HOW TO START A BLOG: WordPress, self-hosting & buying a domain

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Hey guys!

Debasree and I are back with another set of posts in our HOW TO BLOG series. In this post, I am sharing with you everything you need to know about setting up a blog- web hosting, buying a domain, getting a theme and so on! I have tried to keep it as basic and simple as possible since these topics can go into heavy technical detail. If you have any queries about any point mentioned in the post, make sure to comment below or ask me on any of my social media accounts! I would be really happy to help.

 1. Using Free Web Hosting

With web hosting, there are tons of options for any blogger. There are free blog services like Blogger, tumblr and WordPress.com that you can use and with just a few clicks you can have your blog of your own. Having done tons and tons of research, I figured that WordPress is definitely the best platform for setting up your own blog because:

  1. Super easy set-up.
  2. Tons of free themes and layouts
  3. There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck (you won’t, but it’s nice to have it there if you need it).
  4. People can interact with you easily. Your content can be shared, commented on, and so on

Since I used wordpress to start a blog of my own, I can pretty much only talk about it’s services. To create a blog on WordPress-

 Go to wordpress.com and create your blog url + blog. It’s a very very very simple process and will take a few minutes. You can choose a “free theme”.

Now in this case your blog url would like this-  www.melangeofmusings.wordpress.com

In order to remove the ‘.wordpress.com’ bit, it will cost money. To do this, you have two options.

A) Buy a premium account on WordPress. They’ll remove the wordpress.com from your url. However, in my opinion, this is a really expensive option.

B) Buy a Domain of your own on a Go Daddy.

Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). 

 2. Buying a Domain of your own

If you want to be hosted by WordPress.com and simply want to own your own URL, you can buy a domain and map your existing website to that domain. As the process suggests, this is called mapping. All you need to do is go to godaddy.com and buy a domain. Call up customer care (its EXCELLENT!) and tell them you want to name this new domain you have bought to your existing wordpress.com website. Your website is retained, you don’t lose any information and by simply paying a small amount for buying a domain, you still stick to the comforts of wordpress.com and yet have a new domain name with the wordpress.com bit after your blog name.

3. Self Hosting 

Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.

Being hosted on WordPress or Blogger may be very easy and convenient but also has tons of disadvantages. Many people start out using these free services because they want to “test the waters”. However, there is a big danger is using free services if you want to build a long-term business as a blogger.

  • You don’t control your content – the blogging platform does. They could shut you down any time, and for any reason. Don’t believe me, read this.
  • The web address of your blog will be long and hard to remember(like yourfreeblog.blogspot.com) instead of a catchy, branded address you choose.
  • You’re not allowed to advertise on most free blogging platforms, making it much harder to ever make money from blogging.

For my blog’s hosting, I chose Go daddy and I am very, very happen with the same! Just like buying a domain, hosting on go daddy is reasonable and really simple. Plus, you don’t need to know much about all of this since the customer service is really helpful. The best part is that even though you are now hosting your website on go daddy.com- through its services you can install WordPress’s control panel/blogging software. Without complicating things to much, this basically means that when you are writing, editing your posts etc you are still working on the WordPress software as you would earlier. It’s just that WordPress no longer owns your content.

4. Themes

Now comes the fun part! (or at least my favorite part)- You have your hosting done, blog domain in place and now all you need to do is figure out how you want your blog to look like. Since you are using wordpress’s control panel, you can buy themes that suit you but they arent cheap at all. I would recommend buying an external theme that’s compatible with WordPress. There are tons of websites such as themeforests, elegent themes or Studio Press. For my blog, I use a Studio Press theme that uses a genesis framework! I wont go into too many details since this post is long enough but to put it in studiopress’s words- If wordpress is the engine of the car, genesis is the frame and body and studio press is the paint and fancy interiors. To download a studio press theme, you need to also download the genesis framework that will help you customize this studio press theme in the first place. If this all sounds too complicated, please don’t fret! You can always ask me for any help you need or even stick with much simpler non-genesis options.

 

I haven’t gone in depth with each installation process since that could be a post in itself! Please don’t let this post scare you in anyway. Debasree and my aim is to help each and everyone of you who wants to start a blog but has no idea how to go about with it. Now that you have your software basics covered, go ahead read Debasree’s blogpost on everything hardware related- this includes what cameras, lenses, lighting etc to use while shooting your blog posts and making pictures look as pretty as possible!