Many people have asked me how I started my blog. First, I think starting a blog is a great idea! It can serve not only as a creative outlet, but can also make money. Don’t get too stuck on what it should be about or who your audience is – yet. I am a big believer in jumping right in instead of analysis paralysis. However, it is good to think about who your audience is – the more specific the better. You’ll also want to tighten up what your blog will be about. I first started this blog as a way to disseminate financial information that I was writing about over and over again in Facebook groups. It literally was a way for me to say – hey, read this post that answers this exact question. Then I realized it was a great way for me to document my financial journey. Since then I’ve not only met wonderful people in the personal finance space – other bloggers, podcasters and like-minded folks – but have also made a bit of money. Win-win. So here are the basic steps to starting a blog:
- Pick a website hosting service
- Pick a domain name
- Select a theme
- Start blogging
Step 1: Pick A Website Hosting Service I recommend using a website hosting service (also known as self hosting) vs. using a free service such as blogspot. Why? The free services are quite limiting and once you realize you’re going to get more serious you’ll need to transfer all your material to the new host. Just do it right from the get go. I recently switched to Big Scoots. They migrated my old website seamlessly and I noticed the increased speed and performance immediately. They offer several different plans to grow with your blog. I also appreciated the personalized service.
Step 2: Pick A Domain Name Again, don’t spend too much time here but you’ll want something on the shorter side and catchy. And hey, you can always change your mind and pick a new one (will just cost you a few bucks). To be honest I didn’t give much thought to mine – my personal email has missbonnie in it and I just thought I’d add the MD. Step 3: Select A Theme I highly recommend using WordPress as your blogging platform. Bluehost makes it easy to install WordPress with one click. From there, you can then choose a theme. I think it’s perfectly fine to start with a free theme. It may take time to figure out what you eventually want your blog to look like. I chose a paid theme and took it a step further and chose Studiopress’ Genesis Framework. Genesis is a robust “parent” theme and then you choose a “child” theme that sites on top. Genesis themes are rock solid engines that combine design, speed, security and SEO. Thousands of developers use the Genesis Framework to build beautiful websites. It is also highly customizable. I currently use the “Foodie Pro” theme but will be changing my theme soon.
Step 4: Start Blogging! Ok, you probably need to spend a little bit of time poking around your new WordPress theme and figuring out how things work. But start blogging! Step 5: The Other Stuff I didn’t mention this earlier on because I wanted you to take those initial steps to get going. But there are some other “under the hood” things you’ll want to get in order at some point.
- Changing permalinks
- Backups – Just imagine losing all of your stuff. Shudder.
- Spam support
I’ll be circling back to write more about these.