So, you’ve decided that you want to set up your own blog.
Maybe you want a creative outlet to share your passions and hobbies, or perhaps you’re an aspiring writer who is looking for somewhere to document an online diary- whatever the reason you’re now at the point where you need to set it up. As most bloggers would agree, it is actually incredibly easy and you needn’t worry about any lack of technical knowledge.
Step 1: Coming up with a name
First of all, you need to come up with an idea for a domain name, or preferably several ideas. Ideally you want to have a domain name that sets you apart from other blogs and is memorable. You have 2 options here:
1) You could come up with a brand for your blog, and have this as your url, for example http://bangsandabun.com. The bonus here is that you can create a whole brand identity for your blog
2) If you’re more SEO focused, you may want to consider obtaining a keyword rich domain. For example if you’re building a fashion blog, it would be great if your domain contained the word ‘fashion’ as this then aids search
Step 2: Visit a domain registrar
The next thing you want to do is visit a domain registrar such as Heartinternet.co.uk or 123-reg.co.uk. Here you can type in your ideas for domain names and see what’s available. .coms are typically slightly more expensive (they can be around £11 per year) as they are the most universal and therefore desirable. .co.uks are the next best option available as they’re specifically targeted towards the UK. These are about £5-£6 for 2 years. If you want your blog to be on Blogger or WordPress, they also offer this service through their platform where you can get the .blogspot.com or the .wordpress.com part removed from your web address, if it’s available.
Step 3: Setting up your hosting
Once you’ve purchased your domain, you have two options:
1) Buy your own web space and host your own blog, (you can often use the same domain registrar for ease). Many of these packages come complete with ‘one-click installation’ for various popular blogging platforms, requiring no prior set-up knowledge. WordPress.org* is the most prominent example of this. If you do go via the self-hosting route, you will have full control over both look and feel of your blog and configurability too. For example WordPress can be expanded infinitely via a huge range of plugins. These are only available if you host your own blog
2) Sign up for a free blog at one of a number of online blog hosts (such as Blogger, WordPress.com, Tumblr, etc). You can still use your own domain name with a number of these services. Each service will give you easy to follow directions for how to achieve this. This is the simplest way to set up a blog, but as it’s sat on a host server, you have limited access to configuration. You’re also restricted in your access to analytics, but the design is free and it can be ideal for beginners.
*Images taken from Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr
Step 4: Sort out your design and get cracking!
Once you’ve got both your domain and hosting set up, you can get on with the fun stuff and start looking at different design templates. These will vary from platform to platform, but you have a wider choice if you self-host. Once your design is set-up, you can get blogging!
You can read more about the pros and cons of free blog services and self-hosting your blog here. Don’t worry if you ever do want to move your blog from a free service to a self-hosted web space; this can be done and we’ll be putting together a separate post explaining how you can go about doing this.
*It’s worth noting the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The latter is WordPress’ free blog service, whereas WordPress.org is where you can download the WordPress software and plugins for self-hosting.