There are a lot of options for hosting, free and paid. It’s impossible to describe how all of them work in a single post, so I’m beginning with WordPress. They are the leading provider for both free and paid hosting. They’re also the easiest way to get started that I’ve personally used. Here’s all it took.
Go to the WordPress website. Make sure you’re at the .com location, not the .org website. WordPress does both and there is a difference. The dot com version of WordPress hosts free blogs. The dot org side is for those who use WordPress, but self host.
Create an account. This is super easy. Look for the big, orange, “Get Started” button. Click it and follow the step-by-step instructions. Done.
You’ll land on this page. The actual layout may vary depending on the browser you use, but all the boxes for information will be the same. Fill in all the pertinent information.
Pick a web address. Type in the web address you want to use. WordPress automatically checks to see if it’s available. If it is available as a free web address (also called a domain), you’re good to go. If it isn’t, try another name until you find one that is available.
You’ll be offered two options. The free version and a custom domain. The custom domain costs $18 a year and looks like this: yourdomain.com. The domain name for my art website is carrie-lewis.com.
The free domain looks the same except for WordPress’s name on the end. WordPress gives you your domain for free because they get advertising every time you give out your blog address. Take a look at the URL for the blog I set up as part of this post, Carrie Lynn Lewis Author. It looks like this: carrielynnlewisauthor(dot)wordpress(dot)com.
Is this a big deal? Not as much as it used to be. In the Old Days (four or five years ago), bloggers and others were urged to spend money on their domains. The theory was that if you weren’t willing to spend money on your business, why should anyone else? I confess to having similar thoughts myself.
These days, that doesn’t matter as much. The preference is yours. If you want to try blogging for a while just to see if it’s for you, using a free service is perfectly okay. You can always upgrade to a custom domain if you like.
A Word About Domain Extensions
The .com part of the web address is called an extension. “Com” means commercial. There are a lot extensions currently available and more are added every day. You can choose a variety of extensions. Here is a short list.
.com – commercial
.net – network. Usually used by internet providers and other companies directly related to the infrastructure of the internet
.org – organization. Most often used by non-profit organizations and trade associations.
.biz – small business websites
.info – credible information websites. Resource websites’
.mobi – websites specially designed for mobile viewing
You’re most likely to use dot com for your domain, but it’s helpful to know what’s available. For a more complete list, check Understanding Domain Extensions.
The next page you’ll see after choosing your domain name is a page that gives you two options.
- Change your blog’s descriptions or permissions
- Change your blog’s theme
The first thing to do (in my opinion) is choose a theme, so click on the second option.
WARNING: This is where you could tie up a lot of time. There are nearly 300 themes available and many of them are free. If you’re anything like me, you’ll try out everything that catches your eye. Resist that temptation because it is very time consuming.
I scrolled through the free options (click on the “Free” option in the menu bar, on the right side), found one I liked, and chose that. Themes can be changed on a regular basis and without charge, so since I wanted to get through the process quickly, I restricted my browsing time.
Change your blog’s descriptions and permissions is where you set things like the title and subtitle of your blog, your time zone, and language. Make sure you do that now or it’s likely to be forgotten.
Yep. That’s it. By the time you’ve navigated the first four steps, your blog is up and running and you’re ready to start posting.
Yes, there are a lot more ways to fine tune and personalize your blog, but unless you’re absolutely certain you were meant to blog, don’t put a lot of time into those things up front. It’s more important to start producing content. Once you’re established and comfortable with the basics, then you can delve into the more intricate parts of the blogging process and experience.
Whether or not you know up front that blogging is for you, WordPres is a great way to get started or to test the waters.
And no, WordPress isn’t paying me to say this. I’ve just used WordPress on my self-hosted blogs for years and have always been satisfied with them. It’s a great company with a wide variety of services available for everyone from rank beginner to the serious businessperson.
Go ahead. Give ’em a look.
By the way, it took less than 45 minutes to set up my demonstration blog, Carrie Lynn Lewis, Author and that included writing this post as I went through the steps!
Next time, I’ll share a few more advanced tips and tricks for personalizing your blog.
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