how to start a blog - running shoes guru

Blogging changed my life: I quit my day job and work from my laptop – wherever I want – talking about my passion: running shoes!

It takes only a few dollars a month to get started – the real investment you have to put in is your work. Below I include links from the hosting partner I use, Siteground. I personally vouch for the quality of their service and support – at a great price.

Like everything I recommend on Running Shoes Guru, I wouldn’t recommend Siteground if I wasn’t genuinely happy with them. If you sign up to Siteground using my link I receive a small commission. This not only does not cost anything to you, but actually gives you a special discount!

Let’s start creating your new blog!

Click here to start the creation of your blog on Siteground – you can start the process here and keep this window open to read instructions/recommendation while you do it.

Some basic terminology

The very first thing you should know/understand is some basic terminology and concepts around blogging.

In very simple terms a blog (or any website really) is a computer program running on a computer that’s permanently connected to the Internet and optimised to do so.

  • Web Hosting: it’s the hardware (computer) that runs your blog. It’s connected to the internet 24/7 and is optimised for this. In this case Siteground will be your hosting company.
  • Domain Name: it’s the web address of your blog. For example the domain name of my site is “runningshoesguru.com”. Computers on the internet are identified by IP addresses (numbers such as 168.200.2.4) – a domain name is a shortcut that makes it easier for people to connect to your site.
  • Blogging Platform (or software): is the program that runs on the Hosting and allows you to create web pages, and the visitors to actually see your content. You will use WordPress which is very user-friendly and is used by more than 1/3 of all websites currently on the Internet – including The New York Times, Bloomberg, Running Shoes Guru… the best thing about it? It’s completely free.
  • Theme: a theme is the “layout” of your blog. One of the best things of WordPress is that you can change the way your website looks in just a couple of clicks. There are literally thousands of free themes available and also some premium (paid) ones if you are looking for something very specific.

Step 1. Choose the hosting package you need

I have already preselected “WordPress Hosting” for you: Siteground offers many different types of hosting for different needs. These hosts are designed and optimised for WordPress, which is the platform you will be using.

The three options for WordPress hosting with SiteGround

I would start with the “StartUp” package, which is the cheapest and more than adequate for your brand new blog. As your website grows you might need to upgrade the plan to keep the website fast – but it’s something you can always change when the moment comes.

Why I like Siteground. Even the StartUp plan comes with features such as free SSL/HTTPS (making your site secure), backups, auto installation of WordPress, auto-updates, CDN (to serve images fast to visitors from all over the world) and many more. These are all included with the plan, not as extra features you have to pay separately.
Siteground is extremely fast! Check here for some proof/benchmarks and to learn why having a fast site is important for its success.

Step 2. Choose a domain name

This is where you select the name of your blog – it’s a very important step and most likely the most frustrating: it will be hard to find a name that is catchy, memorable, related to the content of your blog that is still available.

In the past, everyone wanted a .com domain – as it was the standard and the easiest to remember. But there are many other extensions (TLD) to choose from that are not as “crowded” as .com.

Have a look at the list below:

the domain extensions you can choose with Siteground

In terms of process it couldn’t be any easier: type the name you chose in the form and press “Proceed”. If the name is available you will be directed to the next step.

Step 3. Review your choices and confirm

In the next steps you will complete the order. You’ll give your details and specify your payment method – nothing unusual there. There are a few options that deserve some attention though. Here they are, under the “Purchase Information” section.

  • Data Center: Select the region that is close to where the majority of your visitors will be.
  • Period: How long are you signing up for. This is important because the special price will apply for the period you specify now. You can choose 1 month, but it has a set-up fee and in all honesty… if you don’t plan to do this for the long run, you might as well not even start! I recommend to choose at least 12 months, but feel free to do more in order to keep your discount for longer. In any case, you can cancel within 30 days.
  • Domain Registration: this is just a confirmation of your earlier choice. If you selected a domain in the step before, it will just be showing here. It’s important. Check it and double check it.
  • SG Site Scanner: websites get hacked, get infected with viruses and malware… It has happened to me more than once. This involves A LOT of time and work to get it fixed, without counting the potential loss of content. You don’t have to select the malware scanner. I do, and would not have hosting without malware scan and removal. To me it’s worth the little price, but it’s your choice.

Step 4. Install WordPress and You’re Done!

You now have web hosting (a computer where your blog/website will live on) and a domain name (an internet address for people to visit your site). The last thing you need to do is to install WordPress on your hosting account and your site will be ready for you to start adding content!

It will take you just a few minutes, here’s how to do it.

Sign up to SiteGround and activate your domain and hosting before continuing.

How to Install WordPress on your SiteGround account

Luckily the procedure is automatic/wizard on Siteground. Once you set up your account and log in into the Customer Area.

When you log in for the first time, a pop up will ask you if you want to set up your site. Select that option and click on the WordPress button.

install wordpress on siteground

You’ll now have to choose what email address to use for WordPress, a username and a password. SAVE THIS INFORMATION: it’s your access to the site and the way to keep intruders away.

The installation will start and you will shortly receive a message that it has completed.

That’s it! Your website is now installed and ready to use! If you type your domain name into the browser you will see the standard installation.

I’ll be making another page shortly guiding you on how to start customising it and writing your content.

In the meantime, I recommend to look at Siteground’s own guides on how to use WordPress.