Have birds or the hobby of birdwatching inspired you? When I started really getting into birds, I had a lot of creativity looking for an outlet, some of it came through photography, and some of it came through writing. This blog post talks mainly about your blogging platform options and what to think about when starting a new bird blog.
I started with a Tumblr blog where I found a niche in bird humor. However, I longed for more. Because Birds became a full-fledged self-hosted WordPress blog in 2014. I write on Because Birds to share informational and fun articles about many topics related to birds and birdwatching.
You may be considering starting a blog about birdwatching, but there are many options out there to create one. Here are a few blogging platform options you can consider when starting a bird blog. Some of these are more user-friendly and accessible, others require more technical skills to take full advantage.
Regardless of which option you choose, I recommend grabbing a URL domain for your blog. This will help you share it with others and have a place to call home. You’ll be able to use your own URL with any of the below options. I’ve used various registrars to get domains in the past and currently use Porkbun. I like them because they’re affordable and a are smaller company than something like GoDaddy or Google Domains.
**None of the below information is sponsored or affiliated, just what I’ve used and know from my own experience**
WordPress.com is a great free and popular option to create your first blog. WordPress is a blogging platform that comes with many free themes to stylize your website. If you’re just getting started, you can quickly sign up and start writing. Once you’ve created a free account, there will be options to connect a custom URL if you have one.
Blogger by Google is another great alternative to starting a birding blog of your very own. You can create your blog and get started quickly with themes and other Google/Blogger users will be able to follow you.
Squarespace has many functions but it can also be used for blogging. With a sleek website creator, Squarespace offers many modern and visually aesthetic styles to choose from. It’s not a free service but delivers in the areas of reliability and author accessibility. Users who wish to have more fine-tuned and specific control of their blog may find Squarespace a bit limiting.
You can choose to host your own instance of WordPress, either on shared hosting or your own server. This requires a bit more housekeeping than the above options, but you gain much more freedom and control over your website than you would with a more simple solution.
Self-hosted on shared hosting
For years, I hosted my website on shared hosting through BlueHost. It did its job but was slow and cumbersome to load pages. Throughout my time with shared hosting, I learned about how to manage the files on the server, and many aspects of managing and optimizing WordPress and the website. This is a great starting point for someone curious about the full control you get with your own instance of WordPress.
Self-hosted on your own server
As my technical skills improved, I started to look into other faster, better hosting options for my website. That’s when I discovered virtual private servers (VPS). A VPS is a virtual server that offers resources that only your website and visitors will take advantage of. It typically results in much faster loading times and performance compared to shared hosting. The downside is that it’s much more hands-on than shared hosting or one of the above options. You’ll need to know how to SSH into the server to manage and update it occasionally. If you ignore the regular maintenance your own server requires it opens up your site to vulnerabilities and other risks.
SpinupWP is a paid service that enables you to easily create a WordPress blog on a droplet VPS and will help you keep it updated and maintained.
Do you have a niche?
This is a helpful question to ask yourself as you think about your blog. Do you want to write about anything specific? Maybe you want to share your photos, or write about your bird feeder visitors, or record bird songs and talk about them. Perhaps you just want an outlet to share whatever comes to your mind related to birds. You can try to write for a specific niche or none at all. But most importantly, I encourage you to write for yourself. Write about what interests you and that you may enjoy looking back on. If others find enjoyment in it, that’s a bonus.
Just write and publish. There is no wrong way to create your blog and it all depends on what you need and what you are comfortable with. I encourage you to just get started and learn as you go.