This library of videos provides step-by-step screencasts to help you start your blog right. We endorse the WordPress blogging platform for its overall awesomeness and HostGator as a reliable, great-value blog hosting company. By way of disclosure, MySMARTBlog is a compensated affiliate of many domain name registrars and web hosting companys. GoDaddy and HostGator are our favorites in a crowded field.
Note: If you already have a WordPress blog, you can skip to Step 6. You don't need a new WordPress blog to use MySMARTBlog.
Your first step is to register your very own domain name for your blog. Use this link to GoDaddy.com -- it has a built-in coupon code for you.
Here's some tips for grabbing an amazing domain name:
MySMARTBlog recommends GoDaddy because it's cheap and because GoDaddy has excellent customer service for when you need technical help.
Now that you've registered a domain name, you need to select a web hosting company for your blog.
The most important criteria in selecting a web host are three-fold:
Resist the urge to host your blog with a friend, or with your corporate "tech guy". Spend the money to do it right.
MySMARTBlog recommends HostGator. HostGator is well-respected in the blogging space and it leases server space for less than $10 per month. Plus, if you use this link, you'll get a discount off HostGator's already inexpensive rates.
With your domain name registered and your web server built, it's time to link the two. Here's why we can't skip this step.
So, when we link GoDaddy to HostGator, we are tying your easy-to-remember blog domain name to your web server's numerical address.
Clear as mud, right?
WordPress blogs don't store data in "files", per se. Instead, WordPress uses a secure database called mySQL for storage. The good news is that once your mySQL database is in place, WordPress knows what to do with it.
In this step, we will use the HostGator Database Wizard to create a mySQL database for our WordPress blog.
Write down your "database name" (i.e. btheblog_blog) and username (i.e. btheblog_admin). You will need it for Step 5.
Installing WordPress on your HostGator web server is suprisingly simple and there's two ways to attack it. Take the easy way out -- Let HostGator help you.
HostGator has an excellent customer support desk so if you have trouble with this step, reach out to HostGator's online support center. The help desk there does WordPress installs thousands of times each year.
Now that WordPress is installed and "live", there are some basic settings you'll want to tweak for better performance.
Login to your WordPress dashboard at http://yourdomainname/wp-admin/ and make the changes as shown in the video, specifically including:
The updated settings as shown in the video will help you get the most out of your MySMARTBlog membership. We don't consider any of them optional.
WordPress designs are called "themes" and, with 1-click, you can change the look-and-feel of your blog.
WordPress doesn't limit the number of themes you install so test as many as you'd like. Activate your favorite by clicking "Activate".
There are literally thousands of WordPress themes and nearly all of them are free. Use your dashboard's Theme Search feature to locate and identify look that works for you.
WordPress blogs can be enhanced using small pieces of software called "plugins". Plugins are free and give your blog additional capabilities.
There's a plugin for every imaginable feature you'd want your blog to have.
The video highlights some of the more essential WordPress plugins. And once you see how easy it installing a plugin can be, we're sure you'll find some more.