Yes! You are ready to set up your blog. But first you have to get all the tech in order. This post will explain the basic steps and requirements for setting up your blog on Wordpress.org.
When I launched my blog way back in 2012, I was using Wordpress.com, which is a version of Wordpress and it’s totally confusing to newbies. The difference between the .com and the .org is the first is not open source, whereas the second one is.
If you want to better understand open source versus closed source blogging platforms, have a look at this post I did about Wordpress and Squarespace, it explains it really well.
Safe to say, if you are really serious about building a blog based business, you want to grow what you OWN and therefore you want to start on a platform you can 100% control.
80% of my clients end up using Wordpress.org to build their blogs because it’s so customizable, scalable and it’s incredibly powerful.
But at the same time, a lot of my clients FREAK OUT about the tech. When you’re launching a blog, there are SO MANY things to keep straight, from logins and backups and plugins. Fear not! This post will walk you through the basic steps to getting your blog LIVE and WORKING!
Finding the right Wordpress Host
Before you can use WordPress.org you need a hosting service. While you can find free hosting sites, they aren’t super reliable. The standard recommendation is to use a paid host, as they will provide higher quality services and features.
When I first started blogging, I used
BlueHost, (you can read this post about the 5 Reasons to use Bluehost when starting your blog)
then I migrated to SiteGround
and then to BigScoots
Others that have a great reputation include;
When you’re just starting out, your hosting shouldn’t cost much more than $10-$15/month. It’s quite easy to upgrade hosting services as your blog grows.
All this Hosting talk confusing?! Need more to help you confidently start your blog? Fear not. Head to my START YOUR BLOG Resource page for a full step-by-step, 1-2-3 walk through (with pictures) of how to get all these technical things in place. Oh and if you want to, you can just download the entire 14-page Free Start your Blog Reference Guide right here!
Things to consider when choosing a Wordpress Host
It can feel really daunting to choose a web host because a lot of the time, it feels like you’re operating in a new language. So there are a list of key features you want your host to have. For me, the most important? The support feature.
I have found, the better the hosting platform, the better the options for accessing support. Here are the general features you’ll want any host to have:
PHP version 7+
MySQL version 5.6+
WordPress 1-click installation or preinstalled (if managed) Built-in caching
Email, chat or phone support
The first three bullet points? Those pertain to the hosts ability to install your Wordpress site on their servers using the latest software. You don’t need to understand what those are.
Lastly, good hosting companies will offer uptime guarantees and top of the line support. Uptime guarantees generally assure you that 99.9% or more of the time your website will be up and running, leaving a fraction of time of server updates. And, as mentioned, support really is key. If you ever have a hosting issue you want to be able to get a hold of someone. Good hosting companies will have a couple easy ways for you to get in touch with a support tech.
Types of Hosting
Shared Hosting is what most new WordPress users start with. It’s an easy budget- friendly option that has enough resources to host a new website. Most shared hosts offer one-click WordPress installation, a reasonable amount of storage & bandwidth and sometimes a few perks (like Google Adwords coupons or even a free domain name).
This is why BlueHost is such a popular option for bloggers when they are first starting out. They can have you up and running for about $5/month.
Managed VPS (which stands for Virtual Private Servers) is a step up from shared hosting. You still share a server with other users, but the server is partitioned into sections so you each have your own mini server for better security, privacy and website operation. Plus, with managed VPS you don’t have to maintain your server – the hosting company handles software updates and code WordPress updates for you so you can focus on your website.
This is the level where you can get into the higher tiers on Siteground or BigScoots.
Managed WordPress Hosting, which is when the hosting company fully manages your server for you. Managed hosting offers more features and website resources than shared, and many managed hosts will offer scalable hosting plans so you can start small and upgrade your server as your business grows.
A great example of this service is WP Engine. They offer a great personal plan for new bloggers, as well as amazing premium & enterprise level plans for high traffic websites.
Choosing a Domain Name
You probably already have your website name, or a shortlist of names, picked out. That’s great!
(PS. If you’re having trouble nailing down what you want to blog about or how to start with a content strategy, we can work together through my Launch Pro Coaching Program to get you off and running! Book a Free 15-minute consultation so we can see if there’s a good fit for us.)
Not quite sure? Here are Nine Signs you might be ready for a Blog Coach.
The other part of naming that gets somewhat less attention is the domain name. In technical terms, a domain name is the part of a URL that identifies IP addresses (which identify computers or devices on a network) and web pages. More simply, it’s your web address.
Every domain name has a suffix, such as .com or .org. You can register any domain name you like that isn’t already taken – for an annual fee. Some hosts will give you a free domain registration for the first year.
As part of the sign-up process hosts will also automatically check to see if the domain is available for you to use. But you can always purchase a domain name directly from a registrar.
After you’ve settled on a domain name, follow your hosting company’s instructions for completing the setup process. You’ll probably need to point your domain name to your host. Your host will have a Knowledge Base or a list of Set-Up Instructions to follow. It’s the same process for all hosts, but each host site’s layout is slightly different. So just make sure to follow the instructions given to you by your host.
Once the hosting and server is set, you should be able to access your dashboard and start working on your BLOG!!
*do happy dance right here*
There! You’ve done it! You’ve set up your blog and you are ready to move forward sharing your thoughts, stories, insights and make some amazing passive income. Now you want to focus on having a successful blog launch.
This first step is often the hardest one to take and if and when your blog grows, you will need to revisit this process as you add and build out your site’s functions. It’s so important that you become technically aware of how your site works. You don’t need developer level knowledge or expertise, but you do need to feel empowered and sufficient in using the backend of your blog and the various components that make it work.
*this post uses affiliate links.
Chief Coach & Mentor
The Blog Girl Chronicles
Helping Bloggers and Brands Launch. Grow. Scale. Monetize.