XML sitemap of your blog to submit it to google search console. There is a plug-in you can use for this that will do most of the work for you.
You can use the Yoast SEO plugin to create your blog’s XML sitemap. If you have installed some other SEO plugin besides Yoast, and that one does not allow you to create an XML sitemap, then use the XML sitemap plugin instead.
To generate a sitemap go to XML sitemap menu on the Yoast plugin and follow the instruction there.
I hope this How-To session assists you in setting up your blog! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or difficulties. I’m no techie or expert but I have gained some experience as I’ve gone along my blogging journey and may be able to help.
Once you gain experience you’ll gain more knowledge and start applying other settings.
Please share your thoughts and comments. I am excited to learn about your blog, experiences, and what is working for you. Setting up a blog whether for a business or hobby can be fun and fulfilling.
Do you need more help setting up your blog? Then take the FREE class on how to set up your WordPress Blog.
Welcome to Blog World!