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Learn As I Blog: Starting A Blog

After deciding to start a blog, there were mountains of things to think about.  More than I had anticipated.  I could have just gone ahead, signed up, and ranted away in less than an hour, but something in me knew that this required much more thought than I was initially ready for.  Here, I hope to share with you my pre-blog train of thought which got me from thinking about blogging to clicking publish for the very first time.  I will also share with you the tasks I set before myself and give would-be bloggers tips on what bare bones blogging looks like.

People start blogs for lots of reasons.  Mine was to keep myself accountable to, well, myself.  If you read my About Me page, you'll learn that although organizing comes naturally to me, some things just get in the way.  Blogging was supposed to be my way of keeping a New Year's resolution to get my house in order.  Blogging quickly became much more than accountability, it became a passion.  I'll talk more about that later in the month.

Gifts We Use is about several things: organizing, technology, learning from my mess, and the idea of gifting our passions forward.  While discovering blog world, I wanted my blog to be less about showing off what I did in my house, and more about learning and sharing inspiration {gifts} and encouraging others to find their own gifts to benefit those around them.

I blog for the average person in need of simple, practical tips on how to organize their home and life.  I blog for the not so techy person who wants to know what all the techy fuss is about.  I blog for the joy of gifting inspiration and encouragement forward.  I blog to help make sure I'm doing all that I can to be a good steward of the gifts I have been given.

Aside from deciding what I would name the blog, this was the second hardest decision I had to make and lots of factors were brought into consideration.  Ultimately, cost and urgency won and I chose to use Blogger to start my blog.  I still haven't ruled out switching platforms in the future, but I had to be true to my season.  In my season, I cannot afford to buy my own domain, and I want to blog from somewhere that allowed me to grow.

The who, what and why of blogging are the foundation.  If you don't have a good answer for those questions, you may not want to put forth the effort it truly takes to run a blog.  Once I planted those foundations for my blog, I thought about what tasks needed to be completed before I took the big step to blogdom.

Here is my pre-blog train of thought:
  • Purpose of blog
  • Target Audience
  • Blog Name
  • Blogging Platform
  • Create Blog Email {using the blog's name at chosen domain}
  • Brainstorm a Blog Launch Post
  • Line up a few more post ideas {this will tell you whether you have enough momentum to really start a blog and keep you from running out of material in the first few months}
  • Create your blog account on your chosen blog platform
  • Make sure all information is accurate and spelled correctly
  • Click submit {it took me a few minutes of staring before I did this}
  • Choose a template
  • Blog away!
While the how of blogging was hard part, the blog design was the fun part!  My blog design wishlist was pretty simple: happy colors, gender neutral pattern and timeless design.
What you see today has evolved since the first day I began, and I wish I would have saved print screens of the progress I made.  Live and learn.  The major hitting points to my design are a simple white and silver with yellow, blue and green accents.  I choose white, silver and yellow for my header because I wanted it to be clean, simple and happy.  The scallop pattern I chose for the background gives the site some visual interest while not being too overwhelming to the eye.  Since I wanted to make sure my content stood out most, I gave my top and side bar a pale blue background to slightly fade it into the background and keep the posts the focal point of the blog.

For those who are thinking about starting a blog, I would suggest going as bare bones as possible and learn as you blog.  That's what I did, and what many other bloggers do.  What does blogging bare bones look like?

For would-be bloggers, here's what bare bones blogging looks like

  • Create your blog's email
  • Write up a bio for your about me page
  • Write up a brief snippet bio for your blog and social media profiles {100 characters or less}
  • Write a blog launch post
  • Decide on your blog's color palatte
  • Create a blog header
  • Create a blog salutation and/or signature
  • Go!
Once you've done those things, you're ready to blog your heart out and begin work on building up content.  I spent a lot of time working and re-working the look of the blog; probably too much time.  But that's just me and I'm meticulous that way.  It took me months of tweaking here and playing there to get the look the way it is today.  You may or may not be the same way, but having thought through the things I mentioned today will save you some time as you discover the gift of blogging.
That's how I started a blog.  It wasn't rocket science, but I hope that it gave those of you who are looking to start a road map of how to get your own blog started.  I'm in no way an expert in this bloggy world, but that's not what this series is about.  It's about sharing our journey and learning as we blog.  

This post is part of the Learn As I Blog series
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