Creating Your Blog

Published by Gerald Kuehn on

When it comes to creating your online blogs, you have a few options available. For those who are unable to register a domain name and set up a hosting account, choosing a free, remotely hosted blog hosting option sounds like a good idea.

The problem with this, is that if you truly want to establish a professional presence online, housing your website on a free hosted account not only puts you at risk for not being taken seriously, but since your website is hosted on a third party server, you are also unable to fully control and manage your website.

Worse, there is no guarantee that your website will not be removed or suspended, without notice, meaning that you could put a lot of time and effort into building a website that is at the mercy of someone else.

Not wise.

Self-Hosted Solutions

Instead, if at all possible, try to register your own domain name and set up your hosting account so that you are given full control and creative freedom over how your website is created, what content is offered, what forms of monetization are integrated, and how much traffic is directed to your website from various sources.

You can register a domain name for less than $10 at services like http://www.NameCheap.com and can also set up an affordable hosting plan at http://www.dreamhost.com

The first step is to identify the theme of your blog so that you can find a relevant domain name that will work well with your market and integrate your primary keywords into your domain name.

Once you have written down a few ideas, as well as keywords that relate to your topic, you can use the services of free domain suggestion tools to locate domain names that are available to register.

One such service is available at: http://www.NameTumbler.com and another at http://www.NameBoy.com

Another useful tool is available at http://www.InstantDomainSearch.com that will show you the availability of a domain name as you enter it in.

One thing to consider, regardless of the domain name you choose is that it is memorable, easy to spell and can be used to build a brand or future network.

Also, be careful not to choose a domain that is not a top level extension (.com / net / org ), as it’s the first domain name that a visitor will type into their browser when trying to locate your website.

When it comes to choosing a hosting account, another thing to keep in mind is that if you plan on creating multiple websites, you are better off selecting a hosting account that allows you to add more than one domain name to your package. This ends up being far more affordable than creating individual hosting accounts for every website you create.

With HostGator, you can purchase a reseller account for $25 a month that allows you to add dozens of websites and domains to one account, so be sure to thoroughly evaluate your options and carefully consider your long term objectives before moving forward.

After you have your domain name and hosting account set up, it’s time for you to install the blog software that will power your website and allow you to set up a fully functional, feature laden community where your visitors can interact by posting comments regarding your posts and content, and give feedback on the information you create.

WordPress – the leading CMS plattform serving more than 22% of all websites

To start, depending on your hosting provider, you may be able to use cPanel’s built in WordPress integration, where you can click on a single link and have Fantasico install a fully functional copy of WordPress.

If you are interested in locating a hosting company that features Fantastico, and fully supports WordPress, you can review the hosting directory located at:

http://www.Wordpress.org/hosting

Dreamhost.com offers instant WordPress installation, and offer affordable packages for new bloggers. Simply click on the WordPress installation link from within “Fastastico” and WordPress will be installed.

If your hosting provider doesn’t come equipped with Fantastico, you can manually install a copy of WordPress by downloading it from their main website, http://www.Wordpress.org and uploading the files to your server.

If you need help with this, WordPress provides a step by step installation guide on their website (view the “Docs” section for details).

http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress#Famous_5-Minute_Install

Installing a blog is exceptionally easy, regardless whether you use the automated install feature or manually create your blog, but it’s only the first step in an important process that you need to follow if you want to ensure that your blog is fully optimized and tweaked so that it’s functioning at its best performance.

This includes taking advantage of pre-created plugins that will enhance your website and optimize it for search engine rankings, as well as help automate content creation and management.

We’ll discuss how to best use these blogs as well as what you need to do to optimize your website in the next chapter, for now, let’s take a look at a handful of other elements that you need to pay attention to in order to create the best website that you can.

This includes:

Template Customization

With WordPress, there are literally hundreds of free templates and themes to choose from, giving you the opportunity to use different themes relating to niche markets that you are focused on.

You can download these templates from various directories online and use them ‘as is’, or take it a step further and hire someone to customize the templates, or take a shot at it yourself if you are proficient with editing CSS and HTML.

Regardless what you choose, you need to make sure that the theme is fully functional and provides adequate space for advertisements, affiliate product offers, and allows for a clean interface with well managed categories and pages.

Take some time to explore the different themes that are available before making your selection and don’t be afraid to download multiple themes and installing them to see exactly how they look and function.

From within your WordPress administration panel, you can activate and de-activate themes on the fly, making it exceptionally easy to change the templates instantly should you wish to update your website’s scheme or evaluate different themes until you find one that will work for you.

Here are a few theme providers and directories worth checking out:

http://www.BlogOhBlog.com

Explore the archives for previous releases that are hidden away. Fewer bloggers will notice them, and the quality of Blog Oh Blogs themes is very impressive and easy to work with.

http://www.themes.wordpress.net
http://www.wordpress.org/extend/themes
http://www.FreeWPThemes.com
http://www.ThemeLab.com
http://www.Fresheezy.com
http://www.topWPThemes.com
http://www.SkinPress.com
http://www.WPSkins.org

You can also get premium WordPress themes at http://www.themeforest.net

In order to feature a theme on your blog you simply have to download the theme’s template package, unzip it using a utility such as www.Winzip.com and upload the contents into your wp-content/themes folder.

Then, you log into your WordPress admin area and activate the theme by clicking on the “Design” tab and choosing your theme. There is no limit as to how many themes you can upload to your WordPress blog.

From within the “Design” area you can access different controls including Widgets, Themes and the Theme Editor (I do not suggest editing your themes code unless you are familiar with HTML and CSS). Go ahead and download a theme, and upload it into your WordPress wp-content directory.

I would suggest sticking with one theme so that you can begin to brand your website so that when visitors return to your site they instantly recognize that it’s your blog, rather than confusing them with different styles or color schemes on a frequent basis.

Any time you would like to log into your WordPress’ administration interface, you would visit:

http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin

If you install your blog into a different folder other than your root directory, you simply include the folder name: http://www.yoursite.com/blog/wp-admin

From within the “Design” area you can access different controls including Widgets, Themes and the Theme Editor (I do not suggest editing your themes code unless you are familiar with HTML and CSS).



This entry is part 4 of 12 from Complete Blogging Guide

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