NOTE: Download the MindMap for this blog post by clicking HERE.
You’ve got a really relevant idea for a blog, and you’ve done your homework and registered a great domain name. Now you’re ready to select a hosting company and get your blog on-line.
NOTE: If you don’t have your domain name yet click HERE for our post covering the details on how-to do this.
Decide What You Need -
Before you sign-up for a hosting company it’s important todecide what you need – the scope of your blog and on-line business.
- Will you need to host just one blog or many? Capabilities and packages offered by hosting companies vary widely. Once you choose a package you can always upgrade, but it’s a good idea to give some thought to how many domains you’ll need to host. This will help you narrow down your options.
- How much content will you post on your blog site? Will you use only text-based posts? Many photos? How about audio and video? While most hosting companies today offer “unlimited” storage there may be some limitations so you should have a good idea of what content you’ll store on your blog site.
- How many readers do you expect? One of the other things you’ll often see when choosing a host is that they offer “unlimited bandwidth” which means the amount of data – in bytes – that is moved from their servers to your reader’s Internet browsers. Text-based posts don’t use-up too much bandwidth. Videos do.
- If you’re going to host more than one blog will you need add-on domains or sub-domains? Some hosting packages allow only one main domain name but let you use sub-domains (i.e. subdomain.blogmarketingbasics.com). If you are going to host more than one blog you’ll want the capability to use more than one domain name (called an add-on domain) with the hosting package you choose.
- Will you need e-mail services? You’ll see hosting packages that offer “unlimited POP3 e-mail accounts”. They also offer web-based e-mail service and show you how-to set-up e-mail addresses to use with programs such as Microsoft Outlook. If you are going to rely on your hosting company for e-mail you need to make sure their capabilities meet your needs.
- What about FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to get content to your blog? FTP is the standard for moving content to a blog site so your hosting company should offer an easy way to set-up and use FTP addresses. You also may have the ability to use a “web explorer” application from your hosting control panel that lets you move files to and from your blog site without using an FTP program.
- Will you do regular backups or rely on the hosting company? The answer should be – you’ll be backing-up your blog regularly. But it’s nice to have a back-up to your back-up. Your hosting company should offer frequent full backups of your blog site’s data.
Evaluate Hosting Company Options -
- At this point you should have a good idea of what you’ll need for -
- Number of domains to host
- Amount of content to store
- Number of visitors / readers
- File transfer and backup requirements
Here are two hosting companies that we use for our various blogs and web sites (NOTE: These are affiliate links – appreciate your support if you decide on one of these companies!)
With these details in-mind you can start evaluating potential hosting companies – here’s what you should look for:
Reliability - Most hosting companies will give you their “99.9% Uptime Guarantee” but we suggest checking support forums and other Internet sources to get an idea of user’s actual experiences with a hosting company.
Capacity – You often will see “unlimited storage and bandwidth” in hosting site offers. Other hosting companies might limit you to a fixed amount of storage and bandwidth, especially for lower-priced plans. Make sure the capacity for both data storage and bandwidth are enough for the type of blog you want the company to host.
Support – What types of support does the company offer – and how quickly can you get support? Many companies offer e-mail, ticketing systems, chat, and phone support. Make sure you are happy with the support options and make sure the speed of the company’s response is adequate. Waiting two hours for a response while your site is down can feel like a lifetime. NOTE: it’s worth visiting some forums and doing some searches on the quality of support provided by the companies you’re considering.
Expansion – You can start small and then add storage or bandwidth. You also can add features like SSL certificates as you grow into an e-commerce site. Your hosting company should give you a number of options so your plan will grow as your site grows. When you are ready you may want to move to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) that gives you your own IP address and provides other benefits for larger blogs. Make sure your hosting company provides a pathway for your growth.
Control Panel - When setting up and working on different parts of your blog you’ll use the Control Panel provided by the hosting company. It’s important that you are comfortable with this tool so make sure it offers a complete set of features, it is convenient to access, and easy to learn.
Pricing and Packages – This is the last thing to consider. Pricing for hosting these days is affordable so you first should be evaluating the other areas above. Make sure that the plan that you choose is affordable – of course – but make sure you are comfortable that the hosting company can meet your needs.
Make Your Decision and Sign-Up For Hosting -
Now it’s time to make your decision and commit to a hosting provider!
These steps are pretty simple:
- Choose your hosting company
- Select the domain with which you want to start your hosting agreement
- Review the options included in various hosting packages
- Choose your package
- Provide all of the necessary details and payment information
- Click the “Order” button
After you’ve clicked the “Order” button, you’ll get a number of e-mails from your new hosting company. Make sure you read-through each one and archive the e-mails for later reference. You should keep track of:
- The DNS information provided by your hosting company
- How-to access the Control Panel
- How-to contact Customer Support
- The timeframe you can expect before you can start creating your blog
Some (More) Things to Consider -
It’s not just about price! Sure, your budget is important – but don’t forget about:
Speed – Your hosting company should provide great speed for your blog – if not you can be penalized by the search engines.
Reliability – If your blog is not on-line then you are disappointing readers and you are not making money – the reliability of your hosting company is a vital consideration.
Support – Can you get in-touch with your hosting company’s support team 24 hours a day? Is it convenient to get in-touch with them? Are they responsive to problems. You need to get problems resolved quickly and effectively – if your hosting company can’t do that look elsewhere.
Once you’re made the right decision, get ready for a long relationship!
Building a blog takes time and effort – you shouldn’t have to be too concerned about your hosting company. Once you’ve spent the time selecting the right company and have built your blog it is going to be difficult to make a change to another hosting company. So get ready for a long relationship.
FInally, remember that some companies let you start using their hosting services with a minimal commitment. HostGator, for example, lets you sign-up for 30 days with no “contract”. The price per month is higher than if you sign-up for a longer term, but once you’ve tested things out and you’re happy you can make a long-term commitment to the company for the lower rate.
You are on your way to success with your blog!
We appreciate you sharing this post with others who can benefit from this information.