I get a LOT of questions about niche websites. These questions are mainly about using free blog platforms from WordPress or Bloggers BlogSpot vs using your own domain and your own hosting – and all the confusion about how this all works. So, lets talk about Blogspot vs WordPress, Free vs Paid, and niche sites.
Niche Blog Sites for Beginners
First off, my apologies to any readers that already have this figured out. This post is aimed at those that are slightly baffled by this whole ‘own domain’, ‘own hosting’, ‘let BlogSpot host it’, etc statements that are made across the web about niche blogging. My terminology will be VERY basic and I don’t intend to go deep into the subject. If others have additions to add to this post, please feel free to say something in the comment area.
Sometimes, one or two seemingly irrelevant things we say or post can REALLY help someone – so let’s help someone today!
What You Need For a WebSite
In order to have a website you need two things – a domain name and a hosting account. In order to make this more understandable, I am going to relate websites to cell phone service.
When you want to have cell phone service, you need two things other than an actual cell phone. You need a phone number (relate to a domain name) and you need a cell phone service provider (relate to website hosting).
Your cell phone number, just like your domain name, is uniquely yours. You can take that cell phone number and transfer it to new service providers and that phone number is still unique to you. However, that cell phone number is worthless unless it is activated and live through a service provider.
Domain names work the same way. You can buy a ton of domain names, but no one will see anything unless you get website hosting. Your domain name is unique to you – your hosting gives you the ability to be ‘live’.
Niche Site Blogging Options
When it comes to blogs you have options:
You can get a free domain name with free hosting from sites like Blogger and WordPress.
These sites will assign you a domain name you choose and will make your blog live for you at no cost. Your domain name will most likely be a ‘subdomain’ of the main site (ie, YourChosenName. Blogspot.com or YourChosenName.WordPress.com )
You can have a blog up and running in minutes.
There is no cost to you involved.
Both WordPress and BlogSpot are very easy to use and a great way to learn about blogging.
Your domain name is an off-set of another website (a subdomain)
While it is ‘your’ blog, it still belongs to either Blogger or WordPress.
Both of these sites have their own rules and TOS, and for any reason, your site can go ‘POOF’. Being that it is not YOUR website/blog, you have little recourse.
This would be like a company giving you a free cell phone number and free service. While that is great, they can turn it off on you or take it away at any given time for any given reason. “Free” has strings, of course.
You can buy a domain name and then let Blogger’s BlogSpot host it for you for free.
This is not difficult to do, and in fact, I have a few sites left that are still operated this way. The domain is unique (TheNameYouChose.com) but actually redirects to a BlogSpot blog.
Only cost is the yearly price of a domain name (expect about $8-$9 a year for a .com)
You have a unique web address for your blog.
You still don’t own that site. Yes, you own the domain name, but since the hosting service is free, you can still be booted offline for THEIR reasons.
Buy your own domain name, have your own hosting, and install the WordPress blogging software onto your site.
This is the best way to go in my opinion. I have had (and DO have) niche sites on blogs that are set up in all of these 3 ways. In fact, this very blog (PotPieGirl.com), started out as a free blog on Blogger’s Blogspot, then I bought my own unique domain name and had it hosted by Blogger, and then in January of this year, I moved my Blogger blog to my own hosting and started using WordPress.
It’s all YOURS baby! YOU set the rules for what you can and can’t do on your own site.
Installing WordPress on your own hosting is easy to do, and once installed, having your own WordPress niche site on your own hosting is just as easy as using the free option of WordPress.
This costs money. Domain names (a .com) will run about $8-$9 a year, and hosting will cost you anywhere from $5 a month and up. Many hosting accounts now let you host MANY websites on one hosting account for that price. Without getting too technical, I’ll just explain it this way. Yes, again with the cell phone comparison. Having a hosting account that allows you to host many websites (different domain names) is similar to having a cell phone service company that allows different phone numbers to share minutes.
While I could go MUCH, MUCH deeper into this topic, I won’t right now. I want this to be very basic and just enough information to get the lightbulb to go off over a few heads. Then, you will be ready for deep details.
How Do You Get WordPress on a Domain Name You Host Yourself?
This is another popular question – how the heck do you get the WordPress blogging software on your own domain name that you host on your own hosting?
It really is very, very easy. When choosing a hosting account, make sure they offer something called “cpanel” and “Fantastico”. I know those terms mean next to nothing to many of you, but that’s ok!
Cpanel is kinda like the settings option on your cell phone. This lets you go behind the scenes and make changes to how things work. You can do all kinds of things from your Cpanel, but the cool thing that relates to this post is the use of a tool called “Fantastico”.
Very simply, you go into your Cpanel and you click on Fantastico. From that dashboard, you choose “WordPress”, pick which domain you want to put WordPress on, and then click ‘install’.
Presto-chango – the WordPress blogging software is on your site (on your domain name) and you can now dress it up with a new theme if you want, add great WordPress plug ins that make your blog SO much better… you can do whatever you want because it is all yours (as long as you pay your monthly hosting bill… just like with your cell phone…lol)
Which Hosting Service?
I use HostGator. They have proven to me their outstanding customer service lately, they have Cpanel and Fantastico, the price is right, I can pay monthly as opposed to 6 months or a year in advance, and well, it all works great for me. There are other low cost and reliable domain hosting services out there (that link is a review of 5 hosting services), so feel free to shop around and do what is best for you.
How To Make WordPress Niche Sites?
This is a lesson for another day. In fact, I will soon be unveiling an entire website I have created that walks you thru the steps of creating simple WordPress niche sites (yes, the kind that make money…lol). The entire site will be free and hopefully, it will get a lot of you up and running with LOTS of your own profitable WordPress niche sites.
I hope this post was helpful to some and helps you get your head around this whole Blogger, WordPress, free vs paid niche site options. I have used all the options above so feel free to ask any questions you may have.