HOW TO START A BLOG: BLOGGER, SELF HOSTING, CUSTOM DOMAIN


Pic from www.itspinkpot.com


Ever since Sara wrote this post on setting up Wordpress I have been asked to do a similar post on blogger. This is everything I did when I first joined blogger and had zero knowledge about ANYTHING that was needed to set it up. I hope this post helps you as a guide to set up your blog if you're just starting up. I have tried my best to include each and everything as possible and make blogging as less stressful as possible for all you non-techies. Here you go:


Set up Blogger:
Blogger is one of the platforms to start blogging. It is fairly the easiest platforms to blog with if you are a beginner.
  1. Create a New Blog: To begin, head to www.blogger.com  and sing up using your gmail account. Once you've signed in, click on the button that says "NEW BLOG" to create a new blog. You'll get a pop-up box asking you fill in the Title and the address of your blog. If you've already figured out a name for your blog, then go ahead and fill it up, if not, you can always change it later. Choose a unique name so that you get the URL that is available or tweak it until it is.
  2. Choose a template: Choose a template to start with (you can always change how it looks later) Select the one that you like the best from the premade ones available on blogger and click on start blogging. 
  3. Overview Page: You'll be redirected to this page called "overview" which will have an overview of everything that you need to blog. This is like the backend of your blog which only you have access to. There are different tabs such in this page by which you can navigate to their respective tasks, for example, Posts, pages, comments, stats etc. 
  4. Tabs and their meanings:
  • Posts: You can create new blog posts, edit posts, and publish from here. 
  • Pages: This is the different categories that you have in your blog, you can see the pages in my blog are "Home" "About Me" "Contact" "Beauty" "Fashion" "Lifestyle". You can create and edit pages from here. 
  • Comments: This is where you can see, reply, delete, and manage your blog post comments if you use the blogger inbuilt comments platform. 
  • Google+: You can connect your blog with Google+, share posts and get more visibility. 
  • Stats: This is where you get to see your daily, weekly, monthly page views, keywords that people use and visit your site, traffic details, etc. This is the most interesting tab, and can also be the most demotivating when you first start. You can read Sara's Blogpost on how you can increase your blog's traffic
  • Earnings: You can add google Adsense into your blog and earn. However, your blog must align with their strict rules to activate your AdSense account. You can just google for all the rules. 
  • Layout: Here you can customize the look of your blog, move the grids and elements, play with it and change it till it suits your liking. This is where you can add widgets to make your blog more responsive. Widgets are social media icon, page view counter, contact form, basically everything you see in the right side of my blog. 
  • Template: This is where you can customize the way your blog looks, change your background, modify the existing theme, upload a new theme by clicking on the "backup/restore button", change the colour, fonts etc. 
  • Settings: This is where you can change your domain name, add more authors if you're collaborating with more writers, change your blog's URL, change comment settings, language etc.

Buying and Setting up Custom Domain:
You can buy your own unique domains from sites like GoDaddy, BigRock, and even from Google. Buy your own domain, like www.abc.com from whichever site you want and then set it up on your blogger. Once you've purchased your custom domain, go to Overview > Settings > Basic > Blog Address > Click on "+Add a Custom domain" > Write your domain name in the box > Click Save. 

Now you have to change the settings from the control panel of where you purchased the domain from, to give Blogger the permission to use it. You can use these blog posts as a guide to help you set it up. Click on the text below. 

Free Hosting with Google: 
Domains are fairly cheap and it's usually hosting that is expensive. You can host your blogger website for free via google, although the steps are a little complicated, it is just copy pasting, and it is totally worth the nit picking as you don't have to pay around Rs 5000 or more per year. Hosting is the home for your website if you're wondering what it is. You have to update the CNAMES with your domain and then locate your A records, which are the google IP addresses to host your a/c.

Here is an article that will help you step by step to set up the free hosting, it's too complicated for me to explain but this post makes it very easy to follow with pictures and everything: Custom domain and free blogger hosting


Custom Themes for Blogger:
There are a lot of places where you can buy themes that are premade for blogger. You will find several thousands of them on Etsy, or many bloggers also have their own shops like Envye.com by Dana Fox, Chaitra's Design Studio, PipDig, to name a few.

You can either buy a premade template or get one made custom for you. The custom made ones are more expensive but better, in the long run, to create your own, unique brand.


Adding Disqus:

Disqus really helps you with increasing engagement, make your blog look better, and easier for your readers to comment. To add Disqus to your blog, you have to first create an account on Disqus using your email id, Facebook, or Google+.  Once you've created your a/c, enter your blog's address and then use the Disqus Gadget Installer, or manually add Disqus gadget to blogger. You can read this article for a step by step guide.


That's all. 
That is all you will need to set up your blog on blogger. All you have to do now is write your first blog post.

I hope you found this helpful. Share it with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter if it was, it will be like a thank you from you to me! :) Talk to me in the comments down below if you have any other query.
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