Several years ago I wanted to start a blog. I love to write and share my experiences. I love to journal, writing has always made me feel better and when I am actively writing I always feel like my mind works better overall. I notice more things, I think about things in more depth, and I just feel more alive.
So I did some research and I found information about different blogging platforms. The one that came up the most often and seemed the most user-friendly was WordPress.com. So I visited WordPress and I signed up for an account. It was not very difficult to get started, basically you just enter some basic information and then start blogging. I learned how to post some pictures, learned how to make minor adjustments to my blog, and how to post it for the world to see. It was perfect, I was happy, and I used that method for several years off and on.
I was a very sporadic blogger. I wanted to mostly document our travels and camping adventures so that we could then share those adventures with our friends and family in an easy to use format.
The problem was is that I found when we were actually on an adventure I never had enough time to sit down and add things to my blog pages and when I did get the time I did not have any cell phone or internet reception so I couldn’t access my blog. By the time we returned home and got back to our regular working routines I would forget to get back to my blogging. Not getting back to my blog right away would lead to me forgetting a lot of the good details I was hoping to share in my blog. So nothing substantial ever came from my blog.
A few more years pass and I am happy just writing about my life the old-fashioned way in my paper journal and with my trusty pen. I was doing this one day when I have a conversation with my brother about an app he had on his phone called Pinterest, you can read the details of that conversation on my Why I Blog page.
Just so happens I was working on a few home improvement projects and Pinterest was a great place to go for ideas and information for that kind of thing. So I went and after using it for a bit I discovered it was also a great place to go for information about blogging, writing, and even making money from your blog.
Wait what? People make money from their blogs? Okay this was not something I really thought of before so I started researching using Pinterest and Google as my main sources of information. There has to be about a billion pins in regards to blogs and bringing in some income with a blog, okay I exaggerate a bit maybe not a billion but a lot.
I was intrigued and the blogging bug had re-bit me. I dusted off my old blog and started to update some things in preparation for getting my blog out there and maybe seeing if anyone would be interested in reading my stuff.
Everything was going great until I found an article that stated if you plan on ever being serious about blogging and bringing in a bit of income with that blog you would be wise to invest early on in a self hosted blog. Self hosted blog? What the heck did that mean?
Well there are a thousand explanations to this and some of them can be very technical and long and informative but if you just want the general idea of what a self hosted blog is then this is it:
A self hosted blog is a blog that you own, you create, and you decide what to do with but you “rent” or “buy” a piece of space on the internet from a hosting company. This hosting company then takes care of all the backroom stuff like servers and IP addresses and things along those lines that make your blog possible to be seen by anyone with a computer, tablet, smart phone and the internet.
So I had to make a decision. Do I continue to blog on one of the free sites like I had been doing for years and limit my ability to have the ownership I so dearly wanted or do I go all in and purchase myself a piece of the internet so I could build something that was truly mine and that I had control over how I would use that piece of the internet to share my story, my interests, and my ideas?
I decided that if I was going to really take blogging seriously I would have to invest in myself. If I invested in myself I would then have an obligation to take my blog seriously and focus on making it a success. I looked at it as a motivator to make me want to create a blog that was interesting and that people would want to be a part of.
**The following part of this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small payment if you make a purchase using this link. I make all affiliate links in green so they are easily identifiable to my readers. Also any banners are also affiliate links. I explain this in more detail below. I will also be writing a separate blog post talking about affiliate links and the reason for this disclosure which my readers will be able to visit when it is completed.**
HOSTING YOUR BLOG
My first step was to find a hosting company for my blog. I did some research, visited other blogs that specialized in this topic, and read up on the different hosting companies that were available out there.
The one that seemed to stick out of the crowd was Bluehost.com. If you want to check them out or want to host your own blog and you signup using one of my links on this site not only will you get a special offer price of $3.45 a month which comes with a 30-day money back guarantee (in case you change your mind) but I will also get a small amount of money from Bluehost for referring you to them. This is one of the benefits of owning your own blog over using a free blog is you are allowed to have affiliate links.
Some blogs are loaded with affiliate links and are noticeably trying to push them on the readers, I wanted to try to avoid that. I would love for my readers to decide to visit some of my affiliates via the links I offer but I don’t want you the reader to feel like that is all I am writing this blog for is to talk you into doing so. I feel like that makes a blog not very enjoyable to read.
I want to share my experience and offer my readers the same experiences I have had with creating a blog which have so far all been very positive. This is my very first go at using an affiliate link in a post so I don’t yet have any idea how well it will do. I guess it will be up to those who read this post and if they decide to use my links to help create their own blogs.
When I was trying to decide on which domain hosting service to use I found a link to Bluehost.com in a blog about creating your own blog I found on Pinterest.com and clicked on the link and was rewarded with a the same special deal that I am now able to offer you with my links. I am sure after I joined the owner of the blog I joined from was rewarded with a payment from Bluehost. I know that I do not regret using the affiliate link as I was able to join Bluehost at a discount and I felt I was getting a quality product in exchange plus helping out a fellow blogger at the same time. The link like the one that got me started is below.
Now that I have used Bluehost.com as my hosting provider for a while now I know that it is a good service. I have spent a lot of hours working on my blog, creating content, and updating the look and feel of my site. I have also made a few mistakes and had to learn from them as well but all of it has been a learning experience and Bluehost as well as WordPress have made the process enjoyable and dare I say easy. Some things have been easy other things have been a little bit of a challenge but I promise if I have been able to figure it out anyone can do it.
I think the most difficult part of creating a new blog for me so far was coming up with a name for my blog that both fit my style and which I felt would make sense to those who were visiting my blog. I had several ideas that were epic in my own mind but when I tried to register them lo and behold someone else beat me to the punch.
I would say it took me a good part of a Tuesday to finally find an available name that was fitting and not already taken. Maybe that will not be every persons experience and you will get it on the first try if you are lucky. Just keep in mind from all the posts I have read and the research I have put in I have found a few rules to go by when searching for the perfect name for your blog. Some of those are:
- Don’t use your real name. I read a story from one blogger that used their real name, created a very successful blog, but now has big regrets about it and worries if they change it now the success they have been enjoying will dissipate.
- Try to keep it simple. Don’t create a blog/domain name that is to long, confusing, or hard to understand. You want your followers to be able to easily remember your blog/domain name so they can type it in easily, remember it, and hopefully share it with others.
- Don’t use anything offensive. Unless that is the point of your blog I guess, some people may have some luck with that but I feel like you will be hurting your brand and your blog if the name of it alone instantly alienates people. Plus if it is to offensive it may not be able to be featured on certain sites.
- Be happy with it. The most important thing is that you are happy with your choice. You are after all the owner and the one paying the bills, you should be able to be proud of your creation.
Have you thought of any good names yet? Want to give them a try to see if they are available? Type your idea below and see if it is available.