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So you’ve decided to take the leap and start a blog! If you have done any research at all into starting a blog, you’ve probably heard the term “self-hosted” thrown around a lot. But what does that actually mean?
What Does Self-Hosted Even Mean?!
Before I started my blog, I did a ton of research, because my ultimate goal was to start making money with my blog. I learned quickly that I needed to “start a self-hosted blog with WordPress.org” in order to have complete and total ownership of my blog from day one. So, let’s break down in depth what that even means.
“Self hosted blog”
I like to think of self-hosting as renting a space online for your blog to live. You pay a company to “host” your blog on their servers. It’s kind of like renting an apartment. When you are researching an apartment to rent, you’re (hopefully) thinking about how safe the neighborhood is, how long your commute will be, how close you are to your preferred leisure and recreational activities, and of course the price!
Similar to choosing an apartment complex, the hosting company you choose affects everything from your blog’s speed, your site’s security, and a lot of the work you may need to do behind the scenes.
One of the things that confused me the absolute most when I started blogging was discovering there was a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
If you were to go to WordPress.com right now and create a brand new blog, you will not have full ownership over your blog, because WordPress is hosting your blog for you. Your blog’s name will be yourname.wordpress.com instead of yourname.com. Also, the last time I tried to make a new blog on WordPress.com, since my desired name had been used in the past, I had to have random numbers in my blog’s name. It is also a lot harder to customize your blog’s appearance to your liking; you are limited to their themes and their themes do not offer a lot of customization options in terms of color, fonts etc.
WordPress.org, however, is the open source software that allows you to have all of the functionality of WordPress without all the limited WordPress.com elements. WordPress.org can be easily installed by your hosting company when you go self-hosted with just a few clicks. You’ll still have a WordPress dashboard where you’re able to customize your blog and write new posts, but the posts will show up on YOUR blog that you completely own!
This infographic created by Kyla of WP Explorer is a great visual guide for anyone confused about the differences between the two.
Who should you host with?
I am proud to say have been with Siteground for over a year now, and I couldn’t recommend them enough! They have absolutely amazing customer service; in the three times I’ve had to use a live chat service in the last year, they have always promptly solved the problem. Their live chat service is available 24/7. I don’t think I’ve ever waited longer than a couple minutes to speak with someone about whatever issue I was having, and it was always fixed fast!
My blog’s downtime is less than an hour in the entire year I’ve been with them. I’ve never had extremely slow loading times on my blog, either!
On top of providing exceptional quality, they also offer several other neat features that help your blog’s professionalism. You can also get email addresses with your blog’s domain through Siteground (example: [email protected]) at no added cost, and they also offer a free SSL certificate (in non-tech talk, that keeps all information transmitted between your computer and someone’s browser private!)
Starting a blog with Siteground is super easy, and I’ll walk you through the process.
How to Start a Blog with Siteground
Step One: Getting Started
Head over to siteground.com. This is what you will see:
If you scroll past the pricing section, you will see more information about who Siteground is and what they offer their customers. They provide a lot of resources so you can really see what you’re paying for before you even get started!
Step Two: Choose Your Plan
As you can see, Siteground offers three hosting plans for you to start a blog.
The StartUp plan is great for brand new bloggers, so if you’re a complete beginner this is the option for you! It will accommodate up to 10,000 views per month.
If you think you want to manage more than one site right away, or anticipate higher traffic right off the bat, you should choose the GrowBig plan. It can handle up to 25,000 per month.
Their GoGeek plan is great for more tech-savvy people, or people who plan to see exceptional traffic. This plan will handle up to 100,000 visits per month.
Keep in mind when you’re signing up for these prices, they are not billed monthly. You can purchase one, two, or three years at a time. You will get the best bang for your buck if you purchase three years at a time, but new customers still will receive the $3.95 x 12 (or 24 if you do two years) and you’re not forced to pay for 36 months to get the introductory price.
Step Three: Choose a Domain Name
Think of your blog’s domain name as your address– it’s basically how people know where to find you!
If you’re serious about starting a blog and building an online presence, you should give your domain name some serious thought before purchasing one.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re thinking of a domain name:
- Is it easy to spell?
- Is it (or a close variation) available on all social media platforms?
- Are there any similar blogs/sites with the same name?
- Is it trademarked?
- Does it accurately describe your niche/brand/business?
It’s okay if you can’t think of one right away; it took me a long time to finally decide on my blog’s name!
Step Four: Purchase Add-Ons
After inputting your information, you will be taken to this screen where it goes over the pricing with you, and gives you the option to purchase additional services.
I do recommend purchasing what is called “Domain Protect” which guarantees your address is kept private if someone tried to look up your information from your domain. It costs an additional $12 per year for the first year at the time of this writing (July 2019), and then increases to $24 per year. Honestly, that’s 100% worth it to me because I do not have a physical location, but if you have a business address that may not be necessary for you.
Step 5: Let Siteground Install WordPress
The best part about starting a blog with Siteground? They will literally put WordPress on your blog for you! Siteground makes it so, so easy to get started with just a few clicks, through their installation wizard! The installer will ask you some basic questions about your site, and then will prompt you to choose a website template for your blog. But don’t worry; if you don’t like any of them, they can be changed at any time.
If you don’t already have an account with WordPress, the installer should then prompt you to create one. You should not use common usernames, such as “admin,” because it is easily guessed. You’d be surprised at how many hackers try to get into blogs! I also recommend making your Siteground password and your WordPress password different.
Step 6: Start creating!
Once you’ve finished the installer, your new blog is ready to go! You can edit your blog at any time by going to yourname.com/wp-admin! How cool is that?
Now that your blog is ready to go, check out these blogging resources for more tips on how to make it your own!
Until next time,
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