How To Set Up A Blog And Forum – Where To Start

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For a list of articles in this series, go here: How To Set Up A Blog and Forum Article Index

Welcome to part two of How To Set Up A WordPress Blog And Forum.

SO are you ready to start my simplified 287 step process? Good.

1) Breathe. 2) Relax. You can relax because it’s not really a 287 step process.

The first thing we do is figure out where to start. Do we find a niche? Look for a market? Affiliate product? Keyword research?

Nope, nope and nope. I’m going to start back with some really basic basics before we get into the other stuff. The first thing we do is figure out why we want to do this in the first place. No, I’m not joking.

Listen, just because you think you know doesn’t mean that you actually know. Are you doing this to sell something or to further your hobby? If you are going to sell something are you creating your own or do you want to be an affiliate?

For example, creating a blog and forum as a teaching tool was an afterthought of mine. I had already decided to create them. Had I thought about them as a teaching tool first I might very well have waited until I had the ability to do screen shots, record video or audio and stuff like that.

My thought process worked kinda like this: I found an affiliate product while looking for something unrelated, I then checked into the keywords and market. I then thought about why I wanted to do it and my focus changed from what I was originally thinking into something else.

I originally thought about it purely from a making money aspect and since it’s also a former hobby of mine (fish keeping) I figured I could write about it for some time and hopefully get others to join in. I was going to do an affiliate promotion for this product then realized that eventually I could write my own.

Then I realized that I missed the hobby. Now I want to do it so I can participate in the hobby even though I can’t do the hobby anymore. So now it doesn’t matter if it makes money quite as much as it matters that I have an active forum. I want it to make some money, but that’s just icing on the cake.

Now do you see what I meant? I knew but I didn’t really know until I thought it out. There’s more than one way to approach this but this, to me, makes the most sense.

I wrote an article called Why Do You Blog? and it may or may not be of any use to you but you might want to check it out.

Normally this would be a good stopping point while I let (force) you to go think about things, but I want to cover one last thing…cost.

Yes, you can do it for free. You can host it on Blogger.com or WordPress.com, etc etc. I don’t recommend it. I’ve heard too many accounts of people losing sites because the host thought they were a spam site.

WordPress.com, not to be confused with WordPress.org, disabled my ability to post blog articles without their approval because I put in a link to another site. It was for a product I use and recommend but they wouldn’t allow it.

Now I agree with some general rules like, “non-adult oriented sites only” or “no hate sites” and stuff like that but otherwise you should be able to do what you want to do with your site. If you have something you want to link to you should be able to do so.

You need to own your own domain name at least. You can get one at GoDaddy  for around $10.00 a year for a ‘.com’ For the site itself though you can get free hosting, HostGator. I do believe there’s discounts if you pay for a year in advance.

I do not recommend buying your domain through the same place you host your site. If you have problems with one you want to be able to take it somewhere else without repercussions on the other. Technically that shouldn’t happen, but why risk it? I had a similar thing happen in the off-line world, I’m not going to get burned by that again and I don’t want you too either.

So that’s about $16.00 for the first month and $6.00 each month after. Pretty cheap for a blog and forum. And you can take them wherever you want.

An autoresponder is good, a necessity if you are trying to make money. I use both GetResponse and Aweber. Choosing between these two is like choosing between Ford and Chevy. Both do fine but everyone has an opinion. Why I use both goes beyond the scope of this article, just pick whichever one seems best to you. Most marketers use Aweber but lately I’ve run into several that use GetResponse if that matters to you at all.

If you have only the money for the hosting then GetResponse does have a free account, but it’s so limited that I would use it only as a temporary measure just to not lose the names and e-mails of those who visit while you are saving up. Both give discounts if you buy a year’s service otherwise it’s pretty close to $20.00 a month bringing your totals to $26.00 a month for the whole deal.

I am not in the reselling business, but if you have trouble affording a host let me know and we can see if we can work something out. However I can’t help you with the domain or autoresponder.

So don’t do any purchasing yet, next time we will get into the nitty gritty of picking your nose…er…topic, I mean. 🙂

– Jeffery