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There are a lot of reasons to create a blog. A blog is a great way to tell a story that might help or inspire someone. You could use it to track your progress toward a goal, such as fitness or getting your finances in order, and share your achievement. Maybe you’ve heard that you can make money with a blog. Whatever your reason for starting a blog, there are a few things you’ll need in order to get going:
- Domain Name
- Web Builder
Hosting provides a place for all the information that makes up your blog to live. A web host maintains servers, which are basically giant hard drives, that store your website and blog code and allow people to access it.
There are many different hosting companies, and several types of hosting.
The types of hosting are:
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS)
- Dedicated Server
Shared Hosting is exactly what it sounds like: Your blog is stored on the same server as a number of other websites. You share the server. Because you share the server, this type of hosting is the least expensive.
It can also come with some problems.
Sharing the server means sharing the server’s resources. If you happen to share a server with a website that gets a huge amount of visitors, your site could run slower while that other site is busy.
Remember, a server is a giant hard drive, just like the one in your computer. It only has so much memory available. So think of your website and that busy website like two programs running on your computer. If your website is a streaming movie, and that is all you are doing, your computer runs fine. If that busy website is a massive online game, and you try running it at the same time as your movie, your computer slows down.
The same thing happens with a server.
If you just want to write a blog to tell a story or track your progress toward a goal, this shouldn’t be a problem.
But if you intend to make money from your blog, a slow site could end up hurting your earning potential.
So if you decide on a shared hosting service, make sure to check the bandwidth that comes with the account. This could be represented by GB of memory, the number of expected monthly visitors the account can support, or both.
The Basic Plan at Bluehost, which you can get for as little as $3.95 a month, is a great choice for a blog designed to make money.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) might be something to consider if you need even more bandwidth and dependability than shared hosting provides.
Technically speaking, VPS is still shared hosting. Your site will still be on the same server as other sties.
But that’s where “Virtual Private” come in. This type of hosting acts like a private server. You still share the servers resources with the other sites it is hosting, but a portion of those resources are dedicated to you.
What that means is that sometimes your site will get extra power from the server when the other sites don’t need it. But if that really busy site suddenly gets a big rush of visitors, the server will only take the extra power your site was using, but it won’t touch the minimum that is dedicated to your site. So your site will sometimes be ultra fast, but it will never get bogged down if the other sites get busy.
Because you get a certain guaranteed portion of the servers resources this option is a little pricier, but still very reasonable. And well worth the cost if you plan on making money from a large site.
I recommend Knownhost for anyone interested in VPS hosting. There service is incredible, and their support team is very easy to work with.
Dedicated Servers are something you don’t really need to worry about right now. I only mention it to be thorough.
It is exactly what is sounds like: You get an entire server dedicated to you.
And you certainly pay for it!
When starting out you don’t even need to consider a dedicated server. This option will only become necessary if you build an absolutely massive site, or start building and managing websites for others as a business.
There are a huge number of web hosts out there. Here are some that I have personal experience with, or have verified with people I trust, that are worth checking out.
For Shared Hosting
Bluehost– My top recommendation for shared hosting for those just getting started. Their basic plan is great for a single blog, and you won’t need more than that when you first start out. Great hosting. Excellent support. Very reasonable prices. Starting at $3.95/month with a 3-year commitment for a single site.
InterServer– They’ve been providing hosting for nearly 20 years, and their track record of satisfied customers more than speaks for itself. Plus, they offer very reasonable pricing.
HostGator– They’ve gotten some bad reviews, but I signed up for a year just to see, and I was happy with them. The biggest complaints about them are their support. When I contacted them for “help”, they had the answers I was looking for.
For VPS Hosting
Bluehost, InterServer, and HostGator all offer VPS hosting, but they are not the providers I would recommend for this service. Instead, I recommend Knownhost. They have great support and an excellent hosting package. I also like their price ranges for the different VPS packages they offer. I haven’t found better from a company I trust nearly as much.
A domain name is the URL of a website. The part after the http:// and before the .com. It works like a street address for your website. I won’t go into the technical details of how it all works, but the basics are this:
- Someone types in your URL
- A Domain Name Server (DNS) recognizes the URL and directs that person to the hosting server.
- Your host’s server delivers your website.
The reason I bring up how a DNS points someone searching for your site to your host is because there are lots of places to buy your domain. You can certainly buy it with your hosting package, and that is the way I recommend you do it.
But you don’t need to get your domain and hosting from the same place.
You can register a domain through any registrar, then point the DNS to your host’s servers. It may sound confusing right now, but I assure you, it’s not.
Some of the popular domain registrars are:
I won’t go into a lot of detail on each one, because buying a registering a domain is pretty straightforward. A couple points to consider when choosing a registrar:
- Don’t get blinded by a discount price. There are a lot of offers out there for $0.99 domains. This price will only be for the first year, then jump to somewhere between $10-16 a year, depending on whether it’s a .com, .org, .net, etc. $13-14 a year is a reasonable average for a .com.
- Make sure that transfer procedures are clearly spelled out in your agreement. Chances are you will never have to transfer your domain to a new registrar, but you don’t want to run into a brick wall if you ever do decide to transfer. Make sure the registrar you choose makes it easy, just in case.
My suggestion is to buy your domain and hosting together. The difference in pricing on domains from different registrars really isn’t enough to be worth the hassle of having to manually point your domain to your host. When you by them together it’s automatic, and much easier. Just a little food for thought.
There are lots of WYSIWYG programs out there. Yes… WYSIWYG. It’s pronounced just like it looks, and is really fun to say! What it stands for is “What You See Is What You Get”. These are programs for those who want to design their site from scratch. They are drag-and-drop programs. Pull a picture to the top left of the page, the picture shows up on the top left of your website.
They are pretty easy to use, and give you tons of freedom to design your site exactly how you want it.
I don’t use them.
There are a couple reasons.
First, the code that they create can be very bulky, and some browsers have trouble displaying the page the way you intended. They can also load slowly because of the code.
Second, there’s a better way.
You’ve probably heard of WordPress. It’s very popular with new bloggers. But it isn’t limited to blogs. You can build a completely static website with WordPress using all pages instead of posts. This site is built using WordPress, and is a combination of pages and posts.
The great thing about WordPress is that most of the heavy lifting has been done. You pick a theme that you like, customize it a little, then just start adding your content. And there are thousands of themes available. You’re sure to find one that fits your needs and tastes.
Another wonderful thing about WordPress is that most web hosts have a 1-click WordPress install. Click a button, WordPress is loaded on your site, then you pick your theme and go!
It’s very easy to use and allows anyone to build a beautiful, fully functioning and responsive site. Even if you have no experience with web design.
For those that don’t have any experience and need a little help, there are tons of how-to guides online. You could even become a member at Wealthy Affiliate, with hosting included, and get hands-on training on how to build your site.
To learn more about Wealthy Affiliate and what they offer, read this article:
Create A Blog – It’s That Easy
There really isn’t a lot involved in starting a blog, especially if you build your blog with WordPress.
Depending on how your host is set up, there may be a little more work involved in loading files to put on your site. Some require using FTP (file transfer protocol) to load text files and images to your site. Some allow you to simply upload from your computer with a browse button, just like you would do on Facebook to upload a picture from your computer. If you are using WordPress, you will be able to create text files for your posts right within the editor and uploading photos will be as simple as searching your computer files.
So get going and start a blog today! Get your hosting at Bluehost and start blogging. Or to get hosting and hands-on training to start your blog, sign up for the free Starter Membership at Wealthy Affiliate. Tell your story. Share your progress as you reach for your goals. Work from home with your computer by monetizing your blog. Whatever you choose to do with it, don’t let the fear of creating a blog being too hard hold you back. It’s very simple. And if you ever need a hand, leave me a question in the comments below. I’d be more than happy to help in any way that I can.
Thanks for reading,