Are you an aspiring blogger? Here’s how to start your own website.

I was in eighth grade when I started blogging – a student who is learning how to do HTML/CSS, depends on her daily allowance, no income, and usually broke from all the gala/tambay after class.

I was in college when I wanted to become a legit blog owner. I remember messaging my dad thru Yahoo! Messenger, convincing him to lend me his card to purchase my own domain. 

When I started working, I thought that it’s the perfect time for me to finally fulfill my blogger dream. But then, I always found excuses not to do it. During the first three years of my working life, I got too distracted by all the biases – late night drinks, jewelries, gadgets. I didn’t make writing/blogging a priority.

Until now.

It was 2am on a saturday, I just finished watching Crash Landing On You, when I thought of making that purchase.

So how did I do it?
Here’s how –

Let's start with all the purchases.

But first, let me tell you a secret – I do have two existing websites as we speak, each is hosted by a different service provider. There are tons of choices out there but everything I will share is based on my personal experience.

How much does it cost to make it rainneoreyes.com instead of rainneoreyes.wordpress.com or rainneoreyes.blogspot.com or rainneoreyes.tumblr.com?

Well, you have to have a host and a domain of your own. 

HOST is your storage space in the world wide web. It’s like owning your own house where you could store your furniture and appliances without having the fear of having someone steal and invade your stuff.

DOMAIN is your own address. Instead of having your friends search for the nearest landmark to get to your place, they can go directly to your address.

Your host and domain can be purchased together or separately.

Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, I have two websites to date, and each are under different service providers – Siteground and Hostinger.

I don’t want to be technical about this. You have to bear in mind that whatever services I have availed in the past and what I am currently using is enough for a beginner like me so I will focus on my number one concern as a beginner – price. To compare: 

SITEGROUND (3,950.26Php for the first year)

For Siteground’s hosting, I got the cheapest WordPress plan for $6.99/month (338.81Php – I know, anything in dollar is quite intimidating HAHA) billed annually. My other website is hosted by Siteground.

I availed the Start Up plan for WordPress hosting + Domain Privacy and paid 77.35USD/year (3,950.26Php/year). You will get one website (mynameisrainne.net) and e-mail (hello@mynameisrainne.net) and all the basic support that you need for your blog.

Also some important points to consider:

  • 10 GB Web Space
  • ~ 10,000 Visits Monthly
  • Free WP Installation
  • E-mail account

You can also enjoy premium blog layouts for this plan, but very minimal adjustments and customization. You may or may not avail the Domain Privacy (12USD/year) and/or

But if you decided to renew, it will be different. See the pricing below:

It will cost me $221.83 (10,649.50Php) for the same service. So it is something you would want to consider.


 
HOSTINGER (1,996.00Php for the first year)

I found out about this hosting site through the blogs I’ve read and decided to use this for this blog (www.rainneoreyes.com). For the first year, this is how it will cost you —

This is a lot cheaper compared to Siteground so it is perfect for people who are just starting out. And I don’t know if it is just me, but prices in peso is a lot less intimidating compared to those in dollar HAHA

The length of your subscription will affect your rates, of course. It really depends on your preference. You will also get your email address for free for this one.

As you can see, most if not all the included services are the same with Siteground. There are also available premium blog templates with Hostinger.

And if I decided to renew my services after a year, this is how it’ll cost me —

I would have to pay 3,718.00 Php for the same services, given that I have Domain Privacy Protection, which you may or may not avail.


 

What’s my other option?

Well, I don’t think I am the right person to answer this question. But personally, I considered SquareSpace for my blog. But I just thought that it is too expensive for a beginner like me.

Squarespace has an option for a monthly (16USD/mo = 820.09Php/mo) or yearly (144USD/year = 7,382.95Php/year) subscription. But you won’t need to worry about your blog layout because it will give you the freedom to tweak their layouts as much as you like. But I just felt like it is too expensive for me, given the type of blogger that I am, inconsistent. HAHA.

Also, you can avail WordPress.com upgrade directly from your account’s dashboard. But it will cost you 96USD/year (4,920Php/year) just for the subscription + domain registration alone.

You can also check BlueHostGoDaddy, or HostGator, to name a few.

But these two are the ones I have tried myself.

Price-wise, I would go for Hostinger. Although I am experiencing lags here and there, it’s not a major issue because my blog traffic is still low.

I like Siteground’s email interface, though. But won’t be an issue if you’re not using your blog email that much.

Like what I have said, when you avail the Start Up plan from SiteGround, you can enjoy premium themes from WordPress. And that could give you a decent looking website already. So if you are not too OC when it comes to your blog’s appearance, that would do.

But if you are someone like me who knows basic HTML/CSS/customization, you would probably want more. So I personally decided to get Elementor Pro for 49USD/year (2,504.39Php/year), good for one website only. It will give you a lot of freedom not just in designing your page but as well as with how you format your posts.

But personally, I kind of regret getting this because I don’t use it as much as I thought I would. Everything I need, which are mostly the basics, are free.

You can also try looking for a theme through Theme Forest. The theme I am currently using is a pre-made theme and cost me 59 USD (2,834.21Php), one time payment.

So, that’s just basically everything you need to purchase if you want to start your own website. I still believe that everything depends on your personal needs and preferences. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and I got along just fine by using free hosting sites.

But if you want to step up your blogging experience and decided to take this more seriously, just take your time on deciding what you really need before making your purchase. Study what you really need and focus on the essentials. And if you’re just starting out, you may want to get the cheapest service you could find and when the time comes that you need to upgrade, almost all hosting services are flexible anyway so you could just upgrade anytime you feel like you already need to.

Now that you’ve done all the needed purchases, let’s proceed to the more important stuff.

Ever since I started a life of digital dependency, I only used three virtual names: shitainnemynameisrainne, and rainneoreyes.

Shitainne (Shit + Rainne) has been my first ever screen name, and my Multiply user name back in 2007. When Multiply stopped operating, so is her.

Mynameisrainne (from the Korean singer Rain’s Clear shampoo commercial), I am still using up to this day alongside rainneoreyes. It’s a screen name I really can’t let go of, for some reason. I just feel like it’s really a blog feel kind of name.

Rainneoreyes (from my name, obviously), is my main social media name. All of my accounts are under rainneoreyes.


 

It was a battle between mynameisrainne  and rainneoreyes. For thirteen years, I am using both simultaneously. My other website is under mynameisrainne.net but I obviously don’t update it as much. It houses all my blog clutter.

I chose to stay here (rainneoreyes.com) because it is easier for me since all my social media accounts are under the same username. I read somewhere that you don’t want to confuse your followers by using different usernames per social media accounts. It is better to use the same username across all accounts.

In choosing a username, it is important to make it easy to remember and something unique. 

One thing that will be very useful for your blog is your social media accounts. And I am still learning how to maximize this one – join social media groups, interact with your users and fellow b/vloggers.

I am also reading this a lot – as much as possible, make your username the same with all your social media accounts, that way, it will be easier for your followers to find you everywhere.

This is something I am really frustrated about. As you all know, I first chose mynameisrainne as my blog name/URL for my website. I was able to secure this on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, but an inactive account is using it on Twitter. I am trying to connect with the user but to no avail, since again, it is an inactive account. Maybe this is one of the reason why I completely abandoned this username HAHA

This one isn’t really as necessary but if you could secure your username in all social media platforms, the better.

Official e-mail account is important if you really want to make your blog as a full-time career. This is how you connect to your readers and potential business partners and clients.

In other hosting sites, there would be an additional fee for an e-mail account. But I got this for free on both my SiteGround and Hostinger plan subscription.

I am still in the process of learning how to maximize this one.

And the most important thing you need for your blog…

I guess, the only secret for this one is to just be yourself. I have a different take on this because my main reason for blogging is to simply document my life. But for you guys who really want to make a career out of blogging, you need to know who is your niche and the voice you will use to communicate with your readers.

Blogging has taken a lot of forms throughout the years — there are niche blogs (fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, travel blogs, mommy blogs) who focuses mainly on one specific group of people, talking about a specific topic, online portfolio (mainly for photographers and models), and personal blogs (like this one). But it is still important to not get lost with all these changes – you should stick to who you really are as a person. If you just become like everybody else, how will you stand out?

Take time to create your blog’s backbone – your niche, your writing voice and technique (would you be the formal blogger or the funny one? Would you be using gay lingos or strict english? Would you be talking using the first person or third person?), what’s your visuals (Will you be using Canva templates or just raw photos? What are the fonts you will be using? Your color palette?)

Creating a blog and website is easy, maintaining it is a different story.

These steps are literally what I did to start this blog. It really depends on your preferences, so feel free to Google around until you find something that will really work for your needs.

But if we have the same taste and you did follow/consider some of these steps, please let me know. Or better yet, teach me how to do this better! Let’s learn from each other. I am really into blog design customization. HAHA.

How about you? What are your blogging essentials?