Compensation may be earned from links or ads displayed on this website at no cost to you. See Disclosure page for more information.
Beginner Blogging Series – Part 3
Choosing a Blog Platform
Choosing a blog platform from the many available is no easy feat. How are you supposed to know what to pick? First, you need to think about what your intentions are for the blog. Are you blogging just for fun? Is making money your goal? Do you want full control over your blog? Is it a hobby blog? Or, is it just a way to communicate your thoughts to your friends?
Free Blog hosting
Someone that is completely new to blogging and doesn’t have a clue about any of it (um, me) you can use free blogging software such as Blogger.com to familiarize yourself with the world of blogging without spending a small fortune.
Blogger.com will allow you to set up a free blog that will be hosted for you at a domain that will be listed as YOURBLOGNAMEHERE.blogspot.com. This provides great to help you get into blogging and learn how to create posts, how to choose simple templates to get the look and feel that you want, and settle right in using fairly simple techniques to make your posts and add any of the selection of extra widgets.
That being said, you don’t actually own your blog using this free platform. You don’t own the sight or the content. Your hard work is at the mercy of the host. They can take it down on a whim and all your hard work is lost. Plus, many of the themes available and most affiliate programs (if money is your goal) require you to be self-hosted.
You can get your own domain (around $10-15 per year) and use Google’s Blogger.com to host it for you for free. I only recommend this option if your plan is just hobby-blogging. I don’t recommend a free platform if you plan on earning from your blog.
Learn All You Can About BlogGING
My best advice is to research, then research again, and then research some more, prior to starting a blog. I didn’t and I totally regret it. There was to just so much to learn. I figured you write and you post. That’s it. OH BOY, was I wrong. It is highly recommended to complete a blogging course before you start a blog. This will really help you determine if blogging is for you or not. There are so many courses to choose from both free and paid.
I chose the Elite Blogging Academy. This one was more pricey and they only open availability once a year so you must put your name on the list. They offer lifetime access to all course materials as well as any new materials, full support, group support, work at your own pace plus, this course covers every part of blogging. Once you’ve completed all the exercises then you can become eligible for their affiliate program. That means you get paid to spread the word about their course.
Note: I haven’t completed all my exercises so I am not part of their affiliate program which means I make no money by sharing their link at this point.
If you already know a little about blogging or you’re familiar with the workings of many aspects of the internet and you feel that you’re confident enough to get a little more technical, I suggest WordPress software and install it on your hosting account. WordPress is free and it comes with the hosting on both Bluehost and SiteGround.
Choosing the Right Platform for You
While WordPress offers free hosting similar to the way that Blogger.com works you will probably want to register yourself a domain and a hosting account. This can be offered from the same company or you can get your domain and your hosting from different companies. Shop around to get the best deal for you.
I started by hosting with Bluehost. This is a very reasonably priced “get everything in one place” blogging platform. Although I started with Bluehost, I was having some site speed issues and my VA (Virtual Assistant) and WordPress Guru, Grayson Bell at iMark Interactive recommended I switch to SiteGround to improve this issue. This platform also has everything you need to get setup including domain registration.
Although I still maintain my registered domain (website) name with Bluehost now I am hosted by SiteGround. You will be able to do it all, register a domain name, choose a hosting plan and install WordPress on either of these platforms. They are both great platforms for about the same price. Check out each one before making your choice.
Try the Bluehost Domain Name Finder.
WordPress will need to be installed on your hosting account, either manually or by using an installer offered by your hosting company. Please watch all the videos and training information offered by both your hosting company and WordPress. They will save you many hours of struggle. If you are still having trouble contact iMark Interactive for assistance in setting up or join the WordPress Facebook Group.
Another option is Squarespace. I don’t know much about this one as I have only just started some research on it. From what I have read thus far, it sounds like you get everything in one place here as well but apparently it is supposed to be much easy to use. Squarespace will cost about the same but the ease of use is the big seller here. The Lazy Source explains it well.
Ask for Help From Successful Bloggers
Follow other bloggers in your niche. Most of them are very willing to help out newbie blogger. We were all newbies at one time. Follow their blogs. If you like the look and layout of their blog, ask what theme (to be covered next week) and platform they use in the comments section or email them for advice. Some websites that have blogged about topics in your niche have their own paid or free blog training courses or blogging boot camps that you can sign up to for help. A small sampling of my many favourite blogging sites are:
Don’t rush into to choosing a blogging platform as it is important to figure out what it is you want from your blog, how technologically savvy you are and where you want to end up with your blog. Not everyone can afford domain names and paid hosting straight away so a free blogging platform such as Blogger.com, WordPress.com or typepad.com may be where you need to start.
Do Your Homework
There are many options available for starting a blog therefore I highly recommend doing your research and comparing each platform. Educate yourself but also know beforehand how much you can afford to spend to get this endeavour started. I did neither. It cost me a fortune and I’m still trying to find the cheap and easy route.
Starting a blog can be done for free, it can also be done reasonably cost effective, but it can also be very expensive if you don’t do your homework.
You Can Always Switch Later if You Choose Wrong
If you happen to choose wrong and you’re not happy, don’t panic. You can switch. If you start with a free hosted site I suggest creating and editing your posts in Word or another document program and save them to your computer. You don’t want to lose all that work in a platform switch. I am currently considering a switch to Squarespace just for the ease of use and a clean looking theme because I’m about as tech savvy as a three fingered monkey. There are good things about all of these platforms but I think I did it backwards from hardest (Bluehost) to easiest (Squarespace?). It’s still up for the vote though. More research is required but I’ll keep you posted.
Pinterest is a great source of information for all things blog related. Check out and follow Living on a Blog on Pinterest. There are thousands of pins related to blogging that offer a ton of information.
Happy Information Gathering!
Stay Tuned Next Week For:
Beginner Blogging Series – Part 4 – Designing Your Blog
In case You missed something: