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Building a Service Oriented Web Site: Blog Hosting

Building a Service Oriented Web Site: Blog Hosting

One of the easiest ways to increase traffic to your web site is to host a service that people want to use, and give it a unique or personal touch. Blogging, internet-based personal journals, have become a national pastime. If you're looking for a different sort of web site idea, hosting a content-based blogging service might be just the ticket for you.

What the heck is a content based blogging service and why should I host one on my web site?

Okay, I admit it. I made the term up myself to describe a web site that hosts journals sharing a common subject. It's the next step up from hosting a community forum. Instead of simply granting registered users the right to post to a message board, you basically give them a public forum to serve as their own personal soapbox.

Of course, with the number of general blog hosts that are out there now, you'll have to give people a good reason to sign up with YOUR web site instead of just getting themselves a subscription to one of the big blog spots. That's where your creativity comes in. Find a niche to target and market yourself to that niche.

Let me give you a few possible examples:

tarotjournal.com - a web site community to post your musings about the Tarot, your readings, and other metaphysical ponderings

pistachio_ink.com - a hosted blog web site for those outside the vanilla lifestyle

onepoundatatime.com - a web site community that hosts a blog service for dieters and weight watchers to write about food, diets and society's expectations -- and which chocolate bar is the one they miss the most.

Free Blog Hosting - Free WordPress blog hosting service with pre-installed plugins and blog themes.

See what I mean? You can easily come up with a dozen ideas for community style blog sites that will attract a natural audience if you just put your mind to it.

Okay, so I've convinced you to give it a try. What do you do now?

Choosing Web Server Software

Once you've bought your server, you need to look at web software. Lots of people use Microsoft's IIS, largely because it goes with a lot of their already-extant business software (for instance, IIS can be used with ASP to run catalog and shopping sites using the database your business already has in place). However, if you're not planning to get Microsoft certified and you don't want to spend a lot of money, Apache is the way to go.

Apache was one of the first web server packages, and has been freely developed as open-source software for around fifteen or twenty years now. Some 80% of servers run Apache. With Apache and some good shopping-cart programs (which you can also find for free) you can open shop up right away.

Putting Your Web Server Together

Test everything before going live publicly. It's embarrassing to put your site out for all to see, and have it crash or things not work. Cobble together a backup server with an alternate Internet connection as soon as you can justify it with a profit; down time comes at surprising times and costs you money and customers. Make sure your primary server is used for nothing but internet processing -- no mail, no games, no personal stuff. Check your site often yourself to be sure it's not going time. And be ready for lots of hard work!

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