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domain names
Domain Extensions

Deciding on your domain name

Once you have figured out a niche for your blog the next step is to decide what you want to call it. This is called, a domain name. It is what people will enter on their internet browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, etc) to get access to your blog.

domain names

This name is very important and should be very relevant to the topics you want to cover in your blog. At the same time you want to make it as short as possible so that people can easily remember it. This is also good for SEO (search engine optimization, in other words, how quickly Google or Yahoo rank your site when certain words are searched) as we will discuss in later articles.

For example you don’t want a name such as: killingthemsoftelyonthagame.com because one, it’s too long to remember. Two, no one spells “tha” with an a unless maybe in a mistyped text message. So you want to be careful about that when registering a domain name for your blog because once it’s registered, &you can’t change it. You can only create a new one.

Also make sure that you register the domain yourself or at least have access to the interface. I can’t count on my fingers how many times a lot of my clients forget to renew their domain registrations because they forgot. I have saved their business several times with automatic renewals that charges my account and then I send them the reminder to their relief. This is a common mistake. That’s why whenever someone registers a domain with my company, I make sure they have access to the dashboard. This is pivotal. So make sure you don’t make the mistake of having someone else register your domain for you without you having access to manage it.

You must renew your domain name every year. That’s why it’s important to have access to it. However, there are options with many domain registrars that allow you to register your domain for more than one year. Also remember not to pay too much for a domain. Paying anything above $15 for a domain name is too much. The average price as of writing this is about $10-$12 and with promotions some companies offer them for about $4. Look for these special promotions to save; godaddy.com, hostgator.com and my hosting provider, media temple (afflink) usually have these sales.

Choosing The Right Hosting Account

Choosing a hosting account is another very important decision you will have to make. It makes a difference in how fast your site is and your SEO depends on it as well. The faster your website the better.

This decision shouldn’t be taken easily because it makes a difference in your wallet. A cheap hosting account is cheap probably because the service is not so great and their servers are probably not that great either.

I have made this mistake once and I will never do it again. I once signed up for a company called webhostingpad.com for $1.99 a month hosting. That was one of the worst hosting experiences I have had.

The server went offline often and I couldn’t access my site. The customer service was awful, especially the billing department; they charged my account even after I cancelled my service.

Don’t make the same mistake. Pay for a good hosting service. There are plenty of them out there and you won’t go wrong if you follow these simple steps. Keep these in mind when starting your own blog.

1. Make sure they are reputable company and have been in business for a long time

2. Check their customer services rating and what other (real customers) have to say about them

3. Make sure their servers have a 99.99 percent up time or better

4. Get their premium hosting service if available (this guarantees better support)

5. Make sure they do backup your website

6. Make sure they don’t charge extra for too many add-ons

7. Make sure they have scalabilty so as your site grows they don’t penalize you for traffic or start giving you a hard time for your growing site

8. That they are easy to leave

Although these are not all the things you want to check for, they are very important. You want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. I use Media Temple and Hostgator for a lot of my projects. Godaddy is often in my radar as well but out of these I find Media Temple to be more reliable for my needs. They have the WordPress hosting which I love. And their VPS hosting is just as good as anyone’s. But here is a small list of companies I recommend for a good hosting experience.

1. Media Temple – because I use them and they are great. Slow ticket response sometimes but they also solve my problems

2. Hostgator – I also have server space with them and the sites I have on there haven’t had too many problems. Just make sure you buy the business plan or above because I think that’s when the support is much better.

3. Godaddy – A few client’s sites I have designed use them and they only say good things about them.

4. Knownhost – I used their VPS server a few years back and I had a good experience with them.

5. Bluehost – they are just a damn good company to be a part of. And they have a very affordable VPS option.

 

So now you know how to pick a domain and how to pick a good hosting company. Follow the guidelines I have outlined here and you should be good to go. Like always leave a comment if you have any question and I would be happy to help.

The next article will walk you through the first things you want to do after you install your blog.

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Blogging happiness

Are you serious about starting a travel blog? Yeah I know starting a blog can seem daunting. When I started my first blog 6 years ago I knew pretty much nothing. I kept searching on Google for how-to-guides on blogging and they were all very technical. For non-techs it causes even more confusion.

I will spend the next few articles to take away some of that confusion.

I will give you 12 steps to starting a blog, great tutorials and great success stories to motivate you. And this is step 1.

Since starting my first blog I have built and managed over 10 blogs and blog like websites and I have learned a lot about blogging.

And I can say for certain now that starting a blog is extremely easy and requires absolutely no coding (HTML, DHTML, PHP etc) although I recommend knowing a few things. But I will do a small tutorial on the basics in a later article. Nowadays the whole process is automated and takes just minutes to get online. So whether you are 10 or 60, you can start your own travel blog or other niche blog – area you want to blog about in as easy as 1,2,3. It’s really that easy.

There are many reasons people start blogs. And in this article where I talk about reasons to start your own travel or any type of blog, you can find out why you should start yours.

LET’S BEGIN

Know what you are going to blog about

Skip this part if you already know what you want your blog to be about

Deciding on what to write about or your niche is very important and should not be taken easily. Because once you start blogging you don’t want to keep changing topics. You want to stick to your niche. If you start going all over the place, you will lose focus and so will your readers.

Is there something you are really passionate about and enjoy? That’s a good place to start plain and simple. What you love should be what your blog is about.

I love to travel, experience new things, meet new people and take on challenges. That’s why that is the main focus of this blog. It’s about what I love to do plus the extra things I enjoy while doing so.

It’s much easier to write about the things you love. It makes absolutely no sense to start a blog on something you hate. Unless of course that hate is so strong that you can stand writing about it daily. For example, I have a friend who hates to see animals caged.

She has a strong enough hate for the abuse of animals and loves animals enough to start her own blog. That’s something worth reading about and something she would love to write about.

And when you already have an interest in something, you know enough about it already. Your hobbies are a good place to start when thinking about starting a blog. So start there.

Once you have figured out what you want your blog to be about then you want to decide on a domain name for your blog and a good hosting company. That’s what the next article will be about.

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blogging

In this article I will talk about 16 reasons to start your own travel blog or any other type of blog. I hope that it will encourage you to stop thinking about starting one and take action.

  1. It’s not as hard as you think

    Starting a blog is pretty easy and straight forward. If you have something that you are interested in and passionate about that’s all you need to start a blog. As far the technical stuff in starting a blog, you can read my series on the steps it takes to start a blog.

    The slightly difficult part of starting a blog is just that starting one. Having the drive and the tiny technical knowledge that it takes to get one started is just all you need. But nowadays the technical knowledge is not even needed. It takes about 20 minutes to set up a WordPress blog. Other platforms are not that different. And if ever you need help setting up your blog,

    I am here to help you

  2. Make your mark

    It’s very rewarding knowing that you have your own space on the world wide web were you can express yourself and have the freedom to do so. You can keep your blog private and away from search engines or you can have it open and accessible by everyone.

    You will get to build something from scratch and see it through. And from there, the possibilities are endless.

  3. It improves you as a person

    Blogging is good for you. You become more creative when you blog. You help people and we all know that when we help people it also helps us. You will also become a better writer, speaker and communicator in general. Your debating skills and technical skills will get a boost as well.

  4. It’s your own personal space

    It’s your own little space that no one can take away from you. We all like to be noticed and given attention; blogging does that and a whole lot more.

  5. It helps and inspires other people

    You blog will inspire and make people want to take action. No matter what niche you cover, you will develop a following that has an interest in that niche as well.

  6. It opens doors for great opportunities

    The opportunities that come with blogging are immense and rewarding. You can go from a small time blogger who only has a small audience to a big shot. Some of the success stories online are incredible. And if you are into attracting advertisers then you will be able to make money with it as well.

  7. You connect with others

    When you blog you attract other like minded people that you connect with. Some of them become life long friends that you end up sharing other great experiences with.

  8. You can make money with your blog

    Oh here we go with the money thing again. But serisouly, you can make good money with your blog. Many have done it; I have done it and continue to do it with my other blogs. The possibilities are endless.

    I know guys that have created, nurtured and sold off blogs for 20k or more. It can be done, but it takes hard work, determination and a lot of professional approach. But since you are blogging about your hobbies, that shouldn’t be a problem. You can do it too. Hard times come and finances fall short but having a blog that earns a little extra each month can be that little extra you need to get over those hard times.

  9. Makes the world a better place

    Your blog can become invaluable to a lot of people. I know a few blogs that are and I can’t stop reading them. I wake up in the morning, I get on them, get a great read and then start my day. You could be the owner of such a blog.

    You can start a blog about a cause or a hobby that brings many people together. And when people are coming together, it instantly makes the world a better place.

  10. It’s fun and challenging at the same time

    Who doesn’t love a good challenge? I know I do. It can be challenging to own a blog. But from every challenge that you face and overcome, you become a better person. But even if you fail, you learn something from that failure so in the end, it’s a win win situation.

    My first blog didn’t do so well but it paved the way for my more successful blogs that I now manage. And those blogs lead to work for other bloggers whose blogs I have designed.

  11. You will learn a lot

    There is always something to learn. It’s never a boring day in the world of blogging. You can always learn from another blogger with more success. You learn from yourself and you learn from those with whom you interact with. There is no shortage of interaction in the world of blogging whether via comments, messages or people you meet on the road. It never ends and you never stop learning and growing.

    You will learn to be a technical person, a people person and an overall Mr/Miss awesome. Bloggers are some of the most cool people I have met on my travels. They always have very interesting and intricate take on things. Be one of these people.

  12. You will archive your life

    It’s like having an online diary that everyone reads but it’s for you. You will look back years from now and you will have all your adventures and memories archived somewhere for you or your friends and family to see.

    It’s very nice to be able to have that. Blogging can do that for you. Years from now moments you might have forgotten about can be remembered just by a picture that you posted on your blog.

  13. It will help you find your voice

    You will have a place to scream, share stories and much more. Blogging gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. You could sit at a beach in Thailand and write a blog post. With the freedom to do and be anywhere, you get the freedom of mind and creativity. When these are combined, you get to express yourself more profoundly.

  14. You love to travel

    I get to travel very often. I have done several countries each year and nothing beats traveling. It is the best thing in the world.

    “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

    And archiving your travels is one of the best things you can do. If you are traveling often and don’t keep a blog, you are missing out on a lot. The human brain is not that reliable and having a back up brain in the form of pictures, videos and other media posted on a blog is a fantastic way to archive your adventures.

  15. It’s a way to stay in touch

    When you blog you invite others to share your experiences with you. You invite people into a journey with you and you are in the driver sit. You move and they follow; you are the master of your domain, literally.

    You stay in touch not just with others but with yourself and your goals. There are some places that I go where it’s impossible to keep up with family and friends via other methods even in this day and age. But when I blog once in a while, they know what I am up to.

  16. It’s absolute freedom

    Yes it is and it is a freedom worth having.

Now tell me, why did you start your blog if you have one already? If not, what’s stopping you?

Books

guide to Beijing

This guide helps you navigate your way through one of the best cities in China; Beijing. It's now available on amazon.com. Get it...