Create your blog – Blogger Beginnings Series – The Mum Blog SA
September 22, 2017
So you’ve asked yourself the questions and taken a quick look at all the terms, now it’s time for some action. Here are a few quick and easy steps to get your blog off the ground.
Choose a hosting site
A hosting site (see Blogging Glossary for more on definitions) puts your files on their servers. Your website is just a bunch of files that need to be placed in a folder that is connected to the internet. You are paying the hosting site to do all this technical stuff for you!
Choose & register your domain name
Your domain name is an important part of your blog, simply because this is how people will be able to access your site. Your domain name is featured in your blog’s url. When choosing a domain name, aim for something that’s easy to remember and unique as well as descriptive eg. www.howstuffworks.com.
Try registering your domain with your hosting provider using trustworthy extensions like “.com”,”.org” or “.net” Registration differs from host to host. Basically, you will be asked to choose a package, as a blogger I suggest that you choose a basic package for now. Most hosts allow you to chop and change things around quite easily, so you can come back later and add things to your site.
WordPress is great! My site uses wordpress as well. On Bluehost, you receive the option of Auto Installing WordPress on setup. If you’re with Afrihost, like I am, you will have to log into your cPanel with the credentials provided to you and thereafter install wordpress through the softalicious app installer on your dashboard. Please take note of the username and password that you set for wordpress when installing. You should receive an email with your login credentials as well.
Upon first installation of wordpress, you should be asked to pick a theme – pick any one, you can always change this at a later stage! Once you have successfully set up your wordpress account, the fun begins!
Customizing your blog
Log in to your wordpress administrator account which usually holds this url: www.yourdomain.com/wp/wp-admin.
WordPress features over 2000 free themes that can be customized! You have plenty of options and if this still doesn’t tickle your tastebuds, you can always purchase a premium theme – but more on that in another blog post, hopefully.
On your administrative dashboard, you will see a menu pane on the left. Once you find it, you will find the menu option “Appearance”. Another menu will become visible underneath the word which should feature “themes”, “customize”,”widgets” and so on. Click on themes.
Here you will find your already installed themes, if you want an entirely new one, click on “Add new” at the top of the screen.
Browse through the themes, and try them out with the preview button and activate the one that you’re most happy with. Don’t worry, this change is NOT PERMANENT. You can always change your theme easily again.
Install a few plugins – too many plugins can slow your site down!
• WordPress SEO by Yoast is the defacto standard SEO plugin for WordPress.
• Google Analytics by Yoast allows you to track your blog’s traffic easily and with lots of interesting data: overall traffic, traffic sources, views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and pageviews.
• Jetpack by WordPress.com is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your self-hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of WordPress.com.
• Mailchimp is great for building your mailing list. Its free if you have under 2000 subscribers.
The process to install plugins & widgets are the same as to install new themes.
WRITE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST
It’s time to take write your first blog post. Head over to the left menu again and click on posts. Select add new.
Fill in your post title and type out your post. If you have installed the Jetpack plugin, you can use the wordpress desktop app to login for a more visual editor.
If you would like to add a picture to your post, click the add media button that is located underneath the post title on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen, choose a category (add a new category for your post, the default category is “uncategorized”.) Add tags to your post as well, this is different from a category. Tags are keywords that are used to describe all or part of your post. (For a better understand, read Blogging Glossary.
Once you have proof read your post and are happy with it, hit publish!
MESS AROUND WITH IT UNTIL YOU’RE HAPPY
You’ve successfully created your blog (theme & all) and published your first post. Now, you can fiddle around with widgets, graphics and even add more pages to your blog. The process to creating more pages is the same as creating more posts. Go ahead and create a logo for your blog, change the colours, layouts and whatever else you want until you are proud and happy with the result!
PROMOTE YOUR BLOG
Creating a well-designed blog and writing great content is just the start. In order to get readers for your blog you will need spend some time promoting it, especially when you first start.
Social media is a great way to promote your blog. You can create a facebook page for your blog (connect your wordpress blog to facebook and it will send your latest posts to this page automatically – the Jetpack plugin makes this easier), you can create google+, pinterest and even Instagram pages.
The great thing about social media is that not only do your friends see the link, but if your friends share the link with their friends it automatically multiplies your readers. If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is a great way for your blog to go viral.
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.
Simone Gobin is a 24 year old, it graduate, wife to Avi and mother to Yash & Ralee Gobin. She spends her days being a mother and a wife. She has decided to start a blog as a creative outlet as well as connect with other parents. Her belief is that there is a lot to learn from other parents out there and she welcomes all advice possible.