First of all, I want to say that I am not considering leaving Hubpages. However, I am seriously considering starting my own website/blog, in addition to keeping my HubPage account. So, here's my understanding on how to go about starting my own site, bear in mind I don't know a lot about it: Buy and register a domain name (don't know exactly best places to go for this or the prices, but I have read about GoDaddy, Bluehost, and Bigrock); find a host/server and pay them (again, not sure about the best in this regard, but I've read about Bluehost, BigRock...Wordpress? Still not sure about this either). Even though those things are not totally clear to me, that's the gist of what I know. But what I understand is that the next step is the most difficult: That is, creating/setting up the website/blog itself. I've read different things about this: That you must know html, and also that you don't have to know html if you use Wordpress; now, my understanding is that you can still have a unique and quality site using Wordpress and their tools. But I don't know how all that works. Any advice and insights would be appreciated. Also, some ideas as far as cost would be appreciated; the whole thing--domain, host, setting up site. I am considering possibly two sites, on two different subjects.
Any easy option is to use blogger or wordpress. You can use these hosts and have your own domain.
Namecheap are good for buying domain names.
Hostgator are probably the best for hosting.
Wordpress is excellent for building websites and no html knowledge is required.
Go Daddy, best avoided for everything.
Cost of a domain name will probably be under $10 for a year.
Cost of hosting probably around $7-$10 a month depending on how long you commit to up front.
A site you might well find helpful is Eric Graudin's site www.theinternetbloke.com It helped me out no end when I built my two sites.
Very good info there, thanks for the details. I will have to check out that site too. Those prices are way more reasonable than I was expecting too. You also gave me more leads and a heads-up about where to go for domains and hosting.
You are very welcome. The other advantage I found was if I used Hostgator for hosting and select the 'Baby Croc' package, I could host multiple sites on there without paying any more per month. At the moment I have two sites, but if I wanted I could have many more and my monthly premium would not change.
That's good to know, because I want to start at least two sites. I have some vague ideas about some other sites, but I want to start two for certain.
Just remember you do have to pay in advance for the full term you commit to. I paid for two years in advance, and it averaged out at about $7 per month (although as stated I paid the full two years there and then as required). If I had committed to three or more years it would have been well under $7 per month as an average, but of course the more sites you have, the cheaper it averages out at per site.
Okay, that's also good to know; so it sounds like there would have to be $168 or so investment to start out, up front. Might take a little budgeting or saving, but I might be able to pull that off.
Yep, it does take a little up front investment, but it is well worth it, and remember, it will start to pay for itself once any adverts on your new sites begin to draw in money.
Hold on a minute....
I haven't read this entire thread - so maybe I'm off base, or being redundant, but... I think you can forget about all this talk about a big upfront investment.
I have to say... forget Hostgator and BlueHost - not because I think they are crummy (I have heard good and bad about both)
Checkout StablehostDOTcom for webhosting
I have been with them for 4 years now, and have never been disappointed - or had a service issue!
The good part... my costs are $2.95 p/month, (the real cost is only $5.95 -$7.95, but I got in on a 50% discount coupon - for life!) I might be off by a dollar or two per month, I didn't check before responding here. And I still remember seeing coupon offers even now - just not sure of the details.
They use cPanel which is pretty much a standard now - and it is very easy for a new webmaster to understand.
Understand that all hosting sites promote unlimited this and that - but even so, the truth is that your bandwidth IS NOT REALLY unlimited because all the hosts and plans discussed are "SHARED" hosting - which means - if you get tons and tons of traffic - you will be using more bandwidth than they can handle on a shared plan and you will have to upgrade to private hosting - (you should look forward to this, it will mean you are very successful)
Back to stablehost - I found them through a webmasters hosting forum - they were highly recommended, and as mentioned, I have been happy with them for 4 years.
You will get unlimited domains and subdomains, (I'm currently using them for 4 sites, but my total traffic is only around 100,000 hits per month - and my bandwidth usage is only about 20% of what I have available - all for $2.95 p/month total - not per site)
If you set up automatic billing you only pay a month at a time, not years. I used PayPal as my payment method, but any credit card or checking account can also be used.
They are U.S. based, their uptime is excellent, and so is their page-loading times. (if you want to see their real-time page-load time - checkout my profile for a couple of the sites I host there, and you can see for yourself)
As for all the advice to use wordpress as your software - it is excellent advice for first-timers. You can install a wordpress site through their cPanel with just 1-click, and there are tons of good free theme designs available
And, as no links were used here, I am speaking as a very satisfied user, not an affiliate. Which I am of course, and if you were feeling grateful for this money-saving information - I would be grateful if you signed-up using my affiliate link, (which could be tortured out of me if needed), and a link to new account coupons that are at least for 50% discount for first three months. - (that's the last one I remember seeing)
The point is, with or without my link - you can host multiple sites for as little as $5.95 p/month - only paying a month at a time.
Hope this was helpful
ps. as for where to buy the domain name - the only difference will be the price. There are no services involved with a name purchase, (other than pointing them to you name servers), so buy it/them where ever you find the best deal. (Godaddy does run a lot of discount offers)
BUT, wise webmasters advise that you never buy a domain name AND host it with the same company. I buy my names from Godaddy, (again using their %-off offers - I'm a skinflint), but I have heard too many complaints about their hosting, and of course their plans are too expensive, to ever consider them as a host site.
pss. Also - everyone says you can get a domain name for around $10, and you can but... you really should add the $9.95 - $11.95 for private proxy registration. By doing this your yearly domain name costs will still only be around $20!!!!
I did not do this for my first site (too cheap to pay the extra fee), but after the 15th or 16th phone call, (per month), asking me; "is this the antique shop?" Or "Can you tell me how much my great grandmother's figurine is worth?" I learned my lesson - because when you buy and register your domain name, you have to give your real information - including phone number. And from then on that information is available to any internet searcher that bothers to look for it.
If you pay for private proxy registration, your information, (which you still have to provide) remains private.
That is very good info: It's good to know it is easier to do a lot of this than I thought it was and that it is that affordable. I'm definitely going to check out your sites. Thanks for the advice. I also was not aware that you shouldn't use the place you get the domain name as a host; good to keep in mind. I will also be using the privacy proxy when I set things up.
Great, detailed information. My account with Hostgator costs me $3.95 a month so the prices are similar and from your description, I'd say the service is similar too - but it's always good to know of other alternatives.
I would recommend HP's very own http://sunforged.hubpages.com/
With his advice I am up running and getting traffic in a few months. With me having zero experience!
Yes Sunforged is another excellent source of information when starting your own websites and both Eric and Josh (Sunforged) know stacks about SEO and how to maximise the success of your sites.
I've heard of these guys. Definitely will have to check them out, especially considering your success with their advice.
You will not be sorry.
Wordpress is easy, and their are video tutorials all over the web that can walk you through every step if necassary. It is not much more advanced than HP once you get used to it.
You can pay monthly for hosting.
Buy a domain: $10.00
Purchase hosting: $10.00
Lower cost for more months.
Up and running unlimited domains and subdomains for a $20.00 investment, and your time. Plus monthly hosting.
Sounds real good, I like that Wordpress can be learned fairly easily and this whole thing can be cost effective.
IMO, the greatest untapped resource on the planet today is information, staking early claims is easy. Niches can be developed slowly over time which may be lucrative in the future.
I now am a collector of domains, when I think of a good one, I want it. As the internet becomes more saturated, their value can only increase. The Internet is still in groundbreaking stages as to the value of the commodity of information.
California just found gold 20 years ago, there are many miners, but there is still tons of unchartered territory. That will not last forever. My domains will be legacy to my grandchildren.
I'd recommend that you stay away from Blogger and WordPress.com. These sites are hosted by Google and WordPress respectively, but they control them and can shut you down if they don't like what you're doing. Not that they wouldn't like it ...
But it is a lot like HubPages -- you don't have full control. Certainly more than HubPages, but still not full.
I'd recommend that you register a domain (lots of good suggestions there already), invest in a good hosting plan (also some good suggestions already) and install WordPress. This is different than setting up at WordPress.com. This is where you use the same software, but it is all on your host and under your control.
When you look at hosting, look at reseller plans as well. They cost a bit more, but you can resell some of your hosting to others. This is great if you have clients that want to set up a site. But even if you don't want to resell, you can set up a lot of sites under 1 hosting plan. Just register the domain and add it to your existing plan.
Most hosting plans have a 1 click install for WP and it is very easy to maintain. When there are updates you just click a couple buttons and you're done.
You'll want to pick a theme although the default theme is pretty solid and has options to customize. You'll probably want to add plugins to add functionality as well. It is easy to do as well. But that can be done as you go along and learn how the system works.
Agreed, I should have made it clear I was not referring to 'Wordpress.com' but installing Wordpress using the 'one click' method on to your new domain.
With regards to a theme I had the basic version of 'SWIFT' recommended to me by Eric Graudins ( it is a free theme). He uses it for his sites, and therefore you will see how it can look if you check out the link I posted to his theinternetbloke.com site previously. I use SWIFT on both my sites and it runs fast and has never caused me any problems.
That is all very good information, and I see your point about Blogger and Wordpress. Now I've heard about the one-click install on Wordpress; I'm not totally clear about the use of Wordpress; does it involve downloading software? You say it is used on the host, so I'm wondering if this install of Wordpress means you just use it on your host or it means you also have to download it to your computer. See, it's all new to me, I don't know the first thing about it.
From what I recall (it has been a while) you download the zipped file for the Wordpress theme you have chosen. When you go to your cpanel (control panel) on Hostagator (assuming you follow my advice to use them), you have an option to click on the 'one click Wordpress install', you then select the zipped file from your computer and Hostgator does the rest.
Here are 80 free Wordpress themes you can take a look at in case you don't want SWIFT.
http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/wordpress … emes-2012/
and here are a load more:
My favourite is Swift which is this one:
Okay, now it's making sense to me. You download the file then it can be installed on your host; makes sense. Thanks for the links too, I will definitely check those out because I'm very interested in how the blog will look using wordpress.
To start out you can just use a wordpress.com blog that Wordpress hosts for free. So long as you have you own domain you can move to self hosting later.
I am really liking those themes; it's fun to look through those, I could spend a lot time just deciding which one I'd want. I can see why you like Swift, too.
Thanks Nate, if you want to see one of my sites that used SWIFT you can go to it via my profile page using the relevant icon on the top right of the screen. Also Eric Graudins 'theinternetbloke.com' uses the SWIFT theme too. It is very adaptable so you can change background colours, layouts etc.
Even the "one-click install" isn't necessary now.
You can choose and load new themes while you're on your Wordpress site's dashboard. If you're going to use a free theme, it's best to stick to the ones approved by Wordpress.org, and they're all available from there.
I rarely go anywhere near my cPanel account because so many things can now be done from the dashboard (which, Nate, is where you also write all your posts and pages).
BTW I don't like Swift. It completely bewilders me why so many people like it. There is nothing that special about the way it looks or operates - its main selling point seems to be that it's fast.
Well, it ain't. If you install it with no customisations and no plugins, it's fast. But as soon as you choose a few different options, and install a few plugins, it's slower than many other themes out there. It's easy to check - just test your site on Pingdom.com with various themes installed.
Well, that sounds even easier if you can do it all straight from wordpress dashboard.
Well I didn't know that, but either way it would be easy I guess, certainly the Cpanel in Hostgator was very easy to use to do this, but either way sounds easy, so it is a 'win win' situation.
Strange you have had this problem. Eric Graudins uses it all the time, and as you know he is a top webmaster. From what I recall when a suggestion was made similar to your experience some months back it came down to people overloading a theme (any theme) with too many plugins, or poor quality plugins. It is actually a much more versatile theme than many realise, e.g. background colours can be changed easily etc. I honestly don't believe a webmaster with Eric's level of expertise would ever use an inferior theme (because he doesn't need to). I guess we just need to speak to people like him in order to realise where we might not be utilising it to its best advantage (myself included). I am sure he could help you out if you have had problems with it previously as he has helped me out in so many ways and solved problems regarding loads of website issues in general that I was going mad with. He truly is a great teacher, so no wonder he can make a living doing this (golly, I wish I could, but I am years behind him in terms of ability and knowledge).
I agree, Eric is a great guy and very knowledgeable. And he's not the only experienced webmaster who has recommended Swift to me. It just doesn't work for my sites - and I'm well aware of the importance of minimising the use of plugins, and vetting them for quality, so I'm confident that's not the issue. I'm thinking it may just be that Swift doesn't play well with plugins for some reason.
That may not affect people like Eric and Ryankett because they are usually running straightforward sites which require few plugins. However I have one site that requires maps (I use the top, paid, map plugin), one that features classifieds (ditto), one that needs an A-Z index, and so on. I'm now using themes by Hybrid and they are much faster than Swift once everything is loaded.
Sites which are customisable are always slower than a site that isn't (assuming they're both well coded), because the admin backend has to be bigger. This blog post is educational:
http://foliovision.com/2011/03/paid-wor … gantthemes
Xobba is also on Swift (you probably know that), and that it is run by Sunforged, who is probably among the top webmasters that have ever graced HP with their presence. I am totally sure both Eric and Josh would be more than willing to advise you if you are struggling to solve issues caused from using maps etc with Swift. They are decent and fair guys as you know, and more than willing to help those of us who are obviously far less experienced than they are. I use Swift (without maps) and I have had no problems at all with the theme (in spite of using plugins). Hope this helps, and I am sure either Eric or Josh will be more than willing to explain how to rectify any problems you are experiencing (they have been so patient with me even though I am sure I must have driven them nuts on many occasions lol). Gotta love those guys
Yes, I know Xobba is on Swift. I can't honestly see any reason why I would want to waste their time asking for help to go back to it, though, when I have found a great theme from the Hybrid stable, which is also highly respected and has the most amazing support. Swift is not the only good theme that exists!
Fair enough, I too can understand why a person might stick to a theme they are comfortable with.
It's not just comfort, it's the fact that the Hybrid themes have just as good a reputation as Swift. Which is especially interesting because Swift has an affiliate scheme (so some of their reviews are written to earn income regardless of what the author thinks) - whereas Hybrid doesn't. Not that I'm suggesting Eric, Ryan or Sunforged would spruik a product they didn't genuinely endorse, but others do, as you know!
There would have to be a compelling argument that Swift was significantly better than Hybrid for me to go to the effort of changing my sites - and personally I haven't come across any such argument.
Have you ever thought about why the theme is called Swift? It's because it is fast. If, however, an inexperienced webmaster weighs a theme (any theme) down with demanding and/or poor quality plugins, it becomes slow. The same can occur if you've purchased the cheapest possible hosting.
You probably never realised it, but site speed is an SEO factor, so choosing the RIGHT options is of vital importance.
Basically, you're blaming your own inadequacies on a theme.
Like Mistyhorizon2003, I recommend you seek the advice of an expert, and who better than Eric Graudins? I am the proud owner of three well performing websites made possible only by Eric's teachings.
How do you know they didn't name it Swift because they like birds, hmmm? Maybe they do. Maybe the developers really wanted to be ornithologists.
Or maybe they like Lilliputians. Or cannibalism of poor Irish babies.
That's all I'm saying. HOW DO YOU KNOW?
That is good info, site speed I was thinking was important because I noticed it was part of the information given on Analytics; definitely will have to give this enough research and thought.
Fantastic advice. It would have saved me a lot of time and trouble if somebody had told me this before I started my Avon blog.
Being the type who does her homework thoroughly, I'm sure you're already familiar with this, but I think it is worth a mention here. It's called 'PageSpeed Insights' by Google Developers. Not only does it show how fast your website is, it also offers suggestions on ways to make it faster. An invaluable tool for any serious webmaster! https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights
I use that and it is a great help. I just wish I'd found HubPages a long time ago instead of having to learn everything the hard way.
Unfortunately, the real experts (many mentioned by Mistyhorizon2003) are no longer here or rarely frequent the forums. The only people offering advice nowadays are mostly wannabe experts or, if you're lucky, a staff member.
Bit like the blind leading the blind if you ask me. I noticed all the wannabes a while ago and found it best to ignore them. Got to feel sorry for them really.
I am perplexed as to why people are attacking me because I dared to suggest I don't like a theme. Do you all have shares in the company or something?
If you think I'm questioning the ability of Eric or Sunforged by saying I don't like the theme, then you're on completely the wrong tack. Just because I disagree with them on this particular subject, doesn't mean I don't respect and admire their work. I've appreciated their advice on many, many occasions, and you may notice I've recommended Eric's site on this very thread.
The theme is called "Swift" because that's the name chosen by its creators. It tells you nothing except what their marketing strategy is. I could create an awful clunker of a theme and call it "Lightning Fast" if I wanted, no one would stop me.
Of course, I would be found out by users and rightly so - but the name would still be there, and if I created a generous affiliate scheme I would find plenty of people willing to blog about how great it was, to earn commission. That's the reality of the internet.
I am deeply offended by your statements. Let's take them one at a time.
You said, "If, however, an inexperienced webmaster weighs a theme (any theme) down with demanding and/or poor quality plugins, it becomes slow."
I am not an inexperienced webmaster. I do it as a hobby, not as a professional, - but I've been doing this for six years. Every plugin I use has been researched extensively. I never use a plugin that isn't absolutely essential.
You said, "You probably never realised it, but site speed is an SEO factor, so choosing the RIGHT options is of vital importance."
Haven't you seen me posting on other threads about the importance of checking your site speed on Pingdom.com? I test all my sites regularly to check the effect of changes, including doing comparison testing with different themes. That's how I came to the conclusion that there are other themes faster than Swift, with my site configuration.
I also posted this link in this very thread, all about site speed:
http://foliovision.com/2011/03/paid-wor … gantthemes
You said: "Basically, you're blaming your own inadequacies on a theme."
That is a direct insult and I expect an apology.
That would be a more witty reply if you hadn't actually said offensive stuff, which you did.
Thank you, psycheskinner, I appreciate your support.
As you probably know, Stephen Fry was talking about people being offended by art, sex, literature, etc. He was not talking about people being offended when they are the recipient of rude or disparaging remarks. In fact, Stephen Fry can get mightily offended if someone is rude to him, or anyone or anything he cares about - and he doesn't hesitate to respond, usually in a wonderfully scathing manner.
If you ask me, she must have some pretty serious complexes if she's offended. Love your response!
Miriam, if someone walked up to you and told you to your face that you're incompetent, how would you react?
Forgive me for jumping in here, but Marisa is an experienced blogger who has given me a tremendous amount of help as a beginning one. She is kind and generous with advice to anyone who asks questions, and patiently explains computer issues which are simple for someone of her expertise, but difficult for beginners. She didn't even have to post here to help anyone, but it's her nature to try to help anyone who asks. There is no reason to treat her so rudely.
I certainly appreciate her help and the help of everyone else too; I've looked at the websites of those who have responded here and I like what I see; I think they're all different according to tastes. I don't know a lot about what creates a slow site and site speed, so I'll have to find out about that, but I appreciate the input on that matter too because I know it's an important issue. I had another question, too, for whoever might know the answer: What is DNS or Domain Name System? It isn't the same as a host, is it? I saw on Namecheap they offer a DNS service. Wasn't sure what it is. What I'm considering doing in the meantime, until I jump into the water and go through the full process we've talked about here, is buy a domain name and use it on Blogger; sort of test the waters. Then when I organize everything, have the money, do what was discussed on this thread: Domain name, host, wordpress platform.
I wouldn't get my knickers in a twist about it. Apart from that, I don't see Weekend's post as you seem to, but that probably depends on how confident you are about yourself. I also found Weekend's post much more helpful than what you had to say about "Swift". If you want me to be really honest, you'd have less problems if you cut the uppity tone.
I agree about the WP dashboard, I use it almost exclusively too, (except for the various email forwarders in cPanel), but I hope you at least go to it once a month to back-up your site files and WP Msq databases.
hmmm... I'll have to check that out - although - as mentioned in this thread - I try to keep plugin use to the bare minimum. And a monthly effort isn't too taxing.
when I first started I had tons of them, doing all kinds of cool-looking stuff - until I clocked page-load speed. They were killing me. Once I dumped the extras, (and properly sized my images), I could see a noticeable page-load improvement - even before I analyzed it.
I know what you mean! I'm paranoid about avoiding plugins unless they're absolutely essential. I decided to go for the backup plugin because it came highly recommended, and avoided any risk of my forgetting to backup - but I should probably check to see what the effect is on speed.
I agree. I'd never get a plugin for that.
You don't need to download anything on your computer to install WordPress. It uses your browser as the "front end" and all the work is done on the hosting site.
Some people will download themes or plugins to their computer and then upload them to WordPress although you can actually have themes and plugins installed directly if you go through the WP admin menus to find them. You'll have an option to click Install when you find one you like.
3rd party plugins and themes may not have this feature, but the instructions to install them to WP are easy.
Once WP is installed and you've set it up the way you want it to look, entering your writing is done by creating pages or posts. Pages can be set up in a hierarchy but don't show up on your main page. They are usually in the menus. Posts are what you'll see listed on the main page of your site and they usually are shown newest to oldest.
Depending on what you're trying to achieve, you'll usually have a mix of pages (things like About or Contact) and posts (your articles).
Good to know, that simplifies it, and I'm glad it's done that way. Not sure what my computer is capable of, don't think it could download programs, not sure.
All computers can download programs, think about it, if you put a new browser or an antivirus software on your computer. That is downloading programs and downloading a 'zipped' Wordpress theme would be no different and only takes a few seconds.
Any host can shut down, go broke etc etc whether they have built in blogging tools or not. Blogger and Wordpress are both large, stable, and easy to use. So long as you own your own domain it would not matter if they did shut you down. You can take your backup to another host and go live half and hour later at the same url.
I began my own free blog about a year ago on Weebly.com. They have many templates to choose from, and you drag and drop many of the items you need, so they make it quite easy. It's free. I tend to write longer posts, so was able to get a wide template.
I bought my domain name from Name.com, it costs about $10.00 for a year. Some coding had to be done for the name to be on a Weebly site, but I explained in an email, and between Name.com and Weebly.com they did it for me.
The site does have occasional glitches, but usually they are fixed rather fast. I was pretty computer illiterate when I began online writing 2 yrs. ago, and love having my own blog. They also show your statistics so you can see how many people are reading. I don't know if I am allowed to give you the name of my site here, it may be considered self promotion. But the address is in my profile, or you can see what's available just by browsing on Weebly.com. Best wishes in your adventure!!
I was considering Blogger, because I have a free blog there and it seems like it'd be easy to use; then I checked out some top quality blogs that use it, so it piqued my interest more so. I see your point that you can just move on with your domain.
I have a new website and blog on poetry on Weebly and I bought the thing including the name directly from them. They host it and I can now put my website to good use and grow my readership for my poems and also use it to promote and even sell my forthcoming book of poetry from it.
Every writer should have a blog. I discovered that every writer I came across on LinkedIn has a blog or website. Marketing and promoting and continuing the conversation about their work and the writing of others always puts the writer in a good place. I like Weebly for being so easy to use. I am worried that some great writers on Hub Pages don't have blogs yet. There are issues with Wordpress and adsense. Beware of hosting on the actual Wordpress.com itself as it won't allow adsense. I can put adsense on Weebly okay.
Yes, that's my understanding of Wordpress.com, and I definitely want to have ads. I definitely think you're right, that writers need their own blogs or websites. Also like the idea of being able to promote a book.
Just remember that on a standard Wordpress site (not Wordpress.com) Adsense is not an issue at all, and all you have to do is stick to the usual rules that Adsense state and that places like HP have to adhere to also. You can also use Amazon, ebay etc on Wordpress too.
It's good that those sources of advertisements can be used on Wordpress; I guess being here on HP has given me some training as far as following the rules of Adsense. Although I've never had a problem in that regard, it's made me conscious of Adsense TOS.
Edit: I imagine you have to place the ads there yourself, and know the code, etc. Here on HP, HP does that part. So, that must be part of setting things up for the website.
Yes it certainly helps having been on a site like this when it comes to Adsense regulations and knowing what you can and can't write about. Again it is worth remembering some of the more obscure topics you can't really write about due to Adsense TOS e.g. innuendo, reproductive health, weapons (including self defense gadgets like tazers and stun guns), sexual problems like Vaginismus etc. Not always obvious topics, but they are likely to contain words that will trigger Adsense filters and potentially lose you your Adsense account. Luckily Adsense are not quite as strict as HP, so whereas HP err on the side of caution, you can read Adsense's TOS yourself and use your own judgement (just be careful).
Don't confuse Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org
Wordpress.com is a blogging platform like Blogger. It's not much good if you want to earn income, because it doesn't allow advertising.
Wordpress.org is software which you use on a paid hosting service to run your own website or blog. There are no restrictions on what you can do with it, because it's entirely under your control.
For those nervous about the whole process of finding a host, setting up your domain and installing Wordpress, the paid version of Wordpress.com may appeal. It's currently $99 a year and includes everything. It is very powerful and includes stuff that Blogger doesn't have, including built-in analytics.
I don't recommend Weebly because if you are unhappy with them in the future - say, if they put their prices up or their service deteriorates - you'll be stuck. There is no way to transfer your site somewhere else, except by manually cutting and pasting every single post. Whereas a Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org blog can be transferred easily.
I think starting your own website or blog site is an important step in developing and finding out who you truly are. You can learn and grow within yourself by expressing your thoughts and sharing them on the largest scale possible, the Internet
If you do decide to go with wordpress, one piece of advice i can give you is to always make sure you keep your websites plugins and themes up to date, otherwise they can be exploited by brute force scripts etc...
You might also want to check out some plugins like:
W3C Total Cache,
Once you have got the hosting set up and the domain registered, its really very simple to keep adding quality content every day, and if you are an experienced Hub Pages publisher im sure it will not take you very long at all to build up a wide range of content on your side.
Take the advice of some of the people here, grab some hosting, and dive in!
Best of luck!
Just don't be too scared by all the details people are posting here. Keep it simple initially and get your site set up (you can worry about updates, plugins etc over the coming weeks). What I am seeing is well meaning people muddying the waters with too much information for someone new to building their own websites. Relax, one step at a time, buy a domain name first, then register it with a hosting service like Hostgator (change nameservers etc...easy) and go from there. Don't get distracted by all the other stuff at the start (follow Eric's advice on www.theinternetbloke.com or ask here in the forums step by step as you go along).
Above all good luck and I am sure you will do very well.
I'm conscious that I've hijacked this thread a bit with discussions of themes etc.
MistyHorizon is right - if you're starting out with your very first blog, I probably wouldn't even worry about choosing a theme, just accept the default one and create a nice header for it. Content is far, far more important than looks, especially at first (and the default theme is clean, well-coded and fast).
Here's that link again:
Cheers Marisa, content is of course the most important thing of all. I do believe choosing a good theme is important though and appreciate you also posting Eric's link again (he saved my sanity when I was building my first website... actually and my second one).
Firstly you have to buy an hosting(if you need) from hosting providers site like hostgator and then you can register your domain name at godaddy.com, bigrock.com, etc. and after that select your platform like wordpress,joomla,etc. and after that start working on that like posting,etc..
@NateB11 - glad my response might be helpful
one last piece of advice - JUST GO AHEAD AND DO IT!
If you try to digest all the info and suggestions you are getting - and waiting until you think you are ready - you never will get started.
You can get started for less than $30, and most hosting is so simple to use now that you can learn what you really need to know as you go along.
Starting your own domain can be as easy as making a Hubpage.
So just do it.
ps. Of course, the never mentioned truth is that once you do get started, and, serious about it, then you will need to understand all the advice everyone has offered you - and it will become a lot of work, (but the payoff is very satisfying) - but until then - just do it!
This is a terrific thread and thank you everyone who posted on this subject. There is plenty of advice for getting a good blog up on the net.
Site speed is honestly just not a big enough ranking factor to really cause a theme switch unless it is very badly coded.
In terms of SEO vs UX - Go for UX.
If site speed slows enough to effect UX, that is when you have a problem.
If you really want a fast site, I recommend taking the leap in to the learning curve and getting Thesis.
I had to google UX. And this is very interesting what you're saying, and I've heard it before from reliable sources; that user experience is the important thing; if you post a link that goes to something the visitor was not looking for because the link is deceptive, or the title of your post is deceptive and not what the visitor was looking for, then the visitor leaves, creating a high bouce rate, brief time on the page, etc. In other words, you want things appealing in various ways to the visitor so they'll stay on the page and maybe use it as a resource. I am curious about Thesis; which I just also googled. Will have to take a little time to study that one. Looks interesting. Thanks for the info. Anything else you'd like to share would be very much appreciated.
Edit: I just checked out two of your sites and I definitely liked what you've done: Very much the way I envisioned my own sites which I'd like to get up on the Internet.
You're the first person I've heard say that! I do try to strike a balance - I write for creative people who expect a beautiful-looking site, so I don't have a pared-down theme - even though I know it would run faster that way. My sites are all faster than 75% of sites on Pingdom and I'm reasonably happy with that.
My speed issue was very definitely related to user experience.
I know how impatient I am with slow-loading sites.
My speed improvements were user-noticeable.
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