I remember when the idea first struck to try to get into blogging. It’s been roughly 3 years since that time and I’m still learning. There is so much to take into consideration. When I started to play around with it, I was using free services, but quickly realized that if this was something I wanted to really tackle seriously, I would have to go a different route.
I’ve decided to make this a series of posts, allowing me to detail my evolving experiences in blogging. Sharing insight into the choices I’ve made so far and the reasons behind them.
So, in the name of sharing…here we go 🙂
Over the past 3 years, I’ve learned as I go. I’ve had some good experiences and some not so good ones. When I began to play with the idea of having my blog, I was trying to do a lot, with very little available funding. In my excitement to get started, I made choices that didn’t turn out to be good ones. It really does pay to take your time, do your research and do your best to find the things that will best serve your needs. You will likely discover along the way, as you learn more about what you actually need, that you’ll be changing directions. And that’s OK.
If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the blogging waters, do make use of those free services to see if this whole blogging thing is a good fit for you. They are great ways to experiment, with no cost to you.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links.
I love WordPress. It’s what I use to run Culinary Zest. WordPress.com offers free blogging services and is a great place to start. They also provide for self-hosting at WordPress.org. I self-host WordPress on my GlowHost server. GlowHost makes it super easy to install WordPress, click a button and they take care of the installation for you.
Another free-to-use option is Blogger. Blogger is what I originally started out using in 2011.
Blogger is owned by Google. I used my original Blogger site to apply to Adsense. It made it really easy to get accepted. I wasn’t working on anything related to Culinary Zest at that point. I was just experimenting and learning. It was during those early days that I learned that if I thought there was even the smallest of chances that this was something I wanted to take on seriously, I needed to change directions. And it didn’t take very long to change directions, once I knew why I had too.
When I started out testing the waters, I didn’t have my domain, I wasn’t self-hosting or using premium themes. Frankly, I really had very limited funding to throw at this. That was a very real limiting factor for me. And it still affects some of my choices today. You can absolutely start out by doing without all those things, but what I discovered very early on, is that it definitely pays to have them in the long run.
Let’s start by tackling why I decided to go with my domain name culinaryzest.com.
For starters, having your own domain, means your web address is short and sweet, it’s great personal branding and it looks more professional. You won’t have super long web address with your free hosting service name tagged on it. Buying your own domain name is very easy and I think its value far outweighs the small cost to you to have one. It’s the first thing I bought for my blog. There are many Domain sellers out there, so do your research and find the one you like best.
I bought it from GoDaddy, the actual domain was less than $10. I also purchased private registration, it was less than $10 as well. With Discounts, the yearly cost to me to have my domain name with private registration is under $20.
Go with private registration if you want to keep your personal details private. When you buy your own domain you are required to give sensitive contact information, like your name and actual address. This information is listed with WhoIs and anyone, at any time, can look your domain name up through WhoIs and your personal information is listed there for all to see. If you’re operating with a business identity then you probably don’t care, but if you’re not, you don’t want people knowing who you are and where you live, get private registration. This service uses the domain sellers business information in place of your own. It’s worth it. Stay safe out there.
The experience of purchasing my domain was painless, easy and fast. It also left me with this funny ohmygosh I own my domain feeling. I’m legit! Silly I know, but still funny to me 🙂 I felt like I had taken the first small step in my new adventure and it felt great.
The next day, I noticed they offered really cheap, unlimited shared hosting and they ran WordPress. SWEET! Or so I thought at the time.
I’ll be covering why it turned out to be not such a sweet deal in Experiences in Blogging – Hosting.
Live and learn.
Now get out there and start creating your Passion 🙂