I like to think of web hosting as a virtual storage facility. Instead of storing our valuables, furniture or recreational vehicles, it stores files, images, videos, and content.
In the simplest description possible, web hosting is when a company offers a service that allows you to share content via the internet. Your information is stored on their servers. These servers connect to your blog using a unique domain name server address. Through use of a web browser, your website or blog can then be found by anyone connected to the internet.
What To Look For In a Hosting Service
You want to find a reliable, affordable website hosting service to use for your new website, but the sheer number of choices can be a bit intimidating.
There are a few things you want to consider when narrowing down your options such as; cost, reliability, customer service, and ease of use.
You're probably thinking cost is the most important quality, but no matter what your budget is, reliable uptime is what matters most. Your hosting could be free, but it wouldn't matter if the servers weren't up and running. When the servers aren't up, neither is your website. And if your website isn't up, your business won't be going anywhere.
Be sure to look for a plan that lets you have unlimited bandwidth (space) and unlimited domains for your future business growth. I use Hostgator's Baby Plan which costs me about $12 a month. I pay on a monthly basis, but you save by paying for the year in advance. Make sure you sign up for Web Hosting and NOT WordPress Hosting, which will only allow you a limited number of websites/blogs.
No company can promise 100% uptime, but you want one that provides something close to that number. There are many hosting companies that offer 99.5% and higher uptime. These are solid choices for your website.
The website hosting company you choose should act as if you're their only customer. Their response time should be almost immediate. Customer service should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And it should come in many forms like an 800 number to call, live chat, and email.
Ease Of Use
Ease of use is one of the most important elements you want in a website hosting company. Most site owners praise the use of the Cpanel. It's a newbie-friendly control panel that allows you to manage your domains. You may want additional bells and whistles, but only you can decide what's a necessity and what's not.
Hosting A Website
A website/blog is very easy to set up. If you're using a hosting company like Hostgator that has cpanel, then it's even easier! All you have to do is log into your cpanel, set up your domain and click WordPress Installer.
Once you finish the installation, you'll then have access to your blog. From the WordPress dashboard you'll be able to customize your blog's functionality, look and feel.
The look of your blog can be customized using what's called WordPress Themes. These themes function using a coding language called PHP and CSS. Don't worry, you won't have to touch any code, unless you want to. 🙂
There are many free and paid themes online that will match your niche topic perfectly. You can purchase custom designed themes created by graphic designers who specializes in WordPress. The theme on this page is called Monstera and was purchased from Creative Market.
Watch out for the free themes, because they often insert links to their own sites (some of them very seedy) and they could have other ads strategically placed in the theme itself, distracting your customers from what you want them to see.
Start Growing Your Blog
Once your blog is installed, the best thing you can do is start posting! Make posts on your blog frequently, once a week is a good start. The more you post, the more Google and other search engines will come by to see what content you have that can be passed along to the people who use their search engines. What's most important is that you enjoy your blog and share information that benefits your reader.