There are only two things you need before you can set up a WordPress blog: a domain and hosting. Essentially, if your website was a house, the hosting is the piece of land you need to purchase to build your house on. The domain (eg. http://www.meynewebsites.com), then is the address people need to find your house.
So if your website is your house, and hosting is the land it’s built on, what about companies like Blogger and Squarespace where you don’t have to buy your own hosting?
Think of them like apartments. They are the hosts (they own the property) and you just rent a space on that property that’s shared with lots of other people. There are pros and cons to both, but many bloggers outgrow the limitations and are ready to upgrade from the apartment to the house that is WordPress.
Make sense? Now the important part…
How to purchase your domain and hosting:
You can buy your both your domain and hosting from your hosting company, or you can buy your domain separately from a business like NameCheap. NameCheap offers very low prices for domains and they are an honest and up-front company, which makes buying from them stress free. There are some benefits to purchasing your domain from a separate company than your hosting, but for the most part, when you’re starting out, I recommend buying both from your hosting company because it keeps things nice and easy.
Of all the hosting companies out there, there are only two that I am comfortable recommending. This is based on my own experiences as a blogger, and based on my years of experience as a developer dealing with these companies on the behalf of many clients. The hosting company I recommend most for bloggers is SiteGround. (That is an affiliate link, keep reading to learn more about that.)
Click this link to go to SiteGround and purchase your WordPress hosting (and domain if you don’t have one yet). If you’re just starting out, just select the smallest package, which is only $3.95US a month for the first year. If and when you need to upgrade, SiteGround will kindly walk you through why and how.
If you already have a blog and you want to transfer it to them, just select that option and they will do all that work for you for free(!). If you don’t have one yet, they will do the work of installing WordPress for you and let you know where to go next.
Here is why I don’t link to the big big companies (you know, ones that sound like GoFaddy, HostTator, BlueSchmost, etc.):
Once there is a problem (and trust me, there will be) working with them is beyond frustrating. In fact, a large percentage of the bloggers who purchase my support packages, do so so I can solve problems that are caused by their websites being hosted by those companies.
If there is ever a problem with SiteGround, you let them know, and they respond literally within minutes. A real person, with real understanding of your problem, nobody is just reading from a script and dragging you around in circles for hours talking about things you don’t understand.
So you know, I also have affiliate links for the other hosts too, because I signed up before I knew better. And no matter how high of a commission they pay (sometimes $65+!), I will never share them. I won’t be tempted to put you in a potentially bad situation just so I can make more money.
If you need help or have any questions, I’m always here!