For those who don’t know, WordPress is a blogging platform that I talked about in Starting a Blog. Blogging consists of writing posts that are listed in chronological order from newest to oldest. This can include posts on family life, reviews, tutorials, news, sports, and anything else you can think of.
There are a few versions of WordPress. One is the very popular WordPress.com, where you can start a blog with a few mouse clicks and you’re on your way to blogging, and yet another version of WordPress is WordPress MU which is the WordPress blogging platform for Multiple Users.
I’ll be focusing on the self-hosted version of WordPress at my blog because that’s what I use. A self-hosted WordPress blog is one that has its own domain name (my domain name is http://billbolmeier.com) and a web hosting platform where you install WordPress.
The WordPress software is freely available at WordPress.org. You can download it and install it on a server where you’re hosting your blog and even install it on your computer to play around with it. I’ll describe how to do that in future posts.
Typically, once you’ve decided on your domain name and registered it, the next step is to select a web host. A lot of web hosts now have plans that allow you to install WordPress with one click. More on that later so make sure you subscribe to my blog and you won’t miss out. But first a word on domain names.
One of the first steps in starting a blog using WordPress is selecting a domain name and registering it. Domain names are like the street address to where you live – unique.
You should spend some time thinking about what domain name you’ll register your blog under. Depending on the purpose and goals for a blog it could be named anything – from Perez Hilton, a wildy successful celebrity blog to daily tips blogs to advice blogs to review blogs to whatever your interested in blogging about.
For ideas on domain names take a look at the Top 100 Blogs on Technorati. Notice the names of the blogs and what they represent. One caveat you want to keep in mind is selecting a domain like http://billbolmeier.com and then titling the blog with a totally different name like My Personal Technology Blog. This could confuse people who arrive at your blog as well as possibly not help in ranking as high as you can in the search engines.
Some domain names are used for Internet Marketing or niche sites that people use to target traffic using search engine optimization techniques. By focusing on a narrow niches like ringtones, binoculars, vintage guitars, etc., these sites are setup in order to make as much money on the niche as possible.
One site that you can use to come up with domain names that target a niche site is NameBoy. NameBoy allows you to type in keywords or keyword phrases and responds by suggesting what domain names are available for those keywords and phrases.
Again, this is a nice feature when you’re going after niche sites and plan to sell stuff on that site. It can help with search engine traffic because your domain name could be made up of the keywords you are trying to target users to come to your blog.
Domain Name Tips
Some tips on domain names – one or two word phrases are excellent. Something memorable and easy to spell with no special characters in the domain name. This can be challenging since a lot of domain names have been registered that you might be interested in.
Of course, the domain name you’re interested in might be for sale, so if you have some cash to spend on an excellent domain name, do so. It just might make a significant difference in the amount of traffic you get to your blog.
Another tip when buying domain names, make sure you’re not buying a domain name that was previously used in a way that might not be favorable to your blog. A search on the name for a previous history will tell you what it could have been used for and if the domain is still “out there”.
After you’ve come up with a domain name, you need to register it with a domain registrar service like Go Daddy.
Web hosts are server computers where you’ll be installing WordPress on. Some popular and good web hosting sites include HostGator and BlueHost just to name a couple. There’s plenty more to choose from. The point to keep in mind when choosing a web host is how easy is it to install WordPress.
There is also a feature most web hosting plans offer which is called unlimited domains. This allows you to install multiple instances of WordPress so you can host multiple websites if you wish to do that now or in the future as you expand you online presence. With the above two sites mentioned, you can select packages that give you the ability to host unlimited domain names.
A web host feature you need to look for that allows you to install WordPress with a click or two or three is a utility called Fantastico. This is the name of a utility that some web hosts offer so you can install WordPress automatically and many other software packages that you can run on your web host.
After you install WordPress, you’re new blog will have a basic, default look. This look is called a theme. There are a bunch of WordPress themes to choose from, both free and paid for. There are attributes in a WordPress theme that helps your blog to run efficiently that we’ll discuss later in future articles so make sure you subscribe to my blog.
That’s it for now. You’ve thought about and selected a domain name and registered it. You’ve selected a web hosting plan and installed WordPress on your web host. Now you’re almost ready to start blogging.
There are plenty of tasks to consider and perform after you install a WordPress blog. Stick around so you get the scoop on everything you need to know to setup and tweek a WordPress blog. Videos to come. Stay tuned.