Starting a blog is a big and bold move and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already got your platform sorted, your blog name down, and are already writing your first post. But wait. A little more patience can be a lot more rewarding. I learned this after two years, but you can start a little differently.
As part of the Blogging Tips series, I’ll go through my learning from when I started and take it right up to where I am now, and I’ll impart some of that ‘wisdom’ (*disclaimer: I’ve never been called wise*) into these posts.
First up: What blogging platform will you use?
This is a very important step when you first start out. There are many platforms to choose from including WordPress, Blogger, Wix, and many others. You need to find the one that will be right for you.
This also requires a little bit of forethought i.e. where do you see your blog in the next, 2, 5, or even 10 years? If you have big ambitions and want to monetise in the future, then this step could make that process a whole lot easier.
I chose WordPress because I had seen a friend of mine using it, so I wasn’t exactly clued up. Luckily for me I chose well, and WordPress fits in with my future goals, and it will allow me to expand when I decide I want to.
I wanted something that was
- Easy to use
- Gave me good themes to match my blog
- Had lots of support if I got stuck with designing
WordPress users are lucky because WP is so ginormous, a lot of self-hosting sites allow for the direct transfer of WordPress sites over to a new self-hosted domain so you don’t have to learn to code or learn any other kind of technical skills.
If you’re wondering what the pros and cons are of different free hosting sites, check out this in-depth article by wpbeginner.com
Self-hosted v Free blogging platforms
This all depends on what stage you are currently at with your blog, or what you want from it right now. For those bloggers just starting out and who want to get a feel for blogging in general, free sites are probably your best bet. This will allow you to practice your writing, gain an audience, and explore your niche a little bit. You just pick a name, pick a theme, upload your content and away you go – there is obviously more to it than that, but not too much more, just adding social media sharing etc. It’s a relatively easy process.
The Pros of Free sites:
- They’re free!
- They come with some easy-to-use themes and you can preview them before installation
- You don’t need to worry about coding or other technical ‘stuff’
- Built-in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) support
- Easy-to-find widgets that you just ‘add’ on to your site
- A limited number of theme templates that you can choose from
- Your site can be shut down at any time by the host
- No Monetisation unless you upgrade
- No personalised domain unless you upgrade
- A limited number of widgets to add-on to your site
For those who have had blog in the past or who have a lot of expertise writing, and have a little cash to spend, self-hosted sites may be the best option for you. Self-hosted sites allow you to monetise immediately by placing ads on your site. You can also allow purchasing of any of your own products through the site as well.
Self-hosted sites have lots of pros, including:
- Freedom of design
- Personalised domain (and email if you want it)
- Your content, your choice – your site won’t be shut down due to its content (within obvious reason)
- You can add your own widgets.
- You can code your designs should you want to
- You need to back up all of your data every so often, if you don’t and something goes wrong, you could lose it.
- Might be too technical for some
- Less support with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Still unsure on what platform to use? Check out the following sites for expert opinions and in-depth comparisons.
Next up in the series is Choosing Your Niche.
P.S I’d love to meet you on twitter:here.
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