One of my main goals when launching Chit Chat With Katie was to create a community and be a resource to all the people out there, like me, who are just trying to live their best lives and become better versions of themselves. If you don’t know, I have over 10 years experience in marketing (specializing in digital) so although this blog may be new, my techniques, practices, and knowledge aren’t. I know, like myself, so many people that have been laid off during this pandemic and are looking to establish their side hustles or blogs online so I’m spending this week developing blogging content for you all! We’re going to start with some basic concepts covering terminology, best practices, and step by step guides to get up and running in no time! The first post in this series covers the first 5 basic blogging terminology or blogging words every beginner blogger needs to know.
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5 Blogging Words Every Beginner Needs To Know
Your domain name is simply the name of your website. It’s the part of your URL that is specific to your site and what people will associate with your site. The domain name of this site is ChitChatWithKatie.
If you haven’t yet started your blog, you can check and see if your preferred domain is available by running an easy check. I prefer to use Who Is so if your domain name is not available, you can see the contact info for the domain registrar. I’ll also do a quick search by typing the URL I want to see if it’s currently being used. If it’s not or hasn’t been updated in a long time, you can always reach out and see if they’d be interested in selling their domain to you.
Once you find an available domain you like, I personally use GoDaddy to register my domain. I have a number of domains all registered through them and have been using them for years. They always have great pricing and awesome customer service when I might have a question.
The next step in your blogging journey is hosting. There are so many hosting options including BlueHost, Lyrical Host, SiteGround, etc. We won’t get into a whole comparison about hosting features and which to use since that could be its own blog post but I’ll share my experience quickly. I’ve used BlueHost in the past but didn’t like how they kept adding features to my account and charging me. I’d have to call and cancel the “service” and it was just a headache.
UPDATE – Since writing this post and actually publishing it, I logged on to my bank account to find out BlueHost charged me again $208.33 even though my hosting wasn’t set to renew until June and I hadn’t clicked the “renew” button in my portal. I called and they were easily able to refund me but it’s still a hassle. I feel really strongly that this is a shady business practice and you shouldn’t be charged without a heads up email or some sort of notification. For that reason, I don’t recommend BlueHost and won’t ever use them in the future.
This time around, I had heard great things about SiteGround so I chose them as my host. I found their platform SO easy to use, customer service was great, and the pricing was affordable.
Now, back to the point of this blog post and the definition of hosting. Your host is the company who houses, stores, and maintains the files that make up your website. The servers, encryption, technology that goes on behind the scenes? That’s all from your host. I pay SiteGround monthly to use their servers to host my website. Make sense?
To review – Your domain is your blog’s name. Your host is the company who has the technology to keep your blog running.
You can think of your website theme as your framework or the look & feel of your website. Your theme is the reason your website looks different than mine or any other site you may visit. It’s a combination of fonts, sizes, colors, layout, etc. that all go together to make up the aesthetic of your site.
Once you install WordPress, you can navigate to your dashboard and choose “Appearance” and then select “Themes” and then “Add New” to browse some free themes. This isn’t the option I would use though.
Honestly, since the theme of your site is SO important to the overall user experience, I suggest you invest in a theme you really like. Themes can be purchased from multiple different places across the web. A quick Etsy search shows almost 2,000 options.
For Chit Chat With Katie, I used Creative Market to search for my theme; they have over 3,700 options! I played around with a bunch of different demos before finding the theme I’m using now from Pix & Hue that I absolutely love!
When looking at themes, don’t worry about the colors (you can customize all those settings later) but instead pay attention to the layouts & design to make sure it fits the needs of your site. You’ll also want to make sure you’re looking for a mobile responsive theme, a SEO friendly template, and are purchasing a WordPress blog theme (if you’re using WP) and that you have all the necessary tools to install your theme. Some themes will require additional purchases like WP Bakery Page Builder ($64) to completely customize and set up the theme. My theme, Oakley, only needed the free Elementor to get up and running.
Another great thing about Pix & Hue is the super thorough documentation that comes with each theme. Setting up my blog, customizing colors, changing toolbar, setting up post defaults, it was all simple to follow the step by step instructions in the documentation and some steps even had video tutorials! It was actually so easy, I pretty much set up Chit Chat With Katie in one sitting, working from my laptop in bed. If you’re a new blogger or not super experienced with WordPress, I’d definitely suggest making sure the theme you select has a guide for installation & customization.
The last thing to consider when picking a theme is customer service and support follow up. I did have one issue I couldn’t figure out when setting up my blog so I contacted Louise (the Pix & Hue designer) through Creative Market’s chat and she got back to me within hours! Definitely look for a theme designer that responds to reviews or shoot them a message prior to purchase and make sure they’re available in case you have any issues.
If you’re using a WordPress website, you’ll need to install some plugins to make sure your site is completely functional.
A plugin is a piece of software that acts like an extension of your site to provide additional functionality. If you want to add a new feature to your site, you’ll most likely use a plugin. Plugins are as simple as downloading a file and integrate seamlessly with your WordPress site.
On your admin dashboard, you can go to “Plugins” and then choose “Add New” to browse available plugins. You can also go to “Plugins” and then select “Installed Plugins” to see all the plugins you’re using on your website. You can see some of my installed plugins below.
I’ll highlight a few for you so you can get a better understanding of their purpose.
Contact Form 7 – Instead of coding a form each time I need one on my site, I use this plugins features to easily create what I need.
Duplicate Post – This plugin easily duplicates posts so I don’t have to start from scratch each time. If I have a post where I loved the layout, gallery, and design, I use this plug in to duplicate and then edit from there and replace with new content.
Elementor – This is how I edit the main pages of my blog like my home page.
WP Recipe Maker – I use this plugin to add the recipe field to my food posts.
WPZOOM Instagram Widget – This plugin displays my Instagram feed on my blog.
Yoast SEO – This is a great beginner’s tool for SEO (more blog posts on that later). It analyzes on-page content, provides XML sitemaps, and more.
Since we just touched on Yoast, I’ll round out this list with Keywords & our bonus word – SEO. Keywords are the topics that you’re writing or covering; they’re what your site is about. Think of it as a word that describes what the content on a specific page is about. When people search for that keyword on Google, in a perfect world, they’d end up on your specific post.
Keywords are a way to link search queries (what someone is typing into Google) to your site.
You need to be careful in selecting your keywords though. Say I own a restaurant in San Diego and we have a great caprese salad with tomato. I wouldn’t want to try to rank for “tomatoes San Diego” because people typing that in are probably looking for farms or places to buy tomatoes, not restaurants serving tomato dishes. Get it?
There is so much that goes into keywords that I promise to write some posts dedicated just to keywords but for today’s terminology overview you should just know that each piece of your content should have a purpose. There should be a guiding keyword for each blog post you write.
Bonus – SEO
Okay, I couldn’t not mention SEO since I included Yoast & keywords above but “Six Words Every Beginner Blogger Needs To Know” just didn’t sound as catchy.
SEO is Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of increasing your site’s quantity and quality of traffic through organic search. There is on-page and off-page SEO but the ultimate goal is the same; you want to increase your visibility in search results.
You want to make sure that your site (and all of its pages) are set up for people to find what they’re looking for. If you were looking for words beginner bloggers need to know or maybe “what is a wordpress plugin?”, then I would hope this blog post answered your question.
A big piece of SEO is the content you’re producing. Gone are the days where I could write SEO SEO SEO a million times to get the SEO crawling bots to rank my site higher. Google is smart enough to filter through all the SEO tricks and rewards those who are creating meaningful content for their audience. Did you know that you can actually check Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to make sure your site is compliant? It outlines things to avoid like scraped content, loading pages with irrelevant keywords, sneaky redirects, or hidden texts and links.
So for right now, we want to make sure we’re producing high quality content pieces & focus on that. There are a million different add-on layers but we’ll get to those later this week. After all, this is Five Words Every Beginner Blogger Needs To Know, not a deep dive into SEO.
So, did you find this blog post helpful? I have another five new words coming your way later this week but if there are any other blogging topics you’d like me to also cover, let me know in the comments below. I’m all about making guides & resources for you all!
Don’t forget to check out my Ultimate Blogging Dictionary! It included over 50 words you’ll come across in your blogging journey!
If you’re a beginner blogger or recently got serious about your blog, don’t be shy – introduce yourself in the comments! I’d love to connect and see how I can support you in your journey. These are crazy times but we’re all in this together!