Maximize Your Blogging: Set Up a New Blog

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Setting Up a New Blog

This week we’re going to continue last year’s post-Blissdom blogging series with more tips for taking your blog to the next level based on my own experiences and lessons I learned at BlissDom. But before we jump in, I wanted to write a basic post for those readers who want to start blogging but have no idea where to start.

There are many different “platforms” on which you can host your blogTypePad, Blogger, or, LiveJournal, Moveable Type and more. I host at because it allows me to have my own domain name, run advertising and control all aspects of my site using WordPress’s platform.

If you have aspirations of turning your blog into a business, those are all things you’ll need to think about eventually, but if you’ve never set one up before and aren’t familiar with HTML, I would recommend starting with a simpler system, such as a blog, which gives you a custom URL on the WordPress domain, like

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to share instructions for setting up a account and blog for beginners who just want to try out this blogging thing before jumping in with both feet.

To get started:

1. Go to and click on Sign Up Now.

2. Fill out all of the required account information and click submit.

3. Select a blog name and custom URL and click Sign Up.

4. Finish filling out your profile while you wait for your activation email.

5. Click on the link in the email to activate your account. Be sure to check your spam folder if it doesn’t show up within a couple of minutes.

6. Click on View Your Site to get an idea of what your new blog looks like.

7. Log in to begin customizing your site.

A downside of is that you do not have the ability to customize the appearance to the same degree that you do with a self-hosted blog on However, if you start blogging and decide you want to be able to do more, you can always move to down the road.

To begin customizing the look of your blog, scroll down to Appearance on the left menu bar. Choose from the following options:

:: Themes allow you to choose the basic layout and look of your site.

:: Widgets control what goes in your sidebar.

:: A Custom Header allows you to change the wording or upload your own picture to be used at the top of your blog.

:: Header Colors gives you the option to change the background colors if you keep the standard header.

:: Use the Typekit Fonts option to change the fonts that appear on your blog. You need to create a free account at in order to do this.

:: Follow the step-by-step instructions to edit your CSS, which changes the appearance of your posts and the elements of your blog.

Now that you have your site set up, you can begin posting.

You’ll notice there is already a sample post set up, but if you click on Posts, it will bring up a list of the current posts, including the one title “Hello World”.  Hover over that post title until the options show up underneath it, and then click on “Trash” to delete the post.

You can then click on “Add New” and begin writing your first post. Note that there are two ways you can view your post — Visual and HTML — using the tabs above the post window. If you’re not familiar with HTML, write your post in the Visual view and add any formatting using the toolbar at the top of the post window. You can then click on the HTML tab to get an idea of the code used to make it look the way it does.

Click Publish and you’re done. Congratulations, you’re now a blogger!

Obviously, this just scratches the surface on setting up a new blog. Here are some additional tutorials and tips to help you get started:

:: Basic HTML Tags, ProBlogger

:: Support

:: Blog Pages, Posts, Categories, and Tags…HELP!, Remarkablogger

If you’re just getting started, what other questions do you have about blogging? If you’re an established blogger, what do you wish you’d known when you started?

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

19 Responses to “ Maximize Your Blogging: Set Up a New Blog ”

  1. I just started a blog a few days ago after wanting to for a long time. One thing I’m not sure of is how to get the word out about it. How do you let people know it’s there?
    Katie´s last blog ..Best Cookies Ever My ComLuv Profile


    Chele Reply:

    Katie, this takes time. I’ve been doing this for a year now. And still trying to figure some of this out. I’m sure Mandi will hit on some of this. The way I have learned is first to comment on others blogs. Don’t be a lurker! ;) Also, to get started try twitter and facebook! Just my thoughts!
    Chele´s last blog ..GGM – Accomplishing Feels Good My ComLuv Profile


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    These are great tips!

    I don’t actually have a post planned on this for this week, but here are my suggestions:

    *commenting on other blogs

    *join blog carnivals like Works for Me Wednesday, Menu Plan Monday, Frugal Friday, etc.

    *reach out to other bloggers and ask to guest post for them

    *link to other bloggers so they have a reason to visit your site

    *write link-worthy posts (for example, you probably won’t get a lot of people linking to the cute thing your 2yo said, but if you write a post on your perspective on motherhood, people are more likely to share it with their readers)

    Most of all, be patient. It really is a snowball effect, and although it might start off slowly, as your traffic grows, it will pick up speed as more people start linking to you.


  2. Mandi, I can’t wait to read more! I love your blog and your help!
    Chele´s last blog ..GGM – Accomplishing Feels Good My ComLuv Profile


  3. I’m with blogger, I recently bought my own domain, but I’m thinking about moving to Wordpress to gain more control. It can be a bit confusing but everyone seems to be moving over that way. I think I’ll wait until my 1year anniversary in April then move. I’m still getting used to having my own domain and waiting for people to change their links etc.


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    I started out on Blogger too, and I was so hesitant to move. It can be a pain, but you’re able to do so much more on WordPress, so it’s definitely worth it in the long run!


  4. Is WordPress more user-friendly than Blogger? If so, is it possible to “import” Blogger into WordPress so I wouldn’t have to start a brand new blog?



    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    Blogger is easier to use when you’re getting started, I think, but WordPress gives you so many more options. But, yes, you can absolutely import your posts so that you’re not starting over from scratch.

    I haven’t read this through completely, but this post seems like a pretty good guide for doing it:

    You can Google “migrating blogger to wordpress” for more tips and hints!


  5. Love this post. Everything you need to know in one place!!! Where was this post when I started blogging!!!


  6. I have another question… For those of you who use (or have used) Blogger, how do you schedule a post to go up at a certain time?
    Katie´s last blog ..Best Cookies Ever My ComLuv Profile


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    At the bottom of your post window, there is a link that says “Post Options”. If you click on that, it will open additional posting options, including “Post date and time.” If you set the date and time in the future, it will schedule your post for that time!


    Katie Reply:

    I tried that with one to be put up this morning, but it didn’t work… I ended up having to put it up myself five minutes later. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.
    Katie´s last blog ..Best Cookies Ever My ComLuv Profile


    Chele Reply:

    Katie, I had the same problem when I used blogger. I switched to wordpress and it was easy and I do it for every post now. I wish I could help but that was one of my cons of blogger. I hope someone here can help you!
    Chele´s last blog ..GGM – Accomplishing Feels Good My ComLuv Profile

    cate Reply:

    I had the same problem with blogger – for the first post. for some reason it seems that the first post doesn’t schedule, but every post after that works like it should… try it again tomorrow, and see what I mean.

  7. Thanks for the info. Mandi. Typekit looks cool. Is that how you created your signature?


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    I actually have never used Typekit because the themes that runs on come with their own fonts packaged in them.

    For my signature, I use!


  8. How do you get your own domain name? I have heard I should do this – but I have no idea what that is or how to do so. Thanks so much – I think this will be very helpful to me!


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    Hey Kim! Your domain name is the URL or web address where your site sits. On, you would use their domain,, with your site as a subdomain,

    You can purchase your own domain name, i.e., from a company such as for under $10. Usually, when you purchase a domain, you then also have to pay for someone to host it, which usually runs $5-10 a month when you’re starting out. Go Daddy has hosting services as well.

    Hope that helps!


  9. Great Blog! I love it!
    James Cage´s last blog ..Backlinks Nofollow and Dofollow My ComLuv Profile


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