Blog with success part 1: creating a blog
For most people, a blog represents the chance to share thoughts, ideas, and interests with the rest of the (online) world. What started with the idea of a weblog – an online logbook, like an internet diary – has now become one of the most successful and widespread forms of publishing. Bloggers are often more than just private writers. They are advertisers, influencers, and experts on specific topics. In our series on blogging, we’ll be accompanying newcomers on their way to starting their own blog.
Part 1: how to create a blog. We will introduce the concept of blogging and offer a step-by-step guide to starting a blog.
Free blog providers
There are many free options for those searching for a suitable blog platform. The most popular providers are WordPress, Blogger.com, and tumblr.com. For newcomers to blogging, these platforms offer attractive solutions for starting a blog free of charge. They are also relatively simple to work with. Users can blog without technical knowledge of topics like servers, hosting, or web design. The provider also takes care of updates, backups, and spam protection.
The principle of this is that a user can create a blog in just a few clicks without a financial outlay and get right down to it - but there are certain restrictions as well. These begin with the URL. Free blog platforms utilise this as advertising space, ensuring that every URL contains their name (e.g. blogname.wordpress.com). Another drawback is the limited choice of themes, plugins, and modifications (e.g. theme customisations) available.
The pros and cons of free blog providers:
|✔ Free||✘ Impersonalised URL|
|✔ Simple and fast setup||✘ Limited web space|
|✔ No technical know-how required||✘ Fewer designs and themes|
|✘ Restricted customisation|
|✘ Typically only for non-commercial use|
Free blog providers may be the perfect solution for those wanting to start a small, private blog, but they are not suitable for a professional blogging environment. Most of these providers ban commercial blogging from the start. Blogs also have to accept on-page advert displays that finance the providers.
How to start a blog independently
Readers wanting to start a blog from scratch, for professional purposes, and without restrictions should consider starting a self-hosted blog. Aside from the obvious choice of a personal domain name, independent bloggers also have control over all design aspects of the blog. Every option can be customised and personalised, but this comes at a price (albeit a fairly manageable one). The cost of hosting a website (domain included) is now quite affordable and starts at just a few dollars a month. The real cost comes with the technical implementation and maintenance of creating a blog. There is an alternative, middle-ground option here: managed blog hosting. In this scenario, the blogger concentrates entirely on the blog content, while the host provider takes care of the technical side.
Pros and cons of hosting a blog independently:
|✔ No restrictions on functionality and design||✘ Big technical outlay|
|✔ Domain of choice||✘ Responsibility for security and backups|
|✔ No host-advertising||✘ Hosting costs|
|✔ Commercial use|
How to start a blog independently in 5 steps
A self-hosted blog means independence, but requires implementation and maintenance of the system. Here is our step-by-step guide to how this works, from domain names to blog structures.
1. Choose a domain name
The first step involves finding a suitable domain for the blog. There are many different factors that make a good domain name: it should be individual, concise, and recognisable. It is important to consider the target audience when choosing a domain name, as you’ll want draw in potential visitors. To find out whether your domain of choice is available, simply run a domain check with your hosting provider:
Did you know, you can now get your free domain with 1&1!
2. Register and rent web space
Once a suitable, available domain name has been found, the next step is to register it with the chosen hosting provider. There are usually a number of price ranges and hosting packages available, offering varying web space, data storage, and domain costs. Some providers also grant access to tools and software solutions with purchase of more comprehensive packages. If you have already decided on WordPress as your CMS, then another option could be to take advantage of a managed WordPress solution. In this scenario, the provider takes control of all the technical matters, including server maintenance. Since WordPress is by far the most popular CMS for blog pages, numerous providers offer their customers a managed solution like this. These providers also offer other CMS options that can be installed with the click of a button.
3. Install a CMS
WordPress isn’t always the right choice for everyone, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the different CMS programs on offer. Alongside WordPress, Joomla!, Typo3, and Drupal are the best-known and most popular systems. These four open-source solutions offer users numerous free extensions and strong network communities that are constantly working on system development. But certain circumstances also call for smaller systems. Our CMS comparison offers an overview and guide to help you choose the perfect system for your needs. Once the decision is made, the CMS simply needs to be installed.
4. Start a blog
Now it’s time to personalise your blog. As previously mentioned, WordPress, Joomla!, Typo3 and Drupal are open source systems. This means that the installation of the CMS is free, and users have access to numerous free themes, plugins, and other extensions. Personalising a blog is really all about the design. Different themes can be used to define the basic design, while knowledge of HTML and CSS will further the opportunities for personalisation. The next step is to fit the technical framework and expand the basic installation. There are many options for doing this, including various security plugins, backup solutions and tools for online marketing.
5. Blog with structure and planning
You’ve created a blog… now it’s time to write one! But first, it’s recommended to consider your general structure and develop a plan. This should involve basic structures like categories, pages, and tags. During the exciting beginning phase, it is natural to want to blog about everything under the sun, but remember that this isn’t very productive. Every blog needs a clearly defined main topic. Ideally, a good blogger will find a niche, present an expert opinion on this, build up a loyal readership, and share the expertise further!
The road to becoming a big-time blogger isn’t easy – in part 2 of our blogger series we will give you tips on how to find a suitable topic for your blog and all the other tools you need to become a blogging expert.
Start a blog with 1&1
Before you start your blogging career, you’ll need to choose the right host. 1&1 offers several different choices for creating a blog quickly and easily. Our flexible options are suitable for every project, from hobbyists to professionals.
A good choice for blogging beginners is the 1&1 MyWebsite: here, you can choose from numerous, individually customisable design ideas and add them to your own blog in just a few clicks using the web app ‘Blog’.
Another option is to take advantage of our managed blog hosting. With this, you can let 1&1 take care of the technical maintenance and server management, allowing you to fully concentrate on the content of the blog.
Alongside the best-known content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or TYPO3, there are also some more exotic choices available, like UK-based Composr, or Norwegian eZ Publish. Once you’ve found the right CMS for your needs, simply choose a suitable domain and web space and get started with the 1-click installation.