What does the number 1 blog in 2008, as well as the number 1 blog in 2009 and 2010 as voted by the Webby Awards have in common? They both use the same system to power them. This system is known as wordpress.
No matter what your message is, whether it be for fun and entertainment, a hobby, or a business, when starting your blog you want to get off on the right foot. Many people start with just a free blog solution to see how things stick, then when their blog starts to take traction and they out grow the features provided by their free blog they get stuck. Don’t let this happen to you. Start off on the right foot. It’s easy. No longer do you need to be a certified geek like you once did.
Taking the Plunge.
So start off with brainstorming things to write about – this is best done with a large piece of paper, and friends if possible.
Now that you have some ideas, narrow them down into a central topic or theme. What we are trying to do is come up with a name that encapsulates what you’re writing about. (You can use your own name if you like.)
Once you have your ideas its time to turn it into a domain name. What the, is a domain name you ask? It’s like google.com or ageek.com.au. You buy the rights to use it for a period of time (usually 1 or 2 years) and then at the end of that time you can renew it. Just like a car rego. Brainstorm around 5 or more possible domain name ideas (again this can include yourname.com if you like). There are a few guidelines here. Try and keep it as short as possible, areallycoolblogaboutamazingawesomethings.com is just too long. Coolblog.com would be much better. But unfortunately someone has taken it. So maybe acoolblog.com anyway you get the picture, come up with a list of 5-10 ideas.
Letsgoshopping.com – Buying a domain name.
Let’s go and buy a domain name, if you have never done it, it’s just like online shopping. What we are after today is just a dot com domain name (so something that ends in .com). If you must, get a .net but steer clear of .info and .co. If your Australian and want a .com.au read these notes first
Head on over to either getanamecheap.com or VentraIP.com.au. These are both companies that I use for my domain names and I can highly recommend, they give you extra features, that other companies make you pay for, and they are both have some of the lowest rates in the industry. (If you are mainly targeting an Australian audience or want a .com.au, use VentraIP.)
No matter which site you use, they both have a large search box “start your domain search here” or “instant domain registration”.
Type in your number one choice for a domain name, and select .com and see if it’s available, if it is, great add it to your cart. If not, don’t worry just work your way through your list until you have one that is. Once you do, add it to your cart. Don’t check out yet, we need some real estate.
Web Hosting – Your house on the internet.
In order to put your website on the internet, you need somewhere for it to “live”. If you think about a domain name representing a street address, then the webhosting is the house that resides at that address. The easiest way to get your own hosting is to buy some web hosting from a company like getanamecheap.com or VentraIP as they have the geeks to set up and maintain the servers, and then all you have to worry about is your writing.
Now add some hosting to your shopping cart. If your using getanamecheap.com go and add either their “Value” or “Professional” web hosting plans to your shopping cart. (Get the professional one, if you plan on setting up other domain names/blogs in the future, then you can save on hosting fees). You can view their plans here
If you’re using VentraIP add either The Economy or the EconomyPlus plan to your cart. (The plans are pretty much the same, the EconomyPlus plan gives you 20GB on online storage for your site – most WordPress sites use 200mb, which is 1% of what VentraIP give you, but you can also add as many domain names to your account as you want, where as the Economy plan only allows for 10).
Geek Tip: Save money buy prepaying 2-3 years of hosting in advance.
When you look at your shopping cart, you should have 1 domain name and 1 hosting package. When you added your hosting package to your account, you should have been given the option to link it to your domain name in your account. You want to do that, if you didn’t it just means that there is an extra step down the track. Before pressing the final button to checkout, have a quick google to see if there are any coupon codes that will save you money.
At the time of writing there are the following:
- HNY12 gives you a discount on new .com/.net domain names.
- 2012ROX gives you 10% of your first month of hosting.
- VIP50 gives you 50% of your first invoice of web hosting.
Once you have entered any coupon codes, made some savings, go ahead and check out with your credit card or paypal account. The total investment should be under $100.
Now it’s time to take a break and enjoy a beverage (either hot or cold, whichever you feel like) and maybe watch a short YouTube Video. Here is one about the 1000Awesomethings.com blog:
Neil Pasricha: The 3 A’s of Awesome
In the next article, we will go through installing WordPress. Part 2 – Installing WordPress
(Extra Geek Tip, if you want to kick start your blog a little, go to GoDaddy Auctions and search the expired domain names for something like what you want – unfortunately the scope of using this service is slightly out of this blog post, so you’ll have to be brave and work it out on your own).
Geek Note on .com.au or .net.au
In order to use a .com.au or .net.au domain name, you must supply an ABN or ACN number for the registration and there are stricter guidelines on how to use them. If your setting up a blog for your Australian business, go right ahead and use .com.au If you are just setting up a fun blog with no business angle, best to keep to .com