Blogging is also gaining popularity in Bhutan. More and more Bhutanese are opening new blogs every day to share their opinions, experiences and observations. But one thing common in all those bloggers is a blogging platform.They are not blogging in self-hosted blogging platforms.
They are either in free version of wordpress or blogspot. This means their blogs will have url names like www.name.wordpress.com or www.name.blogspot.com.
Bloggers having their blog URL something like www.name.com are very few. Bhutanese bloggers are bloggers who are blogging in free platforms using free tools and features.
This means they aren’t paying anything out of their pockets for their blogs. Because blogging at free-hosted wordpress and blogspot cost nothing.
What does this say about Bhutanese bloggers?
You can answer it. They are not serious bloggers. They will quit after some times. This is true. It’s our human tendency that things which come for free normally don’t receive attention and care. This means blogs at free-hosted wordpress and blogspot will also receive less attention and gradually become unattended barren garden soon.
This is one of the basic limitations of blogging at free platforms. Some other limitations are:
- Low traffics/readership
- Limitation monetization freedom
- Online brand outlook
This means free-hosted blogs don’t receive visitors as much as self-hosted blogs receive. Moreover, they don’t provide with freedom for monetizing the contents. Therefore, a free-hosted blog will have less brand image in internet.
Some free-hosted blogs have URL like www.name.com though they should have www.name.blogspot.com or www.name.wordpress.com because they are free-hosted blogs. In such cases, the person behind purchase domain without buying host.
Is it enough then?
No. It’s just like making a man wear woman’s clothes just to make him appear like a woman. He will never become a woman. Similarly a free-hosted blog will never get benefits of self-hosted blogs get just by having a paid domain alone.
It’s best to own a self-hosted blog. Read: 10 reasons to create a self-hosted WordPress blog. Hosting companies provide domain as promotional offers for purchasing their hosting services.
Ok. You knew the differences between a self-hosted blog and free-hosted blog. You also knew which one is better. It’s obvious that self-hosted blog is much better.
You want to own a self-hosted blog now then? Because you don’t know how to proceed with this whole thing of opening a self-hosted blog, are you worried?
Don’t worry. I will guide you through.
How to open a self-hosted blog? Things to keep in mind while opening a new self-hosted WordPress blog.
Preliminary Blogging Activities
We should never consider blogging a destination. You must consider it as a journey. Therefore, just like in any other journey, you should have proper planned itinerary in blogging too. You should have definite vision and mission set for your blog.
If you want to become a professional blogger whose aim is to take blogging as a career, then there is quite a stack of activities in your side even before starting a blog.
Some of the most important are:
- Market Analysis
- Business Plan
- Financial Plan
- Marketing Plan
- Content Strategy
- Media Strategy
You should know what kind of blog will attract maximum visitors. You should have business plan for your blog stating its vision, mission and various keys to success. There should be financial plan to say how much you aim to earn from the blog and how much to spend with necessary break-ups. And in marketing plan, you should have all the means through which earnings can be made – monetization plans and strategies.
I have terribly failed in this. Much later I was wondering how my blog would be had I prepared a good business plan and then have actually started blogging. But I must have been so stupid who rushed to launch the blog right away. So don’t commit the same mistake. You’ll regret like me later on.
How I also wished I had designed a list of labels that are related to my blogging niche before I launched the blog. I used labels at random. Don’t be foolish like me on this too. Luckily I could correct it on time.
You also should design a blog’s logo before launching a blog. You can either hire someone to design for you or make it free online. Read: 45 websites to create free blog logo online.
Blogging Niche Selection
There are many areas in which bloggers can focus while blogging. Those areas individually are called as blogging niches. Some people blog about politics, some about fashion, and some about blogging tips. So politics, fashion and blogging tips are various niches of blogging.
Some people blog at random – stuff of various areas. We can say such bloggers don’t have definite blogging niche.
People have said that blogging on diverse topics will bring more traffic compare to blogging in just one specific niche. This is not true. It takes quite a lot of time to build power in every niche you cover. In blogging, it’s always better to be master of one than jack of all trades.
You shouldn’t pick your blogging niche right away. It’s often such bloggers who falter later and will quit blogging all together sooner.
Niche selection factors:
You should select a niche that contains some elements in which you are truly passionate of, which is within your means and also in which people have interest to know more. Let me explain in diagram.
Your blogging niche should be where three of them intersect. In above diagram, it’s point A. If your blogging niche is B then you’ll have passion and market but not resources. So you cannot sustain. If you choose C then you’ll have passion and resources but not market. You’ll be forced to quit if nobody cares of what you blog. If you choose D then you’ll have resources and market but no passion. If you’re blogging in area where you aren’t passionate, how long will you remain blogging?
Therefore, it’s point A where all passion, resources and market intersect. You will prosper in blogging if you are blogging in things you are passionate of, people are interested and that are within your means. You should dedicate good amount of time in defining the best niche for your blogging.
You have to consider any or combination of following to defining suitable niche(s) for your blog:
- Social trends
- Google searches
- People’s wants
You may use social media, social activities, gatherings and personal networks in determining more suitable niche.
Domain Name Selection
What is a domain name? It’s a route through which internet users can locate a blog. It’s also some sort of a blog’s identity in internet world. It’s a text we give on URL tab of a web browser to load our blog’s contents. See some examples of Domain names:
Domain name can have various extensions. The kind of extension will give idea whether a website is that of government agencies or organizations and also country. The most common is .com extension.
You can buy domain name for your blog. There are many companies in this business. GoDaddy and NameCheap are two most popular. But some hosting companies provide free domain name when purchasing a hosting plan. Companies like BlueHost, HostGator, Small Orange and Ehost provide such services.
Characteristics of a Good Domain:
- Business Related
- Easy to Remember
When putting all above features required in domain name, I have given domain name for my blog. www.bhutanics.com.
It’s short and unique. But it’s not related to my blogging niche – my yet another mistake. Hope you’ll come up with a good domain name for your blog or have already got one. If not, start making various options right away.
Blogging platform Selection
A blogging platform is popularly called as CMS. What is mean by CMS? It’s Content Management System in short. WordPress, Blogger, Drupal and tumblr are different CMSs. Contents are articles, images and videos you share through your blog. CMS means actually a platform in which you can maintain a blog.
But among as many as sixty CMSs, WordPress and Blogger are the torch bearers. Automattic owns WordPress as Google owns Blogger.
We can maintain our blogs with WordPress in two options – either as self-hosted blog or free hosted. If your blog isn’t self-hosted WordPress blog, your blog will have domain name like: www.your-domain.wordpress.com.
Benefits of a self-hosted WordPress Blog
If it’s a self-hosted one, your blog domain name will be: www.your-domain.com. In former, everything is free. You don’t have to pay for domain, themes, customization and hosting. But in latter you have to pay for many.
Therefore, if you want to become a serious blogger and then start making money out of implementing various monetization methods, you have to have a self-hosted WordPress blog. Otherwise you can choose the free hosted WordPress.
The next popular CMS is Blogger of Google. It’s not popular for hosting a self-hosted blog. But it’s popular for maintaining a free blogs. This CMS is usually built in HTML.
However, unlike in free hosted WordPress blog, we can implement various monetization methods to make money. But the chance of earning good amount of money will be very low compared to self-hosted WordPress blog. Your blog will not get good traffic just because it is hosted free. Remember, nothing is free in this world. It’s also free for reasons.
If you aren’t a serious blogger, I would recommend free-hosted Blogspot rather than free-hosted WordPress. You can customise a lot in former but not much in latter. In blogger there is at least a possibility of making some money if your blog can bring good traffic.
Host Providers Selection
There are many companies that provide hosting services. But I cannot recommend other than Ehost. I have my blog hosted with it and if you can host your blog with it, I can assure you the following advantages:
- Free domain
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Good Disk Space
- Free WordPress Installation Services
- Reasonable prices
- Good customer services
When you start the blog for the first time, you should choose a hosting company that provides not only hosting services but domain name and installation services at reasonable prices. So Ehost is the best. It is the best for professional blogging. I think you may love to see various hosting packages being offered by Ehost with their cost:
I would recommend you to choose Cpanel rather than website builder. Cpanel has following advantages:
- Simple installation process
- Interactive Interface
- Easy blog management
- No need of web designing skills
When selecting a host for your blog, don’t consider the price they charged as the only basis of your purchase. You should also look into other free services they provide, responsiveness to their clients’ queries, uptime guarantee and their server quality. Some hosts charge unreasonably low price compromising quality of support services and their uptime guarantee.
It’s better to pay a reasonable host price keeping your blog 24/7 live than paying an unreasonably low price keeping your blogs dead most of the times.
Blog Themes Selection
You have selected a suitable blogging niche, good CMS, unique and catchy domain and reasonable hosting plan. Now you have to think about a theme to be used in your blog. It’s often the quality of theme you use that determines your ability to impress the readers.
‘Never judge a book by its cover’. You must know this proverb. But it’s not true for blogging. Readers will judge your blog just by looking at a theme you have used in your blog.
There are many free WordPress themes that can be used in your blog. Ehost provides many free themes that can be used for familiarisation purposes at the beginning. But remember they might be free for reasons.
You can purchase premium themes that are customizable and suitable for your blog. You cannot stand out as a professional blogger if you use some free themes in your blog.
Otherwise having no money to purchase a good premium theme for your blog cannot be an acceptable excuse. You’ll be tempted to change the theme again and again if you use free themes – which is not good.
Which theme I recommend for New Bloggers
Premium themes at www.junkie-theme.com are good for starters. All the themes they provide are SEO responsive, social media inclusive, monetization programs friendly and more importantly 100% customizable. They have also some free themes.
I usually recommend a theme having a magazine style two-columned body and three-columned footer. Having inbuilt social media followers or share icons, email subscription box, featured posts and popular posts sliders and author’s bio-data box in post footer can be added advantages.
When I searched for a theme having all above features in right positions, I came to know the theme Beginner (I am using this in my blog) and WordPlus from Junkie Theme. If you too want it, you can click HERE to get it purchased. Prices are just $39.00
New discount scheme of Junkie Theme:
Lifetime Package: $49.50 instead of $99.00
All themes Package: $24.50 instead of $49.00
Single theme package: $19.50 instead of $39.00
How to start blogging
If your aim is to thrive in blogging and earn something few years down the line, you should take it seriously from the start. ‘Well begun is half victory’.
Some bloggers start blogging on their certain lucky dates/months. That won’t matter as far as you start well and proceed with love and care.
You shouldn’t start writing post articles as soon as you complete theme customization and plugin installations. You should consider following:
Static Pages Creations
What are static pages? They are what we call as pages. Before you actually start writing articles, you must have those static pages ready. The basic pages:
- About Us
- Content Policy
You must have all above pages in your blog. It’s often through the details you have given in them determined how legit is your blog. Google Adsense and other content monetization programs hardly accept applications from blogs having no such pages. Some bloggers also add following pages:
- Photo Gallery
- Comment Policy
- Guest Post Guidelines
If you feel you also need them for your blog, you can add them. But they aren’t as important as primary pages.
Don’t make a mistake here. You cannot go on categorising your articles at random. You must have a blog posts label blueprint listing all the labels so that labelling your post articles will become easy with an increase in the number of your posts.
You must consider the following while designing a list of labels for your blog posts:
Your labels should relate to your blogging niche. If you are going to blog about cars only, your labels cannot be Nikon, Canon, Samsung and Fuji etc. They should be something like Maruti, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai etc.
Labels that aren’t unique won’t appear attractive for readers and also won’t receive many clicks. An individual label must be just a word as far as possible. I am speaking from an economic-use-of-website-space point of view. Labels that are in sentences will occupy your blog’s sidebar space or post footer unnecessarily. It’s always wise to keep your labels in single words.
So you realised opening a self-hosted WordPress blog is ridiculously easy. You just need a USD debit card/credit card, choose a niche, purchase a hosting space with a domain, select a hosting plan, purchase a theme and then launch the blog. Just easy.
If I have failed to answer some questions you have as a newbie in opening a new self-hosted WordPress blog, leave it in the comment. I will connect with you or answer in the comment. Thanks. Keep blogging!