Six Easy Steps to Start a Blog

Six Easy Steps to Start a Blog

Are you ready to start a blog but are not sure exactly what to do or how to do it? Here are six easy steps to help you get started. (This blog post has some affiliate links of some of my favorite things!)

starting blog

Get hosting

Hosting is the space where your website is at online. It’s kind of like the land that your house is built on. There are lots of hosting sites, like Go Daddy, Bluehost, etc, but my favorite site is SiteGround. SiteGround has  a quality service, affordable prices, excellent customer service, free domain, an easy 1-click WordPress install, 30 day money back guarantee, free SSL certificate, and more! SiteGround is also super affordable, which we all love, right?

There are other free or cheap website options available, such as WordPress.com, Wix, Blogspot, etc, but I always suggest going self-hosted. This way you actually own your content and you’re not relying on someone else. It is also the best for SEO and monetizing your blog if that’s your goal.

To get started on SiteGround, you can click on my link and choose a plan. The StartUp plan is probably good enough for now if you’re only going to have one blog, but you can always go bigger if you choose. You will click on “Get Started” then it will take you to register your domain name.

Choose and register a domain name

Your domain name is your url, or site address. It is what you type in the address bar of your browser to get to your site. You can register a domain name very easily with SiteGround when you are setting up your hosting account.

I would definitely do a search for your domain name and similar ones like it first, to see what else is out there. You don’t want to choose something that will get confused with someone else’s or something that is going to go to a questionable site if someone accidentally types it wrong. Getting a .com url is usually best, but you can always get a .net or something else if you need to, like I did.

On the next page you will enter your account, client, payment, and purchase information. For the data center you will choose which ever one is closest to where most of your readers will be coming from. So since I am in the USA, as are most of my readers, I chose Chicago. You don’t necessarily need the extra services, unless you want to get them. I did not get the Site Scanner because I use a free plugin (WordFence) on my site in place of that.

Install WordPress

Next, you will need to install WordPress on your site. After clicking Pay Now and finishing your purchase, you should get a page that says Proceed to Customer Area. When you click on that, you may get a pop up that asks if you want to install WordPress. Otherwise, you can go to your account, the CPanel, then click on WordPress under the pre-installers category.

After you install WordPress, you can access the back end of your website, which is your WordPress admin dashboard. To access it, you will go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin, replacing “yourdomain” with your domain.

Install a theme

After you have installed WordPress and have logged into your dashboard, it is time to choose a theme for your blog. There are free WordPress themes that you can choose from or you can pay for one. While there is nothing really wrong with choosing a free one, at least to start with, they are not as customizable as others. My recommendation, and what I use, is the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. I love how customizable it is and it is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you choose to use Divi and want some tips for using it, just schedule a call with me and I will go over it with you!

To install Divi, you will go to the Elegant themes website and click on Join to Download up at the top right. Then you will choose either the Yearly Access or Lifetime Access. You will fill out the information and complete your registration. Then you will go to the members area (I get there by clicking on Login after I am already logged in and it takes me there) and click Download on the Divi Theme. You will need to make sure you download it as a zip file.

Then you will go back to the admin dashboard of your site, and go to Appearance and then Themes. From there you can click Add New, then Upload Theme and upload the zip file of the Divi theme. After it installs, you will click Activate Theme to activate it on your site. And now you are ready to move on to the fun part!

Customize and add content to your site.

After you choose and install your theme, you will need to customize it and add your content to it. Customizing your website the way you want it and in a way that reflects your brand can take time to do. If you are up for it and want to do it, go for it! The Elegant Themes website has a blog where they have lots of articles with tips that you can look through for assistance if you need it. But if you want to spend your time running and growing your business and let someone else create your website for you (like me!) then I would love to chat with you about that! It’s what I love to do! 😉

Want to know more about visual branding? Check out this post!

Write your first blog post.

Now you are ready to write and publish your first blog post! Don’t wait too long for this step. If you keep messing around with the customization of your site until it is absolutely perfect, you may never get around to actually blogging! So be sure you start blogging as soon as you can. You can always work on making your site better as you go.

I hope these steps help you get started! Want some more help with your website or branding? I’d love to chat! Schedule your free 15 minute discovery call with me here!

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Blog Process for New Bloggers

Blog Process for New Bloggers

My blog is brand new, if you can’t tell. Like only-four-not-so-great-blog-posts (as of writing this post) new. But we all gotta start somewhere, right? Right. So as I think about the direction my blog is going to take and how I am going to organize it, I wanted to share with y’all my blog process. If you don’t already have a blog or a process in place, I dare you to join me and let’s get our blogs up and running and organized together! Us entrepreneurs gotta stick together! 😉 If you do, please share a comment with your process and help us newbies out!

Starting a blog, but not sure of your process yet? Here I outline my blog process for you with tips and a printable! www.melissamackey.net

My Blog Process for New Bloggers

First, I started by creating a list of content ideas. I sat down and brainstormed things I could write about, then I browsed Pinterest for other ideas, and wrote everything down on a Trello board. You can also download my content ideas worksheet below to use if that’s more your style. I love using Trello to keep track of all of my ideas in one place and to keep them organized. I can tag them, label them, move them around in different lists, add comments/checklists, etc. It’s great. Check it out if you haven’t yet!

Next, I thought about my posting schedule. I do know that having a consistent posting schedule is very important when blogging. That way you don’t ever leave your followers hanging, (Wait, do I even have any followers yet?) and they know what to expect from you and your blog. Whether you choose to post every day, 3 times a week, once a week, or once a month is up to you. Figure out what is going to be doable for you and what you can do consistently. Don’t over do it. You can always work up to more. My goal is to post once a week right now. I should be able to do once a week consistently once I get my processes in place.

Read When Should a Direct Seller Start a Blog?

Now that my posting schedule is figured out, I am going to start plugging my content ideas into a content calendar. This way I know what I will be blogging about when. This doesn’t have to be perfect. I will allow myself to make changes if necessary if things come up, but this will help me to be prepared with a schedule so I am not having to worry about it. I do want to make sure to look at upcoming holidays and events so that if there is something coming up that I want to be sure to include in a blog post I can be prepared for that. Also, if I know I will need to take some time off or schedule ahead because of a holiday or event, I can be prepared for that, too.

The last thing I do (well, as far as this article is concerned it is the “last” thing…) is write my posts and create my graphics. Ideally, I will do this in batches. Instead of having to sit down each week and write my post for the week, if I have my content schedule out, I can take some time each month to write all of my posts for the month, create all of my graphics for the posts, then get them scheduled on my blog. Boom, done! (Until next month, that is!) So instead of having to do this weekly, I will batch my posts and graphics monthly.

Read How Branding Your Direct Sales Business Can Grow Your Business

Now, will I be able to execute all of this perfectly each month? Probably not, especially not at first. It is going to take some disciple and practice and getting used to, but pretty soon I hope to have it running smoothly and effortlessly! (Wishful thinking?) Join me with your blog and make sure to come back and let me know how it goes! And if you have any advice for me, please share!

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5 Reasons to Blog as a Direct Seller

5 Reasons to Blog as a Direct Seller

Direct selling and blogs…

Are you in the direct selling or network marketing industry? How do you brand yourself and set yourself apart from the competition? Are you just another consultant, or do people want to do business with you because you are YOU? In my experience, having your own website or blog (apart from your company’s) can be a great way to set yourself apart and grow your business! Here are some reasons why:

1. Having a blog will set you apart. How many consultants in your company have their own website apart from the company one? Probably not many! Having your own website and blog would really set you apart from others in your industry, right? A blog would be a whole ‘nother avenue for people to find you and learn about you. And it doesn’t even necessarily have to be company related! It is a great way for you to stand out as an “expert” in your field. There is so much potential with a blog and so much you can write about and share with your followers.

Read 6 Steps to Starting a Blog

2. Share your expertise. Do you feel like an expert in your field? Me neither. But, whether or not you think you are an “expert,” there is always something you can offer! Really! You have life experiences that others don’t have, and you started this business because you were interested in the product and what it could do for others. Use that to your advantage!  And even if you’re not an expert, pretend like you are and no one will be the wiser! (Shh, that’s my little secret.) 😉 Plus, even if you are just one step ahead, you are still ahead and have something you can share. There is so much info you can share, whether it is product related, or just tips, tricks, stories, ideas, how to’s, information, printables, secrets, problem solving, and so much more! Things that your target market would be interested in, or things to help them solve a problem, get to know you moe, etc. There is a HUGE market for this! And you have experiences and expertise that is unique to you! You can also create categories so that your followers can easily find what you have written on a topic, or you can easily direct someone to a post to answer their question about something. Much easier than searching through your past FB posts!

3. Build that Know, Like, and Trust factor. You know that know, like, and trust factor that lots of people talk about? Well, having a website with a blog is a GREAT way for your customers to get to know you! Like really get to know you. There is so much info that you can put on your website, from your about section, to all of the info you share in your blog posts! It is a great way for them to get to know you, realize that they like you and have things in common with you, then get to trust you and want to buy from you! This is a place where you can really hone in on your niche and speak directly to them.

Read Are Direct Sales Ruining Your Friendships?

4. SEO. You can also use search engine optimization (SEO) on your blog or website, which helps it rank higher in search engines so that you get more traffic to your site. There is so much more info that I could go into on this that I don’t have time for in this post (maybe in the future! ?). But there are lots of ways to drive traffic to your website so that you can gain new followers and new customers as well as sending your current ones to the site for information. How would you like to be generating new leads and followers every day? Wouldn’t that be great? Or a place to send people for more information about a certain topic or product? Like I said, there are lots of benefits!

5. Brand yourself. What do you think of when you think of branding? Lots of people think colors, fonts, logo, etc. but branding is more than that. Yes, your brand includes those elements, but really, your brand is how others perceive you and your business. It’s your colors and design, your content, your personality, your voice, your story, your mission, your service, how you make people feel, etc. Your brand is what makes you YOU. It is how you stand out, how your customers get to know, like, and trust you, why they want to buy from you, and how they connect with you. When it comes to creating your brand, you will want to think about all of those things and put them together. I suggest writing them down. You will want to think about your mission, vision, and goals for your business, your brand colors and fonts, your target market (be specific!), how you want your customers to feel when they think of your brand, etc.

What do you think? Do you have a blog? Link it below in the comments!

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