Starting a blog is both exciting and overwhelming!!!
When we decided to start a blog together, we did weeks of research and prep. With all the info and choices, we found ourselves overloaded with information. We did a lot of internet searching to fine tune the answers to our questions.
After 1 year of blogging, we are excited to share what we have learned along the way. We are not experts by any means and are still learning as we go. But we are thrilled to help new bloggers. So for the next couple months, we are going to be doing a Blogging Series covering everything from starting your blog to the daily ins and outs of running a blog. If you have questions or topics you'd like covered, please comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLOGGER vs. WORDPRESS
Blogger and Wordpress are the two most common platforms on the web. They are the place to hold and manage your content. There is debate on which is better.
It is free and reliable.
Is owned by Google meaning it is not owned by you.
Because Google owns the site, they can shut it down at any time (copy write claims, spam, etc).
There are a variety of templates to use when setting up your blog. However you can't create your own setup or make modifications.
You own the site and decide how long you want to run it or when you want to shut it down.
You own all your data.
There are thousands of themes with plug-ins to modify or customize your blog.
You have to pay for a hosting server (Bluehost is a popular one).
We were on the fence of which to choose. Both have pros and cons. But the web designer we picked only used Blogger, so that's what we went with. We have been extremely happy with Blogger. A lot of bloggers make the switch at some point because of tech support, useablilty, customization, SEO. But we feel like we have all this with Blogger so far.
Blogger is a great starting point, because it's free and easy to use. You can get your blog up and running without having to put a lot of money into it in the beginning. Let's be honest, it's one less expense in the beginning. There's no right or wrong choice though!
CHOOSE A NAME WISELY AND GET A HOST SITE
Make the blog name represent who you are or what your blog is about. Are you a baking/cooking blog? A fashion blog? A lifestyle blog? When we chose a name, we spent hours thinking of it. After days of throwing out names left and right, my (Katey) 9 year old daughter said "How about Two Peas in a Pod?" And we changed it to "Two Peas in a Blog". We really wanted a name that represented that we are twins writing this blog together.
Check and double check that there isn't already a domain with the name you want to use or too close to it!!
You want something catchy, not too long, and says what you are about.
Head to Bluehost to see if your name is available. Below is what the search box looks like.
Once you've decided on a blog name, you need a place to purchase the domain name. We used Bluehost for this and are in a 24 mth. plan.
If using Wordpress, you will also need a hosting site (Remember Blogger is hosted with Google). Hosting is like renting space on the web for your blog. Bluehost is a great option for this too, with great prices and they give you your domain name for free if you decide to host with them. GoDaddy is another hosting site you've probably also heard of. Once you chose your package, you can download Wordpress directly from the Bluehost site and start creating your blog.
DESIGN THE BLOG
As we mentioned above, we used a web designer to design our blog. We weren't getting the exact look we wanted so we decided to have someone design it for us. We looked at our fav blogs to see who designed them (it usually says at the bottom of the blog). Then we spent time researching the designers and coming up with our look. For us this was money well spent to get the exact look we wanted. We used Kelly with Kelly Christine Studio and loved how our design turned out.
Blogger and Wordpress have tons of free themes or premium themes to chose from if you want to design your blog yourself.
Provides additional credibility.
It helps you look organized and professional.
Provides some tax savings when filing your annual taxes.
Gives protection of personal assets.
This is a personal decision but we decided to form an LLC before we got started mainly for the protection of our personal assets and the creditability that comes with it. But of course, it isn't necessary. We also made the decision from the beginning to run our blog like a business and felt like this was important to us.