How to launch your website in 3 easy steps: choose a hosting plan and set up your WordPress site

Launching your first blog or website feels exciting, right? Endless possibilities, writing about what you love, making money, building a community, and much more. That’s what blogging is about!

But then you start wondering, how do you actually do that?

Well, luckily, it’s a quick and straightforward process that doesn’t need to be complicated at all. The technical side of setting up a website can feel scary, but you can actually get started with the actual blogging in just a few hours.

In this article, I’ll show step by step how you can easily install and set up your WordPress site on Siteground. 

Buy a web hosting plan with Siteground.

If you haven’t yet, the first step is to buy a hosting plan. If you are a beginner, I recommend you start with Siteground. Their hosting is reliable, they have great support, and it’s very affordable (starting at only $3.95).

Purchasing hosting is like buying anything else online. So if you have ever bought something online, you’ll have no problem getting your hosting up and running. 

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Step 1: Select from one of the WordPress hosting plans. The StartUp plan is probably enough, to begin with. But if you plan to launch several websites, expect high traffic, or need their Premium and Geeky features, select either GrowBig or GoGeek. GrowBig is the most popular plan, and it allows you to host unlimited websites with only 2 $ more than the StartUp plan. 

Choose either StartUp, GrowBig or GoGeek

Step 2: Choose a domain: either register a new domain or fill in your existing domain (you’ll need to update your domain’s DNS settings later). I personally register all my domains at Namecheap.

Step 3: This is pretty straightforward: register a new account and add your payment information. 

I recommend you choose the DataCenter (server location) manually. You should select the location that is closest to your primary audience. If the majority of your readers are in the US, choose the USA. And Europe or the UK if you primarily serve a European audience.

Select the Data Center and period manually.

Period: Choose from 12 to 36 months. The lower introduction price will be valid for the whole period, so it makes sense to choose even 36 months. Pay the order, and you have your hosting ready for your site!

Installing WordPress

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS). And there is a good reason for that: it’s easy-to-use, open-source and well supported. With WordPress, you can basically create any kind of website you can imagine. And for a beginner, WordPress is definitely the best option as you can find support and tips easily online

Installing WordPress can feel intimidating. However, with Siteground (and many other hosting providers too), it’s straightforward and fast. Basically, all you need to do is to use their click and install-feature. And your WordPress is up and running in no time! 

Step 1: Login to your SiteGround account and choose Websites from the top menu. Click either New Website or Add new site to start the installation process

Step 2: Choose your domain: if you already have a domain (e.g., registered on Namecheap), choose Existing Domain. Otherwise, choose New Domain to register a new domain directly at Siteground. The third option is to create a temporary site without an actual domain.

Choose New Domain if you don’t have a domain yet and would like to register it on SIteground. If you already have registered a domain, choose Existing Domain.

Step 3: Start a new website or migrate an old website. Choose Start new website, if this is your first site. Then choose WordPress and fill in your email address and choose a password. These will be work as your login credentials to your site’s admin panel.

Click Start New Website to install your first WordPress site.

 If you already have a WordPress installed on another server, you can also quickly migrate the site by generating a token to transfer your website. 

Step 4: Additional services: if you want extra protection, add the SG site scanner, which automatically checks your website for malware. It is not, however, necessary, and feel free to skip this step. This can be added to your site later on, too.

Step 5: Click finish, and your WordPress site will be installed. It won’t take long, and you’ll be ready to go in minutes. 

Your new website will be installed after you click Finish. The SG Site Scanner is completely optional.

You can also install WordPress manually. This requires a bit more work but is still pretty straightforward. WordPress has excellent instructions on their website if you want to install your site manually (or your hosting does not offer automatic install) https://wordpress.org/support/article/how-to-install-wordpress/

Customizing your WordPress site: install a theme.

Now that you have your WordPress set up, it’s time to choose a WordPress theme. A theme determines the appearance, features, and styling of your site. 

WordPress comes with a theme installed, so basically, you are ready to start right away. Currently, the default theme is called TwentyNineteen. It supports all the WordPress basic features, including the Gutenberg text editor. It’s a good solid theme that is well-coded. Also, the previous default theme, TwentySeventeen, performs well. 

However, if you would like your website to have different appearances, you’ll need to install and activate another theme. The WordPress Theme Directory has thousands of free themes you could choose from. There are also paid, premium themes, that you can find and buy online. 

Any changes you want to do to your site needs to be done on the admin site. You can access it by heading over to yourdomain.com/wp-admin or from the SiteGround client area (WordPress KIt -> WordPress admin). Log in with your credentials. 

To install or replace a different theme, you’ll need to head over “Appearance” and “Themes” in your WordPress Dashboard. On this site, you can see themes that you have currently installed. To install a new theme, click “Add themes.” 

Currently installed themes on your WordPress sites

The free themes in the Theme Directory can be installed easily by clicking a theme. You can also preview themes to see how each theme will look like before installing.

 If you have purchased a premium theme, click “Upload theme” at the top of the page. You’ll need to upload the zip file that was provided by the seller to install the theme.

“Appearance -> Themes – > Add theme -> Choose a theme from the list or Upload a theme

I recommend a theme called Astra. It has both a free version and also a premium version. You can download the theme directly from the theme directory or alternatively head over to their website to download or purchase the premium version.

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After installing and activating a theme, you can customize the appearance to your liking. Usually, the themes come with some kind of manual that will explain how to customize the site.

What next?

You have now installed your WordPress site and customized it with a theme of your choice. So what should you do know?

Start blogging!

Yes, you’re ready to start. o add a new post click Posts on the left side of the WordPress Dashboard, and start writing your post.

How your website will look like will evolve once you have more content posted. It’s essential to notice that you don’t have to have everything in place when you start, but you can update it as you advance.

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