A Blog (or a web log) is a simplified version of a website, that is more often used by individuals to express themselves and reach out to like-minded people, probably monetising their efforts by intelligent adoption of online advertising techniques. Freelancers often create blogs to promote their businesses, while business houses too use blogs to drive traffic to their business websites where deals are finalised.
Blogs can be created and hosted on shared servers with the help of web hosting companies that offer cheap web hosting services with just the minimum number of features required to maintain a blog site. The option is particularly cost-effective for first-timers looking for some serious businesses. Free blog hosting sites such as WordPress and Blogger.com allow bloggers with limited technical knowledge to create their own blogs under a parent domain. Business professionals can opt for paid web hosting services.
Several free as well as paid web hosts offer hosting services for blogs and websites with a bouquet of services based on the package type selected. Those looking to go beyond free blog sites can choose from a multitude of paid web hosts such as HostGator that offer different features such as
• Easy installation and use of blogging software such as WordPress, Nucleus, and Typepad
• Support for scripts such as PHP and database access.
• Unlimited (nearly) bandwidth and large amounts of disk space
Web hosting companies also provide a domain name for the website or blog, however domain names can be obtained with the help of a domain registrar and then be linked to the Domain Name Server (DNS) addresses provided by the web hosting company, in order to minimise costs as well as retain the domain credentials, which otherwise would be lost if the service provider goes out of business. Be sure to opt for a very unique domain name, with appropriate keywords to comply with SEO requirements.
On account activation, login and password information for database access, FTP and the control panel as well as links to other utilities is mailed to the user to proceed with blog setup.
The control panel of the web host (usually cPanel or Plesk ) allows the user to quickly install the required blogging software, link content and get the blog site up and running. For example, locate the WordPress installation icon to setup WordPress, select an appropriate theme or template from the available list and complete the setup with a set of plugins that may be required for the site.
Creating and uploading content on a regular basis is the most important aspect of blogging. Blogging usually results in large volumes of content that need to be stored in a systematic way in order to allow easy browsing and search at a later date. A content management system is an ideal way to store and manage website or blog content, right from the source code of initial web pages used to launch the site to pictures, content, video, or music that is displayed online.
Those who are tech-savvy can attempt to host their blogs on their personal computers after fine tuning the system for external access. To store content on a personal computer, follow instructions on the exact folder structure and file formats to be used, based on the software used to build the blog.