Blogging basics

blog setup
Basic blog setup in 2018.

So you decided to go for it and get your very own blog. Great! You’re already one step closer to it.

If you’re still concerned about complexity, don’t be, the process is quite straightforward and relatively easy. Once you’re familiar with it, you can start a blog in like 10 minutes or less.

The main steps you’re looking at are:

  1. choosing the blog platform
  2. going with a self-hosted or free blog
  3. starting a self-hosted blog on your own domain (if you chose so)
  4. designing and adding information to your new blog

And that’s it, those are the steps to bring your blog online! So, without any further long intros, lets jump right in.

– Step I –

choosing a blog platform

This should be the first thing that you do – pick the platform on which to build it.

There are a lot of options available where some are more popular, some less. But that doesn’t mean that they are less useful.

No! There are situations from my own experience where I’d choose some other platform for the job than the one I usually use.

With that being said, there is also consideration about the type of it – free or self-hosted.

You might say: “well, but which should I choose?

Well, free is free. There is a saying: “you get what you pay for.”

It’s true that in some cases you could go with a free blog, but there are multiple limitations that come with that choice.

More on those in the next step where their pros and cons are laid out.

Speaking from my own experience. Over the years that I’ve spent blogging my main weapon of choice has been WordPress. It provided everything I needed with some exceptions.

Those most of the time were functionality issues. But even the greatest systems can’t always cover the needs of every individual.

With that being said, In my opinion, WordPress would be a perfect choice for beginners. That goes also for experienced bloggers for its ease of use and extensibility.

Of course, there are many others to choose from. It all depends on your goals what you want to achieve with your blog. So feel free to look around.

To learn more about some of the most popular platforms check out their comparison section.


Additional reading material:

– Step II –

choosing a self-hosted or free blog

So as you read in the previous step, then there are two main options to go with – either with a self-hosted blog or a free one.

The decision is yours to make. But from my own experience, I would strongly recommend going with self-hosted if you’re thinking seriously about blogging.

You might ask why such an opinion.

Well, over time I’ve checked out various options and came to a conclusion that nothing beats a well set up self-hosted blog.

For once – I own it completely and second –  it gives me the freedom I need in functionality.

Although some free platforms, e.g. like Wix offer also paid versions which give some nice options to work with. But even then those often are lacking behind in functionality.

Here are some pros and cons of self-hosted and free blogs.

Self-hosted

Examples like: WordPress.org, Joomla, Drupal.

Pros of a self-hosted blog:

  • You have full control over your blog – content, designs, layout changes.
  • Extra and custom functionality either by plugins or code changes.
  • Professional look.
  • Multiple ways to monetize your blog.

Cons of a self-hosted blog:

  • A small initial investment required.
  • Blog setup can be intimidating to beginners.

 

Without hosting

Examples like: Blogger, Wix, Tumblr, Medium, Squarespace, WordPress.com.

Pros of free blog platform:

  • No initial costs
  • Very easy to start – open up a new account, choose a design and you’re practically set.

Cons of free blog platform:

  • Unless you pay for a domain you’ll have the provider added to yours e.g. www.yourblogname.blogger.com
  • You’ll have limited control over your blog and fewer options available for customization.
  • Free blogs look less professional.
  • As you technically don’t own it, then it could be taken down at any time.
  • Often limited options to monetize your blog.

If you want to know more about individual popular platforms please see their comparison section.


Additional reading material:

– Step III –

starting a self-hosted blog on your own domain

Great! Now we that we’ve have looked upon the options and chose to make a professional self-hosted blog then let’s explore what goes on here.

So first things first – your new blog requires a domain which is the name of it e.g. yourSiteName.com.

There are two options to go with. Either you purchase the domain from a seller e.g. like GoDaddy or NamecheapOr you buy it together with a hosting plan from the hosting company if they offer such option.

I myself like to keep and manage all my domains in a single place as I’ve got quite a few. But this is your own choice.

And if it’s your first blog, then you could stick with the option that hosting companies offer.

That way the whole blog setup will be lightning fast and you’ll not have to worry about domain connecting. But even that is easy.

 

When you pick a domain, spend some time thinking about the name that would best fit for the niche you’ve chosen.

Make it relatable to what you’ll blog about. Don’t name it “sunny days” and blog about umbrellas. An extreme example, but you get the picture.

Of course, super simple ones will most likely be taken. But with some searches and checks, it’s possible to come up with really catchy and memorable names.

Check out my guide on how to come up with a great blog name to learn more.

 

Now that you’ve picked out your perfect name for your blog, it’s time to pick the place where to actually host it.

There are thousands of options to choose from. But for beginners, I’d recommend going with one that comes in a package with a domain.

I myself have used bluehost to host my niche sites. Picked it as it was very cheap, and stayed with it as it had very good uptime and technical support was very forthcoming.

 

And guess what! At this point it is done, your blog is online and ready to be put to use.

Well, to be precise it’s sort of done as the real work of a blogger begins now.


Additional reading material:

– Step IV –

designing and adding content to your blog

Now comes the most fun part!

At this step you’ll make your blog exactly like you want. You can go with a free theme which under WordPress can be changed under Appearance -> Themes.

Or you can grab a premium looking theme from a seller like mythemeshop.com for like 40$.

I usually pick something that catches my eye and is easy to customize. Plus, theme changing in WordPress takes only a few clicks, so you can switch them in seconds.

Try to think about the ease of use so that your visitors could navigate around your site with ease. If they’ll find it too complicated, you can probably say goodbye to them as the chance of their return is quite low.

So the first impression is very important in opinion forming of your site.

Also, don’t be afraid to start and share your content. I’ve seen so many beginners fail at this point – trying to perfect their sites until the very last bit.

And once you go down that path – there comes that one extra thing, one more, and then some. And in the end, while striving for perfection, you lose your real goal and fail to share your blog.

So the main lesson – be bold and go with it. Make some quality articles and start spreading your story. You’ll perfect your blog as you go on.


Additional reading material:
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