This post is the first in the series that takes you through all the steps of setting up you own blog, and we start with the basics: getting your own domain name and setting up web hosting. So if you’re new to blogging and want to get your own blog up and running today, you’re in the right place!
With a self-hosted blog, you own your domain name and get to choose where your blog is hosted (i.e. where it “lives” online). There are many more advantages as well, and I have written about the pros and cons of free and self hosted blogs in an earlier post.
Why is owning your domain name better? Well, if your business is called Healing Animals and you have a free WordPress blog, your URL would be healinganimals.wordpress.com (if that was available when you set your blog up). With this setup, there is nothing that stops anyone else from buying the domain name HealingAnimals.com and setting up a site called HealingAnimals.com. You can see how that would cause confusion, and your potential clients could easily end up on the wrong site.
Buying A Domain Name
I have bought several domain names at GoDaddy and I have always been very happy with them. Their customer service is there 24 hours a day, and whenever I have had issues or questions that I needed their help to resolve, they were extremely helpful.
Another (even easier) way to is to get a domain name together with your hosting plan. BigScoots include a free domain with their 105CC plan (which starts at $5.95/month), and all Bluehost plans come with one free domain name (plans start at $3.95/month).
Getting A Web Hosting Service
A web host is a company that owns and maintains servers where your blog “lives”. There are thousands of web hosting companies, and almost as many opinions on which one is best, so how do you choose? I look at their customer support (are they available 24/7, 365 days/year?), read reviews, make sure they use cPanel (which makes it very easy to set things up, even if you’re a beginner), see if I can find uptime stats (reports on how much of the time their servers are up and running), and ask for recommendations.
I use BigScoots which was recommended to me by a web developer, and I have been very happy with them. They use cPanel, are super nice, and their support is fantastic and very quick. They are also very affordable – their 55CC plan starts at $3.55/month.
Another very popular option is Bluehost. They also use cPanel, setup is super easy, their support is there 24/7, and you get a free domain name when you sign up. Bluehost plans start at $3.95/month.
In coming posts, we are going to be talking about:
- Choosing a theme
- Installing WordPress and activating your theme
- Pages: What to include, how to publish
- Posts, categories and keywords
For a complete list of the blogging tools I use and recommend, see the Recommended Blogging Tools & Resources page.