Thinking about a website or blog? WordPress is the way to go. I’ve used Blogger, WordPress, and and Weebly, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the others just don’t measure up to WordPress. I’ve noticed that other writers and publishers are choosing WordPress, too (check out links to author sites at the end of this post).
There are three ways to set up a WordPress site. You can start with option #1 and use that until you build confidence. You can graduate to option #2 or skip to #3 when you’re ready. With any other platform, “moving up” would require total re-do. Save yourself the grief by starting with WordPress.
Option 1: Free Site with WordPress
This option costs only your time and effort. Note that, with WordPress.com, you cannot have advertising on your site. Hosting, design, and domain name are all free with this plan. Go to WordPress.com and get started. It even has an author site option. Just follow the step-by-step process, and you’ll have something set up in no time. It would help if you have in mind an idea of how you want your site to look (one column, two-column, color scheme) and what you want to call your site. For example, if your name is Tracy Hutchins (not a real person, that I know of), you might want your URL to be tracyhutchins.wordpress.com. Some people want the URL to reflect the blog’s name, such as supermomhacks.wordpress.com. You’ll enter your chosen domain name when it says, “Let’s find a domain.” You don’t need to add the .com ending to your domain.You’ll need a username and strong password, too.
Option 2: Domain Mapping and Your Own Domain Name
As mentioned above, the URL for a free WordPress site/blog will end with “wordpress.com.” See the site I built for my music club. To have the name of the club as the URL without the WordPress.com ending, you must buy a domain name. For a fee, WordPress offers a domain mapping service that allows your domain URL to show instead of the WordPress URL. See the WordPress support page on how to do this. You must pay WordPress an annual fee if you get the domain name from WordPress. You can get your domain name elsewhere and pay WordPress a smaller fee. The cost of the domain name registration varies with the registrar. Check out Namecheap.com for their pricing. With Option 2, you’ll be getting free hosting, but you still can’t have advertising on your site. Pat Rowland’s site is an example of a paid WordPress.com site. Check it out here. Note her unique domain name.
Option 3: Self-hosted WordPress Site
With this plan, you buy your domain name from NameCheap or some other provider, download WordPress from http://wordpress.org, and purchase hosting from a company that offers WordPress hosting services. My site, http://emilyakin.com, is done this way. See the quick-start guide on WordPress.org. Free themes (designs) are available, but you may choose to pay for a theme. Cost of domain name registration and hosting vary. You can use advertising on self-hosted WordPress, so you might be able to offset some of the cost that way. My experience, though, is that advertising does not generate much revenue.
Readers, how about you. What sitebuilder or blog platform to do you use? If not WordPress, would you be interested in writing a guest post for Blog4Writers? Send me an email from the Contact page if you’re interested. Or comment on this post and tell us about your experience. If you get this post by email, please click on the title of the post to go to my site. Scroll down to Leave a Reply and comment there.
- WordPress.com home page, start account setup here.
- WordPress.com Pricing
- Michael Hyatt’s video on how to set up a self-hosted WordPress site
Sample WordPress Sites: