Step-by-Step Instructions with Video Tutorials
Creating your own Blog
So you want to share your thoughts with the rest of the world? Well, starting your own blog will give you the power and flexibility to publish text, photos, video, and much more to the Internet.
Now, you’re probably thinking that all of this power and flexibility comes with a high price tag and steep learning curve. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m going to show you how to go from someone with interesting ideas to share, to a full-fledged blogger in no time flat. You will learn how to perform every single task involved in creating, configuring, writing, and maintaining very own fully customized blog.
Best of all, it will cost you *nearly nothing. ($5.00 or less per month)
Every bit of the process is covered through step-by-step explanations, annotated screen shots, and video demonstrations.
Why you should own your Blog
Many people have free blogs on sites like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com. These free services have simple, effective functionality, but they don’t have the flexibility and power that you may need. You can’t have your own domain name on these services, or customize to your heart’s content. Even more important; you don’t own your data.
If you want to have a blog that you own, has your own domain name, and allows you to make unlimited customizations, you need to host your own blog. This tutorial will show you how to install, configure, customize, and publish your own blog using free software and inexpensive web hosting.
Before you get started with software, servers, and writing, you need to get organized. You need to know what you are going to be doing. Let’s look at a few things that you need to consider before writing your first brilliant article.
Start by asking a few very basic, but critically important questions:
- What is your blog about? This is the very first thing that you should consider.
- What ideas and concepts are you going to write about? Laser focus or potpourri?
- What categories will you use to group your articles? (Music, Art, Politics, Sports, etc.)
- What interesting features do you want to have on your blog? (Photos, video, reader polls, etc.)
Once you’ve hammered that out, you should start to generate a few ideas for names.
What You Will Need:
You will need a combination of services and software to perform all of the subsequent steps in this tutorial.
Getting your Domain Name and Hosting
After you determine your concept and topics, start to brainstorm good domain names. Yes, the first few good ones that you come up with will already be taken. You should make every effort to get a domain name that is ends in .COM (.NET is worse, but acceptable) Try to make the name short, with keywords that relate to your topic. By all means, DO NOT get a domain name with a HYPHEN in it!
If you want to think long term, you may want to spend a few extra dollars to grab the .NET and .TV versions of your name too. This will allow you to extend your offerings down the road.
You can buy your domain name from lots of places. It will be less than $10 for the year. Many web-hosting companies give you one free domain name as part of your hosting package. (I would recommend this route.)
Web Hosting: You will need to pay a web host to store your site’s pages and files on a server. There are thousands of web hosting companies available from $5/month on up.
Select one that has the following options:
- PHP Server: (this is the server software that processes the commands that make your blog work.)
- MySQL Database Server: This is the free, open source database that runs just about every blog on the internet
- FTP Server: This is the service that will allow you to move files from your local computer to the web server.
- Scalability: If your website takes off, you may need to move to a bigger server. Make sure that your host has several packages so that you can gradually move up the ladder as needed.
Once you buy your domain and web hosting, you will need to set up your FTP software. Just about every web-hosting provider has a Help or FAQs section that will show you how to set up your FTP client. Follow their instructions so that you will be ready to start working.
- FTP Software: Your web host will have an FTP service that will allow you load your files to their server. You need an FTP Client (software on your computer) to connect to the server and move the files. There are several FTP clients available. Some are free and others are not. Every one has a camp of supporters and detractors, so I’ll just recommend the one I use. I like Filezilla, because it is free, Open Source and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. (Get Filezilla here.) If you don’t like it, just search Google for another one that meets your specific needs.
- Zip Software: Most of the files that you need to set up a WordPress blog are contained in a Zip archive. You need an application to open and extract files in Zip archives. Mac and Linux have them built in. If you are on Windows, download 7-Zip. It’s free and works very well.
- Text Editor: The beauty of working Content Management System is that inexperienced users don’t “have to” get their hands dirty in any code. However, advanced users still have that option. You should still always have a good text editor at your disposal, ‘cause ya never know. All three Operating Systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux) come with built-in text editors, but there are better ones available for free.
- Windows – NotePad++
- Mac – Smultron or Text Wrangler
- Linux – Emacs, Vim, or Gedit
- *I’m sure that there are even better choices available, but these should handle your needs just fine.
Blogs are run on Content Management System (CMS) that store, organize, and display your information. The CMS software will reside and run on your server.
- WordPress: The Content Management System (CMS) software that will run your blog. WordPress is free, open-source software that you will download and set up on your web server.