Lesson 2: Choosing Your Host and Platform
In the previous lesson, you settled on a niche to base your blog on, a name to create your brand on, and an original logo. You are now ready to continue on to the next stage of the process. We now need to choose a host where your website will rest, get a domain name for your website, and choose your platform to create your blog.
Choosing Your Host
A self-hosted website is the way to go when creating your own blog. There are several website builders out there that offer easy ways to create a website. Also, WordPress.com can host your blog for free (though it will have YourDomain.WordPress.com in the URL). This is a good resource to begin practicing your writing, but in order to keep your content in your hand, create a brand, and to be able to eventually monetize, you will need to put some work in and follow these steps to create your blog. It will not be hard, and it will pay off for you in the future.
A host is space for your website. You will pay a business for storage space that can be accessed by anyone using the internet. These companies own servers and sell you server space. They also offer customer service which can become crucial when choosing plans, having difficulties, or need some help.
So, who can you buy this space from?
- HostGator Link Directly to Shared Web Hosting Page – We chose them to host our website because of online reviews and how well they handled our questions when discussing the different plans. Choose the correct plan that works for your needs and ask them questions if you need help. Start with a web hosting plan that you feel suits your needs.
- Bluehost WordPress Hosting – Another web hosting service to consider and compare rates with that of HostGator. Be sure to do your research on reviews and pricing, however, both options are good for your website.
Some hosting plans offer free domain registration. This is registering your domain name into a registry and to secure it from being used online. Our domain name is tothenationsworldwide.com. You should check your hosting plan to see whether or not it is included. If not, it is not an expensive thing to secure. Visit GoDaddy to secure your domain name.
Choosing Your Platform
We highly recommend choosing WordPress for your platform to create your website. WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System), which means it is where you will create and manage your website. Having a CMS that is open source (everybody has access to the code to continually help improve it) and has a large community working to improve it is extremely important.
WordPress is a one-click install on your hosting service. It is very easy to get started and taking some time to understand it thoroughly will help you customize your website to your liking. Everything we have done with To the Nations Worldwide is only possible because of what WordPress has become today.
Now, this is not to say that there are not competitors in the market. If you want to do some research on an appropriate platform, compare WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. These are the three competitors for creating a website to hold your blog. If you are unconvinced that WordPress is the platform for you, make sure to research the customization and available plugins for each platform.
For example, when we first started To the Nations Worldwide, we wanted to create a website where users could join, create a profile, and share their own travel experiences. What we did was we searched the different platforms to find a plugin that created this experience for our visitors. What we found was Buddypress, a WordPress plugin that allowed this feature to be added to our website. Our decision was made.
Choosing the right host and platform is important for your website. So far, we have covered the different choices you have to make. None of these choices are bad choices, but you must do your research to see which one is best for you. We chose HostGator to host our website for their great customer support and inexpensive plans, and we chose WordPress as our platform for the wealth of knowledge on the internet about customization and the different plugins available.
Moving forward in this course, we will be focusing more on WordPress and its customization and plugins available to create your website. If you do choose a different platform, there is still relevant information available in the upcoming lessons that can be applied to that specific platform and creating your blog.
If you need additional information about this step in setting up your website, be sure to contact us.
Lesson 1: Why Blogging?
Lesson 1: Creating Your Name
Lesson 2: Choosing Your Host and Platform
Lesson 3: Setting Up Your Blog
Lesson 1: Writing Content
Lesson 2: After You Write
Lesson 1: Blogging Resources
Lesson 2: SEO
Lesson 3: Social Media
Lesson 4: Advertising
Lesson 5: Monetizing
Lesson 1: Continuing with Your Blog