How to start a blog STEP 1: What’s your goal – Evolved Mommy

It’s time to put yourself out there. If I can do it, so can you. But before you start your own blog there are a few things you need to know, like the VERY IMPORTANT difference between hosted & self-hosted blogs.

 

arkansas writing retreat
Me at a cabin in the woods writing blog posts

Before you even search for domain names think about your goals. Why do you want to blog? Seriously.

Perhaps…
you have an opinion about the rise of processed foods in the American diet and how it is affecting our kids,
Or…
you have a passion for authentic vintage sheets from the mid-century and want to share DIY crafts to repurpose them in your modern home
Or…
you love teaching others how to negotiate the sticky world of office politics in order to be a positive role model for working moms in leadership.
Or…
maybe you love Northwest Arkansas and want to share your favorite spots through storytelling and creative photography.

All good reasons.

Learn from our mistakes: Choose the right platform from the beginning

This weekend I hid away in the woods with six other bloggers, all seasoned.

Three of them spent a good chunk of the weekend trying to move their sites from hosted platforms to self-hosted because they need customization and freedom.

Two of them decided to start over with new sites because moving is not easy. Let me spare you that heartache down the road, but helping you pick the right platform based on your goals.

OPTION A: Niche Publication Blog (self-hosted)

Your first decision is: do I intend or want to ever make money on my blog. This is the tricky part because most people will say, “Oh, I don’t care if I make any money. I just need a creative outlet.”

Fine, but if you would like to make money on your blog self-hosted is your only option. If you choose hosted you cannot run ads, customize completely or post sponsored content.

So when a brand you are absolutely passionate about presents you with an amazing opportunity, you’ll have to say, “I’m so sorry. I can’t.”

Also, as noted above, you can’t just move from hosted to self-hosted later.

Well, you can, but you will lose any site strength you had built up and virtually all search engine traffic, plus there’s no guarantee that your content will move correctly.

Self-hosted blogs do cost a little bit of money because you’ll need to buy a domain name, hosting, a site theme and maybe a logo.

Personal Journal (hosted)

However, when you get absolutely honest about it you really just want to create a digital journal or scrapbook of your family’s adventures, then hosted is perfectly sufficient and FREE.

You can set up a hosted blog on Blogger.com, WordPress.com (this is different than WordPress.org self-hosted), Typepad or Tumblr in less than 30 minutes.

The URL won’t be as pretty if you go this route, but if you’re not worried about creating a personal brand it really isn’t that big of a deal.

For example, my site would be evolvedmommy.wordpress.com as opposed to evolvedmommy.com.

READY TO START A BLOG? LET’S TALK IT OUT IN THE COMMENTS.

STEP 2: Setting up a self-hosted blog

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