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Do you want to know, how to start a WordPress blog in 2020?
You’ve heard that WordPress is one of the go-to blogging platforms.
And literally everyone seems to be using it.
But who can blame them?
This blogging platform is powerful whether you are tech-savvy. Or run in fear from the faintest sound of anything technical.
Which is massively due to the best part about WordPress. Its huge host of plugins you get access to when you get a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Plugins are the most powerful feature of WordPress, which will let you build the blog of your dreams. Even if you don’t know how to write code like HTML and CSS.
Sure those things are helpful and can help you tweak things a bit differently if you like. But they are totally not required.
Anyone can start a WordPress blog to earn money online.
That’s right, you can totally do this too!
Knowing How To Start A WordPress Blog In 2020
So, you’re totally stoked to start a WordPress blog. But maybe you just don’t know where or how to start?
After all, that’s probably the hardest part about anything new. Starting.
Sometimes, it’s easy. You can just jump right in because you’re excited. But jumping in usually means making a lot more mistakes than if you did some planning first.
Perhaps, you are the opposite though. Like me, I thought way too much before starting my blog. “Analysis-paralysis”, I call it. And it’s what comes to mind with this. Sometimes you plan too much and never get started.
Or the other common factor, is fear. That self-doubt, of whether you should even try something new. Because what if it doesn’t work out? Won’t all that time and effort be a waste?
Well, this is where this how to start a blog guide comes in. I’m going to show you exactly how to start a WordPress site from scratch in 2020.
I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do both before and after you consider doing a WordPress hosting comparison. Or even try to get hosting set up for your blog. And I’ll cover how to install WordPress on to your host too.
By the time we get to the end of this blog guide. You’ll also have lots of actionable steps on what to do next. So you aren’t left hanging and can start a WordPress blog to make money online with confidence!
Please note! For the purpose of this how to start a blog guide, I will be doing the WordPress setup using the .org
If you are not sure what the difference is, then I’ve covered that too in detail here.
If you want to blog seriously and potentially monetize it further down the line. Then you absolutely need to use this guide to set up WordPress.org. Not WordPress.com.
The free platform simply doesn’t cut it.
But first, to clarify.
What Is A WordPress Blog For?
There is one important factor you need to understand. Before you even attempt to learn how to start a WordPress blog. And it’s this:
Your blog is not all about you.
A blog is written for your ideal audience, in what we call a blog niche.
A blog niche is just a broad topic, of what you will write about on your blog. Like for example, some bloggers write about parenting, some food.
These are generally considered broad niches. And you can get more specific if you want.
So, if you are not sure about your niche yet. Then check this handy guide.
But basically. It is important to understand. That you should be writing for your audience primarily. To provide them with useful information and value.
Whilst it is not all about you, you can always weave in stories to help elaborate your points.
What You Need To Do Before You Learn How To Start A WordPress Blog
Okay, so let’s start with what you need to do before we start with the bulk of thia how to start a blog guide.
Firstly, as I already mentioned you need to think about a blog niche. This is simply a generic topic. Or even a group of topics that you plan to write about on your WordPress blog.
And again for reference, this handy guide by What’s Katie Up To? is perfect to figure it out. If you haven’t already!
Besides a niche topic, you need to come up with a name for your blog. Ideally, it should tell readers what your blog is about. Though you can try to come up with something more generic.
Next, once you have a blog name chosen. You’ll want to figure out what your domain name will be for your blog.
Your domain name, is the URL people can enter into their browser. That will take them directly to your site.
Think Google.com or WordPress.org. These are both domain names.
Having a blog name picked out already will help with this. As sometimes your domain name will be exactly the same as your blog name.
But it is worth double-checking as sometimes the name you want might already be taken.
You’ll also want to think about the ending extension you want for your blog. Like .com, .co.uk, .org and many more. A useful place you can check this is by using a domain checker like Instant Domain Search.
WordPress Hosting Comparison Between Siteground vs Bluehost
Right, now that you have the basics sorted out. The next step is to pick a place to host your WordPress blog.
This is called Web Hosting, or sometimes just Hosting.
What’s the difference you might be wondering?
Well, let’s take a look:
Important! In order to get some price discounts for your web hosting. You’ll likely have to pay for several months in advance. With the cheapest options usually being for buying 36 months upfront. Think of it like buying in bulk at your favorite supermarket.
Bluehost WordPress Hosting Comparison
- Hosting Price – Starts between $2.95 to $3.95/month for initial plan period, then $7.99/month afterwards
- Support – 24/7
Data Space– 50GB SSD Storage
- Domain Privacy protection – $0.99/month, then $14.88 per year at renewal
- Free SSL & HTTPS
- Domain price – Free for the first year, then $15.99 for renewal
- BONUS: Free 1-click site staging to create a test version of your blog to make changes on. Read more about the uses and benefits of this here.
SiteGround Hosting Comparison
- Hosting Price – Starting from $6.99/month, for the initial 12 month sign up period only, then $14.99/month afterwards.
- Support – 24/7
- Data Space – 10GB SSD Storage
- Domain Privacy protection – $12.99, then $24.99/year at renewal
- Free SSL & HTTPS
- Domain price – No free domain included for the first year. Prices are $15.95/year for .com, whilst others vary.
Please note that these prices can change depending on sales and time of the year. So always double-check with the web host’s website directly.
Fun fact – the prices I wrote in my initial draft of this post, all seemed to change by the time I got around to posting it!
Which Blog Hosting Should I Choose To Start My Blog On In 2020?
Now, which one should you pick is the real question?
If you are completely new to blogging, then you probably have no idea whether you will stick to it.
You might think it is for you, but in a few months when the novelty wears off you might decide you hate it and quit.
I’m not saying this to scare you. But to help ensure you are determined. By making sure you know exactly what you are up against.
Believe it or not – many bloggers quit in the first 6-12 months. And those that don’t often do not make much money in their first year.
All these are important to consider when doing a WordPress hosting comparison for your blog. Along with your own motivation and determination.
If you want to be successful at blogging and start a WordPress blog to earn money online in 2020. Then you almost need to be a bit stubborn. And have the perseverance to not give up at the soonest sign of difficulty.
For The Bare Basics To Start Your WordPress Blog Consider Picking Bluehost
Bluehost is a cheap option. And it’s the hosting I started and ran this blog on for 3 years.
The normal price is $3.95 per month. But depending on sales, you can snag it for as low as $2.95/month.
So look out for sales during Black Friday, Christmas, New Year and other occasions throughout the year. If you want to save even more money on your hosting. That you can invest in to other critical aspects of blogging.
You will likely find that most hosts only offer their lowest pricing when you pay for their longest package. For Bluehost, this usually requires you to pay upfront for 36-months worth of hosting.
Is it the best host though?
But if you want the best possible hosting. Then your monthly hosting costs could shoot up to as high as $30 per month.
This simply isn’t practical when just starting a new blog. Especially if it isn’t earning you any money yet.
If your budget can afford to go higher though. Then you could consider getting SiteGround instead. As they have many positive reviews, especially when it comes to their tech support.
But for me, as a completely new blogger. With no idea what I was doing. The cheap hosting from Bluehost, allowed me figure things out at my own pace. Without paying for bells, whistles and speed that my blog wasn’t using.
Which as someone completely new on their first blog was beyond slow.
Luckily because I opted for Bluehost. I wasn’t overpaying for hosting that wasn’t getting used fully, since my traffic was still low.
Bluehost Isn’t A Slow As Some Make Out
If you didn’t already know. How quickly your blog loads is a critical factor for getting more visitors to your blog. As well as being able to successfully monetize it.
It’s even a ranking factor for showing up in Google’s search results.
So with Bluehost being so cheap. One might expect it to run super slow.
But here’s the thing.
I was running my blog on Bluehost for 3 years.
And whilst I have fixed many of the biggest WordPress speed mistakes. That aren’t that difficult to fix.
There was still room for improvement. As I haven’t got into the niggly bits or optimized every single thing.
My blog doesn’t get a perfect score with many of the popular website speed test tools.
Yet despite this. I’m able to regularly get pages for my blog to load under the critical threshold of 2 seconds. With many pages hitting the 1.5-1.6 second mark.
SiteGround Comes With Highly Rated Tech Support & Speed
When doing a WordPress hosting comparison. SiteGround is the more expensive option, especially after the initial discount period. But this comes with highly-rated tech support and speed.
So think to yourself. Can you stretch your budget for this project?
How serious are you about blogging to earn money?
How long minimum are you going to give yourself to make it work before you consider giving up?
Will you need any tech support for problems and getting setup?
These are important questions when doing any WordPress hosting comparison for your blog. That could affect which host you pick and for how long you set the minimum plan with them.
As both Bluehost offer plans for 12 months, 24 months and 36 months. Meaning you could potentially lock-in their lowest promotional price of $2.95 for up to 3 years before it goes to their regular pricing.
Whilst with SiteGround you can only lock-in their cheapest $6.99 per month price for 12 months before it more than doubles to $14.99.
So, if you are determined to be in it for the long haul. Then investing in more than 12 months might be an option. It’s certainly what I did.
And it turns out I was right to do so. Because I’ve ended up using all 3 years of my Bluehost plan. Before even beginning to feel the need to upgrade.
Just think of all those extra $$$ I saved whilst trying to learn the basics of how to blog!
As A New Blogger, It Takes Time To Build Up Your First Blog
Let me be brutally honest.
As a new blogger, you probably won’t need something more advanced than Bluehost for the first 12 months minimum. Unless you get really lucky and have great success.
You might be thinking, well, I read X, Y and Z’s post on blogging and they got huge traffic in their first few months.
But here’s the thing you might not have realized. These bloggers are probably on their 2nd blog or even more than that.
Because once you’ve created one successful blog, it’s massively easier to replicate it to additional blogs.
They’ve learned everything on their 1st blog, made tons of mistakes as all new bloggers do. (Myself included!) And then cut out all the nonsense when creating a second blog.
They already know how to blog. So they can do everything so much faster.
If you are brand new to blogging, you have a massive learning curve and a lot of time to spend on that learning. That these bloggers on their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th+ blog don’t.
So just keep that in mind and keep your ideas of success practical!
In fact, what I would suggest is that you take those $ you save with going with a cheaper web host. And invest it into some vital resources for beginner bloggers.
Like the Pinteresting Strategies course that Carly Campbell used to go from 0 to 200k+ page views per month on her blog. I’ve used her strategies myself and she is the real deal.
No other Pinterest course I have tried has even come close. Even one recently that I paid $200 for!
Or you could use the money to invest in a professional and feminine theme.
As they can save you tons of time on designing your blog. So you can get to creating content faster. Something that is also critical for getting traffic to a new blog.
What It Really Costs To Start A WordPress Blog To Earn Money Online
As you can see above. Looking at the WordPress hosting comparison price differences above you are looking at:
$2.95-$3.95 per month for the first 36 months. Or $7.99-$11.95 per month outside the special discount.
Or $106.20-$142.20 for the first 36 months in total. Then after the special discount expires it goes up to:
This means if you went with Bluehost’s cheapest hosting options. Then 36 months on the discount would be:
- $106.20 at their $2.95 pricing
- $142.20 at their $3.95 pricing
Compare this to $287.64 for 36 months on their regular $7.99 per month price.
That’s a massive difference!
So whatever hosting you do choose, try to maximize the duration of the discount you can get. Whilst also making sure you will actually use it.
Otherwise, this could just be wasted money. Which is the opposite of what we both want for your blogging journey.
How To Start A Blog Guide For Bluehost Users In 2020
So, if you decided to start a WordPress blog to earn money online using Bluehost. Then you’ll first want to go to Bluehost.com.
Click Get Started.
Choose the plan you want (Hint: Choose Basic for the cheapest option.)
And click Select underneath the pricing.
On the next screen, you can either create a new domain or use one you have already.
You’ll most likely be creating a new domain. This should be the URL for your blog that you came up with earlier.
So enter it here and select the right ending for your website URL, either .com or another on the list.
Enter The Details For Your Bluehost Account
Here, you’ll need to fill in the account information.
Next, make sure to set the account Plan to the number of months you want. It is set to 36 months by default.
Leave Domain Privacy Protection ticked.
As this keeps your personal information being submitted to Whois. Which is an online website directory that displays contact details for website owners.
This is required by law for all websites. So by paying this fee, your web host will submit their contact details. Meaning any legit requests for your contact details will have to go through them first.
Untick the other options, as they are not needed. Like:
- SiteLock Security – Find
- Codeguard Basic
- Bluehost SEO Tools Start.
- 1 Office 365 Mailbox – 30 Day Free Trial
If you are worried about your blog’s security. Then instead of paying for these extra add-ons. You can check this guide for quick and free security tips that will help lock down your blog from hackers.
Once you’ve checked over your package information and extras. Enter your payment information.
Then when everything is complete. Click the submit at the bottom of the page.
Creating & Installing WordPress Using Your Bluehost Account
Once you’ve submitted your details to Bluehost. You will then get a screen to create a password for your new account.
Enter a strong password and then click Create Account.
Once the process completes you should get a new screen. Use the go to login button.
Enter your Domain Name and Password set in the previous steps. Then click Log in.
Bluehost will now run you through a guided setup. On the first screen enter the name of your blog. As well as your blog’s tagline.
Your blog’s tagline is just like a slogan. But don’t worry you can always change this later.
Toggle on the option for Do you want a blog?
Leave the second option for an online store turned off. Unless you are specifically going for this.
Then click Continue.
The following screen will ask for more information about what you want to do with your website.
Tick these as you see fit. As they are only used to generate suggestions for plugins and extensions.
Continue to the next screen and Bluehost will now ask you to pick a WordPress theme.
What you pick here is largely down to your preferences. I suggest picking something similar to what you are aiming for under the Blog section.
As you’ll likely want to consider digging into more detail on how to choose a WordPress theme.
Once you’ve picked your theme. Bluehost will go ahead with installing WordPress using your settings.
After Bluehost finishes installing WordPress. You then have the option to either login to your WordPress dashboard.
Or go to the Bluehost Account cPanel.
Your best place to start is to click on Start Building. This should send you to your WordPress dashboard.
If this is your first time viewing the WordPress dashboard. Then check out this guide that will help you get familiar with it.
As well as explain the major features that are important you as a blogger.
How To Start A WordPress Blog On SiteGround In 2020
If you decided on using SiteGround for this how to start a blog guide in 2020.
Then, firstly go to SiteGround.com
Under Managed WordPress Hosting select Get Started.
Pick your hosting package. (Hint: Stick with the smallest package for now, you can always upgrade later.)
Click Get Plan underneath your chosen plan.
Choose your domain, this will usually be Register a New Domain. Unless you had one previously for some reason.
Enter the blog URL you came up with earlier.
Make sure to select the right extension for the end of your website URL, either .com, .co.uk or more.
Click Proceed, you should then get directed to the payment page so long as the domain name is available.
Fill in your details and then at the bottom make sure to check the purchase information is correct.
Be sure to pick the right Period – 12 months, 24 months or 36 months.
Remember – you can lock into the discount price of $6.99 for 12 months if you pick this plan.
Check The Extra Services + Untick If Needed
Then check the Extra Services section at the bottom.
You need the domain registration so that you can get visitors to your blog with your URL. So this is ticked by default.
You may want to consider getting Domain Privacy. As it will keep your personal information out of the Whois directory.
This is an online website directory that displays contact details for website owners. All websites and blogs have to provide this information.
So by paying this fee, your web host will submit their contact details instead of yours.
Meaning any legit requests for your contact details will have to go through them first.
Finish completing the form and submit it.
You should get notified by email once everything is set up and ready for you to log in.
Once Your Hosting Is Setup How Do You Install WordPress?
It is super easy these days. Since it is so popular you can often find it in the cPanel of your hosting account.
This makes this part of our guide on how to start a blog in 2020. So much easier than it used to be. Even if you are not tech-savvy.
Installing WordPress On Bluehost
Okay, so for Bluehost, you used to have to look for it in your cPanel.
But not anymore!
As Bluehost has made it super simple to set up. That if you followed through my guide above. Then WordPress is already installed, setup and ready to go with basics.
Keep reading for more blogging tips on how to find the WordPress dashboard without having to go through the Bluehost dashboard.
As well as what to do next to progress your blogging journey.
How To Install WordPress On Siteground
For SiteGround there are a few more steps left to do.
When you log in for the first time their new hosting account wizard will appear.
Select Start a new website at the top of the window.
Then below click on the WordPress logo.
Further down, fill in the details for your email, username, and password.
Again, let me emphasize. That you need to use strong usernames and passwords that are not easily guessed. This is vital to keeping your blog secure!
Do not use the default admin username for your account. This is a serious blogging mistake that can affect your security!
But do make sure to note down or make a mental note of what you put. As you will need it to log in to WordPress later.
Once everything has been filled in click Confirm.
Leave any enhancements off, as they are not really needed.
Tick the Terms of service agreement.
And then finally click Complete Setup.
Your WordPress blog should now be installed on your SiteGround hosting!
How To Login To WordPress For The First Time
Once you’ve installed WordPress. You’ll next need to figure out how to login to WordPress.
So you can start customizing WordPress. And writing your first blog post!
The method is the same, regardless of whether you signed up for hosting with Bluehost or SiteGround.
Although Bluehost will direct you straight to the WordPress dashboard after completing the setup. It is still useful to know how to find the right link manually.
So, to find your login page. Go to the domain name that you chose earlier and then add /wp-login onto the end.
It might look a bit like this:
This should take you to a blog screen like this:
At this point, it would be a smart idea to bookmark the page. So you can quickly get back to the login screen. Without having to remember anything.
To login fill in the username and password. Using the ones you created when installing WordPress.
And hey, presto! You’re in!
Don’t get too daunted by the dashboard and all the buttons when you first log in. You can find them all explained in detail in this WordPress dashboard tutorial for beginners.
How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost Or Siteground + What To Do Next
By this point, if you followed along with this how to start a blog in 2020 guide. You should be set up and ready to start a WordPress blog to earn money online.
As you are at the point where you can start customizing your WordPress blog and writing content.
You’ve taken the first big and important step, but you might be wondering where to go from here?
Well, as promised at the start here are some useful places to start with building your dream blog on WordPress.
I could go on and on with this list. As blogging is such a huge topic on its own.
But I’ve tried to keep it to the most important places to start. So that you don’t get overwhelmed!
So, listed in order of priority for you below:
Learn The WordPress Basics
Before you start using WordPress. You need to know how to use it right?
Setup Your Coming Soon Page For Your WordPress Blog
This should be the first thing you do next:
Create a quick coming soon page, that will act as the front of your blog. While you work on things in the background.
It is quick and easy to set up. And it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
So you won’t have to worry about what your visitors will see. And the basic features of this plugin, are completely free too.
Which is all you really need. So don’t get sucked into paying for the premium features.
You’re only going to launch your blog once.
And your time is better spent building your content and back end.
Improve The Security Of Your WordPress Blog
If you were considering the extra hosting options. That would charge you to implement some security tools for your blog.
Get your WordPress security sorted from day 1. To avoid any early hacks that could ruin the whole blogging experience for you.
Don’t worry, they are quick and easy.
Oh, and not to mention free of course!
You can worry about paid stuff later. This security guide will cover the basics to get you more secure fast!
Another important security task you should tackle now. Is getting the free SSL and HTTPS running on your blog.
Follow this guide to get it done asap. Otherwise, your visitors will get warning messages that your blog isn’t secure!
Install Some Essential Plugins To Add Powerful Features To Your WordPress Blog
Plugins are an amazing tool for bloggers, so I’ve come up with 5 that every blog should have. So get your quick start to plugins here.
Choose The Best Theme For Your Blog
Depending on your web hosting and setup. You might have already selected a WordPress theme.
But before you move onto other aspects of your blog. Now is the perfect time to ensure you are using a theme that you’ll stick with.
So, check out this guide on how to choose a theme for your blog. With the most vital things, you should consider.
As, well as this blog post on why I invested in a premium theme from day 1.
Discover The Best Blogging Tools To Help Your Blog Grow Fast!
Get these amazing blogging tools to get fast-tracked to the right stuff.
Whilst these tools go beyond your WordPress basics. They are super important for helping with your overall blogging journey.
So be sure to check them out!
Start Learning How Write Blog Posts In The New WordPress Gutenberg Editor
Finally, once you’ve set up your blog with everything you want, including plugins and a WordPress theme. You’ll want to start writing some content.
Wrapping Up On How To Start A WordPress Blog In 2020
Whilst starting a WordPress blog in 2020 may seem daunting at first. These extra blogging resources should help speed up the learning curve.
So you have lots of support even as a brand new blogger. And most importantly a starting place so you know exactly where to head next.
As well as make things a little smoother for your journey.
Hopefully, these shortcuts will show you the whole experience of how to start a WordPress blog. Beyond just the bare basics of getting your web hosting sorted out.
After all, there is a lot more to setting up your WordPress blog. Such as picking a niche for your blog, deciding on your blog’s name, choosing a suitable domain name, deciding on a Theme and more!
So tell me: What do you struggle with when starting a WordPress blog? Is it the tech side of things, the pricing, figuring out where to start? Or something else completely?
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