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Blogging for Beginners : First Steps

The logistics of setting up a blog for the first time can seem daunting but if you break it down into bite size pieces, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Having just been through this again recently, I remembered how frustrating it can be so decided to put together a few instructions for any newbies out there.

First and foremost, you’ll need to decide upon and purchase your domain name.  If you are working on the brand of “YOU”, your best choice is of course, your name (e.g. LinneaKline.com) or if your name is already taken, you can get creative with it (e.g. Ann Cole, The Network Mom).  You can search for available domain names online at sites such as NameCheap, GoDaddy or most hosting sites.  Check a few reviews for their level of customer satisfaction or any issues that folks may be having with their services, their pricing and you should be good to go.

Once you have purchased your domain name, you will next need to select (and purchase) your hosting platform.  Most of the professional bloggers I know strongly recommend that you choose to self-host rather than host your content on someone else’s site.  In other words, if you are debating between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, I strongly recommend going with WordPress.org.  WordPress.com is restrictive about what you can do with your site and you don’t ultimately ‘own’ your site.  Both are free however, in order to self-host WordPress (WordPress.org), you will need to purchase a hosting service.

Selecting a hosting service shouldn’t be a difficult task.  I recommend you chat with your friends about their service and spend some time on Google checking out pricing, services and customer reviews.  A few good places to start are HostGator, iPower, and GoDaddy.  This is a very competitive industry these days so you should be able to find a great package at a very reasonable price.

Beyond price, you’ll want to compare the features/services they offer. Some provide unlimited domains which will come in very handy if you plan to have multiple sites.  Most now have 24×7 support which will be very welcome if you have a major blog issue in the middle of the night!  A few of the features that you’ll want to check for include PHP (is it the latest version, can you use the mail function?), FTP (for file uploads),  and perhaps a WordPress auto install c-panel add-on.  This add-on enables one-click installation of WordPress however, if you hosting service doesn’t provide it, you can still install WordPress manually.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to your finalists, compare speed and availability (sites that are often down won’t help your cause), bandwidth (how much traffic you can have…e.g. 1-3 GB), space allowed (videos and photos take more space than text so this one depends a bit on your plans) and file size restrictions (videos can be quite large). Finally, their payment plan may be of import to you.  You may find that you can save a bit if you commit to a longer term with the provider.

Once selected and purchased, you are ready to connect your domain name with your hosting service and begin to install WordPress.  Onward and upward!

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30 Responses to Blogging for Beginners : First Steps

  1. Lesly June 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Nice post! Especially for beginners. I stared a blog last year and spent the first 6 months fooling around with it (WP) plugins, etc… Now I enjoy it more. I think it’s better than a website for sure because you can write, have comments, etc. I look forward to reading more! Welcome to TSA!
    Lesly recently posted..When Wrong Words FlyMy Profile

  2. Christine Casey June 26, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    Great tips for someone who does not yet have a domain or a blog set up! When I started earlier this year, because I did not truly understand about the importance of having a blog, I did mine a little backwards ~ with establishing a full website first, and then adding the WP blog as part of my main website & domain. If i had it all to do over again (and being able to keep the knowledge I’ve since gained) I’d definitely do the route you suggest :-)

    Christine
    Christine Casey recently posted..“3-317 Counter Points- Was It Worth Loosing My Family”My Profile

  3. Linnea June 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Thank you, Lesly.

    It is rather amazing how much time is spent setting up, isn’t it. In fact, I’m still tweaking mine and looking forward to being able to spend more time writing posts. Thanks for the warm welcome! I’m really looking forward to it.

  4. Joseph June 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Great post! This can be a daunting task to a beginner! It’s always a work in progress!

    Joe
    Joseph recently posted..Numis Network Compensation Plan Part 2 – The Coded BonusMy Profile

  5. Linnea June 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Thank you for tweeting!

  6. Linnea June 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Thanks Christine,

    I was recently asked to provide a bit of training for newbies and like you, had started with a website, then a blog. I would agree that I would do it very differently had I to do it again. Thank you for stopping by.

  7. Linnea June 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Hi Joseph,

    Yes, it sure can be a daunting task. It can also seem at times, as though it is taking FOREVER to get everything just so. Slowly it dawns that (as you say), it is indeed a work in progress. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  8. Linnea June 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Thanks for the tweets!

  9. Chris Bernardo June 27, 2010 at 1:08 am #

    Linnea,

    Thanks for writing this post , i find the information that you have shared of great value to the people that i connect with and going to pass this on to my tribe. I look forward to reading more from you.

    Chris
    Chris Bernardo recently posted..Easy Way to Speak to only Quality ProspectsMy Profile

  10. Deborah A. Ten Brink June 27, 2010 at 8:06 am #

    Linnea, what a great post! This will be so helpful to those that come online and feel totally overwhelmed by all that they see! Everyone has to start with the basics, but first, they have to know what the basics are! Then, there are so many options to choose from!

    Glad to see you blogging and giving value!

    Deborah

  11. Linnea June 27, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Hi Chris,

    You are welcome.
    I hope it helps your tribe simplify the process.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Linnea June 27, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    Thanks Deborah.

    I do hope this is useful to many. I do know how frustrating it can be to not even know where to start…and how very quickly the list of tasks can overwhelm. Breaking it all down into bit sized pieces is really the key to making it all more than manageable. Thanks for leaving your comment.

  13. Beth Allen June 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Great basics for anyone looking to set up a blog. I went through the entire process on my own about 7 months ago, and it was a lot of time, energy and headaches…mixed with a lot of great feelings of accomplishment of course! :)

    If I were to do it again, I would go the route of using a blog design service ~ there are some really great ones out there, including one by some good friends of mine.

    Thanks for sharing great information here, Linnea!
    Beth Allen recently posted..You Reap What You SowMy Profile

  14. Linnea June 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Hi Beth,

    I was thinking the same thing just this morning! I think it’s all a matter of budget vs time. If you simply don’t have the funds, then it’s a viable option to DIY’ it. When looking at the amount of time required, it is certainly much faster to hire the work to be done. I’ve recently seen a service that will set up a blog for $197 which is well worth it if you are in a hurry to get blogging!

    Thanks for your comment.

  15. Linnea June 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Thanks for the tweet!

  16. Social Bookmarking June 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    Great post. We oftentimes forget how much we struggled with the first steps. Great to now have a resource to fall back on.
    I would like to add a few things. First of all, if you decide that you want to brand yourself, you should go for your name as your domain name as you say. I would like to make the point that if your name is taken, you are better off adding something at the end of your name, or maybe use your middle initial (if you have one), rather than going for a fancy name.
    Also, it is best (in my opinion) to go with a hosting company who offers cpanel. Even though you can set up a blog manually, cpanel offers other great features that you will want to use sometime after you set up your blog.
    Karin.
    Social Bookmarking recently posted..Unlimited traffic to your website from one-way backlinksMy Profile

  17. Linnea June 30, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Karin,
    Thank you and yes, you’ve added a couple of great points. Gosh, are there hosting companies who don’t offer cpanel these days? If so, then absolutely yes, I agree that is a requirement. Thanks for contributing to my post! ~ Linnea

  18. Melodie Kantner July 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    These are great tips. I have several beginners I have been working with and I think they will appreciate this post. I will share it with them.

    Melodie
    Melodie Kantner recently posted..Procrastination – Will You Let This THIEF Steal Your DreamsMy Profile

  19. Linnea July 2, 2010 at 8:06 am #

    Hi Melodie,

    Thank you for the feedback.
    I do hope that this will help your folks. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Steven Dean December 3, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    This is a nice post, Although I do own a blog of my own its always nice to reflect back on the past. Even though those of us who may own a blog can do this in our sleep; we also have to keep in mind that technology changes all the time. I like to have a refreshing course to jog my memory sometimes. Sometimes the easiest things can be easily forgotten. And setting up a blog isn’t a everything event that we do except a few times.

    Steven Dean

  21. Linnea December 7, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    Hi Steven,
    You are so right about that. Sometimes it feels as though the technology changes before we can get it all documented but then, that’s half the charm of tech. It definitely keeps us on our toes.

  22. Eddie Espiritu January 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    For those of us who have been blogging for awhile, we sometimes forget how intimidating it could be when we first started and needed to set everything up.

    These are some great tips for the beginner!
    Eddie Espiritu recently posted..Another Network Marketing Success StoryMy Profile

  23. Linnea January 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Hi Eddie,

    Yes, you are so right. The idea of setting up a blog for the 1st time can be very intimidating and somewhat confusing. I aim to provide more content for them as well after all, we were all there once :) Thanks for stopping by.

  24. leona February 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Ive looked at your blog and your tips. Even with your tips it seems to me to be an overwhelming job. Do you know of anyplace I can get a close “handholding relationship” in order to eventually get to a blog that imitates yours which is clearly a “pro” job

  25. Linnea February 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Hi Leona,

    Absolutely! Not only do I have programs available but have a great number of resources should I not have what you are looking for. Please feel free to contact me through my “Contact” page and we’ll talk about the kind of program you want. I look forward to hearing from you. ~ Linnea

  26. Joyce Edwards May 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Hi Linnea,
    You are soooooo right about taking things in small pieces. I just started my blog and felt overwhelmed at times. I first have to get the big picture of what a blog was before I was able to move into the details. I am still learning the details and am glad to find your site. I think that you have some great tools for me to use in the future.

    Joyce

  27. Linnea May 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Hi Joyce,

    I’m so happy to be of help. I’ve been down the road a number of times and am extremely empathetic to newbies. Please feel free to let me know if there is anything in particular that I can help you with. I’d be happy to write up posts etc. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck with your new blog!

  28. Dereck May 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Hey Linnea,

    Great posting! Every time I come here to read some of your stuff, it’s always informative and straight to the point.

    However, where I’d like to throw in a couple things for people to consider is…

    If you are considering a blog, just know that there is a small learning curve in the process. If could take you a couple weeks to a couple months to get everything down.

    Then depending on your level of concentration, it could take a few more months on top of that to start seeing some really good results.

    However, it’s one of the most rewarding things you could ever do!

    Have fun and always make sure you are writing about things you are passionate about.

    -Dereck
    Dereck recently posted..iWowWe Review – Robust Email Marketing &amp Affordable Web ConferencingMy Profile

  29. Linnea June 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    Hi Dereck,

    Thanks so much for adding these great points. It certainly does take take time up front getting everything done and learning the process, especially if you have other things on your plate (e.g. working at a J.O.B.). You are right on about it being incredibly rewarding especially if you are writing about things you are passionate about (which also helps you stick with it and overcome obstacles). Thanks so much for your comments, Dereck.

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