Inspired by this class, I have decided to re-start my own blogging adventures as well. Even though I currently run a fandom news and translation Tumblr account, I have always wanted something of my own that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to show people. Thankfully, my work as a part-time writer for a popular niche media came in handy as I renovated my blog and set things up. I have actually been through this blogging process quite a number of times, usually for private blogs open only to my close friends, and I found myself going through the same set-up process every time, so I thought I’d share what I do as a reminders checklist.
1. Sourcing Content
Well, yeah. If you’re going to start a content-centric blog you’re going to need to find your niche and your sources of content. I located a few sources that I enjoy reading from and piped them into an RSS Reader. I tested a few and decided to go with The Old Reader. Despite its name, the Old Reader is actually very quick and easy to use.
I have a Notebook for articles that I’m interested in saved in Evernote, so I usually use the Evernote Web Clipper to save sources that I might want to write about.
2. Blog Makeover
While content is very important, your blog should also look nice – both on the computer and mobile. For that purpose, I generally start by checking the available responsive WordPress themes available. I am very particular about my blog being responsive because most people read on mobile nowadays, and a blog that looks beautiful on my computer but looks like it lost its CSS file on the iPhone would just be a nightmare. Once I have decided on the theme, I usually tweak them a little by changing the colors, font, and removing things that I don’t need or don’t like. For this time, I went with the theme Writr.
Try to have a logo for your blog that you can use everywhere. This will not only make your blog more memorable, but also make your life easier when you’re setting up your social media accounts for the blog, since everything requires some sort of a profile picture. This time I went for a fun look and used the Pixel Art Icon Generator for my purpose.
Make your blog easy to follow and share. I used a wordpress plugin that automatically adds social sharing and following functions to my blog. One thing I nearly forgot though, is that you need to claim your RSS address! WordPress uses Google’s Feedburner automatically so just hop over and claim your Feed address. That way your RRS feed will not look like an ugly sheet of xml too.
This might just be a pet peeve of mine, but I think a website looks better when it has a Favicon. Thank goodness WordPress has several Favicon Generator plugins that you can install, upload your image, and voila! – it will automatically generate all sorts of Favicons for you.
6. Menu and About
I like to add an ‘About’ page and have a custom menu for my WordPress blogs. Nobody ever reads them (so far) but it’s just nice to have in place I guess?
5 hours later, my blog was finally ready to roll. Now comes the hardest part – content. This is where I screw up every time. I plan to keep a regular schedule of two blog posts a week – one on the weekends and one mid week. Making full use of WordPress’s advance scheduler is always a good idea. Now that I’ve announced to everyone I’m going to blog, I guess I’ll have to do it. (haha)
8. Twitter account – set up + link to WordPress + retweet people
Since Twitter is an excellent source of information and great way to get information out as well, I decided to use Twitter for the ‘social’ part of my blog. I set up a Twitter account using the same profile picture I had used on my blog and followed a selection of relevant accounts. I’m not just going to stick my blog posts there of course. Twitter accounts for bloggers require extra care – frequent RTs of influencer content, etc are absolutely necessary.
Anyway, I’ve written my first blog post and scheduled a tweet for it tomorrow morning. Hopefully I’d still be at it even after the end of the quarter…