Law Life

Tips for New Bloggers–Part 2
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Round two! If you missed it, check out Part 1 of my Tips for New Bloggers series! This week I’m going to be hitting on how to set up your blog!

 

tips for new bloggers

  
What
Where


1. Pick a platform: When I first started writing my blog I used Blogger. Blogger is very user friendly, free and was very easy for me to set up. A few months in, however, I decided to switch to WordPress.com since many other bloggers used it, I felt like I had more options, and I knew I could buy my own domain name eventually and easily make the move on WordPress. Also free!

platforms

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2. Going Self-Hosted: Self hosted basically means that you own and run your own website however you want to. You buy your domain name and host your website through a provider such as Go Daddy or BlueHost. I chose Bluehost as it was recommended to me as very user friendly. Then, you choose a platform. Because I was already on WordPress.com, I could easily make the change to WordPress.org. I did everything to go self-hosted by myself and I can’t pretend it was easy (I spent many hours researching how to do everything and speaking with customer service representatives at bluehost to get everything running), however I chose to do so because of money. Many bloggers hire someone to do it for them and from what I’ve heard it can vary from $100 – $250.



If you’re new to blogging, I would definitely recommend using a free website for a few months before investing the money into going self-hosted. Make sure it’s something that you enjoy and that you’ll keep up with!

 

3. PC Owners – Use Windows Live Writer: If you own a PC I HIGHLY recommend downloading Windows Live Writer – it’s free! It’s basically a Windows program that you open on your computer just like you would Word, and type out your blog post, add photos, and then publish directly from the program to your blog. I’m actually hesitant to get a Mac computer solely because I would miss this program too much!

 

4. Put some effort into your photos: I’m not going to pretend I’m some great photographer, or that I use anything other than my iPhone to take pictures. However, I do try and make many of my photographs look good, both when I’m taking them and through using PicMonkey. I’ve looked at several new blogs that completely turn me off because the pictures are dark, grainy and just not appealing. I’ve actually not pinned recipes solely because the picture looked bad!

Much older oatmeal picture:

Newer oatmeal picture:

apple cinnamon oatmeal

5. Design a nice blog layout: Just like with photos, you need to put some effort into your blog design. I think I’ve re-designed my blog three times since I started, and I’ve had a new look in the works for a couple months now (look for it soon!). Having a clean and appealing blog is key to drawing in new readers. Many bloggers hire someone to design their blog for them. Again, I haven’t done so because of cost and I only use free WordPress Themes (there are many that you pay for), but you can make anything work with a little creativity!

image

6. Use your sidebar: the items you put in your sidebar are surprisingly important. ALWAYS have a search bar where people can search your website and be sure to include a mini “about me” section as well with a photo so readers can get an idea of who are quickly. Other suggestions include affiliations you might have (blogger networks, sponsors, etc), archives of past blog posts, and post categories so readers can browse easily.

 

7. Have an About Me Page: Your “About Me” page is key – that’s where most new readers click immediately when they find your blog. If you don’t have an about me page then I usually don’t read your blog! Most healthy living blog readers read because they feel like they can relate to and connect with the writer: if they don’t know who you are then how do you expect them to connect with you? I actually found a couple blogs where I couldn’t even find the author’s first name!

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If you’re a blogger – how did you set up your site? Did you do it yourself?

Do you read “About Me” pages on other blogs?



 

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