So, you want to start a blog, but you have no idea where to start? Don’t worry, I was in your exact position and let me tell you, I was in WAY over my head. I’m going to do my best to make this easy to understand (because I still have no idea what I’m doing), so here goes nothing. For starters, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is are you interested in a free blog or would you like to invest in one? What’s the difference you ask? Let me (try to) explain.
If you’re interested in having a free blog, then right off the bat you need to understand the following:
- You will not own your blog. Whether you choose a platform like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, (etc.) these platforms have the ability to delete your blog at any given time. Regardless of how much content you post or the fact that you created it; it does not belong to you. Think of it like Instagram. Even though we create our own handles and maintain our feeds, it all belongs to Instagram. I’m sure you’ve heard of Instagram accounts being deleted, right? Well, same goes for a free blog. Poof, gone forever! Deleted. Vanished into thin air with the click of a button.
- Your URL will not be cute. Have you ever visited a blog and that looks like this, “thebestblogever.blogspot.com” or “thebestblogever.tumblr.com” The downfall of this, is it’s less professional looking than “thebestblogever.com”. Which is totally fine if you’re looking to blog for a hobby. However, if you are wanting to fully monetize your blog with a professional look, you must create and pay for your own domain (domain is the URL of your website). For example, the URL of Facebook is Facebook.com or Instagram’s is Instagram.com.
Now, why would someone want to start a free blog? Maybe writing is a hobby and you’d like to use it for a journal, or perhaps it’s therapeutic for you. There are endless reasons to start a free blog, so I won’t go on and on. But mostly a free blog is something you don’t have to commit to, it’s fun for you, and of course it’s free.
Why would someone want to pay for a blog? This option is for those who consider blogging more than a hobby, and would like it to be a potential business. Like any new business, there will be start up and ongoing costs. Time to get your funds ready! But wait, what exactly are you paying for? Good question! Here are a couple:
- Domain. Domain simply means URL of your website. Remember I told you Facebook’s domain is Facebook.com or Instagram’s domain is Instagram.com. Like any business, you’ll have to come up with a name for your blog and this will eventually be your domain. All domains must be registered and this can be done through Godaddy.com, Namecheap, or iPage (this is who I’m registered through). Rates will depend from company to company.
- Hosting. Hosting means the company that puts your site on the internet so people can see it. Such as, Godaddy, iPage, or WordPress. Be sure to browse the different plans and select one that works for you (I use WordPress). Soon you will be on your way to actually designing your blog with hundreds of themes and plugins to choose from to make it truly unique!
Now listen, I know this is information OVERLOAD, trust me…I get it. The night I decided to start up my blog I tried to understand all of this in less than 24 hours. What in the HELL was I thinking?! I was clicking all sorts of shit left and right and entering my credit card number in a few extra spots than necessary. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. If you take anything away from this post, please take away this: if you have ZERO web developing skills, I highly recommend hiring a web designer.
I know what you’re thinking, “How hard can it be to start a website?” I definitely thought I could just google and YouTube it, but boy was I wrong. I thought the same thing and I learned from my (BIG) mistakes. If you’ve started a website on your own, then good for you. You are more tech savvy than I. After I hit all sorts of dead ends, I was introduced to the best web designer I could have ever asked for. If your goal is to have a professional design like www.justpeachy.co or my blogger babe Holly from www.teachmestyle.com, then you should probably seek professional help.
Our blogs were both created by Brandon Wu and his team from Strategy Lab. Brandon completely cleaned up my disastrous mess and left me with a sparkly clean looking blog ready for content to be published! A web designer will do the set-up for you (and more), so you don’t have to force yourself to understand the lingo. Does any of the following terminology make sense to you: HTML, CSS, CMS, DNS, bandwidth, metadata, scripting and codes?! If it doesn’t (and trust me there is a lot more to understand) then you are just like me! Web design is NO joke if you have no experience with it. Leave it to the professionals!
In a short period of time I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined about blogging and I’m constantly researching and trying to educate myself further. I’ve come a long way, but it’s still an uphill battle to understand the back end of a website. And maybe I never will, but that’s why there’s help. When I started my beauty business, my entrepreneur mentor told me, “Do what you do best, and hire the rest.” From the beginning I should’ve sought out professional help, but I learned the hard way. Siiigh.
I know this post is stupidly long, but I’ve but only grazed the surface. I’m sure plenty of you will have more questions, but I can’t answer it all in one day and maybe I don’t even have the answers. I will slowly try to do more of these posts that go into greater detail, but for now this is a good start.
Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!
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