I know this might be the boring bit. It’s all technical nerds stuff that you don’t understand and don’t really want to understand. I will try and keep these bits plain, simple and to the point so we can get onto the more exciting stuff.
What’s a platform? It’s the bit you use to make your blog. There are free versions that don’t cost you anything and then there the versions that cost money. WordPress is the main one and you may have heard of it. Next popular is Blogger, again you might have heard of that too.
I am a WordPress gal so this is the one I would recommend. Why WordPress? Well, as it’s the most widely used one you will find there are more themes and plugins available than other platforms. It’s also the one that developers create installations for so if down the line you want to use something like Convertkit ( don’t worry I’ll explain what that is later) you can as the creators created it to work with WordPress.
So although we narrowed it down to WordPress it does get a bit more complicated that there are two versions. The free one that I mentioned which is known as wordpress.com and the self-hosted version ( which you don’t have to buy and host) which is wordpress.org.
The .Com version gives you a domain name, hosting space and choice of themes and can be up and running in minutes. Sounds good. But there is a drawback. Well, a few actually. The domain name they give you has WordPress in the URL. Something like www.yourdomainname.wordpress.com Kinda screams to the world you’re using the free version.
You are also limited to certain themes and plugins. You are also restricted to what you can actually put on your free site too. wordpress.com is great if you just want to journal a hobby or to keep family around the globe updated on juniors life. But if you ever want to earn from your blog I would start with wordpress.org from the beginning or be prepared to move your blog further down the line.
So with hopefully your platform in mind, it’s onto domains and hosting. I talked before about your domain name choices and hopefully, you have the perfect name in your sights. You’ve checked if the domain names available and we are good to go.
Personally, I buy my domain names separately from my hosting. There are pros and cons for keeping it separate and for using all the same company. I use 123reg for my domains as it’s the first place I went to, found it easy to do and stayed. I use a local company for my hosting as I host a lot of sites for customers who I have done web design for ( former life) so I like to be able to talk to them easily when there are things like site moves going on.
Do keep in mind that the busier and bigger your website gets it does need more space so always check that whoever you go with does allow for expansion.
I have purposely kept this section short and sweet as there are thousands if not hundreds of how to’s on the internet and Bluehost and 123reg websites on how to do these things.
Here are all the posts in this series so you pick and choose where to go next
What is a Successful blog
Deciding your niche
Domain and hosting
Sorting your categories and tags
Picking a platform
Choosing a theme
Must haves for your blog
What will readers want to read
Writing for your reader
Photos and graphics