A good foundation for any blog…
…starts with making the tough decisions that every new blogger is faced with.
Ask yourself two important questions:
- What is your blog about?
- What are the goals for your blog?
Sounds simple right?
But many times I get asked the question,
“Where do I start?”
In order to point you in the right direction and help put your mind at ease, I recorded a series of 5 podcast episodes that I consider a starter guide or you might call it Blogging 101. Each lesson teaches you some of the best practices for how to start blogging and help you sort through the confusion most new bloggers face. You don’t have to listen to them all at once, but I encourage you to go step-by-step until you reach the end.
All you need to do now is tune out the noise, turn up the volume, sit back, relax and just listen. You can even close your eyes for the next 15 minutes, as you begin to imagine what your blog will look like 2 or 3 months from now. Remember, you now have the power to transform your longstanding dream of having your own successful blog, into an everyday reality. Listen to a quick recap of the Top 5 Blogging Tools Every Blogger Should Invest In!
NEW TO BLOGGING? Start here: Blogging Tips 101: Basic Blogging Tips That Will Take Your Blog to the Next Level
Recommended Blogging Tools and Resources
Website Design and Complete Blog Set Up
My daughter Nikki started designing websites 4 years ago (you can view her portfolio here). She official launched Lidyr Creative Marketing agency in 2013 and she specializes in web design and graphic design for ecommerce websites. So if you don’t want to do it yourself, get in touch with Nikki Purvy today! Nikki will:
- Register your domain
- Set up your hosting
- Design your logo
- Install WordPress
- Configure your theme and plugins
- Add ecommerce integration to your new site!
Of course she can help you tweak an existing WordPress blog as well. This is the best way to go if you want to save time and avoid the hassle and steep learning curve of setting up your own site.
Self-hosted WordPress is the blogging platform of choice for myself and for most professional bloggers because of it’s flexibility and inter-operability with various platforms and networks. It’s free open-source software that is highly regarded as the top CMS (content management system) of it’s kind. There is more of a learning curve associated with the self-hosted WordPress platform which is why I recommend Lisa Irby’s book WP Starter Guide. Lisa has been teaching people how to set up websites since 2006 and she has inspired thousands of people just like yourself to get started using WordPress.
However, if you’re not ready to take the leap into getting your own web host or if you’re blogging as a hobby and just testing the waters, Google’s Blogger (also called Blogspot) and WordPress.com are two excellent solutions.
I also recommend the online training tutorial from Lynda.com. They have hundreds of classes where you can learn about WordPress, graphic design, video production and so much more.
Click here to get 7 days of FREE unlimited access to Lynda.com
If you do decide to go the route of a self-hosted blog, you must first register a domain. Here’s an excellent article that covers everything you need to consider about Selecting and Awesome Domain Name for Your Blog.
Domain Registrations and Website Hosting
For domain registration, I currently use GoDaddy and Namecheap.
This blog is currently being hosted on HostGator. I was originally using Blue Host but my blog moved very slow due to something they call “CPU Throttling”. Connections to the server were frequently lost, I could not backup the contents of my blog and at one point my blog was down on almost a daily basis for several hours.
If this ever happens to you, no matter what host you’re using, it’s not good for you, your readers or the search engines. You need a hosting provider that will help keep your blog running smoothly and quickly. I had to make a move and the people from HostGator stepped in and moved the blog for me and in less than 24 hours I was back up and running in tip-top shape and I haven’t looked back since.
Speaking of “backups” I use the BackUp Buddy plugin from iThemes to makes full and complete backups of my blog. I don’t rely on free solutions or plugins because they don’t have a way to restore your blog if anything should ever happen to it.
Responsive WordPress Blogging Themes
I switched to the Genesis Theme Framework in late 2013, but I wish I had done it long ago. The theme theme framework (also known as child theme) I use is Appendipity Showcase. It’s totally responsive, which means it looks great on any device, including iOS and Android devices, and it loads super fast. You can preview the full line of Appendipity Themes here. If you have a podcast, you’re in luck because these themes were developed with podcasters in mind. So go ahead and check out Appendipity, you’ll be amazed at how good your podcast will look when they are sporting one of these themes.
Podcast Hosting and Equipment
When it comes to podcasting one of the most important things you need is a separate web host for your media files. There’s good reason for using an additional host on top of your blog’s host. If or should I say when, your podcast becomes popular, you’ll need a host that provides additional band width so that your audience of listeners can stream your media files (audio or video). Without this added bandwidth, your blog’s server does not have the capacity to keep up and your site will go down.
That’s why I recommend you use Libsyn to host your podcast. Libsyn is one of the few podcast hosts that has a dedicated support team and full time developers that will keep your podcast up and running at all times.
Their rates are very affordable and the customer service is one of a kind. Check out Libsyn here and use code SOPFREE at checkout to get your first month of podcast hosting for free.
Blubrry is another solution you can explore for your podcast, and they are also very well respected in the podcasting community.
Social Media Management and Additional Resources
For social media management I recommend HootSuite. I use it to monitor @ mentions on Twitter, share blog posts and track activity Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. It’s a fantastic tool for anyone with more than one Twitter account or if you are a heavy user of various social networks (including YouTube and LinkedIn).
Do you ever ask yourself?
What content can I share on Social Media that will increase my likes and retweets?
Whenever I have that question – PostPlanner is my go to tool!
PostPlanner is an awesome tool for generating ideas, finding quotes, tracking RSS feeds and creating images to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ you name it, PostPlanner’s got you covered. It’s one of the most comprehensive social media tools around. Pop over and check out the review here which includes a YouTube video tutorial as well. Use Canva right inside of PostPlanner to craft awesome images and another cool feature is the Sharebar which allows you to add your branding to any content that you share from inside the tool. Get a free trial of PostPlanner by using my special code MASTER30FREE.
I have several tricks up my sleeve when it comes to social media promotion that I would like to share with you today. Two of my favorites are Triberr and Social Buzz Club.
Social Buzz Club has been sort of my secret weapon when it comes to getting the word out about my content. SBC offers several unique marketing opportunities including access to the following perks:
- Your content will be shared by industry influencers
- You’ll get access to weekly online training and coaching webinars featured in Social Buzz University
- You can earn point for sharing to your choice of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
- You get the ability to schedule your posts and your shares
- You’ll be invited to the private Facebook Group giving you more access to influencers
- You can submit a guest post or hold a webinar hosted by SBC
I also use Timeline Slicer App which is another great tool from Joey Kissimmee that is very affordable and great for increasing engagement levels on Facebook. I created Timeline covers that give credit to my fans which allows me to tag them and attracts them to my Facebook page. This also got the attention of Ching-ya who included this Timeline cover in her list of favorite tips for fan page engagement.
The Timeline Slicer was created by Joey Kissimee and it’s one of my top converting Clickbank affiliate products which is another reason I’m so supportive of it. I use it to create Timeline covers for all the Facebook pages that I admin and it makes the job of creating covers super quick, and easy and the covers look professional.
Email Marketing and List Building
AWeber is the premium email marketing provider I use. I’ve used other providers and I think AWeber has more options and provides better segmentation tools. They also have one of the highest deliverability rates in the industry. AWeber integrates with these popular blogging softwares, social media marketing tools and ecommerce applications:
- Google Checkout
- Optin Monster
- Many more….
Give AWeber a test drive for only $1!
Find a complete list of applications here: http://www.aweber.com/app-showcase.htm
One Last Tool I Can’t Live Without
If you want to contact me to ask specific questions about blogging, social media, Google Analytics, YouTube, etc. sign up for my newsletter using the form on the sidebar, and you’ll be able to reply with your questions to the first email that goes out after you confirm your subscription.
If you want to know more about any of the resources mentioned here or if you just want to say “Hi!”, you can leave a voice mail message by using the SpeakPipe icon over on the right and be sure to tell me your name and where you are from.
Before I go, I just want you to know that one most of THE most important resources for this blog is YOU!