So this post should have been the first one, sorry.
I forgot to say the very first things you must do to be a blogger!
1. Go to WordPress.com and create your blog. It will start out as blogname.wordpress.com, but once you buy your domain name you will be able to take the .wordpress off.
2. Buy all domain names similar to yours. If someone spells your domain name wrong, where will they end up? Look at the example above! I own lots of domains, including CuckooCouponDeals.com. If you type it in to a web browser, it re-directs you to CuckooForCouponDeals.com. Redirects are great if your site becomes popular- another company can’t swoop in and steal traffic by getting a very similar domain name that people end up at when they miss-spell your site name. Once you buy your domain name, and all ones similar to it, you can choose the one you like best and have the rest re-direct to that new domain. It is actually kinda complicated; here is an in-depth article on redirecting.
4. Create your logo. I once emailed a company asking for quotes on designing my site. They said, well it will be $250, and you need to go to iStockPhoto.com and pick out an image for your logo. I thought, well if they are just using an iStockphoto then I can do that! So I did. I bought the photo, created some text to go with it in Photoshop, and wah-laa, saved $250.00. You can download Photoshop for 30 days free is you don’t own it; however, I had extensive training in Photoshop in college. Unless you have used it previously or had training, you probably will not be able to use it to create your logo. If you don’t have photoshop or editing skills, you can use LogoEase to get a free logo.
Now if I can ever get a designer to re-do my blog for free in exchange for a review I would do it in a heartbeat. But for now my blog is designer-free and I am okay with that. I still would wait until you have been blogging at least 6 months before you hire a designer. 1/2 of all blogs die in 6 months, once people realize how hard they are to make successful. You don’t want to fork over a lot of dough and then decide blogging isn’t for you. Also, you won’t know for sure what categories and sidebar images you want until you’ve been around awhile. Definitely hold off on the designer until you know what you want -you don’t want to have it re-designed in 2 months! And if you find a fantastic, creative designer (creative as in financing- will trade design work for an ad on my blog), let me know… I am frugal after all!
UPDATE: after one year of blogging I did finally get a new logo – about 1/2 the price of most blogs! I got it at 99designs.com
5. Create your blog button:
Standard size is 150 x 150 pixels.
- Upload your button to your site
- Copy the URL (link) of that image and paste it in notepad for later use
- Add a new HTML widget to your blog.
- Create a “grab my button” widget with the following code in your widget:
<center><img src=”http://YOURSITENAME.com/button.jpg”><textarea style=”width: 100%; height: 100px” name=”textfield”><center><a title=”Blog Name” href=”http://YOURSITENAME.com”><img border=”0? src=”http://YOURSITENAME.com/button.jpg”></a></center></textarea></center>
Now your button will appear on your sidebar, with a text area below it for other bloggers to grab the code and insert it in their own blog!
Please note: You must place your own blog’s information where necessary in the paragraph above. In other words, http://YOURSITENAME. should actually be YOUR blog’s web address and everywhere it says button.jpg is should be the entire link you copied into your notepad for your button link earlier.
Make sure to go to every blog you like and email them to ask if they want to exchange buttons. It’s a great way to get started getting new people to find out about your site!
5. Create your icon – HowBits has a great tutorial here on how to do it free & install it on your site! Your icon is the image that appears next to your name on bookmarks, on internet tabs, and on RSS feeds. Here is my icon : Notice the icon size is 16 x 16 pixels, this is the only size an icon can be and it must be in .ico format. I would suggest using no words, since they would be difficult to read at that tiny size.
Well now you’ve got a descent looking site! That’s just the beginning of blogging. I have tons more ideas on topics to cover, but would love for you to email any questions about blogging that you have so I could answer those!