Free Software With Paid Hosting
In this option you will need to find a hosting company, buy a domain, (often through the same hosting company), login and once you’ve found your way around a couple of clicks, fill in a simple form, (telling the computer your user name and where you want the blog to be installed), a couple more clicks and you are the owner of a functioning blog.
Advantages of owning your own blogging domain:
Unique name: Once registered your domain name is yours to keep providing you keep paying the renewal fee. You can then build up the domain’s authority over the long-term without benefiting the free host businesses.
You’re not tied to a hosting company: it is relatively easy to move a domain from one hosting company to another. In fact some, such as HostGator, will organised the move for you.
So if you can get a better deal, the performance of your hosting company has declined, the hosting company has gone out of business or for some reason or other hosting company has blocked your site, (for example wikileaks has been blocked from a number of hosting companies for “breaching terms and conditions”).
It’s your own personal brand: as you own the domain name you have a strong incentive to build brand of your domain up. You can do anything you want with the domain website and no one, unless you breach breach, can tell you what to do with it.
One of the great things out the Internet is that individual, quirky, ‘off-the-wall’, can often be extremely successful. So go for it — Mum, Dad, brother, sister, teacher, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, best friend, boss, society at large cannot tell you what to do with your domain.
And you can sell it: that’s right — you can work hard and build up your blog over the years, get a lot of traffic, build up income and when you decide that you want to take easy, retire or want some cash to start another project you can sell your domain, (usually between one and two times your annual income).
There are some disadvantages:
Costs – you will need to buy and keep registering your domain. That should be in the region of $10 year.
Hosting, which when you start off will be shared hosting, should cost less than $10 a month.
You may also need to buy a premium theme, (which seem to start at around $70-$80 as a one-off charge), or get a theme specifically designed your site, which will cost anything from $400.
A little bit of organisation
You will need to make sure that the hosting and domain charges are paid.
You will need to take responsibility for upgrading your blogging software and making sure that your content is backed up. (This possibly sounds a lot more technical than it actually is — don’t worry by the end of March there will be quite a few tutorials on how to do this on this site).
For those that are not sure whether they want to blog or not I would recommend signing up to be WordPress free blogging service. You can then try blogging for a few weeks and if you like it you can reasonably easy move to a hosted site with your own domain.
For the majority, who are reasonably confident that they want to blog, then I suggest they get their own domain, there are hosting the install the free WordPress blogging system.
For some, those wanting an income generating blog, but also require training and support, a possible option is Sitesell, which is a complete package: includes buying a domain, hosting, blogging software and with a whole host of training and utilities. (I will be reviewing this site shortly).
I would further say that if you you are looking for a hosting company then I would recommend that they should offer Cpanel with Fantastico, (this is a very common format, which I will explain in another tutorial).
Blogbasics: Why bloggers must choose WordPress
Blogbasics: Why bloggers must choose Cpanel with Fantastico for hosting. (coming soon)
Blogbasics: Blogging with free hosting
Blogbasics: Sitesell — an integrated approach to running a business blog (coming Soon)