So, you want to start a blog? I don't blame you. It seems like everyone is doing it, and why not? Blogging is 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 is a lot to choose from: WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Blogger, Wix, Squarespace, and so on. I won't go over all of details the 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 for 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 anytime 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 me, get those names locked in. If they aren't available, you have to get crafty with a workaround.
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 and highly recommend them. I have had zero issues, and they are very quick to answer support tickets when I mess something up on my end.
5. Choose a Theme
A theme is what gives your website the look you want. Themes range from free to several thousand dollar custom built sites. There are many free themes available, and it is fine to start with one of them. The only downside to a free theme is the potential to stop being compatible with WordPress as updates become available. Free theme designers tend to not update their themes as WordPress versions change.
Should you decide to splash out a premium theme, I recommend you select a theme that runs on the Genesis Framework. Genesis Framework. 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. PDCD also has an awesome support team, and Lindsey is active in the Facebook group. 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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