This series is where I get serious about disclosing my wisdom about setting up a blog site. I am not going to create a decision tree that helps everyone decide everything, but if you are similar to me then this series should point you in the right direction.
By “similar to me” I mean:
- A technical professional that wants a convenient place to store and share your wealth of knowledge and ingenious ideas
- To (over time) create a personal brand that is more well-known and less embarrassing
- Flexibility to install plug-in’s, set up an e-Commerce site, sell advertising, or otherwise modify your site in the future (even if you don’t want to do it now)
- An independent place where you do not necessarily need to agree with your colleagues
- A portable place that belongs to you and that you can “take with you” on your winding path to riches and rockstardom.
#1 is easy and you can get it without much hassle or cost at WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a popular hosting site for blogs that runs the blogging software provided by WordPress.org. From what I read it sounds like WordPress is the way to go for blogging software. However, I didn’t go with WordPress.com and I explain why below.
#2 is a longer and more winding path. I will write on that more after I find all the dead ends and sand traps.
#3 is the most important critical success factor in the list. You really need to host your own site if you are a technical professional and want to do fancy stuff, try to crash your blog, and find other ways to sink time into your site. Even if you are just blogging and are moderately successful at it, hosting your own site is required to sell advertising, organize your blog the way you want, etc. To host your own site you will need your own domain name, which takes us to #5.
#4. I will let you find your own creative ways to limit your career. But I do encourage you to think before you blog.
#5 is another good reason to get your own domain name. I hosted my site with www.bluehost.com because they are inexpensive (less than $5 per month) and support a one-click install of WordPress. They also give you a free domain name. I am not sure if that is wise but I took the free domain name. They do charge a small fee for hiding the private info that you need to hand over to set up a domain name. That sounded like a good idea so I took that option.
Once you have your own site and learn how to set it up you will be very popular and become more good-looking. Now you can set up blog sites for all of your friends for free! However, they will also need their own domain name. I got one for my wife at GoDaddy.com. I looked at Network Solutions but they were a bit more expensive and didn’t seem to offer the option to protect your personal info. After you buy the domain name you will need to go in and set the DNS server to point to your hosting company. I found a good blog on that too!
Lastly, to have your picture show up next to your comments you need to get a Gravatar. Just do it. Comments without a pic are a little creepy.