This is a list of all the stuff you need to start blogging. The only things you NEED are a domain name (a web address) and hosting (‘land’ on which your address can live).
You don’t need to pay for other stuff until you grow a bit bigger. You may never need to pay for anything else, bar maybe a hosting upgrade because your website is so successful that the server can’t handle it.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, but rest assured I would never link to any products that I don’t use and love. I’ve wasted so much money on crappy themes and addons over the years, and I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
I’ve used Siteground for over three years and their customer service is great.* My site is never down, and I highly HIGHLY recommend them.
*They do everything for you.
I’ve used Hostgator in the past, and whilst they were fine, they were a bit more expensive.
Here is a list of all the services I use:
As I mentioned I use Siteground, and love them. Whenever I’ve had an issue (always my fault), they’ve sorted it out for me.
Click here to get started with your website today.
You can sometimes get a free domain with Siteground when you sign up for hosting (in which case, go for that), but I like to buy my domains from Google Domains.
Er, because they’re cheap.
If you’re just starting out, DON’T buy a theme straight away.
Not because I think they’re a waste of money (they can actually really help your site rank) but because it’ll take you a while to decide on a design you like, and you’re better off whacking on a free theme and getting to work on your content.
I recommend GeneratePress – the free version is really lightweight and fast, but has some really great customisation options. There’s a fantastic paid version with some really great features AND it works well with page builders, should you wish to use them.
I like it because it’s fast as hell, which is great for your user experience.
I know that you want your site to be all-singing, all-dancing, but just hang fire. Here is a list of the 7 plugins I like to put on my sites to start with. If I need any extra, I can always add them later.
- Antispam bee – obvs to reduce spam.
- Autoptimize – image and code smushing
- Content views – great for creating a post gallery which is GREAT for navigating your site
- Insert Headers and Footers – lets you add snippets of code without having to edit your theme.
- Pretty links – great for setting up and tracking links
- Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails – I like to have my posts in my sidebar to encourage clicking
- SG Optimise – a great plugin that’s great for increasing page speed. I think you can only use it if you have Siteground hosting.
- UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore – backs my site up to Google Drive
- WP-Optimize – Clean, Compress, Cache – clears old databases and revisions etc. I turn this on every month, run it, then deactivate it again.
I like to use Canva to design my logos, header images, Pinterest pins…everything. I used to use Pic Monkey, which is a great option, but Canva is that bit more powerful. Pic Monkey is good for editing photos, but Canva is the best for adding text, overlays, etc.
There is a paid version of Canva which has a few really useful features – magic resize and the ability to download an image with a transparent background. It also has tonnes of more fonts and elements.
Canva pro isn’t necessary, but it can save you a tonne of time, especially when you’re first starting out. For example, if you want a featured image with a text overlay, you could use magic resize and use your Pinterest pin.
Procreate is an iPad app, and it’s a great tool for adding your artwork to your blog. It’s pretty similar to drawing in Illustrator and is super powerful. It’s also extremely cheap in comparison to Illustrator – a one-off payment of £9.99.