How to Set Up a WordPress Blog (for under $100)
Starting a blog from scratch was overwhelming at times, but setting up the initial blank slate was actually surprisingly easy!
I definitely did my research before deciding on a host and where to buy a domain. And I have to say that the advice I read from other blogs was incredibly accurate!
Here’s the valuable information that I learned through my blog set-up, and how to set up your blog for under $100 – I have only paid $76 CAD (only $56 US)!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
Picking a Domain
So it all starts with purchasing a domain. I thought at first I could get away with a WordPress domain, but decided to purchase one after researching and discovering that value in having your own domain.
The cheapest and easiest website to buy a domain was Namecheap. I paid just $9.07 US ($12.21 CAD). I have read since that you can also host through Namecheap, but I found other hosts to be more reputable.
Hosting through Siteground
After browsing numerous blogs on which hosting site is better, I discovered the two front-runners are Bluehost and Siteground.
I decided on Siteground as it had these advantages:
- Free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, CDN, and email account.
- 24/7 live chat support (haven’t had to use it yet, but I love that it’s available).
- 99.9% uptime – the site is basically always working! They actually guarantee this!
- Fast loading time
- Most affordable price. I paid only $47.40 US ($63.88 CAD) for my first year!
- Highly recommended – with over 2 million websites hosted they have a 98% satisfaction rate!
After I decided on hosting through Siteground, the rest of the set up was quite intuitive. I picked the StartUp package, since I am of course new to the blogging world. You can upgrade easily by clicking a button once your viewership grows (which I will hopefully end up doing!).
I had already set up a WordPress account, so I picked WordPress Hosting. I proceeded to download WordPress and transferred my domain that I purchased on Namecheap.
Picking a theme is a hard concept to me, as I really did not visualize what I wanted from the start. So, I picked a simple, minimalist, free theme, Opus Blog by Aki Themes. Right now I am testing out this theme, but if it works for my blog’s layout, I plan on purchasing the upgrade.
Set Up Your Security Features!
Make sure you set up your free SSL with Let’s Encrypt. It’s not only a necessary step to secure your site, it’s now mandatory to have on search engines such as google (otherwise you may be penalized!). I just clicked on the button activate and the certificate was active.
One step that I missed in the beginning was setting up my SSL on my actual website. It took me a while to figure this out – I was secure under the Siteground host, but not is I just signed in through my WordPress admin.
To fix this, I had to go to General Settings and physically change my url to include the S. Make sure you press save the changes! I also have the plugin SG Optimizer, and I had to “enable SSL” on there as well. This situation took me an hour to figure out, so hopefully it can save you some time!
So what’s next? Start creating posts! Many bloggers suggest that you should have at least 10-20 posts set up before you go live – I have to admit I didn’t follow this advice. I am okay if someone sees my site and its not perfect, because I am writing about the learning process which includes trial and error as well!
As far as plugins go – this concept was completely over my head when I started. But I have definitely found some great ones that have been useful so far – check out my post 5 Plugins that are Essential to New Bloggers.
Other Useful Tools to Set up Your Blog
Grammarly: Who wants simple grammatical and spelling errors on their blog? No one! Grammarly is a browser extension that ensures that you have professional edited content, without hiring an editor.
Fiverr: Looking to create a logo, and don’t have the skills to design one yourself? Me neither. I went on Fiverr and purchased one for under $15 CAD.
Canva: Create images, pins, templates for your blog for free! There is an upgrade option that includes more options, but I haven’t seen the need to upgrade.
Help my process helps you – Comment if you have any suggestions to add!