So you’ve decided to start a blog! Congratulations! Chances are you’re really excited and you want to jump right into everything (I don’t blame you, I did too). But there are some key things you’ll want to have in place before you start your blog. Let’s talk about a few of them.
4 Technical Decisions You Need To Make Before You Start Your Blog
1. Purchase Your Domain
My guess is that since you’ve decided to start a blog you probably have a good idea what you are going to be writing about. You probably have a stellar blog title too! And if that’s the case, you don’t want to waste any time purchasing your blog’s domain.
The thing about domain names is that they are given on a first come, first served basis. Whoever pays for it first, gets it. So you may have a really great name-+ for your blog, and may (like most people) plan to use that name as your domain name, but if Suzy Q in west Texas registers her domain name before you do, and you both had the same name in mind – Great for Suzy Q. Bummer for you. What’s the lesson in all of this? Don’t procrastinate when it comes to purchasing your blog’s domain.
How To Purchase My Blog’s Domain Name
Securing a domain name is simple. I purchased my through GoDaddy and recommend them to all of my blogging friends. I have used them for three+ years and love their quality service. And the fact that I could get everything I need to get my blog off the ground from GoDaddy (my domain name, hosting, etc) may also have had something to do with it. I’ll forever be a fan.
2. Pick A Platform
So you’ve got your domain name. Now what? Now you want to start building your blog. Before you can launch a blog you’ll need to decide what service you want to build your blog through. There are tons of options out there but the one platform I know and love is WordPress.
WordPress.Org vs WordPress.Com
WordPress comes in two different forms; wordpress.org and wordpress.com
My personal preference and that of most bloggers and business owners is to build my blog through wordpress.org. With wordpress.org you own 100% of your blog and its content. That puts you in a great position should you ever decide you want to build a business from your blog, sell products from your blog, or participate in any sort of affiliate marketing.
You have control over your blogs layout and more options when it comes to customized themes, menu’s, pages, and such. That freedom gives you the ability to present yourself and your material almost any way you want to. The con (if you want to call it that) is that a .org site requires you to either provide website hosting yourself or pay for it. But there are some really great and affordable website host services that you can use. We’ll cover that in just a few moments.
The other option available to you is WordPress.com.
The advantages to using wordpress.com are that it’s free; meaning you won’t have to pay for web hosting like you would have to if you used wordpress.org. It’s easy to learn and easy to use and there typically aren’t any additional costs associated. If you’re a hobby blogger, someone who blogs just for fun and don’t plan to monetize (make money from) your blog this could be a good option for you.
3. Choose Your Blog Host
A host provides your blog with all the technology and back-end services it needs to be seen and accessed on the internet. If you are a tech-savvy person you might be able to handle this on your own. But if you don’t want to risk it or simply aren’t at all tech or code savvy (like me) before you start your blog you should consider getting someone to host your blog for you.
What to Look For In Web Host
There are three things I require from a hosting service before I commit to partnering with them.
1. They MUST have a glowing recommendation.
2. They MUST have an online chat service as a part of their customer service. If an issue does come up, say you have a post go viral and your blog can’t handle the traffic, you don’t want to have to wait for a phone call or an email. You want to talk to someone ASAP, and a chat service can help guarantee that.
3. They MUST have a decent renewal rate. Hosting is something that you will need to pay for annually. Some host companies like to give you an extremely “discounted” initial rate and then rack up the price of their hosting when your renewal date comes up. Watch for that.
4. They MUST have decent upgrading options. As your blog grows your hosting needs with change. Having an idea of the upgrade options beforehand will help you decide what web host you should go with.
I count on GoDaddy to do my web hosting (I was serious when I said I did it all with GoDaddy in one painless swoop).
4. Choose Your Email Marketing Service
This is a blogger’s best-kept secret. It allows us to continue interacting with our audience even after they’ve left our website. When it comes to making money or growing your readership, an email marketing system like Active Campaign will give you a few HUGE ADVANTAGES:
1. They keep you compliant. Believe it or not, there are regs that even bloggers have to follow when it comes to communicating with our readers. Email Marketing services know the regs and help bloggers stay legally compliant.
2. They keep things organized. These systems can manage hundreds and even thousands of contacts at one time eliminating a TON of growing pains.
3. They make (and keep) building your community simple. With email marketing, you can easily create sign up forms (in their various forms) to attract community members and gain subscribers.
4. They allow you to cater to your audience through email automation. Systems like Active Campaign allow you to create email automation based on sales, website or email engagement, and more; making it easier to connect with and provide resources to your audience. Personally, this is a must-have if you’re going to be delivering awesome freebies to your readers like I do 😉