How to Start Building a Blog for Affiliate Marketing – Part 1
It occurred to me today that I talk a lot about blogging, affiliate marketing and WordPress, but not everyone knows how to start it all. Although this could be done in a series of emails, it’s easy to lose track and if you miss one or two then it all gets a bit disjointed. So I thought I would put it all together in one place for you.
The first thing you need is a reason to start your blog. I’m assuming affiliate marketing in the title, but you might just want to set one up to show off your skills, your hobby or your family. They are all valid reasons and the process is the same although minor details may be different. I’ll try to remember to explain them as we go along. Please ask questions if you need to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am going to assume that you are wanting to set up your blog on your own domain name and hosting. If you want to go down the free path, go to WordPress.org, blogger.com or wix.com and start from there.
Still with me? Good!
Let’s start with a domain name. That’s the bit that people will type into the address bar on their browser to reach your site, although mostly they won’t. They’ll click on a link that you provide or that’s in their bookmarks. This means that having a long or complicated name won’t matter too much unless you have to say it out loud.
I use one site for all my domain names and that is Namecheap. It’s an easy site to use and I think you’re intelligent enough to follow the easy system that’s there. I could go into minuscule detail about picking a name with not too many hyphens or non-confusing words (2, to, too, two or 4, four, for) but I won’t. I will suggest something that is easy to tell, seems friendly, helpful or related to what you want to do and I will definitely say getting a .com is best, but if you want a particular name and .com is not available, then don’t be shy of any other extension.
One thing I will remind you is that you are only renting the domain name and it will need renewing each year (although you can buy up to 10 years in one go). The advantages of buying multiple years at once are – Search engines give you more credibility, you don’t have to remember year-on-year to renew and your cost is fixed should they choose to change the price of that particular top-level domain (the .com or whatever you’ve chosen).
One last tip I will say on domain names is – don’t buy your hosting from Namecheap. I’m not saying it’s bad – I don’t actually know, but I just have a ‘thing’ about not having domains and hosting from the same place.
Which brings me on to…
It’s dangerous I know, but I’m going to offer you two choices here. The first is a huge hosting company with very few complaints, great servers and a decent customer service and that is Bluehost. The second is a tiny, local company, that offers much cheaper hosting on reasonable servers band also does have very good customer service – Dorset Hosting. Why would you choose expensive over cheap or vice-versa?
Bluehost is not really expensive as these things go and their servers and service are very good, but if you’re not sure that setting up a blog is for you then you might not want to spend a lot to get going until you are sure. Hence the cheaper option.
If you do go for Bluehost then for future expansion’s sake choose at least the Plus option (although I recommend the Prime) as there are side-benefits that will really help you with getting started. Their customer service is 24/7 and they have a huge amount of hand-holding should you need it. Dorset Hosting just offers the one package unless you want to become a hosting reseller or set up a VPS, both of which are beyond the scope of this article. The customer service is not 24/7 but is efficient.
Linking the Domain Name and Hosting
This is the bit where some people get lost and wish they’d bought the hosting and domain name from the same place. Don’t worry, it’s actually quite easy.
When you sign up for hosting you will be given the names of 2 nameserver servers – usually in an email from the hosting company. All you need to do is to tell Namecheap about these 2 names.
Log into your Namecheap account, click on Domain List (on the left) and then click the Manage button for your domain name (just in case you have more than one).
In the area that says Nameservers select the down arrow next to Namecheap Basic DNS and select Custom DNS
Copy and paste the two nameservers (one per line) into the area and click on the green tick that appears on the right.
That’s all there is to it. It will take anything between 15 minutes and 48 hours for the domain name to propagate – or travel around the internet so that when you type in the domain name to your browser, your site will appear. Or at least it will once we’ve built it.
Which I’ll talk about in part two of this article. Take a break. You’ve done well getting this far.