Blogging is something everyone on the internet has thought about doing at least once or twice. If you are a business owner, maybe you’ve thought about blogging about your business to keep customers informed about new offerings, or to get in front of new customers, but did you know that blogging is
essential to your search engine optimization efforts? By publishing and maintaining blogs you are showing search engines that you are an authority in your area of business. Search engines love blogs because they are the source of up-to-date information from authors who want to share with others. Blogs are also great for search engines because the content they provide is keyword rich, and able to better answer the questions of searchers (this is especially important for voice search and the Google Hummingbird update). Creating a well written, up to date external (separate from your website) blog will affect your SEO efforts in a beneficial way, so let’s get started.
One of the main reasons businesses and individuals have not published an external blog is that people are unsure of how and where to begin. There are many different ways to start your first blog, signing up for a WordPress, Blogger or Weebly account are a few great ways to begin, but if you want to customize your blog and add to the credibility of the source, it is best to start a blog with one of the most common URL suffixes “.com” “.org”, or “.net.” Blogs with these suffixes give readers a sense of professionalism and can help to enhance branding efforts.
The first step in setting up your own blog is to decide on a domain name. The domain name is the address that people will type into their browser in order to view your site. A domain looks like this: www.exampledomain.com. There are endless pieces of advice concerning choosing domain names for blogs and websites, but some of the most important factors are branding, and relevance to the topic. Your domain name should represent the topic you will blog about, so when brainstorming domain names it can be helpful to come up with a list of the types of words and phrases your blog will focus on. For example if you are starting a blog for your Denver plumbing company, your list may look something like:
- Plumbing tips
- DIY plumbing
- DIY plumber
- Save money on plumbing
- Plumbing problems solved
- All plumbing
- Home plumbing
- Plumbing product reviews
Purchasing Your Domain
Once you have a solid list it is time to see which of your possible domain names are available. You can check domain availability on domain registration sites such as www.name.com. Type in your favorite phrase from the list you compiled and click search. The domain name search will show you what is and is not available for that term. Because you are looking to start a blog with a .com, .net or .org suffix availability may be slim, but you’ll find something. Note that you should decide on a budget for your blog name and try to stick to it-- typically you can find a high quality domain for about $10.99. Since diyplumber.com and .net are not available, I would suggest that this blogging plumber consider purchasing diyplumber.org. If none of the .com, .net or .org results were available, they would have to either move on to another keyword phrase or select something from the suggested results that appeals to them and makes sense for their blogging topic.
After purchasing your domain you can choose to pay for hosting through your domain registration company, another hosting service, or a free hosting service like your3host.com. Your3Host.com webhosting is easy and FREE which appeals to many first time bloggers. To sign up for hosting first, visit their
website www.your3host.com and click the “Sign Up” button on the homepage. You’ll need to fill out a form with some simple information including name, country and email address which will create a hosting account and send you a confirmation email with an account activation link. Click the activation link and you are ready to set up your hosting account.
You’ll be prompted to select a hosting plan from a drop down menu, select “Free Hosting Plan.” Next you’ll need to enter the Domain you are creating the hosting account for. Select Domain and then enter your domain and create a password (keep these passwords in a safe place so you can access them when needed). Next you’ll need to click hosting in the main menu and click on the action button that says “Switch” which will bring you to your Cpanel. The Cpanel is a web hosting control panel that includes automation tools and access to the website and server administrative controls. Within Cpanel you’ll see a notification that tells you that your domain is not pointing to the Your3Host nameservers. In basic terms this means that your blogging site is not hosted on their servers yet and no one can see it.
To get this set up click on the Details link in the Accounts section. The Nameservers Details contain the information you need to get your website up and running. Open another window and login to name.com (or the domain registration site you have chosen to purchase your domain name). If using
name.com follow these steps to get your domain hosting set up:
- Log into your name.com account
- Click on the Domains dropdown in the main menu
- Click on the green “My Domains” link
- Select the domain you would like to use for your blog by clicking on the link
- Under Domain Details find the Edit button next to the word Nameservers
- Enter the names of the nameservers from the Your3Host Cpanel e.g. ns1.your3host.com and click add.
- Wait for the Domain Name System to propagate (this can take up to 24 hours)
After you have pointed your domain to the correct nameservers, you are ready to start setting up your blog. This is where using the Cpanel really comes in handy. Go to the home page of your Cpanel and scroll down to the Website section. Click on the Auto Installer link and then select WordPress. The WordPress installer will then ask where you want WordPress installed. Because you are starting the blog on your domain you will want to install it to the root domain, so don’t enter anything in the first entry box, then create a user name and password for the site sign in and click “Install WordPress.” You’ll use this sign in every time you are making edits to the site so make sure you write down these terms somewhere safe.
To sign in to your new WordPress blogging site type yourdomain.com/wp-admin into your internet browser. This will bring you to a sign in page where you will enter the user name and password you created. After signing in you’re in the “back-end” of your website. This is where you can get creative and make your blog look exactly how you want it to look. To get started, choose a theme for your blog by clicking on Appearance and then selecting from the available themes. There is another option to search for other themes, or install WordPress themes from a third party. RocketTheme is a great theme developer-- check out their designs at www.rockettheme.com/wordpress. After deciding on a theme (these can be switched out without much hassle) you are ready to start blogging. WordPress has a great Getting Started guide that can help you get your first blog post published for the world to see. If you are having trouble with this process, or would like to learn more about the blogging included in our SEO packages, please contact us.