At b2cloud we sit down once a week and post what is interesting to each of us over pizza and soft drinks. I found that I didnt really appreciate how tricky it was, a little over 2 years ago to get the blog setup in the first place.
There are two types of blogs – hosted blogs like b2cloud.com.au which are built on WordPress and sit on our server. Ill call the other type a virtual blog, where you sign up in a couple of minutes and voila – joshiscool.blogger.com is ready to go.
I asked the team which they preferred to use, and which they preferred to visit. The instant response was that a virtual blog had little credibility in their eyes, it lacked the design and customisation that showed that the writer actually cared about their creative work. So lets leave it there, virtual blogs are out.
How do you go about setting up and hosting your own blog? I set myself the challenge this morning when helping my housemate Zoe convert her blogger blog to a fully hosted one. Instead of hosting it at b2cloud, I decided to start from scratch.
Step 1 you will need a domain name, prefferably a .com. On my mobile I googled domain name buy, and was returned with a godaddy.com mobile site. Zoe’s blog is called “The Zo Report”, so natuarally I looked for thezoreport.com. Success, using the Godaddy mobile site I entered my credit card at a cost of $14 a year.
Step 2 Once you have the domain, you need to connect it to a web server. This historically has been very tricky, and I have crashed our server numerous times trying to setup new domains on it. MOst domain providers offer very cheap domains, in the hope you buy hosting (more profitable for them), and Godaddy were no exception. At $70 a year, the hosting is quite cheap and provides somewhere to upload a website, setup emails etc.
Step 3 Pick a blog tool. There are plenty of them out there (list of 30), I am familiar with Drupal, but in this case I have picked WordPress. You cant go wrong with millions of users and a lot of documentation. There are two ways to install the WordPress system to your server. First you can download the ZIP file here, log in to your servers FTP and extract the package, follow a series of instruction on setting up the SQL database and permissions. After much frustration you may get it working, but will most likely have trouble uploading images because of file permissions (you will read this and become more confused!)
Step 3 Alternative Pick a hosting company that allows for Auto Install of WordPress with their hosting package. WordPress.org have an exclusive list here of recommended providers but luckily I was able to use GoDaddy. The install is by no means simple, navigating through the GoDaddy app page is confusing, and their consoles are great for engineers not us laymen. Either way I was able to install the blog to the domain.
Step 4 Now I need to work out how to set the blog as the default index page of the hosted site on the server. www.thezoreport.com directs to a landing page, and the only way to get to the blog is to go to www.thezoreport.com/blog/. When I have worked this out, ill update the post!
To be continued……..