Starting a blog or switching to a new host can be confusing, especially if you’re not that much of a technical person. So, if your goal is to start a blog or switch hosts, you’ve come to the right place. I will explain everything you need to know, from why to choose SiteGround to how to successfully set up a WordPress blog with SiteGround.
This guide has been written in plain English and everyone can follow it easily, whether you don’t know how web hosting works, or you’re a more advanced developer. And even if you’re a complete beginner, don’t worry because this process is going to be as easy as visiting a supermarket to buy groceries.
ARE YOU STILL CONFUSED ABOUT YOUR MISSION TO START BLOGGING? Don’t BE. Blogging changed my life. I am earning more than $200,000/year with this blog alone. Blogging changed my life because it gave me peace of mind. It helped me spend more time with family because I can work any time I want to, and my schedule is flexible. Many people quit blogging after just a few months.
Why do people quit blogging?
More than 54% of people lose interest in blogging, which is one of the reasons that they quit.
Why do they lose interest?
Because they didn’t make enough money to run the blog. Only 2% of bloggers make more than $100k/year blogging. If you want to be in that 2%, you need to work really hard. You need to formulate a SOLID plan with deadlines, set timely goals and be patient. Patience is the most important thing you need while blogging.
The first step in building a successful blog is to have reliable and fast web hosting for your blog.
What is free hosting and why you should never use free hosting?
Many web hosts provide free subdomains to anyone who wants to start a website for free. WordPress and Blogger are two of the most popular free web hosts. If you choose to host your site with one of these providers, your website address will look something like yourwebsitename.wordpress.com or yourwebsitename.blogger.com. In other words, you don’t own your own domain and you can’t have an address like yourwebsitename.com (or with any other extension) when you rely on free web hosting.
Why you shouldn’t use free hosting?
- You don’t own your site, which means a free host can take down your website anytime they want. Example: Yahoo shut down their free hosting service in October 2009, asking everyone to back up their data.
- Google doesn’t like free hosting. Do you actually see many free hosting sites rank high in Google? Of course not. This is because Google doesn’t trust sites using free hosting.
- You lose credibility. Free hosting sites are less secure and pose a threat to visitors’ browsers. So, your visitors won’t trust your site if you’re using free hosting.
- Free hosting is for learning and not for earning money.
So, if you want to stand a chance to earn money with your blog or website, you clearly need to choose paid web hosting.
Why Choose SiteGround to Start Your Blog or Website?
I have reviewed SiteGround extensively in this Bluehost and SiteGround comparison review. However, here are three of the most important facts about SiteGround that makes them one of the best choices for hosting a blog or website.
SiteGround Uptime = 99.99%
What Is Uptime?
Uptime is the amount of time your website is running and accessible to anyone visiting your website. Your website can be down for many reasons, but 90% of the time, it’s related to your web hosting provider.
We track uptime for around 10-15 hosts and SiteGround has been number one in uptime over the last 2-3 years.
Websites hosted with SiteGround are UP most of the time. Generally, SiteGround achieves an uptime of 99.99%, and they are very reliable. While outages do occur unexpectedly, they act quickly and solve the problem as soon as it happens so the downtime is minimal and barely noticeable.
This is an uptime report for a test website hosted on SiteGround. As you can see, SiteGround experienced downtime of just 5 minutes over the whole month of testing we conducted.
Very fast websites guaranteed with SiteGround
Your website speed mostly depends on your web hosting company. The quality of hardware and server-level optimization done by your web hosting provider ensure fast load times for anyone accessing your website.
Why Is Speed Important?
- 50% of visitors will never return to a slow website.
- Speed is a ranking factor in Google’s search engine results pages. The slower the website, the lower your ranking will be.
- Website speed is the first impression for your visitors. If it’s fast, it lends your website a greater level of credibility, so they’ll trust you more.
- 40% will leave your site if it takes more than 3 second to load.
Now that you understand how important speed is for your website, let’s talk about the website speed SiteGround offers. How fast are they compared to other top hosting companies in the industry?
My current website is hosted on SiteGround. I tested my website using a speed test tool called Pingdom and here are the results.
My website with a page size of 1MB was loaded under a second. That’s exceptionally fast. It generally takes more than 1 second with any other shared hosting provider.
Support plays a huge role in choosing a web hosting company. You will inevitably have some problem with your web hosting at some point, and you’ll need their support to resolve it. If you can’t solve the problem quickly, your site will suffer for it, which is why the quality of a host’s customer support team is vital.
A very fast and efficient support team ensures our website runs smoothly without any issue.
Why Do You Need Support?
- To transfer your site from your old hosting account to your new one.
- To help if your website breaks down, regardless of whether you caused the issue or the problem is on their end.
- To help with potential billing issues.
- To help solve any technical problems related to your website.
Is SiteGround Support Good?
Check out this conversation that I found on Twitter, which speaks about the quality of support from SiteGround compared to other hosting companies.
I have also tested the speed of their support team and here’s the result.
SiteGround support was very fast. We connected with their customer support team in less than a minute. Other hosting companies will keep you waiting for a long time before they answer.
SiteGround scored very high in the top 3 factors in choosing a web host, which means they’ll likely be a good fit for your website.Set up your web hosting with SiteGround now.
How to Setup a Web Hosting Account with SiteGround?
Now, let’s take a look at how you can start a blog with SiteGround.
Step 1: Visit SiteGround
Click on this link and claim a special discount of 60% provided only to Inlinehostblogger visitors.Get 60% discount coupon code for SiteGround.
Now you will see a page like this. Click on claim discount.
After that, you will be redirected to another page where you will be asked to choose the plan you want for your website.
Step 2: Choose the most appropriate plan for your website.
We have reviewed 3 of SiteGround’s most important shared hosting plans in this Start Up Vs GrowBig Vs Gogeek Comparison review. If you’re confused, this review will help you choose the best plan for your needs so make sure to check it out.
The plan you choose will depend on your website and what your plans are for the future. For example, if you are building your own website for the first time and aren’t expecting to receive more than 10,000 visitors per month, then their basic plan, namely SiteGround StartUp, will do the job for you.
The SiteGround Grow Big plan allows for up to 25,000 visitors per month, while the SiteGround GoGeek plan allows for 100,000 visitors per month.
The Grow Big plan will provide better performance with more features like daily free backups of your site, priority support, free site transfer from your old hosting account, and more.
However, the most advanced features like Backup on Demand and Staging Site (you will be given a separate staging site where you can test your content and design before uploading it live) are only available with the GoGeek plan. The GoGeek plan is faster and the servers have fewer websites hosted on each one. The fewer websites there are on a server, the more resources will be allocated to each website. The more resources a website has, the better it’s performance and speed will be.
Choose a plan based on what your needs are, but also your budget. As I said before, for a beginner, the Start Up plan’s performance and features are more than sufficient for a new and relatively basic website.
Also, WordPress blog on SiteGround is possible with all these above plans.
Once you choose a plan, click on Order Now.
Step 3: Setting up a domain name for your website.
If you own a domain name, just click on “I already have a domain name”, type in your domain name and click proceed.
If you don’t, read on for more information on domains.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name represents the name of your website, but also its address. For example, this website’s domain name is inlinehostblogger.com
You need to buy a domain name separately and it usually doesn’t come with your web hosting package. Your web host’s job is to host your domain name and its associated content.
SiteGround will register the domain name for you if you are ready to spend an additional $15.95/year. Unlike some other hosting, SiteGround recently stopped offering free domain with their hosting.
I have a better option for you which will cost you only $1 for the first year.
Go to GoDaddy.com, choose any domain name you want and is available, and use this coupon code at the checkout to get your domain name for just $1/year, plus taxes in certain areas.
Once you register the domain name with GoDaddy, come back to the SiteGround purchase page and select “I already have a domain”.
Type in your domain name and click proceed.
Step 4: Fill in your account information and billing information.
Fill in all your account information. Make sure to purchase using a card that is in your name. If the name on the card is different to the name on the account, they will require further authentication to make sure that you aren’t committing fraud.
Step 5: Fill in your purchase information carefully.
This is an important section and I will be providing you with some important tips to make the most out of your web hosting.
After you choose the plan you want, you will have to choose a data center, which is where your website’s data will be stored.
Why Choosing the Right Data Center Is Important?
The speed of your website is dependent on a lot of factors, including the distance your data has to travel to reach the user’s browser. If your website’s files are located in Chicago and all your visitors are from London, the data has to travel a greater physical distance to get to London.
However, if your website data is hosted on SiteGround’s London data center, then your data doesn’t have to travel as far to get to the user’s computer. This means your website will load faster than if it were hosted at a data center in Chicago. So, you should choose a data center based on where most of your visitors will be coming from.
An important fact about SiteGround Pricing.
When you choose the hosting period, it’s always advisable to choose the longer cycle of 3 years, instead of 1 year, if you have the budget for it.
The 60% discount I was talking about earlier only applies to your first transaction with SiteGround. Renewals will not enjoy the same discount. So, if you choose the 3-year period, you will get that discount for 3 years. If you opt for the 1-year billing cycle, when you have to renew after the first year, the price will be three times as high. So, you can save quite a lot of money by choosing the longest billing cycle.
Also, don’t be tempted to buy any extra services as its because they aren’t worth the price.
Step 6: Pay now and sign up on SiteGround.
Step 7: Point your domain name to SiteGround.
If you purchased a domain name from SiteGround by paying $15, you can skip this step as SiteGround will point your domain to its hosting automatically.
If you used an external registrar to buy your domain, though, you need to point that domain name to SiteGround’s servers.
How can you do that?
It’s very simple. All you have to do is change the nameserver details from your GoDaddy account with the nameservers provided by SiteGround. The latter will send you a welcome email that includes the nameserver details and account details for your hosting. Copy the nameserver details from that email and paste them into GoDaddy, if you purchased your domain name from GoDaddy.
Still don’t know how to do it?
Follow this step-by-step tutorial on how to change your nameservers when working with most popular domain registrars.
Once you complete the nameserver changes, you are ready to setup your website with SiteGround.
Step 8: Login to your customer area and install WordPress.
Go to siteground.com , click on login in the upper right-hand corner, and enter your login details to access your customer area.
Why Use WordPress and Not Any Other CMS Like Joomla Drupal?
- WordPress is the most used CMS and powers 30% of the entire web.
- Other systems like Joomla and Drupal are not widely used. Moreover, WordPress has far greater functionality than any other CMS, and there are far more plugins available too. Plugins are additional applications that can be installed on your WordPress that provide you with a wide range of different functions to make your life easier. WordPress plugins function just like apps function on your smartphone, meaning that they help you customize your website with supercool features and functionalities.
- It’s far easier to find web developers for WordPress if you need something special than for any other CMS.
Once you log in to your customer area for the first time, SiteGround website builder will show a popup asking you to install WordPress onto your website.
If you want to create a fresh website, click on “Start a new website”.
If you already own a website and want SiteGround to transfer the files from your old hosting account to your new one, click on “Transfer a website”.
However, if you are still undecided on which CMS to choose or want to start setting up your website some other time, please click on “Don’t need help now”.
We’ll assume that you are starting a fresh website and clicked on “Start a new website”.
In the next section, choose WordPress.
Next, fill out the log in credentials you want for WordPress. Click confirm and, in the next section, click Complete Setup.
Now, wait for the popup to show your hosting account is ready to use.
In the next few sections, I will explain how to build your website with Siteground.
Step 9: Log in to your WordPress account and start editing your website.
Where Can I Log In to WordPress?
You can access the WordPress dashboard of your account by typing in your domain name followed by /wp-login.php
This will take you to the login page of your website’s WordPress account.
Type in the login credentials you created in step 8 and log in.
Here’s your WordPress dashboard, where you can edit your website’s design, add new posts and articles, view your site stats, and a lot more.
Step 10: Choose any theme for your website by clicking on Appearance > Themes >Add new themes.
Choose from thousands of free themes from WordPress, or buy a premium theme if you have the budget.
Once you choose the theme, you need to activate it. Then, you can start editing your theme by clicking Appearance > Theme > Customize
Step 11: Here are some important things to do after logging into your WordPress account for the first time.
1. Customize your SG Optimizer plugin.
SiteGround will automatically add a plugin called SG Optimizer to your WordPress installation. This plugin can be used to speed up your website. It’s quite essential, especially since we have already discussed the importance of speed in the above section.
But to get the most out of this plugin, you need to customize the SG Optimizer plugin like below.
1)Click on SG Optimizer from the menu on the left of your WordPress dashboard.
- Then select Supercacher Settings and enable the Dynamic Caching and Memchached options. These are two levels of caching that will speed up your website by providing your website with a high degree of server-level and browser-level caching.
2) Now click on Environment Optimization and make the following changes.
- Click on Enable https, which will ensure your site run on HTTPS instead of HTTP.
- An HTTPS site is more secure than an HTTP site. HTTPS sites are ranked higher in Google due to the far better security, which is why it’s important to activate HTTPS for your website.
- Next, enable GZIP Compression and Browser caching.
- If these options break your site design in anyway, don’t worry. Test which of the two is causing problems and leave it unselected.
3) Activate all the options from the Frontend Optimization section.
4) Now, go to the section Image Optimization and activate the New Images Optimization and Lazy Load Images options.
- This will optimize your images by reducing their size without affecting their quality in any way, which means they’ll look just as great, but load much faster. The smaller the image, the less resources have to be loaded, which means far better performance for your website.
2. Install and activate a plugin called Jetpack.
Jetpack is an essential plugin that will let you add many cool features to your website such as:
- Tracking site stats – a visitor count for your website.
- Blocking malicious hacking attempts against your website.
- Monitoring your website for downtime and notifying you when your website is down.
Once you’ve installed this plugin, you’re pretty much ready to go.
Don’t forget that you will need to work consistently and put it a lot of effort if you want your website to succeed.
From now on, it’s all up to you, because with this guide’s help, you’ve chosen a host that will ensure great performance, and you’ve set up your hosting account and website.
Now, it’s time to get to the real work of building your blog into a successful business.
Noor is a well-known webhosting blogger and industry analyst. Since 2006, he has tested a wide variety of web hosting services and posted the results on his popular blog, InlineHostBlogger.com. For each review, he extensively tests each web hosting company personally, or with his hand-picked team of technicians.