How to Start a Blog About My Life
How I Started My First Blog in 10 Easy Steps
Okay, Okay let’s face it, starting a website is not easy. Building a new site and writing your first blog is intimidating! I know I’m not alone in that feeling. Here is a little look at what I went through to get this site up and running.
Step 1: Get Inspired
My inspiration came from my day job, working for a local Orlando digital marketing agency.
The biggest reason I decided to do this is that I work on other people’s websites ALL DAY LONG. Why shouldn’t I start something of my own?
I have the skills and the knowledge to not only build a website but I also know how to eventually get it to rank for search keywords. My almost 9 years of search engine optimization experience should come in handy.
The other reason I started this website is that I am addicted to having projects to work on. I’m usually working on a few at a time. Our wedding has been my main project for the past two years and now it’s almost here! (We’re excited about our new wedding date!…Covid-19 hijacked our original plans but I’ll get to that in another post.)
So I decided to build a website but I don’t have a business or a brand to represent. That’s how I landed on the idea to leverage my personal brand, using the name I’ve used as my Instagram handle for years, Gingerrsnapss.
Now, here I am! Starting a blog about my life.
Step 2: Overthink Everything
When I first had this idea I didn’t take the steps to make it happen right away. I thought of all of the reasons why I shouldn’t start this website.
Is this a good use of my time?
Will anyone actually read this thing?
What’s the point?
Do I really want to build a website from scratch?
Will I keep up with it?
Eventually, I voiced my idea to a few people and EVERYONE supported the concept and said that I should do it!
Adiós Overthinker, Hello Blogger!
Step 3: Get Distracted and Do Nothing
No explanation necessary. I went from overthinking, to making the decision to do it, to doing nothing.
I finally found the time and the focus to sit down and build a website over the long 4th of July weekend.
Step 4: Buy a Domain Name
This part was actually the easiest for me.
Finding a good domain name that is available for immediate purchase is often harder than coming up with an available social media handle that matches your name or brand.
I was lucky that my handle on Instagram (@_gingerrsnapss_) was available as a .com! Yes, I know there are extra letters (double R, double S) which isn’t ideal, but at least it’s somewhat consistent and I can connect the two platforms.
I went to Godaddy, saw that it was available and then… didn’t buy it. My domain purchase didn’t happen until I was setting up my site. Why? Refer to step 3.
Step 5: Write a List of Topics
I spent very little time planning for this website build and you can tell with the initial state it’s in. But I’m okay with that.
Any website, especially a blog, is going to blossom over time.
It’s important to have a general idea of what you want the user experience to be.
Who is your audience? What will they want to read?
I assume my initial audience will just be my family and friends that I pressure into reading my posts.
Hi guys! Thank you for reading! Love you all!
Those people will read whatever I ask them to read. (haha….right? Please keep going!)
If my following grows, I’ll likely see a collection of people that can relate to my experiences. So that’s where my list of topics came from and each will fall into categories on the site. I started this list from the Stairmaster one day.
A few categories I plan to cover:
Wedding Planning/Wedding Rescheduling
Covid Bride Stories
Website Tips and Tricks
(When we’re allowed to do that again)
Food & Drinks
As I grow, so will my content.
Step 6: Build a Website
This part is intimidating to just about anyone that isn’t a web developer or designer. Sure, I work on a lot of different websites but this is the first that I’ve built from scratch on my own.
I chose WordPress for a lot of great reasons and I recommend WordPress for almost any type of website.
- I’m comfortable with the platform
- WordPress was made for blogging
- The site will be able to grow with me over time
- I can create just about anything I want
- Google is a fan of WordPress
- I can use the processes and tools that I use with my client’s sites
- If I get stuck, I can easily Google a solution or ask my peers
- Job perks: free hosting, backups, and SSL certificate (Thank you Get The Clicks!)
I could go on but you get the point. If you’re starting a website, go with WordPress if you can.
Choosing a theme: I picked DIVI from Elegant Themes. DIVI has a newer theme called Extra that I chose to use because it’s designed for a magazine-style website. I’ve worked with DIVI a lot but this was my first time using Extra. I’m digging it so far.
There are so so so many WordPress themes out there. I personally recommend looking at DIVI or Elementor for your new site. Both are website builders that give you building blocks to create your pages.
Step 6.5: Collect Images and Create a Logo
If I were a client of mine, I would freak out on myself over how I handled this build.
I had NOTHING gathered or planned to go into it. I just started building.
So, this is 6.5 because, in the middle of figuring out how to make a website live on the domain I purchased, installing the theme, and starting to get it to not look like a giant turd, I realized that I needed some kind of logo and pictures to fill out the pages.
I created the logo using Canva in about 20 minutes, saved the color codes to use throughout the site, and kept going.
I pulled some photos off of my phone, edited a bit, and away I went.
Again, I don’t recommend that for an actual business. I’m my own nightmare at this point. It’s going great!
Step 7: Setup Tracking
Okay, here comes my agency training. I spent a lot of time worrying about the technical parts of the site in the beginning.
I set up the following for my site right away:
Google Search Console
These two tools can tell you so much about the health of your site and the behaviors of your site visitors. (I’m watching you 🙃)
Having that data from the very beginning and being able to watch it grow over time is exciting!
Step 8: Show a Few People What I Made
When I got to a point where I didn’t hate the look of this thing, I showed it to a few people! After spending hours on my creation, I was proud. But certainly not ready to show it to the world. I had no content…and that’s what a blog is all about.
I got some positive feedback and then….
Step 9: Get Distracted and Do Nothing
In the two weeks after launch, the only part I was able to accomplish was to write my “about me” page. Life gets in the way sometimes and we can’t always do everything that we want to do when we want to do it.
Step 10: Get Re-Inspired and Write My First Post
About a week ago I got a second wave of inspiration and started planning this post.
I did a little keyword research and checked out Google Trends before settling on a topic that was both natural but had some organic search.
I laid out what I wanted to cover to keep it real for you guys and now I’m writing and posting MY FIRST BLOG!
If you’ve actually read to the end, I appreciate you! My posts won’t all be this long, I promise 🙂
I’m excited to see where this goes.
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