Enter Blogosphere

My article published in The Hindu

Blogs were a craze till a few years ago. Do blogs still exist? If they exist, why are they not visible? Personal blogs do exist, but are on the decline. Most of the users prefer to interact through Twitter and Facebook than through blogs. Does this mean that it is the end of the road for blogs? The answer is a strong ‘no’.

With blog CMS becoming more powerful, many of those who would have gone for proper web sites are now switching to hosted blogs. Moreover, detailed posts are not possible in Twitter. Yes, Facebook has Notes, but it’s totally different.

There are blog services such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Posterous and Livejournal. Most of them are free, and all you have to do is to open an account. You don’t have to know any coding or technical knowledge. Every thing, including design, is taken care of by the blog providers. You can choose a design and start updating your blog. If you have a WordPress account, your blog will have an URL like ‘<your_name>.wordpress.com. The <your_name> is only an example. It can be anything. If you want to write on cooking, it can even be cooking.wordpress.com. Of course, the name you choose should be available.

Hosted blogs

Hosted blogs are different. How? The difference is like staying in your own house or in a hotel. You can do whatever you want in your house. You can name it, modify it, paint it or cook whatever you want. You can’t do this in a hotel. You can’t rename the hotel or repaint it because you don’t like the colour. The same is the case of hosted blogs. In a hosted blog, you can have your own domain name, design and also tweak it whenever or wherever you want.

If you are in a wordpress.com blog, you will not be able to install your plug-ins or put advertisements. WordPress will have the right to put advertisements and make money. But in a hosted blog, you will have the right to do anything, including monetizing it, and adding whatever plug-ins you want.

How to go about having a hosted blog? It’s easy. . Does it require technical knowledge? Yes, but a little bit is enough. Installing a WordPress hosted blog is easy.

For a hosted blog, the first thing you will need is a domain name. You can get a domain name from any domain name sellers (for details see http://www.thehindu.com/business/article3412446. ece). Next, you will have to host the blog. Most domain name companies also do hosting. You can check out the hosting plans, and choose the one you want, but ensure that the hosting platform supports MySQL.

Database creation

Once you buy your domain and select your hosting plan, you will be given a login ID and password to create a database. Note that the username and password for the database may be different from the one for the hosting account.

After the database is created, you head over to wordpress.org . Download WordPress (The link is right there on the homepage). Unzip the downloaded file. You will then find a file called wp-config-sample.php. Rename it to wp-config.php.

Now you have to open the wp-config.php file with Notepad or any text editor. Go to the section that says MySQL settings and enter the database information such as user name and password (the ones you created in your hosting provider’s system).

Now upload all the files using a good FTP like Filezilla. In the FTP, enter the host name, your user name and password, and start uploading the file.

Once the files are uploaded, open the browser and go to www.example.com/wp-admin/install.php. Replace the www.example.com with your site’s URL.

You will be taken to the wordpress.org’s interface where you will have to follow the easy instructions to complete your installation.

You now have your own blog. You can select the theme you want, install whatever plug-ins you want, and even monetize it with advertisements.