Blogging is the best way I know to begin writing. The craft is learned by doing and blogging provides the discipline of writing for someone else on a regular basis. I realize the technical issues may seem a little daunting to you, so I will help you get started.
Your will need four things: a domain name which usually corresponds with the name of your blog, a server to host your site, a platform that provides the tools for posting and tweaking your blog, and a theme which determines what the site looks like and the settings to change its appearance.
Choosing Your Domain Name
The domain name is your URL or Internet address of your blog site. It is best to keep it descriptive of your content, brief, and memorable. If your blog is a personal journal, then you may want to use your name. My domain name is simply http://www.glennhager.com/. Some blogs begin as a personal journal, but grow to be more targeted in their content and are intended to appeal to people in a particular niche.
Oft times, a blog will begin its life as a journal and morph into a niche blog designed to help people in a certain field of interest. Eventually, it may continue to develop into a more professional blog in which you market products or services that you provide and it is set up for e-commerce where your “do business” through your site. I would suggest that you think about these things before choosing your domain name.
Your domain name will need to be registered to make sure it is available. Your hosting company will do the search and register your domain name for a small fee (about $15/year).
Choosing Your Hosting Company
The hosting company provides the actual server that contains all of the data for your platform and your blog. You have the option of having a self-hosted blog or a hosted blog. A hosted blog is hosted by the platform you use, like WordPress, and it will contain the name of the platform in the URL. If my blog were a hosted blog, my URL would be http://www.glennhager.wordpress. com/. A hosted blog is the easiest and cheapest way to get started because it is totally free, but there are drawbacks. You are more limited in tweaking the site and your URL is more generic looking.
I have done it both ways and believe that a self-hosted blog is the way to go because of the increased versatility and professional appearance you can achieve, as well as the cleaner looking URL. Hosting your blog on a hosting company server will cost you about $100/year.
A hosting company is an important choice. I know because I have had a site hacked. All of the text and images were gone with no comprehensive back-up. On the other hand, for the last several years I have used a company, where I can contact the owner anytime something goes wrong and get technical assistance as needed.
Things do occasionally go wrong. In tweaking the blog, you could do something that could take the site down. It is unlikely, but I have done it. Once and a while something goes wrong on the server end and your site could go down. So, I would suggest that you look for security against hackers, technical support and customer service when choosing a hosting company.
Choosing Your Platform
WordPress pretty much owns the market, followed by Blogger, a Google platform. I would definitely go with WordPress because of all of the themes and plug-ins that are available, many at no cost.
Choosing Your Theme
A theme refers to general appearance and lay-out of the site. As I mentioned, WordPress has numerous free and premium themes available. There are also things called plug-ins that add features to your theme, which are also, usually free.
- Decide on you domain name and choose a back-up, in case it is taken.
- Choose a hosting company that provides security, tech support, and good customer service.
- Choose a WordPress theme to provide the visual and organization framework for your site.
- All of this will cost you about $115.00, more ($45-$65) if you use a premium theme.
- Hosting Company: I have been pleased with Word Web Design.
- WordPress theme: Here are several free themes.
Next week I will help you set up your theme.