So, you’ve decided to create a website with WordPress.
Maybe you’re creating an online store with WooCommerce, or maybe you are show-casing your services as a Virtual Assistant.
No matter the reason, you know that this is a fantastic opportunity for you to make money online, possibly even (one day) replacing your full-time income.
Good for you!
The next step is choosing a hosting provider. In this article, I’ll show you why SiteGround is my #1 recommended choice for new bloggers if SiteGround is right for your website, and how to set up your WordPress website with SiteGround in this step-by-step tutorial.
Full disclosure: Some of these links may be affiliate links, meaning that I may get a small commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. In some cases, you may even be able to get a discount by purchasing through my affiliate links. I only use affiliates I have tried and loved, unless otherwise mentioned. For more information, please check out this affiliate disclosure.
SiteGround has over 1,000,000 domains worldwide, provides 24/7 technical support, a 30-day money-back guarantee, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, free daily backups, and free SSL certificates.
When I created a website the first time (I’ve had several other blogs besides Simply Kirsty), I had no idea what any of that meant.
“99.9% uptime guarantee” – OK, cool, that sounds about right.
“Free daily backups” – also sounds pretty good.
“Free SSL certificates” – Not sure what that is. Do I need to worry about that? (Hint: yes, you do.)
I remember looking through countless articles on hosting providers: BlueHost, HostGator, and all of these other hosting providers and I was thinking…“What the hell do I choose?!”
I’ve used other hosting providers before, but when I decided to get SiteGround, it wasn’t just because of the uptime guarantee and free SSL certificate provided (though, that’s definitely a plus), it was because it makes it so easy.
I mean, honestly, with other hosting providers I was confused.
I’m not that technical, especially when it comes to websites. I just need something easy to navigate, can host my site, and preferably someone to walk me through everything.
And if you want something super easy (and fast) to set up, then you should go with SiteGround.
Who is SiteGround not for?
As far as I can tell, SiteGround isn’t for you if you have a lot of monthly visitors.
Say, more than 100,000 visits monthly.
But I mean, as far as I can tell (I’m not a techie), you may be able to negotiate with SiteGround for a plan that fits for you.
However, there is another con: The pricing. Then again, I believe Siteground is cheaper than many other providers for everything it offers.
Nevertheless, the first-year pricing, comparing SiteGround with BlueHost, for example, is super-cheap and typical for hosting companies.
But the year after that?
Let’s compare, real quick.
With BlueHost, the first package is $3.95/month. Same as SiteGround.
However, after a year, BlueHost is then $7.99/month, while SiteGround’s is $11.95/month.
That just means that the first year, especially, you need to be killing it with your blog. Either that or suck up and pay the regular price per month (or just lose your website).
And if that monthly cost sounds pretty doable, that’s good! But also remember that you don’t actually pay monthly. You pay annually.
If cost is a big factor for you, keep that in mind when looking for hosting plans. And, if these numbers scare you, then maybe blogging isn’t right for you. Or, at least not yet.
How to Set Up Your Blog With SiteGround
If you’ve finally decided that SiteGround is the right hosting platform for you, then let’s get started!
First, head over to SiteGround.com. This link will show you three WordPress Hosting plans.
Choose a plan, then click on “Get plan”.
StartUp – The cheapest plan and perfect for people with one website and is just starting out. You can update your package later if you want to.
This package has 10 GB of Web Space and about 10,000 visits monthly.
GrowBig – The plan that I use (as of writing this), this plan is a great value for your money. It includes the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress and Joomla website speed.
The package comes with 20 GB Web Space and around 25,000 visits monthly.
GoGeek – Perfect for already successful e-commerce and larger sites. I recommend upgrading to this if you have a lot of traffic and income, but this is not the best package to start off with. It’s better to save your money with marketing!
This package comes with 30 GB of Web Space and around 100,000 visits monthly.
Once you click “Get Plan”, you will then be navigated to the domain page.
If you already have a domain name, click “I already have a domain”. Or, if you want to buy your domain name from a third-party website, such as NameCheap, then click this option.
If you don’t have a domain name, click “Register a domain name”. I recommend this option because if you decide to transfer your domain to your hosting provider (it’s easier to have them with the same provider!), then you will have to pay a transfer fee.
Enter your domain name (if you already have one), or enter a domain name that you want to register with.
Once you are done, click “proceed”, and you will then be on Step 3: Review and Complete.
On this page, you will fill out your account information as well as payment information.
Make sure that you write down your login information.
Also, next to “period”, you will have the option for the length of time you want to pay. For me, I clicked “12 months”. You have the option for a trial period plus a setup fee. This can be extra costs in the long run, so I recommend using the “12-month” period.
If you need to change your plan, click the grey box next to it to change.
Underneath the plan, you will see the words “Datacenter”. Click the one closest to you (if you need to change it). To change, click the grey box.
At the bottom, you will then see the extra services that SiteGround provides. Two of these services you may not see if you already had a domain name before signing up with SiteGround.
I highly recommend using Domain Privacy so your personal information is not publically available through the whois services. This is just 12/year, then after that, it’s 24/year.
You can also get SG Site Scanner, which is a service that monitors your website daily and immediately notifies you if your website has been hacked or injected with malicious code. Chances of this happening as a new blogger are rare, but it may also depend on the type of website you have (your niche) and your personal preference.
Once you are done, click pay now.
You will then be getting a SiteGround confirmation receipt in your email, and if you registered a domain name with them, you will get a confirmation email that you will need to confirm for the domain that you registered.
How to Install WordPress with SiteGround
Go to SiteGround.com to login in your site’s dashboard. You can do this by clicking “login” at the top right side.
Once you log in, go to the “My Accounts” tab. You will then see a RED button that says “Go to cPanel” next to the buttons “Renew” and “Upgrade”.
First, let’s install your Free SSL certificate.
“What’s an SSL Certificate?”
An SSL certificate is used to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet so that only the intended participate can access it.
Let me put it this way: If you don’t have an SSL certificate installed, when you try to access your website you’ll see a message that usually says something like this: “Connection not private.” with the option to go back to safety or to proceed even though it is unsafe.
That’s what your visitors will see, and trust me they won’t proceed. Who would?
If you don’t have an SSL Certificate, then you won’t have visitors. Enough said.
So, here’s how to install your Free SSL certificate.
Within the cPanel, scroll down. You’ll see the section labeled “Security”, and underneath click on the button that says “Let’s Encrypt”.
You will see that you do not have an SSL certificate installed.
Select your domain name and click “Install”.
Your SSL will automatically renew, so once you do this you don’t need to do anything else!
How to Install WordPress
Next, go back to your cPanel.
Under “Autoinstallers”, click “WordPress”
Click the “Install” tab.
Under “Choose protocol”, select “Https://”.
Select your domain name.
Leave the directory key blank.
Now put in your Site Name and Site Description/tagline.
Site Name: Simply Kirsty
Site Description: Earning Made Easier
Leave the enable multisite button unchecked, unless you want this.
Next, type in your Admin username and choose a strong password.
I recommend not choosing “Admin” as your admin username, but maybe your author name.
This is the information that you will be using to log in to WordPress, so write this down!
Next, choose a language.
Next, select if you want limit login attempts, which limits the attempt a wrong password is entered.
Select if you want Contact Forms by WPForms-Lite.
Next, choose a theme. I keep this to none because I choose a theme later.
Once it is done installing, it will list your admin login URL. Often times, you can log in by going to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.
Click the URL then sign in, using the “Admin Username and Password” you had just written down earlier.
You are now in your WordPress dashboard where you can edit your themes, plugins, create blog posts, and more.
Creating Your Site’s Emails
One more thing before you go and start getting familiar with your WordPress dashboard: Creating your site’s emails.
What do I mean by that?
You may want to use specific emails for your customers or readers to contact you by.
For example Admin@SimplyKirsty.com or Support@SimplyKirsty.com.
To do this, go back to your SiteGround’s cPanel. Under “mail”, click “Email accounts”.
Enter the email you want to create. For example, “Admin” or “Support”.
Enter a password.
Change mailbox quota to 500 MB.
Click create an account.
Now, go back to the cPanel. Under “Mail”, click “Forwarders”. This will forward all emails sent to your site’s email address to the email you usually use. This is optional, of course, but recommended.
Click “Add forwarder”.
Enter email address, such as Admin@simplykirsty.com.
Under destination and next to “forward to email address”, type your personal email address.
Click “add forwarder”.
Choosing a Theme and Installing Plugins
Now, it’s time to edit your site!
I’m not a web designer, so I’m not going to walk you through some fancy code or get real technical with this. Designing your website is actually really simple, but I typically recommend doing some minor editing of the appearance on your website, creating some content and then customizing your theme again so you can see how it looks with content published.
First, let’s install a theme.
Go to your WordPress dashboard (www.mydomain.com/wp-admin typically). Mouse over to “Appearance” then click “Themes”.
Click “Add new”.
Search for a theme you like. You can get a free one for now and upgrade to a premium later if you wish.
You can even download WordPress themes from places like ThemeForest.com.
Once you choose, click “Install” then “Activate”.
To customize your theme, under “Appearance” click “Customize” right under ‘Themes’.
From there, get familiar with the settings, changing your logo, site tagline, fonts, colors, footer, sidebar widgets, etc.
You can easily create a logo in Canva by creating your free account here.
To install plugins, click “Plugins” on your WordPress dashboard, then “add new” and search for the plugins you want.
Here are some recommendations of plugins to install.
- Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
- WPForms Lite – a simple contact form
- Yoast SEO
- Plugins that connect to your social media handles, such as Pinterest
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- WooCommerce, if you sell products
- Google XML Sitemaps (SEO boost)
- WP Super Cache – for website speed
To change your website’s menu or add sidebar widgets, under “appearance” click “menus” or “widgets”.
Creating Essential Pages
Before you officially launch your blog, there are a few essential pages you should include. These are…
- Terms of Service/Disclosure Page
- About me
To create a page, navigate to “Pages” on your WordPress dashboard and click “Add new”.
The first two are solely for legal reasons to help protect you in case anything happens with your blog – legally, that is.
Be sure to add your ‘Disclosure’ and ‘Privacy Page’ to the footer of your website, and add the ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ page to your main menu.
For your Terms of Service/Disclosure Page, I recommend writing your own by using this guide written by The Travel Tester. Or, you can use a generator for both your Terms and Service page AND your Privacy Page with this website.
Next, let’s write your About Me page.
To help, here’s what you should include in your ‘About Me’ page. Remember to make it more about the reader and what you can offer than about yourself. This page is also one of the most visited pages, so try to link to other pages if you can, or offer an opt-in incentive to your email list (more on that later).
- What can you offer to your readers?
- Who is your site for? Work-from-home moms? Parents of middle-school children? Husky owners?
- Why does your blog have credibility?
- What makes your blog different?
- Add some personal info, just don’t make it all about you.
Bloggers (including me!) are constantly updating their About Me page. Don’t worry too much if yours sucks right now, you can edit it, later!
Next, it’s time to create your Contact page.
Try to make this page simple, but also try to answer some questions before people contact you.
To add your contact form, click on the content and on your left there should be a ‘+’ sign that says ‘add block’. You can find your WPForms builder under ‘Widgets’.
Some Important Notes
To help you with your blogging venture, I wanted to add some awesome FREE tools that will help you with learning and organization.
- Grammarly Chrome Extension – edit grammar mistakes on your blog posts
- Pocket Chrome extension – save websites to look back at later (for research)
- EverNote – the best note-taking app
- Canva – The best free website to edit graphics such as logos and content for social media
- MailChimp or MailerLite for FREE email marketing software
I recommend getting familiar with your WordPress dashboard.