Internet Basics: What to Know Before Starting a Blog

Posted: July 10, 2017

As someone with quite a few active websites, I have tried most of the services out there, and hands down SiteGround is my go to hosting service.  Even though I’ve set up my share of websites, the technical side of it is still very foreign to me.  Who has time to take the courses or do the research to really understand those parts anyway?  With SiteGround, they’ve really taken the time to build a user friendly interface that I actually understand, and for everything that’s still over my head, I have 24/7 access to a live chat, where not only will they direct me, but most of the time they will do the backend work for me!  The first time I tried out their support, I couldn’t believe how helpful, friendly, and attentive they were!  After that, it’s been a no brainer and I never use anyone else.

But what is SiteGround hosting anyway?  Let’s back up for a minute.  What exactly makes up a website?

Setting up a blog is incredibly easy.  Knowing the basics will help you talk the talk, but you can also just skip right to making the magic here.

 

If your blog were a house this is what it’s built of:

 

Your Address = Your Domain Name (www…)

A domain name, or web address is just the text you type into your browser like www.google.com, or www.ijm.org or www.thehyphenblog.com.  This service is not free, but luckily it’s not very expensive – $9-14.99 per year typically. There are a few premium domains that sell for much much more, which are best avoided.  The hardest part of getting a domain name is finding one that isn’t already owned by someone else, but once you find it, it’s all yours.

The .com or .org does make a difference.  .Com’s will make you look the most legit, if that’s a priority for you (if you plan on monetizing the site, it definitely should be).  .Org’s are typically for organizations and non-profit type companies, and then there’s a whole myriad of other domains that are location based, random, or anything else.  Typically if someone is trying to return to your website, they’ll probably remember your domain name and assume it’s at a .com.  If you’re

 

Your Land = Your hosting plan

So you have an address, but whoever designed the internet decided that’s not enough.  You also have to get another service in order to “host” your domain.  Think of it as the land that allows you to actually build your house.  Except its a monthly service you pay for.  (The analogy isn’t exactly perfect.)

Hosting plans vary depending on need.  Most of the services are based on the number of people who visit your site per month, ranging from a low number to a high number.  If you’re ever heard of a website breaking because of its popularity, what probably happened is that it has a hosting plan that was too low to handle a massive influx of traffic (like a viral post, or flash sale).  Some hosting services, like Siteground will work closely with you to make sure that doesn’t happen for your site.

 

Your Platform = Your foundation

Before you build your house, you need a good foundation.  I’m not going to spend much time talking about this, except to say WordPress (perhaps you’ve heard of it) is the solution.  Wordpress builds a platform in CSS, which is coding language, aka how computers talk to each other.  The great thing about WordPress is that you can be someone with a fully built website and not do a single line of coding (like me!).  There are a lot of other options, but if you’re just starting out WordPress is the one to use.

 

Your House = Your website template

This is the experiential part of website – the part your guests actually see and interact with.  It holds all the posts, pages, links, images, etc. etc.  Your website template is a prebuilt design you install and then customize on your WordPress site.  For example, this website is built with the theme Brooklyn from ThemeForest.net.  It’s kind of like buying the blueprint for a house already made by an architect, and you get to pick the colors and embellishments.  You can also have custom websites built by an expert designer, which is such a fun process, but also very pricey and probably not something a beginner blogger will need.  Click here to learn more about WordPress themes.

 

So, now that you know what your blog is made of, let’s build our house…I mean blog.

 

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