6-STEP GUIDE TO VNBYTES.

The official first post of a blog is never an easy task. But since I decided to center this blog about a geek’s journey, my first post was obvious – sharing the first challenge I faced: Creating a blog.

As I went about the mundane steps to create VNBYTES, I realized not all of it is that obvious. And it’s easy for someone to do something wrong or mess the whole thing up. The good news is, the world is now full of bloggers blogging about blogs and how to blog.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This post will take you through the path I chose to create VNBYTES.

  1. Define your passion.
  2. Plan everything.
  3. Create it.
  4. Customize it.
  5. Test it.
  6. Deploy it.


STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR PASSION

Personally, I would say this should be the first step to any project you undertake throughout your existence. Any journey or adventure of yours – be it school, work or fun – must be somehow linked to your true passion. We all have that one friend who is always super excited about projects while we are whining and complaining. That’s the effect of plugging into your passion. If you are able to link everything that you do with your passion, you will feel the excitement and energy and work will no longer be work – it’ll be fun. Find that one thing that never seemed boring and tiresome to you, that one thing that you will never say no to – that’s your passion.

Why am I saying this, you ask?

Because when you create your blog, you want it to last. You want it to gain traction. You want it to be seen by the entire internet. And if you are not personally connected to it – if you are not excited about it yourself – no one else will be.

You are your first viewer.


STEP 2: PLAN EVERYTHING (AND I MEAN EVERYTHING)

Failing to plan is planning – well, you know how it goes. This step is just as important as the previous one. I cannot stress this enough. You need to know where you are going. You need to have a purpose and goal. You don’t need to have everything planned out from the creation to the destruction of your blog. You just need to have a general sense of direction for it. That’s what will make your viewers stick around – a sense of direction and consistency.

Treat your blog like a business or a startup. Do not think of it as just a blog. Think of it as an enterprise. And guess what businesses have? A Business Plan! Or for us bloggers, at least a simple version of one. Bright side is once you have everything planned out, the remaining steps to creating and managing your blog is a piece of cake.

If you are reading this post, you are on the right path. This is the first phase of planning – reading and researching to make sure you know what you are doing.

The way I did it:

  • Open up OneNote.
  • Create a section about your blog.
  • Create a page containing the basic details of your blog.
     

    • BLOG NAME.
      That was a tough cookie for me. It took me a long time and quite a bit of research to figure out the perfect name for this blog. Check out the best guide I found: THE PERFECT BLOG NAME.

      SOURCE: WWW.ICANBUILDABLOG.COM

      SOURCE: WWW.ICANBUILDABLOG.COM

      But don’t be too strict following this (or any other) guides to a perfect name. At the end of the day, whatever name you choose – whether it follows these “rules” or not – your content will give meaning to the name.
      Quick example: Google. The name had no meaning. It had no words or connection indicating it’s a search engine. But with time and effort, Larry Page and Sergey Brin built a reputation for it. And today everyone knows Google as the search engine.
      Eventually, and if you do things right, your content will define your name – not the other way around. These guides simply make it easier to kickoff.
       
    • BLOG TARGET (OR NICHE)
      Since you’ve probably already figured out your passion. Well, this is where it goes. This is where you write down what kind of blog are you going to build and what kind of people are you targeting.
      Mine was simple. I’ve known my passion for years: Technology. So my blog type is “Techy”.
      Maybe yours will be “Foodie”, “Recipes” or “DIYs”.
      Consider this as a one word description of your blog content.
       
    • BLOG DESCRIPTION
      Try to describe your blog within 2-3 sentences. This will help you write an ABOUT page afterwards but it also helps to get your thoughts in order. When you consider the creating a blog your brain will produce a jumbled mess of “Oh, I could do that” and “Oh, I’ll write about that” ideas, mixed with some “Blogging is awesome!” hormones.
      Writing down a short description allows you to sort through that mess and really figure out which ideas are worthy and relevant. On a side note, this is not only for blogging. I find that writing stuff down with short descriptions makes it a lot easier to see clearly and to solve problems.
       
    • BLOGGING PLATFORM
      Choosing the ideal platform requires some research. There are so many choices out there. Then once you got it, you need to choose whether it’s going to be self-hosted or not. If you go with self-hosted, you then have to choose your domain provider. So how did I choose?
      After a bit of research, I can safely say there are 3 blogging platform giants out there: Blogger, WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG.
      I chose WordPress.ORG for the following reasons:
      + I get to use my own domain (http://www.vnbytes.me)
      + It has a wider array of features and less limitations.
      + It’s relatively easy to use, albeit WordPress.COM and Blogger is easier.
      + It’s more customizable than the others. I want a blog that I can shape to my taste.
      + Custom domain & Customizable – this makes WordPress.ORG more professional.
       
    • DOMAIN
      Now that you have a blog name and a blogging platform chosen, you need to get that website. Ideally, you should use your blog name as your domain or URL. It makes it easier to identify, and it kinds of makes sense to do that. E.g. VNBYTES uses the domain vnbytes.me.
       
    • SOCIAL
      Blogging at its core is meant for communication. And that involves people. If you want your blog to work, go social. And that means you need to provide a way for your viewers to communicate with you. Sure, you’ll get a comment section for your posts. But take it a step further.
       
      Get an email address for your blog.
      Go to Outlook or Gmail (or any major email provider) and grab a yourblogname@email.com and your viewers can use that to talk to you. It’s more professional than using your personal email. You don’t want your important mails to be lost in a flood of fan mail (or hate mail) in your personal inbox.
       
      Use social networks.
      Even I am lagging behind on this, but build a Facebook page and go on Twitter. This is also an opportunity to make yourself seen to the world – and could greatly improve your career. Share your LinkedIn profile (if you don’t have one, create one). A potential employer could be reading this post right now. Finally, write all those social links in your OneNote, so you have them readily available for sharing.
       
    • LOGO
      Writing a blog is already enough work, and now I want you to get a Logo?! Yes indeed.
      You can release your blog as it is at first, without a logo. However, I would urge you to think up designs and to try to get a logo for your blog ASAP. Having one gives huge pluses to your blog.
      + Attractiveness
      + Professionalism
      + Reputation
      + Marketing

     

  • Create a new page to prepare every blog post from now on.


STEP 3: CREATE IT.

There are many ways to create your blog. I went with Microsoft Azure and Azure Web Apps to build mine. It’s easy and effective. A friend of mine wrote a great and simple GUIDE TO CREATING A BLOG WITH MICROSOFT AZURE.


STEP 4: CUSTOMIZE IT.

In the huge blogosphere out there, your blog is a tiny dot less than a micron thick. You need to set it apart. Make sure your blog shines brighter than the rest. The only way to do that is to customize it so that it looks like a beautiful work of art here to provide for the perusal pleasures of the viewers. This is yet another reason why I chose WordPress. Its existing ever growing library of themes makes it easier for me to find a nice and simple theme for VNBYTES.


STEP 5: TEST IT.

It’s the developer way. We test everything we create. Not all of us are Tony Stark, with inventions working perfectly on the first try. Find yourself a friend, ideally one who is not part of your blog niche and let them check out your blog. Get a few opinions and different point of views. And improve your blog. Don’t try to do everything on your own. Even Tony has JARVIS.


STEP 6: DEPLOY IT.

Your blog is now ready. Everything has been planned. You’ve customized it to perfection. You even took a few days to have it tested and improved. What could possibly go wrong? All that’s left is for you to launch it, and start spreading the news of the new sheriff in Blog-Ville.

And this wraps up the path through which VNBYTES went live.

Got any beginner’s tips for me? Let me know in the comments.