If you are thinking of starting a blog, a journal or an online retail shop, you will need the right tools to understand the blog’s technology tips and tricks. If you’ve already set up a blog, first let me congratulate you, but are you sure you have setup up your new business correctly? Don’t worry, you are not alone, and it’s with pleasure I will help you and share my experience as a web designer and as an active tech-savvy blogger.
I am writing a series of great and practical articles to guide you. Here my first post: 12 Secrets You Should Know Before Starting A Blog
1. Be Familiar With The Technology Vocabulary
To have a blog online, you will need to know few technology words, plus you will need these 3 basics:
2. Internet provider
Pick a wireless option if you use a laptop so you can write anywhere you are comfortable at home.
3. Domain name
This is your blog’s name. My advice before registering a business name is to look it up first on a domain/hosting company website, and type in your blog’s business name. You will know straight away if your business name is already taken or not. So you know, all the domain/hosting companies in the world are connected, so if you want a blog name like myblogforfoodies.com in Australia it will also be checked in Europe and the USA.
I would recommend buying a .com or .com.au (for Australia) domain name – if you want a worldwide site, go for .com. When you’ve decided on your blog’s name: myblogforfoodies.com, for only few extra dollars I would recommend buying the other domains like: .net, .net.au, .com.au. In the future when your blog turns into a massive success be aware that someone can steal your blog’s idea with the same name but with a different .com – for example in Italy the domain’s name can be: myblogforfoodies.it
Important: When you buy a domain name, the blog becomes your property at the same level as a business.
Hosting is to ‘rent’ or the right to use your domain name online. Again there are lots of companies out there offering really good price packaging. Try not to go for the cheapest option and allow for an option with unlimited bandwidth – this is the site memory, or the number of people who will click on your site. If one day you have a mega hit, you want to be sure the site can support a massive number of visits.
Now that you have your blog’s domain name and hosting, you will need a web platform for the backend of your site – don’t be scared of the vocabulary I will explain 🙂
5. Web Platform
I worked as a web designer for over 10 years, and I tried a few platforms – a web platform is a software online to create your website with CMS (Control Management System) meaning you can make changes in your blog yourself.
To use it, you only need a computer and an Internet connection, it’s easy and simple.
For me and for millions of users the best on the market is WordPress – and it’s free. I use it for Women Love Tech – it’s the best source blogging – WordPress is used by more than 22.0% of the top 10 million websites as of August 2013.
WordPress software has a limited number of free web templates, some are good if you are after a simple layout but I would recommend buying a template, for which I will explain why below. Also if you choose the free version, your website address will look like this; http://www.myblogforfoodies.wordpress.com (not pretty).
Tip: Stay away from wix.com, bing or blogger, the first one is extremely slow and Google doesn’t like it. The second one is good for beginners, but you will have a permanent ‘Bing’ sticker on your blog, which doesn’t look good for professionals.
6. Web Design
I know a lot of people feel nervous about designing their own website but you shouldn’t.
If you have a budget to contract web designer services, good for you but be ready to spend a minimum of $5000. Also I strongly recommend finding a web designer who knows WordPress perfectly and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If you have a beautiful website with poor SEO your site won’t appear on Google’s first pages, it will be a waste of your money and time.
7. What Web Designer Don’t Tell You
Most web designers don’t code a website from scratch. They will listen to your brief and then they will buy a website template similar to what you want and will modify it to suit your needs.
For myself, I bought the web templates for my sites. I know coding and I worked as a web designer for 10 years, but to be honest with you I only discovered how to use WordPress 3 years ago when I created Women Love Tech and I will never go back.
8. Best Web Templates
I spent hours on the Internet for years and, the best site for WordPress templates is themeforest.com
The templates cost on average $40 to $55 for a professional well-built website. It will take a bit of time to understand the use of WordPress and how to set up your website but luckily they offer plenty of support and FAQs. ThemeForest should be your strongest choice for your website. (They don’t pay me to say that).
Factors You Need To Consider Before Buying A Web Template
9. User Experience
If you buy your template with themeforest.com, you don’t have to worry about this part, because they’ve already done it for you. User experience is the usability of your site by a user – meaning how your readers will react to your site’s design. Will they easily find the content? Is the menu easy to find and use? Will they like it visually? Is it the right choice of colours?
For example: You don’t want a website with a green background and an orange font colour. It’s unfriendly and people won’t stay on your site for one second!
10. Responsive Design
Responsive design or responsive layout is an option you can’t avoid. It simply means that your website ‘will stretch’ to any screen size without losing quality, and more importantly it will fit any smartphones or tablets.
11. Drag and Drop Layout Option
Some templates are so well built that you don’t need coding! You can update your site with a technique called drag and drop layout. Easy to customise and it’s fun.
12. SEO Friendly
Most professional templates are SEO friendly – meaning the design, the coding (back-end) and the font respect Google’s strict rules.
Don’t stress too much about the SEO (yet), I will write an article soon about the best plugins to use for your WordPress template.
I won’t lie, to setup a proper website online you will need to give a few hours of your precious time. Some days will be extremely frustrating and others you will be on top on the world. Don’t be scared about the technology jargon, if you know how to use a computer and read forums you can do it!
Another benefit of building your own site; you will save thousands of dollars and you will be so proud of yourself when your blog will be online -that’s a promise! Stay tuned, more practical and handy articles to come to become a successful blogger.
Featured Image: DepositPhotos