Have you Thought about Starting up a Blog? And Tips for Social Media Security.
Quote of the day: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill
I can’t tell you how many people I meet that say they want to start a blog, when I tell them I’m a fashion blogger. Yet when you’re starting out it can be overwhelming, and you have no idea how to choose many of the options. So I thought I’d give you 3 step by step instructions that can get you started on the path to your own blog.
Granted, I’m not the most experienced blogger out there, yet I think when you get started with a new venture, you want someone to hold your hand. Many times you have decisions to make and you don’t even know difference between the two options. And since my husband has a masters in IT, it’s helpful to have his reasoning behind our options.
So I will walk you through how I started my blog and the whys behind it. If you’re not quite ready to pull the trigger, then you can pin this image so you can have it available for when you are ready to start. Normally you could pin the image above from this post, but I’m still having issues with Pinterest right now.
And if you already have a blog, I do have a couple of recommendations at the bottom of this post. A couple of my friends have had security issues recently, and there are ways to help prevent these hassles. Even if you’re not a blogger, but you are on any social media sites, make sure you check out the Social Media Security part below.
Why Start a Blog?
Now why would you want to start a blog you ask? Maybe you don’t, yet for those of you getting ready to retire, or already are retired, it’s a great way to share your expertise or even connect with others. Most women I know started their blog as a hobby. However, there is the possibility you could end up making some money from blogging. That and the fact that you are learning a new “language” are great reasons to begin. We all know how good it is for our brains to try new things. Besides, I believe that we don’t get to be this age without gaining some sort of expertise in something….why not share that expertise with others?
One of the things that will help along the way is to realize that most questions you have can be googled. For instance, when you are told to “set up google analytics” and you are like a deer in headlights, then just google “how do I set up google analytics ”
Either that or feel free to reach out to me with some of your questions. I’m always happy to help if I can.
The last thing to remember is that as great as technology is, it can also be frustrating. And it will be frustrating at times. If I said it wouldn’t, I’d be lying. But when this happens, just walk away and come back at a later time. Usually after a glass of wine and a good night’s sleep.
Now when I say, start a blog, it can be about anything and everything. Sure, I blog about fashion for women over 50, but I read blogs about so many other things too. And if you are interested in starting a fashion blog, I’ll be your biggest cheerleader. We definitely need more women in the second half of our life phase, in every size and shape to be inspirational to others.
1. Choose the name of your blog
I would say that you want to figure this out first, because when you sign up with a hosting site, you need to use this name you have chosen. Now I don’t want this step to sideline your intents if you’re not sure about a name. But take a little time and come up with a couple of wonderful names. Then check with your friends and see if they have a favorite.
Now before you go to the next step, you might want to make sure this name can also be used on the social media sites. Not that you HAVE to use social media with your blog. But you kinda do. So go to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and in their search feature check that name to see if that name is already taken. It’s just easier if all your names are basically the same so people can find you.
When you are working on your name for your blog, there are a couple of aspects to think about.
A. Make it so it’s easy to spell for people. You want them to be able to remember it and type it in without a lot of fuss. That’s one of the reasons my site is www.JTouchofStyle.com instead of www.Jodie’sTouchofStyle.com. My name is always a hard one to remember the spelling, yet notice the name of my blog and the url (web address) are different. This is not a problem but I’d suggest they match as much as possible.
B. It’s a great idea to incorporate the purpose of your blog in the title. In a way, I wished I had the bit about “over 50” or “midlife” in my title. That helps for when others are googling a question and are looking for your niche.
C. You can change the name of your blog down the road. That’s why you shouldn’t stress too much over this part. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, don’t let all the little details get in the way.
2. You need to decide on WordPress vs. Blogger and a hosting site
I remember my husband talking to me about this before I started and I felt so confused. So let me help you. A platform is the tool to design your blog and a hosting site is who manages it. For example, if you use a word document, that would be your platform. In order to use the word document, you need a computer which is analogous to the hosting site. So, yes, you need both a platform and a hosting site for starting up a blog.
If you read enough blogs, you’ll sometimes hear people talk about how they changed over from blogger to WordPress.org. You NEVER hear about anyone switching from WordPress to Blogger. That’s because WordPress.org is the gold standard. You own the blog this way and you control it.
Now people will say to me that they don’t want to spend any money on the blog yet because they aren’t sure about it. And let me put it into perspective for you. Even when you start a new hobby you will spend a little money. Let’s take knitting for example. I’m not going to be able to knit a sweater without buying some needles, yarn and a pattern. But then I get to create these original pieces to wear for a lifetime.
Yet if you know me, then you know I am very money conscious, so I didn’t want to spend a ton of money at first with my blog. But I also didn’t want to have to mess with changing the entire platform later. I figured that I wanted to do this venture for at least a couple of years and see how it went. As with anything new you are starting, I feel like it will take some time to get the hang of it and see how it feels.
For my blog platform, I am using WordPress.org, which is part of my subscription with my hosting site that I describe below. If you want a great synopsis about the differences in platforms, David does a great job of comparing them.
There are a million different hosting sites. So how do you decide? This is why I’m here to help you out. I have used iPage ever since I started my blog. Thankfully my husband researched at least 10 different hosts before he told me to go with iPage. He’s even used iPage for his own site that he’s started setting up and used it for a friend’s landing page. If you can’t trust a IT guy’s recommendation, who can you trust?
Now let me give you a hand on how to set things up through iPage. If you do sign up through my link, I will receive a commission. And if you do go through iPage, they have quite a few freebies like credit for ad words through Google among other things. I’d suggest to remember to use them. Unlike me who ended up letting them go to waste. Don’t be a Jodie. Put an alert in your phone to come back in 3 months and use the freebies.
A. Right away you will be asked to choose your domain name. This is where the research for your blog name is important. Personally I also think you want a .com name instead of .net or any other option.
B. Click the “Next, Choose my Term” button meaning you are going to decide on 1 year, 2 year or 3 year hosting. You’re best price is for the 3 year term, of course. That’s the plan I used because I knew it would take awhile to get my feet wet with blogging, and I wanted some incentive to keep going. Considering it adds up to under $25 a year this way, I figured it was a great investment. There is also a 30 day money back offer. You would have a $15 charge for your domain name if you cancel, but you would have a similar cost anyways if you purchased your domain name through GoDaddy or elsewhere.
C. Next click the “Customize my Plan” button. This is where they give you options to add other features. Per my husband’s recommendation, don’t add any of these at this time. Even the domain privacy. But you should read them over. There might be one or two you think is important. For example, we have added the SSL certificate to my blog per Google’s recommendation. However, Rob doesn’t think this is necessary when you are starting out. It might be great to add it after 6-12 months of blogging.
Many of these sound important, but I will tell you that the reason I don’t pay extra for the site backup is because you can get it free through Jetpack once you’re on WordPress. And the security I explain below. And the all-in-one bundle is excessive. There are some wonderful free themes available in WordPress, and if you don’t find one you like, then you purchase it later.
D. Now you click the “Continue to Payment” button. This is where you put in your billing information and purchase the order. Once you do this step, you will receive emails to confirm all of the information. Then you are given a Login to iPage so you can get started.
3. Set up your WordPress Dashboard
Now that you have your Login information, you’re ready to get started. Skip the Webmail portion for now. That is for your email account tied to your blog.
A. Login to your control panel, and then you need to click on the WordPress icon. Since the position of it can change depending when you are setting this up, I will tell you it should be towards the top under the heading of Control Panel and it’s a “W” in a circle. See the example below with the arrow pointing to it
They will ask you for your domain name again and then press Next. Finally you will be directed to your domain name/wp-login.php which is the place you will make the magic happen.
B. Personally, I leave this tab open on my desktop all the time. It makes it easy to get to every day.
A word of advice? Don’t put it off. Put aside an hour a day to start getting familiar with the platform and all it has to offer. The other advice? Keep your passwords written down and handy. I know your computer will save them for you and that’s great. But just in case when you change your computer or want to log in from your phone, you need these passwords.
C. Now you will need to follow the prompts to set up some plugins. You will see these prompts at the top under the word Dashboard. Plugins are basically like an app on your phone. They allow you to have certain functions on your blog. It will ask you to set up Askimet which is a comment spam filtering service. I recommend this one along with Yoast which helps you with SEO. If you don’t know about SEO, that’s how other people find your blog through google.
D. WordPress will default to the most current free theme. A theme is the design of your blog and how it’s laid out. You can certainly stick with the default theme, or you can change your theme if you have an idea of how you want your blog to look. Personally, the more modern looks are now the ones with white space on the sides.
E. My husband suggests to click on the “Next steps” and “more actions” as part of getting familiar with what to do on WordPress. I highlighted these steps with arrows in the photo above. It’s great to do as they say. For example, you may not think you’re ready to write your first blog post. Yet I would suggest to create one that says “Coming Soon” or something like that. Then you can see the steps involved, and it won’t be as scary when you write an actual post.
F. You are going to be adding in more plugins as you figure out what you want your blog to look like. Suggestion? Keep a list of them and what they do because it can get confusing of which plugins do what functions. This will also be helpful if and when you change your theme.
G. One last reminder. Google is your friend.
Now if you’re just starting you blog, you shouldn’t have to worry about advanced security options for probably the 6-12 months. With your iPage hosting you receive basis security from SiteLock. But after awhile, you will want to add more comprehensive level of security so you don’t have the issues that some of my friends have encountered. Hackers are everywhere, so this extra cost is well worth the headaches that can happen. Trust me on this one. Put a reminder in your phone with an alert on it at least a year after you publish your blog.
I actually have two extra security options right now. I’ve added the mid-level SiteLock Fix plan and when that didn’t stop all of the issues, I added Sucuri. My husband used Sucuri when he was working for a non-profit a couple of years ago, and he recommended them. We actually researched other ones before we used Sucuri for my blog, but no other company was as good for the cost. This runs about $200 a year, but let me just tell you it’s worth it. If you get hacked and need to hire someone to help get your site back, you will spend much more than that. Along with the time and frustration involved. If you sign up for Sucuri through my link, I will receive a commission.
Social Media Security
Don’t forget the extra security you should have on your social media sites. Do you know about the two-factor authentication? If not, you should stop what you are doing and set it up for Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s funny, I didn’t even have it set up on my Pinterest when I was writing this. I had to check and see if they had this feature, and when I saw they did, I set it up. You should too. Seriously. It’s more than annoying if you ever get hacked. Because you can lose all of your information. And you know how we count on Pinterest for our clothing and home decor inspirations.
If you don’t have this two-factor authentication, then you probably don’t know how to set it up. Google “How do I set up two factor authentication for Facebook”? And then google it for each of the other social media sites you use. Want to hear a funny story? I have this authentication even on my Twitter. Not that my Twitter is huge, but just to be safe. And about 6 months ago, I kept getting the texts with the codes sent to me. And I hadn’t requested them. Which means, someone was trying to hack my Twitter account. Why? Who knows, but I’m so glad I had this in place.
We all know there are bad people out there. And when I first started my blog, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to hack into a fashion blog. But it happens. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If all of this sounds like more than you can handle, I get it. It seems like a lot to do for a hobby. But you know how the set up can seem so overwhelming no matter whatever you are starting. I remember when my mom was showing me how to use her sewing machine. She’s been using it for 60+ years so it’s familiar to her. Yet I remember thinking, I’ll never learn what all those knobs and things do. It’s like absolutely everything you start anew. It takes awhile to get used to it all.
This is where having a mentor or friend to help you can be a great option. Remember, I’m happy to help if I can. And I don’t say that just to say that. Helping others is my favorite thing to do (besides shopping). And don’t forget to google your questions. That’s where Rob and I get most of our questions answered. Because no one knows it all.
Yet if this is still overwhelming to you, and you still want to start a blog, you can always hire this part out. There’s nothing wrong with that option too. Because I still think that many of you would be fabulous bloggers. Every woman I meet, has something they excel at and can share with others. And even though life is not all about fashion and clothes, I feel like we still need a ton more fashion bloggers over 50. Then maybe retailers would get the idea that older models of all sizes and shapes are important.
Keeping in Touch
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