One of the questions I get asked most frequently from fellow bullet journalers is, surprisingly, how do I start my own blog? It seems that many of us with this passion for productivity, also want to share our practice with others.
Buying a website does not need to be overwhelming.
I’ve done it 100+ times, across various hosting providers, and I’m going to walk you through the entire process. I previously posted this over on JenniferGrayeb.com so if you follow me there and think it looks familiar, that is why.
If you get stuck, I want you to know you can reach out to me and I’ll respond and try to help. Seriously, I’m not just saying that.
This is going to be a long post. The post is organized in three sections:
- The backstory for my hosting recommendations
- How to pick and purchase a hosting plan
- How to access cpanel and install WordPress
While this seems like a lot, the entire process should take you about 15-30 minutes.
I also want to point something out to you. Bloggers who write these tutorials make money off of you signing up. This does not mean that their recommendations are not genuine, but I share that with you so you can do your research and make the most educated decision so you are making a purchase based on best option, not best affiliate commission.
That being said..
This page contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.
Before we get started, I want to clarity a question I get asked a lot. There are two things you purchase when you are buying a website:
- A domain name (i.e., the name — in this case, shesambitious.com)
- A hosting plan (i.e., where your site lives — the parking space on the internet so-to-speak)
You can certainly use a free option like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, but there are drawbacks to doing so, especially if there is any chance you want to make money blogging. For how affordable owning your own site is, I see no reason in going with one of the limited free options.
The backstory for my hosting recommendations
If you checked this page out in the past, you may have seen that I was recommending GoDaddy and BlueHost. While I had great experiences with both of those providers (despite hearing otherwise from some of my peers), my sites were slow. Load time was not what I wanted it to be and I needed to do something to improve that.
Google told me the answer was in the hosting plan, so it was time for a change. I went out on a limb and tried a different host, BigScoots, which was recommended to me by a HUGE blogger so I knew it would be able to handle the volume of traffic I needed for Productive and Pretty which gets over 150,000 page views each month.
I’ve been with BigScoots for a few months now, and have had enough positive experience to confidently make them the hosting provider I recommend. Their affiliate program payouts are FAR less than BlueHost (meaning I am losing money to change this recommendation), so you know I’m being honest here. 🙂
How to pick and purchase a hosting plan
I’m going to walk you through the process step by step. You should have an idea of what you want your domain name (URL) to be, but you don’t need to select that until later in the process.
1. Visit BigScoots.com. If you use that link, it will open in a new tab so you can continue to follow along.
2. Hover over ‘Webhosting’ in the navigation menu. You’ll see a few options here. I recommend ‘Shared Webhosting’. Don’t let the Wordpress hosting option confuse you — you can still install WordPress on a Shared Webhosting plan, I just think the behind the scenes options are more robust for when you blog takes off!
3. Now it’s time to select your plan. There are two options at the top – Pure SSD and SSD Accelerated. I have no idea what the difference is, but I went with accelerated because it sounds more powerful and didn’t appear to cost more for the option I wanted. Honest talk here, people.
Review the options and pick the plan that makes the most sense for you. I toggled to ‘ssd accelerated’ and went with Turbo Diesel + given the amount of traffic I need to support, but all of these plans look great and would work for someone starting out. You can easily change plans in the future if needed as well.
Money Saving Tip — I suggest buying the longest plan within your budget because you can save the most money over time ($17.95/month instead of $19.95/month for example). I say this with a caveat — consider how long you think you’ll stick with blogging. If this is new for you, and you still aren’t sure, you may not want to make that kind of investment/commitment and paying a little more each month may make sense for you.
Whatever you chose, remember the name because even though you click order here, you have to pick it again on the next page which is confusing.
I didn’t add on any of the extras. That is personal choice, but I’ve been buying sites for years and never have.
Under ‘domains’ is where you can select and purchase your domain name. You’ll notice there are tabs across this box — this is also where you can put the information in if you already own the domain and are transferring it, or if you are purchasing the name elsewhere.
Money Saving Tip — I found that the domain names are about the same cost as GoDaddy (10.95/year). The difference is, GoDaddy has amazing coupon codes and if you are a first time buyer you may be able to get it as low as .99. However, then you’ll have to update the DNS to point to BigScoots as your host. It’s not hard and there are directions here, but if you’ve never played around with this stuff it may be worth the extra few bucks just to get it all in BigScoots.
Yay! You now own a domain and hosting plan! 🙂
How to access cpanel and install WordPress
‘cpanel’ is basically the control panel for your site. You can access all the back-end things here (like setting up your free email accounts). More importantly, this is where you will go to install WordPress. Let’s start with the basics – where/how to access it.
Log into your BigScoots account, hover over ‘services’, and select your plan (there will only be one option here assuming you only bought one plan).
Then you will see the list of services (again, should just be one). Select the name of the plan you purchased.
On the menu, select ‘access control panel’ and then ‘click here to access control panel’
Scroll all the way to the very bottom of the page to ‘softaculous’ and click on the WordPress icon.
Click the large ‘Install Now’ button
Now we get slightly more technical again. For protocol, I recommend leaving it as http://
For domain, chose your domain name from the drop down.
For directory, I suggest deleting ‘wp’ and leaving it blank — this will ensure your blog landing page is your .com and not .com/wp/
Create an admin login name (hint – don’t just use your name or admin — for security purposes you should try to make it unique).
You also have the option to pick the ‘theme’ of your site here. The theme is the layout — what your theme will look like. I generally just pick a random one for the install, as you can revisit that when you log into WordPress. I do suggest you enter your email address before pressing install so you can get emailed your log in instructions for your records!
Viola! You’ve installed WordPress. Now sit tight for the confirmation email (usually takes just a few minutes).
The best part?
I’m still here to help! I have a FREE full guide on How to Use WordPress here.
Want to take it a step further? One investment I made in 2016 was on Building a Framework, an amazing (and affordable) ebook from Abby at JustAGirlandHerBlog.com. This course will really walk you through what it takes to build a successful and profitable blog, and how to market it past your current personal network. At such a low price point for the amount of value you will get, I highly recommend it.
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