If you wish to set up a blog, the simplest solution is to make yourself a free one.
There are many sites out there that offer free blog hosting, such as WordPress or Blogger. A Google search for ‘free blog hosting’ currently brings up over 28 million results, though the majority of those aren’t necessarily quite what you are looking for.
I have a personal fondness for WordPress. It is the software that I use, and is obviously the software used on WordPress.com, so the latter would be my personal recommendation.
Signing up is easy. Probably the most difficult part is thinking up a name for your blog. If you have sniffed around the blogging world at all ( and I presume you have?) you will be aware that names are virtually limitless in their range. A lot depends, of course on the nature of your blog. If you are writing to promote your company for example, then the name should reflect the company name. Basically it is just a matter of common sense and personal taste.
Once you have chosen your name, it is simply a matter of entering that name and a couple of other simple items, such as a password of your choice and your email address, and you are off. It is that simple.
So why isn’t every blog in the world on WordPress or one of the others? The answer is that a heck of a lot of them are. The bigger free hosts offer plenty facilities to customise your site, whether it is the look or the functionality.
Many however opt to go down the paid route.
Why should anyone want to pay for a blog, if you can get one for nothing?
While the free hosts provide a lot of facilities, they are limited. You may want a design that isn’t available of the free platforms or you may require some functionality that requires some simple tweaking. Having tried both, I would not go back to free hosting as I like the limitless possibilities that self-hosting provides. I am my own master, and if I want to do something quirky to my site, I can do it.
So how much does paid hosting cost?
The answer to that is of course down to you. It is not as expensive these days as many would think. A quick search on the Internet brings up providers who will provide hosting for between €50 and €80 a year.
One thing you need to note is that if you go down the self hosted route, you will need a domain name ( www.whatever.com ) which is usually obtainable through the hosting provider. .COM domains are extremely simple to obtain, so the drawback is that most of the good names are already gone, but with a bit of imagination, you should be able to find an available one. That can all be explained and arranged by your provider.
One disadvantage to self hosting is that you may have to get your hands dirty and do some software installation. Some hosts provide the software pre-installed, and others don’t. Installation is usually a pretty straightforward job anyway and help is easy to find, either from your hoster or from countless forums.
So what are you waiting for?
Come on in – the water is lovely.