Have you been wanting to start a blog but some of the terms are confusing you? It can be really easy to want to get started right away and buy all the things that the gurus are telling you, YOU NEED. But what’s even better? Taking your time to learn what you’re getting yourself into. Your foundation is key to starting a successful blog.
The MOST BASIC of all are your domain name and hosting. There are two ways you can register a domain name for your website. Once you have that then you will need hosting. So let’s discuss how you can get your domain plus the different kinds of hosting available for your blog.
What’s a Domain Name?
Your domain in simplest of terms is your site’s URL. But it is also your site’s identity and should be the same as what you plan to name your blog or business. Your domain should fit right into your niche. The simplest way to choose a domain is by going with your name.
At the time, my target audience was moms, but as my blog grew and my niche was more defined I had to change my domain to something more neutral. That’s why it is a good idea to really take the time to plan out what you want to blog about and get all those little details figured out.
In the long run it will save you money. I know most bloggers start out with a small budget so it’s best to take your time and figure out the basics.
Where do I get a domain from?
As I said earlier, you can get a domain in two different ways. If you are like me and want to secure a name you for sure want then you can buy it from Namecheap. When purchasing you a domain, you are securing it for at least a year so you will be paying an annual price.
I know a lot of bloggers that buy multiple domains because they have so many ideas which is why the purchase it from a place like NameCheap. But you can also secure a domain from your hosting company. (We will discuss more in detail what hosting is below.)
It can be easier to purchase the domain directly from your hosting company in order to keep everything in one place. In some cases, like with Bluehost, you can get a free domain for a year when you purchase a hosting plan. Other hosting companies might have you purchase it on top of your hosting.
Check to see if your domain name is available!
Tips for purchasing a new domain:
When purchasing a domain from a company that is not your hosting company, you will have to transfer the domain from them (Namecheap) to your hosting company (Bluehost). When you purchase a domain it becomes active so that it cannot be re-purchased from someone else. So the domain is “parked” in a server space by the company that you purchased it from.
Once you decide to get hosting for it, you will have to make sure it is pointing at your hosting. This can easily be done by changing the servers. If you plan on getting your domain from your hosting company then you will not have to do any of these steps because the domain will be activated as soon as you finalize your hosting purchase.
I hope I haven’t fully lost you – but all will be more clear once you know what hosting means.
What is Hosting?
Hosting is storage space on the internet for your site to live on. All types of website that are on the internet need web hosting. An easy way to think of hosting is like comparing it to a person. A person needs a place to live and that place needs an address. The address is your domain or URL, the actual home is your hosting and the person is the website and the content that lives in it.
Types of hosting:
There are two ways you can host your website. You can self host your website or get a hosted website.
A self-hosted website is a site that lives on it’s own server (or a shared server) through a hosting company like Bluehost. There are many out there but I personally use Bluehost which is why I am mentioning it. Bluehost’s only involvement in your blog would be for technical support. They would keep your site running, store your information and back up your site. Hosting is paid on an annually basis.
You will additionally need software to create your website and all the content that is on it (pages, posts, products, etc). This is where WordPress comes in. WordPress (.org) is a free open source platform for you to use as soon as you secure your hosting.
Bluehost has a quick one-click installation process that allows you to automatically link your hosting with WordPress so that you don’t have to worry about anything. And because WordPress is open source, you don’t have to worry about being compliant with any terms of service. You own the site and everything on it. Fully customizable – your options are endless.
A hosted site is an all in one platform. These are usually private companies that host your site and provide the software for you to build your site. Amongst them all, the most popular today is Squarespace. Squarespace has several pre-built templates which allows you to easily edit your website.
In most cases, this type of hosting is billed monthly but can become more expensive than an annual self-hosted cost. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.
Ultimately the decision will come down to what is most important to you.