The thing that I hear the most when someone finds out that I have a blog is, “oh I’ve thought about starting one of those”. There’s so many types of blogs ranging from sports to all natural menstrual cycle relief. It’s a world that is open to all and then some. Even the loonies are welcome in the blog world, that’s how I got here.
But how do you start a blog?
First you need to figure out what platform you want to use to blog with. The two major ones are Blogger and WordPress. Blogger will soon be renamed to Google Blogs but it will be the same. The major difference depends on what you are looking to do with your blog. Blogger is a free blog service. Since it is free it will mostly benefit those who are looking to do a family blog or slowly enter the world of blogging before deciding if they want to go more pro with it. It is easy to use and you don’t have to know any coding or internet lingo. It’s free and simple. To clarify there are two WordPress platforms. There is WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a free blogging service like Blogger. I used Blogger when I started blogging and I know how easy to use so I would recommend it but I have never used WordPress.com. For the rest of this article we’ll be referring to WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is simply a platform… nothing else. It is self hosted which means that you are going to have to find a server to host all your information on. This is a great option for those who know that they want a professional blog from the start or to use for a business. The options in WordPress are limitless. WordPress uses templates to build your site, which are layouts of how your finished page will look that you fill in the information for. There are some free templates you can use or very nice ones that you can buy. The pro to this is that you get the exact page that you are wanting with many options to choose from. The con is that you pay for someone to host your site, for a template, and if you don’t know coding then you will have to pay someone for that too.
Now that you hopefully have a platform picked out it’s time to get designing. No one goes to a blog hoping to see nothing. You need designs. It can be simple like C. Jane (I love hers) or complex like my favorite Pioneer Woman. Kristi from Frugally Thrifty was telling me tonight about how she did almost all her designs herself using a combination of Microsoft Paint and Picnik (a free photo editing website). Of course if you have Photoshop, that will help as well. I’m hoping to post soon about how to get started on Photoshop. All my graphics were made by myself on photoshop. You can also buy headers for cheap on Etsy or use a template you can find online.
Once you get your designs plugged into your templates don’t forget to add some social media and personal contacts. People want to know how and where to follow you on the web. If you want to grow your blog, it’ll help if you give them these options. If you just want to keep it a family blog then you won’t need these.
Now it’s time to start writing or chronicling. Content is King is a very popular saying in the blog world. If content is King than Consistency might be the Queen. Pick a day to post and meet that weekly goal or post daily. Whatever you want to do, do it on schedule so people know what to expect when they read your blog.
There’s so many more things that could be said about blogging. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, it’s just the first frozen snowflake to land.
The number one piece of advice I can give to you is that it’s your blog, do what YOU want to do but do it well. The second piece of advice is to find a group of bloggers to learn from and lean on. It’ll be an invaluable tool to use as you grow. If you’re in Houston than check out the Houston Blogging Chicks. We might be chicks but we do have the occasional rooster pop in.