I was useless when it came to understanding websites and how they seemed to magically appear on the world-wide web. One day I decided I wanted to start a blog about my cottage and the going on's of Healey Lake but I had no clue how to start. I am not a pro blogger but I thought it would be helpful to offer some advice for absolute amateurs when it came to creating your own spot on the internet. These are the services I use and recommend, there are hundreds of providers available but I recommend these because I actually do use them and they offer great service for a low price.
"I want a website name" - Domain registration
This is the place where you book your website name and you become the owner of that www.*****.com name. Make sure the name you pick isn't too long or complicated, I would suggest you don't use odd spelling in your domain name or it will make it harder to find. I have used a few domain registration companies in the past but now I have all of my domains registered at Go Daddy, I find it easy to navigate and the support has been reasonable. Once you have your domain registered you need to point it to your host...
"Where will my website live" - Choosing a "host" for your website
This part of the "start a blog" process confused me to no end. I already registered my site domain name and I didn't understand the "host" part of the equation. Think of it this way, if the domain name is your house address then the host is your house. This is where all the codes, pictures and text get stored that make up the webpage people see when they type in your www.*****.com. Once again I have dealt with a couple of hosting companies and finally found a happy home at Blue Host, they are very reasonably priced at around $4 - $5 a month and their customer service is exceptional. I often use their online support where you type back and forth with a service tech, kind of like texting. I have asked them questions that were so simple it was embarrassing and they had enough patience to walk me through all the processes I needed to start a blog. They're a beginners dream.
"What blogging software do I use" - WordPress is the best for beginners
Although you can start a blog with one of the free blogging websites I started these steps with registering a domain name so you would have your own unique website that is yours to do what you want with. It will also let you grow your site as large as you like without having to transfer to your own domain down the road. The beauty of Blue Host is they have a "1-click" WordPress installation... well it's a few more than 1 to be honest, but it is simple. This means that once you have your host package set up you go into Cpanel and click the WordPress button and a WordPress blog magically appears at your www.*****.com site. Once you have installed WordPress you simply log in, erase the text that is pre-written and start typing in your content. As you become more comfortable you can start to change the appearance of your site by clicking on the free themes. It's easy! At any time you can ask the bluehost.com helper and they will walk you through it, if you play really dumb they might just do it for you.
"How will people find my blog?" - Driving Traffic or SEO (search engine optimization)
Depending on the purpose of your blog you might want to get as many people possible to see it or it might just be for your friends and family. A good place to start getting the word out is Facebook and Twitter, send a message to your friends with a link to your new blog and a note "hey look at my fancy new blog about my cat Gus". Another simple method is to send a link by email to friends and family. If you start a blog about a specific topic you can add the link when you're chatting in discussion forums, this will help google find it. There are lot's of strategies about SEO optimization but they're too complex at this stage of the game, your time is better spent writing great content for your blog and enjoying the experience. If you build great quality content they will come, patience is key.
I hope I have made these tips on how to start a blog simple enough to follow, please leave comments or questions below. To see my personal blog visit the link in my profile.