Do you want a perfect website? Of course – don’t we all! If someone tells you the first step to creating the perfect blog, well, I’m not sure there is one! Everyone starts from the beginning, and that doesn’t have to be perfect to become a business.
I started my blog, French Pressed Kitchen, a year ago after a lot of encouragement from friends. “You talk about food all the time, just start a blog!” they said. Easier said than done! I was totally intimidated by the amazing people already out there with strong followings and kept delaying my project, thinking I wouldn’t be good enough. After delving into so many interesting blogs and entrepreneurship materials over the last few years, though, I started seeing a similar trend in recommendations. Other writers and bloggers, I admired greatly had the “just do it!” piece of advice. That’s ultimately what got me blogging –I certainly wasn’t perfectly ready, but I dove right in.
And I’ve been learning and improving ever since then.
That’s the best part. The sooner you just start – your business, your blog, your practice – the sooner you’ll start learning and improving. Your product probably won’t be perfect the first time around, and that’s okay. You can always make updates and improvements. Some of the bloggers I’ve been following for years have gone through several updates on their websites – it’s just part of the process of growing. Get started creating useful content and the site will flow from there.
So how did I actually get started? I had seen tons of resources out there about how to hook up a WordPress site on a hosting service (e.g., Bluehost). The whole idea was a bit confusing to me but I gathered that WordPress still seems to be the go-to for bloggers because it offers so much flexibility and extensibility with plugins, themes, custom code, etc. So I went for it. I followed this 10 minute guide and was up and running that night.
Not everything was perfect, and I’m still making updates quite often – and that’s okay.
I’ve found a few key takeaways in my first year of part-time blogging that I would pass along if you’re new to the website or blog space. You’ll see a ton of suggestions, best practices, etc. out there but these are the ones that I’ve found most valuable for getting off the ground.
- SSL. If you are getting ready to launch a site, select the “SSL” option when you are configuring! I skipped this when I set up my site but wished I had just done it upfront because it’s such an easy option to check. This is not only a layer of security for your website, but will also help significantly with SEO. I noticed I shot up right away in Google searches once I had SSL enabled. This was great for just showing other people what I was doing. They could now Google my blog and it would actually show up!
- Organization. Once I got the hang of WordPress layouts and formatting, I started brainstorming lots of ideas for pages I’d like to work on and create. There are always numerous ways to approach things, especially in web development, but it was helpful for me to sketch out how I envisioned the blog and what I wanted my first few pages to look like. Research your favorite blogs and note down some things that you like about their websites (layout, functionality, look and feel). Use the same organization techniques for your posts, pictures, etc. This will create a great foundation and you’ll thank yourself later.
- Backups. This is not a very exciting topic, but an important one so you don’t lose your work! Again, there are lots of resources on the web that will guide you through backups for your specific site and hosting mechanism, but make sure you can manage and understand the process (even if you pay someone or a service to do it!). WordPress backups are multi-part (database + files), so make sure you have all your bases covered. I’d even recommend doing a sample back and restore to make sure your process really works : )
- Have fun! Your site should reflect YOU. SEO, content, backups and all that are necessary for transforming your site from a hobby to a business, but you should have fun working on the project (most of the time at least) since it’s something you’re passionate about. If you’re not having fun, see if you can get someone with more experience to help you out and let you focus on the fun parts!!
No matter what, my biggest piece of advice is still to just do it. It’s nice to have the perfect idea upfront, but you can also adapt and change as your identity and business grow. Before you know it you’ll have something you and others love!
You can check out more from Andrea on her blog at https://frenchpressedkitchen.com/