The other day, I saw something fun post on Pinterest (go figure, right?) that likened the stages of starting a business to the trimesters of pregnancy. I found that pretty clever, and it got me thinking about a similar comparison between pregnancy and building a blog:
- Building the foundation (domain, hosting, software)
The first trimester is where all the groundwork gets laid out. For a blog, this involves deciding on a domain name, hosting, and software. The domain name is your URL, one of the first orders of business when it comes to building a blog or any website (unlike in pregnancy, where you can until after the baby’s born to think of a name). The hosting and software components are the important structural/functional components that will lay the foundation for the actual blog. Unlike the first trimester’s structural happenings, you do ultimately have control over hosting and software. You can bundle the two together using something like Wix or Weebly, or do a separate hosting/software combination such as Siteground and WordPress. We have a Tech Thursday video that discusses some of the different options — it really comes down to how much control and support you want in the process. For instance, if you’re just looking for a place to write online and don’t care about maintaining a whole website, something like Wix or Weebly might be a better starting point.
- Building the framework & adding content (pages, design, menus, header/footer/sidebar).
After the basics are laid out, it’s time to start building the pages. This is where you go from the “bundle of cells” to forming the actual stuff of the website. Think about the features you’d like your website to have. Some common pages you might have on your website are an About page, a contact page, and so on. The content, organization, and layout of your blog are all up to you. If you’re feeling stumped or overwhelmed, take a look at a few different blogs to see what others are offering. This is the best way to get inspired, and you may get taken in a different direction than you’d initially planned. Other things to think about are menu structure, images, colors, and headers and footers.
- Fine tuning, testing, creating a plan, and marketing
Once you’ve built some of the content, you’re in the “getting ready” phase. Basically, the “third trimester” is all about fine tuning. If you have forms on your site, test them out to see how they look. Make sure your images line up and look good. See how your website looks on mobile, too, because chances are you’ll have some people reading from their phones. Other things to think about include creating a content plan. A content plan is just how you plan on running your blog — how frequently you’ll be posting, different topics you’ll be writing about, etc. This is another one of those “there are no right or wrong answer” situations, but it’s important to choose something that allows you to be consistent.
The second part of this stage is thinking about how you will market your blog (if that’s something you’re thinking about doing). If you are going to do some marketing, now is the time to decide if/where you’ll share on social media, if you want to create a weekly/monthly blog digest that sends recent blog posts to your readers’ email, and anything else along those lines.
- Keeping things alive and growing.
The next phase of starting a blog is pretty much just upkeep. Check in with yourself — how is your content plan going? Are you able to stick to the schedule you made for yourself or do you need to re-evaluate? Something else to consider now is whether you want to make money (some different ways you can do this here). You may also want to check out is Google Analytics for your website to see how many people are reading, and get a better idea of your audience and what people are doing when they get to your blog.