I decided to start a blog about seven months after I made my Instagram. This was a purposeful delay. First, it gave me enough time to realize I could commit to blogging regularly, since I was already committing to making new things for Instagram. Second, it helped me create a ready audience for my posts. I think I had 300 to 400 followers when I officially launched my blog. I figured that even that small of a following would ensure I wasn’t writing posts that would be seen by literally no one! Maybe you’re thinking about starting a blog for your sewing today — I encourage you to do so, and I’ll help walk you through it!
Now, this post might sound a little jargon-y. Please don’t be dissuaded from trying! I promise, this is all so much easier than it sounds. It also leans heavily towards WordPress since that’s what I use, but we’ll talk about a few other options, too.
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Starting a Blog
There are two elements to a website: the host and the server. Think of it like a tv set. Regardless of whether or not you have cable, you can watch some channels. But if you do have cable, you get way more options! Having a URL that ends in .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com, etc., is like having a tv that gets just those basic channels. You get the site, and you have basically no work to do with it, but you also don’t get some of the perks of really owning your site. Cable is buying your URL and renting space on a server somewhere. It gives you more control over your site and access to things like email with your domain name, but it also is more work on your end.
Remember way back at the beginning, when I encouraged you to pick an Instagram name that would also work as a URL? This is why! Think about what you’d like to call your blog, and then see if it’s available. Again, ideally you did this already, or you have a plan for your URL if it’s not available.
Hosting Your Site
I really do recommend purchasing your URL and not using a free service like WordPress.com or Blogspot. I bought my URL and host my site through Bluehost. It’s way easier than you think it’s going to be, and also way less expensive than you might imagine.
Bluehost gives you your domain name for FREE, and you can pay as little as $3.49 per month for their hosting services. I started out with that one, and upgraded about 8 months later for more email space. There are even discounts for committing to longer periods of time! You can use my affiliate link to sign up: doesn’t get you anything, but they know I sent you! They’re accessible by chat 24/7 for help. The few times I’ve had an issue, they’ve solved it within half an hour.
Let’s assume you’re purchasing your URL and hosting your site — it’s really simple! My blog is on a WordPress framework. That means that I’ve installed WordPress onto my corner of whatever server I rent. It looks just like the free version of WordPress when I log in, which is very intuitive. It’s super easy to install WordPress into your Bluehost account. Literally just one click! Here’s a video that tells you how to do that.
Other Options: Blogger and Squarespace
WordPress isn’t the only option out there for starting a blog — just the one I use. Let’s talk quickly about two other options, Blogger and Squarespace.
It looks like you connect a Blogger (.blogspot.com) account to your URL a little differently than with WordPress. Instead of logging into your account with whoever hosts your URL, you log into your Blogger account. There you can connect your URL and your site to make one happy family. In my experience, more people use WordPress than Blogger, but that doesn’t make Blogger a bad choice. Allie hosts her site with Blogger if you want to see an option there.
The other option I’d recommend is Squarespace. It sounds like Squarespace really does everything for you — even though you own the URL, they take care of things for you. It’s more expensive than using a hosting service like Bluehost that’s separate than your website framework. But, if you’re really looking for hands-off service, Squarespace could be your place! Their site templates are so beautiful too, very luxe and modern.
The Beginning of Branding
When you’re done starting a blog and your site is up, you can choose a theme! Themes make your blog beautiful and easy to use. Wordpress has lots for you to choose from, both free and paid, and I bet spots like Squarespace and Blogger do to. You can also hire someone to design a custom one for you, or purchase a template online. My blog’s theme actually came from a designer on Creative Market. I love this site! They give away SIX free goods every week, from themes to templates to Photoshop effects to clip art. I download their goods every week, both for the blog and for any marketing pieces I design for my day job. I’ve got a whole stockpile of awesome things now!
Anyways, here are some blog themes that I love. Be sure that the template works with your site before purchasing it!
Shoot, now I’m wishing I hadn’t gone through those themes — I love my own, but some of those are so cute! You can change your theme as often or as infrequently as you like, but it can be in your favor to commit to one look. Solid branding can really take you to the next level of professionalism, and a good website is an important part of that. We’ll talk about branding next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope that this post on starting a blog was helpful!
- Of COURSE Maker Style had an episode on website building, with tons of great perspectives!
- There are some great Squarespace articles on my Pinterest board — I know I kind of breezed through those.
Did you know that if you’re following me on Pinterest, you get a sneak peak at the Sewing Blogger 101 article for the week? I pin all my articles on Sunday nights! Be sure to follow me if you want the insider scoop before the post gets published.