How to start a blog; Domain name and hosting | Part 1

A blog can be defined as an online publication that relates to topics with personal commentary, opinion or experiences. Having a blog is an excellent way to express yourself, showcase your knowledge and skills as well as a basis for personal development. You can blog on any topic you want, that’s whats so great about it.

It can be hard figuring out where to start and this guide should make things clearer. In this post (Part 1) you will learn about creating a blog brand, buying a domain name and then finally buy web hosting.

The process in part one is:

  1. Blog type and branding
  2. Domain name registration
  3. Selecting and buying web hosting
  4. Linking your domain name to hosting

Starting out; what to blog about?!

Something you love, are learning, have knowledge in or maybe there is a niche for that area (reviews). If you enjoy writing about a topic and/or can do it easily that’s a good starting point. You blog doesn’t even need to have a purpose it can just be personal thoughts or opinions you want to get of your chest.

 

Your blog branding

What you’re going to be mainly blogging about or even achieve with your blog can determine its branding. By branding i mean name, logos and associations.

With this blog (personal blog) i aimed for it to be a showcase on my skills and knowledge with a bit of opinion pieces mixed in. The name corbpie is how I associate myself all over the internet. Given my personal website was at https://corbpie.com I made my blog be on the sub domain write (https://write.corbpie.com). It still gives separation to my website but also comes under its branding.

Keep in mind you don’t want to limit yourself, having a blog branded for iPhone news may mean it will look silly if you post about iPads without changing your branding.

A starting point would be to go to a domain registrar like namesilo and check the name you want is available in .com and base your branding around that one term/word/s. Strong branding is consistency through the domain name to social accounts.

Your blog theme will also influence and be influenced by your branding. Tech blogs have that clean minimal look whilst agencies go for a more grid layout.

Choosing and buying a domain name

Coming up with a domain name is actually hard because you don’t want to come down the path in 6 months time and think that you dislike the domain you are using. The two domain registrars I recommend would be Namesilo and Namecheap. I only use Namesilo now days but will put Namecheap here because they have picked up their game.

Avoid Godaddy please I can write a separate post on this but they are overpriced, costs for WHOIS privacy, make it so they can catch you out in fees and act shady. Just search it up or look here for more on this.

Namesilo most of the time has a consistent .com price of $8.99 USD with the occasional sale price at $6.99 USD. Namecheap is $10.98 USD. Both come with free WHOIS privacy which blocks your name and address being attached to the domain name for the world to see.

I’m a traditionalist and use .com you might come up with some catchy domain by using a funky tld like .io or .tech but keep in mind these cost more and some tlds don’t allow for WHOIS privacy.

I never register a domain without using WHOIS privacy.

Choosing and buying web hosting

Belive it or not but you actually don’t need to fork out a lot of money on web hosting for your blog, $15 USD a year will get you very good hosting. As this guide is for beginners I am going to be focusing on shared web hosting.

Webhosting is a variable to your blog that you can change later without it effecting anything (if you have backups). Ideally though you should find a good host and stick with them. Two key pieces  to know when choosing a host:

  1. Company age in web hosting.
  2. Company reviews/opinions.

A web host from 10+ years ago will know what they are doing and have many reputation on the line to not do a dodgy or off poor service. Always Google the company’s name to see what experiences their customers are having.

To find hosts look at lowendtalk or webhostingtalk offers section. Many of these hosts get around on the many forum sites and you can also see how long they have been around for and how they handle issues.

Dont get sucked into the cheapest, whilst it can work it wont be at a satisfactory level. Depending on your blogging platform you will need a little bit of computing resources.

Factors that your hosting should have include:

  • SSD or NVMe storage drives
  • Free SSL
  • Cpanel

Optional but highly beneficial:

  • Jetbackup
  • Litespeed
  • DDos protection
  • Dedicated ip address

If your blog will feature media (images/videos) then you will need at least 30 GB storage, otherwise 10 GB will be fine.

Hosts i recommend are:

For this blog i use Ventraip it’s a pricier premium hosting with supreme support. I mostly have it due to the large resource allocations and very low latency as its Australian hosting.

Configuring domain to web host

Once you have a domain name and web hosting you can finally connect the two. This will be done with name servers. In your web hosting service welcome email that had your Cpanel address and username/password in it should also contain the name servers the host has assigned. If not ask them or Google it.

My Ventraip name servers are:

ns1.syd1.hostingplatform.net.au

ns2.syd1.hostingplatform.net.au

In your hosting go to the domain manager for your blogs domain name, it will have the default registrar name servers

Change these out for you web hosts given name servers, they should have stated at least 2 but sometimes more. Just enter as many as you have and save.

DNS propagation doesn’t happen instantly but it’s relatively quick,¬† now its time to install a blogging platform, theme and plugins…..