I have been blogging for less than a year, whilst many others have been blogging for a decade. I don’t claim to be an expert – far from it! But when I started Marble Beauty, I relied on Google to help me set it up. So, I’ve decided to put together a ‘Blogging Tips’ series. I want to share the knowledge I have built up so far while it is still fresh in my mind. If you have any particular posts you’d like to know more tips about, please let me know in the comments!
So, let’s start as we mean to go on, and talk about the very beginning. It can feel daunting to actually start a blog but it is much simpler than you think.
Where do I start blogging?
You need a place to blog – a platform. Some commonly used blogging platforms are WordPress.com and Blogger. There are many others such as Squarespace, but these two seem to be the most popular. I’d advise choosing one of these, as they are widely used so there is lots of help available if you get stuck. Both are free to use.
So which should you use? Blogger is an excellent beginner platform – it is pretty simple and easy to navigate. WordPress.com is easy to use too, but allows much more customization. For that reason, I would personally recommend WordPress.com as I have had only good experiences with it. Both have devoted users, and you can also migrate your blog from one to the other in the future if you need to. More on this in a later post!
Naming your blog.
This is such an important one. You will want an evergreen name, one that you won’t get bored of easily, is memorable and that you like yourself. If you want to make it relevant to your content, it will help readers get an idea of what your blog is about – hence my blog being called ‘Marble Beauty’. A lot of people use their name for their blog, or take inspiration from films or write a play on words. If you are really stuck, write down lots of words and just try pairing some together until you find one that sounds right.
Consider your URL (the easiest way to explain a URL is that it’s the text that leads to your site when you type it in, for example, http://marblebeauty.co.uk’ is the URL for my website.
So if you named your site ‘Blue Sky Blog’, and hosted your blog on Blogger, your URL would be www.blueskyblog.blogspot.com. This is because using a free-blogging platform means that you don’t really own your site. Same with WordPress.com, your URL would be www.blueskyblog.wordpress.com. How to get your own URL? You need to self-host your blog.
To buy or not to buy? Being a self-hosted blog.
Another thing to consider is whether you are going to self-host your blog or not. In the simplest way, a self-hosted blog means you will have your own domain name (no wordpress.com or blogspot.com in your URL), you will have more freedom to customize and most of all, you will own your blog.
I will write another guide on going self-hosted. You can either self-host your blog from the beginning, or do this later along the line, which is what I did. There are pros and cons to both. Starting off self-hosted means less hassle later on and more freedom from the beginning, but it can be expensive so would be a waste if you didn’t end up committing to your blog.
You will need three things really. You need to buy your own domain name – remember, this is the ‘marblebeauty.co.uk’ name. I use GoDaddy for this, but there are so many options for this. You will also need a place to host your website. I use SiteGround for this, but again, search around for a good deal with a trusted host.
You also need a platform for your new self-hosted blog. For example, free wordpress blogs are done on wordpress.COM. If you have a self-hosted blog, you need to be using wordpress.ORG. You can migrate this yourself if you are making the switch, but many companies will offer this service for you. So to make it super clear, wordpress.com is a platform for free blogs. WordPress.org blogs are self-hosted, meaning your URL will be the domain name you purchased.
Choosing A Theme.
So, you want a theme for your blog. This will be the base of the appearance for your blog. Free themes are available on the blogging platforms which you can have a relatively good amount of customization with!
When it comes to self-hosted blogs, you can buy your themes. I’d recommend Pipdig without a doubt. Pipdig make beautiful, unique and SEO optimized themes. You can customize them completely to your own style, from colour and font to the layout itself. I have used two different blog themes from Pipdig and cannot fault either. Possibly the best part about PipDig is the customer service. There are lots of helpful guides on their site, but if you have any other questions, Phil at PipDig always gets back to me within a day or so. It makes such a difference to the ease of running your blog.
So there we have it! A little recap of what you’ll need for a self-hosted blog. A domain name (your URL), a platform to blog (wordpress.org for me) and a host for your website (I use siteground).
Free blogs only require you to make an account, then you can be set up straight away really! You just need to think of a name (which will end with the platform URL, e.g. blueskyblog.wordpress.com) and you are good to go.
Well done if you made it to the end – I know that was a hefty post. Feel free to email me at email@example.com or leave a comment if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them.
Now your lovely new blog should be all set up! As this was the first post in this series, I’ve only really skimmed the surface. Expect lots more to come, from blog post ideas,