I have something a little bit different for you in this post. I have received a few emails since launching Polished Purposeful Pretty from you, asking how to start your own blog. So I thought I would share a basic rundown on how it all works in the early days.
Words like, traffic, clicks, visitors and views don’t mean much to someone who isn’t interested or involved in blogging but for those of us who manage, own or run a website or blog these words can totally make or break your mood. I was explaining to a friend how a particular post ‘went boonters’ the other day so I was in a fab mood and feeling really positive! Her reaction kind of surprised me, she said .’oh. can you see who visits your blog?’. I thought about it after and realized, of course she wouldn’t know that a very important aspect of running a successful blog is tracking your stats so you know what people love to read and what topics don’t do as well in terms of traffic. Why would she!? I certainly didn’t know any of what I know now before launching my first website years ago.
With an excruciating amount of trial and error and many many late night-ers, I have sifted through the overload of information and have found the easiest, and quickest way to create a Weblog, without spending a mint. The amount of informational web tutorials and websites that are out there to help someone start a website, to be completely honest, is OBSURD! The problem is that not one of them offers even similar advice to the next. The only thing I found them to have in common is that they all expect that a fairly high level of existing knowledge amongst readers. So I was stuck at square one for a very long time. My poor Fiance had to deal with my mind being else-where for a good 12 months (and still occasionally now when I hit a hurdle)
(note: I have used wordpress.com)
Firstly if you have no idea what CSS, PHP or HTML is, then you will need to choose a website hosting platform like WordPress.com (different to WordPress.org) or Blogger. Basically, with WordPress.com or Blogger (there are many others but these two, in my opinion, are the most ‘user friendly’ so to speak) you can focus on the look and content of your site and let them handle the rest. It is, however a good idea to learn a bit of basic CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) because there are customization options that require a little knowledge on your behalf!
If you are about to walk away after reading that, have no fear! There are really useful coding forums online. (honestly, I am completely self-taught and have learnt so much on these forums)
Secondly, you need to set up your site. Make sure you come up with a site name before anything else and check that the domain is available. This is a fairly simple step and an option you can choose as part of the initial set-up if you are using on of the two platforms I suggested. You can purchase yourself a domain (about $18 a year and totally worth it) or use the free WordPress option which would look like – http://www.[YOURBLOGNAME].wordpress.com.
With all of that done you can now pretty up your new home! Customizing your site is the fun part but it can get extremely complicated and messy if you let it. Keep it simple to begin with while you are learning and use a free template. I am using the Sela Theme here but I have used a little CSS customization to change the aspects that I didn’t like or didn’t flow well for me. (once again don’t worry about this first up) The best advice I have ever been given is ‘readers will come back for good content, not a pretty looking site that.’ Remember white space can be a good thing, you don’t want to much going on all over your page, because that isn’t appealing to the eye and will send your readers packing.
Create your content. I would suggest drafting 3-4 posts prior to posting! This way you can get a feel for the type of blog you want to have and once you start posting you will have a few others lined up if you need to spend a few days setting up photos and logos etc. I would suggest that you get Photoshop/ Illustrator so you are able to have the right size pictures for your template to – this is not essential but can make life alot easier. You can find out all about your template specs on the WordPress.com support pages (just google [YOUR THEME NAME] wordpress support) You will most likely feel like you are trawling these pages for the first little while until you get the hang of it so make sure you bookmark them for easy access.
Now for the scary part. Launch your site on your social media – SO ALL YOUR LOVED ONES CAN READ YOUR THOUGHTS!! This was the hardest part for me, but once I received some positive feedback I knew I was onto a good thing!
And voila you now have yourself a basic blog page! I hope this very short tutorial helps you and please leave any questions in the comments below!