How to Start a Blog

This blog just had its one-year anniversary. Wahoo! I’m so glad I did it, even though I swore I never would. I thought bloggers were narcissistic and common. Look at me, care about my opinion, listen to what I say, it’s all about me me me ME ME ME!!!

OK Veruca Salt, calm down. Of course I get to feed my ego on my blog and so what – if you don’t want to read it, don’t. But what I’ve found since I joined the community of bloggers is great information, interesting people, and writing that makes you think. It has opened conversations for me, brought me work outside of sitting here in my bathrobe drinking more coffee than is good for me, and just lets me do what I love the most: express myself through writing, whatever I want to say and when I want to say it.

However, when I was first convinced to start a blog I had no idea what to do. It was pretty intimidating. So if you want your own, here’s where to start. You need to do all of the following steps but not necessarily in this order. It’s your blog – do it at your pace and in whatever order you work best.

You need to check out hosts and decide which you want to use. WordPress and Blogger are the biggest ones but I’m sure there are tons out there. Both sites allow you to start a blog without making it public, so you can build a foundation and make it look good before having to put it out there (a great secret fear of all writers – admit it). Try the software on both sites and see which one suits you – they both have extensive help tutorials.

I chose WordPress because even though they’re not as pretty or tricked-out as Blogger, they respect their writers. I love the front page with new blog selections every day (they call it Freshly Pressed). When I’m bored I can always check out what they’ve got there. And it’s all about the writing, right?!

You need to pick a name. Search around the internet before you choose. You will probably find other people out there with your name or something similar (unless you’re just the most totally original and clever person EVER, which is why you’re starting a blog, right?).

Once you find a good name, buy the website address. Your blog host will give you a free site if you want, and it’s totally fine to have .wordpress.com in your address. But it’s easier for people to find you if they don’t have to type that in. A web address costs $15/year, it’s NOTHING. It’s worth it to have your own space on the interwebs.

Mine is hosted by Mad Dog Domains & Cattle Co. I chose them because at the time, they were the only place not using Danica Patrick in some faux-lesbian soft core media blitz to try to sell me a domain name. I don’t get that but then again, I’m not a guy. AND nowadays when you go to Mad Dog Domains – there’s a hot chick in a tank top.

WHY? That’s so random! Seriously. You could sell anything in America with a hot chick in a tank top. Here, buy some dog doo. But check out the hot chick in the tank top! Suckas.

My husband points out that he doesn’t really love the hot dogs in the roach coach outside Home Depot. Hot chick in tank top strikes again.

Alright sorry for that sidetrack. I can’t help myself. It’s just unnecessary!!!

Have some pieces written that are ready to post; around 10-15 is a good start. Of course you want to have a theme to your blog – lifestyles, young turks of America, hipster, parenting – and it will come out over time. But for now just post anything you feel good about. Use the tags and pages to build some categories (it helps to – dare I say it – have some sticky notes or an outline for this).

Get a good picture of yourself and write your About page. Every time I find a new blog I check out the author’s About page. I want to know who this person is who I’m spending a few precious minutes of my life with. In fact, I’m not too crazy about my own About page – but I’ll fix it after I get to the 600 other things I have to do this week.

So get some pictures and posts going, decide which host you’re going to use, find a theme (I mean the pretty background on the page, WordPress has tons), play around with the software, and get all your bells and whistles lined up. This whole process took me a couple of weeks, but I only get to work on my blog for like, less than an hour a day.

Remember to point to your domain before you go public. This is really easy, it’s just a setting in your blog options, and it took me overnight before it was all set up (the domain company sends you a confirmation email and it’s done).

Launch it! And send an email/twitter/facebook/text/rss/whatever the hell else to everyone you know that you are now a Blogger, and wouldn’t they like to check it out?

Don’t feel pressure to get something up there all the time. If you’ve been writing for very long at all you know it comes and goes. You may have a week without a single thought in mind and the panic sets in. “I’ll never write again! Oh, the humanity!” And then the next week you won’t be able to get to the keyboard often enough (and like me, you might have ideas written on scraps of paper that litter every open space in your house and spill out of your purse at the cash register).

If after all this, you still feel like you don’t want to bother because everyone in the world is blogging, and your favorite topic has been done already and done by more talented people than you, so who cares what you think, here is something for you to remember: everybody does it differently. My favorite part of being a teacher is assigning a project to a room full of twenty people and having twenty completely different interpretations come back to me.

And as my dear friend and writing mentor Rosie once told me, “Someone else may have written about it already, but they didn’t write it your way. No one else can tell your story.” So tell it, boys and girls!

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2 thoughts on “How to Start a Blog

  1. Great advice! I’m pretty new to the blogging world and I think I’m going to jot down some notes and go back to make my little slice of the internet better!

    Keep in touch. Already I have found I respect what you have to say.

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