Hello and welcome to the Lime Start blog! I aim to share here my love of planning, stationery, pens and being organised. For my first post I thought it would be ideal to write about starting a blog. I’ve been blogging for a number of years at Lime Doodle Design where I share paper crafts and card making along with the odd photography post. I was able to draw on those years of experience when setting up here and I want to share that knowledge in case you are thinking about starting a blog too.
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When you make the leap and decide to start blogging, the first decision you face is which platform to choose. There are a myriad of options which can make it quite confusing. In the mind map below I show just a few of those options; Squarespace, Typepad, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress …. but believe me there are many more and it is worth investigating what option suits you best.
Some blogging platforms are free. I started Lime Doodle Design on Blogger and with this platform you would get a web address such as limestart.blogspot.com Another free option is wordpress.com which would give you an address such as limestart.wordpress.com. These platforms are quick to get set up and require very little if any computer know-how. However, an address with blogspot or wordpress within it decreases its standing in search engines and also a stand-alone web address looks more professional.
So back to the myriad of platform options and in addition to the free wordpress.com there is also wordpress.org for a self-hosted blog and overall I believe this is the most popular platform and the one I chose for Lime Start. You can have a stand-alone address such as this one lime-start.com and after initial set up costs the platform itself is free.
2. Domain Name
If you choose the wordpress.org platform as I have, then you are choosing to ‘self-host’ which means you need to set up web hosting. However, I’m jumping ahead of myself slightly because the first step is to choose a name and see if that web address is available to purchase. I chose Lime Start as the Lime fits in with my other blog Lime Doodle Design and the Start came from the idea of a fresh start. My domain name costs me just over £11 per year (approximately $16) which includes private registration so my personal details are kept hidden from public view. Well worth the minimal cost in my opinion to prevent being plagued by spam.
Having purchased your domain then the next step is to arrange hosting. Remember the myriad of blogging platforms? Well there are an equal if not greater number of options for hosting! When I first started hosting my Lime Doodle Design blog I chose GoDaddy as it was a name I’d heard of and trusted. I’ve stuck with them ever since and as it turns out I could host Lime Start under my hosting for Lime Doodle Design so the set up costs for hosting on this occasion were a very pleasing £0! However, that’s not going to be the case for most people. As an indication, my hosting with Go-Daddy for Lime Doodle Design costs just under £70 per year (roughly $100).
Once you’ve got hosting sorted then the next step is to install WordPress. With GoDaddy and other reputable companies this can be done with one click and they install it for you on the domain. Perfect for this slightly computer challenged girl LOL.
5. Plug Ins
With WordPress up and running then the next job is to add some ‘plug ins’. Plug ins add extra functionality and there are a huge range available. Too many to cover in this summary post today. One or two good ones to mention though are Akismet which will filter spam comments; an all too essential in todays world. Also a good plug in to add is one for allowing people to subscribe to posts and newsletters so they can keep up with recent posts and news. I use Bloom which works in conjunction with mail services such as MailChimp and Aweber etc and gives a clean and simple subscription box which you can adjust and color code to fit in with your site. Bloom is from the people over at Elegant Themes which as their name suggests have a bunch of good themes as well as well designed plug ins.
Here’s mine, I’d be delighted if you subscribed to keep in touch with my posts :D[et_bloom_inline optin_id=optin_8]
Give it a go! The good thing is it is easy to unsubscribe or adjust your preferences at any time.
6. WordPress Theme
So at this point you have a wordpress self hosted blog set up with full functionality and now it’s time to make it pretty! Spend some time looking at blogs you find appealing. I’d suggest setting up a Pinterest board to pin them to so you can collate a bunch of images and get a feel for the look you like. Then its time to search for a WordPress ‘theme’ that fits the style you would like.
I chose a Solo Pine theme (Oleander) from Creative Market as it fitted with the clean and simple look I wanted. Another great source of templates to adjust the appearance of your blog is Theme Forest where you will find lots more themes including more from Solo Pine. Elegant Themes not only have great plugins but as their name suggests has a bunch of themes too. Another place to check out is Etsy where you may find a small business eager to help you get the look you want.
Blogging has become an integral part of my life and from it I have found an amazing community of like-minded people many of whom have become firm friends. I hope that if you are on the brink of setting up a blog that this post provides helpful information.
Well for my first post I seem to have rambled on for a while! I hope this overview of starting a blog is useful if you contemplating taking the leap in to blogging. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I will try my best to answer them :D