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Starting your own blog; a few do’s and don’ts

Posted by Dr. Burton on May 9, 2010 in WordPress |

So your now ready to take the leap and enter the world of blogging!  Welcome!  I think you will find the community friendly and helpful.

Here is my contribution to helping you get started.  I’m going to walk through the decision that had to be made and why I made my decisions the way I did.

Renting a Server vs. Hosted on a blog site
There are many great free hosting blog sites (just do a search on free blog hosting).  It is an option if you don’t mind the built in restrictions. Restrictions you ask? Well, it is more difficult to make money from a blog that is hosted for free. Actually the free host is making the money on your blog, not you!

I opted for renting server space and getting my own domain.  This has the advantage that I can setup everyone in my family’s individual blog as well as their own website.  Plus, I’m a developer, so it allows me the freedom to setup databases for some of my more complex project and not have to find someplace to host it.  It is the right option for me, but does require a little more technical know-how.

There are many great webhosting plans available.  If you do a search on best web or blog hosting, you will find several lists that give all kinds of information.  I ended up going with Bluehost.com. I have been very happy with their service and plan to continue using them. You can click here to sign-up for Bluehost.com (in the interest of full disclosure, I do receive a commission, but I was recommending Bluehost before I started receiving any compensation). Bluehost is on several of the top 10 lists and had the features that I was looking for; most notably, unlimited traffic, unlimited storage, and they use C-Panel for user management.  Most importantly, it allowed me to host multiple websites from one account.

The Names the Thing
Now it’s time to get your URL (the name of your site, usually ending in .com).  Again, there are many services that offer URL registration.  Usually your webhosting service will provide you with one free URL registration.  As I was hosting many sites with my webhosting company, after using my free URL registration I went with GoDaddy which has a $6.89 domain saleGoDaddy now offers 20% off hosting, so you could use them for everything if you so desire.  When selecting a URL, make sure you choose something memorable.  While strange spellings can be fun, it will make it more difficult for users to find your blog.   In today’s internet, it is less important that it end in ‘.com’, but a .com should be your first choice if it is available.  People are use to adding .com to the end of website URLs and that will make it easier for users to find your site.

Configuring your host site with your URL
If you used a different service to get your URL than your host provider, you will need to configure the webhost to serve your domain.  This is known as ‘parking’ your domain.  It is simple to configure if your using a webhost that provides you with cPanel.

Open your webhost page in one browser or tab, and the place that you registered your domain in a second browser or tab on your browser.

The first step to move or park your domain to your new server is to start the transfer process. This has multiple steps, but with both your new host and your registration service open, it won’t be difficult.
1) After finding and clicking the “Transfer a new domain to your account” link, enter the URL that you registered with godaddy, network solutions, or whatever service you used.

2) Click continue.  You will be asked for the EPP (which stands for Extensible Provisioning Protocol.. it makes allows the verification that you are the owner of the URL you are trying to transfer).  The EPP is available from the company that you registered your URL (godaddy, network solutions, or whichever company you selected).  Look for “Transfer EPP”.  There will be a long code consisting of letters and numbers. Copy and paste that into your the EPP request area of your new webhost.

3) Setup the name server.  Your new webhost will have a Name Server (it tells the rest of the internet where to find your website).  You will need to copy the server(s) to where your purchased your URL.

Congratulations! You have setup your new account and can get started on configuring your blog!

Blogs away!
Time to setup your blog!  I use and recommend Word Press for your blogging needs.  It is free for your use and has a lot of support with great plugins to do just about everything you could ever want to do!
Since my website has both a site and a blog, I decided to place my blog in a folder.  Many people run their entire site with Word Press, and that is a valid option.

To setup Word Press (assuming you are using something like cPanel), just click on the Word Press icon in cPanel.  It will take you to a setup screen so that you can choose where to install Word Press.  To start the process, you will need to find the Word Press installation on your host.  If it is a graphic system like c-Panel, then look for the big W under Software and Services and click on it:
Word Press logo

Then click on the Install button. You will need to do a few steps to finish the configuration.

First, you will need to indicate where you want your blog installed (in the example below I’m installing it to the folder ‘blog’).
Second, give your blog a name.  I’m sure you can come up with something better than ‘My Blog’.  If your stuck, don’t worry about it, you can change it latter.
Now choose a new administrator username and password.  I recommend using ‘admin’ for your username.  Make sure you write your username and password down.  There will come a day when you will forget it (yes, it happens to even professional techies like me!).
Last, read and check the GPLv2 license agreement, and click the complete button.
Word Press configuration screen

Congratulations!  You now have a new blog!  Make sure you check out my blog on configuring your WordPress blog.

Related posts:

Setting up Ping.FM to market your blog

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