Category Archives: Blogging Basics

Key Advantages of Using Self Hosted WordPress

WordPress is a publishing platform that makes it easy for you to publish your content online. It is a commercial enterprise owned by Automattic.

WordPress was started back in 2003 with a very few users, only to grow and become the biggest blogging tool in the world. It is being used by millions of websites/blogs and visited by several million people every day. WordPress is an open source, community-driven project.

From large company websites to personal blogs, and everything in between, everyone can publish with WordPress.

Also read: Why WordPress is Used for Blogging.

WordPress comes in two forms, the free hosted WordPress.com, and the self-hosted version available at WordPress.org.

What’s the difference? Read here to find out the difference between free, hosted blog Vs self-hosted blog.

For a beginner, this question often comes in mind whether to use the fully hosted one or self-hosted one? Both have their advantages and disadvantages over each other.

It totally depends on your requirement and interest whether you want to go for wordpress.com or wordpress.org. Here in this article we will highlight some key advantages of the self-hosted WordPress which are as follows.

Advantages of Self-hosted WordPress

Here are some of the best advantages of using self-hosted WordPress website.

Advantages of Self hosted WordPress org blog

Hosting on Your Server

You have full control over your blog as you are hosting it on your own. You have to create a web hosting account with one of the web hosting providers.

No one can delete your blog or interfere in any way. You can control advertisements, plugins, designs, themes, content, monetization etc. Maintenance and development is also on your part.

Plugins and Support

WordPress has amazing features like plugin and a strong community to get support. It makes your life easy using simple plugins for everything you need. By using plugins, you add any functionality. You can take help of WordPress support forum to get custom code and extend the capabilities of your blog.

Themes

There are thousands of free as well as premium themes available. You can install from unlimited beautiful themes. You can make your own themes too, using PHP and CSS.

Trust and Respect

If you have self-hosted blog, it means you are serious about blogging. It helps you gain respect and trust. Same ways you can easily contact private advertiser and increase your potential to make money.

Cost

If you want a full-featured website with your own domain name, the ability to post videos, unlimited storage and no forced advertising, WordPress.com can become quite expensive.

If cost is your most important consideration then WordPress.org will be your most affordable option.

Read here how to create a self hosted blog using WordPress, the complete guide.

Final Words

Installing the software for self-hosted blog and creating your site doesn’t mean you are done with it. With full control comes full responsibility.

If you host your own WordPress site, you will need to be prepared to provide regular maintenance and updates.

Whenever the WordPress core software comes out with a new release, you’ll need to upgrade your site to make sure it’s secure and less vulnerable to hacking. If you have a spam problem, you’ll have to find your a solution. WordPress sites are a favorite target of spammers and hackers.

However, nothing to worry as their are tons of tutorials and support available for everyone.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog

If you are a newbie and want to create a blog, you may want to know how much does it cost to start a blog. Here in this article, we discuss the cost involved in starting a blog.

Before we start, I would like to mention here that there are two approaches to create a blog. First is to create a hosted blog and second is to create a self-hosted blog. What are they?

A hosted blog is a free blog that you can start with any of the leading blogging platforms. For example, blogger.com, wordpress.com, tumblr.com allow you to create a free blog. However, there is a downside to it. The blog name would be something like bloggingstudio.wordpress.com or bloggingstudio.tumblr.com.

Apart from that, the free blogs come with lots of restrictions. They don’t allow you to install each and every plugin that you might want to. Also, some of them don’t allow you to put advertisement (like Google adsense) on your blog. In other words, you really don’t own your free blog. They also don’t look professional.

If you are serious about blogging, you should go for the second approach. This is called self hosted blog. You completely own your blog and free to use any plugin and put adverts on your blog. In order to create a self hosted blog, you need a domain name and a web hosting account.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog (Self Hosted)

Now lets see how much you have to shell out in order to start a blog.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cost of Domain Name

You need to register a domain name in order to have a self hosted blog. For example, the domain name of this blog is BloggingStudio.com.

A domain name with .com extension costs you around $12 USD per year. However, you can even get a domain name for free when you sign up for a web hosting account with BlueHost (read below). In case you want to just register a domain name separately, you can do that on Godaddy.com for around $12 USD.

It is recommended to register a domain name with .com extension. That’s most popular and oldest one.

Cost of Web Hosting

When you sign up for a web hosting account with the leading web hosts, you will have to pay around 6 to 7 USD per month, that’s around $80 USD per year.

However, currently BlueHost is running a promotional campaign. If you sign up with them, you will be charged just $4.95 USD per month, that is $59.4 for the first year. You also get a free domain name with each web hosting account.

Click Here to Sign up for Bluehost Account.

My choice: When I started my first blog, I signed up for a web hosting account with Bluehost for $59.4 for 1 year. Got a free domain name with the web hosting account. When I had to create more blogs, I registered additional domain names with Godaddy and used the same hosting account of Bluehost for all the blogs.

Cost of Blogging Software

WordPress.org gives you a free blogging software that you can use on your web host. It’s easy to install WordPress with just 1 click on the leading web hosts. For example, check this tutorial to find out how to create a blog in less than 5 minutes.

Cost of Theme (Optional)

There are plenty of free themes available for WordPress that you can use. However, if you want, you can use a premium theme after paying a one time fee.

StudioPress genesis framework with a child theme will cost you $99.95 USD. Thesis theme will cost you $87 USD. There are some great themes available for $25 as well.

My choice: I use StudioPress theme on all my blogs.

Summary

To sum up, here are the costs involved in starting a blog.

1) Domain name: approx $12 to $14 USD per year (Free when you sign up for web hosting account with Bluehost)
2) Web Hosting: approx $60 to $100 USD.
3) Cost of Theme: $25 to $100 (Optional).

Affiliate Disclosure:
This post contains some affiliate links. If you sign up with the services mentioned here using these links, I will get a small commission for referring them an amazing customer. You won’t be charged anything extra.

Top 4 Benefits of Having a Blog for your Business

Business blogging or blogs that carry information related to your business have been identified as one of the most important internet marketing tool.

As a business person you would want your business to grow and add more clients every passing day. A business now a days is not only about good services and product, how you present your product to the customers, how is your product positioned & advertise all these have a long term effect on your business.

Any business big or small, relies heavily on its advertising team to make their product stand out and get them new customers. Business blogging or blog for your business is a similar kind of online marketing tool that reinforces your position on the World Wide Web and helps to establish your brand.

blogging for business

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If we are to point out top four benefits of having a blog for your business, they would be:

Business Blogging is much cheaper than actual advertising:

You would agree with business spending money carefully is as important as investing it in the right places and the right time. Business blogging is comparatively low on costs as all you need a good blogging site and a person with basic knowledge of blogging to write about your company/business. You could yourself don the cap of writer as no one knows your business better than you.

Blogs give your website a better exposure:

All search engines love fresh content and they give it top most priority when a user search something related to it. Incorporating blog on the basic website would serve a dual purpose, first it would improve the ranking of your website on search engines, secondly it will also it establish your credibility with the number of blogs of you write.

Blogging and Social Media benefits:

If you are looking forward to promote your business via social mediums like Facebook/twitter business blogs help you do it, subtlety of course. While with blogs you can be do with all word play, get into details while on social media your story as to be short, attractive and possibly of 160 characters. With such restriction you could just add a link with a catchy phrase, which brings users back to your blog and read up if they are look for similar services.

Blogging helps you have an edge over other competitors:

There are thousands of people offering same kind of product like you; they too have got fancy websites made but what would make you stand out? Or even attract more clients to yours? The originality of blog and its styling would make your product stand out of the clutter. You have a liberty of making your blog witty, serious, and expressive or anything that make your product presentation, less robotic and more interactive. It would also give you a chance to interact with your customers via comments and a chance to improve your product if need be.

So these were the top 4 benefits of having a blog for your business. Let us know in comments if you have something to add.

What is Akismet and Why You Should Use it?

Whether you are a new entrant in the world of blogging or someone who has conquered the initial hiccups of this field, either ways you must be very well aware of the dreaded word “Spam”.

To spam means to send unwanted bulk messages, mostly related to advertising, irrelevantly. You yourself must have noticed that how articles on the web pages are bombarded with spam messages especially in the comment area. They are not only unpleasant but at times can be dangerous.

As a blogger, your weapon to eliminate these spammers is “Akismet“. Akismet is a WordPress plug-in that would help you moderate the comments on your blog and thereby reducing the risk of spam.

Features and price of Akismet

Akismet is a free tool for all personal bloggers but for someone who wants to set his/her blog commercially, will have to pay a nominal subscription fee.

The primary task of Akismet is to scan the whole blog for spam. If it finds any, the data are transferred to spam folder where it is kept for 15 days post which it gets deleted automatically. The user can exercise the option to “Unspam” a conversation after which the comment or data will be transferred back to its original place.

stop spam Akismet

A few key features of Akismet can be listed as:

Adaptability
Usage of Akismet is not confined to WordPress. It can be used on platforms like Wikipedia, or any forum that has submitted content. You can also place Akismet on your website.

Generates Statistical Reports
Akismet jots down the missed spam, actual spam & false positive i.e. any data that has been wrongly identified as spam, and prepares a report your review. You can check this report daily, monthly or yearly for an infinite time.

Multi-linguistic
The comment/spam detection is not restricted to English language, Akismet is well trained to detect spams in other language and report them appropriately. It also highlights the links in the comments if any for the blogger to check if it is legit or not.

Akismet: Do I really need it?

When it comes to popularity and rating, Akismet is definitely a market leader compared to other anti-spam plug in available.

Spams not only bring down the overall user experience but it can also severely injure your SEO attempts, especially if your blog is home to many unsolicited links to spam websites. To monitor each and every comment manually is not really you can afford to do on a daily basis as it time consuming.

So, Akismet is a smart way to deal with them all. It is efficient enough to track each and every comment or ping you receive on your posts and classify it as safe or spam. If the plug-in does find something that is beyond its comprehension, it would wait for the owner of the blog to take a decision. With Akismet, you also have a liberty of marking a supposedly spam comment as safe.

When it comes to price, $5/mo is probably you are not looking forward to pay. If such is the case you could have a look at other similar anti-spam plug-ins for e.g. AntiSpam Bee, Defensio, Spamfree WordPress etc.

Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WordPress or BlogSpot: Which is better?

If you are a new or aspiring blogger, you must be facing similar dilemma that most of the bloggers have faced. WordPress or BlogSpot, which platform to choose from.

What are benefits of one over another. And which one has a possibility to turn your hobby of blogging into a full-fledged, money making career if need be!

Let’s be honest, everyone likes popularity and having a few followers here and there really doesn’t hurt.

Also read: Why WordPress is Used for Blogging

So, if you get a platform which allows you to customize your blog attractively and have tools which can actually help you garner some attention, would definitely score over another. Even if it means paying it for a little.

wordpress or blogspot what to choose

BlogSpot or WordPress: Introduction

Also read: How to create a blog.

BlogSpot, or Blogger as it is popularly known, was launched in late nineties and later revamped and acquired by Google. BlogSpot has various attractive features that vary from a range of editing and customization options along with facility to keep your blog private or go public.

WordPress, on other hand, is an open source blogging and content management system which was introduced in 2003. With its ease of use and easy to manage features, it has its fan base growing every day.

Also, keep in mind that WordPress has 2 versions: free, hosted blog provided by WordPress.com and another one is self-hosted blog provided by WordPress.org. Read here to understand the difference between the two.

BlogSpot Vs WordPress: Which is better?

We could compare each of these blogging platforms on various aspects but this article would stick to a few major points.

Customization

Whether it is theme, widgets or incorporation of various fonts, BlogSpot is way ahead than hosted WordPress.com blog.

However, the self-hosted version of WordPress allows even more customization, as you want. When it comes to placement of widgets, allowing Java/flash in the blog, configuration of themes and ease of use, WordPress wins hands down.

So, if you are looking for a lot of customization and want your blog to stand apart from others, self-hosted WordPress is something you should opt for.

Search Engine Compatibility

Coming back to gathering followers or creating some noise, you would need your blog to speak for itself or say come up in famous search engine results.

WordPress has some incredible features that allows you to optimize the blog.

In BlogSpot, you need to manually add tags & categories that allow your blog to index faster and quick in ranking. But, if you look at long term prospects, WordPress has ability to set up SEO friendly URLs far better than the default URLs. It’s also easy to add custom meta description to each post with the help of a plugin.

Special Features

When it comes to few special features like Spell checker or hit counter, BlogSpot is a clear winner. The spell checker in BlogSpot checks for passive voice, cliches, proper usage of words, while WordPress has one that is pretty standard.

Sure, both the blogging platforms come with “hit counter”, but BlogSpot comes with one which can classify or customize the visitors, in terms of fans, visitors etc.

Making money

Finally, we come to the most important part of blogging, that is making money. When you are using WordPress, you are allowed to sell your blog, while selling of blogs in BlogSpot is strictly not allowed.

You can put Google adsense and other ads to your blogger account and self-hosted WordPress blogs. However, you will not be able to put adsense on hosted WordPress.com blog.

Summary

If you are looking to start a blog and serious about it, the best option for you is to get a web host, register a domain name and go for a self-hosted WordPress blog. You won’t face any kind of restrictions and you will completely own your blog.

Read here: How to create a blog.

How to Choose a Blog Topic

Choosing the topic of your blog is one of the initial steps when you are planning to create a blog. Once you have chosen a topic, you need to create the blog and write about that topic.

Therefore, choosing a good topic is key to success for every blog. Following are some key points you should consider while doing your research for blog topic selection.

blog-topic

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Also read: Points to Consider before Starting a Blog.

Blog Topic: You are Passionate About

If you are writing a blog, it is supposed to be updated frequently. Some bloggers update their blog daily while some other bloggers update it several times a day.

However, one should update the blog at-least two or three times a week. You will need to provide fresh content to your blog readers.

Hence, it is important to choose a topic for your blog you are passionate about. That way, you can keep your blog going and updated regularly.

If you are not passionate about your blog topic, soon you will feel bored and stale very quickly. To be able to stay motivated, choose a topic of your interest.

Blog Topic: That You Enjoy Researching

You will never run out of content if the topic you are writing about is something you would love to research. The ability to provide fresh and most updated contents to your readers is the key to success in blogging.

If you love to research on the topic, you would be having all latest updates and advancements in that area. Hence you should be able to provide relevant updates to the readers of your blog.

Blog Topic: You Would Like to Discuss

Blog requires two way conversation between blogger and readers. It is not meant for one way conversation.

Readers leave comments after reading the blog posts. The blogger should respond or discuss on that comment. You should be able to handle any debate in a healthy and professional manner. If you are able to create a sense of community through your blog, you will surely become successful.

These were the top factors you must consider when you choose your favorite topic for starting a blog.

Why WordPress is Used for Blogging

If you want to start a blog, there are several blogging platforms including free ones such as www.Blogger.com and www.WordPress.com.

But the most popular blogging platform is provided by WordPress.org.

Here it is important to understand that WordPress.com is different than WordPress.org. WordPress.com gives you free hosted blog while WordPress.org helps you create a self hosted blog.

Also read: Free Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Blog.

WordPress.com provides you a blog with sub-domain and it is hosted on WordPress.com website.

On the other hand, WordPress.org provides you an open source software using which, you can host your own blog on your web host. Since this software is open source, it is completely free.

Why WordPress is Best for Blogging?

Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of having a self hosted WordPress.org blog.

Big Bloggers Use WordPress

That’s true. Most of the biggest bloggers around the world use WordPress. If you look at the top 100 blogs, you will see that most of them use WordPress. And not only the big guys, but small and mid sized blogs are also powered by WordPress.

WordPress Blogs Look Professional

WordPress.org powered blog or even websites look much more organized and professional. Pick any of the great themes and customize if you want.

It will give you a really great looking blog or website.

Great Support

The WordPress forums as well as other websites and blogs provide you awesome support. Thousands and thousands of experts are there to help you out.

You also get lots of tutorials, videos and how-to guides. If you face any problem, you can just search it on Google and you will get lots of stuff to guide you!

Why WordPress is used for blogging

Convinced with the power of WordPress? Ready to rock? Just look up and you can get a FREE WordPress blog set up. You just pay for your web hosting fees. And it’s not just mediocre looking blog. You get a fully functional, great looking blog!

Free Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Blog

There are already millions of blogs on the Internet. Some of them are created on a free host while others were created on a paid host.

So what’s the difference between a free hosted blog and a self-hosted blog? We will discuss the difference between the two and will also check out which one you should choose.

Also read: Why you should create a blog.
Points to Consider before Starting a Blog.

blog

Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is a free, hosted blog?

You can go to Blogger.com or WordPress.com and sign up for an account and create a blog straight away.

No fees, no set up charges.

Sounds simple, right?

Such free hosted blogs are great for beginners.

However, while signing up, you need to agree with their terms and conditions and also follow them. Additionally, you don’t get a domain name for free.

All you get is a free subdomain name. For example, your blog’s URL will be yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.blogspot.com. You can choose yourblogname, subject to availability.

But some extra part will be there in the URL such as wordpress or blogspot. There are some other restrictions as well like no or very little options to customize.

What is a self-hosted blog?

A self-hosted blog requires you to install a blogging software but you will need a web host for that. Off-course, a web-host, for example Bluehost, will cost you some money.

You will also need to spend a few dollars for domain name registration. A domain name is the address of your blog on Internet, for example bloggingstudio.com is the domain name of my blog.

A web host provides you actual space on their servers to store the code/scripts, images and other files related to your blog or website.

All this you can get for under $8 USD per month. Installing the blog software is not a big deal.

Most of the leading web hosts like Bluehost and Hostgator provide you 1 click installation of blog.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

WordPress.com is the free service that provides you hosted blogs. WordPress.org is also free but they provide you a software that you need to install on a web-host and the web-host is not free.

Free hosted vs. self-hosted blog: What’s the difference between the two?

Self-hosted blog is like your own house. You have the complete control. You can customize as you want. You can add any plugins you want.

You can change the layouts, look and feel. You can also put adverts on it.

On the other hand, having a hosted blog is like staying in a rented house. Just like you have lots of restrictions in your rented house, you have very little control over the hosted blog.

Some of them don’t allow you to put ads on your hosted blog. You have little options of customizing the looks and adding new functionality.

Apart from the restrictions, the free hosted blog with a subdomain name looks less professional. It’s very hard to earn credibility with a “FREE” thing. There could be several hundreds, if not thousands, blogs having same looks, more or less, as yours.

Due to the above mentioned reasons, I recommend everyone to go for a self hosted blog. Sign up with a good web host such as Bluehost (great for beginners) and install WordPress, a free, Open Source software provided by WordPress.org.

Few Points to Consider before Starting a Blog

Before creating a blog, there are few important points you should consider. In this article, we are going to have a look at those important points.

Also read: Why you should create a blog.

blogging points to consider

  • Do you really enjoy writing something? If you don’t really enjoy doing that, it is very likely that you will loose interest very soon.
  • On what topic you would like to write? Have you thought of the topic of your blog? Follow the topic of your own interest and not the advertisers!
  • Are you disciplined enough?
  • Are you consistent? Apart from regularly updating the blog, you would also have to reply to the comments and visitors’ emails on a regular basis. You also have to manage your social media promotions and networking with other bloggers in your area of expertise.
  • Would you be able to dedicate at-least 8-10 hrs every week for your blog? It will be required to dedicate a lot of your time – not only for writing new posts but also for promotions.
  • Would you be able to work really hard for your blog? These days, there are already so many blogs on Internet, blogging isn’t really simple as it used to be earlier. You would be required to stay focused on many aspects. SEO and driving traffic to your blog are some of the major tasks you would be required to perform.
  • Do you possess some basic level of technical knowledge? This is required to start and maintain the blog? You need to configure the blog, and then maintain it. You have to take regular backups and optimize it as well. Just in case you do not have this knowledge, don’t worry – you can hire someone!

These were the most important points you must consider when you are planning to start a blog.

Recommended

If you are planning to start blogging, look around for a FREE WordPress installation service or a paid blog set up service. You can also check for blog maintenance service.

Image Source: jaylopez