Starting a blog is a perfect way to share your sailing adventures with family and friends. Emails home are great but maintaining a mailing list and making sure no one is left out can be more of a chore than starting a blog. In this first post of a three-part series, I will show you how to start a sailing blog in less than 30 minutes.
The beauty of starting a blog is it becomes your digital diary to look back over and enjoy long after the sailing adventure has passed. And what’s more, keeping your memories on a blog your photos, videos, and written accounts are all securely backed up off of the boat safely in one or more data centers on land.
Learn How To Start a WordPress Sailing Blog
I get so many emails on how to start blogging and how to set-up & configure WordPress that I decided to make a quick ‘How-To’ Guide. If you’re thinking of starting up a sailing Blog this should get you started on the right track.
Tons of cruisers keep blogs. Some are as basic as voyage accounts with just the bare facts. Other cruisers find that their blog becomes their creative outlet and they discover that they love writing and sharing their journey with others and the blog becomes their passion project.
I hear from cruisers all the time that they would love to start a blog but either they are not very technically inclined and don’t have a clue where to start or that they believe that starting a blog is can be expensive with loads of upfront fees for software.
Recommended Sailing Blog Hosting
As far as expensive goes. Other than a low-cost hosting package for $3.95 a month from Bluehost (when you click on my discount affiliate link. the Regular price is $8.99/ month) there is absolutely no paid software required.
Everything is free. Sure there are add-on plugins that can range from a few dollars up to a couple of a hundred bucks a year but as a blogger, chances are high that you will never grow your blog to the point of needing to splash out for any of these extras. Generally, there is a free version of each plugin that is great for personal use.
What You Will Need to Start a sailing Blog
As for how difficult it is to set up. I’ll walk you through the steps. It’s dead-easy and you can be up and running in less than a half-hour. Once you up and running, writing blog posts is no more difficult than sending an email. All you will need is a computer, a reasonable internet connection, and a credit card to sign up for a hosting service.
If you are thinking of blogging, I do suggest that you set up your blog a few months or weeks before getting on the boat as this will allow you to play with it and be comfortable using it from the first day you step onboard. It just becomes one thing less to learn as a new cruiser once you get onto the boat.
How to Start a Sailing Blog
Total Time: 10 minutes
Sign Up For a Hosting Service
Selecting the right host for your sailing blog is essential. One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is going with a free hosting service. Not only are the platforms and user interfaces awful to use but you do get what you pay for when it comes to site speed. If you want your readers to stay on your blog and read what you are posting you cannot be using a free host that takes 20-30 seconds for a web page to load. Your readers will give up trying to see what you’ve posted and will move onto something else if your page has not fully rendered in less than a third of that time.
For less than the price of a Grande Latte, you can host your sailing blog on a professional-looking WordPress platform that is served by a blog-orientated web hosting company on your own shared web server. As a New blogger, I recommend going with BlueHost for the performance vs cost you can not do better. If your blog takes off and you start seeing 10,000 plus visitors a month you can always migrate to a more expensive host for free.
I will show you how to set up hosting with Bluehost. The reason I recommend Bluehost for anyone starting blogging is that they offer all the bandwidth and storage you will need as a sailing blogger. They also offer a one-click WordPress setup and a free domain name on signup. At $3.95 (with my discount link – normally $8.99) it’s hard to beat the price.
Bluehost is also one of the few hosting providers recommended by the makers of WordPress.
If for some reason you do not wish to host with Bluehost. WPx is another great hosting option starting at $20.83 a month for established bloggers or bloggers seeing over 1000 visitors per day.
WPx’s higher price does give you access to support within 30 seconds should you ever need it. Bluehost’s turnaround is a little slower at around an hour or two to respond to your support request. That doesn’t mean you’ll be on the phone for an hour. That is the time it will take for the ticket to be opened and addressed.
Both providers require you to raise a ticket for support. So unless you are a very large blog and like to tinker with the back end of things where you risk messing things up, 30-second support shouldn’t be necessary. WPx is a premium hosting provider, which along with Bluehost I highly recommend. For people expecting to grow their blogs, I suggest starting with low-priced Bluehost and then migrate the site over to a company such as WPx who will usually do the migration for free within a few hours.
1. Click on the Get Started Button where the arrow in the image is pointing
2. Sign up for the “Basic Package”
Choose a Domain name you like. On the drop-down, you can select.Com, .Net, .Org, etc. whichever you think suits your blog name the best. If you wish to use your boat name for the blog domain name and find that it is taken try add sailing, SV, or SV- in front of the name.
Create Your Account
Select your plan term. You do NOT need to select a three-year term, although a three-year term does give you the best savings.
Choose Package Options
Watch out for pre-selected options. This is where the $3.95 a month plan can ballon into something a lot more expensive. Make sure to uncheck any options you do not want to take.
There is no need to select any of the options. You do not need any of them. I will show you in a later post how to secure your blog with free security packages that outperform many paid server-level services.
The only option you may wish to consider is “Privacy Protection”. When you register the domain your name will be associated with the domain at the domain name registrar. These records are publicly available. If you’re setting up the blog in advance of telling your boss that you will be leaving. You may not want her to Google you and find that you own the name IquitANDamGOINGsailing.com
Set Up WordPress on Bluehost
1. Log in to your Bluehost account
2. Click on the My Sites tab from the side navigation bar to the left.
3. Click Create New Site under the Helpful Links section.
4. Enter Admin Information.
Site Name: This will be the name displayed on your site. This is not the URL, but simply the name used on your site.
Admin Email Address: This will be where your login information will be sent.
Admin Username: The desired login name for your application
Admin Password: The desired password for this application
The installer will take a few minutes to run while WordPress is installed on your account.
5. Click My Sites.
6. Find the domain install and click login to WordPress.