Do You Want to Create a Blog?
This post contains affiliate links to SiteGround – a service I am happy to promote. This blog receives a small payment if you sign up and you do not pay any more.
Why I Use SiteGround
Recently I changed website hosts to SiteGround and I’ve been amazed at the improvement! When I set up my blog I had no idea what I was doing and I signed-up with a cheap provider that is commonly used among bloggers. However, I was continually bugged that my site seemed slow to load. Whatever I tried to do to optimize the speed did not seem to make a whole lot of difference. I also found their front-end confusing and hard to find the right information.
I had heard that many bloggers recommend SiteGround and so one day I just took the plunge! I nervously transferred my site to SiteGround and chose to do it all myself since they provided such good instructions. After a nerve-wracking day everything came across ok! I used their online chat service to talk to their technical support a few times and they were super-responsive and helpful. They also didn’t blind me with techno-babble which I appreciated. I’ve heard other bloggers speak highly of the phone support.
I tested the speed of my site before and after the change on three different services and the speed improvement speaks for itself – see below.
- Pingdom – Before load time 3.43 secs / After load time 990ms
- Page Speed Insights – Before; Desktop 72, Mobile 62 / After; Desktop 90 Mobile 82
- ByteCheck Before Time to first byte (TTFB) 1698ms / After 693ms TTFB
Step 1 - Choose Your Plan
Follow my link to SiteGround and you will be given the choice of three plans. “StartUp, “GrowBig” and “GoGeek”. They are in increasing levels of price and bells & whistles. Unless you know what you really need then just go for the StartUp level which is the cheapest. If you find you need to upgrade in the future then that is easy.
Step 2 - Choose a name
This is where you get to choose the name of your site! Simply click Register a New Domain. You will then be given the option to enter the name of your new site. Obviously it needs to be something that has not already been taken.
If you already have a site that you want moved across to SiteGround then you will click I already have a Domain – but then I’m sure you guessed that already. This is the option I used when I moved my site to SiteGround.
Pretty easy so far – right?
Step 3 - Complete your details
You can now select a period. I chose 12 months and then I have it on auto-renew. But you can select a different period. One thing to note is that the discounted price applies to whatever period you choose. So you can get the low discounted price for the whole year, which is not something that most hosting providers offer.
If you have chosen either of the top two plans then you get a website transfer by a specialist included for free. If you chose the lowest option like me, then the specialist transfer service is an additional $30. I think this is a well-priced option but I just did it myself. There are easy instructions given, but if you don’t fancy the heartburn then just pay for the $30 transfer assistance.
I didn’t bother with “SG Site Scanner” so I left that un-checked. All that’s left is to pay and you will soon be up and running!
Get WordPress up and running
If you are starting for the first time you will want to get WordPress fired-up. Luckily for you SiteGround makes it easy with a click install process.
WordPress is the program that will run your blog, help you compose posts, answer comments and design your site. It’s really easy to use and it won’t take you long to find your away around it. The first thing you need to do is to choose a Theme. A theme will determine the overall look of your site, but most themes are very easily customized. There are plenty of free themes available, so I would just choose one of those. I ran a free theme for the first couple of years, but recently I paid for a theme as it did some specific things that I wanted.
At some point in the future you will want to try out some Plugins. These provide additional functionality to your site like email lists, social share buttons, backup your site etc. These can be useful but it’s best to use as few as possible. They can slow down your site and conflict with each other. I’ve found that pretty much every technical problem I’ve had blogging can be solved by turning off one or more plugins.