This blogging thing can drive me nuts some days. Trying to learn the WordPress platform, widgets, plugins, SEO, HEO, TLC, FBI, XYZ, ETC while at the same time cranking out something interesting can be trying at times. But I’m getting there. It’s a lot easier to write in my journal, but then y’all couldn’t read it because my handwriting is terrible.
It certainly didn’t help that I actively avoided composition classes in high school. I’ve told myself for most of my life that writing was a chore. But the couple dozen filled journals tell me a different story. It’s been helping my concentration. After chemo I had just enough of my brainpower left to know just how much I had lost, and it all seems to be coming back!
So, it’s time to sharpen my ‘copywriting’ skills, as well as trying to learn the technology that wasn’t a part of my childhood. It’s like learning a foreign language. Leaving out all the boring technical stuff, here’s the basic outline of what it took to bring this blog to you.
Get your domain name.
That’s the easy part. You can use your name as a domain, if it’s available. There’s only one other Kristi Seehafer out there that I know of. “John Smith” might be harder to find. I use GoDaddy for my domain name registration, but there are plenty of others out there. It can be really inexpensive to reserve domains, so get a bunch, just in case.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU CHOOSE!
Find a web host.
You can stay with the same company that you get your domain name from, but many people think it’s a good idea to use a different hosting company. I use Hostgator. It’s easy to figure out and you can host unlimited domains if you really get into blogging.
You can also set up e-mails based on your domain name, but linked to your private e-mail. For example, I’ve set up email@example.com, and any e-mail sent to that address will come directly to my home account. No more checking multiple places – I’m overrun with e-mail as it is!
Install WordPress on your web host control panel.
It’s free, and easier than it sounds. (I’ve always been somebody who just pushed buttons or clicked on icons until something happens.) This turns your website into a blog. Otherwise you’ve just got empty pages. WordPress is a fully functional software suite that helps you create the look of your blog. All you have to do is add the content.
Find an autoresponder.
You need this so that people can sign up to follow you and so that there is an automated response to let them know you connected. Also, anybody who signs up is asked to confirm that they did it. I hate spam just as much as you do, and I don’t want to send anything to anybody who doesn’t want it. You set up the autoresponder with a series of e-mails, and then it’s all done automatically, including any unsubscribe requests. I use AWeber. Most of the people I know use it, so if I run into trouble I can get some help. AWeber also has great customer service.
No, you really don’t need to do this if you just want to write a blog. But why write a blog if you don’t want people to know about it? This is simply the best way to keep track of your audience, and also to stay in contact with them.
I’ve got my blog set up – now what?
That was the easy part. Now I’m in the process of learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google Analytics, key words, marketing, and all the other stuff I need to know to get eyeballs to my site. The writing is the easy part, and sometimes that seems pretty hard. But it’s all a part of learning and growing, which is what this blog is all about.
I’m thankful every day that I’m just around to be exploring all this. Thanks for sticking with me while I learn. You can do this too if you want. I’m happy to help guide you through it – just give me a shout.