Okay! Today’s lesson is where we really get going!
We’re going to start by registering your domain name and signing up for hosting, (if you haven’t signed up already).
This guide will take you step-by-step through setting up your WordPress blog, all ready to start writing your first post. I’m a big believer that you learn through doing.
You can deliberate forever over starting your blog, but you need to start if you REALLY want to learn how this blogging process works.
Registering your domain and setting up hosting.
First, head over to SiteGround and get my 65% off discount. I personally recommend the GrowBig plan because it has the added benefit of FREE backup restores but the StartUp plan is also terrific value.
I love SiteGround because it’s so beginner friendly and has terrific support. It’s also fast, secure and reliable – the three amigos of hosting! Plus it’s managed hosting which means SiteGround doesn’t just host your site – they look after it too!
It’s an easy to follow set up process and just takes a few minutes, but in case you need some help…
Here’s my setup video…
Click on the link and head over to SiteGround – choose your plan and hit GET PLAN
I recommend the GrowBig Plan if you think you’ll want to start more than one blog or need the extra hosting space – but the StartUp is just fine if you’re on a tight budget.
Pick a Domain Name
There can be a few pitfalls selecting your domain name. This video will help you get it right:
Choose your name, select register and hit Proceed.
If you’re struggling to come up with a domain name, one idea that works for so many different blog topics, is using your own name. This will give you the freedom to choose your niche later or the ability to switch topics when you’ve found out what works. If your name isn’t available, add an adjective or verb such as blogging, consulting… I’m sure you can easily find something that works.
Now check your details – it’s all standard apart from hosting information, third box down:
Make sure you have the right plan AND the right data center. I’m in the UK so I chose London. You can pick from Chicago, Amsterdam, London, and Singapore. Go for a data center close to where your customers are based.
Select 12 months hosting to get the full benefit of my offer with SiteGround (65% off). I recommend adding SG Site Scanner for extra security but you can always add this later.
Pay then take a coffee break. After a few minutes check your emails. You should see:
Confirm you want to install WordPress and SiteGround sets it up for you.
A look around your WordPress dashboard…
This is where the fun starts! You now have a blog. Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re officially on the road to being a blogger!
Let’s take a look…
Login and take a look around. Your cPanel looks after all your hosting information with SiteGround – managing domains, security certificates, email accounts. SiteGround has lots of help guides if you get stuck.
Go to your Admin Panel and login to WordPress. (Suggest you bookmark this).
This is where you will write your posts.
Hover over the little house icon at the top of the page and click on visit site. It will look a bit like this:
The video of course doesn’t cover everything! There’s quite a bit to take in when you’re setting up your first blog. But start digging around and taking a look at how your blog works.
Right now you have the luxury of trying stuff out and it doesn’t matter. No-one’s looking at your blog except you. Plus you can easily reset your site using the WP Reset plugin I demo in the video. Enjoy!
Permalinks And WordPress Settings
I’ve written a whole post about Permalinks and WordPress settings. This is the techy stuff you need to get right when you first start your blog:
That’s it! You’re ready to get started…
Personally I don’t think you need to be in a big rush to select a paid theme. For the first few weeks, you will only have a small amount of traffic – even if you work really hard on your blog. (I never said this was a get rich quick scheme).
This is my take on FREE themes…
It’s easy to spend a heap of time setting up your theme. Time you could be spending writing your posts and promoting your blog.
It doesn’t matter what I say. I know you’re going to spend time messing about with your theme! It’s human nature. But try and follow these tips to end up with a functional blog. (Your blog can still look terrific but functional is important).
Go for simplicity. Simple means fast code that search engines love. It also keeps customers focused on your writing.
The theme must be responsive. This means the theme works equally well on a mobile, a laptop or an ipad. It’s hard to imagine any paid theme not being fully responsive but check before you part with your cash.
Gutenberg ready. The new WordPress editor Gutenberg launched in December 2018. Some themes still haven’t fully addressed this new editor.
Mobile friendly. This isn’t quite the same as fully responsive. Google has become very demanding when it comes to mobile use. Try and check a theme doesn’t have any usage issues on a mobile.
Supported plugins. Some themes limit the plugins you can use. Check in case there’s a must have plugin you need.
SEO friendly. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO allows your blog to rank on Google and attract free organic traffic. Some themes are better at this than others. You need a theme with clean code that the Google bots and read quickly and easily. The best way to check is reading reviews.
Support. This essential. You want a theme that has frequent updates and excellent support.
My Top Choice For Blog Themes – StudioPress
I’m a huge fan of StudioPress and you’ll find that most Pro bloggers use their Genesis framework. This site uses the StudioPress Breakthrough Pro theme. (I set the theme up myself with no coding required).
StudioPress themes tick all the right boxes, clean, fast, simple, responsive, SEO friendly and Gutenberg ready. Plus some of the themes now have a one-click install for immediate theme and plugin set-up.
This is the Essence Pro theme set-up I run through on my Hatch A Blog course. It’s an excellent choice for a lifestyle blog.
But remember don’t get too distracted by all the shiny things. How your blog looks is only one part of the money making equation…
Start your blog right now…
Have you signed up for hosting and taken that small step forward?
Making a change needs action. If you have some big life goals many changes, taking small steps is the only way you can make progress.
These are a few of the benefits of starting a blog:
It’s one of the cheapest businesses you can start today. If you have a laptop and an internet connection, you just need to sign up for hosting.
You learn new skills. A blog is a terrific way to improve your copywriting and marketing skills. If you’re going for a new job, a blog will help display your capabilities.
It’s a way of connecting with new people. The benefits of expanding your circle of contacts are huge. It can lead to jobs, friendships and unexpected opportunities. The blogging community is welcoming and friendly.
NOTE: This is taken from the first lesson in my FREE 7-Day eCourse. The course covers the steps you need to take for Making Money With A Beginner Blog. Join now and start your blogging journey.