In my previous post, I started with an introduction to starting a travel blog and I covered why you should start a travel blog, the free blog platforms and buying a domain. Today, I want to go over the blog setup basics including domain purchase and blog hosting.
What to Expect from this “Learning to Blog” Series
This is the second part of a series on the topic of starting a travel blog or really starting any type of blog for that matter.
- Part 1: Introduction to Blogging
- Part 2: Blog Setup Basics (This post)
- Part 3: Installing WordPress (Next Up)
- Part 4: Configuring Your WordPress Blog
- Part 5: Your First Blog Post
- Part 6: WordPress Plug-ins
- Part 7: Getting the word out: Marketing Your Blog
- Part 8: Making Money with your Travel Blog
Blog Setup Basics – Choosing and Purchasing a Domain
After looking over Part I, you have either decided to go the free route by signing up with a free hosting platform or you’ve chosen to go the paid route which means buying your own domain. Either way is fine. If you’re trying to save a few bucks while living the RV lifestyle then I can understand going the free route but this series if focused on buying your own domain and installing the WordPress platform to run your blog.
Buying a domain for the first time can be a COOL experience but it can also be very frustrating. For instance, maybe you have this great domain name in mind and when you go to purchase the domain, you find that it’s taken and your back to thinking of a name again. Believe me, it can be frustrating. I recently bought TroyWiedeman.com and was happy to find out that my name isn’t all that popular and the domain name was still available. 🙂
For domain purchases, I like to use NameCheap for two reasons. 1. Cheap Domains and 2. Free or cheap WhoisGuard. The WhoisGuard service hides your registration information (name, address, email and phone #) which will cut down on spam and telemarketers. Another popular site to buy domains from is GoDaddy.
Now comes the tough part, finding a domain that hasn’t already been registered. This is where you may have to get creative. Before I bought TravelingTroy.com, I had a long domain name that I wasn’t happy with at all, so I changed it. It’s important that you spend some time brainstorming for a few good domain name ideas as you may find out your first choice is taken. If it’s a travel site, maybe you could name it Tom’s Adventures or something similar, or you could come up with something that shows you put some thought into it like Glenn did with To Simplify.
I typed in LivingLifeLivingFree to see if a domain would be available and the .com was available.
Once you find a domain that you like which is also available, click the Add to Cart button and purchase your new domain.
In the image above, I would be buying the domain and free WhoIsGuard for a year for just over $10 which is a great deal and you don’t have to worry about your domain for 12 months. If you are serious about your blog, you may want to pay for multiple years as it would be a cheaper per year price.
Blog Setup Basics – Choosing a Hosting Service
Buying a domain is just purchasing a name and that’s about it. You now need to find someone to “Host” files for you on a server out on the internet. Basically, you pay for a service to “Host” the files for your blog and then you go back to the place you purchased the domain and have the domain name point to the server address where you’re hosting the files.
This process can be handled much easier if you buy the domain and pay for hosting with the same company but there may be restrictions and you limit your control when you purchase the domain and host the domain with the same company.
The most popular hosting companies:
All three of these hosting companies are great, have similar pricing packages and have excellent support.
In the examples below, I will be using Hostgator as they are the primary hosting company that I use.
In the image above, you can see that they have hosting for as little as $3.96/month which includes:
- Unlimited Disk Space
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 1-Click WordPress Install
- Easy to use Control Panel
- 24/7/365 Tech Support
- 45 Day Money Back Guarantee
Their pricing structure is based on whether you plan to host 1 domain or more domains:
With Hostgator, you have:
- the Hatchling Plan which is for a single domain
- the Baby Plan which allows you to host unlimited domains
- the Business Plan which has unlimited everything plus your own IP address and SSL.
At this point, you are ready to pick your hosting plan and whether you want to pay the cheaper yearly price or the slightly more expensive monthly price. So, click the Order Now button that corresponds with the plan you prefer which will take you through the payment process.
Notice below, that you can enter your domain name if you have already bought it from NameCheap or you could just buy it from Hostgator.
Blog Setup Basics – Changing Name Servers
If you purchased your domain and blogging from the same company, then you don’t need to worry about this step and can move on. But, if you purchased your domain from another domain provider like NameCheap, then you need to tell NameCheap where to point your domain.First we need to log into our Hostgator account. You will have received an email by now from Hostgator explaining how to log into your control panel. The address will look something like this:
After logging in, scroll down to the bottom of the left side column and look for a section called Account Information. You will see Name Servers listed there. This is what we need to input in the fields provided in your NameCheap account.
Name Servers (Example only)
Now, log into your NameCheap account and let’s put this info where it goes:
After logging in, go to My Account –> Manange Domains –> then select your domain. In the left hand column, click on Domain Name Server Setup and you will see this below:
Click on the Radio button next to Specify Custom DNS Servers, then type or cut and paste the info you got from your hosting account into the 1st and 2nd spots in this form. It doesn’t matter which one you put in which location.
Finally, click on Save Changes and you can log out of NameCheap.
You have just bought a domain, setup hosting and transferred the name servers to the new host. Congratulations!!
Start a Blog That Matters
Anyone can start a blog, so if you want your blog to catch on a build an audience, then you need to Start a Blog That Matters. This means you should strive to help others with your blog, whether you’re explaining how to get discounts on travel or showing how to fix a leaking propane tank. Make your content great and make your blog matter.
After you have completed my 8-part series on starting a blog, you should try Corbett Barr’s blogging course.
<--Start a Blog That Matters-->
- What’s included in Corbett’s course?
- 13 Weekly Lessons and Action Plans
- Over 8 hours of video
- FAQ full of previously asked questions from 800+ students
- 60-Day Money Back Guarantee (No Questions Asked)
- The 90-Day Action Plan to turn nothing to a Blog That Matters
What Are Your Thoughts?
I hope you are enjoying this Learning to Blog series thus far. Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
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Feature photo credit – Christine Zenino