How to build a blog in a day
Have you ever felt like you needed to have a blog, but were always too busy to do it?
It literally has been on my goal list for years to start over with my blog. I had one for awhile, but it was 2008 standards… and apparently I forgot to renew the hosting one year and it disappeared into the blackhole of data from expired web hosting.
I woke up this sunday morning at 7am (I’ll save the post for why a bachelor wakes up a 7am on a Sunday for later…), did my morning yoga session, and realized I had an entire day free. In my office, I have a giant whiteboard with all of the large projects I need to get done at some point. Recreating my personal site and blog has been up there for months. I decided to make it my goal to build a blog in a day.
If I knew at 10am what I know at 6pm, I would’ve organized my day differently to save a lot of time… but I still feel good that my blog is nearly done after less than 8 hours. To save you all time if you want to build a blog in a day, here are some of the things I learned and order of steps I would take:
1. Find / Buy a domain:
I already owned TylerOlson.net, and a few other versions of TylerOlson. I knew that all of my domains that I own are in my Godaddy account and learned that there are many new top-level domains (TLDs) available, so I bought TylerOlson.rocks, TylerOlson.today, TylerOlson.info, TylerOlson.tech, and TylerOlson.life. I believe, with the way the future is going, that I’ll find good uses for all of these someday. Tylers.cars is still more than I want to spend, but I will own that someday.
2. Find / Buy web hosting:
I thought I still had web hosting, but apparently that is what I accidentally let expire a couple of years ago. After too much research, siteground.com is by far the best value for WordPress hosting. Feel free to do your own research, because this is important… but I expect this decision to save me hundreds of dollars per year and a lot of headaches. It took me less than 20 minutes to buy hosting, get it setup with my Godaddy domain, and do a quick run-through of the available settings (I’m a believer than understanding all settings along the way makes it a lot easier later if you run into an issues – like right now I realized the SSL didn’t install right, so I’m going to go back to the host to figure that out).
3. Choose a blog/website platform
I’ve used WordPress for all of my websites and client websites for about 10 years, and since it runs the plurality of websites on the internet, it’s the easiest and fastest for me. There are many good options today, but none have the quantity and quality of templates, plugins, and widgets available. Additionally, if I ever need help… it’s hard to find a web developer that DOESN’T know how to code in WordPress.
4. Find competitive sites that you want to copy features from
Being a professional speaker, there are many well-known speakers that I see speak frequently. I pulled up their sites on several tabs and studies what they each did to get a better idea of what I wanted to do.
5. Make a Google Document of everything you can think of that will be important to the site
I did not do this early enough in my day and would’ve saved at least another hour or two if I had done this earlier. It would’ve saved me time choosing a template, figuring out what I wanted to do with the site, and how I wanted it to flow. For many people, either drawing pictures of what you want the site to look like, or writing our a navigational structure in bullet point form, helps organize your plan for the day.
6. Pick a template
I started with their free templates, but none of them fit for what I wanted. I think Googled best Parallax WordPress templates (single-page websites), and ended up buying one I thought would work. After struggling with it for over an hour, I Googled “Best Speaker WordPress Templates” (which is what I wanted to use the site for). Found a site with many good examples, and I bought what I thought would fit closest to what I needed it for (wanted to be able to sell products, webinars, etc. on it in the near future). What I learned from this second template purchase (both about $60) is that the first one would have gone better if I had realized how to “import the demo theme”. Being a visual / tactical learner, it’s hard for me to start a website from scratch… but once one is already in front of me, it’s really easy to edit it to how I want.
7. Go through every setting in WordPress one at a time.
I usually start with “settings”, then “appearance”, then “pages”, then “posts”. That way, you get the rough outline of your site down first… and then work on the content last. The content usually takes people the longest amount of time, but flows a lot easier once you have the structure the way you want.
8. Start putting in placeholder content
When you want to build a blog in a day, the goal is not to be perfect. There’s that saying of “momentum over perfection” that are wise words on a day like this.
9. That’s as far as I am right now. I’m going to start making some tweaks to it soon.
In less than 8 hours, I’m feeling very good with where I’m at. It’s time for dinner and some tea 🙂