So you’re thinking of starting a blog…. you just have no idea where to start?! I recently attended a workshop on building an online business; I actually learn a lot about building a presence online in general and a lot of the information applied to blogging. I decided to write this post, based on what I learnt, as an easy guide about where to start… Basically, how I would do it, if I were to start again tomorrow…
1. Choosing a name and finding the URL
First things, first; what are you going to call your blog?! Just as important though, you want to check if the corresponding URL (domain name) is available for purchase. It’s also worth checking if the social media handles are available too – all of which you can do via…
– The Name App (www.thenameapp.com)
I purchased a .com domain for keep it simpElle as I wanted my blog to be a global site rather than just a UK based blog with a .co.uk. The .com and .co.uk are the only domains with real authority which mostly matters if you are looking to start a business.
2. Choose WordPress (.org) to start a blog
When I first wrote this post my blog was actually hosted on Blogger. I’m sure I had my reasons for choosing Blogger when I started out all those years ago, but should I to choose again, WordPress (.org, not .com) is the way to go. The main reason for this is that YOU own your site! 25% of all websites are created on WP including Beyonce and Marks & Spencer’s For Business. WordPress is fully customisable which in the long term is a great benefit. With such a large community, and 40k+ plug ins available someone will most probably have already thought of what you needed already!
UPDATE 8.12.18: It’s been almost a year now since I made the move over to WordPress and honestly, it’s the best decision I have ever made when it comes to blogging. The process was a breeze as I used Pipdig to do it all for me. I purchased the migration package around the New Year and it included a free theme. I’m hosted on SiteGround with whom I have had no issues to date. They also provide you with FREE email for your site that matches your domain… which can actually be a game changer down the road.
3. Pick your hosting company wisely
Number one tip here is to not buy your hosting through a web designer as they are merely acting as a middle man. This means that should they not pay their bill, your website will go down. It also means they will have a lot of access / control over your site continually.
Ask friends for recommendations and read reviews. A couple that have come recommended to me include United Hosting and Zen Hosting. Your hosting should cost around £4 – £5 per month.
UPDATE 8.12.18: I’m hosted on SiteGround as they came recommended by Pipdig. Although I highly recommend them for your first year of hosting, be aware that they significantly hike up prices for subsequent years.
Update 12.6.19: So I switched hosting in February with PipDig and after the whole PipDig fiasco my hosting was transferred directly to Kualo. So far they have been nothing short of amazing responding to my queries so damn quick. Today I transferred my domain to them also after my GoDaddy renewal fees seemed to be going through the roof each time! Think I get two email addresses with my Kualo hosting so that is a bonus and they promise not to hike up the prices. Win!
4. Set Up Google Analytics
This is the industry standard for checking your statistics. It’s not all about how many hits you get though. It’s great to be able to know who’s reading your blog – men or women, what age?, where are they located? and even, where do they go after landing on your blog? I’ve found with blogging, you end up getting a huge bounce rate (the % of people who leave your blog after the page they landed on) due to posting a single post at a time. I have used Link Within at the bottom of all my posts which suggests further reading after each post.
5. When I first find a blog, I go straight to the About page
This is what I do. I love to know who it is I am reading about. I think it’s a good idea to add a picture, a little about who you are, what your blog is about and how people can contact you should they wish to share feedback with you or want to work with you! I read somewhere that it’s a PR’s nightmare when they can’t find contact details! Even if you just set up a new email account like keepitsimpElle@gmail.com (this isn’t an actual account by the way so don’t use it!) so you can keep your blog emails separate!
Erm, so all that’s left now is to decide what the hell to write for your first post?! Click here to read mine!
Are you thinking of writing a blog?! What would you write about?!
If you’re already in the game, what do you wish you knew before you started blogging?!