Looking to start a blog or build a website? A lot of times people rush to start a blog or build a website before they do enough research. Doing research on the best hosting platforms to use and all those important details can often be overlooked. For you to start a blog successfully or build a successful website you need these four things.
- Domain name
The domain name is the web address of your site. The website name people search to get to your blog or website.
The best place to buy a domain for your blog is Namecheap.com. They are the best in my opinion and are also the most affordable long term, as well as being a reliable and reputable domain host.
Most site hosting companies offer free domains (most times for the first year only) or you can purchase a domain together with hosting, (some are limited to one while you can purchase several with others) but I would recommend hosting your domain separately from your site.
The main benefit of that is that if you ever choose to change your hosting, your domain will be hosted separately so you will be able to easily move with it.
The drawback to hosting it separately is that you will need to go through a small process of connecting the domain from its host to your WordPress host. However, there are several YouTube videos that can guide you through the process to simplify it.
- Site host
A website host is a place that houses your website. It provides the services required for your website to be accessible over the internet. This is basically where you store your website.
You can have a hosted site for example on WordPress.com or Wix, or you can have a self-hosted website WordPress.org site via a hosting platform like Siteground, Bluehost, Hostgator, Ipage to name a few.
Some hosted sites provide free hosting but they come with a number of restrictions that having a self-hosted site doesn’t.
I would recommend using self-hosting to build your site because you have more choices over the following things:
- The price you pay for hosting
- The design of your site
- The functions available on your site
- Whether you can earn or not from your site
- How much you earn from your site etc.
Most hosted platforms will charge you extra to add some of these features. I, therefore, recommend you start with a self-hosted hosted site if you have a clear goal for your blog or website. You can start a self-hosted sited for as little as $1 per month with IPage, as well as other similarly affordable hosting providers like Bluehost, Siteground etc.
However, if you don’t have a clear plan or you just want to try out setting your own blog or website then do experiment on the free platforms like Wix or Squarespace.
- Site theme
This is the build and makeup of your site front. The design of your website and how it looks.
You can buy a theme or you can use a free one offered by your hosting provider. I recommend buying one because there will be more functions, better flexibility and if you are clueless about coding like me, customer support will be included in the purchase price, as well as other options not available on a free one.
Here’s a list of some of the best places to buy a premium theme online:
The great thing about buying a premium theme is that most come with a one-click demo import which means you simply import your site design and only have to rearrange and edit the text to personalize it to your desired need. Free ones will usually only give you the basic framework and you will have to do the rest of the designing yourself which takes a longer time and more effort.
- Plugins and Widgets
Widgets and plugins are basically extension apps you can use to advance your website features and add more functions or services to it. They are not the same thing but they have similar functions and sometimes a plugin may contain a widget.
These are most commonly available on self-hosted sites and may not be available on sites that are not self-hosted. So one may need to buy hosting in order to access them.
They are essential if you want to add extra features where the theme you are using is limited or where you want to connect third-party services like email subscription forms and the like.
While most plugins are free, some are paid for. Most plugins are free on WordPress.org and you may get away with never having to buy any if you are using WordPress.org.
Most blogs fail because people do not do enough research before they start and they miss small details such as using SEO optimized themes and choosing the right platform to host your blog. These four are what you need before you start blogging and this is just brief information to give you the background information you need.
So I would recommend you to do as much research as possible before you start your blog so that you know what you are doing when you start and set you up for success.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.