Are you ready to set up your blog? If you haven’t read the first part of this series I suggest you do that first.
Read it? OK, let’s move on….It is now time to set up your blog! Exciting!
1. Choose Your Hosting Type
The first thing you need to consider is your hosting options. You can choose free or paid for hosting.
Let’s go through the pros and cons of both.
Free hosting is provided by sites like Blogger.com and WordPress.com. I have personally used both of these sites for small blogs in the past, and I tend to prefer Blogger, only because I found it a bit easier to use and customize. Do a bit of research though. See what seems to be a better fit for you.
Pros: It’s free!
Cons: With free sites you won’t have a customizable URL. For example, if The Wanderlander was on Blogger our URL would have been www.thewanderlanders.blogspot.com. This makes your site look a lot less professional. Free sites also don’t offer the same security options, email address (for example mine is firstname.lastname@example.org), or customization options.
Paid For Hosting:
I use Bluehost for hosting for The Wanderlanders. There are other options out there, but most bloggers will agree that Bluehost is the way to go. In fact, Bluehost is the only hosting site officially recommended by WordPress.
Pros: You get a free domain name. Through Bluehost you can sign up for WordPress.org (not to be confused with its free brother WordPress.com). WordPress.org allows you to choose from several free themes or download a pay for theme. These themes can offer a lot of customization options. For the Wanderlanders I use a great customizable pay-for theme called Newspaper. You can check it out here.
Bluehost has extremely reliable hosting. I had a problem once which caused my site to crash due to Bluehost server problems. I called the Bluehost customer service (which is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week) and they fixed the problem right away for me. It was painless and super easy.
Cons: You have to pay for it. All the options can be a bit intimidating for blogging newbies.
So what do you think?
If you are leaning towards paid for hosting, I’ll walk you through the Bluehost signup.
2. Go To Bluehost.com
For The Wanderlanders I use the Performance Plan (the middle one) but as a newbie blogger I would recommend you start with the Starter plan. You can always upgrade your plan later. The only reason I went with Performance Plan is because I wanted a higher storage space. For starting out I don’t think it is necessary. Save yourself a bit of money.
I spent several weeks staring at this page (no joke). Choosing the name The Wanderlanders was probably the most difficult decision I’ve made so far with this site, and it should be a difficult decision for you too. Don’t go with the first name you think sounds nice. If you’re serious about this blogging thing you have to consider your name will be your new identity. It will get you business (or not) and it will make you unique (or not).
If you are starting a site to blog your expat life I suggest staying away from anything with the words; travel, adventure, nomad. They are way overused.
Here are a few expat bloggers with great titles that I think are really catchy and stand out.
How great are those? (They are also all amazing blogs from fabulous people. Check em out!)
Some of the titles I was originally thinking about were:
Life’s A Wanderland
Leaper Life (Which my mom told me sounded too close to leper life haha)
The Renegade Route
Feel free to use any of those if you’re interested!
The reason I eventually went with The Wanderlanders is because I think it’s easy to remember and it looked good as a URL. If I had gone with Life’s A Wanderland the URL would have been lifesawanderland.com and I didn’t like how that looked.
I also wanted to convey that this site is not solely about me. It’s for everyone. All of you are wanderlanders too! 🙂
So, anyway, make a list of all the names you’re thinking about. See if they are available on Bluehost. Check out thesaurus.com to find good alternatives to overused words. Ask friends for their opinions, and then wait. Give yourself at least a full week to turn your different ideas over in your mind before you make your final decision.
You will have to enter your contact information here.
I chose to signup with Bluehost for 36 months because even though it is expensive, I knew I was more likely to stick with this if I knew I had invested a lot of money in it. Also, it’s cheaper per month if you signup for the full 36 months. Also also, I can be a bit unorganized and I had this vision of signing up for 12 months and forgetting to renew and losing my domain name.
Next, you have to choose between these intimidating options like Domain Privacy, Site Backup etc.
With The Wanderlanders the only thing I pay for is Domain Privacy Protection. This means that when people search for The Wanderlanders they can not find out my personal contact information. I did a lot of research and determined the rest of the things were not really necessary. Do your own research, though. Maybe for you, these options are more important.
If you want to pay with PayPal that is also an option. Just click, “More payment options.” Just so you know, it does charge you the full amount right away. You are not billed over time.
When you finish hit Submit! Woot! You did it! You’re now officially a blogger.
You will then be directed to a page to signup and download WordPress. Get ready for the next several days to be spent playing around with WordPress to try to get the hang of it. Try different free themes and if you get to the point that you want a paid for theme check out Theme Forest here for a great selection.
Now on to the next section! Time to design your site and brand.
Note: I am an affiliate of Bluehost and Theme Forest, meaning if you signup for Bluehost or Theme Forest using the links on this page I will get a small cut of the profits at no extra cost to you. I only ever suggest products or services to you that I personally use or support.
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