Blogging: The best hobby ever yet the one you’ve always put off starting.
If it’s the techie terms or setup that have stopped you, look no further.
This quick tutorial will help you learn about blog hosting sites, important terms, and additionally how to setup WordPress, the web’s most popular CMS, aka how to make a blog.
What is the best blog hosting site for me?
A blog hosting site, also called a blog hosting service (full list on Wikipedia) refers to the virtual space where your blog lives. When my family and friends ask me about hosting, I explain it to them like a plot of land where you’ll store your car or build your new condo or apartment. When you picture it like this, it’s easier to picture creating something nice for your belongings, and also understand how one plot of land does not always equal the next. You don’t want to store your car or your home somewhere unsafe (where you could get hacked) too busy/noisy (too many other websites) or without access to a nearby city (traffic). There are many more analogies we could make but the point is, choosing the best or the right blog hosting site can make blogging easier – or create lots of headaches – as your new blogging career unfolds.
As such, it’s important not to leave your blog hosting up to just anybody.
As a rule of thumb – Your blog hosting site should be a good match your level of commitment and your ambitions with blogging.
If you want to make a living blogging and blog professionally for a large audience, it’s highly recommended you pay a small fee per month for your own web hosting. If you’d rather blog casually amongst friends, then a free blog hosting site is probably enough for you.
Free blog hosting sites
You can create a blog in a matter of minutes and begin blogging.
These sites give you a subdomain (like yourblog.tumblr.com).
So, what exactly is a free blog hosting site?
Back to our analogies, a free blog hosting site is like a Facebook profile. You can login to a free blog hosting site much like you would log into Facebook, and once there, you can edit certain portions of your blog in the same way you would on The Social Network.
At times, the free blog hosting site layout may change. For example the button you click to login with may move or your logo may appear a different shape or size.
However those who love free blog hosting sites like Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress.com are content with the free nature, and for them that’s what it comes down to – having a free blogging tool vs having a full blogging business software.
Critics of free blog hosting sites mention lack of control, customization and professional quality (imagine telling your business partner to go visit your website on Facebook). However there are worth a shot, and using one is certainly better than not starting a blog at all!
Professional blog hosting sites
If you decide to blog for a living, as a stay at home profession regardless of your niche, pursue blogging for your business, or any combination these endeavors it’s recommended you pursue professional blog hosting. The most common way to do this is to “self-host” your blog.
And the good news is it’s 2016 – this stuff is all incredibly easy to setup with the help of a quick guide.
You might even find it exhilarating like me to start your first self-hosted blog (which could be why I spend late nights writing about it). You basically 1. sign-up for web-hosting 2. get a domain name and 3. install WordPress on your hosting space. You can do steps 1-2 in any order, or you can get both from the same place which makes it even easier.
Some terms you may be interested to know (but will never be quizzed on) if you’re going to self-host include:
Script: WordPress is a script which you install. Script is synonymous with software. Joomla and Drupal are also scripts.
Template: Refers to the overall design of a website, which you also must install.
Uptime: A measure of the time a machine, typically a computer, has been working and available. Uptime is the opposite of downtime.
CPU: Central Processing Unit. The CPU is the brains of the computer where most calculations take place.
Bandwidth: A measurement of bit-rate of available or consumed data communication resources. Like a pipeline your blogging data flows smoothly through.
Disk space: An amount of computer storage space on random-access memory services.
These terms may appear from time to time and while you don’t need to fully understand them it may give you a bit more confidence going forward.
The best blog hosting site?
There are hundreds of blog hosting sites online, many which claim to be the best (and why wouldn’t they?)
Having used many of them, I can say that not all web hosts are made equal and some can certainly can make you feel lost and confused. I even had a bad experience with one host where the site went down and no one could help our small team.
Through thick and thin, I’ve always hosted my most important blogs and websites with HostGator.
I’ll list several others below that are also good, but HostGator.com web hosting is the first web host to really start making owning a blog or website easy for anyone, largely because of their tool called QuickInstall (the OG of WordPress installation tools) and now recently the new WordPress Installer. Their technology and customer service allow anyone to start a blog, most commonly, a WordPress blog.
We’ll see how to setup a WordPress blog (or website, same process when you begin) in a second, however you should also know about the price.
As if customer service and bonus features like $100 towards Google Adwords weren’t good enough at HostGator, their price is also #1.
Generally speaking web hosting (just the hosting, not the domain name) will range from about $5-10/month at most providers. Some may charge more for features you don’t need, so stay away from them.
HostGator offers two options, however, to get your cost below the standard $5-10, by means of hosting coupons. What you do is choose either the Hatchling Plan or the Baby Plan at HostGator, then use one of the two following coupons.
Two verified HostGator coupon codes you can currently use are:
- “BIGBONUS” = 50% discount, largest % discount on the market
- and “FRIENDOFSNAPPY” = 1 cent hosting (you get to try hosting for 1 month and pay 1 penny)
Using discount coupons like these can help you save lots of money, especially if you decided to register blog hosting for a longer period of time.
Please Note: This blog is powered by and recommends HostGator and earns a small commission if you use our links or coupons to sign up at no cost to you. There are plenty of good web hosts out there besides HostGator so let me know if you have any questions! Please assume all links to HostGator are affiliate links for which I stand to earn compensation. These commissions are how I keep the blog online and free for everyone, so thanks. I only recommend the small handful of products I use and depend on to succeed in blogging.
How to create a WordPress website or blog for beginners
I’ve embedded a video below if you’d like to setup web hosting, install a domain, and use the WordPress software and HostGator to make a WordPress website. Like I mentioned above, the process to start making a WordPress blog or website is the same as it all begins by installing the wordpress.org software. It’s a longer video, but as a beginner WordPress tutorial it covers everything a beginner should know about web hosting and will literally take you from nothing to a complete website on WordPress with all the fixin’s.
Other blog hosting sites you should check out
Doing your research is smart for any purchase, just make sure you don’t overspend as hosting costs can add up.
Other good web hosting providers include:
- Digital Ocean
- Web Hosting Hub
Please feel free to ask any questions on how these web hosts may suit your needs or might differ from HostGator, the choice of Dear Blogger. Most popular hosts have pages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest which can be used for support too.
A more personal greeting
Hey. I’m Greg. In the sheer interest of your time and all of our ADHD (ha, JK) I won’t talk about myself here but I wrote my of my story here.
In case you are poised to make a blog nowish and because the above was one of my more boring sells, here’s what you can learn around this blog and particularly in the video above.
- How to setup a domain name
- What blogging costs and why this matters
- Installing WordPress
- Making blog-centric things like a logo, image gallery, new posts, pages and menus
- Setup Analytics
- A free eCommerce walk-thru
- Getting your blog in Google
The WordPress Tutorial video embedded above is my library favorite at the moment. I hope that and the information here helps you, whether you want to start a blog about mommy-blogging, travel, food, finance, self-help, internet marketing, or something no-one has ever heard of (cue epic music) 🙂
Talk to ya soon, and cheers!
p.s. If you found this information helpful, please add DearBlogger to Facebook. We’ll be sending more blogging tips out soon…