Sunday, 28 November 2010

A simple guide on how to start your own blog in four steps!

It is a common misconception that starting your own website or blog requires a certain type of expertise. In fact, it is easier than ever to get started within minutes! But first you need to ask yourself what exactly are you looking to get out of it?

I have been blogging now for a number of years and have experience with a number of different services. There are many ways to get started and each person, like me, has their own preferences.

The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with a simple guide on how to start your own blog post just like mine, adaircameron.co.uk.

I will also go into detail with my own recommendations and alternative options.

Ingredients you need for a blog like mine

  • 1 web host
  • 1 free web CMS (Content Management System)
  • £5.98 (exc. VAT) per year

Web host: A web host is required to purchase your domain name (i.e. example.com or in my case adaircameron.co.uk). I own multiple domains on one account through 123-reg.co.uk. My domain name adaircameron.co.uk costs me just £5.98 (exc. VAT) per year. If you want a completely free blog you can! The only limitation is through the domain name which will have to be on a subdomain of the web CMS. For this example, it would be adaircameron.examplecms.com.
The alternative is that you purchase the domain through the web CMS. This is completely fine but if you have no previous experience with CMS, you may choose a system that doesn’t provide you with everything you need. So be careful and read through the features as it can become a real pain to move your domain name to a different system. Having my domains through 123-reg.co.uk provides me with flexibility as well as a couple of other cool tricks like your own FREE custom e-mail address that I will go into later.
Web CMS (Content Management System): A web CMS is an online authoring tool that provides a solution for the user without any knowledge of coding. You can simply login, write a post (as you would a Word document) and click on a publish button!
The web CMS solution is by far the simplest and has come a long way over the last couple of years. In this guide I look at the online version, many Open Source CMS tools out there offer a downloadable version that offers full flexibility with what you can do but requires a bit more knowledge and a bit little bit more money out of your pocket.


Step one: Buy your domain

Go to 123-reg.co.uk and purchase your very own domain name. These have to be unique, so if you’re like me and have an uncommon name you may be in luck!


Step two: Choose your CMS

In this guide I am going to run through Blogger.com as this is the chosen web CMS for adaircameron.co.uk.

Other web CMS’ that I’ve used (or still do use) are Tumblr.com and Wordpress.com. Read through each services features to help you decide which one is right for you.
If you are still a little unsure then why don’t you register for each before moving on to step three. That why you can try them all out for free and see which one you prefer.
Don’t forget to make sure you consider what you are looking to get out of your blog when making your decision. 
You can also read my previous post on Content Management System (CMS) Market Share for Blogging.

Step three: Change your DNS Settings

This is probably the trickiest part of getting started, but if you follow these instructions you’ll be up and running pretty smoothly.

  • Log into your 123-reg.co.uk account and click on the ‘Manage’ button next to your domain.
  • Click on the link called ‘Manage DNS’
  • Scroll down to the section called A, CNAME and TXT records
  • There may be some pre-defined records which need deleting and updating as follows (using the ‘Add new entry’ form)
  • In the first field type www
  • Select A from the dropdown menu
  • In the last field type 216.239.32.21
  • Scroll down to below the ‘Add New MX’ where you will find a button called ‘Update DNS’
  • Repeat previous steps to include the following numbers so you end up with a total of four records: 216.239.34.21 , 216.239.36.21 , 216.239.38.21

Unfortunately at this stage, these changes can take 24 – 48 hours so patience is required.
If you have decided to use one of the other services or require more detail you can find it on their support pages.


Step four: Update your web CMS settings

You’re almost done! These are the final few steps towards you unleashing your creativity to the world!

  • Log into Blogger.com and within the ‘Manage Blogs’ section, click on ‘Settings’
  • Click on the link called ‘Publishing’ in the sub-navigation
  • Switch to ‘Advanced Settings’ where you can type in your chosen domain name
  • Save settings
  • You’re done!

Once the settings are saved, just check your domain name and see whether your site loads up. Next, all you need to do is choose a design if you don’t like the default one and get posting!

Hope this all makes sense and that you’ve found it useful. If you are stuck, please do comment below and I’ll do my best to help come up with a solution.

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