The Online Compass blog in 3 months: Learn how to start a brand new blog
Wow, it’s three months already since this blog -The Online Compass – came on air.
It’s being a tough and exciting journey so far, with so much to learn all at the same time. Let me make a confession before I go further. This isn’t my first blog actually. I’ve managed a blog before now. However, the knowledge I gather doing that is what I’ll call “elementary knowledge in blogging.”
Meaning I did not know as much as I do in my 3 months of running this blog, although the experience of having started a blog before took away the fear of starting.
So, if you are reading this post and you have not even started your blog, your thoughts may be, “she had some experience before coming into this blog.” Don’t feel that way and get discouraged. It wasn’t much of an experience. Although I’m grateful for it.
Most of what I know today, I learn’t from this blog – The Online Compass. Just come along with me and you’ll find out yourself.
The first step I took to start my blog was to get a domain name. I bought my domain long before I started this blog.
You may want to ask why I chose the name “The Online Compass” for a tutorial blog on how to start a blog and build an online business.
I wanted a name I could brand, because I have future plans for this business. I needed a name that’ll be able to accommodate my vision for this online business.
So, what I did was to head over to a domain registrar armed with a couple of names I believed I could use.
I searched for availability of the names, unfortunately none was available. I searched for availability of all the names I could possibly think of, but none was available in the “dot.com.”
Consequently, I got fed up and went to bed that night.
When I woke up early in the morning, the first thought that came to me was what will I call my business?
I knew I wanted a tutorial blog- a place to teach what I know in building an online business.
Usually, early in the morning is my most productive time. And my best ideas come to me early in the morning before I get involved in the day’s activities.
As I was thinking that morning, the name “Online Compass” came to my mind.
I was very happy with the name because I thought, “what could be better than a name like “Online Compass” for a tutorial blog on how to start a blog and build an online business.
So, once again I went back to the domain registrar to search for the availability of the name.
To my utmost disappointment, the name was not available.
So, what did I do
I added “the” to the “Online Compass” and Lol, it was available in the “dot com.”
I had to buy it before someone else snatched it up.
That was I how got the name “The Online Compass.”
How I Hosted My Brand New blog- The Online Compass
The next thing I needed to do after getting a domain name was to get a hosting service provider.
My hosting service provider is Bluehost.
I started this blog on a budget. You know how it is when you are working on a tight budget, you have so many competing needs for the little money you have. That was how it was with me when I started this blog.
I therefore, needed to plan carefully and get the best for my money.
So, I went to the market in search for the best hosting provider with the following criteria:
To get a hosting service provider that will be fully supportive, because there is nothing as frustrating as when you need help and it’s not forthcoming.
I needed a hosting service provider that I could talk to anytime, when I run into a hitch.
Secondly, I wanted a hosting service provider that is compatible with word press blogging platform.
I favour this blogging platform because it’s the most popular blogging platform among bloggers and big corporations.
Third, I was also searching for a hosting service with a generous uptime guarantee . It could be very bad for business and traffic when you wake up to discover your blog is down.
Preferably, I was looking for a hosting service provider that has an uptime of 99.99% or better.
Like I told you before, I wanted value for my money.
Finally, I wanted what my budget could accommodate.
I searched, read reviews, got recommendations and finally settled for Bluehost.
Since signing up with them, I’ve not been disappointed. They’ve lived up to their promises so far.
My autoresponder service provider – Convertkit
My next step was to get an autoresponder service provider. From my previous experience in blogging, I know that the biggest mistake you can make when you set up a blog is not to have a structure in place to capture emails.
I learnt this in a hard way. Let me tell you why I said my previous knowledge in blogging is elementary.
I had a blog that was doing well and getting fair enough traffic. But I didn’t have any means of capturing emails. The reason is not that I was totally ignorant of it, instead it was because I didn’t take it seriously.
It was something I could come back to anytime I wanted to do it. I didn’t see the need then to immediately implement this on the blog.
Perhaps my knowledge was too elementary like I’ve said before to understand the importance of it.
But let me tell you, anyone that starts a blog or online business without immediately setting up a structure to capture email is heading for trouble.
It’s like an accident waiting to happen.
If you have a mailing list, you have a business. If you don’t, you have no business.
Because your subscribers are the ones that pay for your products. They are also the ones that help you build blog.
Anytime you have a new post you send to them, anytime you need an opinion, you ask them.
The sooner you start building an email list, the better for your business.
Because I didn’t want to repeat my mistake from my previous blog, I immediately bought an autoresponder service with convertkit.
With convertkit, it’s easy to capture emails with my lead magnet.
If you look around my blog, you’ll find my free ebooks and signup forms. And if you are just coming to my site for the first time, I have a free library where you can get resources to set up you blog and build your online business.
I’m ever looking for a service provider with a good customer service. Convertkit has that.
When I started with them, I didn’t know how to how do any of those technical stuff. Their customer service helped me through.
Seriously, those guys are ready to help you!
At a point I got stucked. They ask some details from me and took over the work of setting up the form for me.
They are good. So, if you are like me looking for customer service that will support you anytime, convertkit may just be your way to go.
Oh yes….. the theme. How did I get to choose the theme for my blog.
I use divi theme. It’s one of the creation of elegant theme and it’s a popular wordpress theme.
I love the versatility of divi theme. Infact, there is just no end to what you can do to customize divi theme.
What I wanted in a theme, I got all in divi.
I wanted a theme that is easily customizable and not too technical. I wanted a theme that is beautiful and mobile responsive, I could split theme I could split test.
Divi theme is a bit pricey, so when I saw it I was hesitant to put my money in it (because it’s not good, divi has few rivalry), but I had seen meaning blogs that use divi theme.
They stand out and look so professional. And that was exactly what I wanted.
I did all I could to get the theme.
I must tell you, today I’m happy with my choice.
Now that I have told you how I set up the framework of my new blog and the tools I used to set it up.
I was estatic when I saw my blog- The Online Compass – on air, though I hadn’t any post in it yet.
I had to do all the behind the scene work. Such as setting up my categories, my pages (about me page, my front page, my resource page…). I also had to take care of my affiliate disclaimers and policies.
I’m really thankful to God for how far he has brought this blog –The Online Compass.
One very important thing I needed to do was to set up my gravatar. That, I have also succeeded in doing.
I realized I set up my gravatar much later than I should have, because gravatar is your web identity.
It’s a picture that goes with you around the web.
For a newbie blogger, you’d want to form alliance and relate with other bloggers, so you go out and comment on their blog.
The picture of you that follow you leave in a blog you visit and also follow you around the web is your gravater.
I have also been able to select and set up some very important plugin for my blog. Most importantly, I use SEO Yoast plugin.
This is one of the mandatory plugin to use for your blog. The yoast plugin helps your blog SEO. It helps you to write contents that are good enough for your readers, as well as for search engines.
Now, let me talk about my graphics. I create my graphics myself. I use Photoshop.
To stay competitive and ahead in this business, it’s important to acquire the necessary skills, of which graphics is important.
Luckily, there are some fairly simple tools online that are not as complex as Photoshop you can use too to create your graphics, if you are not comfortable with Photoshop.
I want to read even more
My Blog style
Before I started creating the categories and post on my blog, I had to come up with my blog style.
The first thing I considered was my colour scheme. My colours are purple, orange and green.
But I have discovered of recent, I’m tilting more towards orange colour.
I guess it’s just the initial stage. I’m still working on the three shades of colours to get it properly aligned.
Coming up with the color scheme for my blog was a difficult choice for me, because I’m a colour kind of person. But in this case I had to remember that choosing colours for my blog is less about me and more of about my visitors experience.
I didn’t want it too colorful or too plain.
It’s usually better to come up with a colour scheme for your brand new blog from the beginning, like I did
You can see the colours in my logo – purple, green, and orange.
Purple, green and orange are colors that I like.
As part of my blog style, I also had to come up with the font to use for my blog. So that you have a professional looking blog. I had all that settled before I started writing articles on my blog.
The Part of the brand new blog that was most challenging.
One of the biggest challenges I encountered with my brand new blog is discovering that my site was slow to load. Optimizing your page load time is a smart thing to do to help visitors get where they’re going faster- every second counts.
The faster your site load time, the more confidence visitors will have on your site and the more likely they will tell others about you.
Armed with this knowledge, I checked the speed of my page.
What I discovered was alarming.
My page was loading at 7:6 secs and the load on it was 2.4 MB. By every standard, this is too heavy for any page, and hence an extremely slow loading time.
Getting my site to load as fast as I wanted it was the biggest challenge I’ve encountered so far.
I had two choices, it was either I got an SEO expert or a web developer to improve my page loading time or I do it myself.
Though I keep repeating myself, I have to say it again. I told you I started my blog on a tight budget, so taking an expert was not an option for me all.
The burden therefore, fell on me to learn how to improve the speed of my site.
So, I spent one and half weeks out this three months learning to improve the speed of my site.
If you are new to this and have no prior knowledge of coding, this may not come easy to you …it wasn’t easy for me either.
But, I know too well nothing good comes easy.
I decided to go ahead anyway, and find a solution.
The terms I encountered when reading the site speed test report weren’t helpful.
Here are some of the terms: combined external css, combined external java script, minimize redirect, avoid bad request, specify a cache validator and many others.
Well, I was determined to find a solution knowing that speed optimizing my blog will give it an extra edge over its competition and a boost in rankings.
The good news?
I was able to improve the loading time of my site to less than 1s.
This was a milestone achievement for me.
Another challenge I had was not having blogging friends. . If you want to be successful in blogging, you need friends. Blogging life can be lonely and frustrating, and if you’re not careful you can throw in the towel. But if you associate with other bloggers, you’ll receive a lot of help for your blog.
I have joined different Facebook groups and they have been most helpful. Frankly speaking, you can’t do it alone. if you want to succeed in blogging make blogging friends.
Now that you’ve known my achievements and challenges with my brand new blog, let me tell you what I plan to do in the next three months. So far I’m happy with what I’ve been able to achieve.
These achievements have inspired me to go further. Writing what I have been able to do this last three months strengthens me to forge ahead. One of the things I want to learn to do on this journey is to make plans and be committed to it.
Because one of the challenges I discovered also, is that I get distracted and unable to keep focus on what I want to achieve weekly or monthly.
On account of this, I’ve decided I’m going to set up my vision board. Where I’m going to state what I want to achieve, how and when to achieve it. I have not being active on social media because I have been working on other aspects of my blog.
Neglecting social media is a great mistake. In fact, it should take priority over other activities because it’s your source of traffic before google starts to send you traffic.
Needless to say,The Online Compass facebook account has zero-zero following presently. However, in the next three months, I intend to do something about it. So, I’ll be working mostly on my social media and bringing you the strategies that work for me.
Celebrating The Online Compass, my brand new blog
I did an analysis of my blog on Semrush, a tool that is super for analyzing your site, finding profitable key word, tracking your competitor, and determining your position in search engine. This is one tool I use a lot to check for keyword difficulty.
When I analyzed my blog, I discovered two of my blog post are coming up in search engine for six keywords.
This is a big achievement to me. I’m really happy to see that. To some people it may not be much, because
we all have what defines success to us in business.
I believe in the maxim, “big things start with small steps.”
What I think I should have done better
The major thing I think I would have done better, and I’ll do better if I have the opportunity to do it again is to start making friends with other other bloggers, even when my blog is not yet created. There is so much to learn from those that have brace the trail.
This is extremely necessary for a successful and hit launching of a blog.
I wrote this post not just for myself, but to also inspire you and help you, so you see you’re not the only one facing challenges.
I also hope that I was able to pass on some helpful knowledge to an aspiring blogger.
Sometimes, the only blogs we see are the ones that have made it so successfully, and are declaring huge some of money.
Some of us keep our eyes so much on those ones to the extend that we become too fearful to start.
In conclusion, let me encourage you with the lessons I learnt these past three months while working on The Online Compass blog.
The first lesson I learnt is, ” Rome was not built in a day.” And as such, if you want to be a successful blogger, you must take it one step at a time. Don’t try to get to the end the day you start. Take it a step at a time.
If you go back to my story you’d have observed, blogging, like any other other activity involves taking one step at a time. Eventually, when you look back you’d see you’ve covered a long distance because your little steps adds up to great achievements.
Don’t be too much in a hurry, go at a pace you can control. You’ll get there safely!
Secondly, Look for blogging friends.
I also learn’t in blogging you need friends to pull you along. You need them to give you a helping hand.
I intend to look for more friends. If you want to be my friend, please just give me a shout out using my contact me page and like me on facebook. I’m looking for more blogging friends that we can collaborate – share ideas, think and work towards a common goal.
Thirdly, I learnt not to feel bad about what I have not achieved, but to celebrate what I’ve being able to achieve.
Bemoaning what I have not achieved I reckon, will only lead to more ineffectiveness. So, what I have done is to give myself a thumb up and five star for my achievement so far.
Now, over to you.
What’s been the worst and best part of your blogging experience so far? Perhaps, you have not started.
I encourage you to take the first step, and don’t forget I’m here to help you.
If you have any question, don’t hesitate to ask. Use my Facebook page, or comment box below.
I believe you can leap and fly with the right help.
Please let me know your thoughts on this post and don’t forget to share it.