I’ve had a few messages from people recently saying that I’ve inspired them to start writing which is just about the best compliment ever. So I thought I’d put together a post on the basics of getting started with a blog, and as I recently rebranded it’s all still fairly fresh in my head.
When I rebranded my blog I knew I was ready to step away from WIX and pop my content onto WordPress, but that’s as far as my knowledge went. I am not a technical wizard (as most of you will probably know) but after lots of research and general confusion, I got there in the end. So I’m taking the confusion bit away so you’re left with the how to bc I’m nice like that.
This how-to is based around WordPress as after a great deal of digging and comparisons this came out on top as being the easiest CMS (content management system) for blogging. And I can confirm it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Self-hosted or not
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to go self-hosted or not. Here are the pros and cons for both, hopefully explained in a non-confusing way! As I for one did not know there were two versions of WordPress…
WordPress.com aka the free version
Pros: It’s free and you don’t need to purchase hosting or a domain and you can sign up with a WordPress domain and start writing straight away.
Cons: You can’t install plugins (SEO packs/fonts etc) you won’t be able to monetise your blog by placing ads on your site, you get a lower amount of storage and you are limited on themes and customisation.
Summary: WordPress.com is a good place to find your feet when you first start blogging. If you want to ease yourself in and aren’t fussed about making money from your blog or fiddling about with lots of customisation, I’d suggest WordPress.com.
WordPress.org aka self-hosted
Pros: Fully customisable, you own the site, you can make changes to the look and feel, you can download themes and place ads on your site.
Cons: You have to purchase your own domain and hosting plan, plus some of the themes (aka the layout) will have to bought separately too. So this approach is a little more expensive and a little more fiddly.
Summary: WordPress.org is what my site is run on and I would recommend this approach if you’re planning on taking blogging seriously/want to monetise your blog.
Tip: Most of the larger brands will only consider working with you if you are self-hosted, so bear this in mind when making your decision.
Picking your domain
If you’ve chosen the self-hosted option, here comes the biggest challenge of all, coming up with a catchy domain that captures what it is you’re writing about, aka the name of your blog.
Think of your domain as your address (in this case your web address) so mine, for example, is www.behindthefalselashes.com.
I bought mine from GoDaddy which was £14.20 for two years, you can also buy your domain from the same place as your hosting (I’ll get on to this in a mo) but it’s worth comparing a few sites, to see what works out cheaper.
I chose GoDaddy as it was slightly cheaper in this instance.
Tip: Make sure to check out if anyone else owns the .co.uk or .org version of your domain and also check the social handles for your domain too – as you’ll want to keep these the same for consistency.
Setting up your hosting
So if your domain is your address, hosting is the plot of land you’re building your house on (or blog in this case).
I’m hoping you’re all still with me and the house analogies!
My hosting is with a company called Siteground but there are plenty of options out there.
The three that WordPress recommend using are Siteground, Dreamhost or Bluehost. My hosting plan is the “start up” plan which cost me £35.40 for the year. This covers 10,000 monthly visitors (I wish!) and 10GB of storage – which is more than enough for me.
Picking a design theme
Now we have a domain and hosting, it’s time to go wild with the design. One of my bugbears with WIX was that it was fiddly and hard to get consistency across the whole site.
I wanted my new blog to look professional but at the same time, be easy to maintain and Pipdig’s gorgeous but simple designs more than ticked the box. As I paid for the migration service (I may do a follow-up blog on this if anyone is interested) my theme was free but I would 100% buy from Pipdig again.
The whole process was so smooth and they send you a mini manual of how to make changes to your blog once you have installed your theme- but to be honest I haven’t actually needed the manual as it’s so darn user friendly!
Their themes cost anywhere between £39 and £49 but in my opinion, are definitely worth the money. Once you’ve picked your theme and are happy with the colours and layout, it’s time to start writing!
Once you’ve bedded in with your blog – it’s time to get it seen! I’ve written a guide on how to grow your blog, so be sure to check that out next!
If you found this guide helpful and are thinking of getting into blogging/ or are considering a relaunch I’d love to see your sites when you’re finished so make sure to tag me! xo