Blog Improvement Fridays, DIYthemes, Wordpress

Blog Improvement Fridays {First Steps to creating a Blog}

March 8, 2013

Let’s kick off the series with an obvious post: First steps to creating a Blog! Many people do not have a clue about how blogging actually works. They don’t know how I make posts become available on the web and to be honest it was something that I often wondered when I was younger. I would visit websites and think: how did they add that picture to the website? Now I know and the whole process is so simple even those without a talent for computers will manage. If I can do it, you can do it and if you know how to use a word document then you will know how to blog.

The way that my blog was born was very spontaneous. I had “warned” my mom that I wanted to start a blog and suddenly became a blog reading fanatic. I would spend hours sitting in front of my laptop reading blogs from back to front until I had reached their first-ever post. Documenting my life like that seemed like a fun thing to do at that time.  Maybe you are currently going through a similar process?! I remember on October 3rd, 2011 when my brother was at school and my parents at work {I was still at home because Uni hadn’t started yet} I sat down, coffee cup in hand and I watched a 45-minute video on youtube on creating a wordpress blog. The video below is the version I watched and followed along to but there is also a updated version available.

 

Granted, at that time I had no idea that there was a difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org {the self-hosted kind} but by the time my mom came home from work my blog was set up and I was brainstorming ideas for upcoming posts. It really was as simple as that.

WordPress.com is great for several reasons, first and foremost it’s free and fast to set-up. If you want to give blogging a test-run I recommend you start a non-self hosted platform  {Blogger, Google’s blogging software also has those just in case you were wondering}. My wordpress.com blog was great in the beginning but I quickly realized that I had very limited possibilities of individualizing my theme, adding fun plugins and the fact that my blog’s URL was healthinspirations.wordpress.net really bugged me. Even at that time, a month after starting my blog I was already researching how to make Health Inspirations a better place. And the only way I could do that was to become self-hosted.

It was daunting in the beginning but in January 2012 while I  I sat down and watched some helpful youtube videos on self-hosting. I hadn’t done any research on what I was about to do but simply followed along. Frankly the process of turning your blog into a self-hosted website takes more than 45 minutes but in the end it wasn’t as terrible as expected, although I nearly deleted all my blog content {ooops}. To state the obvious backing up your blog content is important! And if you have a blog already your homework over the weekend can be to back up your posts!

Before I go on I would like to mention that if I created a blog today I would go self-hosted straight away. At some point during your blogging journey you’re most likely to develop the urge to become the best blogger out there and it makes that dream become reality a lot faster if you’re hosting your blog yourself.

When you’re self-hosting your blog you’ll have to pay a web hosting provider to provide you with web space. So, which provider should you pick? Unfortunately you’ll have to choose yourself which deal is best for you. In the videos that I watched hostgator was recommended so without even comparing other plans I signed up for one of their plans. On this plan I pay $7 which I can totally live with. Hostgator offers live chat sessions with their experts and they’ve already been able to help out on numerous occasions {the above mentioned being just one}. You’ll have to do research for yourself about which plan and provider suits you but hostgator has always been good to me.

Last Spring my brother Alex actually decided to start a blog himself and he had me set everything up for him. Thanks to the  1-click quick installation  the process took less than an hour and I didn’t have to play around with filezilla as I did when I set up my blog. All I had to do was  log into the cpanel {this will usually be your blog URL/cpanel} and in case of the hostgator site it has a separate page for the wordpress quick installation. If you’re interested in other providers, those will have a quick installation option too. With Alex’s blog it took me less than 30 minutes to set it up and the quick installation process is completely fool proof!  The video below will demonstrate the whole  process.

 

So there I sat,  my self-hosted blog up and running but still I just wasn’t happy yet. I wasn’t content with the theme {the default twenty twelve theme was too monotone for me}. I had heard about DIYthemes through several blogs and again I had watched some videos online {I’m youtube’s best customer!}. DIYthemes is great for anyone who wants to individualize their blog’s theme but doesn’t have $3000 to have it professionally designed. I’ve contacted several web designers but they are all so pricey. Truth is I change my mind so frequently about whether I like my blog theme or not that I’m glad that I can be so spontaneous about tweaking little things. As you may have noticed I play around with my blog design all the time, only because it’s so easy to do! I’ll write a separate post about DIYthemes and everything it can do in an upcoming post but if you want something to do over the weekend check out some of their videos.

I realize this is becoming a bit of a lengthy post and if I want to have something to write about next Friday I better stop myself here. Below I’ll add the links of good resources so you’ll have a nice overview. I hope this first post was helpful and if you want me to go into more detail on any of the subjects  just let me know!

 

Helpful Resources

  • Worpress.com {easy and free way to get you started}
  • WordPress.org {for self-hosted blogs, gives you more freedom with your design and plugins. You will also require a web hosting provider}
  • Hostgator {my hosting provider of choice – make use of their 1-click quick installation. Other web servers are bluehost and dreamhost, to name a few}
  • DIYthemes {let’s you design your own blog theme – very simple to use}

 

Have a great weekend and Happy Blogging!!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Bec March 10, 2013 at 3:29 am

    This was a fantastic blog post. I’ve been thinking about self-hosting for a while but I’m scared of bringing all my content across. I don’t want to lose it. And I have no idea how to work with themes or stuff, and I don’t really want to pay someone. This was incredibly helpful Antonia 🙂

  • Reply Blog Improvement Fridays {Creating a Blog Design that You and Others Love} March 15, 2013 at 10:17 am

    […] it’s Friday and I didn’t forget to publish the sequel to last week’s post! I have a day off today and I’m frolicking in Weimar, a beautiful town in the middle of Germany. […]

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