You know what to do before you get started, so now let's actually get started! Here are the things I look at when actually creating my blog into something!
- Decide your platform. This is probably one of the first big decisions to make when officially starting your blog. It is important to find a platform, or website to host your blog, that fits you. (Or you’ll be like me and jump around from ship to ship.) Keep in mind the platform is mainly your backbone to your blog, it is used to organize your posts and pages. Make sure to go to the sites that intrigue you and take a lot, maybe even set up an account to try it out. Here are a few of the platforms that I’ve used with my personal feedback:
- WordPress - This is what I currently use and probably one of the most popular ones out there. First thing is to know the difference between WordPress.ORG and Wordpress.COM. Both sites allow you to use a WordPress account that automatically logs you and your information in when commenting on yours and others WordPress Blogs.
- WordPress.ORG - If you’re pretty knowledgeable with hosting a blog with your own personal domain, or receive help from someone who does, I suggest using WordPress.ORG. (This does require you to purchase a domain and host, which requires some money.) This one allows the most customizable layout and options. It is best to be a bit knowledgeable with HTML, CSS, and PHP. (It took me some learning with trial and error, I self taught myself.) This one allows your to have your own domain name!
- WordPress.COM - If you’re unsure or don’t feel as comfortable with having/purchasing your own host and domain, then WordPress.COM is a good option. This is a FREE option and provide layouts to choose from with some options to play with.
- Blogger - This one is another popular option and is FREE, just requires a Google account. They have clean layouts you can customize and plenty of options to add to Headers, Footers, and Sidebars. Very organized with posts and some of your favorite bloggers use this platform, no matter how fancy their layout looks. You can use your knowledge with HTML and CSS to customize options and the layout to your liking. Your URL will be http://YOURNAME.blogspot.com or you can set up your own domain to your Blogger blog.
- Livejournal - FREE and paid accounts available here. When I used Livejournal, it was more of an online journal/diary. You can the option to make posts public, private, or viewable to only those who are your friends. You can even customize which friend groups can see which page. They have plenty of layouts to choose from and users who even post customized layouts they created. This one was the hardest to get used to when using HTML and CSS, but this is what I mainly learned with. (Made Blogger and Wordpress easier for me.)
- Tumblr - Considered more of a Tumble blog that allows you to post pictures, words, videos, links, conversations, and more. Users can choose to follow you and like or reblog posts they like. This is a more free and open blog posts that can be very minimal and quick. Commenting options are widely used here and most users just see your posts in their main page, they may or may not see your layout and view it that way. I use this more for posting pictures that I enjoy and can refer back to. You can add commenting with Disquis and other commenting platforms, but that requires some setting up knowledge.
- Design your blog. Don’t stress too much about this when choosing your platform. Once you find one that works for you, then you can customize it all you want. Do your Google searches for any confusion or obstacles you may come across when fixing your layout. My biggest recommendation is to KEEP YOUR DESIGN CLEAN! When you have too much going on it can seem distracting to your posts and overwhelming, and this won’t keep your readers coming back. I suggest looking at sites where you really enjoy their layouts and take note on what parts you like about it. Use those notes to begin the framework for your design. I like to use mood boards to gather inspiration and looking through color palettes. I always make sure it showcases something about me, for example I always love the color yellow! And make sure to use readable fonts and fonts that COMPLEMENT each other and not conflict with each other (look like there is too much going on). Searching Pinterest helped me gather ideas. For help with customizing Blogger layouts I've use PuglyPixel.com and n.design Studio to understand the breakdown of a Wordpress layout.
- Connect with Social Media. I make sure to connect my site with all the Social Media platforms I use. The most common with blogs is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I don’t know much about the others out there, but I don’t like to overload myself. You want to make sure to keep up with your Social Media and connect it to your blog. There are websites that automatically add these social buttons (and more) to their posts to help encourage sharing with others. (I also suggest adding these to your blog posts. I use widgets in Wordpress.) I’ll have a more detailed post about this and using them to promote your blog.
- Get active in the blogging community. The most feedback I get is when I’m out there commenting (genuinely) on other blogs in the blogosphere. Keep in mind, I said genuinely. I make sure to read the posts thoroughly and honestly comment when I want to. (I don’t comment just to comment and hope to get comments back.) There are some blogs I follow regularly and others I randomly find. (I use Bloglovin’ to keep track of the blogs I do follow regularly.) I also recommend finding a network to join if you want to get more active, help, inspiration, and feedback! There are plenty out there and some bloggers post it on their blogs.
- Love your blog + shout it out to the world! I used to be VERY shy about my blog, but it’s OK to share it and pimp out your blog! Using your social media (especially ones linked with your blog) are out there to help spread the word! Your friends can be very supportive and want to share it as well. Don’t be timid with your blog, you started it for a reason therefore you should want to share it!
What have you done to get your blog started?