So you have decided to start a blog. What next?
While there are many platform options you can choose from (such as Tumblr and Squarespace), a quick browsing will reveal that many serious bloggers prefer Google’s Blogger or WordPress. I am not here to show you the differences between the two, but I’ll you that I did switch from Blogger to WordPress.
Ah, a quick introduction is in place. Shall we?
I’m Maan Laxa and I used to blog over at Davaomommy.com, which was hosted by Blogger. However, just this month, I made the big switch and made a new blog from scratch, this time a self-hosted blog in WordPress. It’s Joyfulmess.com. Since I made a totally new blog (no migrations or re-directions whatsoever), I think it’d be great to share with you how I did it.
It’s not totally as easy as pie, but use the right services and the job will be a lot less stress-free.
Here are the things you need to remember in creating your blog on WordPress.
If you haven’t yet, secure your desired domain from services like GoDaddy.
I personally use GoDaddy (I’ve used the service since 2012), and what I like about them the most are the discount coupons and promos. You can buy your own domain name for as low as a dollar (or, like, around P45) or even less.
However, keep in mind that you still need to renew your domain name every year. Renewal generally costs more especially if you were able to initially buy your domain name for a discounted price. Renewal usually costs around $15.
There are also a lot of other services where you can buy your domain names from. I can’t comment on them since I’ve only used GoDaddy though.
For my GoDaddy domains, I use my BPI More Fun Prepaid Card for payment.
Bluehost is a well-known webhost, and if you avail of a hosting account, you will also get a domain name for free. This way, you don’t have to worry about purchasing a domain name anymore. I don’t use Bluehost as my host (I’ll talk about my host later), but I am aware that they have promotional discounts and offers from time to time. But without discounts, here’s how much their plans usually cost per month:
|Plans||12 Months||24 Months|
|Shared Web Hosting||$6.95||$5.95|
I just want to emphasise that those are costs per month, not the annual total. So if you availed of a 24-month plan, you’ll only have to pay $5.95 per month instead of $6.95.
I wanted to use Bluehost because it’s one of the most popular hosting services around, but I already bought a domain name from GoDaddy. Also, being the frugal lady that I am (read: kuripot), I computed the costs and decided I don’t want to shell out P3,500 to P4,000 per year on hosting alone. I mean, I would buy a Cath Kidston bag instead.
Then I stumbled upon this post of Pam of HeyMissAdventures.com, where she mentioned CoffeeMags as her own site’s host. Their plans just start from – take note – just $1 a month. I immediately sent an enquiry to the owners, and to my pleasant surprise, I discovered that one of them is my schoolmate from UP.
Their hosting service also includes 10 email addresses. The best thing about CoffeeMags is that the owners are just in the Philippines (Cebu City) and are very easy to contact. They’re also really nice and approachable.
For my hosting account on CoffeeMags, I use PayPal, but they also accept BPI bank transfers.
PERSONALIZING YOUR WEBSITE
Now that you already have your own domain name and hosting plan, it’s time to head over to the lovelier part of creating a blog: personalizing! The great thing about a self-hosted WordPress blog is the freedom and a wide range of options when it comes to this.
Once you have your own self-hosted blog, you already have access to a lot of WordPress themes. Just go to your Admin Panel (it’s your website’s URL + “/wp-admin/” e.g. 123.com/wp-admin). Click on appearance near the bottom of the left sidebar, and then themes. I’ll leave you to explore them. You only need to install the themes you like, personalise, and activate!
If you know how to create lovely designs, you can upload your own theme. In the “Themes” section, just click on “Add New” and “Upload Theme.” I’m going to stop talking here because I am no expert.
For the In-Betweens
If you are not so savvy in designing but you want to have a unique, more professional-looking theme, or even if the themes in WordPress just don’t appeal to you, you have two options. Contact a designer (such as FancyGirl) and have your own personalized theme design or buy ready-made designs.
Of course, if you avail of a personalized theme, the costs are going to be much higher. The good thing is that nobody else on Earth will have the same theme as you.
You can also buy ready-made themes by professional designs. This is what I did actually, as my blog is still “too young” to have a full-out personalized design. I searched on Etsy for WordPress themes, paid the designer (via PayPal), and installed it on my blog. Easy peasy.
Either way, you’re going to be able to ask for support and assistance from the designer – which you can’t really avail of if you just used a free design.
Next, you need to introduce yourself to the world! Show them the adorable person that you are. You can do this by writing about yourself briefly in the sidebar underneath an optional but recommended blogger picture.
You can also make a page devoted to introducing yourself. This is usually called “About,” and it just focuses on you and your blog. If you’re not very comfortable talking about yourself, talk about your blog and, for example, why you made it.
Another very important feature of your blog is your Contact Page. This is how people are going to contact you. You can write your contact information (email address – I would avoid writing my contact numbers), and you can include a contact form for people to be able to contact you more easily.
WRITE YOUR FIRST POST
You can write whatever you want to write about because – breaking news – it’s your own blog! For your first post, you can formally introduce your blog to the world or introduce yourself. You can also write about something that you love. Anything!
PUBLICIZE AND PROMOTE YOUR BLOG
You can choose to make your blog private, but if you want to be read, then promoting and publicizing is a must! Take advantage of the networks that you already have on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn. Promote your website by promoting your blog posts. You can also go one step further and create a Facebook page just for the website. This way, you can start creating your own network solely for the blog’s purpose.
Another tip: Use a promotional banner in your email signature. After your name, you can add a banner that features your blog name and, perhaps, your tag line. Anything works! I haven’t updated my own signature yet, but the service I use is Zipniture.
What are you waiting for? Creating your blog on WordPress is not as hard as you think! Let us know if you’ve already started your blog so we on Mommy Bloggers Philippines can check it out!
I’m Maan, a 20-something quirky WAHM and frustrated homeschooler from Davao City. I used to blog on Davao Mommy but have now transferred to a spanking new blog, which I affectionately call Joyful Mess. Come share messy stories with me!