So you decided what your blog will be about and which platforms you will use, now you have to do the real work: setting up your dream blog. This part of the adventure is frustrating, confusing and a bit expensive but once your own blog is online you’ll be extremely proud. And because I love smiling faces I am giving you some tips to make it a bit smoother.
1. Blog name & domain?
First things first. What wil be the name of your blog? Try to find something that sounds fun and that people remember but most important, choose a name that fits with your style & blog. I decided to name my blog Cocktails&Heels since I am a real sucker for cocktails (mojito, g&t, cosmopolitan, I love them all) and I almost always wear heels (this is a necessity when you are as short as me ;-)). Try a few different names, see what sticks or ask some of your friends to give their opinion. Also check if there are no other bloggers that have your name, it can be quite embarrassing when they say ‘Ah, yes I know your blog!’ and they’re not talking about you 😉
2. Free or paying?
The first thing you have to decide when you are setting up your blog is if you want a free platform or a paying platform. In case this is the first time you are starting a blog or if you have doubts about doing it for a long time, it might be better to choose a free platform. You can set up a blog on www.weebly.com for example. In case you are sure you will love it and are ambitious about your blog, you can decide to pay for your own domain name. If you are not sure which platform to use, WordPress is the absolute favorite platform of all bloggers worldwide. At first it will be confusing but after some time you’ll get the hang of it. Paying for your own domain name will cost you around €20 a year, so definitely worth the money. The advantage of paying for your domain name is that it is a direct link (www.cocktailandheels.com) instead of www.cocktailsandheels.weebly.com for example. Your blog will also appear higher in the Google ranking compared to a free platform.
3. Hosted or self-hosted?
Not sure if I am explaining this correctly since it is also still a grey zone for me, but you can decide to put your blog under the WordPress server itself or to buy your own ‘space’ where you save all your blog content. At first I started out with my own domain name and a spot on the WordPress server, this is great to do the first months or even the first year of your blog. That way you can get to know WordPress and the functionality of your own blog. The big disadvantage of this platform is that you have to choose between certain templates and that you cannot tweak every little detail to your own liking. Once your blog is a bit bigger & you want your blog to look more professional you can decide to host your blog on another server (I chose one.com for example). You simply buy a certain amount of ‘space’ on this server and are then able to still work on the WordPress platform but now you can edit your blog totally to your liking, either by working with CSS (if you know anything about it, you can also help me, thank you ;-)) or by buying a theme. Buying your own space can range from €30 – €100, depending on the amount of space you buy and the provider you choose.
4. Which theme?
When you decide to host your own blog you have the possibility to choose a theme that you like ànd to totally tweak this theme to your own liking. This part is extremely fun but also extremely hard, decisions decisions…. You can find an enormous amount of pretty themes which range between €40 and €100. My theme was around €40 and next to the theme I also received personal support (which you absolutely need when setting this whole thing up!). When you buy a theme you have rights to it for the rest of your life, so it’s quite a good investment if you ask me. Not sure which theme to choose? Check out some of your favorite blogs and try to find out which theme they’re using (if they use one) or try to find something similar on one of the theme provider websites (I bought my theme on this site). Once again, make sure to find a theme that fits your blog style and your own style.
Do you have specific questions about setting up your own blog? Just ask! Of course I am no real expert and I can only speak from my own experience but I will try to help you as much as I can. Next week I’ll tell you some more about writing blog posts and staying creative!