Want to start your own blog? You’re in the right place. Need help with picking a domain name? Can’t choose between hosting websites? I’ve got ya, girl.
I’ve done my fair amount of research – I’m talking months and months of reading tons of blogs, how-to’s, watching videos, etc – and my personal experience and have compiled it all for you in an easy to understand guide on how to start your own blog! Follow these steps below and you’ll be off and blogging in no time!
First of all, starting a blog is so much fun. I honestly recommend it to anyone that has a desire to create one to act on that desire! Now, let’s get into the details:
*This post contains affiliate links. Meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through these links I will earn a tiny commission. Thank you for your support!*
Picking Your Perfect Domain Name:
This is one really fun part of starting a blog! Coming up with your domain name! The domain name is the thing that goes before the .com, .org, etc. It can sometimes be difficult or take time for people to come up with a name that they love – and that is totally fine, be picky!! It took me what seemed like weeks to settle on a name that was perfect for me.
A tip I have is to brainstorm with friends and family who know you well. Tell them topics you would like to write about and see what ideas they might have. One might be surprised how well a good brainstorm session will give you your answer, or darn near close to it!
A good piece of advice I read and learned from nearly every blogger was that it is so important to pick your domain name wisely. By this I mean pick one that you are going to be able to evolve and grow with over time. This doesn’t have to be a live by rule but in some cases, it might help you!
Short and sweet:
More advice I found was that it is best if your domain is no more than about 8-12 letters. A shorter word(s)/phrase can be easier for people to remember… and spell! It is also very important (if possible) to not have the exact same letters next to each other. For instance “abbyyawns” This can blend words and make typos more likely to happen!
You want your domain name to be something memorable, funny, catchy, telling, or just simply your name. I’m sure you have some favorite bloggers out there – think of what their domain names are. Are they something you read a few times and haven’t forgotten since? See! It really works. If your domain name is memorable in any way, it can be huge for keeping readers as well as word of mouth referrals.
Try It Out:
I always try out domain names I’m interested in using by typing them into my browsers URL. When you hit search, it will automatically show you if it is previously taken or free for your taking (except it won’t be free hehe).
This is helpful to do because you don’t want to have your ideal domain name taken and not know to be brainstorming up alternative names to use!
Write It Down:
If you’ve been brainstorming domain name ideas or blog post topics you want to cover, it is a great idea to write them down. If not physically then create a document online that has everything. It will be easy to refer back to in the future and ensure you don’t forget any important details!
This will come in handy in our next steps.
Choosing A Hosting Plan:
Free vs. Paid
Of course, you can start a free blog using WordPress.com, blogger, and many other sites. But for those websites, you get the end part of their company added to “your” site domain URL. For instance, you would have firstname.lastname@example.org if you were using the free version, as opposed to yourblogname.com if you paid for it. You will also not be able to install plugins (which give you the ability to really customize and add to your blog), advertise, use detailed tools to help you grow like analytics, have full rights to your content and more.
You want to own the rights to your content. Simply put.
Plus, if you want to monetize your blog no matter your niche (parenting, budgeting, fashion), it is a smart investment.
I know, if you’re just starting out it can seem scary or you wouldn’t want to put money into it yet. But the pay off for doing so is huge. SO,
What is hosting and why should you be self-hosted?
Assuming you want to start a blog using WordPress.org (the “upgraded” version of WordPress.com) you will need to sign up with a company to do your web hosting. Simply put, web hosting is what makes it possible to have all the files, docs, storage, freedom, advertising, analytics, etc. available for your website. This will then make you “self-hosted”.
There are so many companies out there that want to host you and your website! After hours upon hours of research and comparisons, I finally found a company I loved and truly trusted to host my blog, SiteGround.
SiteGround is a smaller sized hosting company (that I love) because I truly feel their dedication to their services are the top bar.
In addition to having 24/7 customer support, their own firewall security rules, and being GDPR compliant, they also give you a free SSL certificate with each blog! This is huge!! Having this will boost your readers (and potentially future customers) trust in you, your site, and your products knowing that they are protected.
Are you planning to sell services or courses on your new blog? If so, I would absolutely start your blog with an SSL.
Don’t know what an SSL certificate is? I didn’t either! An SSL it is an established secure connection on/from your website. You can see what sites have this by looking for the little padlock icon you often see at the top left of a URL. It usually also says secure.
Many hosting companies require you to pay for SSL certificates if you want them and it could be upwards of $100 a year to do so. And SiteGround is giving it to you for free!
One other major reason why I chose them over their competition is that they have a 99.99% uptime!!! Which is just cray cray and awesome! You never know when people will be looking at your blog or you have a post go viral, and you definitely don’t want your site crashing during those times!
Plus, according to their website, they have a 99.7 customer happiness rate!
If you navigate onto SiteGround’s website you will see three hosting plan options. The StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. These are basically separated into tiers depending on how much traffic your site will get, and how much space you need.
As a beginning blogger myself, I would recommend starting off with the StartUp plan. *Keep in mind, you can always upgrade to a larger plan.* It gives you plenty of room to start with and try out this new adventure.
Click “Get Started” or “Get This Plan” and you will be taken to step two where you create or select your domain name.
Here is where you will either enter your available (and oh so lovely) domain name or your previously purchased one.
As you can see, you can buy your domain name and hosting plan separately with two different companies. I learned this because my freshman year college roomie/bff + her mom decided to surprise me with buying my domain name so I could get my blog started. Tear. How sweet, right?
To make it the easiest for you, I would recommend purchasing your hosting & domain name from the same company. *I will add a section on what to do if you have previously purchased your domain name elsewhere*
Once you’re in the clear with your selected domain name, you will be taken to the third step of registration for web-hosting and owning your own domain name.
Fill in all of the required information above.
Review Your Purchase:
Finishing up the last step, you will review what you are purchasing (see below image).
Here you can choose how long you want to host for. It is important to note that you will be charged per each whole year upfront. When I signed up I opted to pay for two years up front because I wanted to continue getting the $3.95 per month discount for a while (as opposed to the $11.95 per month).
You can also add services such as SG Site Scanner and Domain Privacy. I chose to add both of these to my plan.
I think it always pays to be protected. Especially in this day in age. It will give you peace of mind knowing that
a) Your personal information isn’t available for everyone and their mama to see and
b) You will have a daily (handsfree) automatic site scanner that will alert you of any threats that might occur
c) Plus you get notified that your site is clean, too! Which is a nice plus.
Once you’ve done all that, you will agree you’ve read their policies, hit confirm and pay!
WOOHOO! You’ve just completed registering and now it is official! You are a blog parent!
There are many exciting steps that lie ahead from here. You have made a huge step to start your own blog, congratulations. Registering your domain and paying for self-hosting are crossed off your checklist. Whew!
Best of luck with starting your own blog, babe! I can’t wait to hear how many of you finally sign up to start achieving your goals. P.S. I’m so excited to know what domain name you selected!