I get the occasional question about how I made this blog and what goes in to running and maintaining it.
Your first major decision is whether you want to pay for this or do it all for free. If you want to do it all for free, go to https://www.blogger.com/start or WordPress, click through the tutorials, and you’ll be good to go. The only down side is you’ll have a website that’s www.whatevernameyouchoose.blogger.com, and your customization options are somewhat limited. But it’s still a great way to get started and see if you can convince your family and friends to actually read your thoughts/look at your pictures.
I’ve written the following if you want the ultimate in customization (and secretly want to be like Greg and Lori)
First, a few definitions:
- Domain: this is the address of your website (ours is www.gregandlori.com). All domain names are regulated and licensed through a non-profit organization (ICANN) that licenses the right to buy and sell these domain names to hundreds of companies.
- There are two types of computers in the world (there are more than 2, but only 2 for this discussion). Clients and Servers. The fact that your looking at this website, means you’re on a client. In fact, probably every computer you’ve ever done anything on is a client. Servers, on the other hand, are where information sits for clients to come and look at it. All information on all website everywhere sits on servers.
- Blog: technically stands for weblog, which is a fancy way of saying “online journal”
So, the first thing you need when you decide you want your very own blog is a domain. You can either buy (register) one, or use a free one. If you want something unique, personal, or creative, you’ll need to register it, and that usually costs about $10 per year – and you’ll need to make sure the name you want is available. I like having gregandlori because it’s easy to remember and guide people to it. There are hundreds of places to buy these domains, and most combine this purchase with hosting (which I’ll explain next). 1and1.com and GoDaddy.com are the two most popular.
Go to www.bustaname.com, and start entering domain names until you find an available one you like, then click through to godaddy.com to buy your domain.
Your next concern is hosting. You need to find a server for your website to sit on. You could build a server at your house, but this is expensive, and if you’re reading my blog on how to set up a website, you probably don’t fit the mold of someone who runs their own servers. What you’ll do, then, is basically rent space on someone else’s server. This is called hosting. I recommend www.hostgator.com (click ‘hosting’) because of its great features, service, and ultra low price (<$5/month for everything you could ever want). I use the cheap plan at Hostgator and I pay less than $60/year for all my hosting (and tons of other perks). Combined with the registration, this $70/year is the total cost of our blog.
So now you have a domain and a host, you just need to create a website. I’ve learned a little bit of the programming and coding that goes into these website, but that’s the hard way of doing things. What you want is a program where all you do is insert a picture, type some witty lines, have your wife tell you to change them, agree with her because she’s smarter than you, hit the publish button and *poof* it appears on the internet. There are free programs that do all of this. WordPress is an excellent choice that runs this as well as thousands of other blogs.
There are literally thousands of free templates out there for you to use where all you have to do is fill in your Blog’s name and it creates everything else for you.
I think this is enough of a primer to get you out in the world. What kind of questions do you still have? Go ahead and shoot me a note: greg gregandlori.com