The first thing you must tackle when starting your blog is, whether or not you are going to use free blog hosting. You may have noticed some high traffic blogs getting away with using free blog services. I honestly believe getting a free blog is one of the worst mistakes you can do if you intend to be a career blogger.
Many think it is ok to use free blogging services because blogging is all about content. While with blogging, content and loyal readership matters, you have to have also a sense of professionalism to it. Having your own domain name means you are serious about your blog. It also means you are intelligent enough to learn how to put it on it’s own domain and hosting. If you are viewed as intelligent, people are more likely to read your blog and take it serious.
Having the ability to have your own domain name means it’s easier for a visitor to remember your site. It will also help you stand out from the millions of free blogs out there. The long term benefits of your own domain, outweigh the time it takes to learn how to set it up.
Having your own blog on your own host is also a control issue. You can modify your blog software to do so many things that you can’t do on free blogs. You also won’t be at the mercy of some 3rd party. You can’t even back up your content if they shut down your account on those free services. You will also own that domain name, which is like the brand name of your blog.
If you decide to do it on your own hosting, I recommend you register your domain with GoDaddy. I like them for domains for 4 reasons. First you have your own control panel, where you can go in and edit your nameservers, whois, and other things whenever you want. With some other domain registrars, you have to contact them for them to change nameservers. Second, they are a very large and established domain company, so your domains are safe in their hands. Third, GoDaddy has the best DNS server infrastructure and DNS servers often wind up being the bottleneck in handling large web traffic. Finally, they are always having a lot of sales on domain purchases or renewals, which has saved me quite a bit of money.
For web hosting, I highly recommend Hostgator. I host all my sites with them. Their servers are fast, their support is friendly, and all their plans come with Fantastico and Cpanel. Fantastico is great because with the click of the mouse, it can install all the free major blog, forum, shopping cart, gallery, mailing list, and content management system software. It will also automatically tell you when there is an update on the software and you can install an update with a click of a mouse. This is especially handy when you have multiple websites. Cpanel is the most common web hosting software administration software, so I recommend using a web host like Host gator to get familiar with using it.