Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How To Start Any Kind Of Blog

Or any blog for that matter.

First, find your niche.
What are YOU passionate about and most knowledgable.  It is never a good idea to write about something you have no experience in or do not love.  Your content will come out plain and boring.  Also, the blog is yours and yours alone so write it for you.  If you happen to get some followers awesome, but just do it for you.

Second, choose a blogging website aka platform.
This step reminds me of a kid in a candy store.  So lets break it down to the top three.

Wordpress in December powered over a fifth of the internet so it is easy to stay they are the most popular out there.  Why?  Well, since many people use them,  majority of the hosting companies (which you will need) allow for a "one-click" installation for free.  Currently, I am working on a personal blog with Wordpress and anything I can do with one click and not have to dive to deeply into "techy" things the better!  Also, they are FREE.  Usually the term free means that your customazation options are limited but not with Wordpress.  They also offer you a slew of affordable themes to choose from.

Tumblr is a blogging platform yes but in the micro sense and serves also as a social networking website.  Now, you may be thinking, "we'll isn't that great to get my posts seen?"  Yes, it is but imagine Tumblr as a mix between Wordpress and Twitter.  You will see posts feeding while also wronging your own profile to share ideas more elaborately than you could on Facebook or Twitter.  The official description from Tumbr is this, "it empowers people to create something extraordinary.  Find and follow the things you love.  Share photos, gifts, video, music, quotes, chats, links, and text.  I just created an account of my own there to connect to my Wordpress blog and also to house my favorite photos.
Personally, I get distracted easily so when I go to write a post I do not need the temptation of all the streaming posts lurking on the next page.

Blogger is such a great free beginner website.  As you can see I am using it now and the layout is fairly straight forward and simple.  I was attracted to it when I first started out for three reason: it is powered by Google, it has been around the longest, and the actual name.  My primary email is Gmail so the conveneince of Blogger makes it incredibly easy to access and for some reason I just trust Google.  No, actually, I love Google.  Blogger has also been the longest free running platform to date and that always speaks well about a product.  Also, starting out I wanted to be a blogger and that really was all I knew so duh, I would choose "blogger".  Its that simple.
BUT would I choose it again?  No, because it is to simple.  That is the only reason.

Third, find your hosting website.
What is a hosting website and why do you need it?????
In lamens terms a hosting site takes away the .blogspot or .wordpress in the IP address and gives you a simple .com.  Do you have to have your blog hosted?  No, BUT it will make it look more professional if you do.  Essentially, a hosting website allows you to rent a piece of the internet to call yours which in turn give you a better chance to come up in searches than if you did not use one.
While Bluehost is not free it seems to provide the best site promotion, you get your domain name for free, and technical support is always there.  After that try GoDaddy!

Fourth, customize your blog.
Honestly, this one is the most challenging for me not because it truly is difficult but it does require you to know some website building fundamentals.  If you do not know any have no fear because you can always search Google on "how to" an BOOM you have been shown the way!  Two things you need to understand when designing your website/blog, you need:
Plugins are simply add-ons that make your site functional.  When you create a blog it is coming as a blank canvas and it is your job to make it function and user friendly.  Widgets on the other hand are not necessary but do add extra flare to your blog.  For example, if you want to show the amount of followers or having the latest social media news stream on your site.  Those are widgets.
Since plugins are the most essential here are the top FREE ones according to Adventurous Kate:
Akismet – Keeps spam under control (and yes, you will get LOTS of spam otherwise!)
Comment Reply Notification – Notifies commenters when they have a new reply to their comment. (It’s a courtesy thing.)
Contact Form 7 – Allows you to install a simple contact form so people can email you through your site.
Digg Digg — Displays social media icons on a floating sidebar, making it easy for people to share your posts.
Facebook Social Widgets — See that little Facebook widget on my right sidebar? That! Makes it easy for people to become your fan on Facebook.
FD Feedburner Plugin — Manages your feed, your stream of new content.
Google XML Sitemaps — Makes it easy for search engines to find your content.
nRelate — Puts little images of related posts at the bottom of each post, showing people more content they might like.
Photo Dropper — Helps you add Creative Commons photos to your site the easy way and cites them legally. You should use your own pictures whenever possible, but this is good when you don’t have pictures from certain destinations.
Ultimate Google Analytics — Installs Google Analytics, the industry standard of measuring your site’s visitors and traffic.
WordPress SEO by Yoast — Helps you create content that shows up better in search engines.
WPTouch Mobile Plugin — Makes your site look nice and easy to read on mobile phones.
Fifth, join Social Media and follow other blogs.
Jump right in to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ and share, share, share!  Once you determine your screen names for each (I recommend trying to keep them all the same) add your social media plugins to your site so people can connect directly.  One of little tricks to having a successful blog is to follow other blogs because they should in turn follow you.  When you visit a blog you like or read a posts that interest you, leave a comment!

Sixth, BLOG!!!
Blog everyday, the more activity the more chances of your site being seen.  At best try 3-5 posts a week.
The best way to create a successful blog is to write and share, write and share, write and share!

Good luck and have fun with it!!!
If you have a fun blog I would love to follow it, just leave a comment and I'll check it out!!!!

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Thank you so very much for taking the time to visit my blog! Traveling is very dear to me and sharing my travels and desires with you makes my heart smile. I want to hear all about your adventures because sharing travel stories is the root to all inspiration. Also, any suggestions you may have on how I can improve this blog - I am all ears!!
Allie xoxo