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Male, 25 years


If you're doing your best, you won't have any time to worry about failure and The past can't see you, but the future is listening.
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Jan 9, 2014

Free Guide to Starting a Blog or Website

This guide is a ten part series in which I'll walk you through everything from what to expect, how to plan, through to all the technical aspects like buying a domain name, setting up hosting, and getting WordPress up and running for your blog. In short everything you need to know in order to start your own blog. If you just want to set a blog very quickly then go the "web hosting walkthrough" page but I would advise you spend some time and go through all the parts of this series. You can also download a free PDF copy of this blog guide and take your time going over things if that suits you better.

This series is pretty comprehensive and clocks in at about 9,000 words so downloading it might make it easier to digest all the information.
Reading all of the blog series and applying the advice will increase your chances of success - much more than just blindly running off and quickly setting one up.
We'll be using a free software called WordPress to run your blog on. It's the most popular blog software to use and there are tons of supporting resources for it. It's a choice that's appropriate for both beginners and professionals.

Even if you're thinking more along the lines of setting up a website that's not a blog - you should keep in mind that Word Press is often used for setting up websites that aren't traditional blogs like small sites for local businesses, cartoon strips and various other kinds of websites.

So keep an open mind - WordPress is a very versatile Content Management System that can handle a lot of websites that aren't traditionally blog oriented.

What is this Blog Series Not About?

This series of tutorials is not about setting up a blog on a free service like WordPress.com or Blogger. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with taking that route but it's for the "put my toe in the water but don't dive in" people. This series is aimed at the divers; those people who know the water's a little cold but dive in anyways.

How Much Does Running a Blog Cost?

One of the differences between using one of the free services and setting up your own blog with your own domain is cost. Roughly it should cost you ten to twentyish dollars a month. More if you became very successful as most of the cost is tied into paying for your website to handle the traffic. But for the beginner I would look at a budget of between ten to twentyish dollars a month to start - which brings us to our first storytime break...

The One Dollar Poetry Contest
This reminds me of a story I heard when I was a teenager. A friend told me that if you were in charge of running a poetry contest then you would have more successful results if you charged a dollar entry fee.
He explained that if it was free then thousands of people would say to themselves "hey I'm no poet but what do I have to lose since it's free". And if you were running the contest you would get thousands upon thousands of really bad entries making the good ones very hard to find.
But if you just charged a dollar for an entry then you would get only hundreds of entries but they would be much better overall.
Because the people who paid the dollar have to say to themselves "I write poetry and I'm confident that I can make something worthwhile for this". These people are the people that these articles are aimed towards.
The cost of starting a blog is very low in comparison to most everything else in life. There are very few adventures you can start on twenty a month.
The lesson here is that even the tiny gap between free and a dollar is so large for people that it automatically acts as a qualifier for their motivations.

What's my Motivation?

Make sure you're motivated by passion and not money. If you've heard stories of wildly successful bloggers making lots of cash, I'll tell you right now that most of them are driven to create and they are skilled enough to leverage that to make money. This guide is not a get rich quick kind of guide so if you're looking for that kind of thing, you'll have to look elsewhere.

You should be driven by the passion to create great things. And if you're lucky you might make enough cash out of it to pay your expenses and if you're super lucky, you might pay your expenses and have some good beer money.

Before I go any further here are some definitions that might be unfamiliar to some of you.
Domain Name: this is the name of your website that appears at the top of your browser. Some examples are well know examples are google.com, amazon.com and ebay.com. You'll need to buy one to have your own website - they cost about ten bucks a year so no so bad at all.
Web Hosting: all the text, photos, video and everything that makes up your website has to live on a computer somewhere. This kind of computer is called a server and it lets people from all around the world access your website. The prices typically range from about ten dollars a month to a hundred dollars a month. If you're just starting out then the price will probably be somewhere between ten to twenty dollars a month. If you get extremely popular you will have to pay more but for a beginning website the costs are pretty reasonable
WordPress: this is bit of software that lives on your website's server. This type of software is called a Content Management System (CMS) - basically it allow people who aren't programmers to make web pages.
You type your content into a web page, do some formatting and click the publish button. It's pretty easy and lets people without any coding skills make web pages. You make the content and software will take care of making the code to get your content online.
If you can operate something like Microsoft Word then you will be able to use WordPress so don't worry no coding skills are required to start.

Let's Avoid the Typical Blog Death

Here's what happens to most blogs. Someone has a couple of beers one week-end, gets an idea for a website and then rushes off to start one. They make a few posts and then about a month or two later less than six pages have been created and the author has lost all interest in the blog.

So in order to avoid failure we should set some expectations and do some planning before we do anything.


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