Let’s talk about blogging. Everyone knows what a blog is, but does everyone know how to start one? I sure didn’t. I started my blog on a simple platform, yet it still overwhelmed me.
When I started my blog I wish I knew…
Your domain name, hosting, and platform are all very different things.
This is something I struggled to get my head around and it was only recently I discovered what ‘hosting’ actually meant. I started my blog on Weebly and while this is a very user friendly platform, it had many limitations. I recently decided to change over to WordPress.org and due to my technical inabilities, it was a long and complicated process! The positive was, I learnt so much along the way!
The domain name ie. thethingis.co.nz is simply like the address of a house. You can buy this from a domain site or from a hosted platform. I purchased mine from Weebly when I first started and then transferred it over to WordPress.
Your host is the server in which your blog (and all the files that come with it) will be stored. There are many companies that provide this service such as BlueHost, GoDaddy and SiteGround. I personally chose to go with Siteground as I knew people who had good experiences with them. Their instant live chat service is a game changer. I started a chat probably about 10 times in one week and everytime, without a doubt, they helped me out! If you are thinking about setting up a blog, I would highly recommend going to their site, clicking ‘Our Support’ and starting a pre sales enquiry live chat and ask them any questions you have!
The platform you choose is essentially the face of your blog. Your hosting site will allow you to Install WordPress.org as the platform. From there you can install a theme and make it your own! Sites such as Weebly, Wix etc are what you call Hosted Platforms. The provide an all in one deal – your domain, hosting and platform. This is how I started and in terms of being user friendly, it was great. However, there are several restrictions on customisation and functionality, hence why I ended up migrating my blog to WordPress.org!
The main thing I can say is do your research before starting a blog! Read up on all the options and ask other bloggers lots of questions.
Having a well-designed blog does not need to cost you an arm and a leg
When I first started my blog I used to think ONE DAY I will pay someone to make my blog look amazing. The thing is…. when you start a blog it is unlikely that you will have a ton of money to spend on it. I sure didn’t! I recently learnt that using a theme can create a great looking blog. I used to think that I was only able to get my blog laid out the way I wanted if I paid a designer. I am in no way discrediting web designers, as they are flipping fab, and one day I may be able to afford one, BUT until then, I love the amount of aesthetically pleasing WordPress themes available! I spent hours looking through them on Etsy, and the one I chose cost $50. It is fully customisable, and consists of many different layout options.
Purchasing the latest gear is not necessary to create good content
It’s not about the camera you own, it’s what you do with it! When I started my blog, I immediately thought that I needed a new camera! For all my content I use Canon 1100d, an old model, but it has been great! And while there may come a time when an upgrade is necessary, learning to use a camera well and to be creative with angles, lighting and editing is more important than spending heaps of $$ on a top-of-the-range model.
Don’t stress about perfection
I remember being so stressed about not being able to “find my niche” in the blogging world while this does have importance, don’t stress about it. Over time you will learn what you are most passionate about because it will be what you WANT to post about the most. It will come naturally. It is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing and how they are doing it. Don’t start doing something just because everyone else is doing it, as I truly believe people will just see right through that. Remember, when people are reading your blog it is because they are interested in what you have to say, or seeing what content you have created…Let your personality shine through! Be authentic.
There you have it. The things I wish I knew before I started my blog! There are still SO many things I want to learn so I am sure there will be another post like this in the future. I also want to hear from YOU! What are some things you have learnt about blogging?