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Blog Talk #2: go with wordpress

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I’ve been asked so many times how to set up a blog that I thought it was time to start a series dedicated to answering some of your blogging questions. You may want to begin at with BLOG TALK post #1.  Follow the series through sequentially and it will guide you through setting up your blog, posting your first post, and beyond. Subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss a thing.

Which blogging platform should I use?

So you’re committed to regularly putting out consistent content and are ready to set up your blog.

Good for you! It’s so easy, you’ll be surprised. 

The blogging platform I always recommend is WordPress. WordPress is the industry standard for blogging. There are other options out there like Typepad and Blogger, but there is agreement among the blogging world that WordPress is the way to go.

You have two options to consider for your WordPress Blog:

WordPress.org / Self-hosted

WordPress.org is for bloggers (like me) who want to completely customize the look of their blog, make money by placing advertisements, and are willing to buy or already own the domain address of their blog. The downside is that you are in charge of all of your blog housekeeping – making sure your site is backed up against site crashes, secure from hackers, and free from comment spam. My site, as of today has blocked 24,000+ spammers from leaving annoying and sometimes malicious comments on my blog posts. It took lots of time and research to find fixes for these housekeeping tasks; and it can be a real pain. This option means you’ll have to register and pay for a domain name (like BigGirlLife.com), then register that name with a hosting company to ‘host’ or store your blog files on their server. You’ll create your WordPress blog theme and then upload them to your hosting company’s server. It’s a doable process, but you must pay attention and follow instructions. This is why WordPress.org blogs are also called ‘self-hosted.” You must pay for your domain name renewals and hosting fees annually.

I’ll have a tutorial on exactly how to do this, and I’ll link here when it’s live. Don’t fret though, because the second option is almost as flexible and is easier to set up.

WordPress.com / Free

The second option is offered from WordPress.com. Same company, different blogging platform. This option is completely free and wordpress.com will host your blog files on their servers. However you do not have the option to generate revenue through advertising banners. Instead, WordPress.com runs their own ads on your blog to help them cover their costs. WordPress.com free blog url addresses also have “@wordpress.com” at the end. This free platform is the easiest to run and maintain since wordpress.com takes care of all of the security, design, and functionality of your site. If you just want to get blogging and you’re not all that technical, then WordPress.com should be your blog platform choice. Keep in mind, though that wordpress.com does also offer premium options that DO allow you to customize your own url address, get rid of their ads, have more space for media & photos on their server, and use custom designs for your site.

Because of the inherent flexibility, ease of use, and ability to customize for $99.00/year I always advise new bloggers to go with WordPress.com.

Ok, let’s do this!

Go to wordpress.com or just click on the screenshot below to open the wordpress.com blog setup page in a new browser window.

Screenshot 2014-10-29 17.02.52

Just fill in the information:

  1. What you want your blog address to begin with. If you choose the free option, your blog address will be “http://yourblogname.wordpress.com”  If you want to purchase your own domain, click the blue bar to see whether your customized domain name is available, and what it will cost you for a year. I chose the free HeatherSerody.wordpress.com, option. Keep in mind you can always upgrade later if you change your mind, so don’t stress.
  2. Name Your Blog. As it says right there, you can change your name at any time, so don’t stress over this, either!
  3. Click the privacy option desired.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and choose which blog option you want to set up: the beginner, premium, or business, and click ‘create website’ button.

Screenshot 2014-10-29 17.15.26

Congratulations, you just gave birth to your blog baby!

That’s all for now, because before we do anything else, I have homework for you. In blog talk #3 you will create both your ‘about’ page and first blog post. Take some time to think about what you want to say about yourself. What personal details make you interesting to your readers? Have a look at my ‘about’ page here. What experiences and/or professional skills do you bring to your blogging? Try visiting your favorite blogs and have a look at how they approach their ‘About’ page. Oh, and you’ll need a good photo of yourself, too. Take it in natural non-direct sunlight. See you in a few days for Blog talk #3.

Feel free to reach out to me with more of your blog questions. I can be reached at heather {at} heatherserody {dot} com, tweet me @hserody, leave a comment on the Big Girl Life Facebook wall or right down below. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you might have as well as share with you what I know.

Hugs, Heather 

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