Becoming a blogger can be extremely challenging! There is so much to learn, so many options and usually not enough hours in the day. If you are a new blogger, I highly suggest reading part of our new blogger tutorial and start learning as much as you can! If you are not a new blogger, then you still might be able to learn a thing or two.

Once you have all the basics mastered, it’s time to start to figuring out what tools will best enable you to write your blogs. Most importantly, what tools will save you the most time and money! For those reasons here are a few tools that I personally use all of the time to find images, compress them, select keywords, and gain exposure!

Free Images

First up on the list of tools, we are going to focus on images. Although, why would you need images if you are blogging? Well, the thing is every blog post can have its own featured image! That means you are going to need a lot of images if you are going to blog daily.

There are a few important resources for images you are going to use if you are going to want high quality stuff for your blogs. The first is a well known tool called Canva.

Canva

Canva is probably the tool that is every bloggers dreams.

There is almost an unlimited number of stock photos on this site that are free! All you have to do is create a free account and search for the photos you need. They have content on just about anything and everything you could want. Not only that, but you can select the size of the photo you want to download it as, make edits, or even overlay the photo with texts and effects! There are so many tools at your disposal for free.

Some of the photos on the site do cost something, but the price is only $1 which means those photos are a steal! The best part is you can always choose the free photos if you didn’t want to pay for the ones that cost. So seriously, if you are not already using Canva then you are missing out!

Unsplash

Although if price is truly an issue then you need to go and check out Unsplash.

Unsplshed is a platform where people can post their photos for free and anyone can use them. Really anyone that goes on this site can download any of the photos and use them how ever they need. That is for personal use or commercial use these photos are yours to do with as you please.

It is really a great platform for anyone that is on a budget and needs to get photos for free. I would start your image search on Canva, and then if you can’t find what you need, then use Unsplash as a back up. Remember though, even if you find a photo on Unsplash that is almost perfect, you can throw it into Canva afterward to edit it and get it to the right size for your post! These tools work wonderfully together.

Compressor

Another great tool is an online compressor. You see, images can be very large in size and take up a lot of space.

If you are not careful you can seriously slow the page load speed of your site by uploading images that are too large. It is probably a good idea to keep any image you upload to a smaller size then 150 kb. With a compressor, you can easily upload any image and compress it to the size you need. be careful though, because as you compress an image you also comprise the quality on how it appears. Therefore, you want to do it just enough to decrease the size significantly, but not enough where the image looks blurry.

For most images I use anywhere between 80%-90% image quality and the A compression method selection on the compressor tool. This usually gets my image to a decent file size and allows me to upload it. By doing this for every photo on my site, it allows my site to run much smoother and consistently faster than competitors. You should be doing this to every photo or image before you upload it to your site.

I keep an image folder and a “compressed images” folder inside my main folder for my site on my desktop. Then I always pull images from the compressed images folder to make sure I upload the proper file while publishing my blogs. It would be smart to go ahead and get used to this to make sure you are not accidentally putting large images on your site and slowing it down!

Keyword Selection

If you know anything about websites, then you know something about SEO and keywords. You see, keywords are what your site ranks for when people search things in Google. Each header you put on your blogs is something your site typically ranks for in Google somewhere.

That is why choosing your blog titles and your section titles are vitally important. Although, it is extremely hard to know which keywords to rank for and how to phrase them. That means you need a tool to help you with it! I have just the tool, and it is easy to use and best of all it is free as well! That tool is called Ubersuggest.

Ubersuggest

This is an amazing tool because it solves several problems. First, it allows you to search keywords and their ranking difficulty levels. In addition, it will suggest other keywords that you could target that are even easier to rank for. Other than that, you can search website rankings, back links, keywords other websites rank for, and other amazing features. It really is a tool that just gives you so much knowledge for free. It is an easy choice to say, you need to be using it.

To focus in, you want to type your keyword into the Ubersuggest search bar. Once you do that, it will tell your the traffic for this search word flowing through Google, the difficulty score for ranking for that keyword, the paid difficulty score, and the cost per click. If you look to the far left, you will see a menu that allows you to choose “keyword ideas”. You are going to want to click that and view all the similar keywords you should be targeting that go along with your main keyword.

With this tool, you can focus in on some longer-tail keywords to maximize your posts exposure and gain more traffic organically! Speaking of organic traffic, lets head to our last tool you should be using, Social Media.

Social Media

The last tool you should be using as a blogger or website owner is social media.

Not one in particular either, but all of them. There are a ton of useful platforms that you should be utilizing and posting on to gain more followers. Really, you should have an account on most of them and be posting links and excerpts from your blogs on them to attract discussion.

This is easier said then done, but if you do this daily after every single post you will see the benefit of doing so after some time. It takes a while to build your social following, but you can gain just as much traffic through these channels are you will through organic reach on Google.

Tools For Bloggers

Thanks for reading out top tools for bloggers and trying to further your blogging and website career! There are a ton of free tools to use online, and these are only a few that I personally use daily. Make sure to keep researching and never stop growing!

Thanks for reading our part two of the Start a website from scratch series that will focus on picking a hosting provider. We are going to continue on in this post from where we left off! For those that did not read the last post, here is the quick overview to make sure you are caught up and not missing out on any important details!

In the last post, we took time to discuss the first step of starting a website from scratch – purchasing a domain. We went over the best site to buy your domain from, GoDaddy, and even walked through how to check on your domain’s status. If you have any more questions about this, please refer to the previous post, and hopefully there will be an answer to your question there!

Moving forward – we are going to dive into setting up hosting for your website! As mentioned in the last post, the domain is only the address people will use to find your site. Sort of like your home address if you will, but now you need a way to broadcast that address out to the world! That is where hosting comes in.

Web Hosting Basics

I bet you are excited to get moving and let people find your website, but hold your horses there cowboy (or cowgirl). You need to learn a few web hosting basics first.

Hosting packages and companies are something that needs some serious thought. By using the wrong hosting provider you could potentially be costing your self hundreds to thousands of dollars down the line and countless hours of frustration. Hosting is basically the step that could largely determine a few very important things for your digital future:

  • Website up time
  • Page load speed
  • How many sites you can host
  • Emails accounts
  • How many visitors you can have

These are just some of the reasons I say picking your hosting provider AND HOSTING PLAN is extremely important. Understand this could seriously be the most important thing you do in setting up your website. I am going to go through each of the listed items and describe why it is important, and what to look out for when signing up with a hosting provider and plan.

At the end of it all, I will tell you the hosting provider I started out with, what happened that made me leave that provider that could of cost me thousands of dollars, and the hosting provider I am with now that I love but is more expensive. Let’s dive into website up time.

Website Up Time

You might not know this, but websites can go down or go off-line at times. This is almost always due to the hosting provider’s lack of service or unavailability. What typically happens is the hosting provider’s servers need to be updated, fixed, or simply managed which correlates to your site not receiving hosting service during this time.

While these periods are usually short, they can be up to 24 hours periods in the event of real server problems. Now, if you are only looking to blog once a week and not take it seriously, then you might not really care about this. Although, it is definitely something to look into when signing up for hosting providers before hand.

Typically on a monthly basis, the hosting provider needs to have at a minimum a 99% up time on average. Anything less than that and you really do not want to waste your time. Trust me, there is nothing more annoying then going to your site to check your traffic or post a new blog and being unable to access or even find your site! You really do not want to deal with this.

Page Load Speed

Oh boy, this is one thing that really sets good websites apart from bad ones.

Page load speed is a huge deal when you start to dig into some of the statistics for how long people wait before clicking off of a site. Typically, any page that loads slower than 3 seconds is considered poor by most rating standards. Unfortunately, with almost all of the early or low cost hosting packages, your page speed will be quite slow.

You see those low cost packages just group a bunch of sites onto certain servers that are really are not designed for performance lets just say. Therefore, the hosting provider you go and plan you pick will definitely effect your page load speed.

Another important thing to know is that Google rates sites by their page load speed. If you site loads too slow, the crawlers will ping it and Google will not rank you as high. It basically effects your domain authority in the end, which ultimately means less people will find your blog. If you are running ads, affiliate links, or planning to sell things on your site, this can cost you big time.

The last thing to consider is user experience. Have you ever been on a seriously slow website where every page takes 10 to even 20 seconds to load? Well, if you are not careful, that could be your site. Make sure you take page load speed seriously is all I am getting at.

How Many Sites Can You Host

While you are setting up your first website, you probably are not concerned about this.

Although, it is great to plan ahead. In most cases, you will want more websites. It is sort of like starting a new hobby. You get your feet wet, realize how much there is to learn, find out ways to draw more attention, and then bam, you have 10 websites. I am not saying this is how it works for everyone, but more often than not, you will want more than one website. There could be an additional portfolio site you want to set up for yourself, a second blog site, a side business, or even a website for a friend!

All I am saying is, it sure helps to be able to host multiple websites on a single plan. There are many plans in addition that account for this, and the plan I am currently on “Enterprise” allows me to host as many sites as I please!

In the end, this is entirely up to you. If you just want this one site, and you are sure you will never want any more, then don’t worry about it!

Emails accounts

Email accounts are an important part of any online business or website, and this is something you will need.

For example, I have several blogs and occasionally I get people messaging me to guest post on them. Great, I think. Every post on my site is just more content for me to rank for, it is a win win in my opinion. Although, the only way they were able to reach out was through the email I set up for my blogs.

You might be wondering, why can’t I just use my personal email? Because – it will get flooded with spam. There are thousands and millions of bots, crawlers, and creeps scanning the internet for emails and phone numbers. It is important to get a separate email for your website to avoid any unwanted attention or solicitation.

Can you not just create a gmail account? Of course you can! Although, gmail looks quite unprofessional for websites to have listed, but if you are just making a personal blog then go for it! For my websites and businesses, I have personal emails for each that were set up through my hosting provider. They came with the plan I purchased and really make the sites look professional. Most people will look for emails that represent the website like: testemail@nameofwebsite.com. I would suggest going ahead and setting this up if you are serious about your website or trying to start a business!

How many visitors you can have

New website owners may be unaware, but hosting plans only come with so many “visitors” in each plan. I was fully unaware of this even 9 months into blogging and it really bit me in the butt.

I had 3 blogs at the time, one in particular was getting anywhere between 200 – 500 visits a day. Some days, articles would take off on social media channels leading to thousands of unique visitors in a single day. My most popular day I had over 5,000 unique visitors on my largest blog! I really had no idea what to do, it was an amazing feeling the first time my blogs took off like that.

Unfortunately, it all came crashing down when out of the blue my website was taken down. Not only was it taken down, but the other two were as well for a period. I panicked and reached out to my hosting provider for an explanation.

Apparently, I had over used my hosting plan by a lot. By a lot I mean, My website had over 65,000 unique visitors in the first 9 months! That sounds great, but my plan was not made for that type of exposure. On top of that, my website was getting a DDoS attack where people spam requests from your site to try and get it shut down. This was due to the popularity and some of the content I had written on their competitors. I had not done anything wrong, my site was just too popular, and the hosting provider I had could not handle it.

What’s the point of the story? Plan ahead. Like the emails and the hosting plan for number of sites you can have, it is vital to your website for you to plan for success. In that case, plan to have a bunch of visitors in the first year!

Pick a Hosting Provider

With all of that knowledge tucked away in your heads, it is time. Time to review the two hosting services I have used, the research I did, and what to look out for.

The hosting service I started my blogging and website journey with is the well known HostGator!

HostGator Hosting Experience

Let me preface this by saying, in no way was I mad or unhappy with my service at HostGator.

In the process of learning how to blog, the internet world is a scary place. There are a ton of ways you can mess things up or simply destroy your website if you are not careful! In addition, there are plenty of services that will fully take advantage of your lack of knowledge and take your money for little in return. HostGator does not do that.

HostGator is one of the more beginner friendly hosting services out there with plenty to accommodate new website creators. A great thing about HostGator is their cheap price plans as well! Basically, this hosting provider is for noobies just looking to try out blogging, websites, and online businesses. It is not for professionals, and definitely not the best on the market.

Pros

  • Easy to use interface and backend
  • Low prices and services
  • Friendly customer service
  • Consistent up time
  • Easily set up wordpress for your site
  • Plenty of YouTube tutorials to learn from
  • No hidden fees

Cons

  • Not the best service tools
  • Slow page speed on almost all the plans
  • Limited usage as my story tells above with most plans
  • Lack of professional help from customer service – you probably won’t need any of this type of help as a beginner
  • Not scalable for long-term success

Although, what it lacks it makes up for with dirt cheap prices, friendly customer service, and consistent up time. I can hardly remember if my sites ever went down while using HostGator, and I do not think they did.

I would recommend HostGator people looking to dabble in websites or to get a feel for the space, but not someone looking to get serious with it.

NameHero Hosting Experience

The second hosting provider I went with was found from hours upon hours of research. I watched almost every single comparison video online, did review research, looked at up time, pricing, page speed indicators, and even talked to a few friends that blog and own sites.

I came to the conclusion that NameHero was one of the best options on the market for long-term sustainable growth. This was heavily important to me since what happened to me before cost me weeks to fix. Not to mention I had to migrate all of my sites, files, posts, images, themes, and everything to the new hosting provider with the help of a personal friend who is a sufficiently good coder.

Even with his help, and he is a professional by all means, it took us 2 to 3 weeks to get everything back setup and running on the new hosting provider. Imagine having to pay someone to help with that, it would have cost me hundreds and probably thousands of dollars for someone to do all of that work for me. Seriously, take your hosting provider seriously because it is a mess trying to migrate to a new one. Back to NameHero –

Why Choose NameHero

For starters, they had everything I required for my plethora of websites and more. I ended up going with their “Business Cloud” service which allows upwards of 100,000 visitors a month and a ton of other features. I chose this plan for several reasons:

  • Unlimited websites
  • Fast page load speed
  • Unlimited customized email accounts
  • Extremely helpful and functional backend
  • Professional support
  • Scales extremely well with all of the websites I have long-term
  • Reasonable Pricing for the features I was given compared to other market alternatives

Theses are some of the main reasons, but the ones that really sold me where the price, page speed, and large traffic I could now have. This just mean more traffic for ad revenue, website ranking, and readers! What is a blog without readers am I right?

Hosting Provider Overview – Picking a Hosting Provider

I hope this post on web hosting basics was helpful in some way. You should know the importance of hosting providers now, and be able to go out and make your own informed decisions! Remember, most people discussing these platforms on the web or YouTube, are probably incentivized, so make sure you do plenty of research.

This post is absolutely 100% not incentivized in any way. I get absolutely nothing for you going to HostGator or NameHero, so please think long and hard before you give your money away to not only these platforms, but any platform.

With that being said, if I were starting over NameHero would be my go to choice. That is just my two cents!

Moving forward with our series, we will next discuss how to set up your hosting and get wordpress installed on your new website!

Till next time website pioneers.

For those that have been lingering on the idea to start a website or not, what are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for the perfect idea?

Maybe you are waiting for inspiration or just some free time to get started.

In my experience, the best time to start is now! You see, there is always more to learn about websites and always additional ways to update a site or improve it. That means, you will never have enough “free time” to build the perfect site.

Plus your tastes will change and one day you might like something that you did not before and vice versa. What is important is that you do not stop growing or learning! Especially in your journey to create websites and improve your knowledge of them.

Because of all that, I say do not wait! Lets get started today.

Building Your First Website

For those that really have no clue what to build I have a solution for you. Build a blog!

A blog is the perfect site to get you started. You know why? Because you can absolutely not mess up a blog. In addition, you can write about whatever you want. You can play around with different themes, change up the styling, or even just leave it under construction while you learn.

The most important thing is to just start somewhere.

The point of starting is to get your feet wet. Get some experience under your belt to gain confidence. No one knows everything when they start, and neither will you. Just get started.

Therefore, if I was getting started blogging again – here is where I would start. I would purchase my first domain.

Buying a Domain

You have to start somewhere, and that place to start is by purchasing a domain name. Since you are new, buy a cheap one that has a unique name.

It can represent anything you want to write about or sell on your site, or it can be completely fictional! It is entirely up to you. For new website builders, I would say purchase one that is unique to build an identity for yourself.

Where to Buy Domains

Once you have your name in your head, go over to Godaddy.com. This is the best domain purchasing service currently. I use it for all of my domain purchasing needs, and the customer service is honestly great! I can not tell you how many times I needed help with something or had an issue and they solved it over the phone at any hour and extremely quickly.

It is the best service for domains by far. In addition, you can search millions of domain names if you would like and price them out to see what fits.

Once you find your domain name on their search tool, go ahead and purchase that thing and secure your first domain name!

Usually, you will purchase a two year registration for the domain, but you really do not need any of the privacy features or extra things they try to sell you. Just buy your domain for the two years recommended and checkout!

Using Your Domain

Once you have checked out – congrats! You have just taken the first step to building your first website!

Exciting I know, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. A little known fact is that even if you purchase your domain, there could be a delay before you can use it. In order to check on that, we are going to need to head into your Godaddy account and check on that new domain!

To do this, login to your GoDaddy account. Then navigate through their menus to “manage domains”.

Once you are there, you should be able to view the domains you own on that account. Given that this is your first domain you have purchased, you should see that single domain listed there. If it is not, Don’t worry!

Your domain could be moving. This has happened to me before, and I do not know EXACTLY how it works. Sometimes there is a process to putting the domain into your account and it could take a few days. I would say about 99% of the time this is not the case, but if it happens to you, just shoot them an email and request to know when the domain will be moved to your account.

Manage Domains

Back to the dashboard – If you see your domain, you should see a few things listed. The dashboard should show your:

  • Domain name
  • Status
  • Expiration date
  • Auto – Renew selection

What matters here is your status and auto – renew selection. You want your status of your domain to say “Active”. This means you can use the domain and host a website on it. If it says anything other than active, you might need to reach out to Godaddy for an explanation or timeline until it can become active.

Afterward, it is very important to make sure your domain’s “Auto – Renew” selection is turned on. What this does is prevents your domain from expiring and allowing other people to purchase it from you. You really never want this to happen especially if you are building a brand or website on top of that domain! It would suck to put in 2 years of work on a website and build up the domain authority on that domain, only to have someone come and buy it away from you!

Protect your purchase and enable the Auto – renew.

Next Steps to Build Your Website

With all that under the rug, you can now look toward the next steps to building your website. This will be covered in the next post!

In the next post, we will extensively dive into hosting on your domain! This is basically the service you need in order to make your website live. What you just purchased is the domain or address people will use to find your website. Now, you are going to need to purchase a service to “host” your website to the internet. We will get there, but remember there are many steps to building your first website!

Take them one at a time and try not to overload yourself with too much at once. Building websites takes weeks of work. Just do a little bit everyday!

Thanks for reading on how to get started building your website. Now that you have your domain name, you are one step closer to having the website of your dreams to tell all of your friends about!