blogging

If I had a quarter for everyone that has asked me how to get started blogging I’d have a huge pile of quarters. There are many ways to start a blog due to so many different platforms. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to focus on the self-hosted WordPress platform.

Get Started Blogging with HostGator Optimized WordPress

What is WordPress?

Whenever I am talking to someone about how to start a blog this question always pops up. What is WordPress? Well, WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) for easily building and managing a website or blog.

Back in the day if you wanted a website you had to code (html, php, java, etc..) everything by hand. That is a bit tricky when you don’t even know what html, php, or java mean. WordPress allows you to bypass the more technical stuff and jump right into blogging. It’s incredibly easy to use and the learning curve isn’t as bad as you may think.

So… how do you start a blog?

Before we go more into WordPress, the first step to starting a blog is choosing a name/domain for your blog. This is your bread (the butter comes later) and should reflect what you intend to blog about and/or are passionate about.

Once you have a name in mind it’s time to register that name. To keep it simple we’ll register this domain with HostGator.

Register a Domain with HostGator

Once you have a registered domain (CONGRATULATIONS!!!) it’s time to set up hosting. You have a lot of hosting choices available but I highly recommend HostGator Optimized WordPress. It makes getting started blogging easier and faster since you don’t have to manually install WordPress.

When you choose HostGator you get:

  • 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email – you’re not alone. We’re here to help.
  • One click WordPress installs – no messy downloading and uploading of files.
  • One click and start easy to use website builder – drag and drop tools that make building a site super simple.
  • Design services – don’t want to build your site? Let our pros do it for you.
  • Marketing services (SEO and PPC) – want to generate traffic? Our in house experts want to help.
  • Domains – HostGator is your one-stop-shop for domains!

Why HostGator Optimized WordPress?

I’m glad you asked! I have been with HostGator for as long as I have been blogging. I have had tried several other hosts and HostGator has always been the best in customer service, uptime, and speed.

HostGator-Optimized-WP

The new HostGator Optimized WordPress is even faster with added security (less chance of your site getting hacked – yes, even new/small blogs get hacked.)

Benefits/Features of HostGator Optimized WordPress

  • Automatic updates of plugins/theme/WordPress
  • Sitelock malware scanning and removal
  • Sitelock Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • CodeGuard daily backup and restores (down to the file level)
  • HostGator Optimized WordPress is a new premium product and just a small extension to existing products provided by HostGator

Okay… now what?

Once you have your domain and HostGator Optimized WordPress accounts it’s time to push the magic button (Create Blog) to install WordPress.

OPWP_manage2

After a few minutes your WordPress blog will be created and you can get started customizing the look of your blog, publishing content, and officially claim the title of blogger. Everything you need to manage your new WordPress install is at the touch of your mouse pointer.

HostGator Optimized WordPress

 

Get Started Today

Now that you have the step-by-step directions to start a blog why not head over to HostGator to learn more and get started today!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

There are a gazillion websites on the internet. Out of those gazillion websites there are several that accept money and/or products in exchange for posting. There are just as many, if not more companies that see the benefit in this practice. Sponsored posts are common for both webmasters and companies.

So why are sponsored posts frowned upon?

Why Sponsored Posts are not UnethicalThe primary concern for many when it comes to sponsored posts is Google. Google frowns on “selling” pagerank. They don’t like people who manipulate rankings by throwing links into a post for the sole purpose of increasing the linked page’s pagerank. This is what we call a black hat strategy. It’s naughty and unethical.

Selling Pagerank is a no no!

That does not mean sponsored posts are a no no. To keep it white hat and compliant with Google’s guidelines all you need to do is add a nofollow tag to the link. To do this add [rel=”nofollow”] (without the brackets) after the closing quotation mark of the link’s html. So, if I were linking to Google, the html code would look like this:

<a href=”http://google.com&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>Google</a>

It’s as easy as that. The link will not pass on any link juice and is therefor in compliance with Google’s linking guidelines. The nofollow tag needs to be added to any and all links contained in a post that you received money or product(s) for.

Many people think if they pay for a post Google will strip the pagerank of both parties. This is highly possible unless you add the nofollow tag. Adding that will keep you in Google’s good graces.

But wait – what’s the point in a sponsored post if it isn’t for pagerank?

When you search for something online the results show up according to a secret algorithm. A huge factor in that algorithm is SEO – Search Engine Optimization.  When a writer knows what they’re doing in terms of SEO they’ll rank higher up in the search results.

For example:

Company Z hires Blogger A to publish/write a sponsored post about product x. Since Blogger A is familiar with SEO they incorporate that within the post. Google User 357 does a search for product x. In the first page of search results is Blogger A‘s post. Google User 357 clicks on the sponsored post and then clicks on the link within said sponsored post to learn more.

Also, most bloggers are so awesome that they promote their posts on social media! Thus increasing the exposure and likelihood of a click through to the sponsor’s website.Why Sponsored Posts are not Unethical

But paying a blogger to write about a product is unethical

Blah, blah, blah. Seriously – I see/hear this daily. It’s a load of crap. What this translates into is either “I’m too cheap to compensate someone for their time” or “I don’t understand the rules 100%” or “I expect others to work for free while I get paid“.

Is it unethical for a company to pay for ad space in a magazine? No

Is it unethical for a company to buy a commercial slot during the Superbowl? No

Is it unethical for a company to plaster their ad on a billboard/park bench/bus? No

Is it unethical for a writer to expect to be compensated for advertising on their website? No

It’s the age of the internet people. More and more people are flocking to blog posts to gather their information. It’s no different than advertising on the television, radio or print media. It’s all marketingAt no point does compensating a writer for their time demand a biased opinion.

Are there writers that sugar coat everything? Sure there are.

Are there bloggers who tell it like it is? Of course, I love them!

It’s all about choosing the right people to work with – those with readers in your target market, those who give honest feedback and those who blog with integrity (complying with FTC disclosure laws is key here). Sponsored posts are not positive reviews – they are informative posts. You are not buying an opinion you are paying for time. How is that unethical?

Sponsored posts are not unethical. Expecting someone to advertise your product/service/company with no compensation is.

Sponsored Posts- How to Write Them and Why They are not Unethical #PR #Bloggers