Planning a new venture or looking for a side hustle, blogging as a business is the right option to experiment and learn about your market. It does not require either large capital investment or hired staff or much of your time. You need to make up your mind, work on a focused strategy and spend a couple of hours every day.
For over 15 years, I worked as a software developer for different corporates – securing computer networks and building products for the Internet. But I really missed was the experience of how the technology can change the lives of common people.
I jumped on to entrepreneurship bandwagon, started this blog to share my experience. Blogging has allowed me to be an entrepreneur, manage my time better, experiment with my ideas and earn what I deserve.
With blogging, anyone can make money with little effort. I believe, irrespective of your past, blogging as a business will positively impact your future.
The difference with SiteGround
To get started, you just need to subscribe to Siteground. Along with hosting your website, they provide a free domain name. Siteground has been my hosting provider of choice. In the case of any troubles, they have the best responsive and well-trained support staff. They provide a range of services to optimize traffic and secure your website. The technology and hardware for servers are top-notch and comparably much better than their competitors. Without any second thoughts, I definitely recommend you to consider Siteground. You would not regret your decision.
You may have across some of the free website hosting sites – Blogger.com, Weebly.com, Tumblr.com, Wix.com. Though these sites allow you to post content for free, you shall be severely restricted in trying out the different features and will be limited to few or no money-making options.
In my assessment, it is not worth the effort or time. If you can spend few dollars to subscribe with Siteground or any other paid hosting provider, you get complete flexibility to customize the website and run the blogging business on your own terms.
Let us start building your website…
Step 1: Register a Domain Name
A domain name is the identity of your website. It is crucial that you have selected an appropriate, professional and preferably short name for your website.
When you have made up your mind, you can either purchase the domain name from websites – GoDaddy/NameCheap or you can get it free if you register for SiteGround hosting.
Another reason, I prefer Siteground is that it allows me to save money every year ( approx $14.95) by avoiding the annual domain registration charges and they provide it free of cost until I continue to use their hosting services.
Start the process and click here. You should see the following page.
Step 2: Buying Website hosting
Website hosting providers like Siteground provide the physical hardware, necessary blogging software, e-mail accounts (with your own domain name – firstname.lastname@example.org) and many other features.
Most of these hosting providers have monthly and 12-/ 24-/ 36-month billing plans. I recommend that you go with the 12-month plan. It will serve cheaper for you and avoid the hassles of remembering to renew every month.
Siteground has 3 different plans based on an expected size of traffic and other features.
I suggest you start with the basic “StartUp” plan and later, you can always migrate to other plans depending on your requirements.
In the next screen, you can register a new domain name or select an existing domain if you have one.
In the final screen, you need to provide your email address, billing information and confirm the hosting information.
You can select your data center location closer to your area of business. There are a couple of other options – Domain privacy and Site Scanner that you may prefer to uncheck.
The total cost for StartUp plan and hosting period for 12 months should be $47.40
Remember, this is the initial investment for your new blogging business. In most cases, the only investment you need to get unless you have bigger plans. Now as an entrepreneur, you need to devise strategies to grow this investment and earn much higher ROI at the earliest.
Step 3: (Optional) Connect your domain name with the hosting provider
This step is not required if you have opted for a domain name and the hosting service from SiteGround.
If you had an earlier domain name or bought a new domain name from a different provider – GoDaddy, NameCheap or other providers, you will have to wire the domain name to your hosting server so that when your blog visitors type in your domain name, they can be redirected to your website.
This is two-stage process
- Change information at Domain registrar (GoDaddy/NameCheap/…) portal to direct traffic to SiteGround server
- Create Addon domain at the SiteGround portal with your existing domain name.
For GoDaddy, refer to this documentation – hGodaddy – set custom name server and
for NameCheap, Click on Domain menu on the top of the page, then NameServers and finally select custom DNS.
Here is the link to SiteGround’s documentation, refer it for any help – SiteGround – change name server
You need to update the SiteGround’s Name Servers with the GoDaddy or NameCheap or other domain name provider. The highlighted Name Servers may be different depending on your SiteGround’s data center. In my case, I had selected Singapore data center.
In some cases, the domain registrar changes take 24 or 48 hours to reflect.
Next, in SiteGround’s cPanel, you need to add your existing domain name.
- Select “Addon Domains”
- Provide your domain details (skip subdomain input)
- Click “Add domain”
- You should see your domain name at the lower part of your screen.
Step 4: Enable security with HTTPS
You need to secure your business assets – the contents of your blog and your visitors. Any oversight may result in unwanted consequences for your business.
SiteGround provides free security certificates that identify your website as genuine and not operated by any fly-by-night hacker.
For your visitors, the padlock sign next to your domain name in the address bar will ensure trust.
In the SiteGround, cPanel page, click on LetsEncrypt and follow the instructions.
Step 5: Install WordPress
In this step, you will install the main blogging software – WordPress onto your website.
When you are logged in your SiteGround account portal,
- Click on “My Accounts” menu at the top of the page.
- When you should see your account details, click on “Access cPanel”
- A screen with all available options is displayed, click on “WordPress” under “AutoInstallers” section. (as in Fig 5)
- In the next screen, click on “Install”
- Next, you need to configure your WordPress installation
- If you had enabled security with HTTPS, select protocol as “https”
- Select the domain name
- To ensure better security, choose Admin Username and Password that includes characters, numbers and special characters
- For the Admin Email, type in your valid email address. In case, you forget the admin password, recovery email will be sent to this email address.
- Retain the rest of the configuration with default values.
- Click Install
In next few seconds, the WordPress installation will be completed.
Now, you can open your browser and head to your domain name. You should see the bare-bones version of your blog.
Step 6: Customize your blog with WordPress Themes
Themes are special software for your website that helps you to customize the layout, colors, fonts, animation and also provide a host of other customization features.
- Login to the administration console of your website with the link. (Replace with your domain name) – https://<your domain name>/wp-admin.
- Type in your Administrator username and password, you should see the Admin console.
- On the left of your screen, click on “Appearance” and then “Themes”
WordPress has a huge developer community that provides many free themes. You can browse through hundreds of options and select the theme that you prefer and is appropriate to your niche.
There are few companies that offer premium but paid themes (Genesis, Thesis, …) with excellent features. When you start earning from your blogging business, you can consider switching to these sophisticated themes.
Step 7: Install additional features with WordPress Plugins
Similar to Themes, Plugins are additional software that adds new features to your website. Features like shopping cart, social sharing buttons, traffic analysis and much more.
Like the AppStore or the PlayStore, there are many free and paid plugins. Check them by clicking “Plugins” on the left menu and then “Add new”.
A word of caution – installing many plugins will slow down and may also leave your website vulnerable to attacks.
To get started, stick to few basic plugins. This is my recommended list for you –
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
- Share Buttons by AddThis
- W3 Total Cache
- Wordfence Security
- Yoast SEO
This article provides all the information for an aspiring blogging entrepreneur to get started. I have discovered that in the journey of being an entrepreneur, making up mind is the biggest hurdle and when you do, rest will fall in place. I can assure you that technology and the learning curve to make money with blogging is a lot less demanding that you expect.
Enjoy the journey …
I would love to hear your experience with blogging, Siteground hosting and in general the hurdles that stops you from getting started. Please comment.
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