Today’s question is from Suzie, who writes:
I just wanted to ask a quick question regarding blogging. I currently have a blog (This site/resource is no longer available) with Blogger (which I haven’t done much with lately partly due to personal reasons, partly due to this), but am serious thinking about setting up another one as the one I currently have doesn’t quite work for the two businesses I’m trying to develop (handmade & supply). But I am not sure what my options are?
I am thinking about setting up a stand-alone website as well as the blog, so am thinking combining the two might be an option, but as for which sites/programs to work with I’m not sure…
I’ve heard about WordPress, but am not sure if that’s much better then Blogger, and if it is, what’s involved in getting started and if it’s suitable for me. Would love your thoughts/help with this…
Many thanks in advance!
Anyone who’s ever been to one of my talks knows the answer to this question, because it is always a point I stress.
If you’re serious about your business, you need your own website.
I believe that the easiest way to make your own website with a blog built-in is to use the WordPress.org software.
When you’re just starting out with blogging, and you have no idea if your hobby is going to become a business – or you’re just blogging for fun, not profit, then Blogger is a fine choice to get you started. It’s simple, free, and allows you to share your thoughts with the world with almost zero technical know-how.
However, as Suzie has discovered, once you start thinking about making money/running a business, you soon realise the limitations of Blogger.
My main gripe with it?
You don’t own it.
Google could turn around tomorrow and shut it down (it happend with Google Reader, despite the millions of people who were using it). Now, I don’t think it’s likely, but the fact of the matter is – if you use a third-party, free site to blog on, you don’t have ultimate control.
It also doesn’t look as professional to have a domain name with a .blogspot.com tacked onto the end.
You should see your website/blog as your online home – the hub to which all things lead (social media, mailing list etc). It’s the one place you are free to tell your story at length, any way you want to.
It’s also the place where you’ll be most likely to add new subscribers to your mailing list – a MUST for any online business.
Solution! Find a good, inexpensive hosting service like Dreamhost (who I use), Bluehost, Hostgator and the like, who offer a one-click install of WordPress on your site. And you’ll often get one free domain included when you sign up – bonus!
You can also easily set up a shop on your site by using software like Ecwid.
As to the question of how to do all of this?
That would take an ebook to explain.
In fact, my Set Up Shop students get THAT VERY EBOOK as part of one of their lessons.
If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, and are happy to muddle through it by yourself (like I did!) it’s simply a matter of sitting down with our ol’ friend Google and asking it any questions you come across during the set-up process.
It might take a bit of trial and error – and messing with your website can become addictive, be warned! – but if you’ve got a smidgen of technical know-how and know how to use Google, you’ll figure it out.