How to Choose A Blog That Is Right For You – Part I
So you've decided that you want to start a blog but are not sure where to start? Do not worry too much because the fact that you are reading this right now means that you care about the overall end result. Let's get to the brass tacks!
According to a new study, there are literally over a hundred thousand blogs created each and everyday. I'm not sure what percentage of these are actually serious about maintaining one, but you have to admit that it's a pretty large number of new blogs born daily. What's important, is that this gives immediate insight that blogging is a powerful tool that is reasonably here to stay.
Getting started with a blog is relatively easy, but giving some thought to its overall strategy, utility, and execution can go a long ways. Although this article is not intended to be all inclusive, it will give you some basic guidelines and steps in how to start blogging like a pro out of the gates.
Choosing a Domain Name For Your Blog Probably one of the most fun of all the tasks in starting a blog is choosing a domain name. But do not act to rashly, because you make ignore some subtleties that may have a long-term effect on your blog strategy.
Outside the fact of choosing catchy names, there are four main domain structures one can choose from. The first three require some monetary investment while the last option is essentially free.
Choosing a stand-alone domain: www.yournewblogsite.com – believe it or not this choice is not for everyone. In this scenario, your new blog will act as a stand-alone website from other websites you may own. If you are trying to make a connection to your already established business or website, this may not be the best choice for you because you'll have to work harder in making the connection to other Internet website you may own. So linking (an important aspect in making your blog popular) will not be as easy because you'll especially have to start from scratch in popularizing your blog. The pro of course is that you can choose a catchy name that others may remember more easily and have a positive effect on your blog's success.
Choosing a sub domain: www.youblogsname.websiteialreadyown.com – if you run a large corporate site and would like to brand your blog but would have had your blog act as a separate website then this option works best. The cons however are similar to choosing a stand-alone website in that the blog as treated as a separate identity. In most cases, I'm still a fan of making your blog part of our own website for the reasons listed below.
Choosing a blog as a subdirectory of another website: www.mysite.com/blog – probably one of the most overlooked choices of starting a blog is using one of your already established domains and simply extending your blog from it. The reason for doing so has several pros. First, you get an immediate benefit from all the links your website already has, which will make your blog easier to popularize. Secondly, your blog will maintain your brand and image thus giving your company / website a boost. Lastly, blogs and other websites may opt to link to your company / website homepage and therefore kill two birds with one stone. If your uncertainty about the best of the three methodologies, I would recommend this one unless you do not already have a website.
Choosing a free blog platform: www.mynewblog.bloghostingcompany.com : in this last scenario, and most popular I might add, your blog will act as a subdomain from another blogging provider company. The most popular being Blogger's www.youblogname.blogspot.com . Do not be immediately discouraged because you do not own your name outright. There are lots of bloggers who maintain blogs on free blogging sites such as Blogger and WordPress. The main downside is that if you want to ever choose to move your blog, maintaining your blogs popularity will be more challenging. If your just starting out and are not sure if you want to keep your blog, this option is best for your because you'll probably have no investment to make other than your time in writing for your blog. However, if your serious about getting about blogging and want to be a pro out of the box, the above three choices are better for you.
Choosing a Blogging Host Provider If you choose any of the above three, you'll most likely need a blog host provider. Just like any other website, there are a lot of options to consider before you jump with two feet forward. The first obviously being cost.
The good news is that blogs do not typically require heavy hosting fees. There are many low-budget hosting options that could suffice such as Bluehost.com or Powweb.com . Beware however, like anything else, you get what you pay for. If you're looking for superb customer service at the drop of a hat, it's likely you will need a higher quality-hosting provider. Prices range from $ 8 to $ 150 per month or higher depending on your needs. In addition, most hosting providers provide domain name registration at little or no extra cost so that you can make a one-stop shop. Best if all, since blogs and blogging are so popular, many will offer automatic blog software installation that makes it easy for anyone to get started that are not tech savvy.
Choosing a Platform Ok, you've chosen your domain strategy, thought about a hosting provider, but are unsure of what blog platform to go with. What's next?
There are literally 100's of blog software platforms you can choose from. For simplicity reasons, I have chosen three that I believe to be the most popular and the best bang for the buck.
Blogger – free blogging service and one of the fastest ways to start blogging. However, it is one of the most basic platforms available and does not offer many advanced features. Your blog will appear as a subdomain of blogspot unless you purchase a hosting service. Its great for beginners, but is not our first choice for professional blogging. Neverheless, its one of the most popular blogging tools online.
Six Apart- free and professional blogging platforms are available. Of the bunch, one of the easiest to sign up with and offers technical support that is excellent. Most suitable for most businesses wishing to get out on the blogosphere or first timers that plan on going pro.
WordPress- a professional blogger's choice and what I recommend for professional blogging. This blogging platform is free and was created (and remains) as free open source code platform. Although there is no live technical support per se, the WordPress blogging community acts as one of the best free support groups of any web application on the net. Since its inception, WordPress now offers a version that is free and one that requires hosting.
Summary As you can see, there are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a blog. From domains to hosting, one can easily make a choice that has a long-term impact. The good news is that when chosen wisely, a blog can be a powerful tool to gain exposure for your business or personal endeavors!