It is said that initially, blogging involved a personal web log, in which a person would journal about their day. From "web log" came the term "blog." Like most new innovations on the Internet, many entrepreneurs saw a marketing potential in having a blog, and blogging took off from there. Not only can a blog be used […]
It is said that initially, blogging involved a personal web log, in which a person would journal about their day. From "web log" came the term "blog." Like most new innovations on the Internet, many entrepreneurs saw a marketing potential in having a blog, and blogging took off from there. Not only can a blog be used for marketing, but also, a blog can be a home business in and of itself.
Blog Versus Website
Many people are still confused over what constitutes a blog over a website. Part of the problem is that many businesses use both, integrating them into a single web presence. But there are two features of a blog that set it apart from a traditional website.
Blogs are updated frequently. Whether it's a mommy blog in which a woman shares adventures in parenting, a food blog sharing new recipes, or a business providing updates to its services, blogs have new content added several times a week.
Blogs allow for reader engagement. Blogs are often included in social media because of the ability for readers to comment and have a discussion with the blogger and others who read the blog makes it social.
Why Is Blogging Is So Popular?
There are several reasons why entrepreneurs have turned to blogging.
Search engines love new content, and as a result, blogging is a great search engine optimization (SEO) tool.
Blogging provides an easy way to keep your customers and clients up-to-date on what's going on, let them know about new deals, and provide tips. The more a customer comes to your blog, the more likely they are to spend money.
A blog allows you to build trust and rapport with your prospects. Not only can you show off what you know, building your expertise and credibility, but because people can post comments and interact with you, they can get to know you, and hopefully, will trust you enough to buy from you.
Blogs can make money. Along with your product or service, blogs can generate income from other options, such as advertising and affiliate products.
How to Start a Blog
The good news is that starting a blog or adding a blog to your existing site is relativity easy and affordable. There are free blog options such as WordPress.com and Blogger, but to retain control and professional image, consider investing in a domain name and hosting and installing WordPress or other content management system on your host. Most webhosts offer this.
Once your blog is up and running, you need keep it active with new content to grow your business. While your blog can complement an existing business, it's also a great way to add additional income. You can promote other companies' products and services in affiliate marketing. You can offer to advertise or feed ad networks onto your blog. If you have a service business you're promoting your blog, you can create your own information products to compliment it.
Or, if you have your own product, you can offer a service.
If you truly cannot afford to pay for hosting or don’t want to pay, one of the best routes to go for is Blogger with a custom domain. As far as free hosting goes, this beats other providers by a mile. Here’s why.
What is a Custom Domain?
This is your personal real estate on the Internet. It is a top level domain in the form of yourblog.comas opposed to yourblog.blogspot.com which is a sub-domain. A custom domain is not free. Depending on the domain extension, that is, the last part of the domain after the dot, you may spend anything from $1 to $20 a year. For more on domain names, read our free eBook, How the Internet Works. Here the method to Get Free custom domain
Advantages of Blogger on a Custom Domain
Most people starting their blogging journey want to keep their costs at a minimum. It is, therefore, logical to want to go with a sub-domain on Blogger or WordPress which are free. However, it is always better to make a small initial investment in a custom domain and then host your site on Blogger. There are several advantages to having your own domain name, these include:
Preventing someone else from owning your dream domain name
A professional looking web and email address
In the end it doesn’t cost you much, so there’s not much against the idea. There are, however, many reasons you should have a personal domain.
Get Free Hosting With Your Domain On Blogger
The hosting is free on Blogger. You also don’t have to upgrade to a premium package to use your custom domain, as is the case with other free hosting providers. Once you have paid for your domain with your preferred registrar, you can host your site free on Blogger. Conversely, buying a domain on WordPress.com starts at starts at $18.00 per domain, per year while moving a domain name you already own costs $13.00 per domain, per year.
Set up your domain with your blog
Set up a custom domain so that your original Blogger address automatically forwards to your new domain.
Sign in to Blogger.
Select the blog to update.
In the left menu, click Settings > Basic > Publishing.
Under your current domain, click Set up a 3rd party URL for your blog.
Enter your URL, including the www.
An error will appear with two CNAMEs.
Visit your domain registrar's website and find the DNS (Domain Name System) or the Name Server settings in the control panel.
Delete existing CNAME entries.
Enter the CNAMEs provided in the error message and click Save.
Wait for a few hours for your settings to activate, then follow steps 1–6 above.
It may take up to 24 hours for the process to complete. If you see an error after 24 hours, try the process again. Contact your domain registrar for further help.
Host Name/Alias: www
This is the part of your website's address that you designated. For example, if www.mydomain.com is your address, enter www.
For example, if you chose www.mydomain.com as the address, enter www.mydomain.com.ghs.googlehosted.com.
Optional: You can also enter A-records, which link your naked domain (example.com) to an actual site (www.example.com).
Enter your domain name in the format example.com, and list the IP addresses shown below in the "A" section. You'll need to add four separate A-records which point to four different Google IPs.
Register a Domain Name
The first step is to register a domain name. A search on Google for “domain registrar” comes up with hundreds of results. Check out this list of ICANN accredited registrars. The process should only you take you a few minutes.
Create a Blog on Blogger
Once your domain is registered, go to Blogger and create a new blog using a sub-domain of your choice, for example,. yourblog.blogspot.com. Next go to Settings > Basic. Click the option “+ Set up a third-party URL for your blog”. Enter the domain name you registered in Step 1 above in the space provided, Be sure to include the “www” part of the domain. The full domain name should be in the format http://www.yourblog.com. After you click Save, you should get an error similar to the screen shot below.
Take note of the two CNAMEs listed. Each CNAME is made up of two parts: Name, Label or Host; and Destination, Target or Points to. The first CNAME is the same for all bloggers/site owners. Name represents “www” and Destination “ghs.google.com.” The second CNAME is specific to your site and your Google Account, and thus differs for each site owner.
Update CNAMES with Your Domain Registrar
I am using GoDaddy for this example. Log into your domain registrar’s control panel and locate the DNS settings. Where it says, Name, Label or Host type in “www” and enter ghs.google.com as the Destination, Target or Points to. Repeat the process for the second CNAME.
Next, locate your A Records. You need to create four different A records that point to four different Google IP addresses:
This will ensure that visitors typing in your domain with or without the “WWW’ still land on your site. You will need to wait for 1-4 hours for these changes to take effect before proceeding.
After this time, you should be able to add the custom domain without getting an error message. Google takes care of redirection such that once your blog on the sub-domain is requested, it redirects to your custom domain.
Finally, check out your blog using your custom domain in the browser and confirm that everything works well. If you get stuck, post a question in the comments section below.
Do you have any experience navigating free blog hosts? Has this helped you? Share your advice and tips for deciding between the free blog hosts. Finally, like all other business ideas, your success comes from marketing and letting your target market know about your blog. Great ways to reach your market are through social media, email list, and reaching out to other bloggers, podcasters, and media outlets for publicity.