Welcome to blogger bootcamp – are you ready, private?
Travel blogging is awesome. In fact, blogging in general, is awesome. However, is can also be incredibly daunting and confusing and involves a lot of “huh?” moments. But, as your teacher / guru / Jedi master I will make sure, young Padawan, that you too learn the power of the force. And by that I mean WordPress, and plugins, and SEO, and stuffs. This post isn’t going to be a whistle stop tour of how to start blogging, oh no no. This is the War and Peace of how to start blogging. Are you ready? Caffeinated? Intoxicated? Awesome.
Let’s get rocking!
This is Part 1 of Matt’s Travel Blog teaches Travel Blogging. Catchy, right? This first section will be broken down into 4 main sub sections using the resources below. Click the card and be swept away to the land of domain names, hosting packages and confusion. Let me be your guide.
Step 1: Purchasing your domain with GoDaddy
Step 2: Purchasing your hosting package with SiteGround
Step 3: Installing WordPress.org
Step 4: Buying your theme from the Envato Marketplace
Step 5: Start blogging
Step 1: Domain name / Blog name
Choosing your domain name
Your domain name is going to be the digital identity of your blog as it makes up your base URL. It’s going to be at the top of every page and wherever you share your content – it will be there. Therefore, choosing your domain and purchasing your domain is a bit of a big deal – it is the first major decision that you will have to make when you start blogging.
Your domain name doesn’t have to be the name of your blog, it can be an abbreviation, or an alteration, or anything, really, but it is important that it is easy to read, easy to remember, and reflects your blog – because it’s pretty tricky to change it once your site is up and running.
It is also at this point that you’ll probably want to come up with a name for your blog. This is also a big decision but not really what this post is focusing on and there is a lot of content out there discussing what makes a good blog name. So I will wait whilst you decide on your name.
Got one? Great! Now lets dissect a URL and highlight the different parts.
Let’s start at the beginning. We’ll ignore https:// for now and jump straight into the www. which is called a subdomain. In this case, www. stands for worldwide web and is the standard subdomain and is all you need to worry about at this point.
The middle part of the URL, mattstravelblog, is called the domain, and this is the important bit that you have to decide. Then lastly you have .co.uk which is called a top level domain (TLD). There are a load of TLDs, but the most common is .com and .co.uk here in England. But there are many, including other country specific ones like .au and .nz and the shorter .uk. I will expand on these soon.
So, lets have a quick test shall we and see if the domain you want is available. So, you have a blog name, let’s call it, The Epic Travel Blog, nice. You want to purchase a domain for The Epic Travel Blog, so let’s click on the GoDaddy card and head over to their website.
So, we want to see if The Epic Travel Blog domain is available, ideally available ending in .com.
Yes! theepictravelblog.com is available! Sweet, lets add that to our cart. But we don’t want to only buy that domain, we want to secure theepictravelblog domain across multiple TLDs, that way we won’t someone else starting another blog called The Epic Travel Blog. Let’s see what else we can buy.
Okay so there is quite a lot available. Because I am based in the UK, .co.uk is a very attractive TLD for me to purchase. I recommend that you do the same for your countries dedicated TLD. There is good reason to use country specific TDL as Google will rank websites using them higher in your search results dependant on the country you’re in. This is good if you are targeting your blog at a specific country. The reason I use .co.uk, despite a lot of my readers coming from the USA, is because mattstravelblog.com was already taken, however that Matt hasn’t used his blog since 2010 and so I felt it okay to use Matt’s Travel Blog as my blog identity.
What about .net or .co or .blog?
.net is a highly ranked TDL and I also recommend you buying it if you can afford it, just to preserve your name. The same with .co as it is popularly used as an alternative to .com. As for .blog, the new kid on the block, that’s your call. I think it would be a good option if none of the other are available.
What if my domain isn’t available?
If your domain isn’t available then you’re going to have to get creative. Domains allow for numbers and dashes, although I wouldn’t recommend them. See if you can abbreviate anything, I also own mtblog.co.uk because it is nice and short and would be a perfectly acceptable domain if mattstravelblog wasn’t available.
So you’ve got your domain, what’s next?! Well, buying it!
When you proceed to the check out, you’ll have the option to buy Privacy Protection. This is something that I highly recommend if you’re only going to own a few domains. By default, without protection, anyone can find out who owns a domain and get their email address. This can be a nightmare as so called “web developers” will spam your inbox trying to get your money. But by paying for Privacy, that information is withheld.
All you need to do now is choose how long you own the domain for. Once you’ve bought a domain you don’t own it indefinitely, you buy it for a period of time. 5 years is a solid duration. GoDaddy will auto renew your domains by default so you don’t have to worry about renewing manually.
Okay, there you go! Proceed to payment and you are now the owner of a shiny new domain name! Give yourself a round of applause 👏🏻
It takes about 10 minutes for your domain to be registered and up and working. So grab yourself coffee, or pop to the loo, and when you’re back you’ll be ready to start step 2, buying your hosting package!