This post talks about the first two steps in pimping my blog.
1. Decide what domain name to use
For domain names, the easiest solution is to use the domain name of your blogging host. An example of this is myblog.blogspot.com (for Blogger). For someone who is a casual blogger, this is probably the way to go. However, if you are serious about generating traffic to your blog, you should consider using a separate domain for your blog. SEOmoz has a good discussion on this topic. In that article, they recommend the following order (from least recommended to most recommended):
1. Using the domain name of your domain host.
2. Use your own domain name (but not your main domain name).
3. Set up a subdomain for your main domain name.
4. Set up the blog as a directory of your main domain.
I went with the advice offered in this article and set up my blog at www.1keydata.com/blog. I decided to go with my own domain name at http://www.topcatblog.com.
2. Decide on a blogging software / host
Next is to determine what blogging software to use. The most prominent ones are Movable Type, Word Press, Blogger, and Typepad. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the solutions allow you to download and do your own hosting. Two of them, Movable Type and Word Press, both have a number of plugins, which allow the blogger to add some bells and whistles to their posts. I decided at the end to go with Blogger, because that’s the host I am already using, and it appears that moving hosts would not be worth the trouble for my blog.
The next task is to point my Blogger account to my main domain. Dave Taylor had an excellent tutorial on how to use a custom domain with a Blogger account for those who are currently using Blogger. The process was not as straightforward as I hoped, and it did take me a bit of time to get it to work right. But don’t skip out on this step, as it is definitely worth the trouble down the road.