How to Start a Blog (and be successful from the start!) Part II
Welcome to part II of how to start a blog and be successful from the start! You can find part I here, if you're just now catching up!
Over a year ago, I finally got the courage to publish my first post on my blog, previously known as Odds & Ends (I know, super creative). At that point, I had no idea how to monetize, I didn't know anything about coding, and honestly, my content looked somewhat trivial (and that's because it was).
Blogger + Wordpress + Squarespace, Oh my!
Real talk, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. Starting a blog is stressful, and learning how to start a blog is necessary before you even start the process! For those of you who are feeling a bit overwhelmed with the idea of starting a blog, know that you are not alone in this. In fact, I have a couple of friends that are going to share some of their experience when it came down to deciding a platform. Just know for me, I didn't have anyone explain this to me, and so I had to figure it out myself. These are some observations I've made about each platform.
This platform is ideal for the frugal beginner who doesn't seek to monetize. I started my blog on Blogger, and while I did switch to Wordpress (You can find out why here) I still think Blogger is a great option for those who are just starting out or are extremely established. Many people like Blogger for it's simplicity and easy to use nature. If you're technologically challenged (and that's completely okay) Blogger might be a great option for you!
Not going to lie, I chose to switch from Blogger to Wordpress in part because the web design on Blogger often looks childish or not well put together. But there are some bloggers that are killing it with the Blogger design. Helene in Between almost looks like Wordpress.org blogs, y'all.
From a veteran blogger, friend, and fellow red head, here's what Laura Toensketter of Ginger&Co has to say:
[Tweet "If you really have no experience in blogging at all, you should start on Blogger. It's a great platform for you to learn. @Gingerandcoblog"]
Similar to Blogger, Wordpress.COM (Note, Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org are VERY different) is a great option for the beginning blogger. This option might be for the person who is more into technology and wanting to learn how coding and design work. Where Blogger has easy customizable options, Wordpress.com is a little more complicated. But as long as you're willing to learn, you're gonna be fine!
The main downfalls of Wordpress.com: many affiliate/advertising networks don't work with Wordpress.com (because of the rules set out by Wordpress.com), so if you're planning on monetizing, this option would not be the best move. The second downfall is the lack of plugins (which we will talk more about in Wordpress.org).
All in all, just like Blogger, this is ideal for the person who just wants to write or build a community.
My blog is currently using Wordpress.org and I couldn't be happier about it. I still learn new things each day and I think it's great for those who have decided to get down to business. My friend Liz, over at Downtown Demure agrees:
[Tweet "Wordpress offers the most options for creative control of your blog. @thelizzykinsroy"]
It's insanely customizable, from the templates you can design or purchase, to the plugins to make your life as a blogger much easier. Some of my favorites are Yoast, CoSchedule and the Click to Tweet option.
Not going to lie to you all, it's a learning process, and it takes time and effort to understand it. If you're looking for something easy, you'll want to go with Blogger. It's also the most pricy option for a blogger. If you're on a budget or not planning on monetizing, I don't recommend it.
This one is the one I have the least amount of experience with, but I can tell you that the sites produced by it are absolutely beautiful. I do know that it is a step up from Blogger and Wordpress.com, and produces very professional looking websites. Check out Kayla Hollatz's site and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Squarespace has a lot of really cool features. I always enjoy reading Elle and Company's posts about Squarespace because it just seems so cool! Squarespace is also geared toward eCommerce, so if you're planning on opening an online store or photography business, this is a fantastic option.
There is a price, and unlike Wordpress.org, it's a subscription based plan. You have the option of paying month to month or in advance, and it seems to be more reasonable than Wordpress.org.
All in all, they're all great options for different reasons. The best advice Liz mentioned when talking about platforms was that you need to think about your short and long term goals when it comes down to it. And she's right. If you see eventually making profit from your blog, Squarespace or Wordpress.org could be a great option for you. If you want it to be a creative outlet, Wordpress.com or Blogger might be a better fit. It all boils down to what you see for the future of your blog or community.
Any other bloggers have advice to someone overwhelmed by the sea of platforms?