Choosing a Host and Template
Selecting a Host
Based on the references by some of my favorite blog podcasters, and since I know very little about the technical side of blogging, I chose a paid Blue Host package for this blog. Read more about my first day of starting this blog.
It included hosting, a domain and email addresses for the domain. I upgraded for privacy. Unfortunately, within a few days it was obvious to me that the privacy upgrade was not implemented or working and I had to work with BlueHost support to get that functioning. Which, by the way, their support was a positive e-chat experience and within an hour it was resolved. More on this below.
There are a variety of plugins, some easier to use than others, to customize the functioning of the site. I am still learning about plugins and plan on getting into those further down the road.
The only other options for hosting/themes I seriously considered were Google Domain with Square Space. However, since so many of the tools, plugins and tutorials that I learned about from fellow bloggers were centered on Blue Host with WordPress, that is the route I went.
That’s not to say I will never consider those options in the future, they both had advantages too.
Is it perfect?
Nope. My biggest problem was being inundated with multiple phone calls, text messages and emails about design, SEO and other blog/website services from a variety of different companies during the first few days of my hosting purchase. Read more about this experience in this post.
My biggest tip to other newby bloggers for hosting/site setup: really study the sign up options around privacy and if you purchase the privacy add-on, make sure it is implemented correctly because mine was not. Some people may appreciate a variety of businesses coming forward to offering solutions, however, that is not my preference. I’m more of a private person and felt inundated by the number of solicitations during those first few days. Of course, this is a personal choice hence my advice is to select what makes sense for you.
With WordPress, there are so many templates to choose from. Since this is all new to me, I decided to start with a free template. If you’re not mindful, you could easily lose track of time searching for the so-called perfect template.
As a limitation, I gave myself 15 minutes, because there was a lengthy to-do list waiting for me and I wanted to get out of the gates as fast as possible.
I choose a standard free template that said it was mobile friendly. Two reasons why I went the free route – ease and sounds easy to change in the future if so desired.
I’ve heard positive reviews about certain purchased (premium) templates on other blogs, in particular for their ease of use on mobile devices and for optimizing for search.
Perhaps down the road, I will change templates. It seems that is a fairly easy process, so I’m putting that on the “revisit at a later date” list.
There is a learning curve, and I still have little confidence I am doing this whole host/theme thing quite right. But…within days of getting on board, I do have a working (mostly) website. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out why when someone comments, it does show, but gives them a wonky error message.
Overall, I was hesitant to start this blog because it seemed very difficult or required a lot of learning.
Of course there is learning involved, but it is no where near what I anticipated. The resources I used the most, and to the content creators who I am very grateful that they took the time to publish:
- Google your issue, it’s likely there’s a blog, forum or video on the topic. Watch the date it was published though, because the technology changes so much, they may not match the current system
- Search in YouTube for videos by people working with the programs
- Look around Pinterest for Bloggers who Blog about Blogging (that’s a tongue twister).
- Visit your favorite blogs to see how they do things such as structure menus and disclosure and privacy pages
- Use the support forum for the host and website provider, so many very specific answers to be found
- Contact support for the provider, takes a bit of time, but within an hour Blue Host was able to resolve an issue I had with a paid Add-on not working
I’m trying to share the warts and all of getting this blog up and going. As a perfectionist pursuing reform, I’m trying to focus on accomplishing tasks to go forward instead instead of being paralyzed by the fear of something being imperfect. That means there are typos, mistakes, weird technical glitches, all over the place.
As for blogging and perfectionism, the one big piece of advice I’ve taken away from other bloggers was to:
Start blogging and worry about spiffing it up down the road.
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