Well, we have a nice beginning here.
This blog began many, many months ago when I purchased a domain name from Google Apps. I used Google Apps to set up a Google Site, using the Announcements page. It was a fairly complicated process for what I wanted, and I regretted not just using WordPress from the start. I was paying $50 per year for a service that frustrated me just so I could have a blog with matching email address on my domain name. So, I began researching alternatives. I heard about WordPress blogs– only $13 per year, and they had a similar domain registration process to Google Apps. Also, instead of paying for Gmail on my own domain, I could use Outlook to manage my email accounts for free!
So, I began working on the process of modifying my DNS records on my domain so that email would be handled by Outlook. No dice. I am not a technically inclined person. I don’t know what a DNS host is or what MX records mean. It’s all some wizardry that makes the internet go. So, I scrapped that domain name and started afresh.
I went to the WordPress store, and I ordered the domain name ArcticMusings.com, and then I set up my blog. I also used Outlook to set up an email account. It was very easy, though at every step, I waited expectantly to see if it would actually work. It was so easy that I was actually able to go back to my other domain and get it off of Google Apps– once I had a better picture of the process from beginning to end. I learned that if I cancel my Google Apps subscription, I still get billed for the rest of my “contract,” but that was no big deal– I already had WordPress up and running in an evening when my Google Apps experienced had taken over 6 months just to get a placeholder post up.
WordPress.com (which differs from WordPress.org) isn’t for everyone, but I just want a place to put things. I want it to be easy. I don’t want my blog to be littered with random advertisements, but I do like the idea of Amazon giving me a small cut of anything that someone buys after clicking through to their site from my page. If I become a famous expert on off-the-grid cabin building or a renowned author, I want to be able to easily move my blog to my own server. If I have only one post that is extremely popular, I want to make sure that my site can handle the traffic. So, for me, WordPress is really a great option. I mean, I don’t know anything about making websites, but I got this site up in an evening– after work and before dinner!
If you are wanting to do this without spending any money at all, you can always use a free WordPress blog and upgrade later. I didn’t do this myself, so I can’t comment on how easy it is, but the fact that there’s an upgrade button speaks volumes for me.
On Google Apps, I spent $50 for one user for one year, and I spent $14 for my domain registration. This allowed me to have one gmail account. Total spent: $64
With WordPress, I spent $13 for DNS forwarding for one year, and I spent $18 for my domain registration. I can have unlimited Outlook email accounts on my domain for free. Total spent: $31
I don’t really like Gmail all that much– I’m a huge fan of sorting and filtering emails. I don’t like that I can’t do that with Gmail, but I was really all set to have my email, domain name, blog, Google+ and Picasa account linked all in one place with one user ID and password. I didn’t want to use WordPress, but after talking through all my challenges with a good friend, I was convinced that I had made the wrong decision from the start and needed to try out WordPress.
How did you get your blog up and running? How long did it take? What did you learn in the process? If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?