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Steps I took to set up my blog
Welcome back to My Blogging Story or Welcome if you are new! This week’s topic is about ‘Steps I took to set up my blog’.
I’m really excited about this topic because I feel like this was something I was specifically looking for when I decided to start a blog.
Once I decided I was going to make my blog, my next question was, “how do I get what’s on my mind to the internet?”
My knowledge of technology was pretty basic, meaning other than using Mircosoft applications, internet, work related software programs and online gaming, that was all I really knew about running a computer.
In order for me to take the next step, I really had to take the time to get a good understanding of where do I go and what do I need.
Recap of my story to this point
August 2017 was my one year anniversary of having my blog and I started to reflect how far I had come within those quick 12 months. Once I started to map what I wanted to remind myself of I started writing it all out on paper.
Initially, my goal was to document this for myself, a journal type of post. A place that I could personally visit and take note of the outcome from an idea that came to me during one of my many sleepless nights. Turning those negative sleepless nights and into something more, something great.
After I started to write out what I had learnt, I took it a step further and realised maybe this may help a person out there who may also have a similar idea. Taking something you are passionate about and turn it into more.
Regardless if your idea is a blog, a YouTube channel, starting a side business, know that YOU CAN do it. It may seem hard and at times a little deflating but eventually, you’ll get more of the good things happen after you put in work and you will forget the bad. This is the exact stage I am exactly at in my blogging career.
I explain this further and my reasons of all of this from my Outline and Schedule post.
Just to recap what my previous topic: My previous post I shared what was the driving force and decision of Why did I Start a Blog?. Now that my decision was made, I’m going to start a skincare review blog, what next?
What Next? WordPress Options
From the research, I had done I knew I needed to find a platform to start off with. It seemed that WordPress was going to be my go to, after looking into Blogger and from the information I was able to gather. WordPress sounded like it would be the best for me since it was easiest. Next decision: Do I want a WordPress.com or WordPress.org My understanding when it came to WordPress was there were two different types of WordPress options to chose from.
Setting up a WordPress.com account I would’ve had the WordPress Subdomain of myblogname.wordpress.com. There is an option to pay for upgrades and not to have wordpress.com after your blog name.
The main thing I was worried about, would I own my content or would WordPress own my content? Could my content be taken it down or used in another way without my knowledge if it’s owned by WordPress?
On the positive side of having a WordPress.com account means you don’t have to worry about external hosting or about the technical maintenance of a website. Another added bonus to this would be none to very little upfront costs. A great option to start with if you are really unsure how deep you want to invest straight off the bat.
I am very much the type of person who goes full in when I decide to do something. But I do know there are people who are much more responsible than I am.
With the WordPress.org I would have to find a hosting platform and pay for that upfront myself. WordPress does have services you can pay but I wanted a third party so that way none of my work gets muddled and if for some reason WordPress unexpectedly collapsed I had a backup of my content.
This is where I took a lot of time researching and costs comparison. There are lots of great options out there when it comes to hosting services. SiteGround, GoDaddy,Wix, SquareSpace, Host Gator and some that even more specified towards your country, mine being Australia.
Personally, I went with SiteGround. With this option I have the peace of mind knowing my content solely belongs to me and I don’t run the risk of it being shut down or my content being used for other purposes. Of course, the rule of being shut down can change if I violate any of the terms and conditions.
Whether that is really the case or not, I am not sure but in my mind it makes me feel better knowing I own my content 100%.
Result: √ Decision of which WordPress to use: WordPress.org
Coming up with my blog name
This took me a good chunk of time to come up with a name, I asked my husband for his advice, I googled, I looked for inspiration from YouTube, Pinterest and kept searching. Nothing really feeling natural saying, I made a list of what I did and didn’t want then I worked my way backwards.
Some of my personal requirements to come up with my blog name:
- tell a reader exactly what to expect from this blog
- I’m not an expert in anything so I didn’t want to have a word or name like ‘The One and Only Knowing of Everything Skincare’. It would be the biggest false statement I could ever make because I don’t really know much.
- Nothing too long and something that could be easily remembered
- no crazy spelling or anything, like dayzzz with 3 x Z
No offence if something like the above is your blog name, this is strictly what I was looking for. At the end of the day, I am just a woman with a laptop, a camera and a love of skincare.
The added bonus is that I have a few skincare items that I could write about. Out of so many ideas and play with words all started to be blend together and nothing made sense.
After all of the brainstorming, I definitely wanted the word skincare in the name. More times passed and I came up with reality. My initial idea started with me sharing the realness of what x product has done for my skin so I took it back to basics.
Result: √ Blog Name chosen: My Skincare Reality
This is where the options were so vast, there are so many companies who provide a hosting service. I did so much research, read lots of reviews, compared prices before finally settling on SiteGround **affiliate link**
SiteGround offers 3 hosting choices:
- StartUp – manage 1 site
- GrowBig – manage multiple sites and some extra features
- GoGeek – manage multiple sites and all the features from the first 2 plus more
I went with the GrowBig option, that option would allow me to host multiple sites.
The reason for that was my husband was thinking of starting a couple of websites for other stuff so I figured this would kill two birds with one stone.
My experience using SiteGround has been amazing, I have done a few things that ‘broke’ my website and they have gone in fixed it all for me straight away.
Thier customer service is top notch, anytime I’ve had any questions big or small (trust me there has been A LOT) they are so friendly and eager to help me. Even stuff that is a really basic question they take the time to explain it to me and help me without making me feel dumb. For that alone, I will stick with them for as long as possible.
From memory, SiteGround was slightly more expensive than a few other hosting sites but given the incredible customer service I’ve dealt first handed with it’s well worth the extra few dollars.
Another thing I really like about being self hosted, is I get to create my own email with my blog name. In my case I use email@example.com, I feel like this just looks a little bit more professional. Of course, there is the most used option of using Gmail, which is awesome but for myself, I really like having my own domain name. In a way, it’s a reminder for myself saying ‘you did this!’!!
Result √ Self Hosting: SiteGround
Personalising my site
Now the fun stuff begins! It came time to set up and choose the theme I wanted to use.
WordPress has SO many great themes you can choose from and they are free. Some free themes allow an option to upgrade to unlock more options and the costs is fairly low, depending on the developer.
You can also purchase and upload a theme from a third party. There are some truly talented web designers that sell some beautiful themes that can be purchased.
To begin with, I tried several of the free themes on WordPress, some didn’t match with my niche, some looked too busy for what I wanted. After much searching I ended up using the Sugar and Spice theme, the colour scheme was what I wanted and it was very easy to use for me since I was so new to it all. It was perfect for me!
As time went on and I started looking at other blog themes, I decided to upgrade to something else. I spent many hours searching Pinterest and found plenty of already set up themes that I could purchase from a third party. There were a few that I had lined up and was deciding when I came across Elegant Themes.
Elegant Themes caught my attention because they had just released the new Divi 3.0. If I remember correctly, during a YouTube ad that I saw how Divi works. Once I had that idea stuck in my head, I fell down the rabbit hole of learning as much as I could about Divi theme and how it worked.
Somehow Elegant Themes makes it very easy to personalise just about every single corner of your site. It allows you to be on your actual website and be able to edit live rather than having to only do it on the back end.
Options that Elegant Themes offer are:
- Yearly Access
- Lifetime Access
Both options come with a 30 day money back guarantee, premium support, updates for either the year if you are on a yearly access or lifetime if you are on the lifetime access.
They make improvements frequently and offer lots of free layouts so you can get started right away.
With either option you have access to Divi Builder, the Extra theme, Child theme, the Bloom plugin (designed for email options), Monarch (designed for social media) plus more options.
After bouncing some ideas with my husband I decided to go in fully and chose the lifetime access.
To begin with, I went with the Divi theme and used Divi Builder to really personalise my website exactly to my preferences. After a few months, I started to hear some people raving about the Extra theme and how good it is for bloggers. So I decided to try it and really love it, that is what I currently have.
Result √ Changing my theme: Elegant Themes
If you decide to go with Elegant Themes or are interested in seeing a little more about the setup process, I highly suggest checking out Darrel Wilson (click here for his YouTube channel or here for his website).
Darrel has been an absolute lifesaver for me! He shares start to finish tutorials on different types of themes, setting up an eCommerce site, how to create a Facebook store and the list goes on. I have watched some of his videos multiple times when setting up different parts of my website.
How To Make A WordPress Website 2017 | NEW Divi Theme 3.0 Tutorial (Click Here)
How To Make A WordPress Blog 2017 – Create A Blog With WordPress – EXTRA THEME (Click Here)
(Extra is the theme I currently am running)
Now it’s time to hear from you!
There are the steps I took to set up my blog.
Tell me if you found this helpful, maybe you’d like me to go into further details of something more specific. Or if you have been in the same situation what decisions did you go with and why?
Next week I will be releasing the ‘Setting up social media’ portion of this series. To be the first to know when the weekly topics go live please sign up for the series newsletter below.
Have a great week and hope to see you again soon!