How To Start a Blog: The Ultimate Guide
Having your own website is surefire way to build your own solid online business. A website is an asset to the owner just as land is to an owner.
This is not to mean that you can’t make a lot of money online without your own website but a website allows more opportunity to earn on autopilot than the other models that don’t require a website. Furthermore you can liquidate or cash out on your website any time in the future and who knows maybe make triple the amount that it is worth. I hope that whets your appetite.
Getting a website online takes three fundamental steps and one equally important extra step as follows:
(Click to jump to section)
- Get a domain name (NameSilo, GoDaddy)
- Get a hosting account (InMotion, Web Hosting Hub)
- Update the Domain Name Servers
- Sign up with an auto responder service (this step is not a must but is vital to your long term success online). The auto responder service that I use on this site and many other sites use is Aweber.
Now let’s go through each one of them in more detail:
1. Register a domain
The first thing you are going to do is to register a domain name for your website. Did I hear you ask, “Chris, what is a domain name?”
Well every website is stored under a domain name which is basically a unique address on the internet that allows web surfers to access the files stored under the website. For example Thisthatandthemba.com is my domain name, facebook.com is the domain name for Facebook and MSN.com is the domain name for the MSN News website.
To register a domain name you need a domain registrar. I always use NameSilo or GoDaddy. They are cheap, reliable and above all, flexible. They also have a good user interface that is easy to navigate. Registering your domain name with NameSilo costs you only $8.99/year and has free Domain Privacy. This is very important if you wish to remain anonymous out there on the internet. You can use the Coupon Code thisthatandthemba and receive a special discount for my followers.
To choose a domain name, go to NameSilo.com and search for the domain name you want to register by typing it in and then clicking on “search” button or filling in the box below.
Domain Name SelectionTips:
- Consider having your domain name keyword-rich. For example, if your niche is “acne”, you’ll want to have the word “acne” in the domain name of your site.
- Consider also going for either a .com, .net or a .org extension as they are the most popular. Overall, however, .com looks more professional and is most memorable. Again, most people tend to enter .com by default when visiting a website.
- You can register your own full name or the name of your business
- Consider doing away with hyphens (-) and underscores (_)
Now, you will not always find the domain name you have in mind as some of them will already be registered. If that is the case, continue searching until you find one that you like, and then proceed to register it.
To register your domain, click on the “Add to cart” button
To continue for now, click on the “Register Checked Domains” button.
You will be prompted to create an account with NameSilo if you don’t have one. Once you have created an account with NameSilo and you are logged in, click the Checkout button and then choose to pay by credit card or Paypal.
**Make sure that you enable WhoIs Guard, this ensures domain privacy and keeps the spammers from emailing you with the email that you sign up for the domain with.
**Don’t take the offer for web hosting from Godaddy if you decide to use GoDaddy as the registrar. Just register the domain name and set up your hosting account with my personal preference which is Inmotion Hosting.
2. Set up a Hosting Account
Once you have your domain name, you need to host it on a server somewhere online. While it is easy to find free web hosts that promise some quality features, they will more than likely have strict limitations to what you can do with your hosting space.
If you don’t want some third party banners on your website distracting the sale process or costing you subscribers and customers, then you must stay away from free hosting. I tried one and I promise it was one nasty experience; eventually I had to move my entire business to a new location (InMotion Hosting).
You’ve been warned. What you really need is a reliable web host with good customer support 24 hours a day. Again you don’t want to have your site going down three times a month. Take this seriously as it can end up turning into a business like many successful online entrepreneurs.
If I ever have to give recommendation for a reliable web host, then it has got to be InMotion Hosting. It is my absolute favorite (from my own personal experience) and is preferred by some major online marketers. I host a lot of my sites with them and here is one practical example why I like them:
“Some two months ago, I accidentally deleted my blog some minutes before midnight and within two minutes, I was chatting live with an InMotion technical assistant. About three hours later, the blog was restored 100%. That is what is in my opinion, reliability”
Although InMotion will offer to register you a domain name, don’t go for the offer. They will have control over your domain making it more difficult to transfer it to a new registrar should you ever decide to do it for whatever reason. Go for their hosting package and register your domain at NameSilo. I hope you remember that.
The “Power” package ($8.99/month) allows you to host 6 domains on the same package as your online business grows. But if you are on a tight budget, just go for the “Launch” package ($6.99/month). It allows you to host two domains but you can always upgrade when the need be.
Tip: You can knock off the monthly hosting fee to as low as $5.99 by choosing to pay on 2 years intervals.
3. Update the Domain Name Servers (DNS)
After setting up your hosting account, InMotion will send you an email containing the Domain Name Servers for your hosting account. They will be similar to:
What you now need to do is to login to your NameSilo account and click on “Manage My Domains” from the top navigation tabs. Then click on your domain name
Next, click on “Domain Name Server Setup” from the left hand menu. An empty form will appear you asking you to change the existing Domain Name Server Information. Simply coy and paste the Domain Name Servers in the order NS1 and NS2 exactly as they appear in the email you received from InMotion as follows:
Click Save and that is it. You’ll now only need to keep checking to see whether the changes have taken place. After about 24 hours, login to your InMotion cpanel (Account Control Panel) and check it out. Don’t worry the longest I have had to wait has been about an hour or 2. If your domain name has appeared, you are ready to build and upload your website files.
You now have two options:
If you want to create a WordPress blog, you can create it automatically using a feature called Softaculous Autoinstaller available from your InMotion control panel. (That’s what This That and the MBA is built on!) If you want to build a regular HTML, Joomla or any other type of site there are a variety of scripts to choose from to install in the Softaculous install page.
4. Get an Auto responder account:
While it is very easy to overlook the importance of an auto responder account, it’s one of the most important assets to an online business owner. It is the easiest way to drive traffic to any website on demand. This is one step that I wish I had done when I started this website, there were many missed opportunities that I could have been promoting either the site or the product through the auto responder service.
A list of subscribers is so important that many A-class marketers will swear it was the single most important factor to their huge success online. One marketer I know even claims that “if you are not building a list, you are not building a business but rather building some other peoples’ businesses”
There are many auto responder services out there but none beats Aweber in terms of deliverability and reliability. It is also the number one choice for most internet marketers.
That’s all there is to getting your first website or blog up and running.
If you wish to use one of my affiliate links for hosting, I would be happy to provide FREE basic WordPress Setup for you including configuring WordPress SEO, Caching and much more. I will ask that you send me the link that the host sends to you so that we can log into your cpanel and begin WordPress Installation. (Note this is only available if you use the Hosting Plans mentioned above)
If you require further customization we have designers and SEO consultants working on other sites that I own that will help you reach your goals. You will find our rates lower than anyone else online, and we will work with you until you are satisfied.
Wishing you success with your first website or 50th website,