Wondering how to start a blog? It’s easier than you think.
I started blogging as a side hustle – I was looking for a way to make a little money as a stay at home mom.
Fast forward 10 years or so. My four children are teens and young twenty somethings – and here I am still blogging. Over the years, this blog has kept me current technologically, I have learned about online marketing and running a small business, and I have been able to express my creativity on a daily basis.
When many women my age are struggling to re-enter the workforce with rusty and outdated skills, I have been able to keep my skills current and maintain my “marketability” all due to this blog.
I strongly believe that with blogging it is never too late to start and you are never too old to learn.
You don’t need a fancy webmaster and a picture perfect site to start a blog. In fact, it does not have to be expensive at all.
In this post, I will show you how to quickly and easily set up a self-hosted WordPress blog on SiteGround (plans start at only $3.95 per month).
These are the steps you will take.
- Choose a domain name.
- Get a web hosting plan and install WordPress
- Install Genesis for WordPress.
- Install a child theme.
- Write your first post.
1. Choose a Domain Name
The first thing you will need to start a blog is a domain name. Here are some tips for picking a domain name that makes sense for your business.
Although some hosting companies include a free domain with your hosting plan, I like to keep my domains separate from my hosting. This makes it so much easier should you choose to change hosts down the road.
I buy all my domains at Godaddy (but I don’t use them for hosting my blogs).
If you choose to use Godaddy – click here and use coupon code cjc2off30 to get 30% off select products at checkout.
However, you can also purchase a domain name from SiteGround when you sign up for hosting in the next step.
2. Get A Web Hosting Plan
Remember this, all WordPress hosting is NOT created equal.
For me, customer service is number one when it comes to web hosting. I am not a web techie so I need help when it comes to the back end of blogging.
There are 2 services that I like best for blog hosting.
Start a Blog with SiteGround WordPress Hosting
If you are looking for cheap WordPress hosting, then SiteGround is a good place to start.
They offer starter plans beginning at $3.95 per month for the first year.
Yes, you can get web hosting elsewhere for even less than that – but like I said, check out the company’s reputation for both site speed and customer service.
SiteGround excels at both.
Signing up with SiteGround is really easy.
Pick Your Plan
Enter Your Domain
On the next screen you can choose whether you already own a domain (if you bought one through GoDaddy for example) or if you would like to buy one through SiteGround.
Right now SiteGround is also offering a free website transfer with the purchase of a hosting plan.
Review & Complete
All that is left to do is review and complete your purchase.
Another great thing about SiteGround hosting is that your discount is good for the entire period of your initial purchase.
Installing WordPress on your site is very easy with SiteGround.
In fact, they will do it for you for free.
But if you would rather do it yourself the process just takes a few seconds. This SiteGround tutorial walks you through the process.
With SiteGround, like many other shared hosts, you get access to cPanel and have to manage much of the behind the scenes stuff of maintaining your website.
If you really want to be more hands off on the hosting, then the next option may be a better choice for you.
Start a Blog with StudioPress Sites
Last year I moved my site from SiteGround to StudioPress Sites because I didn’t want to deal with hosting issues at all, really.
I found that learning the technical back end, while not too difficult, still could be time consuming.
StudioPress Sites offers something called managed WordPress hosting. Their plans include:
- hosting your site
- the Genesis Framework for WordPress
- many StudioPress child themes
- automatic WordPress updates (not plugin or theme updates)
- SSL certificate
- advanced SEO functionality
Ever since I switched I have not had to worry about any hosting “hassles” if you will. This leaves me time to focus on my content.
Hosting at StudioPress Sites starts at $24 per month billed annually.
But if you are just learning how to start a blog for the first time – then you probably don’t have the Genesis Framework or a StudioPress theme which are included in your hosting plan. So that is added value.
3. Install Genesis for WordPress
While you don’t need the Genesis framework to run WordPress, I personally would not start a blog without it.
There are many advantages of running Genesis on your WordPress site – you can see them all here.
You may be tempted to go with a free WordPress theme instead of Genesis. I highly recommend that you rethink that approach. Genesis is fully supported and is updated regularly. If the developer of a free theme decides to stop updating it, your whole site could break.
There are other premium WordPress themes as well, but I don’t have experience with those.
You will also need a child theme to set up the look and feel of your blog.
Related: How to Install Genesis for WordPress
4. Install a Child Theme
One of the advantages of the Genesis framework is the ability to change your theme from time to time without having to redo your entire site.
Certainly you will have to tweak things when you change child themes, but your underlying data and structure will remain.
In particular I like child themes from
- StudioPress (the maker of the Genesis Framework) and
- Restored 316 (this site is wearing the Refined Theme by Restored 316)
5. Write Your First Blog Post
Finally, it’s time to get writing.
I told you earlier that setting up your WordPress site was the easy part.
Now comes the hard work.
Learning how to start a blog goes way beyond the nuts and bolts.
Honestly, a good solid blogging course can help – a lot.
I’ve been blogging for 10 years but have only recently started making money.
Much of this success comes is a result of the blogging courses that I took.
Two courses in particular were most helpful:
If you are wondering how blogger’s make money, check out this list of 20+ affiliate programs that you can join to make money with your blog.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, because when you first start a blog it is important to focus on content and traffic – but the affiliate program directory will give you an idea of the possibilities that lie ahead.
Why Do You Want to Start A Blog?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.