When I first started working on my blog back in October, I had close-to-no idea what I was doing. I created my blog for the purpose of sharing my thoughts, writing, and having a platform. Looking back on it, I don’t even remember how I found out about WordPress. Maybe it was through my coauthor’s blog.
Do you remember? You were there, right? *Crickets* Oh yeah, I forgot, I locked you up. My bad. Not about the locking-you-up part. I don’t regret that. I’m talking about the asking-you-all-the-while-forgetting-you-were-locked-up part.
Anyway, I somehow discovered WordPress, and began designing my blog. Like I said, I had no idea what I was doing. If you know me, you know that I am terrible at managing technology (thankfully, though, this blog has given me the chance to learn more). Several times I nearly ripped the hair out of my head trying to get it all to work, trying to understand. I nearly gave up. But, thankfully, I didn’t. I kept working on it, persevering, and being consistent. As I said once, consistency is key (I said it to when dad when he made a comment for like the fiftieth time about him leaving for work in the morning, and I’m in the far corner of the table on this laptop, and him coming home hours later, and I’m still in the far corner of the table on this laptop; I did leave several times in between, but he was just making a joke about me consistently finding a place in this corner, where I am sitting now).
Finally, my blog was launched. The Right Kind of Writer was public. Little did I know how unprepared I’d be for RKW’s future. I would be tripping over myself to try to get an article posted on time; I would be making major changes months in from the theme to the color scheme to the tagline. Just recently have I gotten a good hold on the reins and been able to manage things well.
So, to try to keep you, the soon-to-be blogger and the newbie blogger (okay, I myself have only been going for around 5-6 months, but I wouldn’t consider myself a newbie anymore) from making the same mistakes I did, below are several tips, suggestions, and advice that you should know and put into action before you launch your blog (or to do ASAP if you’ve already launched your blog).
I’ll start by going through the most common pages, explaining them, and giving suggestions about what to put in them.
Contact page. Obviously, this is the page people can go to if they want to contact you. There isn’t really much you have to do for this, but you can (and should) customize it by adding a picture that represents contacting. Maybe a picture of a phone or two people talking. It’s up to you. You could also write your own quick subtitle. For example: “Send me a message anytime about anything, and I’ll reply ASAP!”
About page. This is the page people go to when they want to know more about you and/or your blog. Here you can tell people about yourself- I just suggest not making it too long or people might get bored and give up, as they are expecting a quick yet informational bio (mine is 83 words). Here, you can also give a little information on what you will be posting on your blog, whether book reviews or life updates. You can also share past experiences, and what makes you so qualified. I would recommend putting a picture of yourself there as well.
Blog page. This is the page where people can find all your blog posts. There isn’t much to this besides maybe a photo at the top of the page and a short explanation, such as, “Here is where you can find all my posts!”
Homepage. This is the homepage. If each page was spaceship, this would be the mothership. The first impression on a visitor. It can often be a mix of all the pages. It can list the most recent posts, a bit about yourself and/or more commonly what you’ll post in your blog, a short welcome, a sign-up for your newsletter or subscribe button for your blog, a few quotes and/or more.
Now that we are done with going through the pages, I’ll list several things you should do before you launch your blog, and how to do them.
Come up with a good title. Every blog needs and normally has a title. I doubt every blog has a good title. You want a short yet descriptive title. No one wants to visit a blog called “A Blog About Christianity, Writing, and A Lot of Other Things You Might Want to Read”. Don’t overthink it, but don’t underthink it. This is something you do want to think about before you start any of the tech stuff. Literally the first thing that pops up when you’re starting a blog through WordPress is a question asking you what your blog will be called (of course, don’t stress about it; it gives you the chance to change it later if you really don’t like what you have). I’m not even going to make a suggestion, because I don’t want to take the time to contemplate a good title. You should also make a tagline. A tagline can be an extended version of your title, or something related to your title. This is where you can use “A Blog About Christianity, Writing, and A Lot of Other Things You Might Want to Read”.
Choose a design/theme. This will be the format of your blog. The layout. When you start the process of making your blog, it will give you a list of themes to choose. Take time to go through them, and find one you like- just don’t take too much time. You can change it later. (Remember, do it before you launch your blog.)
Choose a plan. When you start making your blog, you’ll have to choose a plan. I recommend starting with the free plan. Maybe when your blog is bigger and you want to make money or just have a better quality site, you can choose a different plan.
Make a logo. This is something you do on your own time, and isn’t really largely mentioned in the blog-building process. This is particularly for the favicon, but it can also be placed at the top of your blog (like mine) or something of the like. Make sure to really work on this and get good feedback. Particularly if you are making it. You could also ask a friend to make one for you, or quickly make one through a logo generator. A good one is BuildMyLogo. If you’re like me when I was a newbie, you’re probably wondering “HOW ON EARTH WOULD I MAKE MY OWN LOGO???” I’d then direct you to Canva. When it comes to graphic design, Canva is my hero. I’m sure from there you can find your way around that site, and get started with your logo.
The dashboard. If you’re starting to make a blog through WordPress, and they’ve taken you through most of the steps, then you’re probably right here (format varies by what you chose):
I suggest going to your dashboard first. How do you get to your dashboard, though? You click on the black square in the top left corner with the white W. It will give you the option to go to the dashboard.
You should browse through this for a while. A good, long while. Get very familiar with everything, till you understand the works and purposes of at least a good deal of the things in the dashboard. This is very important.
Images. You’ll notice that practically every blog has images. Photos. I’ve never found a blog without any. You probably already understand the purpose of images. What you may be wondering, is, where to get them from. I started by using my own photos. That was a mistake. Unless you’re actually a professional photographer or something, I do not recommend using your own pictures. Though several of my pictures weren’t horrible, they weren’t that good or attractive either. Start by using professional pictures. You can find plenty of good photos from Unsplash. You can also get really good images from Pexels. Though I would suggest clarifying that you are getting these images from these sites.
Make a blog post schedule. Trust me, this will save your sanity, or at least a good deal of it. Make a blog post schedule. This you won’t make public on your blog, unless you want your viewers to know what’s being posted when. And that’s just what it is. It allows you to know what will be posted when. It will also allow you to be consistent. Here is an example: “Wednesday, April, 4/14/21, post ‘How to Fly A Kite’. Wednesday, April, 4/21/21, post ‘How to Run a 5K’. Sunday, April, 4/25/21, post, ‘Birthday Special’. Wednesday, April, 4/28/21, post ‘How to Deactivate a Nuclear Bomb’.” You could even take another step ahead and begin writing some of those posts before you launch your blog or way before the post is supposed to be published.
There you go. These are just a few tips and recommendations. I’m sure that you’ll be able to figure out many things on your own, though. A warning: whatever you do, whatever you click on, don’t click “Launch” until you are really ready to launch. If you do by any chance accidentally launch your blog when you’re not ready, just don’t send out any links or anything like that. Keep this mistake fairly private, and fix up whatever you need to fix. I’m pretty sure, though, that you can un-launch (there’s probably a good word for that somewhere, but I can’t remember any; heehee) your site as well.
Another thing to note is that WordPress will be a dear and help you out a bit by sending emails with tips and suggestions as well.
Finally, DON’T FREAK OUT. Know that this will take time, and if you’re horrible at tech like me, just be patient and breathe.
If you ever need advice or anything, just message me through the contact page.
Also, I will likely make a part #2 to this.
I hope that your future blog will thrive, and that you learned a lot from this post!
With God’s help,
Daniel L. Amador