This is part 1 of a 4-part series that goes over the very basics of blogging for people new to the blogging world.
Everyone has a blog.
Okay – so that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. It seems that everyone has a blog these days, and for good reason. A blog is a great way to communicate with your audience, no matter what kind of audience that may be. Using a blog to promote your business – whether it is a new business or an existing venture – is one of the best ways you can use technology to your advantage.
Once you have decided to start your own blog, you are certain to have a lot of questions as you try to get started – which is exactly why we have put together this Basics of Blogging series. We will aim to answer all of the big questions that come up as you work to start your own blog. First up, the matter of web hosting, and how you should go about picking the right web host for your blogging needs.
What is a Web Hosting Company?
To bring your well-written, informative blog posts to people around the world, you are going to need a web host. Simply, a web host is a company that stores your web pages on a server and delivers them to people who follow a link to your site or enter your address into their browser. It is possible to host your own web pages, but that is an advanced option that is full of hassles and complications. You need your own server (i.e. a computer) that runs 24 hours a day, can handle large traffic and not get you into trouble with your ISP (internet service provider). There are other considerations, like setting up a firewall (here’s a 1-year coupon code to help if you decide to go that route). Hosting your pages with a web hosting company is affordable, convenient, and the easy choice when setting up a blog.
At first, you are going to want to make sure to control costs as tightly as possible when starting your blog. As the blog expands and your budget allows, you may be able to invest more and more into it on a monthly basis. However, for now, you want to run the blog on a tight budget, which means starting off with a shared hosting plan. Shared web hosting means that the company hosting your web pages will place your site on a server with other websites. For a low traffic blog, this is no problem at all. You aren’t going to have enough traffic to require your own dedicated server, which would be far more expensive.
By picking a shared hosting plan, you should be able to secure hosting for just a few dollars a month. Even at that low rate, you should receive a long list of features and benefits from just about any hosting company on the market. When picking the company you are going to work with, make sure you will have the option to upgrade your hosting plan down the line if you do need your own dedicated server. Most hosting companies offer this option, which provides a seamless transition as your traffic volume increases.
We recommend Hostgator’s shared hosting packages for most users who are first starting out. They are very user-friendly, and starting up a website with them in instantaneous. You can go from setting up your account to a live website in just a few minutes. And remember to use a coupon website that will offer coupon codes that will help you keep costs under control.
It’s All About Uptime
There is no point in building a blog if that blog isn’t going to be available to those surfing the web. When picking out your host, you will want to research the ‘uptime’ ratings of each of the options you consider. Uptime is simply the percentage of time that the servers of a particular web host are up and operating properly. A good web host will be well beyond 99% in terms of uptime – you should be looking for a rating of at least 99.5% or more.
In all likelihood, you are going to want to use WordPress for your new blog (more on WordPress later in this series). So, with that in mind, you need to make sure that the web host you select will allow for easy installation of the WordPress content management system. Most hosts do offer a script installer such as Softaculous, but check on this point prior to signing up for hosting just to be sure.
The best thing you can do while picking a web host for your new blog is to take your time, review all available options, and check specifically on the points mentioned in the content above. As long as you wind up with an affordable shared hosting plan that has great uptime and is WordPress compatible, you should be ready to go.
In the next instalment of this series, we will take a look at how you can add your own domain name to your new host. Thanks for reading!