WFMW: Tips on Starting a Blog

Please mark your calendars for the March 3 & 10 temporary move of WFMW. While I'm in Kenya with the Compassion Bloggers, Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer will be welcoming you all back to her place as she hosts WFMW for two weeks! There will NOT be a special theme for March 3, link any tip you'd like!

I don't know the exact percentages (because my fourth grade daughter surpassed my math skills about two months ago), BUT, I do know that nearly half of my blog readers are just that, readers. Not bloggers (and I love y'all. Deeply. You know I do).

Since starting my blog, I've been honored to help a couple of friends start their own. {High fives all around}

I'm emailed this question on a regular basis: "How do I start a blog?" (and if you've answered my own simplistic blog-related questions in the past two years, do not comment on this post. Dignity, please). Google can walk you thru the initial process of setting up your blog.

Here are my next 10 basic tips:
  1. Come up with a unique name or two (there are a lot of blogs out there!)
  2. Start on Wordpress if you want to grow it into something---->yes, I use Blogger and get weekly emails asking when I'm moving. (Sometime in 2010). (I think Blogger is easy for first time users unless you have big plans for your blog).
  3. Buy the domain/ URL for your blog name-it's around $10 a year (I use Go Daddy).
  4. Put Sitemeter on your blog, so you can track who's reading you and how people find your blog. (Other great tools: Google Analytics, Stat Counter)
  5. Join Twitter (absolutely the best way I've gotten to know many of my readers).
  6. Burn an RSS feed so others can subscribe to what you're saying (I use Feedburner).
  7. Choose a free template before you invest money on a designer.
  8. Keep a notepad with you to jot down ideas.
  9. Participate in the blogging community---join carnivals, leave comments, get to know people!
  10. Have fun! Don't put pressure on yourself. Blog for yourself, don't be like everyone else. Blogs don't gain hundreds (or thousands) of readers overnight. It's a lot of work--if you want it to be.
What did I forget??

And now, the not-so-fun-part: please, Please, PLEASE-link only helpful tips to WFMW. Please refrain from linking cute pictures of your children and throwing up a WFMW button. (No offense to your cute kids). I've been getting a lot of complaints from tip-seekers. I want to keep WFMW what it was intended for, even at the risk of making some of you mad. Now, I'll go bite my nails and hope that you don't hate me!

Thank you for joining me for WFMW! {You can read the guidelines here.}

Have a Works-For-Me Wednesday tip you'd like to share? I'd love for you to join us! Please note that the links will close on Thursday, in order to keep away the spammers!
Was your link deleted? Click here.
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  5. m Tried It (One stop blogging)
  6. This Side of Eternity (FREE personal Organizer!!!)
  7. Kirsty@Momedy : Cute cheap& easy Valentine decor
  8. Julie From Inmates (Bloggy Tips)
  9. Amy @ Finer Things {Improve Your Blog}
  10. Unexpected Source for Great Blogging Topics
  11. It Feels Like Chaos (blog time)
  12. THe Diaper Diaries (encourage reading)
  13. Springpad (Free Blog Post Planner)
  14. Raising Arrows {Blogging on a Budget}
  15. VLOG - find designer clothes at thrift store (beauty
  16. Lynns Kit Adv
  17. Erin @ Closing Time (what Ive learned)
  18. An Easy Way to Get Picky (or Small) Kids To Eat Sou
  19. so much shouting so much laughter (make sangria : )
  20. Laura @ Frugal Follies (Selling Books Part 2)
  21. Pink Tea (The Bedtime Routine)
  22. How to increase pageviews (Amy @ WithPurpose.com)
  23. How To Get Up Early w / o Losing Sleep (Kat)
  24. Jennifer Snapshot (As Seen on TV shopping tips)
  25. LifeasMOM - Be You!
  26. Make a $500 screen for $30 EASY! @ Remodelaholic
  27. HoosierHomemade{ Feb Menu Plan}
  28. Heavenly Homemakers - Swagbucks / Organic Groceries!
  29. Crystal Heart Valentine’s Tutorial @ Remodelaholic
  30. DelightingInHisR ichness - practical exercise
  31. Chicago Hmschl - Homeschool fun
  32. Getting Freedom (DECLUTTERING)
  33. Moms In Need of Mercy (Fight Dry Skin with Nuts!)
  34. LESLIE (price match those groceries!)
  35. ElizabethG (Tips for Tax Time)
  36. Tara @ Feels Like Home (How I lost 16 lbs in Jan.)
  37. 5 Reasons Im Not Following Your Blog
  38. live once juicy (cute idea for grocery bags)
  39. WORDPRESS @ PepperScraps
  40. The Frugal Girls! {Saving $$ in the Garden}
  41. In Everything (scheduling posts)
  42. The Saved Quarter - Making money from home
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  44. Kayren (Scheduling Deep Cleaning and Organization)
  45. Our Life as a Military Family - Notebook / To Do List
  46. Penny Raine
  47. I Am A Money Magnet{Tracking Spending Totals!}
  48. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger (pic resizing / watermarking)
  49. Kris @ Eclipsed (Weight Loss Encouragement)
  50. Horvath Housewife (using music as a motivator)
  51. Amber@ClassicHou sewife (School w toddlers)
  52. Lynettes Super Easy Ribbon Storage
  53. Living Locurto - Indoor Fun with Edible Paint!
  54. Kitchen Stewardship - No Boxes in Hubs Fav Meal!
  55. Homeschooling Hearts & Minds (The Family Bakery)
  56. Sandra @ A Lot of Savings (Staying Home w / pics)
  57. Jinxy Knows Best - Lighter Sesame Chicken Recipe
  58. Diann @ The Thrify Groove - Super Thrifty Finds!
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  60. Finding a Place for Winters Accessories@ Songbird
  61. Homemade cat cone
  62. Amber : Using Coupon Shopping to give to others!
  63. Micha @ Aint Mimi (blog proofreading tip)
  64. Hollie@commoncen tsmom (7 Frugal Valentine Ideas)
  65. e - Mom @ Chrysalis (New Movie : Letters to God)
  66. Spray Paint Dead Plants To Give Them New Life!
  67. Decorating With Roman Numerals
  68. Alison @ Hospitality Haven (cloth pads)
  69. Heathers Hodgepodge (Household Recipe Organizer)
  70. Stonefox - skin prone to breakouts!
  71. Molly Green (Cheap Glasses)
  72. Kingdom First Mom {Fun Tip for Blogger Biz Cards!}
  73. Gen X Moms (Online Budgeting)
  74. Adventure Mom Janna - Teach Kids Love and Acceptance
  75. Alea (Blogging Advice from a Student Teacher)
  76. Tips for Bloggers from a Beachy Life
  77. His banner over me @ sit relax and read
  78. Hands @ sit relax and read
  79. Gorgeous Gift Packages From Recycled Cereal Boxes!
  80. From The Trenches Of Motherhood - laundry day
  81. Saving and Giving (No Copycats)
  82. Maris Little Corner (saving change)
  83. The Happy Housewife ~ Guaranteed Blog Growth
  84. Steph @ My Country Haven (Homemade Ice Packs)
  85. Rhythms of the Week - Cleaning
  86. A Busy Mom of Two (Blogging tips and learnings)
  87. Monica @ DailyDwelling (favorite WP plugins)
  88. Kathleen (Blog rules for Writers...& everyone else
  89. Teri Lynne @Pleasing to You {Blogging Schedules}
  90. QAMom - Saving Valentines
  91. Baileys Leaf (LED Solar Work Lamp - Great for kids)
  92. Donielle @ NaturallyKnockedUp (The Living Kitchen)
  93. Mandi@its come 2 this (1mth Swagbucks Experiment)
  94. Mamas Laundry Talk (Dating Detergent)
  95. Our 1st Cellulite Success Story! (Melissa @CI)
  96. Chrissy @ Traveling Light {Calorie Counting}
  97. How to get out of Debt Step 1
  98. Memory Work - Gentle Style
  99. Girls in White Dresses (Boxtops for Ed / $25 Kroger)
  100. How to Make Deeper Baths!
  101. Jolanthe {Centering Blog Sidebar Buttons}
  102. 2x4 to sweethearts{{TUTORIAL}}@H owDoesShe
  103. Jolanthe {Add an Email Me Button to Blog Tutorial}
  104. 4 Frames{{tutorial}}@HowDoesShe
  105. Jolanthe {Changing No - reply comment}
  106. BEE My Valentine{{Tutorial}}@How DoesShe
  107. Parenting Miracles (Choc Cut Out Cookies)
  108. Martianne@Wonder and Will (with Blogging in a box)
  109. FRESH POPPY DESIGN sparkly winter mantle decor!!
  110. NeverBored (family almanac - memory keeper)
  111. Tarianing Happy Hearts (homemade gifts for birds)
  112. Superchikk - Snow Boots
  113. Mama Llama - set a timer!
  114. Abundant Living (basket storage in fridge)
  115. Flickr tip from Jamie@All My Loose Ends
  116. How to get rid of Blogspot in your domain name
  117. Crafty McCrafterson sews...
  118. pennypinchinmomm a (monthly homestead goals)
  119. Liz @ IGTBH (coordinate hardware w / spray paint)
  120. Gracious Homestead - Easy French Bread
  121. Cara (Keeping Breastmilk Supply Up)
  122. My new little nook window seat from an old door
  123. Fun With My Tots. Learning activities for Toddlers
  124. Natural Family Crafts (Being a TV Free Family)
  125. Avivah @ Oceans of Joy (more sleep for your baby!)
  1. Organizing discs @ Diapers and Hair Dye
  2. How To Make Valentine Placemats
  3. Rainy Days @ Fun to Craft
  4. Turning a Christmas Tree into a Valentine Tree
  5. Kaye (Free Books to Review on Your Blog)
  6. Marsha@ Taste & See (write blogging ideas down)
  7. Handmade Valentines @ Second Street
  8. Utensil Holder @ Keeping It Simple
  9. GIVEAWAY @ Keeping It Simple
  10. The Prudent Homemaker ~ Gardening For Less 10 tips
  11. Johnlyn (Applesauce Ice Cubes)
  12. My Purple Brick Road (Rules & Consequences)
  13. Ginny @ makeadiff21
  14. Musings of a Modern Day Mom - Menu Planning
  15. Unique TUNKABLES Giveaway with SURPRISE MESSAGE
  16. Graham Crakas - Organize your Pictures
  17. Start Dreaming - Chore Chart
  18. Save with a coupon BOX
  19. Shabby Chic Floor lamp
  20. Stalking the neighbors
  21. Staci (giving stuff away) + A Give Away of course
  22. Agri Society - water / adding minerals to your diet
  23. Eden (Sore Throat Remedy)
  24. Prudent & Practical {Old Fashioned Date Cookies}
  25. Dena at Mother Inferior : Nickels 4 Good Manners
  26. Make your bed the lazy way (Mama Says)
  27. Homemakers Cottage (create a blog signature)
  28. Missy@Simply Red - Easy Spanish Moss Topiary
  29. Muses of Megret (Bloggy Organization tips)
  30. Heart Felt Valentines Breakfast @ somewhatsimple
  31. Valentine Mailbox Kids Craft @ somewhatsimple
  32. Family Time Capsule @ somewhat simple
  33. Going from BLOGGER to a dot com @ somewhatsimple
  34. Distressed Sewing Box
  35. Bitterroot Mama (Lavatory Clog Prevention)
  36. Ironing instead of Therapy! (SeptembertheMarch)
  37. Karla @ ITLT - Vertical Storage For Gift Wrap
  38. Karla @ ITLT - How To & How NOT To Line Your Cabinet
  39. CookingUpAFamily - scheduling sticky notes&be yourse
  40. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama - - Car Seat Safety
  41. Dont understand football? FB 101 (ilovemy5kids)
  42. Mary Jo @ Covenant Homemaking
  43. Erin K - Subtle Valentines Decor
  44. Trixie @ FarmHomeLife (Mudroom Magic)
  45. The Meanest Momma (The best banana chip muffins!)
  46. Condo Blues Make Insulated Roman Shades
  47. Hopelessly Flawed - Dont be obnoxious
  48. Organizing Tips 4 Moms (Quick organizing : Dressers)
  49. BLOGGING Tips for Bloggers
  50. angie @ annies home
  51. Setting my timer
  52. Lost Watching Party - DIY Newlyweds
  53. WFMW - Snark Edition / Headless Mom
  54. Down with Word Verification!!
  55. Faith Food and Family (Jalapeno Chicken Dip)
  56. Rachel @ T&E : Sane Air Travel
  57. A Young Wifes Tale - Treat Blogging like a Job
  58. Giveaway! Coupon & $50 Gift Card! (Tara@The5OfUs)
  59. mistie - new routine
  60. Julie - Ive Been Away Thank Goodness For Readers
  61. My New Mail System (Jessica @ Acting Adult)
  62. Feeding Four - Sick Days
  63. Valentines Project Easy
  64. Stephanie@300 - Pound Crazy Lady (menu planning)
  65. Indiana Shannon (homeschooling schedules / routines)
  66. Innkeeper Seely Stores tax records on the cheap
  67. SWAP SAVERS (Websites with Mr. Linky or MckLinky)
  68. My Heart My Home (Facebook Family Group Page)
  69. Melanie at Finally Homeschooling (Taming TV)
  70. Stop n Smell the Chocolates (Find your blog voice)
  71. Natural all purpose cleaner (Household Mgmt 101)
  72. Impress Your Kids {creative discipline}
  73. Rust stain removers for clothes (Stain Removal 101
  74. Elena MyDomesticChurch BiggestLoserbudgetfamly CB
  75. Our Wrightings (Repurposing a Quilt Rack)
  76. Grouting Mosaics Tutorial
  77. A Winter Snow Project
  78. 10 Minute Facial Routine for Busy Moms
  79. Once a Month Freezer Cooking
  80. Organizing Receipts
  81. Grandmother Wren
  82. Keeping Track of Grocery Savings
  83. Everything Moms (Kids Clothes tip)
  84. Meal Planning Tips~lets save money!
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  86. Mail Box Mayhem Restored
  87. Easy Heart Bottle Valentine Gift Sandra@SCM
  88. AINT SHE CRAZY! - Copyright free image files.
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  103. Elaine H - Fuel Points
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  124. Simply Beautiful Photography
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Jen@balancing beauty and bedlam said...

How do I start a blog, and how much money do you make, if you don't mind me asking.....LOL

I always laugh when I get that....can't wait to see you in two short days. :)

TidyMom said...

Great tips/advice Kristen!!

and thanks for the reminder that WFMW is about TIPS!!!


Liz@HoosierHomemade said...

Great advice! I started on Wordpress about a year ago, so glad I did!
And thanks for the reminder about WFMW tips!

Struggler said...

Love your tip "blog for yourself". If you're not enjoying it, it can very quickly lose its appeal!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder! I love learning new things and reading wonderful tips. ;)

amber @ classichousewife said...

Great tips!! I didn't do a blogging tip, but I did include a link to a series I did for beginning bloggers about a year ago.
I forgot there was a theme until I had my toddler tip all written up!!

Marianne@Songbird said...

I have already started the blog almost two years ago. Wish I had given it a bit more thought when I started, could have saved me a whole lot of hassle later on.
I hope my entry falls in the tip category! It sure works for me.
Thank you for hosting this lovely party every week!

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

I hear you loud and clear on the Blogger vs WP debate. I have been wanting to switch for...oh, I don't know... a YEAR and just haven't gotten around to it.
2010. That's my year, too! Looking forward to meeting you at Blissdom! We can be Blogger dorks together.:)

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

I'm really glad to hear that Word Press is the way to go for site expansion...b/c that solidifies what I've done.

Martianne said...

Thanks for the tips. I actually started one on blogger and one on wordpress just to get used to both paltforms to see which I liked. They both have merit, but, I think, in the end, I will go with wordpress as I get more into all this. Next time, after you've experienced your switchover, I'd love tips on making the switch. :)

Mum in Bloom said...

Thank you for these useful tips. I'll be looking at everyone's linked blogging tips above as well. Facebook, and chat sites took up too much of my time but blogging gave me back some control as to how much time I want to spend on the computer. It's also a great way to record my recipes as I cook so much but could never remember what I cooked :op I love reading WFMW.

UnfinishedMom said...

Oh wow! I didn't know you were on Blogger! Oh that's sooo good to know. Would you mind if I emailed a few questions?

Teaching Money to Kids said...

I use blogger, too. But I have been curious about wordpress.
What are the benefits that are making you want to switch.
Will it let you publish posts in whatever order you want?
Thats my biggest peeve right now with blogger. Unless I just don't know what I am doing.
Enitrely possible.
Also, when do you announce what the theme is for WFMW? I thought I was a careful reader, but clearly, I am missing something.

JanMary said...

Great suggestions - I too am still a blogspot blogger - I am scared of change!!!!

Cant believe you have 141 links and only 12 comments.

Saving this post to share with some of my non-bloggy (or not-yet-bloggy!) friends.

Hi from N Ireland - hope life is treating you and yours well.

The Halbert Home said...

I appreciate your comment about not linking to pictures of your kids with a WFMW tip. It is frustrating to click thinking you're getting a tip and get random family posts.

Milehimama said...

I have a blog on Blogger and I have one on WP. I love WP!

More advice: Don't blog what you think other people want. Be authentic. Blog what interests you, not what you think you can make money from.

Don't expect to be rolling in the dough. Write quality content, be a member of the community, find you niche and money will come. You can't fake good content.

And never, ever steal someone's entire blog post (it happens!) Blog posts ARE copyrighted. You don't want someone ripping your post off, do you?

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe said...

I'm genuinely curious to know why you say that you NEED wordpress if you want to 'make something' out of your blog? I've been seeing a lot of folks make the move too, but WHY is this considered the 'big girl' format in which to feel you've 'arrived' in the blog world- What's so wrong with blogger??? :)

Kristen said...

Hi Heidi,
I don't mean any offense to Blogger. Really. It's been very good to me. I really have been against moving for a very long time. But recently, I've been having problems with Blogger and would like to be self-hosted. Some of the best and biggest blogs are on Blogger, so I should probably rephrase the "if you're going to make something of your blog part." I mean that I'm hounded to switch. A.Lot. But just recently, I decided I'd like to have pages on my blog, get it organized with SEO and some other things that Wordpress does really well.

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Great list for the beginner blogger. You did good, keeping it simple.

Kristen said...

Teaching Money to Kids--Yes, I believe you can do that in Wordpress, plus the other things I mentioned above.

Also-I sorta goofed on the theme this time. They are listed under the WFMW tab under my header, but I usually send out a reminder the Monday before. I forgot. It's just a suggestion though.

Katie said...

Thank you for the blogging tips!! I am a new blogger and am not blogging to make money. I'm not a great writer and my grammar skills stink, but I am having a blast with my blog. This WFMW post is a little intimidating to me though. I want to leave a tip, but I am scared of being critiqued! lol I keep asking myself, is this "post worthy". Maybe I'll sit this one out...

Kristen said...

Katie-there are SO many who could learn from YOU. Please don't feel like what you have to say isn't worth hearing!

goofdad said...

I think there's one important tip you missed: Know, at least generally, what your blog is about ... or at least what you want it to be about.

Over the years, I've blogged professionally (internal company business, teaching support/trainers how to use the software I was writing), my kids have blogged for classes (not sure I liked the assignments, but ... ), and I only recently started my own personal blog.

Other than that, I can only say that I wish this list was on WFMW about 2 weeks ago, when I was struggling with the decision to start a blog!

Thanks, though!

CRAZYMOM said...

I am confused by some of these links? Is the theme optional? I am having a hard time finding any wisdom I could share...

Becca @ Our Crazy Boys said...

Ooh! I can't wait to sit down and browse all of these!!

SwapSavers said...

Great Tips! I use Ning.com which is REALLY easy and does not require much computer knowledge. It is for social networks but you could use just the blog section of it and not have members. It is also free if you don't do any extras.

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

I just switched from Blogger to WP because my husband was hounding me. LOL. I'm still working out the tags/catagories and such from the switch but I am pretty happy. It's nice to know that I have control of it all.

I completely agree with getting a domain. Cheap and makes you easier to find. Getting it right away means that when you link back, leave comments etc. will always work. If you do the change later, you may have to go back and correct links in posts!

But I think Blogger was easier to use. The widgets and everything so much simpler in blogger. WP is not as user-friendly to those who don't know what they are doing (like me!) but that is my humble opinion!

Lori at The Davidson Den said...

Thanks for hosting such a great weekly carnival. I've enjoyed it so much. Also, I'm so excited for you with your Compassion trip coming up!! Be blessed!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Great tips Kristen! I even mentioned you in my blog post as you gave me advice when I started out and I have never forgotten it! Thanks! :)

Mama Bird said...

What an incredible post!! I found some things I didn't know, confirmed some I did know and met some new people along the way! Thanks so much!!

vanessa said...

Wish I had read this when I first started my blog... :) Thanks for the great into and for hosting this event--I love it!

Shelley said...

Very timely post! I'm in the process of starting a blog---and I'm soaking up every word you print. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

ACK! So many of these links aren't about blogging. I guess you tried to give people the hint about only posting tips. Read the title folks. It says: Tips on Starting a Blog.

For the Love of Naps - Sarah said...

This was so awesome and so helpful! The wordpress/ blogger thing stresses me out. I am comfortable...ugh. What to do?

bridget {bake at 350} said...

So sorry I forgot about the theme this week! :)

Love all of your tips. I really need to get better about #8. I keep putting notebooks in my purse and then losing them...not good. Is it bad that I *like* Blogger? I feel like a bad person, but it's been good to me so far. :)

Crystal said...

I am on Blogger and imagine the switch from Blogger to WP is not seamless or simple.

Is Blogger really that behind? Don't you think they will have to step it up a little knowing WP is their competition? Surely there are significant changes and improvements to Blogger on the horizon.

What is it about WP that really sells you on their format? I've seen Blogger formats where they have changed their layout to one that is more like a website with multiple pages. So that is possible. And can't you just buy your domain name at Go Daddy (so you can omit the {dot} blogspot {dot} com) and just point it to your blog so the name is easier?

I just feel like I am too far into Blogger to switch over (as I imagine I would lose all of my blog archives/history).

Is SEO really easier with WP? And if so, specifically why is it easier or better?

Sorry if this comes across as really forward, I just have specific questions that I want answers to. Obviously, I would like for my blog to go somewhere.

I look forward to everyones take on this.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the tips! I do have one question, I'm still a baby in the blogger world, but, having used both blogger and wordpress I am torn between the two. Wordpress does have more "room to grow" as you said but, being linked with Google, Blogger just works seamless with so many other programs that it is hard to let go of it. Also I found that, in addition to my annual fee to GoDaddy, I also have to pay Wordpress to map my custom domain to them. This turns my cheapskate stomach.

Am I missing something? Why do they need to charge?

Kristen said...

Hi Sarah,
You have valid points, I don't think you HAVE to move. It really comes down to personal preference. Blogger/google has been good to me :D