In the past fortnight, I’ve been asked quite a few times about how to set up and start blogging. Then, how do you work out all that keywords stuff (yes, that’s a technical term).
Most businesses understand the importance of having a blog attached to their website – for SEO, relationship building and humanising a business. So over the next few posts, I’m going to explain the nitty gritty of starting a blog.
First, is which platform to choose. There are a few options for blogging, but I’ll stick to the basics.
- You can use Blogger (owned by Google) or WordPress.com to host the site for you and it won’t cost you anything. However, there are limitations on what you can do. You’ll also have their branding in your URL. For example, this blog would be called www.kellieobrien.blogspot.com or www.kellieobrien.wordpress.com. The benefits are that it’s set up literally within minutes, you’re not paying for bandwidth and storage and it’s ideal for the “technically challenged”! Free hosting also requires less site management, but does mean there are limitations on what you can do because you have less control.
- WordPress.org is a paid service. This means you need to find your own host for your site and decide which plan you want to choose. The plan is dependent on how much bandwidth and storage you think you’ll need. I use Hostgator* and have their Baby Plan, which is about $100 a year. Next, you need to register a unique domain name – otherwise known as the URL. Some hosts, like Hostgator, will offer a domain name registrar. My personal blog, Three Li’l Princesses, has its www.threelilprincesses.com domain through the host. This cost about $7 a year, from memory. Unfortunately, because Hostgator is American, it doesn’t sell .com.au addresses, so the Kellie O’Brien blog’s domain name is via Crazy Domains*. Wordpress.org gives you endless possibilities on what you can do design wise, provides the tools to achieve it, is better if you’re looking to monetise your site or start a business and enables you to have your own unique URL. As far as the blog theme, there are many free options. But I advise you to find a nice paid theme that is going to last you. My choice is the Divi* theme from Elegant Themes. It’s all drag and drop and super easy to use.
You need to determine why you’re going to blog so you know what platform will suit you best. If this is your space to play and be creative, without financial or business pressures, then I’d suggest going for a free platform. If you’re looking to start a business, want to earn money from your site or need to be ranked well in Google, then it’s best to go for WordPress.org. In saying that, there are plenty of bloggers who have done well off the back of a blog they have never paid a cent for. Choose what feels right for you.
One of the questions from the Mum Blogging Masterclass was how easy is it to swap from a free platform to paid if you change your mind halfway through blogging. The answer: relatively easy! If you’re unable or not confident in doing it yourself, there are plenty of people out there who do this sort of thing for a living. So it’s certainly not impossible.
In the next post, we’ll talk more about setting up a WordPress.org site, which has a few more extra steps than a WordPress.com or Blogger site.
What platform would suit you? Paid or free?
*As a disclaimer, the * links is a referral link. So if you decide to work with the company in the future, I may receive a commission. However, it doesn’t mean you will be charged any extra for using their services.