So, you want to start a blog? I don’t blame you. Blogging is actually quite enjoyable.
It’s not nearly as hard as you might think. The hardest part of starting a blog is figuring out who to listen to when every resource you read says to do different things. I quickly learned that once you wade through all of the information, it comes down to a few simple steps.
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Ready to get started on your blog? Let’s do this!
1. Choose a Platform
There are a lot to choose from: WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Blogger, Wix, Squarespace, and so on. I won’t go over all of details for each, but I will share my personal experience.
I used Blogger for a while, but I didn’t like that Google could shut down my site at any time. I switched to WordPress.org. It’s highly customizable, open sourced, and is the standard with self hosted websites. The downside is you have to pay for hosting and there is a learning curve with it.
Keep in mind: Should you pick a platform and not like it, you can change. It’s a pain to move, but it’s doable.
2. Pick a Name
You don’t want to start a blog about baking and call it Jane Doe’s Savvy Shopping Tips. Make it relevant and make it memorable. Check to see if the website is available. If it isn’t, back to the drawing board. If it is available, you’re on your way. Buy your domain name. I purchased one of my domain names through Namecheap and the other through my host.
Some say not to use your host for your domain name purchase because you could be left in a lurch if your host suddenly goes out of business. I opted to go with my host because I feel secure with them and don’t see them shutting down any time soon, not to mention that it’s easier for me to make one payment of multiple payments.
Word of Wisdom: You WANT WhoIs Privacy Protection! This prevents people from accessing your personal details such as address and phone number.
3. Lock in Social Media Handles
If you plan on sharing your blog with the world instead of your family, you want to be able to get your blog’s name on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc.
If they’re available and you aren’t sure about social media, trust mse, get those names locked in. If they aren’t available, you have to get crafty with a work around.
A Bit of Advice: If your name could be easily mistaken for an offensive account, you might want to look into another name.
4. Choose Your Host
Who will you use to host your blog? Not Bluehost. Repeat after me. Do. Not. Use. Bluehost. You may be wondering why. I know, there are TONS of bloggers out there who recommend them. A quick little Google search will reveal there are equally as many people who have sworn off Bluehost. Just don’t do it, okay?
Since we’ve established who you don’t want to use, let’s look at who you should use. After tons of research, I narrowed my selection down to MDD Hosting and Siteground. Both had great reviews in the tech forums and are known for being good hosts. I ended up going with MDD Hosting for a number of years, and I highly recommend them. I am now using Siteground because of them being geared a bit more towards WordPress and having a bit more knowledge in regards to WordPress functionality.
5. Choose a Theme
A theme is what gives your website the look you want. Themes range from being free all the way to multi-thousand dollar custom websites. Starting out with a free theme is fine and there are many nice ones to choose from. The only downside to a free theme is they may not be updated and eventually can become incompatible with the current version of WordPress.
Should you decide you want to splash out a little on a website, I recommend themes on the Genesis Framework. StudioPress, the Genesis developers, have themes available for purchase. You can choose from themes they make, themes by designers approved by Genesis, or other independent designers. I use Pretty Darn Cute Design for all of my themes. Lindsey makes beautiful, feminine themes that are easy to customize, has awesome customer support, and she is very friendly and helpful. My favorite thing about Lindsey is her accessibility. She doesn’t sell you a theme and leave you hanging. You can always reach out to her, or better yet, join the PDC Community and have direct access to Lindsey! What else could you want?
That’s it! That’s how you start a blog! See? Not too complicated! Add a few plugins to customize your site and you’re away. I will write another post with plugins I recommend, but until then, get out there and get to blogging! I’m happy to answer any questions, so feel free to send me a message if you need help.
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