I, Eva Hamori, am not a professional website designer nor have I a background in computers. So, if I can start a blog so can you! Here’s how I did it!
1. Start With An Idea
Pick an idea you are passionate about. If you like to collect vintage cars, or travel, or experience great food and wine, whatever the topic, be passionate about it, or no one will want to read it. People can feel a phony, and unfortunately I have bumped into many sites on travel, where the writers have never even left their couch. The Internet is the Wild West, where anything goes, and the information is out there to steel, and regurgitate. If you can be honest, write from the heart, if you build it they will come.
2. Pick A Name
Make it catchy and something people might remember. I love play on words, and names that let you know exactly what the blog is about. Even ask your friends for help, and come up with something you love, you may be stuck with it for a long time
3. Register Your Domain Name
By registering your name and website address, it is yours forever. No one can steal it from you once you get famous on the net. It doesn’t cost much, Godaddy is who I have always in the past, but currently I use TSO. Great service and they are always ready to help online! Fast!
4. Go to a Free Blog Site
We used Weebly. We started off with thatshamori.weebly.com. It was free and a way to test the waters before making any financial investment. They have free templates, with loads of different designs, color schemes and layouts to choose from to make it look exactly the way you imagine it. They walk you through each addition you make to your webpage, and even have a hotline for questions. I found it easy. Quickly my page was up and running, with pictures, video and links. WordPress has a good free one too but it is far more complicated for the beginner, but worth it in the end for their networking feature. BlogSpot has another good one I have used with students too!
5. Buy Web Hosting and point your Domain Name to that Provider
We used FatCow, but now swear by TSO hosting but there are so many out there. Some are much cheaper than others. I bought the largest amount of time possible, to get the best price. Then I went through the steps to point our domain name to that provider.
FatCow also has a free WordPress site builder that I use on three of my websites. I advertise this on my websites, and am a paid endorser. You don’t have to be familiar with HTML to create a wordpress site.
6. Tell Your Friends
Before you start advertising, try it out on your friends first! Send them your new http:// address and ask them for feedback. Let them tell you what they think, ask them what they like and dislike about the layout, the colour scheme, what they think it should have on it. Then ask them what their favourite websites are to visit, and look them over for ideas on layouts, readability and accessibility. Quickly you will know what you like.
7. Write Each Day
It depends on what type of blog you do, it would be weird if I wrote each day, and sometimes we are in the same spot for a week. But let’s say you have a blog on hotspots of Vancouver. You may want to build an open forum where people come to talk. Chat rooms, where people come to pass information along, or throw their two cents in on a hot topic. Anything you can imagine you can create online. For us, we are writing a series of events, which eventually will string together to make a book. So we didn’t use the chat room option. Maybe one day.
Don’t sway from your chosen topic too much; your followers don’t like it. There are days I feel like writing about gardening. I love gardening, it is one of my true passions, but it has no business on my travel website.
Google adsense and Facebook ads are cheap and easy to use and will get dedicated followers to your topic. I would rather have 10 people actually interested in my topic who stay and read my work, than 100 who accidentally find me and bounce away.
9. Promote with Twitter and FaceBook
By building your community, interacting with friends and strangers, you will build your following. I have enjoyed this process, and met many writers online with the same interests as us. Where once I thought my idea was crazy and new, I now know there is a whole community of travelers travelling the world with their kids! Who knew?
10. Lastly SEO
Use keywords to get people to your site. I am not sure how it works. I eventually switched to a WordPress Blog for the Search Engine Optimizer feature. It does it for us. I did ask for help at this point, not really knowing where to go from here. My hired help showed me how to use Google Analytics to track our readers, they showed me how to read like-minded blogs and interactive with them.
It is okay to ask for help. With so much information online on the topic, I am sure you can find a blog on blogging.
This is as far as we got since July 2011 launch. We started on the road in August. With so much left to learn on this topic, I have enjoyed the challenge of learning something new. It has been a huge source of happiness for me to be able to write, travel and one day live off my work.