If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re thinking about how to start a blog or a website, and don’t know which hosting company to choose. Or maybe you don’t know what hosting is for. Plus, what’s a hosted vs self-hosted website? Either that or you’ve already chosen SiteGround as your hosting company and want to know how to get started.
In this post, I will tell you the benefits of starting a blog, what a hosting provider is, why I chose SiteGround and why I recommend it, as well as guide you through the necessary steps to start a blog with SiteGround.
Additionally, you can also check out my page where I included some of the most popular and useful blogging tips and tools for beginners. So with the help of these two posts, you’ll be on your way to creating the blog you’ve always wanted.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
The Benefits Of Starting A Blog
In case you’re not yet convinced that starting a blog is a good idea, let me tell you some reasons why you should give it a try.
Blogging has become more and more popular.
You don’t need a degree to start a blog. All you need is ideas and opinions. Nowadays, more people start their own blogs and there’s always someone who reads them. You just have to find that audience and learn how to deliver your message to satisfy SEO criteria.
You get to speak your mind about topics you’re passionate about or topics you want to educate people about.
As I said, you don’t have to be an expert. Just to have a bit of experience, ideas, and opinions, and to create quality content. This also comes with practice. It’s a skill you can learn.
People make money blogging.
Blogging can be a side hustle or even a full-time job. Sure, it takes a lot of hard work, time, and patience to be able to turn it into a full-time job, but the results are very satisfying.
Some ways you can monetize your blog are: affiliate marketing, displaying ads, sponsored posts, selling your own products and services, etc. This post is focusing more on the type of blog that can potentially make you money.
Blogging is a way to build a community with people who have the same interests as you. You can do that through your posts, comment section or email marketing.
If you have a business, blogging is a great way to keep your clients updated about your products, services, and company. Give them tips and tricks about how to make the best of what you have to offer.
Also, if you have a business or want to raise awareness about something, blogging is a way of attracting new audience. With the right marketing strategy (e.g. blog posts and explainer videos), you can boost your website’s traffic and generate sales.
What Is SiteGround?
First things first.
What’s a hosting provider and do I need one?
A hosting provider is a company (e.g. SiteGround, Bluehost) that makes it possible for websites to exist on the World Wide Web. It’s like the terrain you want to build your property on. Or the space you rent to open up a shop.
So yes, having a blog or a website requires you to have a hosting provider. Because your website is composed of things such as HTML codes, images, and other files, you need an online place to store them. This is what hosting providers do.
But before paying for hosting, make sure of the following things:
Know your topic
- you have to know what you want to write about
- your topic must be flexible and large, allowing you to write as much as possible
- it has to be something you like writing about
- this is where people can find your blog; it’s your website’s address on the Internet
- it has to be easy to find, easy to memorize, and somehow connected to your content
- get separately or with the hosting
Some hosting providers are also domain registrars. Such is the case with SiteGround, as you’ll see below. This means this hosting company allows you to buy your new domain during the sign-up process. Or you can purchase your domain name separately and integrate it with SiteGround.
Now one final thing before starting.
Hosted vs Self-Hosted
There’s one more question you need to ask yourself. Do I need a hosted or a self-hosted website?
All-in-one solution that includes hosting, domain name, and the necessary software to build your website.
It’s free or very low cost to start. Some companies are WordPress.com, Wix, Blogger, Squarespace, Shopify, Weebly. Though this also has a downside.
There is unexpected pay for extras. This includes your own domain name, design, monetizing your blog, if you want to take down ads that make your host money (NOT YOU), etc.
You can think of it as a rental home.
As a result, they can limit what you post on your blog or how you can monetize it, and how much money you can make.
What’s more, they can DELETE your blog if you violate their terms of service!
Limited functionality. They have some built-in options you can use, but that’s it. If you want something they don’t have a function for, you can’t technically make it happen.
This might not be a problem at first when you’re just starting out and don’t know much about blogging or websites. But later on, when you’ll want to grow, it’ll be an issue. You’ll have to switch to a completely new company.
It’s easy to use. All you have to do is write. The company takes care of the rest. This includes maintenance, security, and other changes to the website.
On the downside, if the company modifies something that alters your blog, there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it.
The possibility of customization is limited. Because of that and the fact they control your blog, hosted websites are seen as less professional.
More suitable if you want to blog as a hobby and are not bothered by the restrictions and limitations hosted blogs impose.
It’s built with an open-source software. You need a web host and domain registrar. SiteGround has both.
This is a bit more expensive, but still affordable, as you will see below. The software is free to use, but you pay when you sign up for a hosting plan.
The most known software out there is WordPress.org. More than 40% of the websites in the world use WordPress.org and there’s a reason for it. It’s at the top of the game.
Think of it as your own property.
Since it’s your own, you have more freedom and nobody can restrict your content and how you want to monetize it.
Nobody can delete your blog. It’s yours and you set up the terms and conditions.
Basically, you can do whatever you like on a self-hosted blog. There’s a plugin for almost everything you need and want. Most of them are free, but there are some you have to pay for.
Be careful though! Too many plugins slow down your website. This is bad for SEO. Low site speed and high bounce rate (percentage of viewers who leave after viewing one page) don’t make up for a great recipe.
A bit more complex. Allow yourself time to learn your way around it. You’re in charge of the security and maintenance of your blog.
This includes backing up your database and updating the software when available (e.g. plugins, themes, WordPress version).
There are lots of themes and features to customize your blog. Readers and customers perceive self-hosted websites as more professional and reliable.
Self-hosted websites are great for money-making blogs, as you can monetize them any way you want. They are also better for SEO.
Now that you know what you want to write about, you have a domain name, and you decided to self-host (because you want money, money, money), it’s time to choose a hosting company.
There are a few elements to consider when making this decision. I won’t get into too much technical stuff, because it’s already a lot of information and I don’t want to confuse you.
#1 Disk space/web space/store space
As you know from reading this post, your website is composed of lots of files that the hosting provider helps you store. BUT! Those files take up disk space. So you need a web host that provides the necessary disk space.
SiteGround offers 10GB, 20GB, or 40GB of web space, depending on the plan.
This is the percentage of time your hosting provider’s server is up and running, making your website available to viewers.
SiteGround has an uptime rate of nearly 100%, making it one of the best in the game.
#3 Site speed
This is self-explanatory. But what you need to know is that your blog needs to load within 3 seconds or less. Low site speed is not good for user experience or SEO.
Fortunately, SiteGround does a good job at this too.
#4 Customer service
If there is something you can’t find the answer to, use their chat option. Their response is usually pretty quick. Plus, their experts are friendly and patient. This is what you want from a service provider!
They also offer high-quality tutorials to help you learn about SiteGround.
#5 SSL Certificate
It’s important that your hosting provider offers an SSL Certificate. This is a digital certificate that authenticates your website’s identity and creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser.
And yes, you do need an SSL certificate in order to keep user data secure, verify ownership of your site, prevent creating fake versions of your site, and gain user trust.
But how do you know a website has an SSL certificate? Simple! The URL starts with https, not http and in front of the URL, there’s a lock sign.
Now if you look at SiteGround’s packages, you’ll notice that all three plans include free SSL, which is not the case with other hosting companies.
#6 Email addresses for your domain
What I like about SiteGround is that they offer unlimited free email addresses. For each plan.
This means you can create a professional email address that represents your blog. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org. Or email@example.com. Anything that is related to your blog really.
This way, you separate your personal email from your business one. Especially if you want to monetize your blog, having an address that includes your blog’s name and looks professional is always better than @gmail.com.
#7 Easy to install WordPress.org
After you sign up for a hosting plan, the last thing you want is to have a hard time installing the WordPress.org app.
Don’t worry though. After finalizing your purchase on SiteGround, installing WordPress is a matter of only a few short minutes.
Now that you know what to look for in a hosting company, all you need to do is start now.
How To Start A Blog With SiteGround Hosting
Starting a blog is pretty easy and fast. All you need to do is follow the simple steps required by Siteground.
STEP 1: CHOOSE A HOSTING PLAN
According to SiteGround, the StartUp plan is more suitable for beginners or people with just one website who are starting now.
If your budget allows, the GrowBig plan is a great investment. It supports unlimited websites and comes with Ultrafast PHP, which significantly improves your site’s speed.
I actually went with the GrowBig plan, even if it was my first time starting a blog or a website. My reasoning was that I planned to be serious about this anyway, and I wanted the extra stuff included in this package. Plus, once you start this journey, you may want to start other websites in the future too.
The GoGeek plan is preferred by people with e-commerce and larger sites or more geeky development needs like more server resources and GIT integration.
BE AWARE THAT the price for each package is paid all at once and IT IS NOT a monthly charge!
You’ll probably have to pay around $100 or more, depending on your plan. I’m pointing this out because when I started, I had the impression it was super cheap to do it. Because a lot of bloggers said so. And it’s not that this isn’t true. But it’s not exactly an accurate picture.
I’m talking more about this in another post about what mistakes I’ve made since starting a blog and how YOU should avoid them.
STEP 2: CHOOSE A DOMAIN
SiteGround allows you to buy a new domain name or sign up with an existing domain.
So if you don’t have a domain yet, check the “Register a New Domain” box. Type your desired name and select between the wide variety of domain extensions (e.g. .com, .org, .co.uk, .net, .xyz, .site, etc.).
For a blog, I think .com is the most appropriate one. You can’t go wrong with that.
For more information about how to choose a domain extension, check this blog post by The Daily Egg.
STEP 3: REVIEW AND COMPLETE THE ORDER
Here is where you choose the hosting period, which is also the initial period you’re charged for (E.g. 6.99EUROS/mo x 12 months for a 12-month GrowBig plan).
Now the good thing with SiteGround is that the advertised discount applies to any of the initial periods you select during the sign-up process. Unlike other hosting providers which only apply the discount for the longest period.
So now that you’ve chosen the initial hosting period, see if there are extra services you want to purchase. For example, in this image, you have the option to pay for their SG Site Scanner. This is a useful and trusted tool that periodically scans your website for malicious codes and immediately notifies you if your website has been hacked.
Now you’re all set and ready to go! Install your WordPress.org and proceed with building your website just the way you want it.
To help you make things easier to remember and understand, here’s a summary of what we discussed above. So you want to start a blog? Then know and do these things:
Decide what you want to write about.
Choose a domain name.
You decided that you want to self-host your blog (this post isn’t about how to start a hosted blog).
You need a hosting provider (SiteGround).
SiteGround is also a domain registrar, so you don’t have to complicate your life with purchasing your domain from someplace else.
And finally, install the software that builds your blog (WordPress.org-super easy to do once you register with SiteGround).
Now you’re all set and ready to go!