A Non-techie’s Guide to Setting Up a Professional Blog

How To Start A Blog

First Published Date : March 12, 2009 ADawnJournal.com

I get emails from my readers asking how to set up a blog. I always reply and try to briefly explain to them how to set up a blog in simple terms. Sometimes these replies turn out to be long emails, which  made me think: instead of replying to each individual separately, I can just write a post explaining everything.

Today, I will discuss how to set up a blog even when you are not a tech-savvy person. If you have always wondered if it is possible to start a professional-looking blog without knowing programming codes, DNS, FTP, domain forwarding and so on, this post is for you.

Before we start, you need to know what a domain name is and you can learn it by reading this post How to Make Money from Domain Names. I am going to explain three different blogging platforms you can use to start your blog. Once you finish reading, you should be able to decide on your own which path best suits your needs.

Option 1 – Use Free Hosted Blogging Platform

This is the easiest way to setup a new blog. It should not take you more than ten to fifteen minutes to write your first post and see it live online. A hosted blog service that hosts your blog for free is the actual owner of your blog. Because they own everything, you have no control over your blog. If they want, they can delete your blog or ban you from posting at any time. Some of the more popular hosting platforms are WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad. With a hosted blog, you do not need any domain name. Your blog address will be like yourname.blogspot.com. To start your own blog, just visit any one of these sites. If you know how to surf online, you can also set up a blog with these hosted blogging platforms.

Option 2 – Use Paid Hosted Blogging Platform

Squarespace is a paid web publishing or blogging platform that lets you create a professional-looking blog very easily. Squarespace provides a lot more flexibility than those mentioned above. It provides you with all the tools, design templates, and hosting to create a professional-looking blog. Using Squarespace’s setup, you can have a professional-looking blog live online in an hour. You do not need to have your own domain, but you can choose to go with your own domain if you want. In that case, you need to buy a domain with a domain registrar like GoDaddy,HostGator, or Bluehost. Then you have to point your domain to Squarespace. This is not hard to do. The Squarespace website has step-by-step instructions on how to do it. A Dawn Journal was actually hosted by Squarespace for eight months when it started.

Option 3 – Use Stand Alone Blogging Platform

A stand-alone blogging platform is hosted by you on your own domain. This gives you full ownership, controls, rights, and privileges to your blog. You need to have your own domain name and web hosting (server space) to host your blog. A domain name and hosting plan are not expensive. It would cost you about $10 annually to have your own domain and about $7-10 monthly to buy web hosting. WordPress is a popular stand-alone blogging platform and I recommend it strongly. The problem with Option 3 is that it requires technical literacy to install WordPress on your domain server.

But what can you do if you are not tech-savvy enough to do it by yourself? Have someone else do it for you. If you have friends or relatives who know how, ask them to do it. If you don’t have anyone, I recommend using Kevin’s Free Instant Blog Setup services. Kevin is the one who looks after all my websites, and he can setup your WordPress blog in a snap. How much is the cost? It’s free. Yes, you heard it right. He will do it for free; however, there is a small catch. You have to sign up for hosting through Kevin’s website. Kevin is an affiliate with those web hosting sites mentioned on his blog, and he gets paid by those sites when you sign up through his site.

If you already have a domain and web hosting, Kevin can still do it for you for minimal fees. Contact him directly through his contact page for more info. The reason I recommend Kevin is because he is knowledgeable, friendly, and someone you can rely on. Let’s say after one year you messed up your site and need help to fix it, or you decide to change your site design (template), or you would like to install new stuff – Kevin will do it for a reasonable cost. In this line of business, you can easily get ripped off if you don’t know who you are dealing with. Also, you will be able to find similar free installation services by doing a Google search with these keyword phrases: free WordPress blog installation service.

Final Word

If you are just trying to start a blog to see if this is for you, I recommend going with Option 1. I started my first few blogs with Blogger.com. If you are looking to start a professional blog all by yourself, I recommend Option 2. If you are serious about blogging, want to blog for the long term, and have Internet entrepreneurship in your mind, I recommend going with Option 3.