A quick tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog with SiteGround, the best shared WordPress hosting for small to medium sized businesses.
Choose Your WordPress Service & Hosting Plan
Go to Siteground and click Get Started under Managed WordPress Hosting.
Next, choose the type of hosting plan you want. This is where it things might get a little confusing, so let me explain.
The first option, StartUp is suitable for people who want to get started as cheaply as possible. At around $5.95 a month, this is one of the best value hosting packages around. You can put one WordPress website on your hosting and a maximum of 10,000 visits per month. (10,000 visits a month is fine for beginner bloggers).
Free email accounts are included.
The second option is GrowBig. If you plan on running multiple websites on your hosting or experimenting with some new website ideas, then this is a great plan. GrowBig allows you to install unlimited websites. Yep, as many as you like. You can even host other people’s websites at no extra cost.
You’ll also get 30 backup copies of your hosting server so if you delete or damage anything you can contact support who will restore your data in minutes. The StartUp plan is not as flexible with only 1 backup copy. They might also charge you for their support staff to restore the backup. With GrowBig you can do it yourself for free.
The third option, GoGeek is for power users. Allowing up to 100,000 visitors a month. At this level, you won't worry about traffic levels, backups, or storage space unless your site or sites become very popular. The server that hosts your websites will be faster than the cheaper plans and you’ll see the difference in performance when traffic levels spike. The support service is also superb and worth the extra money. For $11.95 a month, it’s one of the best investments you’ll make.
So pick the plan you need. You can always upgrade later but check that you can get an upgrade without incurring extra costs later on. I encourage people to get the GrowBig plan and then upgrade when business starts to take off.
Choose a Domain Name or Transfer your Domain Name
Next, you’ll be asked to either choose a domain name or register a new one. Registering a domain name with Siteground is a good idea as it will keep everything in the one place. It’s easier to organise. But you can register a domain name with one of thousands of registrars. Note that prices can vary a lot and support is hit and miss in many cases.
If you do decide to use a different domain registrar then I suggest going with Namecheap. I have registered all of my domain names over the last 3 or 4 years with this company. They also have the cheapest domain name registration fees so you might save $5 (on the first year at least). If you have a domain name registered elsewhere or plan to use Namecheap, then you’ll need to take a couple of additional steps to connect the domain name and the hosting. Everything you need to know is in the Namecheap support documentation.
Let's imagine that you'd prefer to buy your new domain with Siteground, type the domain name in the box and click next. SiteGround’s system will check the domain name’s availability and move to the billing page if everything checks out OK.
Enter your personal information and card details. Check to make sure that the plan and optional features selected are the ones you want.
The server location is important if most of your visitors will come from one particular region, such as Europe, Asia or the US. If you have a blog about local New York businesses it makes sense to use SiteGround’s server in the US (the closest geographical location). The speed impact is milliseconds or in some cases seconds. This might not seem like a lot but you really want your site to load as fast as possible. It helps with SEO and user experience.
SiteGround will send you login details by email and all the other important account information like Mail Server and DNS settings. You don’t need to worry about these for now. SiteGround makes things quite easy for beginners. There are setup scripts for most things and you’ll only need to get into the depths of the administration area if you like tinkering about. SiteGround will install (a single instance of) WordPress for you but it's a good idea to learn the process.
- Log in to your SiteGround account (you might be automatically logged in after payment)
- Under the My Accounts Tab in the administration area, click the Control Panel button
- On the next screen scroll down to WordPress Installer. Click the icon to enter the installation script area.
- Click the Install Tab under the WordPress heading and fill in the details of your blog or website
- Change the protocol to https:// – SiteGround should have already installed the SSL layer for your domain so it makes sense to use it immediately
- Choose your domain name from the
- Leave the In Directory box empty
- Make the Site Name the title of your blog. This is not the domain name, rather the business or blog name
- Give the site a descriptive blurb. “Travel Services Review Site” is an example. Make the description less than 60 characters. You can change this later on so don’t worry about getting things perfect for now
- Take note of the Username and Password. If you prefer, you can change these.
- Don’t choose a theme as we’re going to put a professional theme on the blog in the next section
- Click Install. Let the script do its magic. When it finishes you'll see your blog's new URL and the URL for the WordPress admin back end.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wix vs Siteground?
This is no contest. If you are a serious blogger or you have goals for growing a blog as a business, investing in SiteGround will save you a lot of pain. Wix is for hobbyists and people that don't care about SEO.
Which SiteGround plan to choose?
Choose the middle tier, GrowBig if this is your first website. Not only does the GrowBig plan give you Unlimited Websites, but you also get more bandwidth and premium services like staging and on-demand backup. If you already have blogs on other hosting platforms, SiteGround will transfer your sites for free if you order this plan.
Can I transfer my domain to SiteGround?
Absolutely. It can also be more convenient to host your domain with the same company that hosts your website.
Bluehost vs SiteGround?
Bluehost's success is due to the massive affiliate incentives the company offer to bloggers and the huge marketing budget for advertising. The company's growth has nothing to do with the quality of the service. SiteGround is a far superior hosting company.
A quick tutorial on how to get started with SiteGround Web hosting for your travel blog.
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.