Now that you have a name picked out for your blog, (you did pick a name right?), it is time for the next most important decision you need to make regarding starting your blog. What platform you are going to use, and where to host it.
First we will discuss platforms. The one that I am going to talk the most about here is self-hosted WordPress. It’s by far one of the largest blogging platforms that there is. The reason for this is the countless plugins, add-ons, and nearly infinite ways to design your blog (we will cover these things later). There are other platforms you can choose from, like Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress.com, but none of these platforms will give you everything that a self-hosted WordPress site can offer you.
WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger all offer free blogs for anyone. This is great if you are not super serious about blogging. But these all have a few downsides.
1) You won’t be able to get and use your OWN domain name
On a free blog, your blog’s web address (your URL) will be pretty ugly. Basically, if you create a free blog with any of the above free blog services, your web address will look like one of these:
See, not very pretty.
2) Limits, restrictions, and more limits
Free blogging services have some pretty serious limitations that they place on all of their users. When it is time to start making money from your blog, it can be VERY difficult to do on a free platform. You are also limited on how many photos and videos you can upload to your blog. Then there is the lack of themes. They have some, but there is nowhere near as many, and odds are they won’t look or function as well. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things that they will not allow you to do.
3) You DON’T OWN your blog
Even though you write it, you won’t actually own it when you use a free service. The company that is hosting it does, and they can remove it at any time for any reason. You may think that it won’t happen to you, but it is something that occurs all the time.
Now, if you use a self-hosted blog platform, you are the REAL owner of your blog. You will be able to name your blog whatever you want, get almost any address you want for it, and you can do practically anything you want to it.
So how much is all of this going to cost? Most likely not as much as you think it does. You can get some hosting plans for less than $5 a month, which would be perfect for starting a new blog.
Now, if you are wanting to go the self-hosted WordPress route, stay tuned for the next lesson, getting your domain name and hosting. Or you can feel free to try one of the free platforms above, but the bulk of the next steps will not apply to you.
Lessons in the Blogging101 Series: