The first thing that captures every visitor’s interest on a website is the appearance and not the content features. How beautiful a website/blog is continues to keep people or attract them for a revisit. People also judge the authenticity of a website based on how clearly built it is. Believe it or not, many people close up a website that look shabby just a few seconds after they are loaded.
While what determines the look of a website or blog can come from a lot of factors, deciding the platform to build your blog matters a great deal.
In this post, I will look into how to build a beautiful and very powerful blog that can attract visitors all the time. You will be able to see some mistakes people make in setting up blogs and how you can avoid them.
Free or Self Hosted (Paid Domains) -Which Should You Go For?
There are two types of blogging sites you can go for. Free blog sites and self hosted (Paid Domains) blog sites.
When you want to apply free domain/free blogs, there are a few factors you will do well to consider:
- You have a shared domain (for example I have this same blog on blogger as www.thinaircash.blogspot.com).
- You don’t technically own the blog or its content; the host does.
- You won’t be able to make a lot of money on a free blog. Today Google disapproves the use of free names to request for AdSense services.
While these do not stop you from using a free blog to start your blogging experience, it is very wise for this post to mention the factors above to you. In future, I will show you more reasons I will not recommend free blogs for anyone who wants blogging as a business idea. You are on this website because you have chosen blogging as a business idea -as part of our thin air cash project. So you should consider doing a profitable blog based on self hosted names.
List of some free blog Services
Blogger is a free blog website owned and managed by Google. Most of us started blogging with blogger and gained more experience from there. To me, blogger remains the best option for those who are looking for something very quick and very simple.
Many people still use blogger for their blogs but, like I said before, Blogger is a free blog project and will earn you little or no money if you use it for blogging business. Google no longer aprove adsense applications that are coming from Blogger. They want you to start your blog on paid domain. The best way to retain the experiences you have using Blogger website is to link your domain name (private) to your blogger website.
Blogger websites are easily set up and are user-friendly. Within a few hours, you can have a full website or blog already running even without experience from your site.
I think that the most popular blog platform is wordpress. In fact, I choose wordpress because of its versatility. It can be used accross many platforms to build all kinds of websites. WordPress gives you a unique dynamic website on the go if you know your onus well. I build more than 99% of all my clients’ websites on WordPress.
Do you know that WordPress is responsible for 76.5 million blogs and counting! The reason why wordpress is so popular has a lot to do with its flexibility and unique features, such as the ability to customize your permalinks. Beginners and veteran users can comfortably use WordPress to customise websites within a few minutes.
WordPress plugins can also help you to achieve a lot of feat while working with a chosen theme. There are countless plugins and many more a produced on daily bases. Better still, most of these themes and plugins are given free at WordPress.org. There are lots of feature that make WordPress unavoidably the best free blog platform. This website for example is built on wordpress.
However, that a website is built on wordpress does not mean that it is a free blog or website. WordPress allows you to host your website and create a sub-domain on wordpress.com. This means that you can have thinaircash.wordpress.com for this particular blog. But remember that once this happens, the shortcomings of a free blog then apply.
Ghost is another open-source blogging platform that has a focus on welcoming advanced users into a platform where they have complete control over the look and feel of their website.
Ghost, like WordPress, and Blogger mentioned above, is a free blog project with same shortcomings but it offers a few features that make it stand out from the crowd. It is perfect for starters due to the implementation of a split-screen editor that offers a live preview on the right while you work on the left.
Ghost has support for multiple users with the ability to work in tandem and collaborate with your team or a fellow author on your blog. Contents are organised in the same way you would see your emails, which makes it easy to pick and choose your workflow. It then means that you can start a Blog without any knowledge of programming of any kind. So long as you can send emails, you can blog using Ghost.
Each content in Ghost can be edited same way you edit an email content and you find them the same way you find emails once you login.
You can try out Ghost platform at www.ghost.org.
Tumblr is a blog platform that focuses mainly on micro-blogging just like twitter and the like. This term refers to the way posts are uploaded on the platform.
Like Twitter, Tumblr promotes fewer words and more animated Gifs that make posts more attractive and inviting. Tumblr is free and helps bloggers even go more steps in advertsing their long posts of other platforms.
This is a quote from Tumblr:
“We made it really, really simple for people to make a blog and put whatever they want on it. Stories, photos, GIFs, TV shows, links, quips, dumb jokes, smart jokes, Spotify tracks, mp3s, videos, fashion, art, deep stuff. Tumblr is 324 million different blogs, filled with literally whatever.”
What can be easier than this:
“Once you follow a blog, all of its posts show up in your dashboard, just like you’d expect. See something great? Reblog it to your own blog. Add commentary if you like. Make it your own. Other people will do the same to your posts. That’s how you meet people here.”
Visit www.tmblr.org to find information about Tumblr and how you can use it for free.
I will particularly post about medium from what they posted on their website
Check this out
“Your ideas matter
Medium is a free and open platform where anyone can express themselves. Our world-class editor makes writing simple and fun.
Our easy-to-use tools make sure all your work looks great. It’s simple to integrate photos, audio, and video. And our publishing tools allow you to write once, share anywhere.”
Here, you’ll be able to read other people’s work which will in turn inspire new content for you. Using Medium is a beautiful way to get involved with the spirit of blogging.
There are other free blog platforms that you may wish to checkout. I will not post details about all of them but you can check out these few others:
This is a claim from Wix “Wix unites beauty and advanced technology to create your stunning website. It’s easy and free.”
This is a claim by Penzu: ”
Whether you’re looking for a tool to record your daily emotions and activities in a reflective journal, keep track of milestones in a food diary or pregnancy journal, or even record your dreams in a dream journal, Penzu has you covered.
Penzu gives you all the tools you need to focus on the ideas you want to preserve, rather than the process of writing itself.”
You can use Google to find out many more free blog platforms that will help you publish a blog without having to register a private domain. Believe me, it works. The only thing you need to do is think about the shortcomings.
Self Hosted (Personal/Private registered) Domain
When we call a blog “free,” we are simply referring to the domain. If you register a blog like this thinaircash.blogspot.com, you have simply registered a free domain for your blog. Your control panel is found inside another person’s website. It has numerous challenges and above all, you stand a chance to lose acceptability by google for monetizing your blog.
The solution to this is creating a self-managed domain. This is a paid domain that is renewable annually.
There are many companies online that offer domain services. We have some names like GoDady, CybeUltra, HostGator, 1And1, Whois Media, Web4Africa, etc. These companies can give you a good service for a very low price. If you are in Nigeria, Web4Africa will help you register your domain in Naira and totally avoid the embarrassment of your card being rejected while paying on international websites.
After registering your domain, you will need to host your blog in a reliable server. The companies I mentioned above can do both domain registration and web hosting. I will also suggest that you use Google search to find more companies who may give you cheaper hosting services online.
Hosting a blog can be as low in price as $1.0 per month. I want you to know that hosting packages very and this reflects on the prices paid for the services by different companies. For example, CyberUltra charges something like $3.99 per month for a Gigabite of space. There are companies who offer unlimited space and may go for up to $10.0 per month.
We also have Cloud hosting that give fair prices. A cloud hosting is far better and faster than the shared hosting services we mentioned above.
So my suggestion is that you use Google service to find what is suitable for the project/blog you want to handle.
After registration of domain and Hosting service have been done, the next step for self hosted blogs is for installation of the blog platform.
In this illustration now, I am going to show you how to start a blog from scratch using WordPress
- Login to your hosting cpanel (if your host runs cpanel) using the appropriate ip. My login for this website’s Cpanel is http://thinaircash.com:2082. This is the address that gets me to the cpanel and it shows a window like this screenshot
- After logging in, a window like what you see on the screenshot will appear
- Scroll down to a point where you will see the SOFTACULOUS APPS INSTALLER
- Then Click on WordPress Logo/Icon with WordPress written under it. This will take you to another window which gets you ready to install your wordpress site. That window looks like this:
- Clicking on Install or Install Now will get you to another window where you will set up the site initial data as you want them. Look at the resulting screen below: Fill up the entire form as you see it and be sure to read up information just in case you are doing it for the first time.
Let me help you a little.
This requires you to indicate whether your site was registered as https or just http. In most cases it is http. You will need to pay for the SSL before your domain will procure and extra security feature (https)
Please choose the domain to install the software.
The directory is relative to your domain and should not exist. e.g. To install at http://mydomain/dir/ just type dir. To install only in http://mydomain/ leave this empty.
At this point, you are expected to describe your blog. So choose what describes your blog/website and write it inside the box.