Blogging is awesome, lets get that out there right now. I know I should be blogging more myself but always seem to get sidetracked. See, I’m even getting sidetracked right now as I am writing this post so since the title is called “So you want to start a blog” I will stop rambling right now and get right to it.
Starting a blog is a really good idea and there are a ton of options out there for you. Like everything though, there are good and bad ones so here is a list of options that I highly suggest you do.
- Get your own domain name: Scrap the whole free site thing and go buy a domain name. A domain does not cost a whole lot, lets say around $10 per year, no big deal. Make sure the domain is your real name because it really doesn’t get any more personal than that and it helps a great deal with your personal brand. If it is your first time around buying a domain, I highly suggest NameCheap.
- Get some hosting: There are of course, a ton of options out there when it comes to hosting. If you are just starting out, a shared hosting environment will suffice, GoDaddy, NameCheap, (yeah they have hosting options to) just to name a couple but if you want to go big right away, I would opt for hosting from LiquidWeb because when it comes to VPS and Dedicated, they are the best for sure.
- Get WordPress: Hands down, WordPress is the best there is when it comes to blogging software. For me I always opt for WordPress.org, download and install the script myself. It is really no hard to do even for a first timer as long as you follow the instructions. If you have absolutely no clue in this area at all then you can always opt for WordPress.com. This is still a decent choice because they do have some decent plans which does include a custom domain name which starts at around $4 per month. For me personally, I like full control which is my main reason for my own hosting and that but if you are not techie then that would be the last thing on your mind and WordPress.com will be just right for you. Remember though, take at least the Personal Plan, free, no.
- Get some plugins: One of the best things about WordPress is that they make it really easy to install additional features to your site. There are thousands of plugins out there for just about everything but here are a few I think are a must. Jetpack, Akismet Anti-Spam, SI Captcha Anti-Spam, VaultPress. As said, that is just a few and there are a lot more I could name but it really comes down to what you are doing exactly.
- Get Aweber: This may be last on my list but it is definitely not the least. Getting your visitors to opt-in to your mailing list so you can easily contact them any time when you make a new blog post and possible other reasons is an absolute MUST. Aweber is one of the best autoresponders there is which makes this recommendation really easy.
That’s about it for my list. I could go into more details with each of the options I mentioned there however, this should be enough to get you started.