Getting Started With A Blog
What I wish I knew before I started blogging!
1. The Name Matters
Pick a name that you’ll love forever…if you become a blogging sensation overnight you don’t want to have to rebrand later! Pick something that fits you and can grow with you. For example “Mom of Tots” is only going to last for so long…eventually, you’ll become “Mom of Preteens” then “Mom to College Kids” then “Grandma of Tots”….see how it’s important that your name be generic enough to grow with you.
Grab a sheet of paper and start brainstorming names….but don’t settle on one just yet.
2. Make Sure Your Name is Available
If you’re serious about writing a successful blog then you’re going to need your own domain name. Having your own domain name means you have YourBlogName.com….this is important when working with brands and just looking professional. So once you’ve chosen a name go make sure that it’s available. It’s very simple to check the availability….just go here, click on “Sign Up” in the center of the screen, and input your chosen name in the box.
If it’s available GREAT! If not, try try again till you find a name that is available….but DON’T purchase it yet! Just leave the window open and move on to the next step.
3. Make Sure the Social Media Handles are Available
Now that you have a name you need to make sure that the social media handles are available. Now, here’s where you have a chance to decide whether you want to brand yourself on your social media sites or brand yourself as your blog. Whichever you choose you want to make sure that ALL of your social media sites match…the only exception is Facebook. On Facebook you’ll want a fanpage with your blog name.
The reason you want all of your social media to match is so that people can easily find you on any channel. For example, you can find me pretty much everywhere under the screen name MelissaLlado….because I branded myself on social media. When I first started I was all over the place….on Twitter I was @SerendipitySp, on Pinterest I was @SerendipitySpic, on Instagram I was @SerendipityandSpice….it was confusing for people.
Once you find a variation that’s available across all platforms go ahead and make your accounts and secure them….at the minimum you should get Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram….along with a Facebook fanpage. Hint: Use different passwords for each account and write them down in a notebook so you’ll always have them.
4. Decide on hosting
Now that you have decided on your blog name and your social media names you’ll want to decide on hosting BEFORE securing your domain name. Why? Because many hosting companies offer a free domain name when you buy a year of hosting.
So why do you need hosting when there are free sites to build a blog on?
Because you don’t want to use one of those free sites! Yeah they’re free but they come at a price….they own your content and can shut you down at any time for any reason. Besides, a majority of brands prefer to work with bloggers who are self-hosted. Don’t worry…being self-hosted is not as scary as it sounds. You can be completely HTML illiterate and be fine.
Now, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the hosting sites available but take some time and compare the different plans to see what’s best for you. Personally, I love FatCow for starting out– it’s cheap and is everything you need to get started easily! They have a sale going on right now where you can get hosting for just $3.15 a month…which is ridiculous….most hosting companies cost about $100 a year…with FatCow you’ll get the whole year PLUS a free domain name for less than $50!
I’ve also used Bluehost which is another cheap alternative to hosting. Both FatCow and Bluehost offer simple WordPress setups with their service as well. Literally, all you have to do is follow the instructions, click a button and WordPress.org is installed on your hosting plan. Then they send you email instructions for accessing your dashboard…easy peasy!
Once you find a host that fits your needs go ahead and buy your hosting and domain.
Congratulations….you’re done with Step 1 of creating a successful blog!
Up Next: Lesson 2- Designing Your Blog