My family and I travel while I run my company Purveyor of Geekery
I was first introduced to blogging back in 2003 during a summer residency in college, where we had to keep one to document our thesis projects (proof. *cringe*) It was also my foray into a dating blog. *double cringe*. You guys… that was before WordPress AND Facebook. Did that time ever really exist? 10 years and a few tens of thousand dollars in income later you would think I would be taking this a bit more seriously. Nope. Nevah!
But in case you want to, there are a few steps to get you on your way to blogging bliss. This is just the technical steps to get you up and blogging, the content specific tips are a whole other post.
1. Pick Your Blog Hosting
There are a bunch of options for hosting your blog, the top four most popular include: WordPress.com hosted, self hosted using wordpress, Blogger or Tumblr.
The difference between them basically boils down to how much control over things that you want. Some offer more customization of designs than the others, more features, more built in community interaction, etc.
- WordPress.com offers two types of platforms which span both ends of the blogging spectrum: those host for free on WordPress.com servers (least amount of control) or those hosted on your own service provider (greatest amount of control). WordPress.com hosted blogs offer the least amount of customization options for their templates: you have a set selection of them and they limit how many things you can change on it, custom domains require an upgrade fee but they are as easy to start as signing into their website. However, you can run WordPress on your own server and have near God-like control and custom domains with only the cost of the domain itself. It’s only limited by your own technical capacity. More about that below, see WordPress.org.
- Blogger.com offers the next highest level of customization. Most small businesses choose them. They allow custom URLs free of charge (you just buy the domain) and there isn’t too much limiting in what can be done with their templates, or you can upload your own.
However, there is a controversy over who owns what content posted where meaning that unless it is self hosted, some companies think that they can do whatever they want with your content whenever since it is on their servers,
Still can’t decide? Here is a good chart comparing the two.
- WordPress.org, or those hosted on your own server offer the largest amount of customization. You can do whatever, whenever. There are also plugins that allow you to create any kind of website under the sun including e-commerce, social networking and project management. Probably a bit over kill for your needs but it gives you all of the pros of WordPress.com hosted blogs without the restrictions. It does require a bit of tech skills to set up and the added expense of hosting though, but many web hosting companies offer concierge installation.
- Additionally, Tumblr offers a micro-blogging platform that can be used as a normal blog. You can’t monetize it last I checked (i.e. run ads), and since Yahoo purchased it it looks even more dismal in the ads area but it offers a built in community that the other two don’t. This helps more new people find and share your content passively, without having to post your links to a social network or rely on ppl to subscribe to rss.
Don’t let the confusion of your options stop you from making a decision right now, each platform offers an export tool and makes it easy to move your content to another platform if you change your mind later.
If you decide to go self hosting, let me share some ASmallOrange.com (aff) love. After 10 years, I’ve been around the block (GoDaddy, 1and1, HostGator) and have found ASmallOrange.com to be my websites’ forever home.