3 months before launch
So, I decided that yes, I am definitely going to have a blog. A real one, not just a kind of online diary where I put random junk. We love travelling and on my first overseas adventures I did a mini blog which had very positive feedback. I love writing and used to write every day, so this is my change to develop digital skills and reconnect with myself at the same time. Plus, I get to show people that wimpy, anxiety ridden scrooges such as myself can go on holiday and enjoy themselves!
First things first
Blog name and matching domain:
Plenty of bloggers can give you advice about how to pick your blog name. I liked these posts:
Once I decided on a name, I went to namecheckr.com to search availability across domains and social media accounts. My first choice was taken, however Hermitopia was available as a “.com” and on most of my main social networks. Not all, I will admit, but I could live with that. I loved the name too much!
I could have bought the domain with my hosting package, but I already had an account with another provider, so I bought Hermitopia.com dirt cheap with them (£4). I knew I could transfer it across later. Speaking of cheap, I also went got a free email address (Yahoo/Outlook/Gmail/AOL, whatever suits you) to store my ideas and to use for signing up to relevant resources.
WordPress, for sure. That was a total no-brainer. I used WP a little bit at work, but I did my research too. WP looks perfect for someone who has interest in developing a few skills, but doesn’t want to be forced to learn anything. I got wordpress.com site and created the blog as a private site, just to play around with before getting the domain and moving to wordpress.org.
Why wordpress.org instead of wordpres.com? It was a really, really close call and in the end it came down to me wanting to build in some affiliate marketing in the future, which wordpress.com is much better suited to. In reality, it will probably take a year or two for me to get this blog fully functioning to the level I dream of, so I could have stayed on wordpress.com until then and migrated the site later, but the cost isn’t huge so I decided to start how I want to finish. Kind of a “dress for the job you want, not the one you have” situation.
At this point, Aki suggested we launch on 1st June – first day of summer and right after a long weekend. Perfect! I also suggested that he get a Flickr account so that there was a central repository for all his photos and I could link back to him. His images are far too pretty to be limited to this blog!
I also started drafting a bit of text for the home page and About sections, taking good advice from Melyssa Griffin.
This begged the question, what am I doing and why? Again, there are zillions of blogs about how to work out what type of blog you have and how to arrange it. I knew that travel would be a big component, but not the only thing. Hermitopia is essentially a lifestyle blog about how we live, what we do and how we got where we are. I began to look at marketing personas (a way of thinking about who your audience is) and the difference between categories and tags in a blog post. I already knew that my main audience was anyone like was about 10 years ago (read as “depressed, anxious and feeling like an alien in a world full of outgoing party people”). I also thought about some family, friends and acquaintances that were interested in what we do. I found these website to be great resources for thinking about audiences and organising content.
So much thinking! But I was beginning to feel almost competent enough to pull it off.
Running total: -£4