I know what you’re thinking…”Shimmy Sistah giving out tips on how to improve your blog? Say WHAAAAT? She’s a newbie! She’s only one year in the game! How’s SHE gonna spit some knowledge on the do’s and don’ts of blogging?”
Well, I’d say you’re exactly right, but then we’d BOTH be wrong! And I can’t possibly let THAT happen, now can I? JK, Shimmies! I realize I’m nothing but a newbie – a peon of sorts meandering my way throughout this blogosphere of veterans and satisfyingly seasoned bloggers. This, however, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute and share what I’ve been through thus far with making my blog the cutie pie she iZZZ! 😉 That being said, hurry up and switch off those scary movies for a second or two and put those pumpkin carving shears away for a minute and take notes while enjoying my three tips below!
Step 1- Choose a Platform (not the shoe!)
1st things 1st – your platform. I’m sure most of you have chosen a platform (options include: my beloved WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, Weebly, etc.). If you haven’t, however, be sure to check out each, including their perks, prices, and availability of their customer service reps (you’ll need them more than you fathom!). In addition, read testimonies and contact experienced bloggers using their respective platforms so you can inquire as to why they made the choices they did when it came to them choosing which company helped them convey their creativity to their audiences in the best way possible.
***NOTE: If you choose WordPress, be sure you distinguish between www.wordpress.com (cannot be self-hosted) and www.wordpress.org (self-hosted). If you start with WordPress.com and decide you’d like to be self-hosted (which is discussed in the next step), simply transfer your files using the instructions here. If you’re lacking in the tech area, however, then empty those pockets and pay the Happiness Engineers at WordPress $129 bucks to do it overnight by clicking here.***
Step 2 – Host your Own Blog
Don’t have aspirations to make additional income form your blog? No worries, once you begin to love and adore your creativity and your new #bloggerbuddies you make along the way, you’ll eventually want to! As a rule of thumb, I always say that if you’ve blogged consistently for approximately 3 months and you can’t go to bed without writing down another idea for a post, then hosting your own blog is DEFINITELY the route you need to take. I will strongly caution, however, please don’t procrastinate on this step. The sooner, the better! 🙂
Now when I finally decided I wanted to host my site (which enables me to publish what I like, code more, earn income, and work with a plethora of different sponsors and companies), I was sure to thoroughly investigate which host would benefit me the most and give me the biggest bang for my buck. Unsurprisingly, this was WAY harder than choosing my platform. Each host – Siteground, Bluehost, HostGator, Go Daddy, etc. – all offer some sweet deals and perks upon signing up and even cooler opportunities afterwards. From completely transferring your files and data, to hack alert protections and java-script stuff, the offers are endless…and so are their prices, unfortunately! 😛
Don’t be dismayed though; not only are the fees annual, but oftentimes your platform will garnish coupons featuring hefty discounts towards the host of your choice. In fact, because of the sweet-tooth deals WordPress gave me for signing up with Siteground, I immediately chose them. Their prices were still a tad high and they just happened to be a UK based company, but the customer service was freaking exceptional JUST like the reviews stated! They even called once I paid just to ensure everything was A-okay and to reassure me of their commitment to hosting my site! Who knew hosting companies could make my Hotline Bling just like Bae! 😉
Step 2.5 – …in the interim…
You’ve decided on a platform, 3 months have passed and you now know you wish to be self-hosted. Well, take your time in choosing which host is best for you, but don’t forget to apply for various income earning opportunities in the interim. This includes Google AdSense and affiliate programs. Applying for affiliate programs (I’d recommend Shareasale) is pretty easy. Enter some info and you’re home free within a day or two although Google AdSense is a completely different story! 😐
Google AdSense has a 2-step approval process and they have a list of requirements to go along with it! To elaborate a tad more, Google AdSense requires your site to look a certain way, have certain specifications, and a bunch of other things than can be accessed here. They also take awhile to check your website out in order to make sure the specs are in tact and fully functioning. That being said, PLEASE (and boy, do I stress “PLEASE”) apply for Google Adsense ASAP. Once your blog fits their criteria, immediately apply and wait……………………….like literally….wait…………………………………Wanna know how long I waited? A whopping 8 months! I totally could’ve had a preemie baby in that time span! Thankfully towards the end of my trimester, I received my approval in the mail which enabled me to move onto the next step which can be found here.
Step 3 – Plug it-In, Plug it-In
Remember that jingle? Not only could we not talk through Wally-World’s fragrance section without picking up a pack, but we also couldn’t get that darn jingle out of our noggins no matter how hard we tried! 😛 Well, plugins on your website work pretty much the same. Once you’re hosted, you can activate certain features on your blogs that will entice your readers and keep them coming back for more…MUCH more! 😉
From cascading newsletter prompts (did you sign up for mine, BTW?), SEO assistants, and CAPTCHA creators to cache applications, and even e-commerce tools just in case you want to market your page turners or creative projects – the list goes on and on for the limitless gadgets and features you can add to optimize your readers’ experience.
As for the plugins I’ve chosen…hmmm…..Honestly, I’ve only opted for a few thus far especially since I’m just starting out, but as long as you pinky promise not to tell a soul, a few of them include Askimet, Jetpack, and MailChimp! 😉 Keep in mind, that most are free and there are LOADS to choose from, so finding the best one for your blog shouldn’t be too hard. Researching each, clicking on blogs where they already exist, and reading reviews are all things that helped improve my site and I’m positive will render you the same results.
So there ya have it! See there!!!! Despite me being a newbie, I think my tidbits and tips helped someone in some way, somehow! If these tips helped, let me know in the comment section below! And if you have any tips of your own, leave those too! Lastly, subscribe to either my newsletter or my blog by clicking that follow button below. You’ll never miss an update and you’ll be a part of the Cool Kid Crew…who doesn’t want that?!?! Stay creative, my friends and…
Remember to Live Life, Beautifully <3