It's fairly straightforward to set up a blog such as this one. I'll go through the steps I took with some details about the decisions I made along the way.
I started out by registering the domain name. In fact it took quite a while to figure out a previously unregistered name that I was comfortable with. But eventually I got there. I used namecheap.com to register the name - possibly not the cheapest but it got enough recommendations from other users for me to go with it. One of the pre-requisites for me was the two factor authentication that the control page has. I'll admit that the initial SMS based two factor authentication is a bit flaky, requiring multiple retries, but the app based one works well.
Namecheap has the option to protect your details being visible from someone typing a whois command. This is free for the first year but I will be keeping the subscription going in years to come. Whichever registrar that you use, I would make sure that they have a similar functionality and that it's not too expensive in the future. Check what the ongoing subscription will be - it's low with namecheap.
I also registered with a free CloudFlare account. I am not expecting to become the subject of a denial of service attack - the web can just wait a while until the site comes back up! But using CloudFlare should make the content show up a bit more smoothly no matter where in the world you are based, with its content delivery and caching system. An unresponsive site is a big turn off for casual browsers, and they won't revisit a slow site. So I'd also recommend this step.
To do this you need to change the custom DNS settings to those provided in the CloudFlare setup. This can take a while to propagate but will not take longer than twenty four hours. Mine was complete in minutes.
Blogging software and hosting
I am using Ghost.org software to host the site. I considered using Wordpress since it seems to be the most popular and has a huge community. I like Ghost because of the simplicity of the interface. Admittedly there are probably a lot more plugins and features available for Wordpress, but I'm not that interested in them at the moment. Simplicity is my goal, figure out what you want and go with what works.
I tried using the Ghost.com site as a hosting platform. There's a lot to recommend about this approach such as getting the servers and software updates as soon as they come out, and not having to worry about any of those technical details. However, the cost was a bit prohibitive.
Having ruled out Wordpress, I also ruled out their free and cheap offerings but I think that any decision is reversible so I'll continue until I have to change.
The option I went with is to use Digital Ocean to host my own virtual server that's running the Ghost software. It's not all that difficult but does require some Linux skills. There are some steps involved that I'll go through in a future post, mostly relating to security and setting up the domain name, but they are pretty straightforward.
Once I got the machine up and running I had to redirect the traffic to the droplet from CloudFlare. This involves a little bit of DNS knowledge, but again there are plenty of guides out there - I may add my own later, if only to remember the steps myself for future development. At the simplest level you at least need an A record to point the domain to the IP address of the droplet.
Adding authors and getting started
Getting started is more difficult. From hundreds of ideas about what to write about, I drew a complete blank. Getting the first article out there is intimidating in the extreme. So to keep it simple this post arose. It's lacking in technical detail but that will follow in the coming days or weeks.
Ghost comes with a few articles already posted - as I write they are still visible on the blog. The next thing I need to do once this article is written is to remove them. The easiest way to do that is to delete the Ghost user from the Team's dashboard. They are all available on Ghost.org if I need them in the future.
I've invited several colleagues to write on this blog also, but they are understandably cautious, so watch this space. It's easy to do, simply invite them from the Team dashboard. You can add editors, authors or administrators.
I'm a believer in websites making use of images to help the content, but have no idea how to create my own. The images used to date all come from https://www.pexels.com which offers images for free and personal use. There are enough to get this blog up and running.
The site needs a logo but that might wait for a while as I'd rather ask someone to design it than try to do it myself. I also have to consider how best to add comments for feedback. There are a number of options available with various tradeoffs between cost and ads. I want to dabble in themes - possibly creating my own and I'll write a post about how to go about this once I get my head around it.