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Hi all, and welcome back to my ‘How to Start a Lifestyle Blog’ series!
Part II of the series focuses on getting your blog off the ground and running and learning how to set up your blog. This post will cover everything you need to know about setting up your website, getting a hosting platform and domain name, and all that semi-boring techy stuff you may be confused about (but is high-key super important).
If you haven’t seen Part I of my ‘How to Start a Lifestyle Blog’ series regarding the brainstorming process, click here!
Often times, people think that starting a blog and running your own website is something solely for software engineers and coding geniuses. Thankfully, that’s not true (because otherwise, most of our lovely blogs wouldn’t even exist).
With the help of this guide, you’ll learn some awesome information regarding how to set up your blog and get your awesome content out for the world to see. Keep scrolling to get the deets, (and if you like what you see, don’t forget to share with your friends!).
How to Start a Lifestyle Blog Series – Part II: How to Set Up Your Blog
Learning how to set up your blog can be overwhelming since people are throwing around terms that you may have never seen before. Blogging definitely has its own language…but you’ll pick up on it fast! I wanted to start off by defining some of those terms, so you won’t be mega lost as I use them throughout this post. Feel free to refer to them as needed!
Domain Name: Domain names are used in a URL to identify your IP Addresses and your webpage. For example, my domain name is inspirationcove.com.
Website Hosting: A service that provides the technology to actually get your website available for the world to see. Your website is connected and stored on a website hosting provider’s “server.” When someone types your domain name in the search bar, they will connect to your rented server space, and your content will be visible to them within seconds.
Blog Platform: A software that you use to publish content, draft posts and create your best content.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Websites
Website hosting can be tricky since you can divide them further into two separate categories: hosted vs. self-hosted. Which one should you choose and why?
Hosted Websites: Act as an ‘all in one’ package, typically making them super easy to set up and use. Software updates and dealing with server issues are 100% controlled by your hosting site, making your life a little less worrisome. There are free or very cheap options for those people wanting to test the blogging waters or are unsure if blogging is a good fit for them. Examples of these hosting options include Blogger, Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.COM (different than wordpress.org).
Self–Hosted Websites: Allow the user to own their own content and essentially “rent out” their own server space. While getting your website up and running has a steeper learning curve and usually require a little money up front, self-hosted platforms allow for total customization of your website, so you can make your blog look exactly the way you want to. My favorite blogging platform (and the one I will be talking about in this article) is WordPress.ORG.
Which is right for you?
If you are looking to make money through your lifestyle blog, you 100% need to get on the Self-Hosted Website train immediately. While hosted platforms are easier to use and do not cost anything up front, you *GASP* don’t own your own content. If your blog breaks your host’s “terms and agreements” they will shut you down without a second thought.
Unlike Hosted Websites, self-hosted sites give you the opportunity to track your analytics, set up advertisements (more money in your pocket guuurl), and customize your blog with plugins and themes of your choosing. While they seem intimidating at first, setting up your own self-hosted blog isn’t as bad as you might think. With unlimited resources from google search and YouTube, you can learn pretty much everything you need to know about how to set up your blog. The best part? Zero coding experience required.
Not to mention, if you ever change your mind and decide self-hosting is (obvi) the way to go, transferring your content from hosted to self-hosted can be a total nightmare. In fact, you might find yourself spending series pennies just to have an expert transfer your content over to your new blog.
P.S, your domain name will look tacky af with the additional “yourdomainname.wordpress.com” in there. Just sayin’ 😉.
Moral of the story: If you’re looking to start a flexible, customizable & profitable lifestyle blog, stick with self-hosted. Now let’s dive into setting up your badass blog.
Step I: Decide and Register Your Domain Name.
By now you should have an idea of what you want to call your blog. After having yourself an ultra-important brainstorming session (see what I mean here) you have probably decided on your niche, and/or several topics you are certain you want to write about throughout your blogging journey.
My advice for you is to create a domain name you will be happy with for years to come. As a beginner blogger myself, I made one too many mistakes and a handful of spontaneous blog decisions. AKA I wasn’t completely satisfied with the domain names I had chosen and had to redirect my website multiple times. SMH at MYSELF.
There are several different options for where you can purchase a domain name. Popular sites include Namecheap and Godaddy. If you want to simplify the process and purchase your domain name and hosting plan together, you can do that easily with Siteground.
To register your domain name through Siteground, click on the “Add Services” tab in the upper right corner of your Siteground dashboard. When you have your domain name in mind, search it to confirm it’s available. If it’s not, Siteground will give you alternative options (i.e. using .co/.blog instead of .com).
You May Also Like: What to Consider Before Rebranding Your Blog
If you’re stuck on a domain name, bloggers typically go with 2 options. They either pick their own name or the name of their blog. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
While picking your own name is timeless (your brand will be able to move and change with you for years to come), people may not be clear on your blog focus and objective.
Your blog name is a great alternative to your actual name because your readers will have consistency and it will be easy to remember…especially if they absolutely love your blog!
*PRO TIP #1* When picking your domain name, avoid adding dashes, and double letters if you can. The shorter the sweeter…AND it’s easier to spell!
*PRO TIP #2* Try to pick a domain name with “.com” if possible. It’s easier to remember for your audience!
Just to reiterate what I said earlier, Siteground offers you the option to purchase a domain name and hosting services simultaneously (which I will elaborate further on now)!
Click – this link – to register your domain name NOW with Siteground!
Step II: Purchase Your Website Hosting Plan.
As you’ve been researching how to set up your blog, I’m sure you’ve noticed two big players in the domain hosting game. Bluehost and Siteground.
As a millennial lifestyle blogger, I am always looking for ways to save even the slightest bit of money. Yeah, I’m a total cheapskate. So naturally, I was tempted to go with Bluehost, since they offer an introductory yearly plan for just $2.95 cents per month for 36 months = $106.20.
But after comparing reviews upon reviews, I just had to go with Siteground for my Website hosting.
- An incredibly easy setup process…and I mean SO easy.
- Website uptime of 99.99% – so you never have to worry about your website being offline.
- THE MOST INCREDIBLE SUPPORT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. I have used their chat service (which is available 24/7 btw) at least 10 times when I was in the process of rebranding and they are literally the best at what they do.
- Fast and quick WordPress installation.
- Faster website loading time.
- AND, if you already have a website, they offer a free transfer/setup!
Siteground offers three plans to choose from– StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. If you’re looking to just get started and feel out the blogging game, start out with the StartUp plan. That’s what I have at the moment, and it’s just what I need. If you grow your blog and get lots of traffic crazy fast, you are always welcome to upgrade at any time.
When you decide on a plan, you will have a screen that looks a lot like the picture shown above. I would recommend getting the domain privacy option so your personal info is hidden from the internet creepers of the world. Follow Siteground instructions and you will soon have your own domain and hosting plan ready to go!
Want to get your web hosting through Siteground?! Click – this link – to get signed up!
Need help? Siteground support has 24/7 expert advice on how to set up your blog!
Step III: Install WordPress.
Finally, when you have your domain name and hosting plan purchased, it’s time to install WordPress.
After your site is all set up, go to the “My Accounts” tab on the top of your Siteground Dashboard. Click the “Go to cPanel” button in orange and click!
Once you’re there you will see several menus and icons that will look similar to the icons on your desktop screen. Go down to the “Autoinstallers” menu and select “WordPress.”
To install WordPress, simply follow the on-screen instructions.
Bing, Bang, Boom you’ve got your website all set up. HOW FREAKIN’ EXCITING!
Feeling super confused? Feel free to call Siteground support since they are available 24/7. They are the dream team!
How to Start a Lifestyle Blog Series – Part II: How to Set Up Your Blog
You’ve made it through Part II of my ‘How to Start a Lifestyle Blog’ series! By now you should have had your blogging brainstorm session, and have a step-by-step guide on how to set up your blog.
Thank you so much for reading! Stay tuned for Part III, where I will elaborate further on all the good stuff WordPress has to offer. Ill give you the run down with simple tutorials to become familiar with your new blogging platform! 🙂
Have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! Comment down below, or get in touch.