I always recommend wanna-be bloggers to think about their end goal when it comes to setting up a blog/ website. Will it be used as your personal portfolio? Do you have to present it to your potential clients? Will you be using it to secure future sponsorships and deals? Or to set up an online business or monetize your content?
If your answer to any of the above is yes, it’s time to make your blog professional. This post will come in handy for you.
If you’re using it as a side hustle to document your stories, adventures, or as a creative space, you probably can work with free content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.com, a Blogspot.com, a Wix site or using Weebly to host your content.
Whatever your goal is, I always say it helps to have a blog you’re proud to show off and can call your own.
If you’ve finally decided to commit to creating a professional-looking blog with your very own domain, you’re in the right place!
This post will detail everything you need to know about creating a blog/ website with your own domain name and email address.
- Why use SiteGround to host your blog/ website?
- How to start a professional blog/ website from scratch – A step-by-step guide
Why use SiteGround to host your blog/ website?
Why not the other brands e.g. HostGater, BlueHost, Performance Foundry, GoDaddy, etc? I’ve done my fair share of research, and have found mixed reviews about the other web hosting providers. Either their customer support sucks, they have a high cost of running their website, their blogs often crash, or everything in between.
I’ve started with SiteGround from the beginning of November 2015 and have stuck with them until now – it’s coming close to 4 years!
I won’t go into too much technical details but here are some important factors that won me over to SiteGround:
1. User-friendly and beginner-friendly
They have easily understandable step-by-step instructions to guide you as you set up your domain and website.
2. Ridiculously cheap initial fee to start (USD3.95/month)
When you’re just starting out, you won’t be using or needing a lot of resources. In other words, the 10GB web space that SiteGround provides in their basic plan is more than sufficient for you!
3. 24/7 support
Their chat function on their website makes it super – I repeat, SUPER – easy to contact them and get your technical problems resolved at any time of the day.
It sometimes gets very FRUSTRATING getting the blog right especially at the beginning stages of setting up a blog and there’ll be times you’ll feel very lost. I’ve been there, felt that and their support team has been honestly very helpful with everything I needed. 5 stars to them every single time.
4. Free daily automatic backups
This is an incredibly important factor that I’ve learned to appreciate through my blogging journey. There will come a time when an accidental setting you made or a wrong plugin you activated may bring your site down. Your site may get hacked by external parties. A wrong insertion of a code can wipe out your blog. These are all mistakes I’ve PERSONALLY committed and almost cried had there not been backup available.
This is when SiteGround’s easy Restore tool is heaven-sent. They used to charge their users for each restoration, but they’ve recently decided to provide it for FREE for all users, which I believe not many hosting providers offer!
5. Free & easy website transfer from existing blog
As in the case for me and many bloggers I know, we started our blogs with wordpress.com, blogger.com or blogspot.com.
It was only later when I decided to turn my blog into a professional site that offers valuable travel information to my readers.
Signing up with SiteGround, I was able to port over EVERYTHING from my wordpress.com site to my current belaroundtheworld.com site. It was a LIFE-SAVER knowing that I didn’t have to start from scratch, or that I won’t be losing anything in the process. The port over was done within a matter of minutes too!
6. Free professional email accounts associated with your URL
With SiteGround, you can create an UNLIMITED number of email accounts with your own domain and check your email from your favourite webmail interface, whether that be Gmail or Mac Mail. They also have SpamExperts to protect you from spam mails.
Are you ready to commit to making your blog work with a professional look? Here’s a step-by-step on how to set up your blog!
How to start a professional blog/ website from scratch – A step-by-step guide
Step 1: Go to SiteGround.
Sign up through this link for a discount of USD3.95/month instead of USD11.95/month of hosting.
I go with StartUp plan since I’m only hosting one website and when I first started, I was only doing this part time so i was looking for the lowest cost investment I possibly need.
If you have multiple websites or are planning to grow multiple websites, the GrowBig or GoGeek plan would be more cost-effective for you.
Step 2: Select “Register a new domain”
Either you already have an existing blog or you are creating a new website from scratch. Either way, select “Register a new domain”.
Step 3: Enter your new domain name
You should already have decided your blog name by this stage. If you haven’t, check out my earlier post on how you can create solid branding for your site.
Step 4: Create a new site or migrate site
SiteGround’s interface makes it really easy for you to register a new website or transfer your existing blog to a new domain, all for FREE.
If you’re starting a new site from scratch, select “Start a new website”.
If you want to migrate an existing blog to your new domain, select “Migrate website”.
You can also migrate your site later from the cPanel. More instructions on using the WordPress Migrator here.
Step 5: Choose a Content Management System (CMS)
Skip this step if you already have an existing blog site. If not, read on.
What is a CMS?
A CMS is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content. Examples of CMS are WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, Blogspot.
If you don’t already have a blog, I suggest hopping on to WordPress to create content in. They have an easy interface for navigating around and have pretty awesome free themes to start with.
Step 6: HTTPS vs HTTP
A site with HTTPS is far more secure than HTTP. It is not only safer for your site, but also SEO-friendly to use a HTTPS site.
This is a tip I wish I knew when I started, so that I didn’t have to go through the additional step of redirecting my HTTP page links to my new HTTPS page links.
According to Cloudfare, if a website uses HTTP instead of HTTPS, all requests and responses can be read by anyone who is monitoring the session. Essentially, a malicious actor can just read the text in the request or the response and know exactly what information someone is asking for, sending, or receiving.
HTTPS uses TLS (or SSL) to encrypt HTTP requests and responses, so instead of the text, anyone who intercepts communications can only see a random string of characters, not the plaintext.
Luckily, with SiteGround, you can easily switch from HTTP to HTTPS for FREE on your domain. Follow these steps to get your site secured within a matter of time!
Step 7: Customise your email address
If you’ve read my branding advice, it highlights an important point that I still see many professional bloggers not have – your very own email address with your domain name i.e. [email protected] That is why having your own email address would make you one step ahead of the rest!
Here’s a step by step on how you can do it:
Go to your cPanel. Navigate to Mail > Email Accounts.
In this page, just follow the steps to create your own email name.
After that is created, your email address should be listed in the rows below. On the right, click on More > Configure email client.
In this page, there will be instructions on how you can set it up. I set my email up manually because I had problems configuring them automatically. If you’re also configuring it manually, use the settings under Secure SSL/TLS Settings.
For Mac users, if you want to integrate your blog inbox into your Mail app:
Go to System Preferences > Internet Accounts > + > Click “Add Other Account” on the right-hand side > Click “Mail Account”. Follow the steps in the screenshot below.
If you want to integrate your blog inbox into Gmail (which I personally use), here are the steps:
Go to Gmail. On the top right, click on the Settings icon > Click “Settings” > Navigate to the “Accounts and import” tab.
Under “Send mail as:”, click “Add another email address”. Follow the settings as per screenshot below.
Boy was it a technical post! If you’ve completed up til this step, you’re all set! Welcome to the online content world, budding boss blogger!
I’ve tried to break it down to as simple as it can be. If you still encounter any difficulties along the way, you can count on SiteGround’s instant live chat to assist you step by step. Otherwise, feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll try my best to help.
In the next post, I’ll talk about how to set up your site so it looks professional, contains all the essential information an online content site should have and is SEO-friendly.
My following posts will also talk about monetizing your blog so that you start cashing a passive income in no time i.e. earning money even when you’re not actively working!
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