*Image by winnond via freedigitalphotos.net
Blogging seems pretty straight forward doesn’t it?
You choose your blogging platform (WordPress, Blogger etc) sign up for the site, make it look pretty, post some awesome content and the peeps will come flocking your way. Yeah?
Then something goes wrong. You realise you are about as tech-savvy as an elephant and you don’t know what to do. Yes, blogging doesn’t have to be hard. The best way to combat all of these things is to be prepared.
To start with you need to consider the basics.
- What do you call your blog?
- Should you have a facebook/twitter/Google+ account too?
- Do I need to think about branding myself?
Then there are technical issues you need to address.
- Which blogging platform do I use? WordPress/Blogger
- What happens when your site gets hacked?
- How do I deal with spam on my blog?
- What happens if wordpress/blogger decide they don’t agree with my content and shut my blog down? (unlikely but yes it has happened)
- What happens when you update your theme and your site goes down?
- Who is backing up your content?
- How much online storage do you have?
- Do I have to register a domain name?
- How do I set up plugins/subscribers/newsletters?
There is a lot you have to think about when maintaining your blog – more than I realised when I started for sure. Once you’re all set up writing the post seems to be the hardest part. But getting to that point can involve some trial and error. There are plenty of blogs out there designed to make your blogging experience easier and I’m not going to pretend that I know everything – I’m just going to point you in the right direction.
Let’s start here. Naming your Blog.
No doubt when you’ve thought about blogging it’s been because you have wanted to achieve something by doing it. Whether it is getting yourself into writing regularly, increasing your exposure or demonstrating expertise on a particular subject, the title must relate to the content. That’s a no brainer. Here’s what DailyBlogTips.com said:
“1) It must describe your blog: it is probable that lots of people will see a link to your blog before having the chance to actually read it (in search engines, for instance). Guess what, if just by looking at the name they can figure what the blog is about they will be more likely to visit it.
2) It must be easy to remember: suppose your blog talks about cycling, fitness and health advice in general. Naming it “The Cycling, Fitness and General Health Advice Blog” would offer quite an exhaustive description of the blog, but would it also be easy to remember? Stick with simple names.
3) It must be equal to the domain name: this rule is often ignored by people, probably because finding a suitable domain that has not been registered yet is a difficult task. Still if your domain name does not match the blog name you will probably lose some readers along the way. When people visit your blog through a link they will just read the name of the blog. Should they decide to revisit the site a couple of days later they will just type that name followed by a dot com. If they do not find your blog once they hit enter they will just go somewhere else.”
There is a lot of value in using social media accounts to cross promote your work. Contributing to an online community can be rewarding. The most important thing you need to remember is that having a social media account means spending the time interacting with people there. Spreading yourself too thin is not going to work.
Before you go any further with your blog I recommend you head over to TheCreativePenn.com to download the Author 2.0 blueprint and check out these articles too:
- 30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore – HubSpot
- Entrepreneur Brand Building – Mashable
- Blogging business Authors-10-reasons-why-you-need-a-blog – Livehacked.com
- 26 Essentials for blogging success what you need to know – Social Media Examiner
Which blogging platform do you use? And how do you choose?
I used the wordpress hosted version to blog for a previous blog so was unsure about the other platforms. I like wordpress and I was recommended it by a number of different people so stayed with what I knew. I think WordPress offer a professional site that compares to those sites that were created by commissioned webdesigners.
Here’s what Mike Wallagher from StartBloggingOnline.com has to say:
“Picking the right blogging platform is one of the most crucial steps towards starting a successful blog. Most people only know about Blogger and WordPress but the number of platforms is much more diverse. To name a few, Wix, Typepad and Tumblr are also alternatives.
The main differences between platforms are cost and limitations. Many free blogging services won’t allow users to monetize their blogs, secondly there are certain limits for the amount of storage (for uploading photos, videos) and design options.
The whole scene can be quite indistinct and confusing, so it would be wise to understand the differences between platforms by checking out the Blogging Platform Comparison Chart (startbloggingonline.com/blog-platform-comparison-chart/).
All-in-all WordPress is the most common option and probably the easiest to pick. About 30% of websites use it and the support community is very strong and helpful.”
And below are some other links to useful comparisons of blogging platforms:
- Best Blog Platform – Best Blogging Tips Online
- Which blogging platform should i use – Life Hacker
- 10 most powerful blog platforms – Spice Up Your Blog
I did decide to pay for a domain name for my own site the 2nd time around. (It is really cheap – about $7 a year for each domain and cheaper for longer terms).
I want ultimate control over my site. I don’t want limitations and unwanted advertising or risk the loss of information if wordpress.com decide that they are no don’t like my content. I want to have access to the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) files in order to change things behind the scenes. (I don’t quite know how to do this but with the help of my hubby – we’ve had to access them a few times so far).
I like having my domain name the same as my site. I registered writingmytruth.com and writingmytruth.net and it doesn’t matter which one you type in they divert to the same page. By registering more than one similar domain name I am able to further protect my brand – therefore preventing someone with similar content muddying the waters.
There are a few useful comparison sites out there for hosting and domain pricing.
The top 5 things that I would be comparing would be:
- Support – online, via phone, forum, email etc.
- Data – bandwidth and diskspace
- Is your data upgradable?
- How often is my data backed up?
My husband works in IT and has a friend who was able to offer me internet hosting with Bluegenehosting.
GET A 10% DISCOUNT ON THE ENTIRE COST OF HOSTING (NOT JUST THE FIRST MONTH) BY ENTERING THE CODE: WRITINGMYTRUTH AT CHECKOUT
Isn’t that kind of them!
So how do judge how much data you will need? Ultimately it will depend on the type of content you intend to post. If you will have lots of images and podcasts/videos I would recommend a bigger data plan with higher speeds. You want your posts to load quickly and be able to make sure you can keep the content coming and without running out of room on your site.
Backing up your content is mega-important. If you have no idea how to do it (and I don’t) you need to make sure that your host provider makes regular back ups on your content or you will need to find out how to back it up. WordPress accounts are often attacked and malicious software can be implanted or your content could be wiped. Without knowing that your content is safe, you run the risk of losing everything.
Back to blogging…
I have found that creating a community of people who regularly read and discuss your content is very rewarding. You can further enhance the readers interaction with you by using widgets and plugins with links to all your social media pages. Share buttons so that people can share your content through their social media accounts and a subscribe button to give the reader the opportunity to get all of your posts via emails or RSS feed as soon as they come out.
Probably though, the best and most effective way (I’ve heard) to create a buzz about your content is by giving the readers an incentive to subscribe to your newsletter. This newsletter could give a round up of your month’s posts, offer exclusive content/sales on your current book or you can create buzz about pre-releases on future books. The possibilities are endless.
A lot of people do this by offering something of value when you join, such as a copy of their first book in a series or at least a sample of it. Personally, this is something I intend on doing but haven’t quite managed to yet.
It is quite alright just to get your head around the technicalities revolving around blogging regularly first and build as you go. Some of the best links on blogging are below:
- 14 ways to prevent your wordpress blog from being hacked – Mastermindblogger.com
- Email Marketing for the time and cash strapped self published author – LiveHacked.com
- Email marketing – RSS to email tips – Aweber Communications
- 3 Reasons Why We Prefer Aweber to Mailchimp & Why They Should Matter to You – Startup Training School
- How to Choose the Right Host for Your Website – Entrepreneaur.com
What do you think? Has your blogging been enjoyable or one big headache? Have you have any hiccups along the way? Any more links to add to my list? Please comment below!