There is a lot of confusing information out there when it comes to starting a blog and I just wanted to write something simpler for those of us that don’t know all the technical terms (like me) and share a little about how I started to blog and the things I understand and the things I still don’t have a clue about yet. I am by no means an expert, but if you’re looking for an easier way to navigate this often confusing world of blogging – then you’ve come to the right place.
My first piece of advice is to blog with a free account first and it doesn’t even have to be anything serious, just so you can get a feel for how it all works and if you like it. I had a free account on the platform “Blogger” and it was nothing like what I do now.. in fact, it was all based completely in a fictional world.. but I had that blog for a while and it gave me good insights into how you construct a post, how to add links and pictures and insert pretty things into your blog etc without any pressure. Think of your free blog as your playground of experiment, you don’t even have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to.. just somewhere you can mess around and try things out. I started on the Blogger platform, which is a little different from WordPress and I definitely recommend it as a starting point as it’s a lot less confusing.
I had the idea of making a more professional place to blog rattling around in my head for a while, but I was terrified. I really wanted to do it, but there’s a lot of unknowns when you start.. and it’s a lot of money to sink into something that just might not work out. I decided that I was just going to do it, the more I worried about it.. the more I kept putting myself off. I figured if I bought my blog domain name for 3 years, then I had 3 years to make it work, which is what I did. Nothing is successful overnight. Even with my free blog entirely based in fiction, it took a year before people started to notice my blog and offer me opportunities. I’m a bit harsh on myself at the moment, but I need to keep in mind that these things take time and as much as I want my blog to be successful from the get go, it’s just not going to happen like that.
So, with that said, my second piece of advice is to just go for it. If you’re not able to buy a domain straight away, then don’t worry about that.. just start.. you can always buy a domain down the line. That’s basically a fancy way of saying that you’re buying your blogs name, so it looks more professional and isn’t a free account. It also means you have a lot more freedom with what you do on your blog, because you paid for it.
There’s so much information about what place is best to pick for buying your domain and it was very confusing and often conflicting information. In the end, I just went with one that I’d heard a lot about, “Go Daddy” – I know lots of bloggers use “123 reg” but that was more expensive and I hadn’t heard of it outside of other bloggers using it. What I really liked about using “Go Daddy” is that they held my hand throughout making my blog. They didn’t make me feel stupid for not knowing what I was doing and talked to me via their online chat function, so I didn’t even have to phone and get muddled. I hate talking on the phone, but that’s a post for another day! They were super helpful and any questions I had they simplified their answer, as I requested, and above all, they treated me decently.. so I went with them and they helped set me up on WordPress.. which is something I had no idea about.
You can do all the research you want, but if you’re anything like me and you don’t understand all the terms and stuff, then it’s just going to put you off and make you more scared of dipping your toe in and just doing it. There’s still loads I have no idea about and I feel like every day I learn a little more.
It was as simple as that really. I did make sure I had some things in place before I went and registered myself with Go Daddy and paid out the money though. I made sure I had my blog name sorted and a logo created.. I made sure I knew where I was buying my theme from too, as I’m no coder and html scares me.. I wanted my blog to not look boring, so I had to pay for a professional looking theme too. Of course I needed to have an idea of what I wanted to write about too. I knew I wanted it to be my space to just talk and review things. I’ve not really thought of it as a business yet, but more of a hobby.. and with all hobbies, you need to sink a bit of money into it initially. Of course, if this turns into being more successful and ends up becoming a business then I’m going to be super happy. Right now, though, this is just something I like to do in my spare time (which I have a lot of!)
Another tip I have is to make sure you can get your social media platforms under the same name, so you’re easier to be found. Like my e-mail, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Bloglovin’ etc are all under the same name of: merkittyblog. I’ve even registered it with social media platforms I don’t even intend on using right now, like YouTube, I just liked to have the option in case I ever did.
There are many things I still don’t understand, like SEO, link up parties, blogger chats on Twitter, guest posting and probably loads more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.. but one day, hopefully I will understand and be able to share what I know.
I keep stressing that my blog isn’t as good as others I’ve seen, but I am trying to be kinder to myself.. their blogs probably didn’t start off how they look now and probably took a lot of time and effort to get to that point. So.. my final tip is to be kind to yourself. Everything isn’t going to be perfect, no matter how much you want it to be. My pictures are not the best, but I don’t have the best camera and I’m still learning how to lay things out and it’s going to be a journey before I’m satisfied with how things look. Lots of trial and error ahead.
Go forth and have fun and blog!