Build Your Own Blog

Simon LawtonInspiration, ResourcesLeave a Comment

Build your own blog

Build Your Own Blog ~ I’ve been blogging now for over six years and I love it! It’s become a great hobby and to be honest, when I started, I had no idea what I was doing, but in this time I’ve taught myself how to host a site and do a bit of blogging! I have particularly enjoyed connecting with new friends from all over the world. It’s been great!

I’ve put this page together to help and encourage my friends to make a start at blogging. There are lots of people far more experienced than me….but this will give you an outline and encourage you to get started!

Build Your Own Blog

Why Start A Blog?

I guess the most important reason is that you feel you have something to say. I had a strong desire to share lessons from my personal journey which I felt I could share in an honest and transparent way in order to help others grow and mature in their Christian walk. Personally I believe a blog is a great vehicle for anyone to share their thoughts and even more so for someone who is a pastor.

Getting Started

It’s pretty simple and straightforward to launch your own blog and there is lots of help out there. I’ve used YouTube numerous times when I’ve become stuck.

WordPress

Sign up for WordPress blog for free and choose a free theme that suits you. I wouldn’t have been able to work out computer code so WordPress did all the work for me!

Purchase A Quality Theme

Once you become more experienced you can purchase a theme from someone like Studio Press. The theme I currently use is the Genesis Metro Theme which is one of many outstanding themes available from this company. It was a fantastic investment at a one-time purchase fee of £63 ($99) and includes:

  • Genesis framework
  • Mobile responsiveness (crucial today)
  • 6 layout options
  • Custom background, header & menu’s
  • 5 colour styles
  • Featured images
  • Landing page template
  • Access to detailed tutorials
  • Unlimited updates and support

As a complete amateur I found it incredibly easy to upload my existing WordPress site. There were no problems at all and it was all done within a couple of hours (allowing for my choosing various options).

Since then I’ve contacted Studio Press for some support to make further improvements to my site and they have been quick to respond and a great help. The benefits of having my own professional theme have been incredible. I highly recommend Studio Press. Click on here to see their massive range of themes.

Self Hosting & Personal Domain Is Best!

All the professional bloggers say this and I agree. Personally I chose to purchase my own domain name and pay for hosting as I felt this gave me more control.

I used uk2.net for my domain name purchase and their service is excellent.

My blog is hosted by Siteground. I migrated from some of the cheaper hosts to them mainly due to the fact that I required a managed and a high speed website. My pages load so fast now which is so important to the visitors to my blog.  Siteground have a fantastic reputation for security and customer service too.

Siteground can help you set up and host your website/blog quickly and easily. They also provide a free domain name, free email accounts and file transfer etc.

Customise Your Site

There are three main areas to focus on:

First: choose a nice header picture (you can use one of those provided by your theme or import one of your own). Then move on to create a quality ‘about page’ preferably with a picture of yourself to help your readers get a feel for who you are.

Second: by using the available widgets decide what and where you place things in your header, side & footer bars. As time goes on you will want to add some of the things that I have on my site such as email sign up, my book etc. Most website today try and keep these spaces as clean and clutter free as possible.

Third: add plugins (most of which are free on WordPress). Something that helped me was simply to do some research and so I googled’ Top 10 Plugins.’

Plugins will enhance and improve your site and I recommend (and use) all the following…

Build your own blog … recommended plugins

  • Askimet: protects your blog from comment and trackback spam
  • Jetpack: various features all wrapped up in one easy plugin
  • Yoast SEO: the best and most straightforward plugin for optimising your web profile and improving your page rankings
  • Compress JPEG & PNG images: automatically reduces the size of images on the site therein reducing page load speed
  • Revive Old Posts: allows you to share old posts on social media and LinkedIn. I only use this on Twitter.
  • WP Super Cache: very important plugin – massively increases site speed
  • MailChimp Lite: links with the MailChimp site. I use MailChimp to collect subscribers to my blog. This is a free mail service (for the first 2000 subscribers).
  • Monster Insights: Analytics in your dashboard

Tip – Don’t use too many plugins and delete any you aren’t using as this will slow your page speed down. Old plugins that haven’t received security updates for some time are often used by hackers to gain entry to your site and attack it.

Build your own Blog – Top Tip

There are absolutely loads of free tutorials on YouTube that will help you create your own blog and personalise it. There are also some great bloggers out there.

Build your own Blog – Create Quality Content

Your page may look amazing but the most important factor is the quality of your content. Write about your passion. Write content that is  original, interesting, honest, helpful, transparent, amusing (when you can be!),  keep it simple and clear and use bullet points (as people scan read). Try and answer the questions people are asking in your area of interest. Write regularly (people will expect this) – some bloggers release a new post on the same day every week or once a month.

Let people know you exist and when you’ve posted

Let people know you exist! Place your blog web address everywhere – in your bio on all your social media accounts, email signatures, letterhead etc and use social media to let people know you have posted a new blog post. Don’t be afraid to post each new post several times and at different times of the day considering the different working hours and time zones. For instance if I want people in the UK and USA to read my morning thought I will need to post at the UK times of 7.30am, 12.30pm & 3.30pm to reach my readers in the UK, US East coast and West Coast.

And Finally…

To Build your own Blog … Just get started! Rome wasn’t built in a day…it took much longer! So just start building each day, bit by bit, adding content, plugins, pics, colours etc. The point is you have to start somewhere – but seriously don’t wait to publish until your site is ‘all-singing, all-dancing.’ Get started and enjoy the journey!

Don’t forget to checkout Siteground. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 I’m a Siteground affiliate partner because I believe they are the best in the market.

Don’t forget to check out all the great Genesis themes at Studio Press. You won’t regret it!

 

Disclosure

Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Featured Photo by

Fancycrave

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