Choosing Your Blogging Platform
This is Series II of my post, Starting your Blogging Business.
A Beginner’s Choice
There are many blog platforms out there for you to choose from. However, you need to think about what your intentions are for the blog before you begin.
If you’re totally new to blogging and have no clue about almost any of it, it’s probably best for you to try a free blogging software such as Blogger.com.
Blogger.com will allow you to set up a free blog that will be hosted for you at a domain that will be listed as YOURBLOGNAMEHERE.blogspot.com. This can be great to help you get into blogging and check out how to make posts, how to chose simple templates to get the look and feel that you want, and settle right in using fairly simple techniques to make your posts and add any of the selection of extra widgets.
It’s even possible for you to go ahead and get your own domain (around $10 per year) and use Google’s Blogger.com to host it for you for free.
Somewhat Tech Savvy
If you already know a little about blogging or you’re familiar with the workings of many aspects of the internet and you feel that you’re confident to get a little more technical, you can check out some WordPress software and install it on your hosting account.
While WordPress offer free hosting similar to the way that Blogger.com works you will probably want to register yourself a domain and a hosting account. This can be offered from the same company or you can get your domain and your hosting from different companies.
Shop around to get the best deal for you. WordPress will need to be installed on your hosting account, either manually or by using an installer offered by your hosting company. Most hosting company have a one click install for WordPress.
A Blogger.com blog may be perfect to get you into blogging and you can expand from there by getting your own domain. However, if you’re feeling more confident about the internet and you want more customization,or you known that you have the intention of making money from your blogging, WordPress will be the way to go.
Don’t rush into to choosing a blogging platform as it is important to work out what it is you want from your blog, how technologically savvy you are and what you want to get out of blogging before getting started. Not everyone will be able to afford domain names and hosting straight away, so a free blogging platform such as Blogger.com or WordPress.org may be the best place to start.
My Smart Hosting Platform Choice
(Please note that I will get a small commission if you decide to sign up with my chosen WordPress ready hosting platform. Thank you in advance!)
When I first jumped into the blogging bandwagon, I did not do a lot of researching. For me hosting is just that, a hosting company can just be anybody. I was wrong to be honest. If you are to think of blogging for business, a hosting, and domain company is an added cost you want to streamline as much as possible.
How do you choose a company you can trust? By researching and following your guts. Yes, this time I would say you need to have a little bit of a feel for it.
That’s where Siteground.com came in. A trusted fellow blogger introduced this hosting company. And somehow, there is a connection. The trust exist! Not to mention the low cost hosting plan they offer, for the amount of resources you get along with it.
SiteGround has three plans that can fit anyone’s background and challenges. You can choose the most appropriate plan below. I have chosen the StartUp plan. It is good enough for me at this time. As my blog grows, I can easily upgrade when the appropriate time comes.
There is a free website transfer or you can choose to stay with your current domain name company. That is what I have decided. I find GoDaddy transfer very painful so I decided to stay. I have already paid for a year, so I figured I might as well keep my domain with them. I am not gaining or loosing anything with that decision.
You are also saving some money (any amount as a starting blogger counts for me) if you sign up for the whole year, rather than paying monthly. You are in business, so you don’t want to risk loosing your website due to forgotten hosting dues. It can happen trust me. It did happen to me!
- The StartUp plan is perfect for people with one website that are starting now
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress and Joomla website speed
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration (this is hard core!)
Designing Your Blog
So you’ve got your blog up and running! All of your settings are entered and you’re ready to get on your way. The next stage is getting a template for your blog and getting the look and feel just right so that it complements the tone of your blog and compliments what you have to say about your topic.
There are a whole host of free themes available on the internet for all types of blogs. You can chose a theme based in the administration areas of your blogging software or you can look further afield by typing the name of your blogging software into Google and adding the word ‘templates’ or ‘themes’. For example, you would run a Google search for ‘Wordpress theme’.
Take some time finding a template that looks suitable for what you want your blog to be about. You can even Google, for example, ‘Football WordPress Themes’ if you want to create a blog about football and want to narrow down your search.
Don’t worry if you like a template but there are a few things that you would like to change about it. Many themes come with different color alternatives and you can also change more specific aspects of the template through the control panel or ‘dashboard’ of your blog.
The template that you chose will be important. This is because, when people visit your blog, the first thing that they do is take in a view of the page. If your blog doesn’t look professional enough or friendly enough they may just leave and not read the content that you have to offer.
Try to find a theme or template that reflects the ‘feel’ of your blog. For example, if you want to write a blog about cute little kittens, having a metallic finish to your template will trigger indications of an electronic or technical nature in your visitor’s mind and they are likely to leave.
If the teenage boys that clicked on to your blog about the latest video games see that you have a pink theme with animals all over it, they are not likely to stay and read your content. When visitors click to visit a site, give them what they expect to find or they’ll just leave.
Make sure that you use a simple legible font on your blog. This is to ensure that it can be read by all of your visitors easily. Some more complicated fonts can be too off-putting and will, again, force your visitor to leave. Keep it simple because simple is always best.
Well, I hope I have kept your interest in blogging going and growing! It is a lot of information to sink in. Not to worry, as I have the next series of blogging tips coming your way.
I will talk about some tips for your blog post and using social media to get people to your blog and therefore creating your online presence.