Now that we have gone through blogging for money part 1 and part 2 of the blogging process, it is time to move on to the next, which is where to host your website. I have learned, these past couple of days, that there is whole world out there relating to this subject, and in an effort to simplify things, I will try to narrow this down to hosting your blog. After all, I am writing about Blogging and not on how to create an eCommerce/Shopping Carts and/or massive websites that needs complex database management and the sorts.
By now, you probably have chosen your host (free or paid) already. When I mean host, it is where your blog is living (sort of like a home). It is where your template, posts, comments, widgets, etc, are stored. Regardless of what motivated you on where to host your blog, there are some things you should remember or be aware of, when continuing on your blogging journey. As for me, I have chosen to host my blog on Blogger (by Google), and I will tell you why later.
Some few things we should have in mind when choosing where to host or setup our blog.
1. Realibility – Content is King, Quality is Nectar of The Gods and your Host should be a Paradise. A place where you can have your blog up and running without having to worry if it is down, good enough disk space, bandwidth and more. The myth about a paid host being better than the free ones is a concept I totally disagree with, because, paying is not a synonym to good and reliable service. It could be more powerful, true, but then again, it depends on your individual needs. So, if you decide to move or start from scratch, just remember to read reviews, forums and everything else you can find before making a decision. Free is good and it is a way to make money (by not spending). Be careful though about the freebies, as this is where reliability plays harder and I suggest you go for the ones that have been proven reliable in the past.
TIP: This is something a lot of you forget or probably do not do at all, and that is BACKING UP your data. It doesn’t matter if your hosting company says that they are 99.9% reliable. There is still that 0.1% chance you should worry about. You do not want to wake up the next day and oh, where is my blog! Believe me, this can happen only to you. Just imagine all your hard work, down the trash, and worst, no way of recovering it. This can be the end, unless of course you started yesterday, had a single post (about me) and one blog. So remember BACKUP your template and your data. A question. When was the last time you actually did this?
2. Paid or Free – Controversy in the making? It really depends on what you are looking for. Terabytes of Disk Space – (maybe you are thinking of having massive amounts of images, videos, etc. – don’t forget photobucket and youtube); Bandwidth – no matter how popular your blog is, you probably will hardly use more than 30% of popular hosting plans; PHP/MySql support – should you decide to use a blogging software such as WordPress and store a huge amount of data; Hundreds of email users, and this can go on.
Sometimes our decision is based on a distant future, such as, oh but I want a plugin that can rotate my ads. I want a flashy, web 2.0 type WP theme. I want… Ok, you win, as far as I know, Blogger does not support ad rotation (but there is a way around that – now you are curious) and Free WordPress does not run AdSense (apparently there is also a way around that). You can get all of this on a Paid hosting plan of course, but remember, first, to blog, then sophisticate. Don’t get me wrong, eventually you will have to invest a little as your needs and time goes by. Until then, I suggest you explore all the possibilities of your chosen host first and if it is free, even better. Makes sense?
Now, if you are very interested in PHP/MySql, cPanel, free emails, and something else, I have found a site that offers all this (in one package), with no ads, for free. It even includes Fantastico AutoInstaller for WP, Drupal, Joomla and all the technical paraphernalia. They ask for a donation, but that is your choice. I do not vouch for this sites reliability, and I am using it to gain experience on PHP’s, MySql’s and stuff (good training ground for trial and errors:). Check it out if you want on 000webhost (not a referral link). Another option you may want to consider is FreePark Hosting solutions. They offer free web hosting, which is perfect for those just beginning.
3. Ease of Use – Let’s face the fact that most of us have different levels of technical knowledge. I for one, use common sense and have not studied anything about programming. This is why, I opted for a hosted solution. Hosted solution is when almost everything is provided. Setting up the Web addresses, choosing a URL for your site (mostly a sub-domain), some online tools for editing your blog (and, perhaps, for editing the template and making some minor changes to the functionality), and you’re ready to go. Examples of hosted solutions are Blogger.com and WordPress.com.
4. Technical Support and/or Customer Service – Ah! The beast. Can’t argue here. Your blog depends on it. At one point, you will need support, and when this happens, you send a ticket to their support department and wait, wait, wait. Finally, and probably after sending follow up’s, you get an answer saying: you have to set up a CNAME that points to 121.000.222 and alter MX records. Before doing this, change the A record and alter your HTML in compliance with W3… Well, I guess you all know where I am going. My answer to them: can you do all of this for me… please:). So, before signing up (or for those who are thinking of moving their blogs), check them out. Send them some test emails and evaluate their response. Then decide.
Apart from this, did you know that most of my problems were answered by you, my fellow bloggers? This is why we are here, not just to make a sale, but also to help each other, entertain, inform, and enjoy. This is another reason why I opted for Blogger. There are gazillions of people out there who use it and are my main source for support.
A sneak preview: These past days, I have been doing some experiment to prove a point about Blogger.com and it’s possibilities. If you have noticed, I have on my side bar, something that says NEW (TOC and Bits&Pieces). Well, check it out if you please. Note that I have on blogger.com, my custom domain, iblogzone.com and these two new pages (if you want) are sub-domains of iblogzone.com, also on Blogger. These is like 3 blogs in 1. Soon, I will tell you, where I got my template, how I modified it, how I pointed my custom domain to Blogger, and more. All this, for free.
Once again, thank you all for the support you have given me and sorry for the long post. Hope this did not bore you:)
Next on Reverse Order: Content… How to Write.