Have you thought about starting a blog? Do you currently have a blog, but find you are restrained to your posting options? Guess what? You’re not alone! As many of you know, I’ve been running our ipartywithbrucewayne blog for about a year now. I started off very small and had no clue what I was doing. I still feel pretty lost sometimes, but thankfully there are some great resources that I’ve learned about that you should take advantage of too! These resources outlined below are what helped relaunch my beautiful blog that you are now looking at. 🙂
It’s all about self-hosting!
When I first started my blog, I started on Squarespace. Squarespace is great for beginner bloggers. It is easy to use with their drag and drop options and registers a proper domain name for you. The downfall? You are limited to their templates and design options. Granted, the Squarespace templates are sleek and clean, which is why I went to them in the first place, however, I was ready for a change. The more I blogged, the more I wanted to have other options and a “fancier” site.
About a month ago, I really started looking into switching to a self-hosted site. What is a self-hosted site you may ask? Good question. I had that same question. Essentially, without getting too technical, a self-hosted site is a blog/site that resides on your own server. Since most bloggers do not have their own dedicated server, they “rent” space from a host server. There are many companies that you could host your blog with. GoDaddy, iPage, and HostGator are a few, however, I highly recommend SiteGround. (Yes, that is an affiliate link.) Why SiteGround? No, it’s not just because I’m now an affiliate for them, but I honestly really do like them. If you are like me and started with Squarespace, SiteGround will migrate (transfer) your current Squarespace site onto their server for FREE!! Yes, I said for free! That may not seem like a big deal, but trust me it is. When I began researching how to transfer my Squarespace site, I found a few individuals and companies that were willing to migrate my space for me, but they also charged anywhere between $500 – $1,500.00!! Also, SiteGround’s customer service is top notch! Their live chat is so much better than SquareSpace’s, paws down! 😉
You need a great Web Designer!
Do yourself a favor and hire someone with a web designing background to help you design the blog of your dreams! When you switch over to a self-hosted site, you have the option to install a theme of your choice. A theme is a template for your site and you can buy themes anywhere on the internet. I purchased the Ellie + Jane theme from Studio Mommy. Etsy is also a great place to look for feminine themes.
I can’t even begin to tell you how scared I was to make the switch from Squarespace to a self-hosted site. I have no background in coding, I have no background in web design and I’m lucky I can even understand how my email works some days. Luckily, I hired an amazing web designer, Bren Pace. I would like to take credit and say that I found Designs by Virtual Bren on my own, but I cannot take that credit. I learned about Bren from a beauty blogger, Amanda Bella. Amanda had raved about how much Bren helped her design her blog and that she was a lifesaver for Amanda’s switch to a self-hosted site. I always love to support a small business and hiring an individual as opposed to a large company to help design your site means you often get more personalized attention and care.
I could probably go on and on about how much Bren has helped me, but my site speaks for itself. Isn’t it gorgeous?!
With the relaunch of my blog, I knew that I wanted to have a proper logo. I knew what I wanted my logo to look like, but didn’t have the coding or design skills to take it from my head to my laptop. That’s where Liz Rogala of Just Artin’ Around came into play. I commissioned Liz to design my custom logo. After a few rounds of edits, Liz was able to capture exactly what I thought I wanted my logo to look like for my site. (Be sure to follow Liz’s Instagram, as she often has sales for her work.)
Join a support group!
Yes, there’s a support group for pet bloggers!! If you are on the fence about starting a blog, you will want to check out BlogPaws. BlogPaws is a community of pet bloggers from around the world that offer learning tools to help you with your blog. Once you’ve signed up for your free BlogPaws account, head over to their Social Learning Community page. There, you will find e-courses on how to start a blog, how to monetize your blog and other helpful resources.
With so many wonderful resources at your fingertips, there’s no better time than now to start a blog or make the self-hosting switch! Yes, it is scary and yes it can be confusing, but in the end, you will be so happy that you did it! The blogging community is a wonderful network of people that will become lifelong friends. As always, I’m always happy to help. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below or send over an email. Happy blogging!