Welcome to week 2 of the blog’s new series, #IntrovertedBloggerSeries.
Today I’m going to be walking you through the exact steps to starting up a blog.
How do you actually start a blog? Do you pay for it from the get-go? What platform should you use? What should you consider being an introvert and blogging during this whole process? After all, there is actually a lot to consider!
But first though, what actually is blogging? How did blogs come around and who started it? Everyone knows what they are now, but what’s the history of it?
Let’s take a look at it’s history:
Firstly though, did you miss the first post? Click here to read week one of the #IntrovertedBloggerSeries.
“It’s generally recognized that the first blog was Links.net, created by Justin Hall, while he was a Swarthmore College student in 1994″ (Webdesignerdepot.com).
At this time, the word blog wasn’t even invented. They were just mainly considered personal pages written by people like you and me. They were more of a way of family keeping in touch with each other’s lives, and were much more like a journal. It wasn’t until 1998 that the first instance of a blog was discovered by Jonathan Dube who blogged for The Charlotte Observer.
Since then, blogs have increased in popularity as more and more people discovered this unique style of writing.
Unlike formal writing, blog posts tend to be more conversational in style and feels more like you’re speaking to friends. This is the beauty of blogging. You can connect with writers and readers on a different level than you would normally an academic book or lecture. This is my personal favourite reason to blog!
What platform do you start with?
So now you know the basics, where do you go from here? Well, the first step is to consider what platform you want to get started with. Over the years, many platforms have come and gone, but there seem to be three which top the favourites. These opinions are all my own, so as such your opinion may be different. But this is just to give you a bit of an idea on the differences:
Blogger was started in 1999 and has since been bought out by Google. Of the three platforms, I’d say that Blogger is more on the simplistic side of things. It’s been around for years, and would be good if you’re just starting out. My first ever blog was all written on Blogger (now thankfully no longer in the internet ether).
Although simplistic, Blogger a great way to get your creative juices flowing and get into the swing of things. The user interface is easy to use and very user-friendly. You also have a choice on how your blog looks via their templates, and a choice of widgets to add a touch of personalisation.
However, if you’re thinking about eventually making money with your blog and taking it further, I wouldn’t recommend Blogger. Purely because your options for monetisation is limited on this site. WordPress and Squarespace offer much more in terms of expansion and add-ons that Blogger simply doesn’t have.
But, if this isn’t your goal, then Blogger might work for you.
WordPress is probably the most widely known of blogging platforms. It’s currently what runs this blog right here. If you’re looking for something with a vast array of customisable options, templates and plug-ins, WordPress is for you.
WordPress will also work well if you plan to expand your blog later on down the line. You can start off simply, and take your time learning how it works. Eventually you can move on to plug ins which will help enhance your site. Personally, this is my favourite.
The downside of WordPress, however, is that it can be extremely overwhelming to newbies. The huge amount of customisation can lead to perfectionism, fear and confusion. So much so that some never even publish their blog.
If this sounds like something you might struggle with, I would suggest keep it very simple for now, or sticking with Blogger.
Please note that there is a BIG distinction between WordPress.com and a self-hosted WordPress site which I’ll discuss in a little while.
Unfortunately this is one platform that I have no experience with, but I do know that it’s a close tie between WordPress and Squarespace! I’m part of a few blogging groups and the question between which is better often comes up.
The good news is that once you sign up to Squarespace (and have to pay from the outset), everything is set up for you. I’ve also heard that their customer service team is pretty impressive.
I wouldn’t take this for gospel though as this is just what I’ve heard. I would recommend reading up about the platform and learn as much as you can before you start. At least that way you can make an informed decision.
Should you go self hosted and pay?
To me, this is a pretty crucial decision to make. When I started this blog, I created it on the standard WordPress.com site, without fully knowing the consequences of such. Therefore I would seriously put thought into what you want from your blog.
Well, when I started Modern Day Girl, I had no knowledge of the difference. Everything I read about starting a blog didn’t explain the difference, and it was all affiliate links to get me to sign up quick (in the hope of making a quick buck in the process). It was a few months in did I realise my mistake, and I wouldn’t want you to realise this too.
Learn from my mistakes!
See I knew I wanted to do more with my blog eventually, but didn’t know that WordPress.com sites don’t have plug ins. You don’t have the customisation you do on a self-hosted site, and their domain names don’t even let you place Google ads on. It seriously limits your choice and in all honesty is quite limiting.
I ended having to migrate the posts I’d already written (which wasn’t easy as a non-techy person, I tell you), I lost the WordPress domain I’d already bought and was just a huge faff. I regret not going through a self-hosted domain hugely, but this is okay now. It was just more effort that I didn’t really want at the start.
So what do you do to solve this?
Look into buying a domain, and creating a self-hosted WordPress site.
Again, this is exactly what this blog runs through, and is hosted by Godaddy. Now there are mixed reviews about all of the popular hosting websites out there. Some have had some awful experiences, some great. I suppose you get that with all hosting providers.
Personally, I’ve had a great experience so far with Godaddy. My site has only been down twice in the 1.5 years it’s been running, and that was due to an upgrade in the WordPress version. I’m currently allowed 25k views per month, and only pay £8 for that. Plus, I’ve got a personalised email to go with it, at £5 per month.
Their prices are reasonable for their service, and things have been smooth.
No affiliate links here right now, I just really like them as a provider.
Now you don’t have to go with Godaddy. There is plenty of choice out there so just find the one that fits you. All I’d say is to make sure 100% that they offer ‘managed WordPress’. Without that you won’t have your blog!
Picking a name and domain
You’ll need a domain before you start so this should be the first item on your to-do list.
Pick a link that you won’t be embarrassed about when sharing. Think carefully about what your blog is going to be called. Some people just use their name or a combination of names, others have an alias or something creative. Personally, Modern Day Girl was the only idea I had, and probably should have chosen something a bit more imaginative now I think about it!
But, ultimately this decision is up to you. If you’re struggling, ask around or find inspiration in your surroundings. The idea may crop up when you least expect it.
What to take into account when picking a name/domain:
- What are the goals of your blog? Is it personal or going to be business related? Pick a name to reflect this
- Are you going to be happy with the name you picked for years to come? Sometimes we can just grow out of love so you should consider this
- DON’T spend too much time thinking about it. You’ll end up driving yourself crazy if you do!
So there you have it. If I think of anything else to add, I’ll update the post. However let’s get back to the true reason for this series.
Things to remember as an introvert
Being an introvert means that some, if not all, of the above steps to creating a blog are tough. Not all of us are gifted at writing (certainly not me either, I’ll add). We are prone to lack of confidence, and sometimes may never start a new project for fear of failure.
If you read week one though, you’ll see that I gave a pretty balanced view on the pros and cons of starting a blog. Today, let’s think about what YOU need to think about when starting a blog:
Take it slow and don’t rush into things
You know that excited feeling you get when you start a new hobby/project? You may be feeling this right now. After all, starting a blog and it’s possibilities is VERY exciting. Nerve-wracking and exciting I should probably add. You’re going to be somewhat putting yourself into the online public domain (unless you stay anonymous, that it).
For this reason you may end up throwing all of your free time, effort and passion into it. And I completely get that, I really do. But it’s really important to look after your wellbeing too. I’ve suffered burn out a few times since starting this blog. This blog wasn’t the only reason for this happening, but it definitely contributed.
I want you to learn from my own experience and remember that:
- A blog is not just for Christmas, it’s for life
- It’s not going to be a get-rich-quick idea as it takes time to build up your readers
- You won’t be able to do everything straight away – give yourself a break
- Your new blog won’t ever be 100% perfect, and don’t try to be either as it just isn’t possible
- You will still have outside commitments so try not to let them slip
Make sure you see people
If you’re a homebod like me, I love being inside. Having a blog plays perfectly into the anti-social nature of my brain. But don’t fall into the easy trap of not leaving the house.
Make sure to make time for your friends and family still. Still go out and just be around people. We are inherently social creatures and loneliness can kick in at any moment.
As much as social media is needed for blogging (I’ll be covering this later on in the series), it’s been shown to actually promote loneliness and poor mental health.
So if you find yourself spending too much time on your blog, make sure to take a break. Have regular breaks from social media and limit screen time. Don’t exhaust yourself by making time for ‘you’.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – it won’t be perfect
Oh man how I did this at the start. The pressure to write well, be positive, keeping the blog posts coming and generally trying to be perfect is big. You see all of these amazing blogs and REALLY want yours to be amazing too. But this perfectionism can be blinding and sometimes you don’t see things how others see it.
You may end up thinking your blog looks horrible, when in actual fact it looks great. Therefore you should take regular moments to step back fro your blog and look at it constructively. If needs be, take a whole week off so you come back refreshed and relaxed.
Spending hours and hours trying to remove that one widget or funny line of HTML will only run yourself into the ground.
Trust me – take if from someone who has been there.
Well done for making it to the bottom!
Another mammoth post, which you’ve hopefully found useful. I’ve not gone into massive amounts of detail right now as this post would probably have ended up being 10k words+! As you can see though, there is much more to starting a blog than meets the eye. Remember by advice on looking after you wellbeing along the way.
Being an introvert is exhausting in itself.
If you need any further tips or help, feel free to leave comments below. I’d love to here them!