Definition of a Blog
In order to build a successful blog, we must first understand what the term blog really means.
The definition below is what I will discuss most often on Blog Basics:
A blog is a means of communication used to examine a topic that often consists of written text, video, audio, or other ways to exchange information.
Now, that we’ve level set, let’s dive in and discuss specific tactics for setting up your blog.
Blog Basics: Why You Should Build a Self-Hosted Blog
Many people decide to use a free hosting service when they initially start blogging.
There are several free hosting platforms and new platforms continue to be released.
Two of the most popular free hosting platforms are Blogger.com and WordPress.com. You may decide to use one of these free hosting platforms initially and that’s fine.
However, if you’re serious about building a popular blog, I don’t suggest utilizing one of the free hosting providers.
When you use Blogger.com, WordPress.com or any of the other free hosting platforms, they almost always add their domain name to the preferred domain name of your website.
Here is an example: If I had decided to use WordPress.com for Blog Basics, the domain name would be blogbasics.wordpress.com instead of blogbasics.com.
The result of using a free hosting service is a less professional domain name that is more difficult to remember for your audience. You will also have fewer options to customize your blog with limited plugins, themes, design options, and monetization opportunities.
The only way I would recommend using a free hosting provider is if you only plan to blog for fun. This means that you have no intention of ever building a business around your blog or monetizing your blog.
If there is even a remote possibility that you eventually want to have a serious blog, then I suggest you build a self-hosted blog from the very beginning.
I only recommend using WordPress.org due to simplicity, customization options, and ongoing support. It’s easily the best self-hosted blogging platform available.
Creating Your First Website
In this guide, I will discuss the overall process that is involved in creating a website. This article is specially useful for those who wish to create a blog, yet they lack the knowledge and the guidance to start the website of their dreams.
In this website setup guide, I will discuss some of the requirements needed prior to launching your site, how to buy a domain name and much more.
Unlike many people believe, with today’s simple technology, making a website is easier than ever and does not really require programming skills. Another misconception revolves around website expenses. In reality setting up a website with a personal domain can be as cheap as 3 to 4 dollars a month.
So if you wish to join the millions of business owners, bloggers, and other people who have set up their websites successfully, this guide will help you by guiding you every step of the way.
Setting Up Your Site
There are two fundamental parts of setting up your website and publishing it online:
1. Buying a domain name (example: www.blogbasics.com)
2. Purchasing web hosting services
Once you have these two elements your site will be online and available for the world to see. However, before we get there, we must understand domain names and web hosting.
What Are Domain Names?
A domain name is the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or website address of your site. Think of Google.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com; all of which are domain names.
In order to set up your site you will have to purchase (also known as register) a domain name that has never been registered before or is currently available.
For example, a website owner closed down his or her website and the domain name is waiting for someone to “reactivate” it or purchase it for personal use. With this in mind, follow these tips when you are ready to buy your domain name.
Tips To Choosing A Good Domain Name
1. Domain names should “generally” be short and as simple as possible. You want something that is easy for people to remember. Another best practice is to choose a domain name that reflects what your website is about.
2. Because millions of domains are registered each year, there is a good chance that the name you want for your website is already taken. Try to think outside of the box when you create your domain name. Select something that can be branded. For example, I recently launched a beauty blog with the domain curlcentric.com. The website focuses on curly hair care. It’s short and can be easily branded.
3. If the domain you want is already taken, for example, blog.com, try to add more descriptive words to it, hence blogbasics.com.
What Is Web Hosting?
Often referred to as web hosts, hosting companies, or hosting services, a web host’s main purpose is to sell “digital space” and bandwidth to website owners to publish their websites. This digital storage space in which your site will be uploaded to is part of a network of thousands of computers or servers owned by the hosting company and maintained in their data center.
In short, a web host sells you storage space to publish your site on one of their servers, and although it is possible to self host your site, it will be extremely expensive in comparison to the price of a web host.
The Cost of Web Hosting Is Less Than $4 Per Month
Choosing the right hosting company is far from simple. Although all hosting companies might seem the same, some are slower than others, some have bad customer service and others are quick to scam you out of your money while offering horrible services.
The internet is also cluttered with thousands of people who recommend bad hosting companies. Individuals who do this are some times even paid by companies to write fake reviews about their services.
For this reason, I only speak from experience and recommend web host that I have used myself for many years without any complaints. The web-host that I recommend for beginners is Bluehost. I use Bluehost hosting to power nearly all of my blogs. The only two exceptions are my larger sites that I host with either Traffic Planet or WPengine. Traffic Planet and WPengine are pretty expensive hosting services that are only needed once you have established an authority blog that generates traffic and revenue. So, I don’t recommend these services for new bloggers. As you can see, I only recommend web hosting services that I actually use.
Blog Basics has negotiated a special hosting deal with Bluehost (plus a free domain name). For only $3.49 per month, you can have your blog setup in less than an hour. This deal is available because Blog Basics has partnered with Bluehost to provide a special discount to our readers at 42% off the normal monthly price. You will also receive a free domain name as a bonus. Get started using this link.
Creating Your Blog: How It Works
Note that we focus on utilizing the WordPress content management system.
WordPress is a content management system or software that allows website owners to manage their site, add custom graphical elements, layouts, and more without needing to know any code. WordPress is the easiest to learn, most used website software in the world for blogging, e-commerce, and much more.
With WordPress you do not need to hire a web designer or design a layout yourself. Instead you can purchase predesigned web layouts or themes. WordPress website themes cost a fraction of time and money that you would spend designing a layout yourself or hiring a web designer. Another major advantage of WordPress is the fact that the software is installed on your website, and can be accessed online through any computer.
The layout of a WordPress site is customizable, however by default all WordPress sites come with a default graphical theme. If you wish to change the main WordPress layout, you can download new themes for free or buy one of thousands of WordPress themes available for purchase. Finally, before you start building your blog, let’s discuss the necessary steps to becoming an authority blogger.
How to Setup Your Blog
In this simple step-by-step blog building process, you are going to work through purchasing your hosting, installing WordPress, installing the theme of your choice, then securing your new website.
For this tutorial, I will use the Bluehost, Genesis Framework, and a Genesis Theme. If you decide to use another WordPress theme (not Genesis), then you will follow a similar approach with the theme of your choice.
If you are ready, let’s get to work! Click here to learn how to start a successful blog in only 6 simple steps.