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This chapter is from the book

Growing with WordPress.com

Chapter 2, “Installing and Setting Up Your Blog,” explored the different ways to host a blog. Looking back at how I managed my blogs over the years, I don’t think I would do too much differently. I started on Blogger, and then I bought a domain and used that with my Blogger blog until I moved to Blogware and later to WordPress. Each step along the way, my blog grew as my blogging career grew. For most people, I suggest starting off with a WordPress.com blog. Get used to blogging and see whether you enjoy it. Dip your toes into the blogosphere a little at a time. If you think you’d like to be more serious about blogging, buy a domain name for yourself and pay for the domain mapping extra on WordPress.com.

If you grow beyond WordPress.com, shop around for a good web host and move your blog there. Moving a blog and domain is beyond the scope of this book, but trust me, it isn’t hard. With each step along the path, you and your blog are growing with each other.

If you want to jump right in with both feet, or have a strong geek network to help you get set up, by all means buy a domain straightaway and sign up for a hosting plan. I caution you that you are putting money on the line for this. A good web host is about $10–12 a month, plus your $10 a year for a domain. No, not a lot of money, but if you find yourself not blogging much after a month or two, you’re paying for a blog to just sit there. However, if you start with WordPress.com, which is free, if you don’t blog for a while, you haven’t spent any money to keep that blog there.

There is a “middle way” that you might consider, as well, which are some of the paid upgrades through WordPress.com. In the three years since the first edition of this book, Automattic has made WordPress.com a real contender in the hosted blog market. Frankly, if I didn’t need to have a hosting account to test new tools and services, I might very well just use WordPress.com with a simple domain upgrade (between $5–$12 a year) for all of my needs. Yeah, it’s that good.

Figure 5.30 gives you a look at what some of the upgrade options are on WordPress.com, which you can check out from the Store menu.

Figure 5.30

Figure 5.30. Some of the upgrade options on WordPress.com.

This is just something to think about.

There you have it. Everything you need to start a personal blog. Ready? Set? Blog!

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