Tips to launch your self-hosted blog in less than an hour

How to launch a self-hosted blog or a small website

Tips to launch your self-hosted blog in less than an hourIs it worth having a self-hosted blog?

As people the world over make new-year resolutions most bloggers tend to make some resolutions around their blog. Be it increasing blog traffic, increasing the frequency of posting or moving to self-hosting! Self-hosting is something that not everyone is comfortable with, especially if you consider yourself to be tech-challenged! I did that a year ago and it has been the best decision for my blog.

But, when I decided to self-host, I did a lot of research about the way to go about it; the best platform to choose; what works for me, reviews around the platforms etc. and I can assure you it was not a simple process.

This post is to simplify the whole process and help you come to a decision. So, let’s dive in

These are the overall steps involved

  • Platform
  • Buy a domain
  • Hosting

Choose a platform

Most blogs and websites start on free platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tumbler etc. My website is powered by WordPress. Having a blog on WordPress.org or Blogger helps as the transition to self-hosting is easy. Check for a platform that offers seamless integration with hosting sites. Also check for the kind of widgets and themes it offers. If you don’t have a blog on free platforms, then many hosting sites offer a 3 step website creation with WordPress.

Buy a Domain

 

Domain is the address that you share with the world to point them to your content

Domain is the address that you share with the world to point them to your content

For this, you need to first be sure of the kind of domain name you want. It could be your name or your niche, but do put some thought in the kind of domain name you want as that is a permanent thing. When in doubt, it’s always safe to go with your name. You can buy domain names from sites like Godaddy.

You can enter the domain name in the search bar to check if the same is available. Once you have found a suitable one, buy it! Next decision to be taken is about the hosting platform. Many sites offer domain and hosting options, so its a good idea to do a parallel research on both.

Hosting

There are plenty of brands offering hosting services. This is where I spent the most time as I was searching and comparing individual plans. Recently I came across Reviews.com where they had a handy list of best Web Hosting providers. Reviews.com has looked at over 200 of the most popular platforms and created a guide to web hosting to help anyone get started on their own. I didn’t know about such a guide when I decided to host, but you can try it out.

Hosting is the place where your content resides in the internet

Hosting is the place where your content resides

Once you are done with the above steps, your blog has a brand new address! If you have the resources ready, setting up your website does not take more than 30 minutes. Stop worrying and wondering if you can do this on your own and take the first step!

Apart from the helplines that domains and web-hosting sites offer, you have a lot of helpful forums which answer the regularly asked questions making the first step to hosting an easy journey.

Have you recently moved your blog from free hosting? How was your experience? What steps did you follow? Do share in comments below.

Gratitude for the year gone by- Goodbye 2017

Rewind 2017 for blogging

As I look back, I realize 2017 has been a fruitful blogging journey! 2017 saw a lot of new beginnings for me and I am really happy the way things have shaped up. As I take stock and #Rewind2017 I know I have a lot to be thankful about.

Blogging opened a window of opportunities and I met a lot of interesting new people.

Took blogging seriously

I knew blogging and was doing it for clients for a really long time! This is my second attempt at having a personal blog! My first attempt died a natural death when I just did not invest time in it and kept coming with excuses for not being regular.

During the second attempt, when I started off, it was more like a place to vent it out or just write fiction without the fear of being judged! Yeah, I know this is like going in the opposite direction of being an author or a writer. Sometime during the start of 2017, I decided to take blogging seriously, like a project I am managing and promised myself to be regular. That was one of the best decisions I took in life, as it opened a window of opportunities and I met a lot of interesting new people.

Made new friends        

I made a lot of online friends, who are fellow bloggers and writers. I always loved observing people and understanding how a situation is seen by different people. Blogging and online interaction helped me realize I could do it online too! I saw people coming together for a cause, helping each other and sharing advice. I understood a lot about others professions and the way people have managed to keep blogging alive. It motivated me to keep going and that is a big reason why my blogging euphoria, did not crumble this time.

Campaigns

With various blogging platforms like Blogchatter and Indiblogger, I participated in a few contests and campaigns. These campaigns helped me read more; explore more and set mini-goals that I could achieve. It was another big factor that was a motivator for me. I even won a small blog award and that was another ego-booster for me and my blogging journey.

Practicing Gratitude

This is something that was taught to me right from childhood, but in the daily grind of things, I somehow seemed to have stopped doing it or wasn’t mindful enough about it. But then I came across a few bloggers who practiced gratitude and talked about it on their blog. This made me reflect and realize that it’s a wonderful thing to do! Thankful Thursdays was a linky party that helped me do it and I have been participating in it as and when I can. I do urge you all to participate too!

These are like the highlights of my 2017 blogging journey! I have a few things planned out for 2018 and I wish to make it a success. I will continue with my series #FridayFreelancer and #LearnNotEducate which saw some momentum in 2017. Stay tuned on my blogging journey in the coming year and lets all help each other achieve our goals for the next year!

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2018!

Linking this post with Amrita and Tina

Tina Basu

Linking up with Upasana for Quoted Stories

How to be a freelance dietitian and manage home and career #FreelancerFriday

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I am a postgraduate and MPhil in Foods and Nutrition. I have also done some short courses on nutrition along with my internship. One short course which I really enjoyed doing was on ‘Food Management” which I did in Milwaukee, US.

I did my internship at Mallya hospital Bangalore and now I am a freelancer

What are the career options for a certified dietitian?

These days there are a lot of career options for a dietitian or a nutritionist. As people are far more conscious about their health these days, the careers are not only restricted to a hospital. One can join a hospital or a health center as a dietitian or can also start an independent practice after he/she has enough experience. Many people work as an independent consultant also. Writing nutrition or health related articles is also popular these days.

Another option which is one of my favourite is to work as a teacher or a lecturer in the field of foods and nutrition in colleges or high schools.

How did you come up with the idea of being a freelance dietitian?

I always wanted to work in a good hospital as a dietitian but God had some different plans for me. I was still doing my masters when I got married. Then I joined Malaya hospital for an internship but soon moved to the US. I did some courses in food management while staying there. We decided to come back to India after staying in the US for 5 years. Under my father’s guidance who was in teaching line, I did my M.Phil. in Foods and nutrition to be a lecturer. I already had two kids at that time and the younger one was just 1 year old.

At that time, there were not too many options for a dietitian in India. A hospital job had no weekends off and there was an option of only one weekly off. I wanted to be with my girls and also continue my work. So, the idea of being a freelance dietitian came up.

How does it work?

I started this with few of my friends who wanted help with their meal plans. Slowly, through word of mouth people came to know about me. Now I have some online clients. So, it mostly works through emails or phone. Other than consultations, I also write nutrition-related articles according to my knowledge of the subject. The only difference as compared to working in a hospital is that it is more flexible. I can work with the ease of my home and also consult or share the plans whenever I am free.

have you faced any problems when it comes to establishing a trust factor with your patients?

I didn’t find any such problems till now. But in any such profession, trust factor only comes after a client gets the desired results. And that can be in a hospital or a clinic too.

Would you call it a satisfying option?

Yes, I love it as it gives me the flexibility to work. I feel satisfied as at least I am in touch with my field of education through few clients and through my writings. It also gives me the freedom to follow my passion and do other things like blogging and choreography.

Any tips for those looking to go the freelancer way?

As a freelancer, do not expect it to be same as a full-time job. Build a trust with your clients. It takes time to get work and also build a reputation. So, be patient and don’t lose hope. Also, the money factor is not same as what you would get in a full-time job, at least not initially. Slowly you can discover different things and avenues.

Author Bio

Deepa is a dietitian by education, Blogger by passion, a mommy of two girls, she shares all her experiences through her creative eyes as a blogger at http://kreativemommy.com.

Follow her on her blog to read about her thoughts and ideas on everything about life. It is a one place solution for all your queries related to nutrition, travelling, parenting, and everything life.

How Graphic Designing can be a satisfying Freelance career option – GuestPost #FreelancerFriday


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Graphic Designing as a Freelancing option

Graphic design has emerged as a lucrative career option for many in the past few years. A freelance graphic designer can make a tidy-sum working from home and being their own boss. Here are some tips if you want to explore freelance graphic designing as a career option.

In the world of social media and advertising – visual is your language, you talk more through graphics and less through texts. The industry is big and the demand for graphic designers is never ending. Doing freelance graphic designing is as good as working as a graphic designer in a corporate world. I have worked as a Trade Marketing Officer in one of the biggest FMCG brand in India and graphic designing and branding was a major chunk of my role. Now having quit the corporate world, I am surviving on freelance graphic designing and building up my clientele. It is a lucrative lifestyle where you contribute purely through your skillset. This post covers the details of the role of a freelance graphic designer and how you can work from home.

Skillset required for a Freelance Graphic Designer

There are few skill sets that you need to don for becoming a graphic designer.

A graphic designer needs detailed know-how on many skillsets apart from basic drawing and designing aesthetics. You need to acquire skills of

  1. Design skillset
  2. Adobe Creative Suit skillset
  3. Free-hand drawing skills
  4. Visualizing and conceptualizing skills
  5. Working knowledge of software like – Dreamweaver, Animate, Photoshop, 3Ds Max, InDesign, Illustrator, Corel Draw etc

You can enroll yourself in a design school for a certification on graphic design or enroll to online courses on Udemy, Skillshare or refer to videos and tutorials on You Tube.

Role of a Freelance Graphic Designer

In a corporate set up the work of a graphic designer is funneled to conceptualization and design but as a freelance graphic designer you have to run the show yourself. As a freelance graphic designing professional you need to have both a creative as well as an analytical mind. One needs to grasp the client brief and provide solution to it with creative output while keeping in mind the utility of the design.

Some of the responsibilities are

  1. Interpreting client briefs and develop suitable concept
  2. Develop creative concepts
  3. Journey from rough sketches to final output
  4. Develop interactive designs for web output
  5. Develop designs for print
  6. Sourcing right images for creative
  7. Developing illustrations

 

How to set up your home office

It goes without a saying, your only investment is a good system and internet. You always don’t need an iMac to start off with your work – though it is the best solution!

RAM: Invest in a system/laptop which has a good RAM at least 4GB. The design software are heavy and require a good RAM to function properly with other programs running in background.

CPU: The system of a graphic designer needs to have a more-than-decent CPU. The design software need at least a 1Ghz processor (meaning the computer can make one billion calculations per second). Intel i5 or i7 processors are good for the starter.

Graphic & Video Card: Get a system that has a graphic and video card – they help in image/video processing.

How to market yourself as a Freelance Graphic Designer

When you are ready to take up freelance works, market yourself – let people know you are there in the graphic design world.

  1. Develop a digital portfolio or a website to showcase your work
  2. Brand yourself – develop your own branding complete with your business card, letterhead
  3. Network with other designers, join design forums for knowledge sharing
  4. Read and participate in challenges, competitions online

 

Pro Tip: Never stop practicing. With every new update on the software you have a new feature! It’s an ever learning process.

 

Where to Find Work?

Till you have formed your own clientele with whom you interact personally, you can find work on sites like Freelancer, Elance, Fivver, Upwork. These websites offer jobs for Freelance graphic designers and you only need to register with your name and email address. You have to bid for projects with your rates and once you grab a project communicate with client over chat/email. It will also be advisable if you have a PayPal account.

What is the remuneration?

Graphic designing is a highly skill based job and the remuneration is also dependent on your skillset. The better your portfolio looks, the better you can demand.  There are two kinds of payment models in their field of work. Fixed price and hourly model – Hourly model pays somewhere between $5-500 or an average of 6500 INR per hour.
But a fixed price model (which I prefer) can fetch you anywhere between $500-100. A logo design project from a mid-sized firm can fetch you anywhere between 6,000-10,000 INR.

 

What else you can do?

You can always create digital products to sell like typography, pre-maid logo layouts, pre-made editable business kits, digital badges, social media packs, vector illustrations and many more. You can open up your digital shop on sites like Creative Market, Etsy, etc.

Doesn’t the freelance graphic designer career sound good? I am making a living from graphic designing and blogging currently and can tell you hard work is always appreciated and celebrated.

About the Author

Tina Basu is a freelance graphic designer and a blogger. She blogs at www.tinabasu.com

How to increase blog traffic? Seven tips to get more


Indian Bloggers

Dive in to know the best practices to get more views/traffic to the blog

When I announced that I will be doing a series on online marketing for small businesses and personal brands for the #MyFriendAlexa month, Akshata asked a question about “How to get more blog traffic after the post is published.” So I decided to do a post on that. I also came across a handy guide from SocialMaharaj about ‘How to Start Blogging’ this post has some really good points and I recommend you check it out.

Seven tips to grow your blog traffic

Coming back to what I can offer, here are a few tips that can help you get more traffic on your blog.

Tip #1 to increase blog traffic – Be consistent

This is the first rule of blogging. Don’t falter here. Maintain a schedule. It could be 1 post a week, but do that. Maintain that schedule and post regularly on relevant topics. Maintain a good length for the post to be discoverable. Ideally, anything above 300 words is considered good content, but depending on your niche the length can vary. Authority blogs in various domains have posted as long as 2000+ words.

Tip #2 to increase blog traffic – Be part of Blogging Communities

Remember blogging is about 50% good + relevant content and 50% marketing.  You might have a fantastic piece but as long as you don’t get people to your site, it is not going to get recognized. Be part of communities and be actively involved. Read, Comment, Share and discuss. Communities like BlogChatter, IndiBlogger have various contests or reading lists that you can make use of. Remember the person, adding his post on the list is looking for an audience, so he is bound to reciprocate by reading yours. Fix a schedule of when you plan to share your posts on such sites. Don’t do it all on the same day. Spread it over the week.

Tip #3 to increase blog traffic -Participate in campaigns

Blogging campaigns like #MyFriendAlexa, #A-Z etc. help you blog better, blog consistently and discover new readers and blogs. Participate in such campaigns and connect with like-minded bloggers. Build your Tribe, who will offer support in terms of reading and sharing.  Blogging is equivalent to nurturing relations, anyone who told you otherwise is taking you for a ride. Treat the community with the respect it deserves; take them as seriously as you would take an office colleague.

Tip#4 to increase blog traffic – Ensure Sharability

A blogger visiting your site, should have the option to share and comment with ease. Make it easy for him. Offer plugin’s that provide shareability at one click. Some love Comment Luv, some hate it, but it is a good way to coax your reader to comment on your page. Ensure that it is formatted well and block spam with pro version or Akismet. No point attracting spam or senseless comments.

Tip #5 to increase blog traffic -Read and Share daily

Blog Traffic will not grow in a day. It needs consistent effort and patience. A good way is to maintain a log of your daily reads. Keep a target of 5-8 posts a day and read-comment and share them daily. Put more effort with bloggers who you consider as like-minded or from your niche. Having that connect with help you plan collaborations, giveaways or link parties in future.

Tip #6 to increase blog traffic – GuestPost

If you have knowledge about a specific domain, don’t shy away from shooting a mail to related blogs, asking if they would be interested in having a Guest-post on their blog. Hosting and doing guest posts in related domains help in creating a personal brand. Readers from your niche would recognize you and follow you to your blog for more. Do allow Guest-Posts on your blog,  as link-up’s are good for your blog health. However, ensure that they are in your domain or segment and not some random post. Irrelevant posts will do you more harm than good.

Tip #7 to increase blog traffic – Keep SEO in Mind

SEO might sound like a jargon, but it is necessary for your blog health. If you are a non-techie take help of plugin’s like Yoast SEO and Hemingway App to improve your post SEO. These plugin’s help improves your post content so that your blog does not miss out on search engine traffic.

These are a few tips that will help you get quality readers to your blog.  This September I am writing posts that are helpful for bloggers or small businesses to push themselves on social media. If you wish to start off on Facebook marketing, do read my post-Facebook for small businesses and personal brands.

I want to take my Alexa Rank to the next level with My Friend Alexa

Winning the Liebster Award

Yay, I have been nominated for Liebster Award! This is the first time I have been nominated by someone for an award (Shh!) and I am enjoying every moment of it (grinning from ear to ear)

I have been nominated for this award by CrazyList. She is a lifestyle and beauty blogger, quotes collector and lover of lists! Check out her blog here.  I loved her pineapple / palm tree gold logo! Thank you so much, Mayuri Saxena

Liebster Award

What is a Liebster award?

The Liebster Award 2017 is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers.   Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The rules vary at times, but here’s what Mayuri stated and I am following the same.

The Liebster award rules:

1.      Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their site.

2.      Display an image of the award and write a post about your nomination on your blog.

3.      Answer the 10 questions your nominee has asked in their blog post.

4.      Nominate 5-10 other deserving new bloggers for the award and ask them 10 questions of your choice.

5.      List the rules of the award in your blog post.

Answers to Mayuri aka NYX questions:

1.  Tell us about your blog.

My blog started off as my private space to hone my writing skills and today has grown into a space that talks about parenting, digital marketing, short stories and micro-fiction.

2. What has been the most rewarding experience your blog has brought you?

Meeting wonderful people and reading about their amazing journeys! In Blogosphere all you need to do is ask and people will help and guide you. Blogging is an exciting journey and you learn something new everyday. All this has been extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

3. What is the best piece of advice you can give your readers?

Life is too small to bicker and hold on to painful memories. Keep working on a better ‘You’ and collecting Neki Ka Khazana (Kindness treasure).

4. What is your favorite travel destination and why?

I fell in love with Andaman’s. The idyllic islands were so mesmerizing that I didn’t want to come back. Read more about it here 

6.  If someone were visiting your city or town, what would you suggest they do?

Pune and its beauty can be best appreciated in the monsoons. Go biking or hiking in the Western Ghats, trek the many forts around Pune or take a splash in the natural waterfalls dotting the hills around the city.

7.  What makes you deliriously happy?

Small achievements make me happy. I am someone who loves and enjoys the small things in life. I like to surround myself with achievers and dreamers and rooting for them and they rooting for me is what keeps me going.

8. What is your guilty pleasure?

Desserts, Masala Chai and Pani-Puri

 9. What is a difficult obstacle you have had to overcome?

I believe there aren’t obstacles. Life throws choices at us and it’s up to us to decide what we wish to do. I always look for solutions and thankfully have always been lucky to either find solutions or get help in finding them.

10. What are you most grateful in your life?

Family and friends

I nominate the following bloggers for the Liebster Award:

All of these bloggers are hard-working, professional and just really good, inspiring people to have in your blogger life! Please answer the same questions I answered.

Congratulations! I hope you guys do justice to Liebster Award and I am looking forward to reading your answers.

Dr. Amrita Basu

Shalini 

Tina Basu

Uttpal Krushna

Hiral Amodia

Atul Maharaj

Mayuri

Deepa Gandhi

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. All the best to the nominated bloggers and looking forward to reading your replies.

Love,

Neha

Unlikely unwinding destinations


Indian Bloggers

The other day my daughter teased, “Hey Mom, now all of us will go out of the house in the morning, me and brother to school and dad to the office. You will be alone in the house.” While I muttered under my breath “You have no clue how desperately I have been waiting for this” Yup! With two kids your house is never quiet, especially as long as both are not in formal school. My younger one will start preschool this year and I have been so waiting for it. He in school will mean two hours of peace at home, well not exactly because I will be motoring through to finish chores and blog posts before he is back, but still it is better than not getting done anything in the whole day.

Unusual unwinding places

The Bathroom

If you are a mother of two, you know there is no peace or ‘me time’ anywhere in the house, except the bathroom. The bathroom is my hiding place when things are getting out of hand and I need a breather. When the going is good, I can actually think, maybe even read a book (at least a few pages) and check on my social media while in the bathroom. And then there are times when the moment I enter the bathroom one of them want something from the bathroom or have some questions that just can’t wait till I come out of the bathroom.

The Car

Another place is my car! I leave to pick the kids and take the longest possible route to have some ‘me time’ with music on. This helps me think, focus and even relax before the next rush hour starts. As it is with two kids, you are always running errands for one or the other, the best way to utilize that time is unwinding.

The Balcony

The balcony is another place where I like to unwind. When the kids are busy watching Television, I sneak in the balcony and do nothing. Just enjoy the fresh air, see the on-goings around and do absolutely nothing. So when I am really worked up, I turn on the kid’s channel (my kids won’t move an inch when that damn thing is turned on) and sneak out in the balcony. I know docs might not agree with TV time, but for my sanity, I need that break 😛
Do you have such unwinding places? What are those? I would love to be inspired.

😀


I am writing this post for #Barathon from Blogarhythm with the theme seven situations unique to a mother of two.

A night under the stars – Stargazing with JVP

Picture Credit- Pixabay

On April 20, this year with a doubtful mind I pressed the send button for fund transfer to JVP (Jyotirvidya Parisanstha) an association of amateur astronomers and a non-profit organization. A cousin of mine is a member of this organization and she suggested the place as a night outing for my older kid. I was super excited about this new experience and immediately went about coaxing my husband for the same. Surprisingly, even he agreed without much ado and so I made up my mind. However, by the time I got around to making payments I had a million doubts – late realization, you might say 😛

It was a star party, with Lyrids meteor shower and sounded like a great experience, but as I had never attended a star party I wasn’t sure about what to expect! Also as this was an overnight star party I wasn’t sure how well would my younger kid co-operate. It was an open farm, so I was also worried about the mosquitoes. Questions like place to sleep, food available, what if they got bored, were swimming in my mind and at a point I even mulled over cancelling the seats, however there was also this thrill of the unknown which I couldn’t conquer and so with a duel mind and a confused heart we set out for the star party on 22nd April.

We reached there around 8pm and realized that there was an educational session starting from 7pm, which we kind of missed. When we reached there, there was an interesting on going session about constellations in the sky and popular stories about the same in various cultures. It was a wonderful session as the sky was the canvas and all we needed to do was look to identify these interesting Nakshatra’s and constellations. There was a group of high school students too for this star party and they were one of the most interested and clued in audience. While I was fascinated by the stories and tried to listen in with rapt attention the same wasn’t true about kids. They got bored in the next 10 minutes and kept roaming about the farm and pestering my cousin, (who thankfully was happy to entertain them!) This was followed up with star gazing using telescopes. This was an interesting aspect for my older kid as she was seeing a telescope for the first time. We saw Jupiter and Saturn with their moon’s and my older kid who had recently studied about solar system was thrilled to see them. As this was being done on a farm, we were strictly asked to use no or minimal lights.

After a short break for dinner we got back to star gazing with telescopes. Thankfully by this time, my younger kiddo slept without much problems and that was a boon for me. Next up were some presentations about man-made satellites sent up. A detailed infotainment cum presentation about spacecraft Cassini’s journey was shown. It was because of this that I realized the importance of Cassini Mission and the importance of 26th April for astronomers. Do watch this beautiful video for more.

By now it was already past 3am and with two breaks for tea, almost all the enthusiasts were wide awake and rearing to go. This was followed with astro-quiz and astro-antakshari. The boisterous high school kids were rearing to go and it was a fun session to watch.

Things to Know

JVP – this is an astro enthusiast group and they have programs all year round. You could enroll as members and enjoy various activities organized by them.

Star Party – While this was a star party with Lyrid meteor showers, there was hardly any shower to be seen, so that was a damper.

Where- Abhyankar Farm, Nasrapur (Approx. 41 km from Pune, depending on where in Pune you are located.)

Budget – 500 + transport for non-members

Things to have – Google Sky Maps, laser pointer, warm clothes (it gets damn chilly post mid-night and this is in summer!)

Fun things for kids – My kids were too young to enjoy this thoroughly but the other students who had come for the party, seemed to have enjoyed the experience to bits. Recommended age – 10+

Delight – What delights a toddler?

What delights a toddler?

She was a toddler, the princess of her house

She was surrounded by expensive toys and beautiful clothes,

Her room had numerous soft toys and her own set of accessories.

She was the most precious thing around

But these things didn’t interest her

She didn’t enjoy being with them

The clinking glass bangles in her granny’s hand,

Or the shiny steel glasses that she loved to bang

These were the things that delighted her.

She squealed with joy when she could play with her granny’s cotton saree

And jumped with happiness when the old napkin became her cape and she a superwoman!

But Alas, Her parents never understood this.

For them delight and happiness equaled everything new,

While she found joy in things that were ordinary and few.

Linking this post for A-Z challenge from Blogchatter for the letter D