Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog Hosting - To Pay or Not To Pay

You can start up a blog without spending a dime and that is fine if your intention is to simply publish it as a journal on a topic of your choosing. But if you are serious about this blog being a business then you need to put up a professional presence. Professional presence does not mean a fancy header and all sorts of bells and whistles that only a webmaster would be able to put up – no, professional presence means that it doesn’t look like a hobby or a dalliance, you know, something you do when the spirit moves you or when a spare half hour or so grabs you. If you are going to be giving information or doing reviews on products then you need to do that with authority. Consider it as your virtual image.

How do you do that?

One you hang out a professional shingle. In the world of internet marketing that means a proper domain name. This was covered in my previous posting of January 25, Domain Name Selection

As an example, what looks better to you?
http://www.ripalongwithme.blogspot.com/ .
the “blogspot” in the domain points to a free domain & hosting

or

http://www.blogalongwithme.com/

As mentioned in a previous post, I had originally started this blog with a different intention than that into which it morphed. The Blogalong title is more appropriate to this blog’s new role and I bought the domain name Blog Along With Me. I thought it would be easy to replace the original “Ripalong” domain name with the new one but found that while I could use the new domain name in marketing and have it redirected to the original one, the display at the top of the blog page will always be the Ripalong URL. I toyed with the idea of starting a fresh blog, but decided to keep it as is as an example of what not to do.

Hosting is another one of those “professional presence” items. Actually if this is your first blog don’t worry so much about how you look, you may just continue with the free option whether you choose to use Blogger or Wordpress. In the free options there is minimal backend administration. I like that you do not have to be a whiz bang kid with HTML, c-panel, FTP (see, I told you)….

If on the other hand you’ve got a blog or two going and are comfortable with the basics, this is a good time to step up and have your blog hosted elsewhere. You just get so many more options that will be important for you as you progress, things such as instant guest book, forums, instant portals, Fantastico, and more … too much to list here. As with blog platforms there are several hosting options. I like both Blue Host, and Hostgator. Their basic program starts at $6.95 and $4.95 respectively. Both by the way, offer affiliate programs so once you decide which one to go with, you can also make some money promoting that host. Me? I haven’t decided yet.

See Ya Soon!

Quick links:
Domain Name Selection
Hostgater
Blue Host

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