Blogging Basics: Platform, Hosting, Domain
Day one of our series about Building a Better Blog in Twenty-One Days was an introduction to what we’d be working on. Most of my readers – maybe 90% – can go ahead and skip over today’s “Day Two” installment about blogging platform, web hosting, and domain name. That’s fine. Go out and have a cigarette if you want. I won’t be offended. This is like the deceptively easy first day of review in math class before the hard work begins.
For those of you who haven’t yet started a blog and are wondering where to begin, however, I’m going to just dive right in and share my religion with you.
Your Blog Should Be Running On WordPress
There, I’ve said it.
If you’ve already launched your blog on Blogger or TypePad, and you’re happy with it, that’s great. Most of the rest of the series will be non-Wordpress-specific, so you should stay with us in spite of this dogmatic beginning.
However, if you haven’t already started a blog, then your blog needs to be running on Wordpress. Here’s why:
If you have a budget of no money at all, and you’re just experimenting and start writing and have some fun, you can get a free Wordpress.com blog. I have one, just for the fun of it. Here it is. If your work takes off and you need to export it later, you can do so.
If you’re in the middle of your blogging journey, and want more control over the code you run on your Wordpress blog, you can get a free copy of the open source Wordpress product and run it on any one of a zillion low cost web hosts for about $7.00 per month. Here’s a list of some of these hosts.
As a former software developer, I appreciate the fact that with a huge number of third party software plugins, Wordpress does about 99% of what I ever needed it to do. The other 1% I can code myself. Yes, their upgrades can be a bit quirky sometimes, but for the most part Wordpress is incredibly good software.
You Need Your Own Domain Name
At about $10 per year or less through Godaddy.com, having your own domain name is one of the cheapest things someone on the Internet is going to insist you break down and buy. Your domain is your first attempt to give your visitor an idea about what your blog is going to be about, so picking a good name helps you with the goal we set for ourselves at the outset of being clear. A good domain name should:
Relate to what the site’s about.
Be as short as possible.
Be as clear as possible.
Not infringe on any copyright / trademark or the like.
I thought InkLit.com was a cute name and a bit of a paradox for an Internet Writing site. It’s also nice and short, but it’s not especially descriptive.
“ProBlogger.com” is great – it’s short, and tells you what the site is about.
“Writing-Journey.com”: very nice, but Bob needed the hyphen because the unhyphenated form was taken. I have “Sacramento-Home.com” on another site for the same reason.
A lot of really good domain names will be taken, but there are still some tasty nuggets to be found. I just registered “TechReview360.com” the other day. You can use the domain search tool available at Godaddy to research what’s available.
If you’re at this stage with your blog, you may want to think about your domain name in connection with our next post in the series about some of the other basic elements of your blog.