A Simple Blog Setup Guide with Step-By-Step DirectionsIn this post, I’m going to walk you through exactly how to set up a blog so that you can get out there, create content, and be the editor-in-chief of your own little media company. If you haven’t already, make sure to click here to start your blog. Follow the directions I’ve laid out in this post and you’ll have your blog set up in about 10 minutes. As a brief overview, here’s what we’re going to be talking about in this post:
- Step 1: Pick A Web Host
- Step 2: Pick A Plan, Blog Name, and Extras
- Step 3: Create An Email Account For Your Blog
- Step 4: Link Your Blog To WordPress
- Step 5: Set Up Jetpack For Your Blog
- Step 6: Choose A Theme For Your Blog
Step 1: Pick A Web HostWhen I started my blog, the main issue I had was understanding how to get started. I made a lot of mistakes starting out that made it more of a pain then it needed to be. The good news for you is that you don’t have to go through that pain because I already did it for you. In a nutshell, your blog basically has three parts to it:
- A Web Host (this is the company that hosts your blog)
- A Domain Name (this is your blog URL)
- A Content Management System (this is what you use to write your posts)
Step 2: Pick A Plan, Blog Name, and Extras (How Much Does It Really Cost to Start a Blog?)To start your blog with SiteGround, you’ll first want to select the Shared Web Hosting option (as shown below):
Once you find a domain name, you’ll register the name through Siteground. It’s really important that you buy your domain name through SiteGround. It makes it much easier if you have your web host and your domain name under the same company. If you have your domain name with one company and your web host with SiteGround, it makes it much more of a pain to get things done.
Buying the domain name is cheap. It’ll only cost you $14.95 per year to register the domain name. That’s pretty much inconsequential – anyone can afford that.
The key is to make sure you choose a name for your blog that you like because you don’t want to have to change this later.After you’ve picked out your domain name, you’ll end up at a screen like this one:
You’ll need to choose how long you want your web hosting for. I suggest choosing the 12-month plan, which is the shortest plan you can get. It’ll be cheaper if you get a longer-term plan, but personally, I think 12-months is a good enough time to see if blogging is something you really want to do.
The Domain Registration fee is required at $14.95 for the entire year. That’s what will get you your blog URL.
In the next line is an option for Domain Privacy. I recommend signing up for this. It basically hides your personal information so that random people can’t look you up and find your name and address. It only costs $12 for the whole year, so it’s definitely worth ticking this box.
The last thing to consider is whether you want to sign up for added security with SG Site Scanner. I personally don’t think you need to worry about this when you first start out. WordPress (which we’ll discuss later) offers a free service called Jetpack that should be enough to keep your blog safe.
And that’s it. With that, you’ve now got your Web Host and your Domain Name. You’re 2/3rds of the way to a full blog.
Here’s a full breakdown of your first-year costs:
- SiteGround Registration: $47.40 for a 12-month plan ($3.95 per month)
- Domain Registration: $14.95 for 12-months (~$1.24 per month)
- Domain Privacy: $12 for 12-months ($1 per month)
Altogether, your first year of blogging will cost you a grand total of $74.35 or a whopping total of $6.19 per month. And in exchange, you now own your own media platform and can call yourself the editor-in-chief of your burgeoning media empire.Once you’ve gotten through the blog signup part, you should see a confirmation page that looks the one below:
Step 3: Create an Email Account For Your BlogYou don’t need to, but some people like to have a custom email address that looks something like this: Name@YourBlogURL.com. If you prefer to just create a Gmail address for your blog, then you can skip this part and the bonus section. I actually just use a Gmail address for my email communications, but some people prefer to have a custom email address, so I thought it made sense to walk through that process here. Now that you’ve got your SiteGround account set up, you can now see your SiteGround home screen. Below is what the home screen for your SiteGround account will look like. Click on the My Accounts tab.
Step 4: Link Your Blog to WordPressAfter you have signed up for an account with SiteGround, you should get an email with your order details as follows:
Step 5: Set Up Jetpack For Your BlogThe screen below shows your WordPress Dashboard. This is where all your blogging magic will happen. There’s a lot that can be done here, but to keep this tutorial short and to the point, I’ll just go over two more things. The first will be installing Jetpack. You should see a Jetpack tab on the left sidebar towards the top, as shown in the below screenshot. Click that.
Step 6: Choose a Theme for Your BlogThe last part of this tutorial will show you how to pick a WordPress theme so that your blog looks cool. To see all of the free options you have, click the Appearance tab on the left sidebar, and then click Themes.
Bonus Step: Send Emails From Your Domain Email Through GmailOne of the things I talked about when setting up your custom email address was setting up email forwarding so that you can receive emails in your normal email client. In this section, I’ll show you how to make it so that you can send emails from your normal email, but have them look like they’re coming from your blog email address. To start, log in to your Gmail account and click the setting gear in the top right. Then click Settings.
ConclusionStarting a blog can be confusing. It’s not going to be a walk in the park, so be prepared to dedicate time to understanding all this stuff. The good thing is that people like me have already done this for you. All you need to do is follow in our footsteps. Once your blog is set up, you’ve got a few things you need to do if you want to have a successful blog:
- Write good content! There’s absolutely no way around this. Content is king. You have to write good stuff if you want to have a good blog.
- Write consistently! Nothing will kill your blog faster than to go a long time without writing. It’s going to be hard, but you need to make sure that you keep the content flowing.
- Promote yourself! If you build it, they won’t come – at least not at first. You need to make sure that people know who you are. Go to meetups. Comment on people’s blog posts. Join forums relevant to your topic. The point is, people need to know who you are if you want them to show up.