I’ve been receiving emails over the course of the year from people asking how to set up their own blogs for study abroad and other purposes as well. And why not? If you’re studying abroad, blogs are a great way to keep in touch with people while you’re overseas, share all of your experiences and memories, and develop your writing skills. If you’re writing a blog for say business purposes, it will help you become a better thinker, salesman, and networker. Any way you use it, a blog is a valuable tool.
Believe it or not, you only need 3 things to get your blog on the web:
1. A Domain Name, like thestudyabroadblog.com
2. Web hosting
So let’s get right into it. Here’s creating a blog 101.
Step 1. First and foremost, don’t use a free service like blogger.com, WordPress.com, or any other free hosting site. Although I’ll be talking about installing wordpress later on, I’m not referring to hosting your site on WordPress.com. No one will ever find your blog because the domain name they give you is honestly awful, and search engines will never pick it up.
Registering a Domain
Step 2. You need to register a domain, in other words, your web address. This is the fun part. Go to www.GoDaddy.com and start searching for available domain names in the search box in the top left corner.
Put a lot of thought into it. You want a domain name that is short and easy to remember (search engines are more likely to pick it up). Think about keywords that will relate to your blog content – like thestudyabroadblog.com – and make sure when you do find an available domain, choose “.com” rather than “.net” or “.org”.
Supposedly Google looks more favorably on you if your domain is registered for at least 2 years so I suggest going for that instead of the 1 year option. Have fun with it, but don’t go too crazy.
Hosting Your Website on the Internet
Step 3. Next, you’re going to need hosting. Hosting is like renting an apartment, and your content is what goes inside – in reality, it’s a hard drive on a server somewhere for a few dollars a month where you can install WordPress (the best content management system). It’s under $5/mo if you get it at GoDaddy.com as well.
Click on “Home” in the navigation bar at the top of the page, then “Hosting” – or just click here GoDaddy.com Hosting Plans. There will be 3 options – The Economy Plan, The Deluxe Plan, and the Unlimited Plan. You can get away with the Economy Plan, but for only a dollar or so more a month, I would go with the Deluxe Plan.
Right above the hosting plan options, you will have to choose between linux and windows as your operating system. STICK WITH LINUX.
If, for some odd reason you don’t like Godaddy, give HostGator a try (they have a built in plugin called Fantastico which allows you to easily install WordPress).
Setting up WordPress
Step 4. Once your hosting is set up, go in and install WordPress. GoDaddy.com makes it easy as you can go into your account and have it done for you. Trying to do it yourself is a nightmare, no matter what it says on the WordPress site – I know from experience.
On the left hand side of GoDaddy, there will be a category called “My Products”, and under that, “Hosting”. Click on “Hosting”. It will take you to your hosting control center, and in the middle of the page, there will be a button for “Your Applications”. Click on the button, search for WordPress in the “blogs” category, and install – easy as that.
Step 5. While you’re waiting for it to be installed, go to WooThemes – Premium WordPress Templates , or ElegantThemes.com to find a theme you like. A paid theme is really the only way to go if you want your blog to look legit. They have more features, documentation, and can be customized to a whole new level.
Step 6. To get to the WordPress blog dashboard for your newly created site, just type in your domain followed by “/wp-admin” without the quotes. On the left hand side of the dashboard, there will be an option to “Add New” under the Plugins heading. Here is a list of plugins I have activated: Akismet, All in One SEO Pack, DISQUS Comment System, Google XML Sitemaps, Lightbox 2, Shadowbox JS, WordPress.com Stats, and WP-DBManager.
And there you go. 10 minutes later your blog is installed, and you have a website on the internet!
Don’t want to go through this whole process yourself (don’t feel lazy, it’s not for everyone)? Check out my special blog design service – TSAB Designs!
So there it is, a step by step guide to creating your own blog. Enjoy.