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One thing I did not expect to happen after starting my blog was it helping me in school. I started my blog during the first semester of my second year of university. I started it because I wanted to share what I had learned while being a university student so far. After starting it, I realized I was more motivated as a student. Running this blog made me want to be more productive and take advantage of being a university student. Here is why I recommend you start a blog as a student and I’ll show you how to start a blog as a student too.
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Why Start a Blog as a Student?
If you are a student, you should start a blog for the following reasons:
- to keep you accountable with your school work
- motivate you to work hard and study
- make you more adventurous / outgoing
- make friends and connect to a network of people like you
- can make some extra money on the side
- document your life as you go through one of the most important phases of your life
Having a blog, especially one about college life, motivates you to study harder and be a more productive student. It reminds you how cool it is to be able to study and learn new things, a privilege not all people have.
For me, blogging has made me a more adventurous person. Of course to an extent, but I notice that I am more open to trying new things in case I learn or experience something that I can share with other people. And you can also make new friends through blogging since while creating content you are interested in, you will meet a lot of people who are also writing about the same topics.
All the reasons mentioned are good reasons to start a blog, but I think the biggest reason to start a blog as a student is to document your life as you go through one of the most important phases of your life. College, or even starting from high school, is where you grow the most as a person. In college, you will meet new people from all over the world, experience so many new things, and learn various subjects. You can use your blog to document all your experiences, share anything you have learned, and just keep a diary of how college life is for you. I know that once I am older, I’ll look back at this blog with joy (and nostalgia) and see how things were for me back then.
So you decided to start a blog as a student, now I’ll show you how to.
Self Hosted or Free Web Hosting?
In order to start blogging, you’ll need to decide what type of hosting you want for your blog.
So there are two options: free web hosting and self hosted.
In free web hosting, you would be hosting your blog in non-paid hosting website. If you choose this option, you have to be aware that you are not fully in control of your website. The free hosting website can decide to take your blog down at anytime they want. They can also decide to fill your blog with ads and you won’t get any revenue from those ads. Also, your blog will only have a subdomain.
In self hosted, you would pay a hosting website to host your blog. You would be in total control of your blog (website), and you would get your own domain. You can find out more about the difference between self hosted and free website hosting in this blog post from XOMISSE.
If you only plan to use your blog as just like a journal or diary, I would recommend using free web hosting.
However, the best choice is self hosted, because through self hosted you have the option of monetizing your blog. So if you think there is ever going to be a possibility that you will want to monetize your blog now or in the future, then you should think of getting a self hosted blog.
So once again, if there is even a small chance that you would want to monetize your blog to earn some extra money, then you should choose self hosted. However, if there is absolutely no chance of you wanting to monetize your blog and you do not care that you technically do not own your blog or your blog content, then you should go with free web hosting.
I would also advise for those that do not have the funds to immediately invest into making a website to use free web hosting, since you could later switch to self hosted, it would just be a longer process to do that.
Choosing Your Domain / Blog Name
Before choosing which platform to host your website on, you should choose your website domain. Now a days many platforms have specials for long term hosting for first time customers that include a free domain, so when signing up, you’ll be able to pick the domain name.
Your domain should be the name of your blog. Your blog name can be anything you want, although it is better if your blog name is related to what you want your blog to be about. You should also check if the domain name is available by searching it up or using a tool online.
Once you have picked your domain name, you can go on to pick the platform to host your blog.
Free Web Hosting:
If you do choose to go with the option of free web hosting, there are several platforms you can choose from including …
The process is pretty straight forward with these kinds of free web hosting platforms.
For this example I will be using Wix.com, but most of these free web hosting sites follow the same process when starting your blog.
Free Web Hosting – Setting up Your Blog
First you need to make an account in the site.
Then once you made an account, you can pick a template for your blog.
And edit the template to your liking in the website builder.
Once you finish editing your site, you can save it and publish your blog. Here, you will be able to pick your subdomain.
After you publish your site, you can exit the website editor, and see your dashboard. Here you will be able to manage your site, write and publish blog posts, edit your site, and much more.
And with that, you have your free web hosted blog and you can now start blogging!
If you do decide to go with self hosted, there are a variety of platforms to choose from …
Those are some of those most popular out there. From these, there are two that I recommend and they are also the two that you hear about the most: Bluehost and SiteGround.
Bluehost VS SiteGround
I use both of these hosting services. I use Bluehost to host my personal online portfolio for university. And on SiteGround, I host this blog, My Productivity Cat.
Between Bluehost and SiteGround, the best choice for a blog is SiteGround. It performs better, has more advanced hosting options, and better support. However I still recommend Bluehost, especially for students who want to start blogging but can not invest as much in the beginning.
Go for Bluehost If …
- you still want a self hosted blog, but don’t have a lot of funds to invest
- don’t plan on having a huge flow of visitors on your blog
If this description fits you, then I would recommend you start a blog on Bluehost, since they have cheap plans for those who don’t have the funds right now. I also think a strong point of Bluehost is their customer service. Their customer service has always been kind, solved all my issues quickly. If you can’t get a SiteGround hosting plan due to funds, then go for Bluehost, but other than that I would recommend SiteGround.
Go for SiteGround If …
- you have the money to invest in to building your blog
- there is plans on gathering a big audience for your blog
- you want to your website to have the best hosting service available
If this is you, then you should definitely host your blog on SiteGround. SiteGround is more expensive than Bluehost, with their plans starting at 6.99 per month, but it is so worth it, as the service they provide is superior. Plus in my case, the process of starting my blog was so easy and straightforward on SiteGround, that there hasn’t been a moment where I have had to use their customer service. If you want to take your blog seriously, the best option for hosting is SiteGround.
Self Hosted – Setting up Your Blog
After you have chosen a self hosted platform, you should go on their website and select a plan. For this example I am going to go with the platform SiteGround, but you can also follow along with another site, like Bluehost, as they mostly follow the same sign up process.
Between these plans, I would recommend you get the StartUp plan as it is the plan best for those who are starting a blog. It will have everything you’ll need, and if you want more options you can also upgrade later. For me, since the start I went with the GrowBig plan, because I wanted to take advantage of the deal and wanted to start my blog with advanced options since the beginning.
After you have chosen your plan, then you’ll get to choose a domain name. Here you’ll also be able to check if it is taken or not. SiteGround does not include a free domain name, so it will be extra to get, but Bluehost does include a free domain name with a hosting plan. If you already have a domain name, you can use that domain name too.
Once you have chosen the domain name, you will continue on to the payment. Here you will fill in all your information and proceed to pay.
After paying, you’ll be able to login to your account. On your dashboard, you’ll be able to see everything related to your website, hosting plan, and account.
To set up your website, in your dashboard under ‘Websites’ you will be able to access the WordPress tools.
Then click on the ‘WordPress Admin’ to get access to the WordPress Dashboard. Since it’s your first time accessing this, you’ll have to make an account.
In your WordPress dashboard, you’ll be able to edit and change the design of your blog, make new blog posts, manage your website pages, and so much more.
In order to edit your blog design, you would have to go to the ‘Templates’ tab, chose one you like, and customize that to your liking. Once done, you could make new website pages, like a contact or about me page. You can then publish your blog and make it public. Now you can start making new blog posts by clicking on ‘Posts’ and adding a new one.
Now that you have set up your website, you can start blogging!
You can write and post about whatever you want, it is your website. As a student, you could write about your study routine, share tips on writing essays, or even recommend your favorite websites for studying. It is all up to you!