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How Do I Choose a Blog URL?

Choosing a good blog URL is really important task! People will get to your blog by either clicking a link or typing your URL into their browser’s address bar, so you need to have a catchy URL that people will remember.

When you first start building traffic most of your visitors will get to your blog by clicking a link. However, over time when people get hooked on your content they will type your URL into the address bar and you want it to be easy.

Here are some tips for how to choose a good blog URL.

Make It Easy To Pronounce

A good blog URL should be easy to pronounce. When people get hooked on your content and tell their friends about it you don’t want there to be any confusion.

For example, MyBlogTutor.com is an easy URL for people to pronounce. Here are some examples of URLs that are not easy to say:

  • Bloggggggggg.com (How many G’s is that?)
  • BlogLe55ons.com (Blog Lessons? Something else?)
  • DasItBlogBreh.com (Huh?)

See what I mean? MyBlogTutor.com is much easier to pronounce than the URLs listed above.

The first step to choosing a good blog URL is to make it easy to pronounce.

Make It Easy To Remember

A good blog URL should be easy to remember. Again, when you tell people about your blog you don’t want them to forget how to get to it.

A URL that is easy to remember has the following traits:

  • It is easy to pronounce
  • It is short and to the point
  • It is not too short that it’s confusing
  • It describes what you will find on the website

Let’s look at each of these traits in more detail.

Easy to pronounce

We already talked about this, but another benefit of having a URL that is easy to pronounce is that it is easier to remember.

Ask 5 people if the your URL ideas are easy to pronounce.

Short and to the point

A URL that is short and to the point is easy to remember. Is it easier to remember MyBlogTutor.com or StevesBlogThatProvidesTipsAndTricksForYourBlog.com?

If your URL is more than 15 characters long, it’s not short enough.

Not so short it becomes confusing

BurritoChef.comĀ is a better domain name than GourmetBurritoCookingGuy.com, but GBCG.com would be too short and confusing.

Remove as many unnecessary words as possible from your URL then ask 5 people if your URL is confusing. If they find it confusing, try again.

Describes the blog content

MyBlogTutor.com explains that the content of this blog is tutorials about how to build a blog. StevesBlogStuff.com kind of describes what could be on that website, but doesn’t do as good a job. What kind of blog stuff does it have? Themes? Tutorials? Free Images?

Ask 5 people what they think the blog at your potential URL is about. If they get it wrong, try again.

Avoid Hyphens, Underscores, and Numbers

A good blog URL avoids using hyphens (-), underscores (_), and numbers. These three characters make it more difficult to spell and remember your blog URL so don’t use them.

Numbers make a blog URL really hard to remember and spell. If I told you that my blog’s URL was Steves2ndBlog.com, would you know how to spell it? Would you spell “2nd” with the number two or would you spell out “second”? Maybe I also have a lot of blogs, so would you remember that it’s my second, or would you forget and think it’s my third?

Don’t even consider ideas for a blog URL that have hyphens, underscores, or numbers in them.

Try to Only Use .com

There are a lot of extensions your URL can end with, like .org .net .blog .biz .info and so on. Even today .com is the most common so you should try to only use .com for your blog URL.

If I told you my blog’s URL was MyBlogTutor.biz and you tried to remember it a week later would you be able to? You would probably try .com first and then give up when it wasn’t there.

And if I told you my blog URL was MyBlogTutor.info wouldn’t you think it was a bit spammy? I almost never click URLs for websites that are .info or .biz.

Since there are a lot of websites online these days, many URLs ending with .com might already be taken. In this case you might need to come up with a new idea for your blog URL.

Try to only end your blog URL with .com so it is easier to remember and looks more legitimate.

Come Up With Something Original

When you are choosing your blog URL, try to come up with something original. There is already an online bookstore called Amazon so don’t name your blog AmazonStore.com.

If you told someone your blog URL was AmazonStore.com they would likely go to Amazon.com instead. Even worse, Amazon.com might be able to sue you for infringing on their business name.

Tip: Come up with a URL that is not too similar to someone else’s URL.

Choose Your Blog URL

Now that you know how to choose a good blog URL it’s time for you to go do it! Come up with a bunch of ideas for your blog URL and make sure that they:

  • are easy to pronounce
  • are easy to spell
  • are easy to remember
  • do not use hyphens, underscores, or numbers
  • end with .com
  • are not too similar to someone else’s URL

Closing Thoughts

It’s important to have a simple, memorable blog URL so people can type it into their browser with ease. After reading this post you should have a framework for understanding what makes a good blog URL. The next step is to go buy one, so when you get that done be sure to let me know what your new URL is!

What Make a Good Web Host?

When you sign up for paid web hosting there are a handful of things you should look for in a good web host. Let’s take a look at the most important attributes of a good web host.

Price

How much does the web hosting cost? If you’re hosting a blog you should be paying somewhere around $10 per month. If someone is offering web hosting for under $5/month, it’s probably a bad deal unless it’s a good web hosting company offering promotional pricing.

A good web host costs around $10/month.

Databases

A database is a program that stores information and lets you find it very quickly. WordPress needs a database to work because that’s where all your blog posts get saved. When paying for shared hosting you shouldn’t be responsible to install or maintain the database; a good web host should take care of all the hard parts for you.

Good web hosts allow you to create an unlimited number databases.

Storage

Storage is a measure of how much stuff you can put on the server. This includes WordPress, blog images, blog posts, and any other files you might need for your blog. You’re probably going to be writing a lot and storing a ton of files, so you’ll need a lot of storage.

Good web hosts offer unlimited storage.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth measures how much data gets transferred from the web server to a web browser. When you go to a website the web server needs to send your web browser:

  • the code to display the website (HTML)
  • the code to make the website look nice (CSS)
  • the code to make the website interactive (Javascript)
  • the images to make the content more interesting

The more space these files take up the more bandwidth it takes to transfer them to your web browser.

Good web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth.

Domain Hosting

When a web host talks about how many domains you can host with them, they are talking about how many different websites you can store on their servers.

Good web hosts let you host as many websites on their servers as you want.

SSL/TLS Encryption

Have you ever been to a website that starts with https://? (Yes you have – this website is one of them!) If so, that website made use of SSL/TLS encryption. SSL/TLS encryption makes it so only the web server and the web browser know what content is being transferred.

There are a bunch of different types of SSL certificates you can install, but a free SSL certificate from LetsEncrypt is good enough for a blog. (You wouldn’t want your bank using this free version, though!)

And before you get scared because SSL sounds really complicated, you should know that good web hosts make this as easy as clicking a button.

Good web hosts offer SSL/TLS encryption for free with easy installation.

Email

It’s more professional to have a custom email address instead of one from GMail or Hotmail. For example, you can email me at steve@myblogtutor.com.

Good web hosts let you set up unlimited email accounts for free.

Customer Service

This is a really important one. You want to buy web hosting from a company that offers top notch customer service. When something goes wrong (and believe me, it will eventually) you need a team that can help you fix everything.

Good web hosts offer free customer support 24/7/365.

Dreamhost

Dreamhost is one of many companies that provides web hosting. I’ve been using them since 2006 and they’ve been great. Since then I haven’t had many issues, and when I did they were my own doing because I was trying to be too clever. Every time I’ve asked them a silly question they’ve been very thoughtful and helped fix everything quickly. I can’t say enough good things about Dreamhost.

Even better, they’re inexpensive and offer all the great things I wrote about above. Don’t believe me, though, read why PC Mag rated Dreamhost the #1 shared web hosting company:

http://www.pcmag.com/article/345631/business-choice-awards-2016-web-hosting

Dreamhost Shared Hosting Plan

The Dreamhost Shared hosting plan is your best bet. They also offer “WordPress Hosting”, but it’s around the same price with a lot fewer goodies.

If you want to save some money, you can click the link below to sign up through my affiliate link. You’ll save $50 your first year and I’ll earn around $20-$30 to keep this site running. I’ve also included a non-affiliate link below too if you don’t want me to earn money, but you won’t get a discount.

Even though I’m using an affiliate link here I recommend Dreamhost to people all the time. Another added bonus if you decide to use Dreamhost is that it’ll be a lot easier for me to help you if anything on your blog breaks.

Affiliate link
https://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?252388/promo/dreamsavings50

Non-Affiliate Link
https://www.dreamhost.com

Closing Thoughts

If you’re on this website then chances are good that you want to start a blog or make your blog more successful. It’s so easy to set up a blog these days that there’s really no downside to it; running a blog costs a little over $100/year and with a little work your blog can easily earn that money back (or you can skip your daily coffee for a couple of weeks).

If you need help setting up your blog on Dreamhost or you want to move your blog over to Dreamhost I’d be happy to help you free of charge as long as you use my affiliate code so I get compensated and you don’t pay me anything out of pocket. If you’re interested let me know!

What is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

If you’re brand new to blogging then I think you’ll agree that it can be really confusing at first glance.

There’s a lot of different ways to do things, but with a little guidance you’ll see that if you use WordPress to run your blog it’s not so bad after all.

In this article I’ll teach you the basics about WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform, in a simple Q&A format.

What is a blogging platform?

A lot of times you’ll see people talking about a “blogging platform” in tutorials, so let’s start with a simple definition: a blogging platform is a piece of software that lets you publish blog posts for the world to see.

Some blogging platforms are owned and run by companies (think Ghost, Medium, Tumblr, Weebly, Wix, WordPress.COM, etc.) but they cost money and many features require additional plan upgrades.

If you want to be a professional blogger or own your own website without any restrictions, using WordPress.ORG is really the only choice unless you know how to write code.

Who uses WordPress?

27% of the entire Internet uses WordPress, so lots of different sized organizations use it. People with personal blogs (like me) use WordPress as do big media outlets like The New York Times and corporations like Mercedes Benz.

Check out the WordPress Showcase for a giant list of brands you know and love that use WordPress.

How much does WordPress cost?

The core WordPress software itself is free, but if you want you can chose to pay for themes, plugins, images, or anything else you want.

If you use WordPress you’ll have to pay for web hosting to connect it to the Internet. Web hosting is basically just renting a computer that is configured to display information it on the Internet and it costs about $10/month for a decent host (I’ve been using Dreamhost since 2006).

For more info on web hosting check out this article: “What Make a Good Web Host?”

Additionally, you might choose to pay for themes, plugins, images, or more depending on what you’re trying to do, but for a simple blog you can start for under $20 with no real commitment.

Where do I get WordPress?

There are two different ways to start using WordPress.

1. Download the software and install it yourself

If you want to go this route, you’ll need to go to WordPress.org (notice the .org) to download the software and then follow their instructions to install it in under 10 minutes.

2. Have your web host install it for you

If you don’t want to install WordPress yourself you have a ton of options because almost every web host has a way for you to set up WordPress without any technical knowledge. If you use Dreamhost like I do, you can install it in under 10 minutes with the click of a button.

What features does WordPress have?

There area ton of features to talk about! I’ll list them out here and address each one after:

  • Blog Posts
  • Comments
  • Custom URLs
  • Menu Builders
  • Multi-user Support
  • Pages
  • Plugins
  • Themes
  • Widgets
  • WYSIWYG Editor

Blog posts

A blog post is a piece of content that you publish on a regular basis. There are a bunch of different types of posts, you can create. The only difference between them is the layout they use. The different types of posts are:

  • Standard posts (a mix of text and media, like the post you’re reading now)
  • Asides (looks like a Facebook status update)
  • Image (an image with a description)
  • Video (a video you can watch)
  • Quotes (a styled quotation)
  • Links (a link to a different web page)
  • Gallery (a gallery of images)
  • Audio (a piece of audio you can listen to)

I think the best way to understand each of the different types of blog posts is to experiment!

Comments

When someone visits your blog and reads an article they might have a question or a comment. Unless you disable it, WordPress let’s people leave comments on your blog posts.

We’ve all been to blogs that have a ton of spam comments so it’s important to moderate your comments. I use the Akismet plugin to flag spam (it comes pre-installed with WordPress) and I also changed my blog’s settings so comments don’t get posted until I approve them.

Custom URLs

WordPress lets you decide what your URLs should look like. By default they look like this:

https://example.com/?p=10

That’s pretty ugly so most people change it to look something like this:

https://example.com/2012/12/30/post-name

I usually change mine to look like:

http://example.com/post-name

This makes the URLs a little easier to remember and a simple URL structure is an important factor for improving your blog’s SEO.

Menu Builders

It’s important to have your content organized to make it easier for people to make sense of. WordPress has a “menu builder” feature that lets you create menus for different areas on your blog.

The top navigation and the sidebar for this blog were built using the menu builder. This site’s navigation is pretty simple, and although you can do complicated things with the menu builder, you probably shouldn’t so it’s easier for your readers to navigate your blog.

Multi-user support

Want to let your friend write an article for your blog? You can create a separate account for them so they can do just that. Even better: you can control what they are and are not allowed to do on your blog by setting account permissions. This way you won’t have to worry about them changing things they shouldn’t be.

Having multiple authors on your blog is a great way to increase your content without you writing blog posts every second of the day. A great way to get free publicity for your blog is to have other bloggers write a guest post on your blog. This lets them expose their brand to your readers and in exchange they’ll promote their guest post on your behalf which can result in you getting new readers.

Pages

WordPress pages are static web pages that that do not change often. For example, you might want your blog’s homepage to be a static page that displays:

  • an intro image
  • some text explaining what your blog is about
  • the 5 newest blog posts
  • an email signup form so people can stay up to date

Once that page is built and published, it wouldn’t change until you updated it. Depending on the theme your blog uses, designing a static page can be really easy especially if it comes with a page builder.

Plugins

A plugin is a piece of software you install into your blog to make it do something new. A plugin can enhance existing functionality or it can introduce new functionality. Plugins are what make WordPress so powerful because they can make it do anything.

Earlier in this post I mentioned that I use Akismet to fight spam when people post comments. This functionality is built on top of WordPress and can be added or removed whenever I want. There’s a ton of different plugins available, so if you need to add a piece of functionality to your blog there’s probably a plugin for it that already exists.

Themes

This is WordPress’ most fun aspect. Themes are what make your blog look the way it does; they are basically your blog’s skin.

In slightly more technical terms, a theme is a collection of code that displays the content in your blog using theme files (written in PHP) and stylesheets (written in CSS).

Themes can be free, but the really good ones aren’t. I paid $250 for the Divi theme to use on this blog even though I’ve been writing code for nearly 20 years because it saved me a bunch of time and it’s really powerful.

You don’t have to pay anything if you find a free theme you like, but if you want to really customize your website you probably will eventually. Not all themes are created equally, but we’ll talk about that another time.

Widgets

A widget is an area in a theme that lets you specify the content that should be displayed. Usually widgets are found in a theme’s sidebar, but that can change depending on the theme. Plugins might come with a widget that you can then have your blog display.

WYSIWYG editor

“WYSIWYG” (pronounced whizz-ee-wig) is an acronym for “What You See Is What You Get”. This means a WYSIWYG editor is a visual text editor.

Have you ever used Microsoft Word? When you press the “bold” button your text looks bold, and you didn’t have to write any code to make it do that. Same thing with WordPress’ WYSIWYG editor.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, WordPress can do almost anything you want it to. It’s used by small “mom and pops” bloggers and it’s also used by huge media companies and corporations. WordPress has a ton of features and a large community. Best of all, WordPress is free!

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to go install WordPress and start building your blog. Remember, anybody can have a successful blog that generates income, but most won’t because it takes time and effort. Get started now because with anything success doesn’t happen overnight!