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How to set up a Blog

Many people have asked me how to set up a blog.

The question is why would you want to blog in the first place?

Here are the reasons why I like to blog:

  1. To keep in touch with friends and family when we are travelling
  2. To make new connections
  3. My blog acts as a online journal
  4. To keep my brain active by learning new stuff (keep my inner geek happy)
  5. A blog is an outlet for creative expression – design, writing, photography and videography
  6. There is also the potential for making an income

Thats the why – heres the how.

For the purposes of clarity I would like to define a few key terms:

Blog:  is short for “Web Log,” which is a list of journal entries posted on a Web page. I use the terms blog and website interchangeably.

Domain Name:  This is an unique name to identify a website. It is equivalent to your websites street address. All domains start with sextuple-u: (www) and have suffixes such as .com, .org or country suffixes such as .ca

Host: The computer (server) where all your cool stuff resides.

Domain name server (DNS): This is the name of the host computer

Plugins: are software programs that augment an existing program by providing additional functions.

Open source:  Is software where the  source code is freely available to the public.

Content Management System (CMS): A CMS is software that allows publishing, editing and modifying content on your blog.

I am a big believer in the 80-20 principle. The 80-20 rule, or the Pareto Principle, states that 80% of the results come from 20% of key activities.

Here are the key steps that get you 80% towards the goal of setting up a blog.

Step 1 Get your Domain Name (your internet street address):

The 64 thousand dollar question is Free vs Paid?

This really depends what you want to do with your blog. You can set up a blog on Blogger or WordPress for free. The down side of this is that your domain name will have somebody else’s name in it Example “YourEscapeBlueprint.wordpress.com”, or “YourEscapeBlueprint.blogspot.com”

Also with free domains and hosting you may be very restricted with the look and feel of the blog. Paying for a domain and host gives you a whole bunch of flexibility. Owning your own domain name will cost about $10 a year. There is also the issue of who really owns your content with free domains.

The domain registrar I use is Godaddy. I like it because it is really easy to change the domain name server. If you want to learn about upsell marketing watch how these guys do it. Just the Domain name thank you very much!

Another compelling reason to purchase a domain name is to own your name on the Internet! With the internet becoming more and more prevalent it is crucial that you own your own name. At the very least own the rights to www.yourname.com.  If somebody with the same name already owns the domain  try placing  “the” or  “the real” in front, example www.TheJohnSmith.com or www.TheRealJohnSmith.com. Use your imagination.

Step 2 Host your Website:

The web hosting service provides the mothership computer where all your files reside. The web host provides the infrastructure to allow you to  make your website accessible via the World Wide Web.

You do not have to use the same company you used to secure your domain name (however this is an option with Godaddy).

Hostgator is the service I use to host my websites.  I have friends who make mega bucks on line and they all use Hostgator to host their websites. This hosting is rock solid – I have never had any issues with my website.

The cost for having an unlimited number of blogs hosted is about $10 per month (or less).

Step 3 Install WordPress:

WordPress is a content management system for your website.

From the Hostgator cPanel you can  install WordPress in a Jiffy. One of the benefits of using Hostgator is they make things easy!

The top 5 compelling reasons to use WordPress:

  1. Free: WordPress is Open Source software which you can use for free.
  2. Easy to Use: You don’t have to be a computer jock to use WordPress. WordPress is far from being user hostile, and to achieve the basics it is really point and shoot.
  3. Good Looking: There are tonnes of templates or themes (many of them free) that will give your site the look you want.
  4. Loads of Plugins: You can install bazillions of plugins (a lot of them are also free) that will give you additional functionality like installing Facebook “like” buttons and other social sharing tools.
  5. Everybody is doing it: There are an estimated 7 million websites using WordPress. If you encounter a problem with WordPress, the chances are somebody out there has a Youtube Video with the solution.

Step 4 Install a WordPress Theme:

To give your website the look you want you can choose from the veritable cornucopia of themes for WordPress. Themes allow you to change the look and functionality of your WordPress website. You can change themes as you would change a outfit without  altering the information content or structure. Themes can be installed from the WordPress administration panel

Step 5 Install Plugings:

The ability to use Plugins is a frigintastic feature of  WordPress. WordPress Plugins allow you to expand the abilities of your site from the base wordpress model. There are tens of thousands of such plugins available. Plug ins can be installed from the WordPress admin panel. Unlike options on that shiny new  car that cost you thousands,  most of the best plugins are free!

As Porky Pig would say:

 

Happy Blogging!

About the author: Apparently born under a wandering star, Michael spent hours as a kid poring over maps, atlases and plotting where he wanted to travel when he grew up. Sadly Engineering school got in the way….. “it takes 5 years to complete and a lot longer to get over”. He still considers himself a “recovering” Professional Engineer. He escaped the rat race at 44 and now pursues his passions for travel, photography, Tai chi, scuba diving, cooking and sampling the world’s wines. Michael is also… Fiercely independent, a bit of a rebel, is on a self-imposed media diet & married to an incredible lady.

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