For the past 2 years, I’ve been writing a blog about my RV travels. Its been a fun experience – describing the places I’ve been and seen. Writing is something I enjoy doing. I like telling a story with words and pictures. I’ve created a nice journal that I share with family and friends. Its also a record of where I’ve been and something I can go back and read and re-experience my travels.
Its also been an education on how to write better, how to take better pictures, how to build a blog website, and how to promote my website to readers. Its been an iterative process learning and applying new techniques and technology. I’ve been using a free blogging platform from Google called Blogger. By creating a Google account, I can run my blog on their servers and use their designs and templates to create and maintain a nice website. Google also owns YouTube and Picasa so with the same account I can easily add videos and picture galleries to my blog.
The Blogger platform is easy to use and you can create a nice blog with it. Many bloggers start out using Blogger because its free, it’s a good place to learn and many stay with it. But, some like myself want to do more that Blogger can provide. My blog consist primarily of articles about travels but I want it to be more than just a site with trip reports. I want to be able to showcase my photos and videos. I want to have more active links to other RV travel related content. I’d like my site to become a resource that people can revisit to learn or find out about something. I also want to own my site. With all the content I’ve added, I want to be in control of it and not be subject to Google’s limits
WordPress is a very popular blogging and website platform. It’s a more powerful platform that can be customized to a users needs. Many bloggers use WordPress because of its powerful features. You can run it on your own equipment or at a hosting service, so you have more control of your website.
I spent some time researching WordPress and decided to try building a new site with it. I haven’t decided if I’ll fully migrate to it. I first want to experiment with it and see what I can do and how easy it is to work with. There are some great tutorials on how to work with WordPress. Here are a couple of links that i have found helpful – The Ultimate WordPress Guide for Beginners and Beginners Guide for WordPress.
I thought I’d write some articles on how this is going so I can share the experience. So, here’s some of steps I’ve taken so far.
1. Buy My Own Domain Name
With Blogger, I use a sub domain name that’s linked to Google. My current domain name is jdawgjourneys.blogspot.com. Google inserts the “blogspot” in the middle. With WordPress, I wanted my own domain name so I went to a domain name service (shoutmydomain.com) and for $11 per year bought jdawgjourneys.com.
2. Sign Up for a Hosting Service
You can run a WordPress blog at WordPress.com (much like Blogger is at Google). It’s free to use and run on their servers if you allow WordPress to insert ads into your blog. If you don’t want the adds, you can pay $99 per year for their Premium service and have it run ad free. Running your site at WordPress.com does have limits on how much you can customize your site (much like Google does for Blogger). You can also run WordPress at a hosting service, which is what I have done. I’m paying $99 per year for use of servers, security, and backup service. I’m using Bluehost to host my site.
3. Point My Domain to the Bluehost Servers
While setting up my Bluehost account, I got the server names where my website will run. I then had to sign on to shoutmydomain.com and point my new domain name to the Bluehost servers. This was pretty easy.
4. Install WordPress
From my Bluehost account, I downloaded a free copy of WordPress onto the Bluehost servers. Once installed, I created a WordPress account for my domain that lets me build and maintain my website.
These were the first few steps. So far, so good. Up next will be customizing WordPress and creating my new site.