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.

Free Home Phone Comes To Canada

Canadians Can Now Have Free Home Phone

First Published: ADawnJournal.com March 25, 2009

What Is VOIP

The Internet has transformed the way we live, work and play. Also, it has revolutionized the way we talk to each other. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows you to make calls over the Internet. VOIP technology lets you can make regular phone calls directly from your computer, VIOP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a router/adaptor.

What You Need To Make Internet Calls

If you would like to make calls from your computer, you will require these:
– high speed connection
– a headset
– microphone
If you have a laptop or a computer that you purchased not long ago, you may already have built-in speakers and microphone installed. If this is the case, you don’t need any additional microphone or headsets.

If you would like to make calls using a regular phone, you will require:
– high speed connection
– a telephone adaptor/router

Is There Any Free VOIP Provider?

VOIP has been my special area of interest since its beginning. In January 2004, when Primus offered VOIP service in Canada for the first time, I was one of the few individuals to try it. I have always been keeping an eye for free VOIP service provider. So far I have not had much luck. However, about a week ago, when I was searching for free home phone on the Internet, I came across this company promising free home phone service.

FreePhoneLine

Freephoneline.ca has launched free VOIP home phone service with many features. Some of these features are:

Caller ID
Enhanced Voicemail
FollowMe Service
Unlimited Local Calling
Unlimited Free Long Distance Calling To Major Canadian Cities

How Does This Work

There are two ways you can use FreePhoneLine. You can make calls using a soft phone or a hard phone. A soft phone is a software that you install on your computer to make calls using your computer. A soft phone exactly looks like Yahoo or MSN Messenger. A hard phone is a physical phone. You will need high-speed Internet connection, an analog telephone adaptor/router, and a hard phone (a real phone you use to make calls from home) to make calls using a hard phone. Your computer does not have to be on to make call via hard phone.

Does FreePhoneLine offer 911 Service?

Yes. As this is a real home phone replacement, 911 service is available. Check FreePhoneLine website for more information.

Will I Be Able To Keep My Existing Home Phone Number?

Yes, you will be able to keep and transfer your existing phone number to FreePhoneLine’s network for a onetime fee. Check their website for more information.

What’s My Take

After reading this article, I don’t suggest you to cancel your home phone service right away. What you can do:

– Try FreePhoneLine soft phone for a month and see if you like it or not
– If you like it, don’t cancel your regular home pone yet. Try it as your secondary home phone
for a couple of months.
– If you are fully satisfied, then cancel your regular home phone

I have been using the soft phone version of FreePhoneLine. So far, I am satisfied with the sound quality and all cool features. It’s loaded with features which a regular phone will never be able to offer. For example, Enhanced Voicemail lets you forward your voicemails to your email, FollowMe feature lets you forward your calls to your cell, home, or work phone. However, unquestionably the best FreePhoneLine feature is – it’s free. Nothing can beat that. Visit Free Phone Line here – FreePhoneLine

Are You Still Listening To Your CDs?

Internet Radio Revolution

First Published: April 15, 2009 ADawnJournal.com

The Internet has revolutionized the way we live; it’s no wonder that listening to music the old way is about to become extinct. Internet radio is replacing those traditional CDs, and more and more listeners are discovering the convenience and features Internet radio provides (which traditional music players simply cannot) due to technological breakthroughs.

You can listen to most of the traditional radio stations online these days. However, the reason I am writing this article today is not to discuss listening to those online radio stations. I am here to discuss social radio stations like Last.fm or Jingo and what unimaginable things they can do for you. There are many other online social stations like these but these two are my favourites and I will restrict myself to just these two to keep things simple.

Let’s look some of the features that make these social radio stations cutting edge listening devices fit to replace traditional media and music players.

·   There is no additional music player required. Your computer becomes your entertainment station. And yes, of course, you can still listen to your music player from your computer by connecting Internet radio stations through a wire or wirelessly via a FM Transmitter.

·   There is no need to store breakable CDs. Make your life clutter- and worry-free by not having to store, organize, and sort out traditional CDS. This saves lots of time too.

·   Create your own personalized profile and input your choice of music, artists, and genre; these smart online radio stations will keep playing music based on your input 24/7.

·   Filter out music you don’t like. If you don’t like something you hear, you can ask your station not to play it anymore. On the other hand, if you like something and want to hear it more often, tell the radio by pressing a button and it will play that track often.

·   As you keep listening, these smart radio stations remember and analyze what you are listening to and adjust themselves to play more the kind of music you like.

·   You can meet like-minded people from all over the world. The station will show profiles of people who are listening to the same music you are, allowing you to have online conversations and make new friends.

·   You can email the link of your radio station or post it on your blog and your friends will be able to share exactly what you are listening to.

·   It will update you about new releases and new artists based on your preferences – this is impossible with a traditional music player.

·   These artificial intelligence music players remember who you are and give you a unique listening experience like no other. You can access your own station from anywhere in the world and can enjoy your own personalized and customized station.

The best thing of all is that these radio stations are free. Sophisticated technology has made it possible to enjoy and experience what was just not possible a few years ago. There are many stations online like these, but I use these two mostly: Jango and Last.fm. Do a search for the keywords “Internet radio station” and you will be able to find many more. 

Canadian Financial Websites & Canadian Financial Blogs

Differences and Similarities Between Canada Personal Finance Websites

First published: ADawnJournal.com Published Date : April 26, 2009

Regular ADJ readers may already know that I maintain another Canadian Personal Finance Web Site along with a few other sites. Today, I am going to describe shortly the differences and similarities between these two sites.

www.adawnjournal.com

1.   1. No fixed posting schedule. Updates are made once or twice a week or none at all some weeks.

2.   Covers various topics in a wide array of subjects.

3.   Content mixing still weighting a little heavier on the financial side.

4.   Contents are more personalized. I try to mix my personal experiences, opinions, and feedback along with articles.

5.   Lots of social media content, such as video clips, pictures, and so on.

6.   It’s a journal encompassing all aspects of life.

www.canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com

1.   Updates are made usually once a week.

2.   Covers only personal finance topics.

3.   No content mixing; you will get only financial articles.

4.   Content is more professionally inclined; I will rarely be talking about personal matters.

5.   Social media content is almost absent.

6.   It’s a global and a Canadian personal finance website written in simple and understandable terms from a Canadian perspective.

Currently, there are three other websites I am actively maintaining: The Green Living Blog, Simple Personal Development, and Entrepreneur Journey. I am also planning to launch two other websites shortly. Most likely, these sites will be launched as Travel Now Simply at www.travelnowsimply.com and Real Estate Expedition at www.realestateexpedition.com

Furthermore, as an Internet entrepreneur, I own many other websites and domains. However, only the sites mentioned here have my name attached to it. Other sites I maintain as an Internet entrepreneur are incognito sites – meaning you will never know who owns it if you happen to come across one of those sites. Here is an example: www.1tourtravel.com. That’s all for today.

What Is Netvibes

Netvibes - What Is It?

If you are reading this article right now, this is not the only site you browse. While you are online, probably you check your email, weather, stocks and a few news sites and the list keeps going on and on as you find cool sites everyday. It can be annoying to check all your favourite  sites one by one and it’s time consuming too. Tariq Krim, the founder of Netvibes thought the same way and he came up with this brilliant idea to put all sites on one page so you don’t have to browse from site to site to obtain updated information. Of course, you can argue that Google and Yahoo did the same by offering personalized page … long time ago but Netvibes does things better and easier way than those big guys and the looks are a lot better than Yahoo and Google.

Impressive Stats
Its no wonder 15,000 people visited on the first day of it’s launch in September, 2005 and more than five million users signed up. 60% users are from the US and there are users from more than 100 countries. 10 percent of users keep Netvibes page active throughout the day and use it as entry point into other sites.

Ecosystem
Netvibes offers ecosystem – made of pre-programmed modules which are made by users and you can put them on your own Netvibes page just with a click. Modules can be as different as news feeds, blog feeds, stock charts, weather reports and hundreds of different things. Lets say you added an RSS feed on your Netvibes page and you think it is cool and would be be useful to other users..you can publish this RSS feed on ecosystem with a click. Very simple and easy.

Months To Verify?
I have created Netvibes modules for www.adawn.net and many other sites and some of them stopped working without any reasons. To keep my module active, I wanted to delete the inactive one but I could not find delete option anywhere. Finally, I had to create another module for www.adawn.net. Also, sites submitted   in the beginning of October have not been verified yet by Netvibes team. A module is not available to other users until Netvibes team verifies it and if takes months to verify… its a sign that Netvibes needs to hire more people to keep up with heavy traffic.

Not Alone
competitors are not napping in the meanwhile. Lots of other sites are popping up with similar concept and they have the financial and technological support to compete Netvibes. Webwag, Pageflakes, Protopage and many more are working at a tremendous pace to catch up with Netvibes.

Future Unknown
It would be interesting to see how Netvibes starts earning money. Investors already pouring in millions of dollars and Netvibes has not mentioned anything yet about how money can be generated. I would not be surprised to see the only exit point being sold to Yahoo or Google.

Originally published on www.adawn.net. I am transferring all my articles from Canada’s Personal Finance Website. You will see articles from www.adawn.net being posted here once in a while. Thanks.