Ever thought about creating your own website? I will tell you up front that creating your first blog is a ton of work. RezPlz.net is my first blog/website and I was, to quote Illidan Stormrage, “Not Prepared,” for how much work goes into it. Don't worry though, it might be a lot of work but it is actually not hard work especially if you follow the steps below. I read a ton of articles on blogging and eventually figured it out but it was a lot of trial and error. So take what I have learned, and use this quick guide to make building your website easier.
Note that these tips below are a great tool to get you started and provides the order of things that need to be done. It does not cover the specifics of creating each section but I recommend using sites like the below for more details.
1. Check Competition: Take a look at what other sites in your field are doing. This will help you immensely in coming up with your own ideas and see what currently works.
2. Build a Business Plan: www.sba.gov I suggest checking out the small business associate website for great insight on what type of business you should have and if you will require a tax ID.
3. Come Up With a Brand/Name: Take some time to brainstorm and come up with multiple names for your business. Then check to see if those domains are available.
4. Design a Logo: I would suggest paying an artist to build your perfect logo. This will logo will usually be the first impression people have of your site so don't skimp on this one. Plus it will most likely last for the life of the website. I paid a friend of the family to create my logo and will provide her info when she has her site up and running. In the mean time search twitter or other friends you might know for the style you are looking for.
5. Buy a Domain and Hosting: Check multiple domain names that go with your brand name. The prices will vary heavily. For example, rezplz.com was $1,800 so I went with rezpl.net. Use a site like GoDaddy or BlueHost to host your website.
6. Install WordPress: Sites like GoDaddy or BlueHost make it simple and ask you if you want to install WordPress so this one is really simple. Then take some time to get familiar with the program.
7. Pick a Theme: In WordPress, there are a ton of layouts to choose from. Find the one that best fits your ideal blog style. This is the basis for what your website will look like. It’s important to find a theme you are happy with before you start posting. You can change your theme but it might not convert old material like you want it to.
8. Install Plugins: Within WordPress, you will see a section on the left side called Plugins. These are super useful tools to make building your site much easier. Here are a few I found useful.
- Monster Insights, Yoast SEO, Google Analytics, SassySocial, Header/Footer Editor, Pop-up
9. Write First Blog: Start making content to have it available for when you are ready to go live. Most sites recommend 2-3 posts per week. Your content should be focused on helping people and interesting. Not all topics will be hits but as long as you go in with good intentions and have fun doing it then you will probably have a good start to creating content people will care about.
10. Setup Email Newsletter Group and Signup: Use a site such as MailChimp to help you send newsletters to your fan base. MailChimp is free for small bloggers and great for getting started.
11. Setup Homepage: Now you are ready to start manipulating and creating your webpage just the way you want it. Note you will probably make several changes along the way with the placement of ads and other tools. This is one of the most important parts of your website so make it good.
12. Amazon Affiliate: After a couple of weeks or months you will probably want to start monetizing your site to keep the website running and keep it free for your loyal followers. One of the best ways to do that is through affiliate programs. Amazon is is the easiest to get setup I felt but who you choose will depend entirely upon your website.
13. Apply for Google Adsense: At the same time you looking for affiliates, also look at putting advertising on your website. Google Adsense is probably the most well known and most sought after currently. However, they are not the only one and some bloggers use multiple advertising sites to help keep their site running.
14. Connect your site to Google Search Console: Build a Sitemap through a plug-in and attach it to Google Console. This allows Google to crawl your site and make your pages available to be searched. This can happen naturally with over time but it takes a really long time, so help google help people find your site.
15. Promote your Blog: Start with all your friends and family once you are ready. Then social media will be your best friend. Twitter, Pintrest and Facebook will be your top big ones but it could depend entirely on your product. Also look at writing as a guest for other blogs to cross promote each other on your sites.
16. Tax Tips: This is for down the road when you start making real money. If you make money you will probably have to pay taxes on it so do some research when that time comes.
17. Trademark: This may not be necessary at first but if you want to protect your logo and business it is recommended to get it trademarked and copyrighted. I did this personally but again it may not be necessary at first, but worth considering if you are serious about your site.
I fully appreciate just how hard it can be to build your first website and really hope this guide was useful in getting you started on your journey. If have any other lessons you've learned to create your own blog feel free to list them in the comments below. Or if you have any questions feel free to email.