Starting a Blog

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So you want to start a blog? I get asked how to do this so much that I decided to write a guide to get you started. A blog is a great tool. It can be for personal reasons such as a goal tracker, daily reflections, a travel journal or anything else your heart desires! Its also great for businesses since nowadays a blog is more than a blog...its your spot among the web.

Below are personal recommendations after I have struggled and played around with the different tools out there.  

Which platform?

I've seen many people use Squarespace, Wix or Weebly which are great platforms...but money wise, it's always best to host your own. Hosting your own website also guarantees your ownership.

Think of it this way...I like to compare it to renting a house or buying a house.

When you rent a house, you pay to live there but you can't do major remodels. You can bring in furniture but may not be able to bring in a pet. You are limited on what you can and cannot do. When it comes time to moving, you can take all of your furniture and belongings, but that's it. Some stuff may be tossed depending on your next living space.

When you buy a house, you have complete control over everything you do. You can bring in any furniture, make any changes to the house (inside and outside) and have as many pets as you want! Well...within reason of course.  

Its similar to hosting. Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, WordPress.com...they are all renting platforms. 

So whats not a renting platform? This may sound complicated, but I promise you it is easy. WordPress.org is free, but you need a hosting platform. My favorite hosting platform is Siteground. It's really easy to figure out and the customer service is awesome! And its only $3.95 a month for a full year to start out! Even if you don't stick with Siteground as a hosting platform, you can take your WordPress site anywhere!

So WordPress.org is your home and Siteground is your mortgage. Home is where the heart is...it's free, but you still need to pay for your mortgage. 

Email Lists

No matter if you have a website or not, emails are gold. You want to capture an email from anyone who stumbles across your website or Facebook.

Why?

It comes back to ownership; you own your email list. As long as someone signs up through your call to action*, you own that list. If your website crashes, no problem...you have their email. If Facebook shuts down, no problem...you have their email.

I have seen multiple people invest in their social media but not their email lists. Its great to have a ton of followers, but those followers don't always see your posts. Its just the way Facebook and Instagram work. Using email, every person in your list can potentially see your message and you can track who sees what.

Mailchimp and MailerLite are two great platforms to use. I have used both but have to say that MailerLite is my favorite. Not too long ago automation wasn't free for Mailchimp, so I switched to MailerLite. Now, automation is free for both, but MailerLite still tops Mailchimp in my book. Plus they offer an affiliate program for their users! I do have an account with both, but after my last automation campaign, MailerLite dominated.

Graphics

Oh the possibilities are endless!

One word: Canva.

Canva is an online free graphic service. You can make social media images, flyers, infographics, banners, Kindle covers, etc. Canva offers a paid subscription for $10 a month called Canva for Work, but the free version is all you need. They do have stock photos you can use with your graphic for $1 (compared to other photo sites). Overall, Canva is my absolute favorite. 

Another great tool I use is Photoshop through Adobe Creative Cloud. It is a yearly subscription at $10 a month and includes Lightroom for photo editing. I use Photoshop for other purposes outside of this blog, but I will use it for graphics from time to time.

I hope the above helped you in someway. If you have any questions or need help beginning, please don't hesitate to reach out to me! 

You can email me at annette@faithovercoffee.com

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