Blogging can be one of the most rewarding hobbies you can imagine, if you do it right. Successful blogs even become profitable without being annoying, and can vault you into the limelight of the publishing community. If your blog is struggling or you are struggling to come up with content, then maybe it’s just because successful blogging is not intuitive. Today is the first in my 10-Part series on improving your blog and your blogging. Here is the first tip that you either have to discover the hard way or evolve to succeed.
Where does your blog live? Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, LiveJournal? Those are all fine platforms for getting the job done, but surely you’ve noticed that some blogs do not have the extra address information to remember. Have you ever found a good blog before, but not been able to remember whether it was a “.blogspot” or “.wordpress” to get back there? You have to do a search and hope they are indexed. Search engines work fine, and people usually have you in their sidebars for easy clicking, but an easy URL is priceless, too.
“How do you get a cool name?” you ask. That’s the easy part. Register a domain name from a domain site, such as www.GoDaddy.com
. They offer easy tools to register several domain names, sites, and even pre-installed blogging software. For true beginners, a domain is the name people type into the address bar to navigate directly to your blog without having to use a search engine. My domain is PerfectlyPetersen.com. Domain names are not case-sensitive, so the captials are for easy reading only.
Keep things cheap and just buy the domain for one year and don’t bother with any frills or additional packages that they offer you, unless you are ready to pull the trigger on a hosting plan with GoDaddy (I use them and endorse them). I have gotten to the point where I register names that I have dreams of starting up something in the future and registering domains for family and friends and keep the registrations in my profile if they want me to renew them.
The next step is hosting the blog. Most (I believe all) of the previously listed blogging sites allow you to re-direct a domain name to your current blog. It will take a while for search engines to catch up with the new domain, but if everyone changes their links to point to your flashy new name, it shouldn’t take too long. My first blog was on Blogger. It was getting 100 hits per day before I bought a domain name and started self-hosting it (coming up next). It took about 2 weeks for Google to really start driving traffic over. A month later, the Blogger site was only getting hits for specific articles that people were searching for on Google. I eventually exported the old blog’s content to my new domain and it began getting the traffic instead, so I deleted my Blogger blog. I still have Blogger blogs, but nothing I take seriously. It’s an easy platform, what can I say?
With a self-hosted blogging platform (the software that runs WordPress, TypePad, and Movable Type) you have complete control of the design of your blog and anything related to e-mail, traffic tracking, and generally more freedom to add features not allowed on the free sites. Blogger, for example always has that bar at the top of your blog that you just have to deal with. I have used all of the above platforms, but I found WordPress to be both powerful and intuitive (finally, something intuitive!) to use. Unless you are going to change a lot of design elements, no web programming is necessary. Again, I use GoDaddy.com
for my hosting because the Premier package for $6.99/mo allows me to host as many blogs as I want with their own domain names. They all point to the same server host, but all the pages have their original name. Sweet!
What method do you use? What would it take to get you going on something in the “next level” of blogging? If it’s merely a little help, give me a shout. We’re all in this together.