There are two possibilities here; you just heard about blogging and want to get started with your own blog or you’ve been studying about blogging and want to finally get started. Or maybe you’ve been blogging for a while but think your starting has something to do with your stagnation. Whichever the case, you really want to start blogging. There are basic things you have to consider before creating your new blog. Though I’ve taking time to write these points, I’ll always advice that you do some research on your intended niche (subject) before going ahead to start your blog. Here are some things you’ll have to consider.
Do I have what it takes?
Here on this blog, I’m not going to try to lure everyone into creating a blog. Although one may decide to blog without the intention to make money of it, blogging to make money requires some personal qualities (persistence, patience, hard & smart work) to survive. As blunt as it may seem, not everyone who starts blogging will make sizable income blogging. Some will start and quit in a few months while a few will keep up to it. Anyone, I mean anyone, can be successful at blogging, it’s a matter of what you allow to drive you; passion or ambition. According to an article on Wikipedia there are over 156 million public blogs in existence as of 16 February 2011. Think about it, had all these blogs been successful, poverty and unemployment should have been close to extinction. You can build a successful blog and make money off it if you really desire to.
What should I blog about
I think of this as one of the most important thing to consider. Without a clear understanding of what your blog will be about, your blogging interest may dwindle along the way. Some factors to consider while deciding on your blogs focus are:
• Your interest
• Your knowledge and/or experience
• The possibility of finding people with similar interest as you (loyal readers).
• The level of competition and the possibility of your survival.
What blogging platform do I use? Blogger or WordPress?
When you have finally decided on the focus of your blog, next you have to choose whether to get a self-hosted blog or a free hosted blog.
Blogger is a free blogging platform. All you need is to choose a name you want your blog to be associated with and you’ll have a new blog in a couple of minutes. Your blog will come with a name like yourblog.blogspot.com, however you can also register a custom domain like www.yourblog.com, which looks more professional. This will only cost $10/year domain name and it’s worth the little investment. I’ll recommend blogger.com for new bloggers who cannot afford a paid hosted blog, or who will be blogging more from their mobile phone or want to give blogging a try (with the flexibility of working with editable HTML templates) to see if it’s fit for them. Whatever the case blogging on blogger.com is not a write off. My first blog is hosted on blogger.com and is doing pretty well. Why I recommend this platform for bloggers on trial is that, you may still have doubts as to whether blogging is something you want to do. So by using this free platform for a couple of months you may finally decide if you want to get a paid blog and give it your best shot. You can also play the trial game on wordpress.com (more on it below) but there is the limitation of template customization. However there are successful blogs that are hosted on this free blogging platform. If you decide to blog on blogger, I’ll advice you get a domain name. You can’t get this for free though. It’ll only cost $10 per year and it’s well worth it. One major disadvantage of this platform is that you can be banned at anytime without notice if you are found to break their Term of Service (ToS); in which, case you lose everything.
This is a free version of the paid wordpress blog. You can use this free platform to test the self-hosted wordpress before deciding to get your own self hosted blog which gives you total control. Blogs created on this platform has URL like yourblog.wordpress.com. WordPress.com blogs are limited to certain functionalities. For instance, if you want to make money through contextual advertizing like Google Adsense, Chitika and Adbite, wordpress.com will be the wrong choice to make. WordPress.com users are restricted from adding such paid advertising to their wordpress blogs. Only use this platform if you want to test drive wordpress before getting your own blog (this is not necessary anyway) or if you don’t intend to get serious with blogging. You can also be banned from this platform at anytime without notice if you are found to break their term of service. I was once banned from wordpress.com some years back and I still haven’t figured why.
This is the most generally recommended blogging platform and I totally agree. WordPress.org is a free blogging software that can only work if hosted on a server. You don’t pay for wordpress; you pay to host wordpress on a wordpress compatible hosting platform, install wordpress on your hosting space and take full control of your blog. With wordpress.org blog, you can blog about whatever you please without the fear of being banned by any superior body. You own your blog and your content. This blog – blogwithiyke.com- is a self-hosted wordpress blog.
Although there are other blogging platforms, most of which I’ve only heard of, these are the major blogging platforms on the planet. After you’ve decided where to host your new blog, next is to get started.
Decide a Domain Name
Your domain name is the address on which your blog (files) will be hosted. Something like www.yourblog.com. Here are some factors you should consider while choosing a domain name:
• Choose a name people can easily remember
• Let the name reflect the subject of your blog. For instance, if your blog is going to be on snail farming a name like armnail.com sounds nice but wouldn’t tell at a glance what the blog is about. However something like snailtalk.com or mysnailblog.com would be more descriptive. There are several benefits of including a tag in your domain, the major of which is for search engine optimization (SEO). For Starters, More on that later.
You have to come up with a list of domain names (3 to 5) to choose from. Check the availability of your most desired option. If it has been taken, try other options until you find one that is available.
Get started with your blog
If you have decided to host on one of the first two platforms I mentioned above, it’s quite simple and more straightforward than setting up a self-hosted wordpress blog. It as simple as this: go to www.blogger.com or wordpress.com and follow the instruction to create your blog.
For a Self-hosted blog you have to decide where to host your wordpress blog. Although I haven’t been on a self-hosted blog long enough to vouch for any service, I’m hosting this blog on Hostgator and chose the service due to recommendations from friends and the encouraging reviews I’ve read from other bloggers. So far I can say I’m having a good time with them. There are several other hosting services you may want to consider but before making your choice, be sure to search and read reviews from others who have used or are using the service. You can Sign Up for Hostgator account here. (This is an affiliate link, which means that I’ll earn a commission if you sign up from the link above).
If you have decided on a service to host your blog, choose your domain name and pay for the service. Once your order is approved, go to your hosts control panel and install your free wordpress blogging software. There are several tutorials online on how to install wordpress on different hosting services. You can search and read them up. In my next post, I’ll be writing about what next to do after you’ve successfully created your blog. If you have any question or there is a part you just don’t get or you are confused on which platform to choose, I have a listening ear. Let’s continue the discussion on comment below.