One of the first choices you will have to deal with (after deciding on your topic and domain) is deciding on a blogging platform. It is a decision that you do not want to take lightly. Changing platforms after your blog is up and running can be tricky, especially if you have a decent following. The two most popular platforms are wordpress and blogger. There are other platforms that receive great reviews, but the majority of bloggers use one of these two.
Many beginners start with Blogger. Blogger is popular for both personal and beginner blogs. It costs $10 a year ($0.83/month) to register a domain with blogger or you can get a blogspot domain for free (keep in mind that a dot com or dot net domain name is important if you are planning on making this a professional or money making blog). Blogger is not as popular for professional blogs although good designers can create blogs for both wordpress and blogger. The pros of blogger are that it is simple to use and set up. The drag and drop layout is very easy to use. On the other side, your blog will be subject to the rules of blogger. You do not have as much control because of this. Also, customization of a blogger blog is tougher. When you find widgets that you would like to add to your blog they are most commonly wordpress widgets. It will take a little footwork to find the same widget for blogger (and you may not find it at all).
The most commonly used option is to create a blog with WordPress. To make a blog with wordpress you need to get hosting. Popular hosting sites include Blue Host (prices start at $6.95 a month) and GoDaddy (prices start at $4.24 a month). After you sign up for a hosting package you setup the wordpress software and you are good to go. Both of those hosts will set up the software for you. WordPress is popular among professional blogs because you have full control over how your blog looks. As far as widgets go, there are many more created for WordPress than Blogger. There is a free form of wordpress, but you cannot add AdSense to the free blog so if you are planning on making money with your blog then do not sign up for the free wordpress package.
Sharon Hujik moved my blog to wordpress and since then she wrote an amazing (simple) ebook on how to do it. I wish this book was around when I made my move! If you are interested in a simplified way to transfer your blog from blogger to wordpress then try the How to Move From Blogger to WordPress Ebook!
The bottom line is choose a platform based on your own needs. Blogger is great if you are not tech savvy, but make sure you still purchase a dot com domain name. WordPress is better for those of you who know a little more about what you are doing and want more control over your blog.
TASK: Choose a platform and set it up! Purchase the domain name that you decided on in the previous task. You can go with a generic theme (design) right now.
Tomorrow we will discuss pillar content and posting on a schedule.