So you want to start a blog. I don’t blame you. I did too. From the time I first thought about starting a blog until I actually bit the bullet and did it was about 6 months. During that time I scoured the internet looking for guides, how to’s, information that would unlock some secret to success. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I am here to share with you all the information I wish I’d had when I first started!
Domains and Taglines
Probably the most important element of your site will be your domain name. This will also be the name of your site. It will become your brand. You should love it. The kind of love that you feel when getting married. Now of course you can change your name and rebrand later, but that’s a lot of work and not without it’s own set of challenges. When you are brainstorming you name I suggest writing down all the things you want to do with your site. Are you going to focus on cooking? Crafting? Home Decor? Business? Do you want to sell a product? Fitness? Health? Lifestyle? Whatever you want to focus on you are going to want something that fits in with your long term goals. For me this was the hardest part of the whole process. I spent weeks and weeks kicking around ideas with my husband. This is important. You will need someone who’s opinion you value and who isn’t afraid to tell you that your idea is dumb. Now this doesn’t mean that you are trying to please someone else entirely, but you do need someone who can put some perspective on this process for you. In the beginning I was dead set on Macaroni & Glitter. My husband vetoed it immediately. I was mad, sad, hurt and pouty. But as time went on I realized that he was right. Macaroni & Glitter might have been catchy and cutesy, but long term it was going to leave me feeling childish. My kids aren’t going to be little forever and I wanted my blog name to be something that could evolve with me over time.
After you’ve picked your domain name you need to decide where you want to host. If you choose to do a WordPress site you will need to pay for hosting through a company. There are a lot of companies out there and from what I know they all do pretty much the same thing for about the same price. At least in the beginning when you don’t need to worry about being on a shared server. I chose BlueHost initially and I have been with them for over two years now. I have no complaints and any time I have ever needed to call customer service (like the one time I accidentally broke my blog) they were amazingly fast, courteous and easy to work with. I recommend them whole heartedly and if you are still debating who to do your hosting with check them out! The link below is an affiliate link so I will receive a small commission if you do sign up with them. That’s called monetization, and I’ll get to that below.
Once you have your domain name, and you’ve picked out your hosting it’s time to build that blog! Initially when you install WordPress it will automatically install the newest versions of their default themes. Themes are what give your site their unique layout. You can choose if you want a sidebar on the right, on the left, both sides, or not at all. You can choose if you want a custom header and logo or if you want the simple words provided by your default theme. There are about a billion themes to choose from and you can filter them by a lot of different features. Don’t get hung up on colors or small details those you can change later in the html, this is a time to focus on big picture stuff. Does the layout suit your needs? Does it fit your goal? Do you like the overall look and feel?
Headers, Buttons and Logos
Once you have your theme picked out and installed you are going to need to design your logo. Ideally you want something that you can use a variation of for your button, for advertising and for social media. This means you don’t necessarily want something that is 1000px wide and only 200px tall. If graphic design is something you enjoy and are good at play around with your design. This is the first thing people will see when they click over to your site and you want it to be a reflection of who you are and what you have to offer. You want something that is easy to read and gives people a feel for your brand. Now if the thought of pixels, font pairings and graphics scare you I strongly urge you to hire someone to do this part for you. There are a lot of really talented graphic designers out there who can create the perfect image for you! And just so you know that no one gets it perfect right out the gate, here in all it’s glory is the evolution of my own brand. Don’t judge…
Now that I’ve given you a good basis for getting started make sure you go read Part 2!