It’s a common misconception that everything “white-boxed” is unprofessional. (White-boxing on the Web is when it’s apparent you are using another service rather than hosting it yourself.) That certainly was the case in the “Web 1.0″ world; you wouldn’t host a personal and professional digital business card on a GeoCities account.

For some reason or another, the evil overhead of white-box accounts seems to have disappeared.


WordPress.com Fits

WordPress.com is simple, professional, and accepted. I like visiting a blog that ends in “.wordpress.com.” It makes me feel at home. And for 95% of students, the free version of the site will get you everything you need.

If you want to remove the white-box, it will be a few bucks. Buy yourself a domain name and redirect it to your blog. You just added three points of professionalism to your blog.

Best of all, WordPress.com doesn’t lock you in. If you eventually decide to host your blog on your own server (like we’re doing with HackCollege), it’s super easy to export all of your old posts. Bringing them on to your new blog installation is as simple as an import.

Virtually Ad-less

WordPress.com does such an amazing job of serving up ads, that most users of the site don’t know that the site even has ads. Matt Mullenweg, the genius behind the product, says this every chance he gets at conferences.

And it’s true. WordPress.com serves ad to some single-digit percentage of visitors. Only what it needs to stay afloat.

Why is an ad-free environment important? Ads tend to scare readers away or deliver the wrong message; that message being “I am exploiting your interest to make money for myself.” In the case of you, you are the biggest loser: you don’t get the revenue from the ads and you lose readers.

Now Learn Some HTML

To be a successful blogger, you’ll need to learn some simple code. HTML is that code. You can start blogging without knowing a lick of it and just use the buttons found inside of WordPress. As time marches on, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with HTML code. How else will you understand other bloggers’ nerd jokes?

If you’re looking to get a headstart on learning HTML, pick up a book (gasp) or head over to the W3School’s HTML Tutorial.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post titled “Use Twitter.”

You just read a post that’s part of the student blogging series. To check out other posts in the series, please visit hackcollege.com/blogs