When it comes to starting a fashion blog on Wordpress, it's way easier than you think. People get intimidated by Wordpress or even the words "starting a blog." I'm going to show you the simple steps to getting started. I'll also share a few tips on how to post consistently in your first 12 months, so you create a rhythm of posting that will in turn help you build your following. Just so all of this new info isn't overwhelming, I'll break the post down in 3 parts:
PART I - Creating The Foundation of Your Blog (domain, hosting, theme) PART II - Creating Content For Your Blog (posts, pages, social) PART III - Creating A Rhythm For Your Blog (editorial calendar, system)
Grab your notebook, sis. This is a meaty one. Ready? Let's do this!
WordPress is a versatile content management system (CMS) that allows you to create a simple blog or a fully functional website. The things that stands out about WordPress compared to other software is that it's easy to manipulate from a design stand point & incredibly to use in almost any industry as a blog or website. Every one from Disney, Google & even the New York Times uses it for their online content.
The great part is that WordPress is free costing you nothing to download, install, use and modify it. The only two things you need to run it is a domain and web hosting. You can purchase your domain with your host or choose to do it separately. I find that it's easy to do altogether. Here's the step by step to setting up your hosting. While it isn't the most glamorous part to starting your blog, it'll take you 7-10 minutes and once you're done, it's off to the fun part.
Step 1. Sign up with BlueHost
BlueHost is fantastic for a number of reasons. They're available around the clock to whether you need to email, call or even chat with them. If you realize it's not for you, they have a great 30 day money back guarantee. But what I really like about them is how seamless they've made the process of installing WordPress without coding. Actually, I love them for that.
They're also super affordable, with a starter pack for $3.95/month when you sign up, here. (It's like a cool, Mattieologie reader discount. Usually, it's $5.99/month.)
Step 2. Create your domain
Just to be clear, your domain is your website's name. So, if the name of your blog/brand is Style Is Awesome, your domain should be StyleIsAwesome.com. Of course there's .org, .net, .co, but .com ranks the highest and is easiest for people to remember.
BlueHost let's you register your domain for free. Yep, free. They can also transfer an existing domain if you already have one.
Once you register your domain, enter your personal + payment information to complete registration. Then head to your login page.
Step 3. Access Your cPanel
Now you're logged into your Bluehost account. You should currently see your homepage where your cPanel (administration panel) is towards the top left of the page. Click it to see all the provided tools that come with your new BlueHost account.
Step 4. Install WordPress
First things first, you'll want to utilize the WordPress tool. Under the website category of your cPanel, click “install WordPress”.
To install, it only takes one click! Just click the green Install New Scripts button.
After reading the terms and conditions, accept them to start the installation.
Choose which domain you'd like WordPress installed to. (Keep the textbox to the right of your chosen domain empty. If you put anything in that section such as “blankspace”, your WordPress will be installed in “Example.com/blankspace”.)
Step 5. Accessing Your WordPress Dashboard
Once that's done and you get the inevitable “Your install is complete!” message, be sure to write down your Admin URL, Username, and Password. Of course, these can be changed to something more memorable later, but you’ll need them for the first time you log in. Type in your Admin URL into your web browser. It should be “YourDomain.com/wp-admin” where “YourDomain.com" = the domain you chose during set up. Below is an example of the login screen. Enter your Username and Password from the previous step.
And boom, you're logged into your WordPress dashboard. Which should look something like...
Get familiar with the WordPress directory that has 3000+ themes and 32,000+ plugins available. Find what you need to make your fashion blog a hit!
Adding a Theme
For themes, click on Appearances > Themes. At the top it will say “Add New”. You can preview all the themes in the WordPress theme directory and then choose to install and activate your theme.
Adding A Plugin
For plugins, click on Plugins > Add New. You will see where you can search for themes within the WordPress directory towards the right of the page. Basically, WordPress plugins are like the condiments that can be uploaded to to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site. EX: Share buttons, contact forms, the list goes on.
Adding A Page
For a new page, click on Pages > Add New. Enter in the title of the page. Add content to the body - text, images, and/or video. Once you're done, save as a draft or update to have it posted to your website.
Adding A Post
For a new post, click on Posts > Add New. Enter in the title of the post. Add content to the body - text, images, and/or video. Once you're done, save as a draft or update to have it posted to your website.
Scheduling social posts
The one thing that will get people to reading your blog regularly is posting your content on social - Twitter, Facebook or even Pinterest. I regularly schedule tweets and posts to go up every time I have a new post or a post that seems to be really popular. I use CoSchedule which is absolutely excellent. You can share a link, text or image post on your social channels. You can even schedule posts 7 to 30 days in advance. This has single handedly doubled my traffic in 3 months. Get your free 7 day trial of CoSchedule here.
The hardest thing about blogging is finding your rhythm. That's why it's imperative to find the right tools and resources to be productive at blogging. Here's how to post consistently throughout the year.
AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR
Scheduling when you're going to post what is so imperative. CoSchedule has an awesome editorial calendar that works seamlessly with Wordpress. You can schedule both social and blog posts which is a life saver.
You have to take time out to plan your content ahead of time. When you're first starting out, I totally get it. You have so many ideas that you want to get out immediately. But pace yourself. Commit to posting twice a week and decide what you're going to post about 2 weeks out to be ahead of the game. Sometimes things happen, so posting in the present can cost you a week or longer without posting. Create a Blog Inspiration board on Pinterest and give yourself about 2 to 3 hours a week just to plan content. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Especially when it comes to content as a blogger. I use Evernote to plan my posts ahead of time. I created a "Blog Content" notebook where I create a note each week with the posts I'd like to create. I also have a blog planning page I created myself for my personal style of blogging. (NOTE: I just found out you can connect your Evernote to your CoSchedule calendar!)
If you really want to knock it out of the park with your consistency, figure out a day you can write all of your content for the week in a day. Yep, one day. When I still had a 9 to 5, I would do this on Saturday mornings. And it would go faster than usual if I made a serious effort to plan the content on a weekday. If you decide what it is you want to write beforehand - like days before - you can honestly knock a 2-3 posts out in a couple of hours. Just remember that planning & producing go hand in hand. Then once you schedule your post to go live, you don't even have to worry about remembering to post in because you're too busy planning content for the rest of your month. It's a great strategy to posting consistently.