Starting a Blog – Options You Need to Know

Starting a Blog – Options You Need to Know

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Right now you may be thinking about any number of excuses for not doing it:

  1.     You don’t have the time
  2.     You’re not interesting enough
  3.     You aren’t a good writer
  4.     Blah, blah, blah.

But a blog is the best way to establish yourself, build a community, and most important, find your students.

There are three primary goals of starting this blog:

  •     Give people a way to find you and connect online.
  •     Establish your expertise over time
  •     Give you a platform with which you can build and establish your tribe

I want to make this as easy as possible for you, so I will give you the tools step by step.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to get your site up and running.

How to start a wordpress blog

Because I still have yet to find anything that I feel provides a holistic perspective on beginning a blog.  I also want to talk specifically about your goal for a blog, and the best route to take for your purposes.

What Do You Really Want to Change?

One thing I’d like to reiterate is that a blog is not critical to your success as a Yoga Teacher. However, a web presence is essential.  The benefit of a blog is that it enables you to establish yourself as a relative expert, show off your skills, and connect with people who might be interested in your services.

However, you can do that with a more simple website and a “services” landing page.  It’s up to you to decide if a blog is right for your goals, but I highly suggest to go this route.

You need to decide if your blog is going to be for business, personal or both.

But you need to consider that the yoga community is special, it blurs the lines of traditional business and private behavior. To build your personal brand, you will have to find your own mix  of how much of your private life you are sharing. But keep in mind, the more personal you get, the more relatable you become, thus becoming more approachable. People become attracted to you because ‘you’ve been there’ and can offer them advice to solve their specific problem.

The more thought you can put into the goals of your new site, the better off you’re going to be because you’ll have direction. At this point, don’t start a blog just to start it.  Understand why you are doing it and how it fits into your larger picture goals.

The Easy Way or the Better Way

Alright, now that you have an idea of what you want to write about, the next decision to make is if you want a self-hosted site or not.  On the most basic level, you have three options when it comes to how your site will be hosted (where all of your site’s data is held). These are:

• Service-Hosted (The Easy Way): These are the sites you see which look like this: www.susannerector.wordpress.com.  This is absolutely the fastest and easiest way to start a blog.  So, if that’s all you are going for, then by all means, this is the way to go.

• Self-Hosted (The Better Way): An example of a self hosted site is  SuKiMaR.com Here you pay a hosting company to store all of your site’s information for you.

Hybrid-Hosted (A Great Choice if you’re a little tech savvy): An example of this is a service like WIX. WIX has many templates to choose from, but each template can be highly customized to make it your own. And most of them have the ability to have blog pages and include picture and video galleries, that are easy to set up. Their hosting charges usually include a free domain name. Example: www.susannerector.com.

So, why should you choose one and not the other?  Well, let’s make this as easy as possible for you to understand.

Pros and Cons of Service-Hosted:

Pros:

•Extremely fast and easy.

• Generally free. (there are exceptions to this, which add a little more flexibility than standard services, but still are very limited)

•To be honest, that’s about it

Cons:

• All of the information is stored on their server.  So essentially if the site goes under, you could lose your entire blog. (This recently happened to 79,000 blogs that were part of the Blogetery network.)

• Customization is extremely limited, and you probably won’t be able to make your blog look exactly the way you want it to.

• Not search engine friendly.  When was the last time you searched on google for something random and a service-hosted blog popped up?  Doesn’t usually happen, so by going this route you are missing out an extremely good opportunity for people to find and connect with you.

• Cannot display your own ads.  Many of these sites don’t allow advertisements.  This can either be a good or a bad thing. However, as your site grows, this will be much more of a detriment than you might imagine right now.

• Transferring is a huge pain in the ass.  I promise you, at some point if your site gets big enough, you are going to want to transfer to a self-hosted blog.

Pros and Cons of a Self-Hosted Blog

Pros:

• Extremely Customizable.  You can pretty much make your blog however you want it to look (if you have a designer or a little bit of technical expertise).  Even if you don’t, there are a HUGE variety of FREE templates out there to make your site look awesome.

• Search Engine Friendly.  With some of the free plugins available for WordPress (the free software that you will install on your server that will make your blog work), you can optimize your entire site for search engines.  Just enter in a few key phrases.

• Unlimited Email Addresses.  Having addresses like susanne@sukimar.com can garner a lot more respect and authority.

• Back It up.  As mentioned earlier, you don’t control the information on a service-hosted blog, so you don’t have access to the files.  In a self-hosted situation, you have easy access to  every single file on your blog.  This also makes it easy to back up all of your information

• Plugins.  This is huge.  There are plugins for everything. Whether you want to integrate social networking on your blog, get better Search Engine Optimization, add a contact form or a forum, or you name it, there is a plugin that can help.

• Sell It.  So lets say www.imgoingtolose20poundsifitkillsme.com is the next Facebook!  Well, since it’s self-hosted, that means you can SELL IT.  Again, this should not be a primary goal, but it is nice to know you have the option to do so if it comes to that.  This is also something to consider when choosing the title of your blog.  But we will go into that more in the next section.

• Use it as MORE than a blog.  So maybe you want to add downloadable MP3s or PDFs.  Perhaps you want a custom splash page or even an online marketplace! All of this is possible in a self-hosted environment.

Cons:

• Cost.  This is going to be the biggest issue for many people just starting out.  Generally, for a decent hosting plan and domain registration, it will cost you between $50-100 for the year.  If you look at what you are getting, that’s nothing, but it is certainly an issue. See the next section for a way to make a self-hosted solution cost neutral.

• Technicality.  I will be totally honest, there is a little bit more technical stuff involved in setting up a self-hosted domain.  You will have to learn what an FTP client is, and learning some extremely basic bits of HTML code is beneficial.  But don’t worry! This guide covers everything you will need to know.

I’ll be honest, I hope I’ve sold you on a self-hosted setup.  While the other option is, without a doubt, cheaper and faster, in the long run, you’ll probably regret it.  Not to mention the minor cost will ensure that you actually stick with it rather than letting your blog die a quick death!  If you’re going to start a blog to help grow your business, its important you stick with it.

All that said, if you do decide to go the service hosted route, check out a few different sites to figure out which ones works best for you.  A few to consider are:

WordPress.com (different than WordPress.org which is the software you install on a self hosted blog)

Blogger

Typepad

Blogspot

Susanne Rector

Originally from Germany, Susanne has settled into the California lifestyle, living with 2 daughters in a suburb of Los Angeles. She spends her time marketing and designing for small companies and empowering solo-preneurs on their journey.

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