Irrespective of the niche that a business finds itself in, creating satisfied customers isn’t one of the job descriptions that should be outsourced. Another vital job function that a business needs to handle is to be in charge of its narrative online. Any information about the business must project a positive image, or be countered if otherwise.
One of the major tools that businesses need to control the information flow to the public is a blog. Blogs are also useful for individual, not-for-profit organizations, religious and government agencies.
Although certain aspects of a blog’s administration and maintenance could be outsourced, there are many benefits to managing it yourself.
For those with limited knowledge on blogs, this post will run through important information on why you need a blog, reasons for choosing WordPress, and some trusted web hosting companies to host your WordPress blog.
Why You Need a Blog
Blogs have been in existence for a little less than 2 decades, yet we have more than 150 million of them in existence and enough room for more blogs. There are blogs for virtually everything you can think of. We have business blogs, blogs about pets, blogs on blogging, video blogs, photo albums etc.
I am of the view that everyone should have at least one blog. It could be of any topic that catches your fancy. The purpose of the blog may be for fun or to make money. The important thing is having a blog where you can share helpful tips and information with others.
For those of you that may be wondering why on earth you need a blog, let us explore the benefits of having your own blog.
Benefits of Having Your Own Blog
I. A Blog is a Great Tool for Branding
A blog helps to build and position your brand properly. As the owner of the blog, you get the opportunity to express what your product, service or business is all about. You can tell stories about what your brand is all about, share information that will help people understand what you are all about, or share useful tips on how people can use your product.
Your readers will be able to relate with your brand much better than promotions and adverts in the media. They will be able to experience your brand on a more personal level and they are more likely to continue doing business with you once the trust has been established.
II. Build a Professional Network
In whatever business niche that you find yourself, you can use your blog to build a professional network that will attract other players in your niche. For example, an affiliate marketer can use his blog to attract other marketers and thereby build a network where connections, contacts, resources and information can be shared among themselves.
III. Share Your Knowledge and Experience through Your Blog
One of the main purposes of running a blog is to share information, knowledge, experience or anything that you feel is of value to your visitors. People go online searching for information on different topics and they are more likely to be directed to blogs just like this one you are reading. You could share information about coping with stress at the workplace, how to handle relationships, or how to make money online. Whatever you choose to share online must be something of value to your audience.
IV. Become an Authority in Your Chosen Niche
Writing quality and original blog contents require a lot of research and findings which add to your knowledge base and improve your authority in that topic. Doing this frequently will make you become so good that in 12 months or less you can become an authority figure in it. Bloggers have gone on to become consultants in the niche they blog about because of the vast amount of knowledge that they have become exposed to as a result of research carried out while writing the blog posts.
V. Make Money Online
You can sell your products and services through your blog, sell products of other merchants and earn commissions (affiliate marketing), earn from adverts displayed on your blog etc. There are a number of ways of making more from your blog.
VI. Boost Your SEO
Your blog can help boost SEO and improve your Google PageRank for keywords associated with your business, giving you a better chance of appearing tops in Google search results
VII. Connect Others to Your Brand
You can improve the visibility of your brand online and get more people connected to your brand through your blog. Let people know more about your brand and what it stands for. The more people you have connected to your brand the higher the probability of sales lead generation and conversion.
VIII. Starting a New Business
A blog is an inexpensive way for you to start a new business. All you need to begin is an internet enabled device with a connection, a domain name, web hosting, and the niche you want to blog about.
IX. Become Better at Writing
Chances are that you will get better at writing with each new article you produce. A lot of bloggers have gone on to become professional copywriters with improvement coming from repeated writings.
X. Many Other Benefits
There are so many benefits that they are too numerous to list here. You can grow your influence among readers through your blog posts, get instant feedback from readers through comment forms in your blog, build your email subscriber lists, stay and grow more knowledgeable in your niche, and build your online reputation.
Having your own blog gives you so much advantage and helps to position your business for success.
Reasons to Create Your Blog on WordPress
A blog has to be created and hosted before it can be seen by the public. There are a number of platforms designed to help you with creation and management of your blog, and WordPress is one of the best choice for you.
Here are some reasons why you should use WordPress to create your blog.
I. More than 35% of all hosted websites are powered by WordPress. This means that over a third of website owners prefer WordPress over other Content Management Systems
II. WordPress makes content creation easy to manage. If you are familiar with internet browsers, you will find WordPress dashboard not so difficult to navigate around, even for a newbie. WordPress takes away most of the technical stuffs and allows you to focus on your core business.
III. WordPress enjoys wide usage across the world and is available in 196 major languages around the world.
IV. WordPress enables the use of add-ons like plugins and themes to help you extend the functionality of your blog and website. There are over 54,000 plugins at the moment with more been created daily. You can find plugin for virtually any feature that you want your blog to have. There are lots of free and premium plugins for you to choose from.
V. More than 30% of top 1,000 sites built with WordPress. This is proof that WordPress is reliable even for robust and critical solutions. The load time for WordPress sites is relatively fast and the developers take its security very seriously, creating updates and bug fixes immediately bugs are discovered
VI. WordPress blog posts and pages are naturally SEO-friendly. There are also plugins that help you with on-page optimization for your blog posts.
VII. WordPress has a large community of developers that offer different kinds of support. There are lots of resources online to help with WordPress installation, configuration, updates, and content management. You will find lots of help and resources that deal with any problems experienced while using WordPress. There are numerous bloggers in the WordPress niche that offer valuable information about WordPress.
VIII. WordPress is a versatile tool to build any kind of website. There are plugins and themes to help you build business websites, ecommerce stores, flight booking website, real estate websites, business directories etc. You can also build forums, social blogging sites, photo albums, and video blogs. You are only limited by your creativity when it comes to using WordPress.
IX. WordPress is free to use. On most hosting accounts you are offered WordPress with one-click installation with lots of other free plugins and themes.
Best Hosting for Your WordPress Blog
The fact that you have read this post up to this point means that you have decided on having a WordPress blog, or maybe you need more information on starting your own blog.
The next segments will guide you on setting up your WordPress blog. We will first need to be clear on hosting issues like the best hosting for your WordPress:
When it comes to choosing a web hosting plan for your blog, there are 3 available options:
1. Shared Hosting – This plan is ideal if this is your very first blog or you are just starting out. As the name implies you are given a web hosting service that shares same server resources with other accounts.
This type of hosting is usually very cheap starting from as low as $2.99 and you have options of monthly, quarterly or yearly payments. Bandwidth and disk space are according to what you pay for with options to upgrade your plan should the traffic to your blog increase beyond what your current plan can bear.
This hosting plan is limiting and your blog can be shut down temporarily if the traffic exceeds the available bandwidth. Also the shared server resources expose you to attacks because of other sites sharing same server with you. Using this plan you will have to handle everything about WordPress installation and configuration by yourself.
2. VPS hosting – This is for those who are tech savvy and want to have more freedom to configure how their WordPress installation should run. You are in charge of installation and maintenance at the server level, and everything that has to do with your WordPress installation is handled by you.
There is a lot of freedom using this plan. You can also set up a hosting reseller business on your VPS. A typical VPS hosting plan starts from $10 a month.
So much time will be spent on maintaining the server. As the administrator you should carry out your tasks with care because one error could lead to total shutdown of your server or make it inaccessible to the public. This plan is also more expensive than the shared hosting plan.
3. Managed WordPress hosting – This hosting plan is fully optimized for WordPress blogs. The WordPress installation, configuration and administration are handled by experienced staff of the hosting company. This plan is ideal for bigger blogs who have higher traffic to their blogs. Managed WordPress hosting plans are usually on the high side with an average cost of $16.95 and upwards.
The hosting company manages your WordPress hosting, giving you enough time to focus on your main business. Server upgrades, WordPress security and administration are done for you.
The plan is usually on the high side and so better suited for bigger blogs or those who have larger budgets.
Choosing Web Hosting Company for Your Blog
Most of the major web hosting companies provides shared hosting, VPS and Managed WordPress hosting services. Your choice of hosting company may depend on price, payment plans, or some additional features that appeal to you.
For this sake of our guide we will focus on just 4 of the hosting companies.
- Wealthy Affiliate SiteRubix
The steps outlined below are easy to follow and should take you 5 minutes or less to get started.
BlueHost- Starting a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes
BlueHost is one of the most preferred hosting companies for WordPress blogs. BlueHost offers services that have the ability to scale in order to meet requirements of any blog, whether small or big.
Their users enjoy reliable and excellent customer service which endears BlueHost to so many WordPress users. It is also one of the recommended hosts by WordPress. BlueHost’s intuitive user interface makes it easy to navigate the control panel
BlueHost has a lot of rich features that makes it highly recommended for your WordPress blog hosting. Here are some of these features:
- One-click installation. Installing WordPress has never been this easy using the one-click installation provided by BlueHost on its MOJO marketplace.
- Round the clock customer service. BlueHost boasts of one of the best and responsive customer care. You have access to their customer care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, including 366 days for leap years.
- Using one account, you have can have unlimited websites and domains.
- BlueHost offers a 30 day money back guarantee
- There are robust servers strategically positioned to provide a stable and scalable infrastructure for servers
- You have the option to install WordPress using the One-click WordPress installation button.
You can get your blog set up and running on BlueHost in just 3 simple steps.
You should have your BlueHost account set up by now, if you haven’t you should visit their homepage to have it set up www.bluehost.com
Step 1: Select Your Domain Name
Selecting a domain name is one of the most important choices you will have to make after choosing a niche for your blog. Your domain name is your brand name and should be something that others can relate with.
Make your domain name easy to remember, you don’t want someone who has visited your blog before having troubles in remembering your name.
Making your domain name as short as possible is a good way of getting first time visitors to easily recall it.
Let your domain name reflect your business niche or value you are providing. It helps to see that those who haven’t been to your blog before can have an idea of what it is about before visiting.
If you already have a registered business you can use the business name as the name of the blog. There are exceptions to this if the business name is difficult to remember or may be confusing to pronounce.
The selection process is completed by checking for availability to ensure that your proposed domain name hasn’t been used by someone else.
If you have a previously existing domain name on another host or just bought one before signing up on BlueHost, you will have to go through the process of pointing your DNS to BlueHost. If you do not have a domain name purchased there’s no trouble as you can get it during the sign up process, free of charge with a WordPress hosting account purchase.
Enter the domain name and fill in the required personal details.
Step 2: Identify the Best Hosting Plan for You
In the previous section we discussed about choosing between shared hosting, VPS or Managed WordPress hosting. It is expected that at this stage you have decided on which plan to go for. BlueHost offers the 3 plans and even more variants within the hosting plans.
Shared hosting payment options can be 12 months, 24 months or 36 months and you can get a rate of $3.95 a month for choosing the 36 months plan. BlueHost makes upgrading your shared hosting to either VPS or dedicated hosting a seamless one from your control panel.
After you have entered your personal information and selected hosting package, click on “Next” button to make your purchase complete. You can now create a password for your account which should be comprised of capital and lower case letters, at least a number and a special character (#, ^, ! etc).
You are now ready to begin installation of WordPress.
Step 3: Installation of WordPress
BlueHost makes WordPress installation very easy by using the new MOJO marketplace. You will find under the section “MOJO marketplace” in the cPanel and click “One-Click Installs” button. Go to the page called “Scripts and Platforms” from blog section click on the WordPress icon.
Once the installation window is opened, click on the green “Start” button to begin installation process.
Select folder where you want to install the WordPress and then click “Check Domain” to be sure the domain is assigned and points to your account. You may get a warning on overwriting files in the folder, just be certain it is the right folder that you want to use.
Show Advanced Options to set up your username and password and confirm that “Automatically create a new database for this installation” is checked.
After reading Terms and Conditions check the box and click on “Install Now”.
You will be provided with your site’s URL and login credentials (username and) and a copy sent to the email you provided.
You can now login to the admin area using URL provided and username and password created. From here you can create categories, pages, and posts for your blog.
DreamHost- Starting a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes
DreamHost is a highly recommended web hosting company by WordPress. Their solutions are designed to offer the best value and their experience in WordPress gives you the assurance that they are a hosting provider you can trust.
For the guide on choosing a domain name you can refer to Step 1 under the previous section “BlueHost- Starting a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes”. If you do not have a domain name registered yet you can sign up for domain name and web hosting on DreamHost.
We discussed also about web hosting plans and I’m sure you have made your choice before now. DreamHost offers all of the hosting plans for your WordPress blog – shared, VPS and Managed WordPress hosting.
Visit DreamHost’s WordPress hosting page and select the hosting plan you have decided to use and click on “Sign Up”. Shared hosting is most preferred by beginners so this guide will focus on installation of WordPress on shared hosting.
You have to select a billing option – monthly, yearly or every 3 years. You also have to select between the Starter Shared and Shared Unlimited packages. Shared Unlimited comes with more features and is priced higher than Starter Shared.
DreamHost includes a free domain with their annual terms as you proceed with the hosting. Next is to choose your domain by entering into the search box to find out if your proposed domain name is available. Enter you billing information and check “Pre-install WordPress”. Click on “Submit Order” once the required information have been cross checked to ensure accuracy.
Congratulations your domain name and hosting is set up and your WordPress has been installed successfully.
Within a couple of minutes database installation is complete and you will receive an email with more information on configuring your WordPress installation.
Wealthy Affiliate SiteRubix- Starting a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes
SiteRubix is a hosting platform designed for training at Wealthy Affiliate University and it comes packed with a lot of features that help in monitoring the health and performance of websites. It is also used for publishing contents and contains a unique feature called SiteManager to monitor traffic.
SiteRubix offers both free and paid plans on its SiteDomain. On the free plan your domain is registered as a sub-domain website on SiteRubix hosting and it comes with pre-installed plugins essential for your site’s optimization and protection.
The free plan comes with limitations like proprietorship ownership by SiteRubix, only 2 websites allowed to register and no FTP access.
The paid plans cost from $13.99 to $15.99 and includes email, hosting privacy, backups and support. Premium members of Wealthy Affiliate University are those only allowed to host custom domains and have full access to all features at SiteRubix.
Creating a free WordPress site on SiteRubix is quick and easy and can be completed in 4 simple steps.
Step 1: Choose your preferred website type
If you are a beginner or just starting out then it is advisable to choose the “free SiteRubix website” option.
Step 2: Select a Name for your Blog
There are guidelines to help you make a good choice for your domain name. You can refer to Step 1 under the section “BlueHost- Starting a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes” to help you in choosing an ideal domain name for your blog.
Step 3: Select a Theme for Your WordPress Installation
You will find lots of free themes to make selection from. You can make any choice for now if you don’t see a theme that fits your taste. You can always change the theme later when you find a more appropriate theme for your blog.
Step 4: Launch Your Blog
With a single click you set your blog live. After that a secure password to your blog is generated and a reset button for password reset and security of your blog.
GoDaddy- Starting a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes
GoDaddy is one of the most popular hosting platforms online and they offer cheap hosting plans especially for those who are low on budget. The company has over 76 million domain names under its management.
GoDaddy is a great platform for beginners who are mindful of their budget. You can start your hosting with as low as $1 a month on GoDaddy though renewal is quite on the high side. Some other benefits of GoDaddy are free domain name upon purchase of annual web hosting plan, GoDaddy WordPress hosting and Managed WordPress hosting, round the clock customer care, fast loading time and 30 day money back guarantee.
Step 1: Choosing a domain name has already been addressed in Step 1 of the section “BlueHost- Starting a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes” so you can read up the tips provided on choosing a domain name.
Step 2: Visit godaddy.com hosting page and select a plan that fits your budget (preferably Basic plan since you are just starting out). Click on “Get Started” and you will be taken to where you can claim your free domain which you will be required to provide. Click on “Search” to confirm availability of chosen domain name. Proceed to cart and provide all that is necessary.
If you haven’t signed up for an account on GoDaddy now would be the right time to do that. Provide billing information to proceed with payment of your hosting.
Step 3: Login to your GoDaddy account and click on “Web Hosting” next to the host account you want to use and click on “Manage”.
After that you click on “Popular Apps” which can be found under the Options & Settings section and select WordPress. Click on “Install” button and then click on “Ok” after completing the required fields.
Choose ‘Domain” in your account to be used and “Directory” also where your WordPress will be installed.
Other required information is Admin Name, Admin Password, Email Address and Blog Title.
WordPress will be installed and within 24 hours and you will receive a confirmation email.
Blogs are essential tools for building brands, sharing important information, generating quality traffic and sales lead, and boosting the SEO of your brand. They play such important roles that it is advisable that everyone has at least one blog.
There are a lot of tools and resources online to help you with running your blog. In this post we have provided a guide for choosing the appropriate hosting plans and web hosting companies for your blogs. The listed companies are reputable and highly rated in the industry.
This post has been put together to help you get started with your blog and having it hosted within five minutes.