Starting your own blog feels like rocket science?
Trust me, I had a similar impression.
After watching about a hundred tutorials, I wanted to scream — Where are all those people who said it was easy?!
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. *wink, wink*
And if I could do it with absolutely ZERO blogging skills prior making this blog — and no one to hold my hand meanwhile — it means everyone can do it.
Follow with me here as we explain how to make your own blog or website without feeling overwhelmed by everything!
1. Decide on CMS
CMS or Content Management System is what made blogging so popular.
Back in the day, building your own website meant being tech-savvy and knowing how to code. Now, making your own blog come to life is literally just a few clicks away.
All of them allow you to adjust the settings and manage content the way most suitable for you.
Pro tip: If you do decide on using WordPress, know that there’s a difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. The later one is where you download and install WP while the first one is where you log in to access your page.
2. Come up with an appropriate name
What do you want the address of your website to be?
Some people use their name — www.mynameandlastname.com
Others prefer using their company’s name or come up with a brand’s name — www.theextrovertedfreelancer.com.
If you don’t already have a specific name in mind, now would be a good time to come up with one. Usually, it’s not a bad idea to have the name represent what your business represents.
For example, let’s take The Extroverted Freelancer.
Contrary to popular belief, not all freelancers are introverts. Some of them are extroverted as me and find it extremely hard to be isolated from working at home.
Pro tip: You’d have to check whether your name is available to be used as a domain.
3. Decide on web hosting company
Each of those companies has several different plans to offer, ranging anywhere from free/basic/beginner to enterprise/pro and so on.
I personally use Bluehost and I’m happy with my hosting plan. Your goal is to find the one that works the best for you.
When I was buying my web hosting, I was looking at several things:
- Average uptime
- Available storage & bandwidth
- Number of domains available per each package
For beginners and small business owners, usually, the basic plan is more than enough to get started. Some of the basic plans include a free domain, depending on where you buy them. You can upgrade at any time.
Pro tip: Other bloggers associated as affiliate partners with certain web hosting companies usually have negotiated a nice discount for their audience. That’s how I managed to get quite a good deal.
4. Register your domain
Before doing anything, check whether the domain you want to use is available. You may be able to do this while signing up for your web hosting.
As far as the name of the domain goes, I’d recommend two options:
yourname.com or thenameofyourbrand.com.
Most of the time, the yourname.com should be available.
*unless you have a really, really common name*
If it’s not, you can consider adding additional information.
For example — mjohnsrealestate.com
I’d always choose for my domain to read something that makes sense and finishes with .com, .net or .org. Seems more trustworthy and professional in the eyes of the visitor.
Stay away from buying domains that are illogical or don’t sound appealing, such as:
Pro tip: Sometimes you may get a free domain with your web hosting purchase. Double check this before making a domain purchase at first.
5. Think about the visual side of things
The visual side of things is where I struggled the most. What can I say — I’m not a designer.
Think well. What do you want your website to look like? How do you want to convey yourself — or your company — as a brand?
Choose your color palette. Think about your logo. Settle down on a few fonts that you get to use throughout.
Then check out several other sites in your niche — the fastest and easiest way to decide what you like and don’t like.
Pro tip: Unless you’re a web developer or a web designer, work with a professional and save yourself a headache.
6. Build your website
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to build your website.
Here’s how to get started:
1) Download WordPress from wordpress.org — or check if your web hosting company offers a 1-click installation. *I went with Bluehost and they have this option*
2) Log in to WordPress — congratulations, now you’re there!
3) You’ll notice that your new website comes with a basic theme installed. You can keep this or choose a completely different theme. There are both paid and free themes available to choose from. I use the Divi Builder with the Extra theme.
5) Add plugins and widgets. Put most simply, plugins are like apps for WordPress. Widgets allow you to additionally customize the look of your website.
Pro tip: As I said, unless you’re highly skilled, save yourself some valuable time and hire someone to design and build the website for you.
7. Have the content ready
While your website is under construction, prepare the content.
Write down your web copy — or have someone else write it for you — following the design template.
Will there be a blog? Have at least several blog posts to publish.
Pro tip: Add a real picture from you in your About Page.
Here are a few other tips to bear in mind when making your first blog
1) Keep it simple — especially if you’re a beginner
2) Don’t skip your sitemap. There are WordPress plugins to help you with that. I used the Google XML Sitemap and I’m pretty happy with it.
3) Make and connect social media accounts to your website. Start posting relevant content on social media before your website is ready so there’s at least someone to visit it once it’s ready
4) Don’t be a perfectionist — everything can be edited and fixed later on.
Got any questions? Shoot me a message and get in touch, I’ll try and help!
Originally published at theextrovertedfreelancer.com on December 3, 2018.