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A Word of Encouragement
It is an eye-opening experience starting and maintaining a blog. I have attempted it a few times before without success. Learning from mistakes is a great lesson and not giving up is the best choice! So if you are feeling a bit doubtful, overwhelmed or just wondering if all of the time you are putting into it is worth it, let me encourage you.
From E-Books, Webinars, Podcasts, YouTube and Blog Posts, I have found tons and tons of information that has helped me for FREE.
I truly believe that we all have a voice and can make a difference in this world. It doesn’t matter whether it is DIY, Food, Decorating, you may think who cares after a while, but the posts I read are posts that share the heart of the author. They tell stories that stir memories and I leave feeling changed, happy, blessed! So if you stick with it, keep learning and sharing your passion in this incredible journey, you will see success!
I ran a Facebook Group, actually 3 at one time but one was focused on learning together. Unfortunately, we all grow at different paces and things continually change, so I closed that one to pursue a more individually based option to help new bloggers get started well. Until that resource is launched, I have pulled together some of the great resources I have used when I began.
The rest of this page is divided up into areas that offer services to the new blogger. It also includes links to posts regarding those subjects that I have written. It changes frequently, so if you are just starting out, you will want to pop back in often. Things are always changing in social media, blogging and everything related. This is your spot to get the most updated info.
Basics for Setting Up Your Blog
The Very First Thing You Need
Setting up a blog requires hosting. There are many big name hosting sites that are recognizable to those who begin the search. Everyone has heard of GoDaddy and Blue Host seems to be the most recommended by bloggers. However, I have used both before and decided to do some research and see what else was out there. I had not heard of Siteground but I looked up comparisons and found that
- it ranked higher in performance in almost every category than those in its price range.
- It offers 24/7 real person support.
- If you sign up with them before purchasing a domain you will get your domain for free and not have to pay a renewal as long as you are with them.
- They upload wordpress.org for you at no charge.
- They have very reasonable pricing options and the one I chose gives me multiple website options at one low price per month.
- I also received Free email and Back-up, they check my site for hacking and so much more!
What a great deal! So if you have been shopping around and just can’t make up your mind, check out Siteground and see if they are a good fit for you.
When you grow BIG, however, you will want to move to a hosting site that can handle your larger numbers. I recently moved over to Flywheel. I know I had great support as I started with them. They also offer FREE migration (moving your blog from your current host). That is a huge headache you don’t have to manage yourself.
I had a blog several years ago and I used a free theme offered at wordpress.org. It was fine. However, I would visit other blogs and just think WOW! How did they do that? Where did they get that awesome title banner? Well, after lots of research I found there are some great sites that offer some really awesome themes and now I think my site looks amazing too!
Using some e-books, I learned things about Themes which are the templates that your words sit in. I started reading about Parent Themes and Child Themes…yes, it was like another language. But here is what it means. A Parent Theme is like a Dress Form and the Child Theme is the Dress you place on it! So to understand it completely, you need to realize that the dress cannot be used without the form to hang it on. So make sure you purchase the Parent Theme first!
To use the designs that I recommend you will want to have the Genesis framework (which is a Parent Theme) from StudioPress.com After purchasing your Framework you can pick a Child Theme on their site as well or visit Restored316designs.com to see the many Child Themes offered there. My first design was “DIVINE”. Here are some other popular designs you can choose: Delightful this is my daughter’s theme, Darling, and another one that I may change to at some point is Sprinkle! Isn’t it gorgeous?
Pulling It All Together
Abby’s book Building a Framework has several offers. You can purchase just the book. The book and the videos or the book, the videos and the expert interviews. I purchased the full package and have no regrets. Purchasing this book also allows you access to the FaceBook Group Page of the same name. I have met people in that group that have become friends, I have collaborated with some and I routinely invite people to The Party Blogger’s Link Parties since they are generally new bloggers looking to get connected. I truly cannot recommend this book enough.
There are lots of FREE email plugins that you can use, however, they have their limitations. I know, “what is a plugin?” Yes, there is a completely different language for blogging and I am currently working on a “Blogger’s Dictionary.” For now, a plugin is sort of like an app or a program that you add to your WordPress site and it creates a function for you. So if you need for example, Social Icons to link to your FB page or IG page, you go to the sidebar on your WordPress site, click “plugins” and type in the search what you are looking for, Read the number of users, the number of stars and then make a decision. Most are FREE.
Some email plugins have conflicts with other plugins while many have limited numbers or functions until you upgrade. The easiest to begin with that is FREE is Mailchimp.
If you already have a significant number of subscribers or you have a product to sell, you will want to check out This is much more more than an email collector. It will divided your emails by interest, know not to keep asking for an email of someone you already have signed up, it has forms that are easily made and much, much more. I will write a review of it so you can get more details and add the link here.