On Dec 26, 2019, I took the first step toward becoming a full time, stay at home Dog Mom.
1- Choose a topic– preferably something you have an honest interest in. You’ll be writing content and creating videos on this topic. If it already has you gritting your teeth, move on.
For me, the topic of rescue dogs, shelters and the process of adopting dogs was a no brainer. I’ve got over 30 years experience in the topic and numerous connections.
2- Choose your domain. (check out number 3 before you purchase a domain, as you might be able to get one free). I tend to have a little trouble with choosing domains. I mean, choosing just one. I own about 15 domains again. This particular domain that you are on, was actually intended to be a niche or authority site.
Those labels gets tossed around quite a bit, but there really is no longer enough of a difference between them to bother differentiating. Anyway, I bought this domain, dogmom.me and then had the idea that this would be a better domain to share my plan in case other Dog Moms wanted to join me on this journey or follow along afterwards… after I’d worked out all the kinks.
3- Sign up for hosting. My suggestion here is to to go with GoDaddy, if you are new to all this. And here’s why:
Godaddy is one of the easiest and most common sites to get your domain from. Now, most ‘experts’ are going to suggest you buy it there and then direct it to another site for hosting. It’s my opinion that the site they are suggesting you direct your domain to is a host with whom they have an affiliate relation.
They will also recount numerous stories about GoDaddy and how awful they are.
Well, I’ve been with GoDaddy for 15 years and only recently started thinking that I might need to host elsewhere within this next year or the year after. But likely, I could still go a couple years and not have to transfer my hosting.
I have a shared hosting plan with GoDaddy. That means that I have ALL my sites on one account and that I share my server space with other people.
As my sites have been so small, this has not been an issue. As I start to pick up traffic on any of my sites, pushing 100,000 visitors each month, I might need to move my hosting.
I always suggest, for beginners, just starting out, just stay with Godaddy.
This is for a few reasons.
One is that when you first get a new domain name with them, you can likely instead buy a hosting package for very little and get a free domain at the same time.
GoDaddy is known for nickel and diming its users. If you know that going in, you’re less likely to fall victim.
You will not get a free SSL certificate like you will from just about every single other host, but you will get somebody to answer your call at any time and speak in a clear American voice and answer your questions.
Their CSRs are located right here.. in the US.
Again, I’ve been with GoDaddy for over 15 years. I’ll likely be fine for another year. It’s then that I’ll start looking for another host.
4- Install WordPress. I only work with WordPress now. I do not suggest going with one of these other ‘Super Simple’ sites like Wix or Weebly. The reason for that is you are stuck with them if you build with them.
Whereas, if you build with WordPress, you can move at any time. I’ve also seen the costs associated with these other companies and they are VERY high. You should be able to get hosting for just a couple bucks a month.
Installing WordPress is not real difficult. I’ll be creating a written tutorial with lots of screenshots as well as a video on Youtube, and publishing it here. But it’s more than we can get into right here on the plan.
Just know that there are many easy-to-follow tutorials online. And also know that WordPress offers you the greatest freedom.
5- Get a logo to brand your site. <sigh> this is going to be a difficult step for me. I’m just not into logos. I’ve always branded myself as myself. And I’ve never really created a logo. I have created a sort-of-logo, with my name and the 2 bare feet. I feel the bare feet say a great deal about me.
However, I’ve never actually made a logo.
Now, it’s suggested quite often to just go to fivrr and for $5, you can get a logo. And some of the people there are quite good.
But some are not. There are a couple other places to check out, too. One is 99 Designs. I know of people who have gotten good designs from both places.
I think the key to getting a god logo is to have a good idea what you want. What you want to communicate with it. What feeling you want people to get from it. And then find a way to share those thoughts with your designer.
I’m also not completely convinced that having a logo is important at this stage. It’s something I’ll look further into for myself.
Also, as I’m a very creative and visual person, I’ll likely take notice of other logos in my niche and think about what I like and don’t like and what feeling I get from them.
And then, quite likely, I’ll go to Canva and do one myself.
6- Design your site. Offline, sit down and doodle what your site will look like. What sorts of posts will you have? Where will you place images? What will the menu include? Where will it be? Top of page? Under the main image? Off to a side?
The more you know about what it will look like, the easier the entire process will be.
What I have always done in the past was to just dive into the building of the site. I’ve found, that for me, I get a much better idea of what I like and don’t like and how I want things when I’m actually doing it.
It’s kind of like arranging a room and putting paintings up. Do I like the couch here under the window? Or over there at an angle.
That’s how I work. But I also enjoy the process of building sites, and I’ve done it for years and I’ve currently got over a dozen of them.
I do not expect you to be the same. I hope you DO find some enjoyment in the process, but I expect it to be at least a bit… scary for you if this is your first build.
This is why I suggest figuring out as much as you can on paper beforehand. This will help with the next step…