This blog is not about how to start a blog or write a blog. If your question was that, please refer to “18 Lessons I’ve Learnt about Blogging“. Believe me it is worth reading it. If you have read that and you are interested to set it up on your own then continue reading. This blog is about what it takes technically to set it up.
- First and foremost get a site on your own. If you are in India it takes approximately Rs.1200 to register for a domain and also get a decent 20 MB space (I got my domain and hosting space through Webcom Systems). You could still use public blog sites such as Blogspot, Typepad and so on, but by having your own space has a lot more freedom in terms of complete control over what you want to put and managing it on your own. If you are a geek you could design the blog completely all by yourself.
- Next thing is to get a blog engine installed. Even if you are a geek I would suggest going with a blog engine because it saves a lot of time. All the basic stuff necessary for blogging is available there and all you have to do is to beautify it to your taste (also keeping in mind the users taste). The following engines are readily available. All of them have been developed using php.
- Wordpress - It has all basic blog functionalities and there are numerous plugins available for additional features. My blog runs on Wordpress and I have added many additional plugins (for example the CAPTCHA in the comments section). A little knowledge on HTML, CSS and php can help in tweaking some of the areas and making it the way you want. Wordpress has two parts, an admin part which has all the basic blogging functionalities. Themes are the ones that make the blog come alive with the kind of presentation you want. Think of Themes as the presentation layer and the admin as the business layer. 99% of the time you won’t need to change anything on the business layer. You can also use some existing themes. Look at the “Wordpress Theme browser” to browse through several themes.
- Expression Engine core - It works on concept of templates and expression engine language (ee language). Templates divide the whole area of your site into pieces like header, footer, sidebar and content area. Similar to how you would design any application by separating it into layouts so that you can include the template and focus only on different content pages. Like wordpress all the blog functionalities are available. The ee language is expressions that are embedded within HTML similar to JSP’s, ASP’s and RHTML’s to embed the content dynamically. If you want a site for a group of authors using same site to blog then you have to go for a commercial version of expression engine. Expression engine commercial also comes with additional modules.
- b2evolution - It has complete blogging feature with built in support for multi language translation.
All the above engines will need a web server with PHP support like Apache and MySQL as backend database. The hosting provider will definitely provide Apache and MySQL preinstalled. And most of the hosting providers provide phpMyAdmin to administer MySQL as well.
- The hosting provider will provide a control panel for your site from where you can manage your entire site. You can create database, you can upload files, and you can setup mail ids and do a lot more stuff. Upload the blog engine to your public html folder. And all the above blog engines will provide a user friendly installation wizard once you open up your site for the first time.
- Once your blog is setup then it is up to you to create a look and feel and implement it using the knowledge base available in the appropriate blog engine sites.
- Last but not least read “Blogging Starter Checklist” to make sure that you have everything listed in it to make your blog complete in all aspects.