When I originally received a diagnosis for Nicholas, I thought my life as I knew it was over. I ordered books about parenting a child with Down Syndrome, and they only made me feel worse. The ONLY thing that made me feel like we could still be a happy family was reading about other families online via their blogs and social media accounts.
I could see into their lives. Let me tell you, they looked fun! I suddenly left the feeling of being doomed behind and got really excited for what was to come.
It helped me so much more than any doctor, fellow parent, or therapist could ever hope to. I saw fun and happy families, and I knew we were going to be just fine. Only then was I able to start healing from that initial shock. Now, two years later, I am happy to join the ranks of those other families.
A lot of other moms in the special needs community have reached out to me asking me how to set up blogs for themselves. So, instead of answering separately, I figured I would write a quick post about it that you can refer to on my site at any time.
If you have been thinking for a while that you have wanted to start a blog, but don’t know the first thing about it, start here.
First, you have to understand the world of blogging.
It does cost money to own your own domain name. My domain name is www.limitlessnicholas.com. I pay a little under 4 dollars per month to own this little space of the internet, paid annually. Many blogging websites allow you to have a free domain, but they have to end with their own name: ie. www.limitlessnicholas.wordpress.com (this is not real so don’t click it, it’s just an example).
Although these are free, they are problematic in many ways.
- They are difficult for your readers to remember.
- They do not seem legitimate to your readers, and they will tend to not take you seriously.
- Anyone can buy the version of your domain that does not include the host-company’s site, causing you to have to start from scratch with your blog name.
Think carefully about your blog name. This is not something that you will want to change, because you will have to pay for a new domain name. If you are just getting started, you won’t want to spend this money again right away.
The name should be catchy, but have to do with the niche you will be writing about. If you are someone who likes to cook and share recipes, put that in the title. Then, post about that and only that. Don’t post about a workout you did or a deal you found at the store. Your reader’s won’t know what kind of blog you are anymore and won’t see you as an expert. You want them to return to read more and WANT to open your blog emails.
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is to try to write about too many different things. If you want to make a second site when you become more seasoned, that is wonderful! But, for now, stick to the topic that you think about writing about all of the time. That way, you know that you will always be coming up with new post ideas.
Bluehost is where you actually purchase the domain.
To do so, click here: www.bluehost.com/track/marygoewey
So, once you have purchased your own little section of the world wide web, you then need to have a blogging platform. This is where you will do the actual writing, editing, and designing of your blog.
Of all the ones that I have tried, wordpress is the most user-friendly. I have wasted countless hours trying to navigate other sites.
To sign up for a wordpress account, click here: https://wordpress.com/alp/?aff=45593
Once you have signed up for wordpress, you are ready to start adding valuable content!
WordPress will walk you through linking their platform with a domain you already own.
WordPress comes with many theme options. I would recommend adding some content first because without some words in the post areas, it is hard to see what the set up of your landing page will look like. So just pick a basic theme before you start sharing your URL to your social media followers. Once you have a post, pick a theme that you really like, customize that theme, and then share away!
I have fallen down the rabbit hole of spending hours picking a theme, but it is so nice to finally find the right one! I would recommend searching themes based on the type of website you are making.
I will post more about customizing wordpress themes another day. For right now, let’s just get you set up.
Alright, so you have your URL, your wordpress account, and a theme for your blog. Now, you just need the most important thing.
Valuable and regular content.
If you are not planning on posting regularly to your blog, do not even bother setting it up. You will not have a loyal following of readers if you are not posting on a regular basis. Make yourself a schedule or set alarms. Do whatever it takes. Eventually, you will have enough content to carry traffic when you are not blogging, which is what happened when I had my second baby. But, when you are starting out, you need to be on top of this!
If you do post regularly, and start to gain followers, you can apply to be a wordpress affiliate and host word ads. This is the first step to monetizing your blog. I will post another post about how to earn money blogging, but again, we need to start simple. Of course, earning money without having to sell anything is nice, but the focus needs to be put on content before we start dreaming of that!
The hardest part of starting a blog for me was promoting it to my social media pages. I did not have a lot of followers at the time, but that’s why it was weird. It was all friends and family. They were about to look into something that was very personal to me. I was opening the doors to let people see my deepest insecurities, and I was terrified.
Mind you, I only started mine to get some really personal feelings out, so if your blog is about recipes you may not have this problem. But, the comments and shares you will get this way will grow your audience fast. Then, the sky’s the limit.
If you sign up using my bluehost and wordpress affiliate links, I will get a commission, which means I will help you get started! I have a couple of blogging mentors, so trust me when I say that it helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Just reach out to me using any of my modes of communication and I will help you out!
I am now in a place where I get to do something that is therapeutic to me. I get to help families of people with special needs. I also get to earn money from it while I’m at it, without having to ask family and friends to buy anything from me. So, if you write to get things off your chest like I do, then consider starting a blog!
Thank you so much to all of you fellow mommy bloggers who share your lives with the internet. It is because of you that I was able to get through one of the hardest times of my life. Be open. Share often. Show your true feelings. You don’t know who you are helping.