Blogging Basics – The Absolute First Step to Blogging

This post is targeted to people who have absolutely no idea on how to get started with a blog. If you already have a blog but need to know what to do with it then you can skip this post. If you have a blog but are not sure if its the right platform for you then you find this post helpful.

If you are interested in starting a blog and came here for more information then I am not going to waste this post talking about the benefits or detriments to running a blog. I am going to get straight to it.

Before I begin its important to note that this post is not the be all and end all of blogging basics and choices. I’m sure someone will point out something just as good that I could add to this list.

1. Free hosting blogging versus Paid hosting blogging

Free hosting blogging would include items like WordPress.com (not org) and Google’s Blogger (Blogspot) whereas paid hosting blogging would include getting a paid hosting service with either Godaddy.com or BlueHost.com and then installing a blogging platform like WordPress.org. The reason why I call it Free Hosting Blogging instead of Free Blogging service is because the platforms are free either way. Its the hosting that costs money.

    A. Free Hosting Blogging
    WordPress.com

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platform in the world. It has become so popular that there are many organizations and businesses that now use WordPress for their business website. While its foundation is in blogging it has crossed over to be used as an actual website instead of a blog. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two completely different versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is a hosted version of WordPress whereas WordPress.org is self hosted. In other words, with a hosted platform the version of WordPress sit on their servers and you are given a subdomain name. For example, your domain would be example.wordress.com. The problem with this method is that no serious blog or website in cyberspace would have a name like that. If you are serious about getting your own blog up and running than you need to have your own domain name. Fortunately, WordPress.com offers you the option to buy your own domain name for $18:

wordpresscom1

And a hosting package for $99 per year.

wordpresscom2

Of course if you are going to end up paying $118 per year for a hosted blog then you might as well go with a self hosted blog from WordPress.org

    Blogger.com

Another option for a free hosting blog is to use Blogger.com aka Blogspot. Blogger.com is an extremely well known blogging platform and they have been around since the start of blogging and is now owned by Google. What I like about Blogger is that you could by your own domain with any service whether its Go Daddy or 1and1 and then just add it to your Blogger blog. You will have a dot com domain that is hosted for free. The only real downside is that you wont have the many tools and plugins that are available with a WordPress blog.

    B. Paid Hosting Blogging

WordPress.org
Wordpress is by far the platform of choice for serious bloggers. WordPress.org is the option of choice when deciding between the free hosted version and the self hosted version. Almost every serious blogger on the planet has a WordPress.org blog. The list of benefits for this type of blog is so long that I would need to dedicate and entire post just to go through it. There was a time several years ago when it wasnt so easy to have a WordPress.org blog. Back then, if you wanted to update your blog you needed to download the software and transfer it via FTP carefully so that you wouldnt over write any of your customized files. Nowadays, you can update the software by simply clicking on a link in your WordPress dashboard and you are done. There are two main benefits that make WordPress the platform of choice.

First there are an insane amount of awesome, great quality, professional looking themes that are 100% FREE for you to use for your blog. The theme that I am currently using for this blog is one of those free themes.

The Second benefit is that there are plugins that WordPress uses that allows you to make so many components of blogging way easier. For example, you have SEO plugins that will do almost all the basic SEO work for your blog. One of my favorite plugins helps keep my blog secure from hackers. Because there are an endless amount of plugins available, I would need to dedicate an entire post just to go through some of the main ones. I will mention the most critical and beneficial ones in a future post. So if you are serious about blogging, then WordPress.org is the platform to use.

2. Web Hosting

If you decide to go with the free webhosting option above then you could skip this step. On the other hand if you decide to self host your own blog as is the practice of serious bloggers then you will need a hosting solution.

There are many hosting solutions out there and for people going with the right hosting provider is a big decision and it should be. You need to think of your web hosting company as your neighborhood where you will build your home. Once your home is built its really hard to get up and move somewhere else. The same with web hosting. Once your site is already being hosted by web hosting company its a bit of a pain to have migrate your website and servers to a new hosting provider. So its important to make the right decision.

The are many options for web hosting. The most popular ones are the following:
Go Daddy
Host Gator
Blue Host

I personally use Servage.net for my webhosting. I started with them because at the time, about ten years ago, they were the only ones that offered unlimited domain hosting at the base price. I have laid out the pricing for each package with screenshots.

Go Daddy
goddaddy1

HostGator
Hostgator1

BlueHost
Bluehost1

Depending on whether or not you plan on having more than one website you need to decide on which plan is the right one for you. If you want to be able to add more sites especially if you are thinking about affiliate marketing, which is a completely different topic altogether, then you would want a plan that allows you multiple domains.

I am not going to cover the details of how to purchase a domain name and set it up with your hosting provider. These are details that you could get from them.

One thing I would like to point out regarding the different plans is that some of the web hosting companies offer a special WordPress Web hosting package. This package is way more expensive than the basic web hosting package. Each hosting company will mention the differences between the two different packages. The truth is, you will not need this special WordPress hosting if you update your wordpress regularly, configure your GEO IP Security, and install the right security plugins. All of which I will write about in a future post.

3. WordPress
Several years ago when you wanted to have a WordPress blog, you needed download the zip file and upload it yourself to the server through an FTP. You also needed to configure the SQL database that stored all the data of your blog. Nowadays, all the Web Hosting companies have an installer that will install the latest or close to the latest version of WordPress for you. The installer is located in your somewhere in your control panel when you login to your Web Hoster.

Once you follow the above steps, you should get to the point where you will have your very own self hosted WordPress blog. Now that you have your blog you will need to do a lot of configuring to get it to look the way you want. I will also post about some essential plugins that you will need for your blog in a future post.

Welcome to the world of WordPress blogging!