I was talking yesterday with a client about setting up a blog for her, and she was asking how what I was going to do was different then the theme she was looking at. I was going to install WordPress. She was looking at a WordPress Theme.
For those of us that have been blogging for a long time, these things are two very different things. But you may have just started blogging. Or maybe you’ve always used Blogger or TypePad. Either way, it is unchartered territory. I want to help you out. Really, it is ok to have questions — matter of fact, please ask them in the comments, because I’m sure other people would love to know the answers too!
So when you decide that you want to kick your rankings up higher in Google, or you’re just tired of not having control over your blog (a whole post is coming on why you should host your own blog), you will want to move on to a self-hosted blog. As you might have already guessed, I’m pretty biased and I highly recommend WordPress. (I wish I got royalties every time that word was uttered. Do you realize how rich I would be?!?) WordPress is all kinds of awesome because it is open source, which basically means everyone can have access to the code and create things to improve upon the code, like plugins. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Lets focus on the basics. So the other perk? WordPress is *free*.
But before you can set up WordPress, you need a hosting account. I’ve been with Hosting Matters since 2002 and they make my heart sing. They are among the very, very best. Personalized service that just can’t be beat. More importantly, they pay attention to what their clients need. Photographers? Well, we need a LOT of storage space, especially if we host our own image galleries for client photos. So Hosting Matters has come up with the perfect solution, virtual data room … but you have to know the right people to get in on the deal. Lucky you, I’m one of those people! Click here to learn all about their “Unmetered for $10/month” plan.
You may already have a hosting account if you have a Flash portfolio for your website. Some, but not all, of the portfolio hosting companies can host your blog as well. Last I checked, BigFolio and BluDomain can. Livebooks can’t. I don’t know about ShowIt. This is why some people have separate URLs for their blog then for their portfolio. From the whole Google love perspective, I don’t recommend that. You want people going to one URL. It will help you in the long run as far as Google, and it will make things easier for your clients too.
You’ll also most likely need a domain name. I use GoDaddy for most of my domains. I don’t buy them through a hosting company because I want to make sure I own it – not them.
Once you have hosting, you can then download a copy of WordPress and set it all up. It isn’t that hard, but it isn’t everyone’s thing. There are lots of instructions out there on how to do it. Don’t want to do it yourself? Does the thought of MySQL databases make your head spin? Let me know by using the contact form — we can hook you up.
Then, once you have WordPress up and running, you can start to think about themes to use to make your site all pretty, or plugins to add to make it all cool and fancy. The hard part is over and the fun has just begun!