I’ve had one or two questions from different people about how I put my blog website together from a technical perspective. While I would say this is far from being complete, I’d like to discuss what I’ve done so far, and what my guiding principals are for some of my decisions.

Website name

This site is www.martinogg.com because my name is Martin Ogg. When I began I didn’t know what my blog was going to be about, so having such a unique surname I was sure by choosing my name I would get a unique url! If you have an idea of what your blog or site is going to be about, then by all means a more appropriate url name is a good idea. I wouldn’t advise stressing too much about a gimmicky or memorable url name; I believe the strength of your content would be the best advertising factor and people will remember your site based on what you write, not what the url was.

I went with a top level domain ( nothing like martinogg.bebo.com or martinogg.blogspot.org ) because firstly I wanted to have the experience of obtaining and using webspace, and secondly because I personally find top level domains more serious. For example if you saw a page hosted on a free site such as geocities, would you hold it in the same regard as a top level domain?


To get a top level domain I needed to register it and host it. A quick review of companies online showed me what was right for me, but I went for one which I felt had good general reviews. It cost about 40 GBP for 1 year of hosting with 9 GBP per top domain level registration (max 3 different top levels) The hosting package came with lots of features I’ve yet to utilize, but major features ive found are PHP servers, email addresses with webmail or pop3 login ability, FTP access, and tutorials how to add features to the site. As far as I’ve seen, some companies offer free hosting for the first 3 months, but the problem I thought about is if I kept on this longer than 3 months, the site offers after this time may not have been as competitive. I therefore chose a 1 year term to see how things would go.


All of my blogging is done using WordPress. I would recommend this one to other beginners as it appears to be easily customiseable and easy to use. It has 3rd party widgets and plugins to use on your site and you could even create your own themes/plugins for those with that need. Making a post is easy, just log in to your admin page from anywhere and click ‘add new post.’ you can even add in pictures and media clips. Knowledge of html and programming is not essential, but basic use of FTP is required to install it and you need to know how to edit a text file to put in your database login details.

Themes, Widgets and Plugins

The customisation ability in wordpress is provided through 3rd party themes, widgets and plugins. These are very easily put on your site and you can search for new items from a link in your log in page. Its not quite as easy as I’d have expected though because when you click a new theme for example, you have to download the zip file containing the related files of that new theme. After that you must upload it to the correct place on your FTP space. You may then select it from your list of themes. While its not particularly difficult to do this (especially if you already had to use FTP to upload wordpress in the first place) Id have found it more intuitive if there was a 1-click process of doing this.

Widgets are items that live on the sidebar, which for me justnow lives on the left hand side of every page. These items are not things which I created, but I have selected to be there which add value to each page with no additional effort of creating them yourself. For example, I have a calender, recent posts and google advert on the sidebar.

Plugins are like widgets but they do not live on the sidebar. An example is the spam comment checker. This plugin checks every comment to determine if it is spam. If so, it goes straight for the spam folder. I have had to enable this recently as I have been hit by spam bots recently and it is annoying having to sift through page-sized comments to find the one liners left by geniune commenters.

google adsense

I use google adsense to generate income from this site. I would recommend thinking about monitising your site for two reasons. First, obviously is that here is an money making opportunity staring you in the face. If lots of people visit your site, then you have the traffic there who might click your sponsor links. In this way you can generate income even if you dont personally sell anything on your site. Secondly, this can be used as an analysis tool to determine how successful your site is. If you are posting on to a blog that is readable by millions, then surely you do actually want to have people reading your pages. The goal of making your site popular and earning money off it go hand in hand with advertising on your site.

So now with this goal of getting lots of readers, you now have the opportunity to think about how to achieve this. One way I have thought of this is to work on the quality of my posts.

Getting adsense on your site is straight forward, but I did have some hiccups along the way. My site was reject initially, but I then changed my theme to a more comprehensive looking page and it was fine. I add the google HTML code (along with my code number issued by google) to a text widget addon on my sidebar. This means it will appear on every page on my site, as my sidebar is available on each page

google analytics

Another useful tool for site analysis. After registering and adding the required html, you can log in to the google page with your google id to get site statistics. These statistics include what pages were visited, where the request came from, and how long they spent on each page. Using this information Im sure would be useful to obtain feedback on what works on your site and what doesn’t. For example, I find that currently I get a lot of hits on my front page, but very few elsewhere. That might indicate that my front page is not transparent enough to get to other pages.

The reason why I decided to have a website at all is because I felt the need for a presence on the internet. Of course you can have your own email address, instant messenger handle and facebook page but these things are for communication with people you already know in more ‘real life’ communities. The internet community is something I felt that I did not have any presence in and thats something I’d like to move into. The advantage of an internet based community is of course the possible size of members. The outreach possible using the net is by far the most convenient and widespread. The likelihood of getting into contact with someone who gives you an idea or insight is greater by the fact that there is the potential to come into contact with so many.

Would this approach be suitable for you? Do you have interests that might be suitable to have a website or blog to discuss? I would highly recommend it even if you don’t have anything to say right at the moment. The experience I have gotten and am still receiving for making this site is certainly reward enough for me and I find it very encouraging to think about the processes involved in both technical and non-technical aspects of creating this site.

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