The first thing you need to do is pick a blogging platform. These are also commonly called blog sites or blogging sites in case you see the terms elsewhere.
We recommend using a self-hosted platform with WordPress as it gives you the most flexibility and control with your blog. This course goes in-depth about building, customizing, promoting, and monetizing your blog specific to WordPress, but it’s all useful for other platforms too.
But let’s talk about all of the different types of platforms (self-hosted, free, freemium) so you know all of your options.
With a self-hosted platform, you have the most control and flexibility with your blog.
With self-hosted platforms, you need 2 things: a content management system (CMS) to build your blog and a host to store your blog and connect it to the internet. The CMS is often free and the hosting usually costs $4 per month.
WordPress is the best CMS to build your blog. It’s incredibly popular (27% of the entire web uses it), has hundreds of thousands of design and customization features, and it’s free. It’s the best choice for all bloggers from beginners to experts.
As far as hosting goes, we prefer SiteGround. It has better performance, uptime, and customer service than other hosts and it’s pricing is competitive as well (just $4/month).
The great thing about using a self-hosted platform is that you can change hosts at anytime without having to rebuild your site.
If you have problems with your host, just move your blog to another one. Because it’s built on WordPress, you’re never stuck with one hosting provider.
Examples of free platforms include things like Tumblr and Blogger. As you may have guessed, their these blog sites' biggest draw is that they are free. Unfortunately, as the saying goes: there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
With free platforms, you are making some substantial sacrifices.
The sacrifices you have to make to earn the free service of these platforms are enough to turn anyone away.
Have you ever heard the term “freemium”? It’s an interesting concept. It’s a pricing strategy where a company offers you a basic option for free, but then charges you for anything more. People are attracted to freemium platforms because they can start for free, thinking maybe they won’t need to upgrade to a paid option.
Unfortunately, the free packages offered from freemium platforms are no better than the ones offered by free platforms. You run into all of the same problems and sometimes even more. Some freemium platforms make your blog load really slowly to encourage you to upgrade for better performance.
By upgrading to one of the paid options, you’ll get better performance, more space, and more features, but it costs twice as much as a self-hosted platform (compare $4 per month to the cheapest freemium plan at $9 per month) and doesn’t have anywhere close to the same amount of flexibility in design and functionality.
I learned the hard way that with a freemium platform, you’re stuck with your first choice.
If you’re dissatisfied with your website’s performance (poor loading time) and want to move your blog, you have to spend the time copying and pasting all of your content to a new platform. Everything will have to be designed and customized all over again. (I’ve done this before. It’s incredibly frustrating and time-consuming).
We recommend using a self-hosted platform and now you can understand why: they offer the most control, flexibility, and options and are very affordable.
To set up a blog with a self-hosted platform, you need a content management system (CMS) to build your blog and a host to store it and connect it to the internet.
We recommend WordPress as the best CMS to build your blog. It’s easy-to-use, has an abundance of design options and functional capabilities, and it’s free.
Most web hosts support WordPress so you have many different choices, plus if you ever encounter problems, you can switch hosts very easily. We recommend SiteGround because we have found that it has the most uptime, best performance, and best customer support.
In this course, we go into great deal about how to set up your blog, customize it, build your content, promote it, optimize it, and monetize it all on WordPress. The information translates to other CMS’s as well, but you’ll get the best results if you use WordPress.
Below, we’ll talk more about the benefits of WordPress and SiteGround.
WordPress is a website content management system (CMS). You use it to build, customize, and manage your blog. It’s arguably the most powerful and easiest to use CMS there is. Julian and I exclusively use and recommend WordPress.
The best thing about WordPress is that it’s easy enough for beginners to use while being powerful enough to satisfy experts. Here are some other reasons why WordPress is the best:
WordPress works for everyone from beginners to experts. It works for us and it’ll work for you too.
A web host provides server space (to store your website) and internet connectivity (to display your website to the world).
Choosing the right host is important because it’s responsible for keeping your site online, ensuring peak performance, and protecting your content from being lost or stolen.
Julian and I have experience with many different hosting companies including HostGator, BlueHost, iPage, and InMotion. We’ve moved our sites from one to another for a few reasons, but mainly due to performance issues, having to pay extra for backups, and poor customer support.
Now we recommend SiteGround because it has the highest uptime, best performance, and best customer support. It also has added incentives like a free domain for life and backups (at least daily) included in every plan. Here are some of the other reasons we like SiteGround:
We’ve been using SiteGround for almost 2 years now and have been very happy with it. In the next section, we’ll walk you through signing up with SiteGround so you can get your blog up and running!