Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
You don’t need writing tips for starting a blog or website. (After all, you’re a writer, right?) Instead, what you need are tips to get over the frustrations that go with operating your online home.
Freelancers, authors, nonprofits, ministries, start-ups: we all face The Website or The Blog issue. As in you need one.
Your blog or website is the hub of your communications. It is the place readers find you online, the place where you post your portfolio, the place where you collect leads … and even if you already have one, you need to keep growing it.
Which means money, tech, overwhelm, and time frustrations.
I get it. Which is why I put together these 4 writing tips for starting a blog or website and keeping it going. I’ve gathered this info over the years and I keep learning more along the way. I hope these tips help you get over the hump and get started.
You can start a blog or website for very, very little (or even no) money with just three things: 1. a web host 2. a website platform 3. website content.
You’re a writer, so you can produce #3 without paying someone. So let’s focus on costs for a web host and a website platform.
A web host is a company that “rents” online space to you online and provides the technology you need so your site has a place to “live” on the web. Leading web host provider Bluehost costs as little as $2.95 a month for hosting. Bluehost also offers free domain registration (more savings) and 24/7 support. That’s less than $3 a month.
A website platform is an online tool in which you build pages or posts and load them into your web host. One of the most popular platforms is WordPress, which was first known as a blogging platform and now is a favorite website content management system. Download it for free at www.wordpress.org. (Yes, free. Yay!) You can personalize the free templates that come with WordPress or you can pony up a few bucks and buy one.
If you want/need a website and have zero to near-zero budget? Wix's target is the solopreneur, nonprofit, or small business that wants save money and DIY without losing their marbles. It uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) platform and is considered to be one of the simplest website builders. Cost? Free or nearly free. Drawbacks? Fewer bells and whistles, you must show the Wix banner if you choose the free version, and you'll have limits to what you can do at no cost. But if you want to get online quickly and inexpensively, you definitely want to check out Wix.
If you’re really desperate, you can create a Facebook page for your business and use it as your online hub until you’re ready to build a website or blog. It’s an intermediate step that will buy you some time. But don’t wait too long.
You can learn more about web hosting and read web host provider reviews from some of the experts at Digital.com here.
Even with today’s simple WYSIWYG platforms, building a blog or website requires a bit of tech know-how. And I am so not a techie. But fortunately I can read. As in tutorials.
The trick is to know where to look for tutorials for building a website or blog, creating an image, and managing an email list.
Enter Robert Mening and our friends at WebsiteSetUp.org. They've created these free (yes, free) step-by-step tutorials for setting up a website and setting up a blog plus lots more. These simple guides let you create a website without having to learn HTML/CSS coding, or read long, boring tutorials. If you're technically-challenged like me and would like clear, fun instructions to walk you through all kinds of tech tasks - well, these are the folks for you.
Don’t try to put all these writing tips for starting a blog or website into practice at once. This is the time to be a tortoise, not a hare.
Just get started. Set aside one hour. Choose one element and read or watch the tutorial. Then put it into practice. Then set aside another hour on your calendar. Choose another element. Repeat the process.
For instance, if you need to start a website or blog, then break down that overwhelming task into smaller pieces.
And so forth. If you break down the process into smaller bits and complete one task at a time, soon those parts will add up to progress.
You can also hop over to Jon Morrow's excellent post titled, "How To Start a Blog," that takes you step-by-step through all the tech gobbledegook you need to know about setting up your blog.
Time: it’s one of the biggest challenges I face in writing my website content. But what continues to surprise me is not the amount of time I spend actually writing.
Instead, one of my biggest challenges is the time I need to keep track of my ideas. I’ve got files in my email application, on my desktop, in three file cabinets in my office … sorting through all of it eats up hours and hours.
When I discovered Evernote, I felt released from the weight of all those files.
Evernote is a free app for note-taking and organizing ideas. (I use the free version but you can upgrade to premium and business versions if you need more functionality.) You can sync Evernote between your phone, laptop, desktop, and tablet. It’s so handy! Open up Evernote and jot own an idea that comes to mind. Take a pic and store in Evernote. Email ideas to your Evernote files. Clip website URLs and file them in the app. Record audio content in your Evernote files. Some writers compose content in Evernote and then post them directly to their blog or website.
Now when I get ready to write a new piece of content, I open up Evernote and get going. I’m able to invest my time and actually write.
And I’m cleaning out my file cabinets that are packed with ideas accumulated over years.
Like I said, these are not really writing tips for starting your blog or website. But they’ve sure helped me in getting past the money, tech, overwhelm, and time frustrations. What about you?
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