How To Start A Blog from absolutely nothing. ULTIMATE 2020 guide (with photos)

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If you've ever wondered – how do I start my own blog?

This post is just for you.

This tutorial is for anyone who doesn't have any experience with blogs or websites, but would love to start their own.

Just a quick note – at their core, there isn't much difference between a blog or a website. They both require the same foundations and only really differ in how the content is presented.

A blog is usually presented chronologically – from newest to oldest, a website or magazine is usually presented as a collection of items all at once.

It can get a bit overwhelming if you're new to this, but hang in there.

If you don't have much idea what a blog is or how in the world you'll actually start one, i'll show you how to do it right now from ground zero.

What Topic Should Your New Blog To Be About?

Before we can go any further, let's talk about what exactly the topic of your new blog might be.

A few examples might be:

  • My favorite travel destinations
  • How to train your dog
  • Cookie recipes from heaven
  • Harley Davidson motorcycles
  • Smart Home Technology
  • Hiking In The Mountains
  • Gemology
  • Home coffee roasting
  • Math
  • Fishing
  • Hiking in Mexico

This is a random list, but you get the idea. The more random the better (sometimes!)

What do you enjoy doing?

If you had $100,000 and had to spend it all on you, what would you buy? What do you do on your days off for fun?

To see if your blog idea will work, try creating a mind map of the blog topic and expand it as much as you can.

I've done a demo mind map if I were thinking about writing about Harley Davidson motorcycles. It's a bit messy, but you can see how I've generated a bunch of content ideas all focused around Harleys.

You can see how each topic can be expanded to become more specific. So you could have a category as general as gear, then narrow that down to helmets, then you could:

  • Review helmets on the market
  • Post up good helmet deals or sales you find
  • Write about new helmets that have new unseen features
  • Helmets that have bluetooth MP3 headphones built in
  • Helmets that aren't too hot to wear in the summer
  • Recommend helmets that beginners should check out
  • Which helmet is the safest?
  • Are helmets with built in sun visors good?
  • How do you store your helmet when you aren't riding?

There's a lot of ways to talk about a simple motorcycle helmet!

Try doing this with a few topics you're considering to write about. If you know loads about it, it'll make writing the content easier.

Now there are two routes you can go here.

You can try and monetize your blog or not.

The answer you give to that play a large factor on what your blog topic will be, or maybe more correctly how specific your blog topic should be.

If you love to write and would like to share your thoughts with the world – and not worry about making money – blog about whatever you want. If you love dogs, blog about dogs. If you love archery, go for it. Cooking pies? Do it!

If you think you might want to try and make money from your blog, or making money will be one reason you're blogging (but not the primary reason), you need to get specific with your blog topic.

From experience, I'd really recommend choosing your blog topic to be as specific as you can. As an example…

  • General –  A blog about chocolate
  • Focused – A blog about dark Belgian chocolate
  • Super Focused – A blog about dark Belgian chocolate recipes to make at home
  • Super-extra Focused – A blog about dark Belgian chocolate recipes to make at home that are lactose and sugar free

I know in the mind map example above I laid it out from general (helmets) to much more specific content ideas (cool helmets to wear in the summer with bluetooth speakers).

I think eventually you should have a well rounded assortment of content about whichever niche you pick, but at first, start super focused so you can get posts to rank and see some traffic.

Just so you know, getting traffic is a competition.

It'll be easier for you to compete and get traffic if your blog covers a topic in super detail.

I won't go into this much more right now – that'll be for later – but just trust me that the more specific your blog is – but not overly specific – the easier it will be for you to show up on Google searches and in turn get visitors.

It Is Not All About The Money

Blogging really shouldn't be about the money, it can be a motivator, but I feel that it should not be the primary motivator. It's just not sustainable.

Making a successful website requires time. There aren't any shortcuts, get rich quick or overnight successes. You have to be in it for the long haul and consistently build your online presence.

I've created several affiliate product blogs and it just didn't work for me. I can't write entertaining and valuable content about coffee machines, laptops or blenders.

I tried.

I got a few sales.

But you just end up with generic content that is mostly fluff.

When you blog because you enjoy what you do, the quality of the content you produce gets better and better. People can literally read your emotions and your enthusiasm and depth of content comes clearly through with each sentence you write.

People don't read physics text books at bedtime, they read novels – words that draws them in and keeps them reading.

Another thing – if you know what you're talking about and can write from your head instead of referencing other sources continually, you'll find that content literally flows out of you.

That's why this article is well over 5,300 words!

I think blogging should be a balance of writing about something you enjoy and crafting blog posts that can potentially generate money.

How Much Money Can You Make With A Blog?

It depends on the niche, your content and the audience's spending potential.

Try asking how much money can you make with a job?

It depends!

Some bloggers earn several thousand dollars a month ($20,000+). Some bloggers earn a few hundred. Some bloggers earn a few bucks. A lot of bloggers earn nothing.

You can make good re-occurring money with a blog or website, but you have to make sure your chosen niche, your audience spending potential and your content are done right.

I'll show you why each one of these are important.

Niche

Some niches have more potential to earn more money than others.

For an example, having a niche of home crafts will include mostly low-cost products. There might be the odd expensive product like a Cricut, but how often will people buy a Cricut? Probably only one time.

Choose a niche that offers a range of products at a range of prices that people need often.

Audience Spending Potential

Taking the home crafts niche further, the audience would be stay at home moms, grandmothers or daughters that love to create neat craft items.

They might love crafting…

But is this a lucrative audience?

With an average salary, they won't have tons of cash just to spend on just craft items and will probably be watching their dollars and where they go. Hobbies like crafts would probably take a back seat and not be something they feel they to spend money on every month.

Content

If your content isn't done right, your audience will be less likely to click through on your links and buy the products you are promoting. Writing for your audience is essential and knowing their pain points will be the factor that makes you money with your blog – if that's what you want to do.

For the craft example, maybe the pain point is that there's such a huge selection of products they are overwhelmed for choice. Your blog can create content on the top wood etching tool to help them narrow down which item would be the best one.

Or show them why your favorite glue gun is the best.

But still, even after all this, the niche has mostly inexpensive products, the audience doesn't have much money to spend on them and your content – even if it's awesome – won't convert many of these visitors into sales because wood etching tools aren't essential…..and if they do buy it, they will only buy it once.

So what would be a good niche, audience and content?

Niche

Let's look a the pets niche – specifically, dogs.

It has a huge range of products – from cheap toys to super expensive dog beds and training tools. It has something for everyone, at every price and there's plenty of sales happening all the time. You can promote a wide range of items and it'll never go out of fashion.

People will need dog items year round, every year.

Audience

Let's look at the audience: All sorts of people own dogs. From budget friendly dog lovers to high-earning executives. Even people with not much cash to spend freely buy dog items because they treat their dogs like family.

Some people have avoided human children and adopted a furry child instead.

They'll spend money on their dog without much hesitation. Even going into a sub-niche of dogs – dog food – it's is a huge, huge industry and people pay good money for it – regularly.

Now, I know dog food isn't exciting to write about. You'll have to balance writing what you're good at Vs what has the best potential to earn you money.

Let's look at the content you can create: I always advise for a well rounded website, not one that just lists the “top 10 ____” over and over. Dogs have so many things to write about and most of them, if not all, have a product you can slip in and recommend in the post. You can create videos, training programs, reviews of dog toys, health tips you know about and more.

Keep in mind that writing about crafts or dogs takes the same amount of time – you'll have to type regardless – so why not choose a niche that is the most profitable and you know a lot about it?

Which Topic To Write About In Your Blog

If you can, choose a topic you enjoy that has plenty of things to buy, stuff goes on sale regularly and has year round interest.

This will set you up for having good potential to earn money.

For an example, this is my thought process on how I came up with the domain name for one of my sites.

First I decided what the topic will be of the content that i'll be publishing on the blog.

I chose laptops as a blog topic.

People would also say “laptops” is also the niche i'm going for, but it's much too general and vague at this point. I narrowed down further to focus in on laptops for beginners.

Just that one extra step and you can see a potential audience emerge.

I went further with that and added that I want to write about laptops for beginners that want to become more productive and comfortable with their machines.

If someone asked me on an elevator what my blog was about I could say,

My blog is for beginner laptop users that want to learn how to use the full potential of their computers.

I have the two key elements nailed – who is the audience (beginner laptop users) and what problem am I solving (not knowing how to use laptops).

As for the domain, I chose LaptopZoo.com.

It's got one keyword that is the focus for the entire site – laptop – and I chose zoo because the site features all different types of things to do with laptops.

Kind of like a zoo has all different types of animals.

It's a brandable domain that's unique, while it still conveys what the site is about – laptops.

You can go one further and “niche down” some more….this just means to be extra focused on the topic. I might add that my laptop blog will be about..

Touch screen laptops for beginner laptop users that want to learn how to use the full potential of their computers.”

By choosing a focused topic like this, you're doing yourself a favor in the long run as it won't be as hard to compete with other websites for traffic.

Once you've figured out the topic of your new blog, it's time to work on your domain name.

Find A Domain Name (or Web Address) For Your New Blog

Once you've decided what you would like to write (or blog) about, the next step is to try and find a web address – or domain name – for your new site.

The domain for the site you're reading now has a domain name madsub.com.

What does that mean?

Nothing at all.

It's a made up word. Like Pepsi. Or Starbucks. Or Frappucino.

Now, I wouldn't advise you to make up a word and use it as your domain name.

So why did I do it then?

I have several websites, all with very obvious niche keywords in the domain. What I didn't have was a home base where I can continually add useful, relevant tutorials and guides for all sorts of things that I'm interested in.

Madsub is a brand name…an umbrella that I can work under with some freedom to write about topics I can help people with.

That doesn't mean I'll write about Disneyland one day and the next write an article about how to make your WordPress site logo retina ready.

It'll still have a theme, but a more general one than your laser focused niche site should have.

There are some golden rules with choosing a good domain name and I've got my own tricks that always work to come up with something that sounds good and is actually available. I'll share them with you so you can come up with some good ideas.

Just a foreword – you might get frustrated when you discover most easy domain names are taken, or worse just bought by a company ten years ago that then flips them for a huge profit – this is known as domain squatting. There's nothing you can do about it and it sucks!

You will have to be a bit creative here.

I'll show you the process I'd go through to find a good domain if I were starting a blog right now. There are tons of ways to do it, but this works for me.

The new blog I'll start is about how to train your new shelter dog. I picked this topic because I recently adopted a shelter dog. She was a bit wild the first few months, before we could work with her and teach her commands. Her name is Sadee and she's adorable. Floppy ears and everything….

Pets are a huge business and a great topic to choose for potentially monetizing your blog further down the road.

First open notepad or Microsoft Word from your computer. This where we'll do some brainstorming and keep our list of possible domains.

Try and find a domain name that at least has the topic of your blog in it. For my new blog, i'll want to find a domain name that has “dog” in it or “shelter”.

Doing this doesn't get your site higher up in the search rankings, but the benefit is that it does look better to humans. Visitors will see your domain name and have some sort of idea what to expect when they get there.

You go to TireRack.com for information on tires right? You don't expect to see content on scuba diving.

If you stick to these golden rules, you'll be on your way to a good domain name:

  • Use characters only, no numbers
  • Don't use dashes e.g. your-domain.com
  • Absolute maximum of three words
  • Use everyday words
  • Shorter the better
  • Spells how it sounds (madsub, autozone, walmart)
  • only .com

How To Check If A Domain Is Available To Buy

NameCheap is a domain registrar. They are the company that will sell you the domain name and let you configure it to direct people to your blog.

Using this site will let you see instantly if a domain name is available, or if someone else has already registered it.

Use this link to visit NameCheap (opens in new window) – https://madsub.com/go/namecheap

Where the green arrow is pointing is where you can test domains to see if they are available or taken.

Just for an example, let's type “ShelterDogTraining.com” in the text area, press enter and see if it's available.

Ok that wasn't supposed to be that easy!

Lets try something that almost definitely should be gone –  DogTraining.com

Okay, so DogTraining.com was registered way back in 1996.

This site will tell us if the domains we come up with are available or taken. You can test as many ideas as you want, it's free.

When you do find a domain that you like, you'll also be able to purchase it from this site – usually about ten bucks.

Brain Storm Some Words

Using the notepad app or Word (or just a real pen and paper!), lets think of some words around  “dog” and “training”. Keep in mind you're really focusing on shelter dogs that have been adopted, so i'm intending to keep shelter in the domain name and maybe even rescue as they are key to what I'd talk about in the blog.

Just write whatever comes to mind, the key is just to keep the ideas flowing, no matter how random or questionable they are!

Make sure you keep the ideas for words separate. On my example, one column should be “dog” and one should be “home”.

Here's my ideas.

Dog

  • angel
  • hound
  • pooch
  • found
  • life
  • friend
  • pal
  • furry
  • fuzzy
  • doggie
  • woof
  • puppy
  • mongrel
  • flea bag
  • flea hound
  • wag pup
  • mutt

Training

  • find
  • teach
  • train
  • skill
  • education
  • teacher
  • smart
  • learn
  • clever
  • smarty
  • brainy
  • science
  • tips
  • help
  • method
  • rejouvinate
  • transform
  • Helper
  • Professor
  • ABC
  • Thankful
  • Hopeful
  • Hope
  • Better
  • Good
  • Boost

Mix Words Together

Now we have a list of relevant words, lets try mixing them up so you can see how we start forming ideas.

If you use a systematic approach and take one word at a time and see which others it sounds good with, you'll be surprised at what you get.

Shelter” is definitely going to be in the domain name, so play around with the position until you get some interesting results.

  • Shelter Doggie Training
  • Smart Shelter Pals
  • Puppy Shelter Skills
  • Clever Pooch Teacher
  • Shelter Skills
  • Shelter Trainer
  • Shelter Teacher
  • Shelter Doggie Training
  • Pooch Shelter Skills
  • Doggie Rescue Professor
  • Shelter Rescue Skills
  • Shelter Puppy Education
  • Shelter Mutt Skills
  • Shelter Teacher
  • Rescue Mutt Teacher
  • Rescue Doggie Teacher
  • Rescue Woof
  • Rescue Training
  • Rescue Skills
  • Smart Rescue Skills

Sort the list best to worst. The shorter and clearer the words describe your blog the better.

  • Rescue Skills
  • Shelter Teacher
  • Shelter Skills
  • Smart Shelter Pals
  • Shelter Puppy Education
  • Rescue Training
  • Shelter Rescue Skills
  • Smart Rescue Skills
  • Shelter Trainer
  • Shelter Doggie Training
  • Rescue Doggie Teacher
  • Puppy Shelter Skills
  • Shelter Doggie Training
  • Shelter Mutt Skills
  • Pooch Shelter Skills
  • Doggie Rescue Professor
  • Rescue Woof
  • Rescue Mutt Teacher
  • Clever Pooch Teacher

Check If The Domain Is Available

By this point you should have a sorted list of 10+ possible domain names that might work for your blog.

The next step is to see if they're actually available to buy.

Open up Name Cheap's domain name registration page here -> https://www.namecheap.com/domains/registration/results.aspx?domain=enter+words+to+search

Now take the domain that you gave the #1 spot and type it into the text area. For my list, the number one domain was Rescue Skills.

So the full domain would be rescueskills.com. Let's see if that's available

Nope!

It was registered in 2006!!

Ok so that's a no-go.

Let's check the second domain name on the list – ShelterTeacher.com

Hey, it's available to buy!

Not bad after only two attempts. Sometimes it can take a few tries.

Go through your list until you find a domain that's available.

There are a few things you have to do before you buy the domain, though.

Check Google

Let's check what Google knows about the domain. Just because it's available doesn't mean it wasn't previously registered by someone else, used for a website and then let the domain expire.

Open Google and type the domain you found available with a quote (“) on each side, like this:

“ShelterTeacher.com”

Take a look at the results. Often there's not much to look at.

Check Social Media Names

Next check if your domain's social media name is available. If I were to buy ShelterTeacher.com, i'd hope that Shelter_Teacher is available on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and so on.

Go to NameChk, a site where you can see if your name is available or not. Enter your domain name and press enter. Since I had two words my prospective domain name, I used an underscore ( _ ) to separate the words.

You can use a hyphen as well if you want.

When you get the search results back, scroll down until you see Usernames.

  • Green = Name available
  • Yellow = Invalid name (too long?)
  • Black = Name taken

Just a tip – I've noticed NameChk shows the Instagram name is taken, but if you click on it you won't see a profile, just a error page. Often I've found the name actually is available on instagram, despite NameChk showing otherwise.

One last thing to check before we can purchase the domain.

Way Back Machine

See what other websites have used your domain in the past.

Go to Way Back Machine here -> https://archive.org/web/

Type in your domain name and hit enter.

This site takes random snapshots of domains and records how they look. It might only happen a few times a year, but it's really interesting to see how things looked years ago.

If you get a results similar to mine (above), there's a chance that the domain you want hasn't been registered before. That's a good thing because there isn't any bad baggage that you'll inherit when you buy the domain.

To confirm that the domain hasn't been registered before just add your domain name onto the end of this website:

http://whois.domaintools.com/yourdomain.com

So for my domain, ShelterTeacher.com it would be

http://whois.domaintools.com/shelterteacher.com

The website should load and you'll be able to tell if your domain has been used before, of if it's never been registered and you really are starting from scratch.

Here's the Whois page for ShelterTeacher.com

If you see it has been registered before, it's not a deal breaker or anything, but it's good to know.

Buy Your New Blog Domain Name

If you're feeling good about the domain and you know it's available to buy, the social media usernames are available and it doesn't have any bad history on google you can go ahead with buying it.

Registering your domain with NameCheap means you'll have full control and you can “point” it to any web host you like, whenever you like.

Head back to your search page on Name Cheap and press add to cart

Check the details are correct – the domain is spelled correctly and the cost is about $10.

Leave the settings on the next page as-is. These are options to buy more than one year's worth of registration (i'd just register for 1 for now) and upsell options like fast DNS that you don't really need.

Press Confirm Order

Create an account and checkout with credit card or PayPal.

Webhosting

After you've bought your domain name – you'll need a place to keep your blog files and display them to visitors when they visit your blog.

They are called webhosts. They host your website for others to see. I'm only going to recommend one host despite there being hundreds to choose from.

One word on hosting for a second:

I can personally recommend using Site Ground to host your website.

This is the company that will keep all your blog computer files and any photos you add on one of their servers (computers).

When people type in your domain name – mine was ShelterTeacher.com – the visitor would see a webpage that was being kept on Site Ground's web servers.

You can get some really awesome webhosts and some really bad ones. Site Ground has never let me down and their tech support is second to none.

I've used them for more than two years and always been impressed by the quickness and helpfulness of their support team.

They are perfect for beginners, but have the features to satisfy more advanced needs.

Their web hosting plans don't come with a domain, but it's easy to use NameCheap to buy one for under $10. You can optionally register a domain when you setup your account with Site Ground, but it's more expensive at $15.95.

There's no difference in features, it's just more expensive.

You'll have to renew the domain registration every year, but it will still only be around $10.

I want you to have an overwhelmingly positive experience with blogging and to see success. I know that when things go wrong with your blog, having a web host that responds quickly, helpfully and pro-actively to fix the problem is worth so much more than a few bucks every month.

Once you start to see an income from your blog – if that's what you choose to do – you'll be so relieved to have a good web host that can iron out any issues that might come up.

SiteGround is my recommendation for you. Click HERE to go to SiteGround and sign up (GrowBig plan).

Why SiteGround For Web Hosting?

There are hundreds of options for web hosting, but none of them give me the comfort I get when I recommend Site Ground to you.

I'd recommend it to my mother if she wanted to start a blog tomorrow.

It's simply just a solid host, little to no downtime, fast speeds, tools to build and monitor your site and that first class tech support? I'm not sure what else you need from a host.

This is from Google, Site Ground has great reviews!

That's a lot of people that have a lot of good things to say about SiteGround.

Just like anything, web hosts offer different priced plans.

From cheaper beginner plans with limited features to fully loaded dedicated web servers for sites that get huge amounts of traffic.

If you have no idea what to look for in these plans – don't worry.

I'll show you the differences between SiteGround's plans in easy to understand language.

Let's take a look at SiteGround's plans:

One thing I need to point out – the Start Up plan had been drastically reduced in price because of the COVID-19 Corona Novelvirus epidemic. I'm not sure how long it'll stay that price.

The plan I recommend getting is the middle plan – the GrowBig plan.

Let's go down each plan's feature list so you know what everything means.

Web Hosting

1 Unlimited websitesIf you want to start a completely separate project with a brand new domain (www.something.com) - this plan gives you unlimited add-on websites!
2 20GB Web SpaceThis is your maximum space that you'll be able to use for your website. 20GB means you can easily have thousands of images on your new site.
3 ~25,000 visits monthly (Bandwidth)This is showing the amount of bandwidth this plan offers. Bandwidth is how fast data is transferred from the web host to the website visitor.

SiteGround allows this plan to have enough bandwidth that will accomodate about 25,000 website visits per month.
4 Unmetered trafficSiteGround won't put a hard number on the amount of data that can be passed between the web host and the website visitor.

It's not unlimited, but as it's unmetered, anything in reasonable use is okay.

It's important to note that traffic is the amount of data and bandwidth is the speed the data is transferred.
5 Free WP InstallationSiteGround tech support will install WordPress on your new web hosting account for free.

It's only a few clicks and pretty straight forward...but if you want them to do it, they'll do it for you.
6 WordPress Auto UpdatesTo keep WordPress upto date with security features and new developments, SiteGround can automatically have your website's WordPress install automatically updated to the newest version.

This will keep any security loopholes closed and make sure your site is running as efficiently as possible.
7 Free SSLAn SSL is security feature that protects any data transferred from a website visitor to your SiteGround webhosting server. SSL certificates are responsible for that little padlock icon in your browser address bar.
8 Daily BackupI can't stress enough how important backups are. SiteGround will take care of backing your site up, so you can blog worry free.
9 Free CDNA CDN is a "Content Delivery Network". It's main function is to get your website files to a users computer as quickly as possible by storing copies of your website at several locations worldwide.

This speeds up your performance site no matter where in the world the visitor is actually browsing your site
10 Free EmailWith your new domain (www.yoursite.com) you'll be able to create email accounts so you look professional like this - You@YourSite.com
11 WP-CLI and SSHWP-CLI and SSH are ways you can interact with your webserver using command-line script.

This isn't something you should be worried about as you'll probably never ever need it.
12 Unlimited databasesDatabases are what stores all your website's data - like post contents, options configuration and users and their passwords.

If you wanted to have two websites, you'd need 2 databases. SiteGround gives you unlimited.
13 100% Renewable energy matchSiteGround uses Google Cloud's infrastructure and they match 100% energy consumed in their global operations with renewable green energy

 

Why not just go with the cheaper hosting plan?

Good question and really…why not? It has almost all the same features right?

Yes and no. There are only one or two features on the GrowBig plan that make it worth the extra few dollars a month (that's really all it comes down to).

On demand backups

I'm going to say this a lot, but backups are the most important feature to get figured out ASAP when you start a new website.

You're going to put in a lot of your time and a little bit of your money, it's soul crushing when all of that is completely erased in a heartbeat due to some technical glitch or accident.

The potential for your site to be hacked and at least, defaced, is still a real possibility – albeit a small one. You must take action to protect your work….your blog or website.

SiteGround includes on demand backups in it's GrowBig hosting plan, so you can quickly take a backup of your blog or website whenever you wish.

It's recommended to use the on demand backup before you update any plugins or your theme in case there's an incompatibility problem and it breaks your site so it won't load like normal.

What else makes the GrowBig plan from SiteGround a better choice than the less expensive StartUp plan?

If you compare the plans side by side, you'll notice the GrowBig plan has an extra feature box at the bottom. I've already shown you why on demand backups are awesome, but there are a few other things that make this plan more favorable than the cheaper one.

Staging.

What is staging? Well, as I described earlier theme and plugin updates can sometimes cause your site to break when they aren't compatible with each other.

Usually what happens is a feature of your site will stop working or you'll see an odd graphical error somewhere. It's not often that your site will become completely unusable if there's an incompatibility issue, but nonetheless, you don't want your site sort-of-working, you want it completely working at all times.

Staging is really, really helpful to avoid this from happening.

With staging, you can login to the SiteGround control panel and create an identical copy of your WordPress site. With this copy, you can upgrade, update and do anything else you need to do without compromising your live site. Once you've made all the changes you need, you can then ‘push' this duplicate site to live. This will make the identical copy of your blog the real live version.

Staging means you can make any modifications you want to an identical copy of your site without jeopardizing your live site. When you're happy your staging site is working 100%, you click a button and the staging site becomes your live site.

The existing live site is removed and deleted.

This is a super handy and safe way to work on your site without risking breaking something.

The other bonuses of the GrowBig plan over the StartUp plan is that you'll be able to take advantage of SiteGround's dynamic caching system. This reduces the server load and speeds up how quick data from your blog database can be transferred to website visitors. A faster site gives your users a better experience and will help your search engine page rankings.

If you already have a website, SiteGround will transfer it over for free if you choose the GrowBig plan, but since this article is about starting a blog from scratch, we'll not dive into that too much.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog?

To get started blogging with your own website, you'll need a bit of money. You should think of it as an investment as it absolutely has the potential to pay for its self  in just 12 months.

The basic things you have to pay for is the domain name (www.whatever.com) and the web hosting – somewhere that will ‘host' your website and make your blog accessible to anyone, anytime.

Even though some web hosts give you the option to pay for just one single month of hosting, I'd highly recommend against that. There are enough reviews, reports and information online to give you a good indication on how the web host performs.

You'll usually have to pay extra for setup, too. So if the webhost (like SiteGround) charges $5.95 per month for webhosting, a one-month plan would cost you $5.95 + $24.95 in setup fees.

There's no need to do that.

SiteGround actually calls their 1-month plan a “trial” plan. Don't worry about that, SiteGround is a reputable host that has consistently put out awesome web hosting and even better live customer service 24/7 via phone, email and online chat.

I'd urge you to go for the 12 month plan. You won't realistically rank your website on Google in a month, it'll take a while (90 days is guesstimate), so a 12 month plan will give you time to work on and develop your blog.

 

 

Let's look at costs:

On the GrowBig plan, SiteGround offers a monthly price of $5.95 for four different plan lengths – 1, 12, 24 and 36 months (1, 2 and 3 years). With the 1-month plan having an additional $24.95 setup fee.

You want to get the 12 month plan (24 or 36 would be even better) so you have a year to get your new blog launched and out to the world. Remember, your domain name will be bought at NameCheap (usually under $10/yr), not from SiteGround.

Domain name (YourSite.com) = $12 at NameCheap.com

Web Hosting – $5.95 a month for 12 months = $71.40 at SiteGround, GrowBig plan

Total costs = $83.40 for one year.

Some things like your email list management service, graphics software to make awesome images and a smart system to help you to collect email addresses (more on that later) come in both free, freemium, paid and pro levels.

Often, save for a few things, you can find decent free services to use when you're starting out, but you will realize why the paid versions are….well, paid….quite quickly.

That's a discussion for later, though.

A word on hosting…

I've only seen one host that offered the same monthly cost again, once you've ended your original hosting period.

What I mean by that is that when you sign up with a webhost, the prices you see are discounted and are only good for the period you choose upon sign up. After that you might not get the same rate as when you first signed up if you choose to continue hosting with the same webhost.

It's more or less industry standard for 95% web hosts.

This shouldn't put you off from jumping into your first blog or website, you should still totally do it and there's nothing stopping you from transferring to another host to take advantage of their discounted prices.

So yeah, you should know that this is a thing in the web hosting industry.

I think a realistic goal is that at the bare minimum, your blog should be able to pay for its self in 12 months. That means making at least $84 in 12 months passively – the money is made when you're sleeping, playing with the kids or doing something else not work related.

Go ahead and choose the GrowBig plan from SiteGround and make sure to select that you Already have a domain. Put your own domain that you made at NameCheap in the box.

Then fill out your account information:

And finally choose the web hosting period you want to sign up with. My recommendation is at least 12 months, ideally opt for 24 or 36 months if you can. The longer you choose, the more money you'll save in the long run.

The First Things To Do When You Get Web Hosting

Hey you made the leap! Good for you, this is exciting!

So by now, you have your domain name (www.something.com) and web hosting setup with SiteGround.

That was two of the most difficult things to do when you're starting out from scratch.

I know it's hard to pay money for something that's 100% digital and intangible, but once you see that you now have a platform to do whatever you want with, it's very rewarding…..and if you make money with your blog? Is simply awesome!

You can do it and I'll show you how.

I'm going to recommend you use a website content management system called WordPress. A content management system is just a fancy way to say that it's the software that keeps your website organized.

It's 100% free and has been around for a long time, with regular updates and a huge library of 3rd party add-ons (called plugins) that are often also completely free.

WordPress will allow you to make a huge variety of websites – from a simple blog, to a social community like Facebook, to an online store, to a viral news website like BuzzFeed.

The website you're on right now is powered by WordPress and I've committed to it permanently. I'll never change it, it's too awesome.

Login to your Site Ground cPanel

Go to your User Area and click the My Accounts tab then click the Go to cPanel button.

A quicker way that you might want to bookmark is to simply add /cpanel onto the end of your domain name. Like this:

http://yourdomain.com/cpanel

Once you have accessed cPanel, we will first need to install WordPress onto your new SiteGround webhosting account.

There are a few ways to do it, but the easiest method by far is using an app called Softaculous that's available within the cPanel programs.

Your screen might look a bit different than mine, but the process is the same.

Type softaculous in the search bar and click it when the icon shows up like this:

 

Next type “word” in the Softaculous app installer and click “WordPress” when it shows up.

You're doing great, hang in there! Almost done.

You'll see this screen next (below), scroll down a bit and click Install Now.

 

Next, you'll have to setup some basic details of your new WordPress install. It will look like this:

If you think you can complete this on your own, go for it. Otherwise I've broken down each section below to explain what they mean and what to do.

1. Choose installation URLYou should have only one or two options here. Make sure you select your domain (www.YourSite.com).
2. Site nameUsually this is taken from the domain, but if you've used an acronym spell it out here.
3. DescriptionType a short description about what visitors can expect to see on your new blog or website.
4. Enable multisite (WPMU)Leave unchecked. This is for installing a multi-site WordPress package. You don't need it.
5. Admin usernameI'd recommend leaving this as random characters for security. Write this down!
6. Admin passwordMake sure this is a strong password. Write this down too!
7. Admin emailPut your email address here. Make sure it's correct.
8. Select pluginsYour list may be slightly different than mine. Don't worry. The only plugin i'd recommend installing from the list I have is "Classic" editor. I'll tell you why later.
9. Email installation details toPut your email address here so you have a record of what you just setup!
10. InstallClick it!

You're almost done!

Getting Started With WordPress On Your New Blog

Next I want you to login to the admin section on your website, so you can start to build out your blog.

Open up a new web browser window and type this in, using your new domain instead of “YourDomain.com”:

YourDomain.com/wp-admin

For another example, say I just bought TurtleJewelry.com, i would type:

TurtleJewelry.com/wp-admin

If  you are struggling, you should of received an email with your new WordPress installation instructions, you should be able to find your admin login there. It might be called “wp-admin”.

This is what you should see:

Use the admin username and admin password you setup in Softaculous to login to your WordPress website.

Once you've successfully logged in, you'll see a screen like this:

 

CONGRATULATIONS! You just setup your very own website/blog!

You've made the awesome decision to start a website, you've chosen an awesome domain name and picked up feature packed, fast, supportive web hosting….and now you just installed the world's most popular blogging platform, WordPress.

That's a huge feat, you should give yourself a pat on the back.

This article is getting a little lengthy (5,400 words at the moment!) so I'll end this tutorial here and continue with the next phase of getting your new website or blog up and running in separate break out posts.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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