Monday, May 18, 2009

On Blogging: Finding the right web hosting service

I've been running 'Militant Ginger' since June 2006 - and it's evolved considerably since then.

The most notable change is probably the design - when Militant Ginger started up, it was just a standard 'blogspot' template, with a text banner at the top and one column on the side.

Since then, I've fiddled around enough to customize my blog completely - with a funky banner, two columns of features and a central bit to post all my blogs. (I also think my writing has improved considerably, but I guess that's subjective!)

Customizing a blog is probably the most important thing you can do to make it stand out from the crowd - as it shows a commitment to your readers that a boring old template simply doesn't. Quality posts and writing skill is very important - but many visitors to your blog simply aren't going to make the effort to read what you've written unless the layout grabs them.

Take this as an example - my blog, compared to that of Neil Clark. Neil is a 'serious' writer, as he contributes regularly to The Guardian, the Daily Express and many other newspapers and magazines (none of which, unlike my journalistic endeavors, have pictures of naked women in.) However, his blog really doesn't do his successful writing career any justice - especially not when compared to mine (which perhaps promises more than it can deliver!)

Militant Ginger, on the left, looks more appealing than Neil Clark, on the right.

The good news is that customizing a blog isn't that difficult - for example, I know virtually nothing about coding in HTML or anything technical like that, but I've managed to push the limits of blogger's technology and come up with something I'm pretty proud of.

To really take it to the next level, though, it's time to look beyond the free hosting of blogger.

I've experimented with a couple of 'official websites' in the past - however, I've also had some pretty poor luck with them. In the wonderful world of the Internet, not all web hosting services are created equal and I the one I used (Easy Space) turned out to be less than cooperative.

Which is why it's great to discover a website like Web Hosting Geeks.

These self-confessed 'geeks' have put down a comparison of some of the top web hosting sites and services and compared them, so you can see exactly what you get for your money. Even better, they offer links to independent reviews of these hosts so you can see for yourself what people's experiences were.

If you're not technically minded - much like myself - than doing a bit of research on a website like can save you from a lot of headaches.

It's worth thinking seriously about what you want before you spend your hard earned money on web hosting. Successful blogs and website tend to have a 'concept' - a consistent thread which runs through each and every post. Establish that thread first, then decide what services you'll need (a domain name, specific email address or lots of bandwidth) and then, finally, use a service like Web Hosting Geeks to pick the provider that's right for you.

The best thing about Web Hosting Geeks is that you can use them for multiple domain hosting - so if you have more than one website or blog on the go, you can host them all from one convenient location, making editing and updating them a breeze.


Meghan said...

I can hardly post pics on a blog, so kudos to you for taking it to the next level!

Coffee Bean said...

Oh my gosh... the thought of trying to customize my blog makes me break out in a rash! I do rather like the layout of your blog though. Maybe someday.

I finally posted on my Uneducated blog and have got some going back and forth in the comments you might like to chime in on.

Anonymous said...

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GreenGoodness said...

Neil Clark hasn't contributed to the Guardian since July 2008. His claim to be a regular contributor to The Times is false too. He seems to have been banned from most places that ever gave him space.

Roland Hulme said...

It's funny how any mention of Neil Clark always attracts pseudonymous commenters who attack him.

This post wasn't about his journalistic credentials, but if it it was, I'd consider NOT contributing to 'The Guardian' to be a credential worth boasting about!

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