So you want to start a blog…
Now it’s time for you to make an educated decision on which blogging platform is the best for your needs, your vision, and your budget.
Let’s back up for just one second.
Before you sign up for anything it’s important for you to choose your domain name (i.e. your website address). For example mine is www.ellaphanteats.com because i have been given the tender nickname of ellaphant, or simply “fint” for short, and I LOVE FOOD! You should pick a domain name that describes you, your purpose, or something you love.
Next it’s time to think about how much money you are willing to invest in your new-found hobby. If you’re not sure you want to put up any money up front (which is perfectly ok!) and just want to test the waters, then i highly recommend signing up at www.wordpress.com:
WordPress is my absolute favorite blogging platform (and has the easiest interface in my opinion) and wordpress.com is 100% FREE. It will have you up and blogging in no time at all. The only caveat is that your domain name will have wordpress.com at the end of it. For example, mine would be www.ellaphanteats.wordpress.com which isn’t the most professional of names but hey it’s free right? It’s the perfect free start to see if blogging is something you want to do long-term. Plus you can always upgrade to wordpress.org (more info on this in a bit) as long as your chosen domain name isn’t already scooped up by someone else. Since wordpress.com is free there are much more domain names available but they become fewer and fewer once the “wordpress.com” suffix is removed.
Also it’s important for me to mention that wordpress.com doesn’t allow for much customization and doesn’t let you install some pretty kickass plugins. But if you’re just getting a feel for blogging then this is still the best option for you.
Now let’s talk about the vastly different wordpress.org.
With wordpress.org you either need to own your own domain or purchase it directly through wordpress. You also need to be self hosted and usually hosting companies will throw in your domain name for free (otherwise you usually have to pay a yearly fee).
For example, my hosting company, Bluehost, throws in the domain for free. You can see if the one you want is available directly from their site:
Now WTF does self hosted mean?
Don’t worry i’ll tell you! When you are self hosted you are paying someone to basically house your blog. You can even think of it as paying rent. A server somewhere out there will store all of your files and pictures and make sure your blog is up and running at all times and in turn, you pay them a fee.
Also when you are self hosted your domain name will just be www.yourdomainname.com and will not have the wordpress suffix – win! Plus you have full customization of your site – you can add plugins, add custom themes and headers, and basically change everything to look exactly how you want it to.
I know this all sounds like butterflies and rainbows but it does come with a cost. There are many hosting companies to choose from but i highly highly recommend Bluehost and you can sign up for $4.95 per month for 12 months!
Stay tuned for a follow-up to this post that will detail all of my favorite plug-ins.
As always you have any questions feel free to contact me.
Now get bloggin’!