GET IN THE FAST LANE AND START YOUR OWN BLOG
So, you want to start a blog?!? Have you read so many blogs that you want your own voice out there? Awesome sauce! You’re in the right place. This guide can lead you through setting up a new blog from start to finish. Most people (with a little help, sometimes!) can do it alone in just an hour or so.
When I started this blog, I was a freelance food writer. My pieces were about restaurants, farms, recipes, cooking histories of many kinds of food and holidays. I wrote in a state-wide newspaper and a couple of smaller regional magazines. My blog, Whimsy and Wow, started in March of 2017 and went live in early May. I wanted to take all that content and my passion for food and share it with the world. But along with all that sharing, there is a little Business to Blogging.
Why Start a Blog (besides the fact it’s FUN)?
Starting a blog gives you your own platform for sharing your thoughts online.
[clickToTweet tweet=” Ideally, the reason I started my own blog is to create and share great content with an engaging online community with others who have shared interests and passions.” quote=”Ideally, the reason I started my own blog is to create and share great content with an engaging online community with others who have shared interests and passions. “]
Although I had the writing experience, I was a real newbie. I was never ashamed to ask for help to make the best product I could make. But don’t be surprised – there is a great deal of business to blogging as well as needing to be willing to learn a little technology along the way.
You won’t get a lot of sharing done if you don’t promote your blog because you can get lost in the “blogoshphere.” But there are so many ways to find those like-minded souls, some days you feel like you are at a party all day long just talking with your best friends!
You can share stories and photos, art, hobbies, recipes, DIY, lifestyle products, horseback riding or basket weaving – the world is your oyster here. It’s all where you want to take it!
Although there are free options like Blogger, and Tumbler, but most bloggers go with the paid option, which for most people is the preferable choice. With free sites, you are limited to their themes, their rules, and the possibility of them placing ads on YOUR site – and they keep the revenue. 🙁
Paid platforms offer a lot more. If you want to make money from your blog. If you’re interested in creating a popular destination that attracts steady traffic, one that looks professional for your business, and one can grow with you as your business grows, paid is the only way to go.
These days self-hosted (paid) blogs cost as little as $3.00 to $4.00 per month, they are super easy to set up and great customer service is always available.
SLIDE RIGHT IN….
1. Let’s start with a domain name and a fantastic webhost!
I use Bluehost and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT.
You can rock your own domain name, which will remain yours FOREVER (as long as you renew it annually – approx $15/year.) Try to choose something easy to spell and easy to remember, and hopefully lets the reader know a little about what is inside.
Although .com has been the preferred extension for years, your preferred name with a .com might not be available. No worries! There are lots of other extensions out there that will be just fine for your new spot on the web.
The great folks at Bluehost will help you register your domain name, help you find a great theme (how your blog looks on screen) free or for a modest fee. It will be up to you to have ads on your site or not and YOU KEEP THE MONEY, HONEY!
TOP OF THE LINE…
2. After a host, you need software to make everything run. Don’t ask for specifics, just go with it. It’s like my definition for The Cloud – wave your arms around and say “It’s OUT THERE…..”
WordPress software is the GOLD STANDARD for blogging and it’s free to use (Don’t get confused – WordPress software is different than the free WordPress.com free blogging platform)
I use for my blog just like all the other cool kidz! (You should too!) You want to use WordPress software when you want to work WITH your blog, not AGAINST it!
HOW DO I LOOK?
3) Choose and Install a WordPress theme.
Your WordPress theme will determine the look, feel and functionality of your blog. There are free ones that are just as good looking as paid ones. It is really up to you! If you want to get started with a free theme and move up to a paid one later, that’s fine too.
5) Check out the extras …
WordPress has these nifty little things called “plugin” and they are like little cheat sheets and extras to make your blog more functional. Because soooo many people use WordPress, there are lots of these “plug ins” and they are usually FREE!!
For example, Google offers helpful tools and one especially – Google Analytics! You definitely want this plug-in, it will tell you how many people are visiting your blog. Sometimes you will need that information for your advertisers.
HIT THE ROAD!
6) Start blogging!!
Word Press will hold your hand through the whole thing as many times as you need!