What is up my blogging Hustlers!
Or maybe you haven't started blogging yet, and you're just a bit lost as to where to start. That's okay because I'm here to give you the absolute essential basics of creating a blog. A blog you'll be proud of and will be able to grow with you.
But before we start, you might want to save this to Pinterest so you can come back as a reference. I don't think you'll remember all the points in this post after reading it once.
Like anything online, the best situation is to own and control your content as much as possible. Sometimes this isn't possible and that's ok. But if you can, then always go for more control because it always pays off in the long run. That's why going for a wordpress website is better than using a blogging platform like blogger, weebly, wordpress.com etc.
Did I confuse you with the last one?
WordPress.com and wordpress.org aren't the same thing. I know. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have the same name but only a different extension to differentiate is a massive troll to all beginner bloggers.
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform you can use to start a blog for free. However, you won't be able to have your own domain name and your blog will have many limitations.
WordPress.org is an open source content organiser that helps you publish onto websites. It's not your actual website, but the interface you use to build your website content with.
Still with me?
So now that you know what you're going to use to build the website. You need a domain name and hosting. If you can imagine building a blog like building a house. Then the interface is your building material, your domain is your plot of land and your hosting is getting it connecting to the electric grid.
oh wow. That was actually a really good analogy and I came up with that on the spot.
Okay, so keeping with this house building analogy. (I'm hoping it works for the entirety of this post) A good domain is the equivalent of a good location. I already wrote an entire post on how to name your blog the right way here.
You get a domain name by buying and registering the name at a domain registrar. There's many different ones out there and they all do the same thing, but they don't all do it equally well. There's a few things you want to consider when choosing a domain name registrar.
- ICANN accredited - Your domain registrar should follow the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers rules and regulations. This way you know your registrar are following best practices, which will help keep your website in working order.
- Contract flexibility and fee transparency - The fees should be easy to understand without you finding any nasty surprises when you're billed. You also don't want to be pressured into adding a bunch of add-ons that you don't want or find it difficult to cancel your contract with them.
- Customer support - Customer service quality is a big indicator of how the company is managed. Excellent customer service means you're in safe hands. So you want to know if you can contact your registrar by phone, email, live chat or any other way possible. You should also test this out before signing up, because if they aren't responsive to a potential customer than it's going to be worse once you already signed a contract with them.
- Advance domain name options - A good registrar will have all the available options for you to choose from, such as SSL certificates which are needed if you're going to add a shopping cart to your blog. Or email services so you can have email addresses with your domain name and not a generic gmail or the like.
- Ease of use - This is a big one. It's no use for your registrar having all the of the above if it's difficult to use. You're not aiming to be a computer savvy programmer. You just want to start blogging. The registrar you use must be easy to use and understand.
I personally use namecheap to register all my domain names. They're super cheap, responsive and easy to use. I also got 1 year free WHOis, which keeps my identity private online. I highly recommend you give them a try if you're going to register a name. They also provide wordpress specific hosting.
At this point, you have the building materials and the place to start building. Brilliant. But you're missing power, a road and everything else that'll get your house connected to the rest of the neighbourhood.
You need a hosting service provider.
A hosting service provider is what keeps your website running and live for people to go to and visit. You want that. A bad hosting service provider will contribute to a bad user experience and hinder any of your hopes and dreams of making your blog successful. Some of the key things you need to look for in a hosting service provider before signing up with them include:
- Bandwidth and storage space - Be aware of the amount of bandwidth and storage your hosting provider will provide you. Most hosting companies will have different packages to suite everyone's need at an appropriate price level. Choose the one best suited for you. If you have just the one site and you're only starting out then the most basic package will most likely do the trick.
- Customer support - It's the same with your domain name registrar. You want to make sure you have access to help when you need it. You don't want slow response times or sub-par service. The last thing you want is for your website to be down and not even know when it'll be back up because your hosting service provider isn't responding.
- Contract terms and fee transparency - Again, you want the contracts to be flexible and the fees easy to understand. The wording and way they are displayed shouldn't be sneaky in anyway. A hosting provider that is clear with their fees also shows you they're trustworthy to do business with.
- HTTPs enabled - Https:// is a safer protocol for the transfer of information online. Https is starting to replace http and search engines are also rewarding websites with this up to date security measure. A lot of hosting providers will have this option as an add on cost to transfer or change your site to https, but it shouldn't cost you extra. Additionally, your hosting provider should provide an easy, quick way to make the transition.
- Premium add on options available - Your hosting company should have additional services available just in case you need them as your blog grows. This includes added bandwidth, speed, system backups etc. It's good to sign up to a hosting company with these options now than having to find another hosting provider and move your website to another server.
I use siteground for my hosting needs and I've been really happy with the service so far. I have tried bluehost, which many people use but I made the change because of the bad customer service bluehost was starting to provide. Siteground has been super responsive and helpful with all of my needs and the site is easy to use which is a major plus.
You now know what to look for in terms of, what to use to build your content, how to register and claim a location on the world wide web and how to choose a hosting service provider.
Please click on the links below or within this post, if you need any recommendations and want to check out what I use myself.
Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please take a moment to use the social media buttons at the bottom to share this with friends, family, colleagues, your neighbour’s cat, anyone with access to the internet 🙂 Thanks!