How to Blog Basics – Step 2 – Choose a Domain Name and Sign Up for a Hosting Plan
The choosing and registering of a domain name is your next step. You’ve chosen a niche and a name for your blog so now you need to register a domain name, which will be your address on the Internet. I had chosen The Wilderness Wife for my blog name and wanting to keep my domain as short and easy to remember I chose wildernesswife.com for my domain name. You’ll have to check and see if your chosen domain name is available and not already in use. I use Bluehost for that.
Originally I wanted to have the domain GiftofMaine.com but someone else owned it so I added the letter “a” to make it agiftofmaine.com. No one had that – simple solution to the problem! Those last three letters – .com, .net, .org – are called extensions. There are some people who will recommend that you register a number of extensions for your domain so that no one else can “steal” your traffic with a similar sounding name. I don’t worry about that and personally think it is a waste of money. The majority of potential visitors to your site are always going to think “.com” as it was the first extension used on the Internet and the one that everyone thinks of in relation to a site. Those words, “the .com era”, are ingrained in everyone’s psyche. So save yourself some money and just get a “.com”. You may have to adjust and rethink your site name as I did with Agiftofmaine, but always go for the .com extension.
Once you have decided on a domain name, you will need to officially register it. The step after that is getting a hosting plan. If you choose Bluehost to host your site they will register your domain name for free. At this point I am going to advise you against opting for a free blog hosting setup from Google’s Blogger, and also advise against getting a free site from WordPress.com. Both Blogger and WordPress.com will limit your ability to monetize your site. They may be free but they are both extremely limiting. To be able to develop all the types of income streams you will need to make your blog a financial success, having a self hosted WordPress site on WordPress.org is going to be your very best option. Yes, going for a free option is tempting but it will limit what you can do regarding monetization, and you will eventually have to go to a self hosted site to make any real income. The transition, particularly from Blogger to self hosted WordPress, is difficult and you most likely have to spend money on a professional to help you with it. Nothing worthwhile in life is free so save yourself some heartache and aggravation and go with self host from the beginning. You have to make the commitment of time and some money if you sincerely want to do this for a living. So invest the funds to develop your blog into a business from the start. You’ll get the best deal with Bluehost by paying for a year in advance and going with the Starter Plan which is the most economical choice. It will meet all your needs in the beginning and if you need to you can easily modify it later. I have had Bluehost for over 3 years and they have been great and very helpful.
Now you install “WordPress”
Once you have registered your domain name and completed signing up for your hosting plan, your next step will be to install WordPress. You will need to log In to your Bluehost C-Panel and go to the Website Builders Section. Click on the WordPress icon. It will take you to a page called “Do It Yourself Free”. Click in the large green button that says “Install”. Click on the “Check Domain” button. Check the terms and conditions box and then click on the “Install Now” button. WordPress will now install. When the installation is done, you will get a message that says “Your install is complete!” Now click on the “View Credentials” button. You will need to write down your Admin URL, Username, and Password. You will be able to change these later if you want, but you will need them for your first log in. Now you need to type your Admin URL into your web browser. A log in screen will appear asking for your username and password. Enter them and you will be logged into your WordPress dashboard for the first time. Look around the dashboard and familiarize yourself with it. A great website for WordPress beginners is WPBeginner which has tons of information on every aspect of WordPress. It is the best WordPress reference on the web, in my opinion, and is written in easily understood language as opposed to the “geek-speak” of many tech websites.
In the next lesson, we will talk about WordPress themes and designing your blogs appearance, and preparing your critical first pages. How To Blog Basics – 3