How To Start Your Blog With A Bloody Great Bang!
You don’t have a blog yet? Everyone and their granny has a blog! You are so lucky I am here to teach you how to start your blog with a bang and look like a seasoned pro from the very start.
Update Sept 2016: How To Set Up Your WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes with Free PDF Version
There are blogs for every single niche (pronounced neesh if you’re speaking British English). If you are passionate about something, you have seen blogs and thought ‘I could totally do that’, or you saw some awesome Pinterest DIY projects you want to try, blogging is the PERFECT platform to share your passions and your views.
Most of all, I want to hear what you have to say, so let’s get started shall we?
Let’s Get This Party Started!
So you have an idea for a blog, or you’ve been thinking about starting one… it’s simple. Honest.
What are you passionate about?
You have to be passionate about something, enough to make post after post about a subject. What do you really care about?
That’s how you can realise your passion.
You should absolutely start your own blog. I want to hold your hand through the process. I want to show you how to start your blog, give you some awesome resources and some super secret advice about starting your blog with a bloomin’ great bang!
Have you thought about your business/blog name?
If you don’t quite know what you want to blog about, a good idea could be to use your name. I knew what I wanted my blog to be about, but it did take a day of good brainstorming, note taking and ruminating, to choose my own.
Related: How To Generate Ideas
The Nectar Collective have a great post if you think you need a little bit more help.
Melyssa is a great resource for small biz.
Once you have thought of a fabulous name for your small biz, check NameCheckr so you will know whether you can get access to the username across all social media channels, buy your domain and start registering your name on all the social media channels.
Find an easy to use platform.
WordPress looked a little overwhelming in the beginning but the menus are easy to use, and they have lots of free themes if you don’t feel like splashing out immediately.
However, I really recommend buying the Genesis framework and a great theme for the Genesis framework. The reason I went for genesis was this post from CopyBlogger about how it improved site speed by 72.2%. Sold!
You can buy themes for your blog too. Someone like Angie Makes is a great resource for themes, fonts and clip art.
Grab Your Domain Name
This is the easy part, trust me.
I had already purchased my domain before I had purchased my hosting, I wish I had been able to buy it all through the one company. It has ended up being about twice the cost. *grumble*
The good news for you is that you can get both through any hosting company that you choose! Domain names are free when you buy a hosting package through Bluehost.
While you are buying your domain, you can get yourself a little corner of the inter webs where you can have a bit more control over your content.
Where are you guna host this party?
Meaning that compared to the free blogging websites (that I used to be on), where your content is hosted on their servers and they can delete it whenever the heck they like, self-hosted content is the winner.
FYI, I haven’t actually come across anyone who has had their content removed (who was a legit blogger, to begin with).
Grab your hosting package of choice!
The most important thing in all of this: really Once you have familiarised yourself with your blogging platform of choice, you can start to add plugins, apps or whatever else you want to add.
Hang The Decorations!
A wee warning –
Try not to upload or use too many plugins as there is no actual need for a lot of the ones that exist. And it only takes one bad apple to spoil the cart.,
Also remember that every time you activate a new plugin on your site, it is taking up memory in your database that doesn’t get removed by simply deleting the plugin.
Be wary of how many plugins you decide to try and remember that little fact if your site starts to slow down.
It’s a bit like using blue tac to hang decorations, and sometimes you get marks on the wall.
Add Your Pretty Little Face on the sidebar
Who goes to a party without knowing who the host is?
Ok plenty of people, but when they get to the party, it’s pretty standard to meet the host. Right? (I’m not exactly what you would call a social butterfly).
Include a little info about you and a little blurb of text to say what your blog has to offer someone like me!
Use your voice
Using my voice is something I have struggled with in the past.
It’s easy to get caught up in self-doubt, asking yourself ‘why the heck anyone would want to read something you have to say?’, well it turns out people do want to hear your opinions. Otherwise, it’s all a little bit bland and samey. Y’kno?
The party goers (blog readers) are going to want to hear what YOU think and how you feel about your chosen topic of party mingling conversation.
If you struggle with this, there is a great article over at MYNYDD… that teaches you how to be that bit more authentic. I’m in the process of learning how to do this myself.
Make Your Reader Want More!
Offer something of substance in return for an e-mail address.
An opt-in box is ‘a sign me up to the newsletter’ box!
Great opt-in forms are always impressive and can help you collect those e-mails.
Do a bit of research, find the style of opt-in form that you like and implement it (usually via a plugin or some swanky code)
building an email list is one of the cheapest, most cost-effective solutions for keeping in touch with your readers and potential future customers.
When’s the best time to get started?
Don’t wait for a “bribe.” Don’t wait for things to look perfect. Start building your email list today.
You can create your “bribe” (free download) after you’ve put an opt-in form in a prominent place on your site.
Not just in the sidebar; people are becoming immune to the attraction of the sidebar unless they’re after something specific.
Who hosts a party and doesn’t even show their face or meet any of the guests?!
Be present on your blog and social media.
Respond to people, engage and offer some value to their lives. For example, on this blog alone I have Free Craft Magazines (seriously, totally free), a free budget home decor guide and several checklists designed to help you out with your social media and online presence.
Who hosts a great party without planning it?! Nobody, it’s not exactly possible. Some degree of planning has to go into everything, and if you want that bloody great bang, you will want to get organised.
I use Evernote premium for almost everything blog related and then Trello is used as an editorial calendar AND project management! I will go into this more at a later date. I do recommend Evernote; it’s ideal for saving drafts and editing on different computers, tablets and phones.
Related: How To Use Trello To Organize Your Entire Life
And don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed about it. Seriously.
Sure, party planning can be stressful but here are a few things I’ve learned;
Ignoring a big page of stuff to do is the best! In all seriousness, I’ve had chronic medical conditions my entire life and have had limited energy because of them. Every single task I undertake has to be broken down into small, manageable tasks. I look at them as tiny little road bumps.
I celebrate EVERY SINGLE WIN! Woot woot! You should too!
I’ve set SMART goals for about six years now. (Small Measurable Attainable Relevant TimeBound =Awesome). Sure, there are some days/weeks that I just can not get it together, and I lie in front of the TV like a zombie. Less concerned with brains, more interested in bread OR chocolate chips and a jar of peanut butter with a long sundae spoon (my vegan version of peanut butter cups that requires zero preparation). NOM
You wana know something, though?
On those days, I do not feel guilty about taking a break. At all.
Breaks from your work are important and help your brain to get the rest it needs. I’ve also found that mindfulness meditation helps me crush my goals.
Make It Easy for people to Contact You
I want to thank the excellent party host! Where can you be reached?
- What’s in a name? Choose your blog/business name
- Register a domain and purchase a hosting package
- Write some posts and remember to be as authentic as possible. Use your voice to share your opinions.
- Get organised!
- Make your reader want more! Offer a freebie, share some love or your fave resources.
- Start your email newsletter immediately.
- Show us your beautiful face – stick it in the sidebar! You’re the host of this party!
- Post Consistently to both your blog and social media channels
- Meditate if you feel overwhelmed or find yourself a tribe and get talking to people in your same situation. I’m always here if you need to chat or implode. Whatever Trevor. I’m down with that.
- Celebrate every single win!
- Let’s flipping do this!!!
The Awesome Resources Mentioned In This Post:
- The Nectar Collective, how to choose a great business name
- NameCheckr to see if your chosen name is available
- The Genesis Framework for WordPress
- Angie Makes creates excellent themes and clip art for blogs.
- The post I read that convinced me to buy the Genesis Framework at CopyBlogger
- Great Hosting Companies – WPEngine, TSOHost and Bluehost.
- You can outsource work to freelancers, and you can find freelancers on sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
- Use programs like Trello and Evernote to stay organised and keep you on track.
- How to be more authentic when writing your blog posts.
We are the new 24-hour party people!
And you know something else?
I’m totally here for you!
You can leave a comment, you can e-mail me, you can get in touch with social media or reply to one of the newsletters!
Bring it in!
One more thing I want to know, what has stopped you starting your blog?
Do you have any questions at all? If you want to discuss anything just drop me a link. (info at hearthandmade dot co dot uk)
And Finally, Disclaimer Time:
To view all the fantastic linky parties that I link up too, please click here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this by the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”