It is always better to pay for hosting for your blog rather than to use a free blogging service. You retain 100% control, your blog can never be shut down for any reason, and you are seen as more professional or authoritative. The search engines treat you better as well because they don’t trust free blogs as much as they do blogs that are self-hosted.
While there are several platforms for building a self-hosted blog, the most popular and arguably the easiest to use is WordPress. We are talking about WordPress.org and not WordPress.com (a free blogging service). The WordPress blog and website platform is responsible for a staggering 1/3rd of all web properties.
You can pay for WordPress.org themes for your blog, and there are tens of thousands of free themes that look professional. Once you choose your theme, you will need to get a domain name and pay for hosting.
What is web hosting?
A web hosting provider like Bluehost or Host Gator rents out space on physical servers. This is where your blog lives, and monthly fees are incredibly affordable. If you want to host just one blog, your monthly fees can be as low as $3 per month. Well-known and reputable hosting providers like the two mentioned above make sure your blog pages load quickly when somebody accesses them, and look good on the Internet.
Both Bluehost and Host Gator will often provide a free domain name for you if you haven’t purchased one when you pay for a year’s worth of hosting in advance. You can alternately pay monthly.
What is a domain name and why do I need one?
Your domain name is the name of your blog. Google.com and YouTube.com are a couple of domain names you are probably familiar with. Choose a name that is memorable, try to keep your domain name short, and make it applicable to your business if at all possible.
Visit a domain registrar like GoDaddy or NameCheap, or purchase your domain through your hosting provider. Perform a search for the name you are looking for, and if it is not already in use, you are in luck. You can always change this domain name at a later date, but it is a good idea to establish one you will be happy to use for years. You can expect to pay less than $15 a year for your domain name.
Time to Visit WordPress.org
After you have hosting and a domain name, head over to WordPress.org and pick a theme for your blog. You can search for free and paid themes and limit your results to include those that are popular among bloggers. Now it is time to install your WordPress blog on your hosting provider.
All web hosting services offer tutorials that walk you through this simple process. You can additionally pay a freelancer at Fiverr, Guru.com or Toptal a nominal fee to handle this process for you. You can also consult YouTube and search for “install WordPress on my web host provider.” The entire process can be handled in under an hour, even if you have never set up a self-hosted blog before.