In connection to the webinar on A Simple Framework for Success, I subscribed to the Build Your Blog Bootcamp. The bootcamp is a great activity for completely new bloggers who doesn’t have any idea on where to start. While I have completed all the activities in the Build Your Blog Bootcamp, it’s refreshing to revisit what it’s like to be a new blogger. Maybe I missed some step and I can do that in this blog. Guess what? I actually missed one plugin that I was able to download because I participated in the bootcamp!
The bootcamp is basically setup in a private Facebook group. I love reading the discussions there. Everyone is so willing to help each other out. Most of the folks posted their progress daily on the assignments given in the Build Your Blog Bootcamp. I replied on some threads as well to keep the discussion going. I think the FB group will only exist for a couple of weeks so I’m glad that I was able to participate!
For 5 days, the bootcamp moderator would post videos daily on specific task that participants will need to accomplish to set up their blog. Each task is intended to be completed in 30 minutes to 1 hour. There are other videos that are shared as well to provide more helpful tips on the topic. Since I love taking notes and I do not want to lose all those notes as days, months and years pass by, I’m publishing everything here. I tend to revisit my blog posts every now and then to reminisce and remember all the lessons and experiences I had in the past.
Bootcamp Day One – What’s in a Name?
Your blog’s name can go a long way to helping (or hurting) your brand and its message.
- How to make sure you choose the right name for your blog
- The tech behind researching and claiming blog names
- The key to avoiding brand confusion with smart naming strategies
Pick a Name for your Blog
- Step 1 – Take 2 minutes and brainstorm as much possibilities as you can
- Step 2 – Start vetting the names and phrases to see which ones will work
- Checking bluehost or godaddy.com to check if the domain is available
- Check social media channels coz you want your social media handles to be pretty similar
- Do a google search and find out if there are similar names available already
- Check if name is already trademarked
- Making up a word that fits the topic you want to talk about
- Countless possibilities in naming your blog
- Name of your blog will not make or break your success
- Get it up and going.. you can change your name later
- Step 3 – Select top 2 or 3 names and have bootcamp members vote which one is best
It’s funny when I think about it…. HeaRty’s Haven is my blog’s name but I’m leaning towards to just scrap the name and stick with calling my blog by its domain name — hearty.ph.
Bootcamp Day Two – Setup for Success
We’re going to decode the mysteries that trip up many would-be bloggers
- What’s the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
- Which one should I choose to host my blog – and why?
- What about blogger and square space?
Setup a self-hosted blog on WordPress
We recommend being self-hosted on WordPress.org (where you own your blogging platform) rather than choosing a hosted platform like Blogger or WordPress.com (where you don’t own the blogging platform). You want to have full control over your content. There are other options, like SquareSpace, but WordPress is pretty much the industry standard and ultimately offers the most flexibility.
“Hosting” simply means where your blog will live on the Internet. Your “domain name,” like eliteblogacademy.com, is like your street address, and “Wordpress” is the content management system for your blog. So, to keep with our analogy, it’s the house you blog from.
Bluehost is a hosting company and makes setting up all three of these elements the easiest. It is the only hosting service officially recommended by WordPress and has been the number-one recommended hosting service for their platform for almost 10 years. Side note, if your blog is currently hosted on Blogger or WordPress.com, I would strongly recommend that you make the transition to being self-hosted on WordPress.org, and you can do that today.
- In your browser window go to EliteBlogAcademy.com/bluehost. And click the green “Get Started Now.” If you sign up through the link I just mentioned, you’ll get a special offer of shared hosting at $2.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year! Ruth is an affiliate for Bluehost, which means she gets a small credit if you purchase through her link, but it’s at no additional cost to you. Then, you’ll choose which hosting plan you want. I suggest starting with the basic plan because if you ever need more than a shared hosting account, Bluehost provides seamless upgrades to VPS or dedicated server hosting accounts from inside your control panel.
- Next, you need to choose a domain name for your site. If you already own a domain name, you can add it to the “I have a domain name” box, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost. If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one from right in the sign up process, and the best part is, it comes free with your new hosting account purchase. Simply use the “new domain” box to pick the domain you want and click next. CAUTION (and speaking from experience!): check and double check for spelling errors!
- On the next screen, you will put in your personal information, choose your package information and enter your payment info. Normal, shared hosting is priced at 12, 24 and 36-month terms. To help save you money, the longer term you purchase, the lower the monthly rate will be. For example, by choosing a 36-month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $2.95/month. There are few other offers provided at sign up, which you can include at your discretion. When starting a new site, this is what I always choose.
- Now that your hosting is all set up, you can get started installing WordPress! This may seem like the most complicated step, but Bluehost has worked hard to make this one of the easiest things for you to do.
- You are going to start by choosing a password for WordPress. Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
- You will be asked to pick a theme for your newly created site. I wouldn’t spend too much time on deciding, because typically it’s just a place holder to get you started.
- Woot! Woot! WordPress is installed, now comes the fun part–building your blog!
- Choose whether your site is personal or for business (hint: if your ultimate goal is to create revenue with your site, choose business). You will redirect to a new page where you need to click the “Launch” button.
- On this next page, put in your site name and site description (this is your tagline–you can change it at any time).
- Click on the “Log in to WordPress” button to get to your new site! In the future, every time you want to log in, will go to http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and enter your user name and password.
- Once you are logged into your WordPress dashboard you can control everything to do with your WordPress site, such as creating pages and categories, writing posts, and changing the appearance.
In all honesty, I don’t think this is a simple task. Even for an old-time blogger like me, this is the most dreadful task and I actually ask my friend to do this for me, haha! So not sure if 30 minutes is the right time limit to put in this task. But since Ruth recommended Bluehost for this task, the service includes taking up the complicated steps then I guess it’s doable. As for me, I stuck with web.com.ph as my web host and dot.ph for my domain. The only reason why I chose dot.ph is because I wanted a .ph domain. I figured most of my readers will be in the Philippines anyway. But if your content is global in nature, then I suggest going to godaddy.com for your domain needs.
Bootcamp Day Three – Stressing over Social Media?
You likely already know the power of social media in boosting a brand. When you combine that power with a strong blog, you’re going to do big things for your brand, your tribe and your bottom line.
By the end of the session, you’ll be ready for a seamless exchange between your blog and social media platforms. This will help you grease the wheels when building a solid content marketing strategy and a strong relationship with your followers.
- How to make sure your social media presence aligns with your blog and your brand
- How to decide which platforms to join
- Platforms you should connect to your blog no matter what
Reserve social media names – this is the task
Make sure you have a way to reach with your fans.
You would want to have a presence on FB, IG, Pinterest and Twitter.
Snapchat, Google Plus or LinkedIn are other options.
Focus on your blog and your contents but secure your name on the social media platform
Great way to connect with other people but should not be your first priority.
Setup an email folder to archive all confirmation emails
Which social media platform you are most excited about and why?
Bootcamp Day Four – Must-haves for your Blog
How do you equip your blog for a great user experience?
Plugins offer an affordable, user-friendly way to do just that. But with the great number of plugins available, most bloggers find it overwhelming to determine where to start. Plus we’ll walk you through the installation process one step at a time.
- Some of the most popular plugins available
- What plugins can do for your blog site
- The ones blogging experts and our EBA alumni most recommended
Install a few basic plugins
- Akismet – spam blocker
- Google analytics dashboard – valuable information about blog
- WP super cache – move your site faster
- Yoast SEO – most complete SEO (searching for a specific term in Google)
It’s funny that I totally forgot about WP super cache. Knowing this is what made my participation in the Build Your Blog Bootcamp already worth it, haha! I don’t use Akismet though, I use Conditional CAPCHA. The others I also use and they are a good selection of WordPress plugins.
Bootcamp Day Five – Where to go from here?
There’s one thing left to do: WRITE
We’ll give you pointers you need to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write your first blog post. If you’re wondering about:
- What you should focus on in your first post
- How to complete and publish your content
- Tricks and tips to make the blogging process earlier
Publish your first blog post
To truly blog is to actually write.
The best way to launch your blog is to just start.
Your blog will change over time,
You dont need to have it all figure out on day 1.
Our blogs will grow and change with us.
Post a link to the FB group.
Ideas on blog post: Introduction or manifesto.
Publishing first post is the hardest.
Coming up with a strategy to grow your blog – follow a single blogging framework.
I realised that I didn’t have an introductory post in my blog. I just went ahead and blog whatever. And I think that should be okay.
This bootcamp on building our blog is a well-thought one! I commend the people behind this and that’s why I’m not surprised that the Elite Blog Academy always have full slots year by year.