Coming from someone who still doesn’t really understand what ‘the cloud’ is, it was a bit overwhelming on how to set up and run a blog, and just recently, figuring out how to upgrade from Weebly to WordPress.
So how do I start a blog or a website? In short, a functioning website needs:
- A domain name (for example, www.bradyswebsite.com)
- Someone to host your website, which will store the information and provide a space to work on your site
- A website creation tool like WordPress or Weebly
How you choose these will be based on your budget (which can be $0), time willing to invest and general confidence in your technical computer prowess (as well as patience dealing with internet jargon).
Keep in mind, some websites like GoDaddy.com and Weebly.com offer all three of these services, and usually as a package deal. I use GreenGeeks.com for hosting, GoDaddy.com for my domain name (as I found the best prices with them) and WordPress for website building, but that gets confusing trying to keep track of multiple logins. So in hindsight, I wish I had gone simply with one company for everything.
Again, a domain name is the name or address of your website. Millions are already spoken for, so clearly you can’t create your personal blog called Google.com (unless you have several billion $$ kicking around to buy it off of them). A domain name is made up of the name itself (i.e. mywebsite) and the extension (.ca, .com, .net, .org).
There are free, dirt cheap ($1 per year), or paid domain names. The cost is based on many factors, such as the strength and popularity of the name.
Examples of free domain names:
(from Weebly, and for a free domain name they add their name on the end)
Examples of cheap ($1-$2) domain names:
typically these are names that are longer, contain less popular words, and have few similar domain names that are taken.
Examples of paid domain names:
These are potentially high demand names with lots of similar names taken or used. Many will be unavailable if you check, so you’ll have to figure out a variation, whether it be the name itself or the extension.
Try GoDaddy.com, where you can search for a site name and check its availability. If available, you can purchase the domain name for the price listed.
Just as your computer is the host for all your files and documents, a website host manages your website and everything it contains, and gives it a place to exist on the internet. It’s your website’s home, basically, and how comfy that home is comes down again to budget and technical know-how.
There’s no point reinventing the wheel, so here’s a link to a great list with details, reviews and prices for many of the most popular hosting sites.
Website Creation Tools
Weebly is great for someone who doesn’t want to bother with any of the learning curve, or has little time to invest in building a site. Within 10 minutes, you can create a login, choose a theme, add some pages, and drag and drop content in for a fully complete, working website. Then you can either choose a Weebly domain (www.mysite.weebly.com) or purchase a domain through Weebly. This is a great option as it keeps everything in one nice easy package.
For me, this was a great way to test the waters and see if blogging was for me. Well two years later, and I’m still at it! So I moved everything over to WordPress. Once it was all set up, learning WordPress was intuitive and fun. I did the WordPress tutorials through Lynda.com, but you need to pay to use this site. The other great resource is WPBeginner.com which has piles of great resources and tutorials on getting your WordPress site running.
Best of luck!