Start A Blog
This is a guide of sorts to help you start your own blog, which first appeared on my main blog and is posted here just incase you are only interested in the food. Many people have asked me how to start a blog and even found my blog searching for that advice. I figured I should be nice and explain what I know about the subject in hopes that someone can start their own blog and find it as useful as I have found mine.
Although I mentioned that this is a guide to start a weight loss or healthy living blog, it is really a guide to start any kind of blog. If you have a desire to go start a blog about smurfs or tornadoes or bed linens or anything else, this advice still applies.
ABOUT SELF HOSTING
I recommend anyone who wants to blog for real to buy a domain name and self-host their blogs. There is nothing wrong with having a blogger or wordpress.com blog, but I think the couple bucks you will spend for self-hosting will further commit you to writing the blog.
Additionally I believe hosting your own blog with your own domain name gives your blog a better look, it’s easier for people to remember the name, and you have much more freedom with what you can do. Plus, YOU will own it. No company will have a say in what you do with your blog because it will be yours.
NOTE: The following advice is about switching a wordpress.com blog to a self-hosted WordPress blog. I have found WordPress to be the best way to create and manage a blog because of the great amounts of support, plugins, themes and more available for self-hosted WordPress users. If you decide not to go this route, you can still blog with blogger.com, wordpress.com, or Blog to Lose (weight loss). If you have a Blogger blog and don’t want to self-host you can consider mapping a custom domain name to your blog.
CREATING A BLOG FROM SCRATCH
It’s easiest to start a blog from the beginning, which I will explain now, but you can also transfer a wordpress.com blog to self-hosted wordpress easily.
Signing Up with a Host
- Click “Sign Up Now” at your chosen host’s website. I chose to host this blog on Hostmonster (at $6.95 per month or less if they have a special deal) because they have a good reputation and the ability to one-click install WordPress (it’s SUPER EASY). I have been with them for over two years and they have never let me down and helped me through every technical issue I’ve encountered.
The rest of these steps are specific to Hostmonster, but if you decide to use another company, you can probably still figure out what to do from these steps because they are all very similar. Note: if you decide to go with Hostmonster and use this how-to guide because it is easy and awesome, I’d appreciate it if you use the affiliate link so I can earn money to support my blog.
- In the “I Need a Domain” option, fill in your DESIRED domain name. For example: amerrylife.com Choose the “.com” extension, unless you have a good reason not to and don’t enter the “http://www.” part of a domain. Think about your domain name first and don’t get frustrated if your first choices are taken. Something good will come to you, but make sure you have a domain you will like for a long time.
- When domain name is available, you’ll be asked to fill in your billing information. Make sure you enter a complicated password (write it down somewhere) that will keep your information safe. When you sign up you will have to pay for a year of hosting up front, and your domain name will come with that package.
- Once your account is active, login to Hostmonster and go to the Hostmonster Control Panel (cPanel).
- Near the bottom of the page, in the “Software/Services” section, click the WordPress icon.
- Under Installation Options click the green “Install” button to install a new version.
- In the box under “Where would you like WordPress installed?” your domain name should appear. For example, it should say in the box: http://www.yourdomain.com. If there’s any chance you will ever want to create a website to accompany your blog, you may want to consider typing “blog” in the box on the right. This would install your blog at http://yourdomain.com/blog. This is a good option if you feel you want to create more than just a blog and you can always later set up a redirect so traffic to http://yourdomain.com goes to http://yourdomain.com/blog where your blog is.
- Read the legal information, and if you agree, check the box and complete the install.
WOOHOOO!! You did it!! You just created your own domain and your own-self hosted blog. Way to go. :)
You will receive an email with a temporary username and password to your blog and the login address for your WordPress dashboard. When you get this go in and immediately change the username and password to whatever you want, just make sure it is secure.
MOVING A WORDPRESS BLOG TO SELF-HOSTING
If you decided to move a wordpress.com blog to your own domain name with self-hosting, you should follow the above steps and then you will have to export and import your old blog into the new one.
EXPORTING AND IMPORTING YOUR OLD BLOG
- Login to your OLD blog, at WordPress.com.
- From the Dashboard, on the left, click “Tools.” Under that, click “Export.”
- Choose “All Authors” in the dropdown box, and click “Download Export File.”
- Save the file in place where you’ll be able to find it.
- Login to your NEW blog.
- From the Dashboard, on the left, click “Tools.” Under that, click “Import.”
- In the list of choices, click “WordPress.”
- Find the file using “Browse,” then click “Upload file and import.”
- When you are asked to map authors, decide whether you want everything from your old blog to be under a single author name, or if you want multiple author names. In either case, you’ll need to create new users, which you can do in your new blog’s Dashboard.
Finished! You blog is nice and shiny and new now! Go back to your old blog and write a new post redirecting your readers to your new site. It is probably a good idea not to delete your old blog due to scammy spammer activities. You can go back and make it private or delete the posts (not the blog) or just redirect it and leave it all up.
FOR BLOGGER USERS
Like I said before, I use and LOVE WordPress. I’ve used Blogger before, but didn’t enjoy it as much. I think WordPress is more user-friendly and flexible with customization. That being said, Blogger blogs can be successful. Some of my favorite blogs are still on Blogger.
If you are happy with your Blogger blog and only want to create a new domain name that will be easier for people to remember than yourblog.blogspot.com, I’m happy to say domain mapping is super easy with Blogger blogs. Check out this tutorial on how to get a custom domain name for your Blogger blog (you can even buy a domain through Blogger, it’s that easy).
If you encounter any questions along the way, so feel free to send me questions via my contact form or send me a message on Twitter at @amerrylife. I’ll be happy to help you. When in doubt, go to wordpress.org and type your question in the search box. They have great support pages that can help Also, don’t hestitate to call up the people at Hostmonster, your new hosting company. They have great tech support and can talk you through any problem. If you are transfering a blog, don’t worry if anything goes wrong. You always have your old blog still available and can work through any problem. Never panic over delays or snags.
And if you still feel completely lost or just don’t want to do this, fill out the contact form and I will build you an awesome site for you for free (if you use my hosting link.. otherwise it’s a small fee.) ;)