Non-geek succesfully sets up blog!

I have to say, I had my doubts about whether I could set up my own blog. I am by no means a technical person and don’t even know the slightest bit of HTML.

However I noticed when reserving some domain names with GoDaddy, they offered a number of open-source blogging platforms available for free with every hosting account and this got me interested in setting up my own.


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The steps I took in setting up my own blog

Once I had made the decision to set up a blog, it took less than 24 hours to have it up and running, with the suited theme and its very first post (This one!). Which I invite you to comment on. The steps I took where as follows:

Step 1 - Select an open-source blogging platform

There a number of open-source platforms available that provide free blog content management systems. Common open-source blogs include WordPress, Serendipity, Geeklog & b2evolution. I decided to go with WordPress given a large number of themes, strong community, and support it seems to have.


Step 2 - Select and Set-up a hosting account


There are a large number of hosting service available which can host your blog. Most web hosting providers offer a free domain upon signing up so that is why I recommend first selecting an appropriate host before purchasing a domain name.


For a good comparison of suitable hosting services, check out webhostinggeeks.com


I decided to set up my blog with GoDaddy since I already had my domain name registered with them, the economy plan seemed sufficient at $4.29US a month for a two month term (I kept it short just in case I wanted to switch to another host if the service was poor, so far it has been pretty good).


Step 3 - Registered an appropriate domain name

I secured the domain name startupblog.biz with GoDaddy. I have always liked using GoDaddy for selecting domain names given its great suggestion tools.


Don’t be flustered if you can’t find a good .com, almost all the good ones have long been snapped up by companies who are using them for their websites, or holding on to them like a piece of property to sell at a premium price. 

Hence the reason this blog is a .biz as opposed to the well-known domain type com. However, most of the traffic I expect to receive to my blog will be through search engines, and not people who have heard of the name and want to check it out. Therefore, name recognition wasn’t a big deal for me, and hence the reason this blog is a .biz.


Step 4 - Installed WordPress on my hosting account

Added WordPress to my hosting account was a breeze with GoDaddy - I just followed a few prompts and WordPress was up and running on my hosting account in 10 minutes. I could then go to my blog, log in to the content management system to start adding posts, creating categories. WordPress’s content management system is very intuitive even for non-technical people like myself.


Step 5 - Chose a WordPress theme


When you install WordPress, it comes with two default themes. However, these simply did not cut it so I browsed a few hundred themes available on WordPress (This made me a little crazy! but I finally stumbled across a goody which you can see now, I just wanted something simple which wouldn’t distract readers from the content on the blog). For available themes, check out http://themes.wordpress.net/. Once I settled on one, I clicked the download button and saved the theme files on my personal computer.


Step 6 - Install an FTP Client to transfer files from your computer to your server

To get the theme files which were now on my computer to where they needed to be -my GoDaddy hosting server, I transferred the files using an FTP client - If you don’t know what an FTP client is, don’t worry I didn’t have a clue either. 

But Wikipedia enlightened me that an FTP client is simply a program that allows you to transfer web files from your personal computer to your hosting server - where all your website files are stored and put online for all to see. Therefore, it is important for you to download an FTP client if you are going to managing your own blog or website.


There are a large number of FTP clients available for download. I use CyberDuck since I’m on a Mac, however, if you just search for ‘Free FTP Clients’, you’ll come across thousands which basically all do the same thing, just make sure you download the one which compatible with your operating system (Windows, Mac OS, etc). 

Your host may provide an FTP Client service online, however, I wouldn’t recommend it given it likely be a lot slower to operate, and as in my case using GoDaddy’s online FTP, it would only allow me to transfer one file at a time, very time consuming and frustrating! So make sure you download and learn how to use an FTP client. There is plenty of advice on the internet on using an FTP client, I found this web page useful in getting my head around it: FTP new user guide.


Step 7 - Transfer the downloaded theme to your hosting server

Using the FTP client, I transferred the downloaded theme files located on my desktop to the ‘themes’ folder on my server directory. The ‘theme’ folder was located in the ‘wp-content’ folder in my website's directory. Be sure to transfer all the files downloaded. Once the files had been successfully transferred to my hosting server, it was time to set it as my default theme.


Step 8 - Set the new theme in your blog content management system

Setting up the new theme using WordPress involved logging into my blog’s content management system and under the menu tab ‘Design/Themes’, selecting the new theme which was now available after transferring the files across with my FTP client. My blog was then instantly transformed into the design you see now.


Step 9 - Add any plug-ins

I am now looking forward to adding all the other plug-ins available to pimp my blog. The plug-ins I am most interested in are:

  • SEO plug-ins to help drive more traffic blog
  • AdSense management tool

Adding the plug-ins using the same process as adding the theme.

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