Start Your Own Blog For Money
Want to learn how to start your own blog to make money?
I decided to write a series on starting a blog and going though the process that I have gone though. I will try to give you the steps that I follow to get you on your way; like hosting, software, setting up a blog, design, monetize, SEO, networking and generating traffic.
A domain name is very important to your blog, it’s your branding. You want to pick a domain that is easy to remember, catchy and/or relates to what your site is about.
There are plenty of places to register your domain like Godaddy and Enom (stay away from RegisterFly). I would try to refrain from .info domain as now a days they are mostly related to spam sites so try to stick with a .com or .net, also if the name you have thought of is already registered try a domain name suggestion site that will give you a few options with the works you would like to use. Finding the right domain name that is not taken already can be a hard task sometimes.
Find a good hosting service for your blog, these can run around $3-$5 a month. You will need to find one that allows PHP and MYSQL to install any type of blogging software. Most host now provide Fantastico an auto-installation for software scripts like WordPress, all it takes is a few quick steps and your blog is installed.
There are a lot of hosting providers around. You can look in to Hostgator, Mediacatch, or Dreamhost. I have heard good things about all three and I currently use Hostgator and have used Mediacatch in the past.
If you decide to host your own blog using a hosting company you should do some research on the company to make sure they are reliable, have maximum up-time, and have good customer service. Picking a good host with little downtime is important, you want the maximum exposure to your site with out it being unavailable to your readers.
This was a problem with one of the hosting companies I used a while back, ever other day my sites would go down for a few hours at a time and the support was horrible. One time they went down for over 5 days and could not find the problem till they were like “Our firewall was blocking it for some reason”, I’m not sure how true that one was, but after that it was time to switch.
Do I really need all that?
No, you do not need to run out and spend a lot of money on hosting and domain names there are free blog hosting sites like blogger.com. I have never used any on the free services so I can not offer a lot of in-site to how they work or how reliable they are, but I know many people use them and seem happy with they service they provide.
From my own experience I use WordPress I find it simple and easy to use and find plugins for, and customize, but there are plenty of others out there you can use. Movable Type, b2evolution, and Nucleus are a few I can think of off-hand. Most of the future information I will write will be for WordPress sense I have more experience with it and I have only tried b3evolution in the past. If you are in the market for a blog software most of the options out there are open source and have alot of support, add-on options, and are simple to get started. Like I stated above most software will require you to have some kind of hosting with PHP and MYSQL to be installed. A little light reading in the instructions file should help you easily install the software and get you on your way to blogging.
Choosing your look:
Once you have your domain/hosting and software installed the next step will be your design and look. You blogs look and feel is key to your site. You want to sell yourself and your blog to the readers. Flow and design elements are important when you are selecting a look. If you are not a designer or do not have any experience with html, CSS, or graphic design that’s ok because there are tons of free themes for your blog already available or if they are not what you want you can hire a designer to customize it for you. I do believe that customizing the look of your theme is better than just using a theme as-is. Why? It makes your blog look different that the other 100+ people using that same theme. If you are downloading a free theme you can try to customize it yourself, a little CSS and HTML/XHTML will go along ways, and like above if you do not feel you are able to do this you can find a good designer or design firm to help you out.
There are a few sites out there for WordPress themes. Once you find one you like you can FTP if in to your WordPress wp-content/themes folder and start from there. I prefer to customize my themes from free ones rather than building from the ground up, it saves a lot of time. I usually change some of the color though the CSS file add a new header image and usually tweak the layout and sidebar a little, this usually only take a few hours and improves the uniqueness of your site.
Plugins are add-ons that give you new features, control and interaction on your blog. There are tons of plugins to help you archive almost anything you want to add to your blog, like adding stats, top post, displaying ads, SEO, and administration features. You can find a list of plugins at the WordPress site or see which ones I use on most of my sites.
I hope that this helps anyone looking to start a new blog and gives you few tips on getting up and started. If you have any questions on how to get your blog up and going send me a note and I will try to help you out when I can.
In upcoming post I will go over setting up a Wordpress blog, SEO tips, monetizing, customizing your theme and other ways to enchant your new or existing blog. So stay tuned.
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