reads how to start a blog a step by step guide nikki blogs with a macbook computer and bold frame glass at top of imageToday is the day! Are you ready?

We’re starting a Blog that’s capable of making money from day one!

We’ll start by setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org website through Siteground, who offers an incredible 99.99% uptime (I’ll explain what this means in a bit for those who are brand new to blogging)!

But why WordPress.org and why Siteground?

As I’ve had experience with various website builders, I can honestly say that self-hosting is the way to go if you want to make real money from day one! This is exactly how I did it!

Before moving my WordPress.com site over to Siteground for WordPress.org hosting, I previously tried Wix due its reputation for being easy to use!

Wix is a drag and drop website builder but I learned quickly that doing things the easy way wasn’t going to get me earning anytime soon. WordPress.com was a different story!

In my earlier blogging days, there were some months where I had hundreds of viewers and somehow earned less than I did during months with fewer readers.

I was stumped but later learned that I would always make far less displaying ads on my site with WordPress.com than I would make if I made the switch to a self-hosted website (when you go with self-hosted, you own your content as well – if you’d like a better understanding of WordPress.com’s terms, please review them here).

In order to gain access to AdWords, you have to upgrade to at least the Premium plan. Views are paid based on the geographic location of the user (for example, readers based in the United States earn you the highest rate per ad view), so, if your blog is catered to a non-US local market, you’ll also earn less due to this factor.

I chose WordPress.com because I was a busy mom who didn’t have time to learn how to html, install a theme, get to know plugins, etc.

Sound familiar?

With enough effort, it will pay off sooner than you think!

The decision to start a blog for me came from my love of creating and sharing recipes. But what I learned about myself during that experience was something completely different…

I actually love to teach more than anything! And thus, Nikki Blogs was born!

Between blogging and social media, I earn a full-time income from home where I can happily raise my family! A fulfilling career that I am passionate about plus the opportunity to watch my little one grow up is all I could ever ask for.

Starting a blog was the best decision I’ve EVER made!

Maybe you have similar ambitions.

Or maybe you’re just looking for an additional income stream.

Whatever the reason, I really can’t wait to help you get started and am looking forward to sharing the exact steps I took to start a blog that made money from day one with you!

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you use them.

text reads choose a blog niche

So, you want to start a blog. But what do you want to write about? This is a very important thing to consider earlyin your blogging journey!

While I personally describe my blog as a lifestyle blog, my focus is centred around Blogging and Social Media. I do occasionally talk about my little girl and motherhood but my niche is very clear.

Do you have a passion for beauty? Cooking? Twitter?

Whatever your favourite topic is, stick to it!

Look to the future a bit: imagine you’re sending out your monthly email newsletter! What is your audience expecting?

It is far easier to build a brand and following when you have focus and your readers recognize you for being exceptional at something.

Ask yourself a couple of questions.

The following three are a great starting point for any new aspiring blogger.

(1) What am I truly passionate about?

While this can be fairly easy for some, it may be more difficult to narrow down for others!

People start blogs for all sorts of reasons. Let your passion guide you and you’ll never be short of inspiration for new content. Because content is the epitome of any successful blog!

(2) Can I make money from this?

Blogging can be incredibly fun and an amazing outlet. In a way, it’s almost like having a journal!

But if you really want to take it seriously and work from home, you need to ask yourself the tough questions now:

How do you plan to make money from your blog?

Will you offer a service?

Will you show ads?

How about affiliate marketing?

Do the research and you’ll be on your way to making money from day one of your blog’s launch!

(3) Is there a need within my niche?

While starting your new online adventure is an exciting feat, you need to separate yourself from others in your category.

Finding a need within your niche is the best way to do so.

Is there a question to be answered that you have a new take on?

Is there a problem to be solved that you’ve developed a creative solution for?

Both of these thoughts are wonderful starting points!

reads 2 create a brand

How do you want your blog to be perceived?

How do you want to make people feel when they experience your content?

Like a beautiful, cohesive Instagram feed, a blog with clear branding not only makes you look more professional, it builds trust in your audience.

You know who you are and therefore your readers know that they can count on you to deliver consistent content.

Start with something as simple as your colour palette:

How many colours will you use?

What are you main colours? What are your accent colours?

What font will you use?

Are you more modern or traditional?
text reads nikki in black and blogs in pink against light pink blob background

How do you want your logo to look?

Do you want to have it designed for you or use an app to generate it? Will you have a slogan?

What will you name your blog?

This is one of, if not your most essential key branding element!

You want your blog name to be memorable! So, ideally, try to stick with two or three words (and name your domain accordingly).

Make it memorable and relevant to your niche.

Also, choose “.com” for your site!

This not only makes you look more reputable which, of course, builds trust, it’s also that much easier for blog readers to remember and could result in an email subscription (a seriously valuable asset for digital marketing that we’ll get into later on)!

You can check to see if your ideal domain name is available using this link.

Will you take your own photos or use stock photos?

Start considering some of the basics now and look like a pro from the get-go. Remember, first impressions count!

reads platform and hosting with siteground

Trust me when I say that this part is not as hard as it may seem!

And I avoided making the switch to self-hosting for as long as possible because I was afraid of the technical stuff!

To get started in creating your self-hosted blog, you require two things:

A Blogging Platform

Your blogging platform is the service or application you will use to actually create your blog.

You will use it to design your website, choose your theme, add pages, and create posts. It allows you to manage your blog and to reply to comments on your posts. In this case, we’re setting your blog up with WordPress.

Hosting

Your host provides the servers where the data that makes up your website resides; in English, it’s a little space on the internet where your website lives, like renting an apartment!

After experimenting with different platforms and seeing what other successful bloggers were using, I finally made the choice to switch over to WordPress, and then to a self-hosted WordPress.org website through Siteground and the whole process was a breeze.

Why This Combination Works For New and Experienced Bloggers

WordPress hosts 1/3 of all sites on the web including some very notable brands. This includes:

  • The New Yorker
  • BBC America
  • Sony Music
  • MTV News
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Facebook Newsroom
  • Time Inc.

WordPress is incredibly user friendly and was designed with the non-tech saavy blogger in mind. Get to sharing the content you want to publish without having to learn any coding!

With WordPress, you get access to:

  • Thousands of free and premium plugins
  • Thousands of free and premium themes

And the answer to any questions that might come up are only one Google Search away. 

That’s what you get when you used the world’s number one Content Management System.

Now, let’s learn more about the benefits you’ll get when you to choose Siteground hosting.

Why You Need To Choose Siteground

There are dozens of different options available for hosting your new blog! However, when you choose Siteground, you’re opting for the best. Consider the following three reasons that bloggers choose Siteground:

(1) They have an amazing 99.99% uptime

Blog down time is the worst thing EVER!

You could be losing potential readers, subscribers, and followers while your website is not up and running!

Your readers are the ones who keep you in business and count on you for guidance. Don’t leave them hanging by making sure you have the best in hosting and always have your blog up and running!

(2) They Have 24/7 Support for All of Your Questions

This was definitely my favourite feature when I switched over from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org site!

I had a little trouble transferring my domain and simply called Siteground’s 24/7 support team for help with the final steps. They literally just did EVERYTHING for me! It was AMAZING! Since then, I’ve even phoned them for other technical support and I’m not even kidding you, within five minutes or less, they’re always able to fix any issue I’ve been trying to find a solution for on Google.

If you prefer to chat online though, simply visit their site for on-demand support.

No matter your experience level or the trouble you may have, Siteground’s incredible tech support will be able to help you resolve your issues!

Siteground Comes Equipped with SuperCacher

Your website will be able to handle “up to 100 more hits” and be 4x faster!

Meaning, if one of your pins or blog posts goes viral, your viewers won’t experience a delay due to an increase in your blog traffic.

SuperCacher is also multi-application optimized and users can “enable multiple caching levels”!

So, are you ready to start your blog?

Click this link and save 70% off your first year of hosting with Siteground now and let’s setup your blog together!

Create Your New Blog With Siteground

Step (1) Choose A Plan

Siteground offers three different plans to choose from: in order of most basic to most advanced, your options are StartUp, Grow Big, or GoGeek.

I highly recommend the Grow Big Plan as it is a reasonable price and offers the best bang for your buck including: both Essential and Premium Features (like SuperCacher), 20GB of Web Space, and up to 25,000 Monthly Visits! All of this for the cost of one Starbucks coffee a month!

This is more enough if you’re just starting out and will allow your blog to grow exponentially if you have the means and are willing to put the work in!

However, if you’re trying to save your pennies and need to stick to a more budget friendly option, the StartUp Plan is only $3.95 a month making it perfect to get you into the blog game.

If you’ve already built somewhat of a following though, or expect massive amounts of traffic from the start, the GoGeek Plan is $11.95, includes Advanced Features and can handle up to 100,000 monthly visits! Holy Cow!

While Siteground is known for their amazing support system, do keep in mind that users of the Grow Big and GoGeek plans do receive priority support!

When I called in about my domain transfer issue, it took less than 5 minutes to get me connected to someone at tech support! It takes me longer to pay a bill online, haha!

Step (2) Choose A Domain Name

Have you been thinking about your blog name during our walkthrough?

Did you narrow it down to two or three words? Does it represent the brand you are going to create for your new awesome blog? Yes? Fabulous!

Let’s plug your domain name into the Please Enter Your Domain field.

If you didn’t already plug your potential domain name into the availability checker earlier, you’ll find out if it’s available now 🙂 Again, I really recommend choosing a “.com” for its professional appearance and memorability.

If your ideal domain name is available and/or you are happy with your choice, let’s wrap up the final details and move onto step 3 next.

Step (3) Fill In Your Account Info

Now for the easy part!

Fill in your Account and Client Information.

Now, fill in your Payment Information.

Next, confirm your Purchase Information and be sure to choose at least a 12 month term to get that 70% off discount for your first year!

Now, choose whether or not to include a couple of Extra Services in the form of Domain Privacy and/or SG Site Scanner (I personally like the added security that these additional features offer but if you don’t need them, you can save a couple of bucks).

Check the box to confirm that you agree to Siteground’s Terms of Service and click Pay Now to complete your purchase.

Congratulations!

You’ve officially got hosting for your blog and are ready to rock!

reads build your site

You’re now ready to start customizing your blog.

First things first, let’s install WordPress!

Want to make this as easy and as quick as possible? Let’s hit Live Chat and contact a Siteground Tech to set it up for us! Sweet!

Simply ask the Siteground Team Member to setup your WordPress site and send you the login details for your account. Presto!

In the 15 minutes it takes for a Siteground team member to do this, you can be checking out beautiful themes for your blog at Creative Market or this selection of 25 Beautiful & Feminine WordPress Themes For Your Blog that was curated by yours truly!

Life is good, right?

However, if you are feeling adventurous or simply want to setup WordPress on your own, you can do so by hitting the tab labelled My Accounts and then the Go to cPanel tab.

Once you’re here, move down to the Autoinstallers section and click on the WordPress icon near the centre.

Click on the Install button.

And after installing, enter your information on the next screen.

Software Setup

Choose Protocol: Keep it simple using http://

Choose Domain: Select your domain name from the drop down menu

In Directory: Leave this blank unless you know you want it

Site Settings

Site Name: This is your website’s name

Site Description: Enter a brief description for your site; or return to fill it in at a later time!

Admin Account

Admin Username: This is the name you use to log into your WordPress Blog

Admin Password: This is the password to log into your WordPress Blog (there is a separate login entity from your Siteground login)

Admin Email: This is the email address that will be attached to your WordPress Blog

Select Plugin(s)

Limit Login Attempts (Loginizer): A security precaution that limits the number of attempts there is available to try entering your WordPress password before the account is frozen.

Classic Editor: Choose classic editor if your prefer a more simplistic approach to formatting your blog posts (personally, I favour the Classic Editor over the new Block Editor).

Easy setup

WordPress Starter: Provides easy setup in selecting themes and/or plugins.

If you will use a custom theme like the beautiful ones offered through Creative Market, you’ll also need to take additional steps when installing your themes (like downloading the necessary plugins, etc.).

Now, let’s checkout our Dashboard!

Log in to WordPress

Let’s log in to to your new WordPress Account by heading back to the My Accounts tab in your Siteground User Area.

Click on the Installations tab below and then click on Go to Admin Panel.

Enter the details from your WordPress account setup earlier.

Welcome to your Dashboard!

This is where you’ll spend most of your time navigating in and out of your Blog Posts as well as setting up your Theme and downloading cool plugins for your site.

To add a New Page, move your cursor over to the menu on the lefthand side of your screen and highlight the Pages link where a tab that reads Add New will appear on the righthand side. Click this button.

In the next screen, add a title to your new page.

The first pages you should create are an About Me page and a Contact page.

Write Your First Blog Post

To write your first blog post, move your cursor to the lefthand menu once again and highlight the the Posts link until the tab that reads Add New appears to the right. Click this link.

And there you have it, you can start working on your first blog post!

If you’re like me and prefer to keep it simple though, move your cursor to bottom the right hand side of your screen and highlight the text that reads Switch to Classic Editor to use the basic editor.

Pro Tip: Plan out and write your first ten blog posts before you launch your blog!

This will help you maintain readership by having enough articles for your readers to browse and enough internal links for you to use within your posts.

As bloggers, we want to ensure low bounce rates and many well written articles is your best arsenal for making this happen!

reads marketing and monetization strategies

How will you promote your blog? And how will you make a profit?

Will you apply for Google Adsense?

Do you want to try Affiliate Marketing?

Or will you strictly provide a service?

These are all crucial things to consider when it comes to how you will make money blogging and your monetization plan needs to be clear from the start.

If you are looking to learn more about how to make money with your new blog, check out the Top 5 Ways To Monetize Your Blog to see how I’ve utilized all of them as part of my work at home/full-time mom income plan!

If you plan to sell a product, make sure you’ve created a listing for it on your blog before your launch.

If you will do affiliate marketing, decide what programs you will apply for and start referencing links to those products in your posts while you are writing them from the start.

Get your copy of the totally FREE and totally fabulous Blogger Bundle to see exactly how I plan my blog posts PLUS the exact checklists I use before and after publishing new content!

Pro Tip: Get to know the rules of the Affiliate Programs you have signed onto before you start including these links in your posts.

Amazon, for instance, has very strict guidelines! Know your rules and don’t get banned before you’ve even gotten your feet wet!

reads launch it!

Before you start promoting your blog posts to Pinterest, Instagram, and other Social Media platforms, go over some details.

Do a couple of final edits on your articles to make sure you’re happy with all of the visual and written components!

And for a list of 60 Awesome Ideas for Blog Posts for Content that Actually Gets Seen, click here!

And once you’ve done the above, you’re ready to launch your blog!

For my favourite way to promote my blog posts, check out Tailwind!

I used this incredible app to help me grow from 5 to 375,000 monthly viewers on Pinterest and triple my blog traffic!

5 hand drawn black hearts as a banner

This is your year and it’s going to be amazing!

Once you’ve setup your blog, leave a comment below or come find me on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook to learn more about using Social Media for your blog 🙂

Congratulations and happy blogging!

nikki xo written in hot pink cursive font