So you want to get a blog, but you're not sure where to start. Blogging for recreation can be a nice pastime. Blogging for money can help you earn more cash. Getting a blog is basically the same for both. We'll go through the process.
A blog is your message to the world. As such, your message should generally have a theme. Some personal blogs are about the birth of a child, a person's college years or struggling through an illness. In business, your blog theme should be inline with your business' theme. If you sell eco friendly products, then your blog should be about eco friendly topics. If your store sells race car products, then your blog should be about race cars. You get the idea; why is that important?
Your blog theme is important because unless you are going to use one of the online blog hosting services you will need a domain name. A domain name does two things. First, it gives people a memory friendly way to remember where to find your blog on the internet. Second, it helps to tell the search engines what your blog is about. For example, if your blog is about race cars, then your blog domain name might be racecars.com (that name is probably already taken). The name is easy to remember and search engines will know that your blog is about race cars.
After you have picked out your name, you need to have a place to host your blog. That is a place to keep the website software that makes your blog work, unless you are going to host your blog at a blog hosting website such as Blogger.com. If you will be hosting your own website, then you need to get some hosting space. What type of hosting space you need depends on what type of blogging software you want to use. If you will use software built using PHP, a very common web scripting language, such as WordPress, then you can host your website on a Linux server (they are very cheap). If you will use blogging software written in asp or asp.net, such as BlogEngine.NET (this blog uses BlogEngine.NET), then you will want a windows server. Linux™ and Windows™ are operating systems for the servers. Where you get these hosting accounts is at a hosting company.
Picking a good hosting company is important. You want to find one that has good prices, but also has good technical support and is stable. Unstable hosting companies have a lot of down time and that is time that your website can't be viewed on the internet. A great hosting company we recommend is Lords of Hosting.
Once you have a domain name and a hosting company you need to install your blogging website software. That may sound daunting, and it can be for someone that doesn't know how, but fortunately some companies like Lords of Hosting make setup as easy as a click of a button. They will automatically install it and get it ready for you.
If you're like me, then you also want your blog to look nice. Both WordPress and BlogEngine.NET have numerous themes to pick from and install very easily. Both also allow for custom themes to be created and installed.
Now, you have your domain name, your hosting site and your software installed so you're ready to start blogging away. Remember, you will also want to syndicate your blog and market your blog to let people know they can now come to see what you have to say. That's a whole other process in itself. We'll save that for another blog post.