Setting Up Your Blog (as Quickly as Possible)
So let's talk about setting up your blog as quickly as possible. So just to kind of give me an idea, and you guys can totally share online as well. Who already has a blog set up? Show of hands. So, three, three nos. Perfect, so we're about half and half. I'm guessing our online audience looks pretty much the same. So, who of you has a shop built on Shopify if you don't have a blog? No one. Or if you have a blog? You have a shop on Shopify as well. Does anyone have a website built on Squarespace? Okay. So, let me go back to this. So those of you who are nothings, tell me what your online situation is, Michelle.
I don't have a blog.
Okay, do you know if Weebly has a blog function?
Okay, good to know.
I have a website on Wix.
Do they have, do you know if they have a blog function?
They probably do, I don't know, I haven't looked yet.
I don't have a site.
You don't have a site. We're gonna work on that. We're gonna solve that problem for you in a second.
a website, my website is currently on Pattern on Etsy, and it has a blogging function.
So here's the thing. Most websites, if you have a website set up through something, definitely if you have a website or online store set up through Shopify or Squarespace, you're ready to start blogging. You already have a platform. Because every website developer pretty much understands that blogging drives traffic. Now, in the grand scheme of life, some of those might not be the best choices, but the beauty is that you can actually migrate your blog content later if you decide that it's not the right fit. So I blogged for years on Blog Spot. Who remembers Blog Spot? It makes you feel old, right? I'm like, oh, the good old days of Blog Spot. And then I realized that was a terrible idea, and I eventually I moved it to my own domain. And built it on WordPress. So here's the thing. If you already have a website set up, go right now, figure out if there's a way to hit a button and create a blog post. If you do, perfect. Done, you're set up. So this is what Shopify's blog looks like. Basically, it's a place to add a blog post. Right, simple, easy. I am not trying to overcomplicate things for you guys. I am not going to tell you that you need to be on any specific platform. I just want you to start taking action. Now that said, if you are on nothing, let's talk about what could be the right platform for you. So, it's important to remember that you are not becoming a blogger. You don't need a ton of bells and whistles and buttons. You are a business creating content to help market your products. So that's an important distinction to remember as we're looking. So that means that if you are just starting out, you are better off choosing a platform based on what it will do for your online store and then just making sure it has blog capabilities. Rather than actually picking a platform because it's gonna be great for blogging, and then trying to retro fit a store into it. And I'm gonna hot seat you in a few minutes, Michelle, and we're gonna talk about it a little bit more. But the general idea is you should pick your shop first and then build your blog around that. Now that said, I want to talk about three options. There are millions. There are millions of options, but I want to talk about three. And the same thing for those of you who might be on Etsy, and you realize, I know you said you use Pattern Etsy and they have a blog feature? It's probably not the best blog feature, and so eventually you're gonna probably want something on your own, so the same thing. Think about where you're gonna want to build your store, and then go from there. So a couple platforms to choose from. You've got Shopify's built in blog, Squarespace which has both blogging and shop capabilities, and then we're gonna talk about self-hosted WordPress, though I'm probably going to discourage almost no one from going there, unless you're already there. So a couple reasons to use Shopify. One is that you just already have a store on Shopify. If you have a store on Shopify, just use it. And if you're planning on launching a store in the future, just do it. Use this class today as an opportunity to say Oh yeah, way back when I took Megan's Beyond Etsy class, and I had been meaning to set up a Shopify store, hit the button today, start the trial, and just do it. It does not have to be that big of a deal. Because again, everything is movable. Just like your blog is movable, your shop is movable. I started on Etsy, then I had a BigCartel store, now I sell on Shopify, it's fine. You just carry your domain over, it all works. So no decision is permanent, so we're gonna make one quickly and move on. Reasons to use Squarespace. Squarespace is great if you don't already have a website or domain. So if you're like, I just really need to start from scratch, and I want something really visual, and I want to get started, because here's the thing. With Squarespace, you can actually start a trial that requires no money and no credit card entering and you can just start to play around. So, yes, I looked into this because I had no idea. So if you're like, I really just want to start and try this and see, Squarespace can be a good place to start. Now that said, I cannot answer any technical questions about Squarespace in this class because it's not a platform that I use. It's a platform that plenty of people use and they love it, and that's the thing is from my understanding, it doesn't require a ton of technical knowledge, but the sites look really beautiful. Again, I can't speak to their back end, but I believe Shopify is a little bit more robust in terms of the things it can do for a product-based business in the long run, but I think for most of us, if you're like I want something pretty and easy, this is a good solution. And then, there are a few reasons to use a self-hosted WordPress. If you're just starting and you have nothing, don't jump to WordPress. It's got a much steeper learning curve. But what's nice is that if you already own a domain through a web host like Bluehost, you can literally hit a button and install WordPress for free, so you're not spending any extra money if you already own your domain. It's also better if you are planning on generating a ton of content and you want more bells and whistles. Or, if you're just already on there, I'm not gonna tell you to jump ship. Because guess what? I blog on WordPress, and that's the reason I feel compelled to talk about it here. So my setup is actually a blog on WordPress, and then a shop built on Shopify. So if you go to meganauman.com, you're actually on my WordPress blog. If you go to shop.meganauman.com, you're actually in my Shopify store. Most people don't know that they're on two different platforms. And the only reason that I do that is quite frankly because I have been blogging for so long and I have so much content, that it did not make sense to move all of that to Shopify. But it does mean that I have to login to two different sites and look at some other stats. So I'm not recommending that solution to everyone, but if you're like, Megan I've been blogging for a while, and I'm on WordPress, can I just stay there? Totally stay there, because I'm a fan. If you're comfortable with it, stay there. But don't get bogged down in the decision-making process. Because at the end of the day, you can always move your content to a different blog platform in the future. You can always change your domain and just redirect your content. You're not married to anything on the internet. Kinda nice, right? Does it take some stress out? It's not like I'm buying a house that I have to pay a mortgage on for 30 years. I am picking something out today and I can change it tomorrow and it's totally fine. So just pick one and get started. And really all you need is a domain, and you don't actually need a domain, because a lot of platforms will automatically give you one. You can sign up for a domain when you sign up for Squarespace. I believe you can sign up for a domain wen you sign up for Shopify. And if you already have the domain, you can forward it to any of those sites. And then you literally just need to take two seconds and pick out a theme. In Squarespace they're called templates. You need a template, you need a theme. And again, you can change all these with a push of a button. So pick one that looks pretty, and if you hate it tomorrow, pick a different one that looks pretty. I can't even tell you guys how many different themes I've had on my blog. Like some days I wake up, and I'm like I hate this. Start over. You may have noticed if you were recently on Designing an MBA that I actually went back to old branding, because I was like, I hate this theme. Try again. You're not married to any of it. So just pick something and get started. You can always change it. So I know this is an area that you guys might have questions on, and hopefully at the end of the day, you're just like, I get it, I'm just gonna pick one and make up my mind. But if you guys have questions, I want to talk about them, and then after we take some questions, we're gonna hot seat Michelle, and help her make a decision. Does anyone have any questions? Annette.
As far as the SEO for all these different blogs, I've always heard that WordPress was the best because it's got the best SEO. But just for this, Shopify or Squarespace, their SEO for their blogging is?
Yeah, so Shopify understands that product people need good SEO, and so their blogs are built the same way. I know for a fact in Shopify blog, you can edit things like your metadata. Don't worry if that means nothing to you, I'm going to show you later. You can edit things like your metadata, you can edit all that stuff to help with your SEO. And that I'm sure Squarespace is the same, because they know the internet, they're not dumb, so really any of those should be fine. WordPress again has more bells and whistles and plugins, if you really want to dive deep into SEO, but any of those other sites are gonna do the job for you as well. Good question. Other questions, bringing stuff from online?
Yeah, we've got one here, an SEO question from Cory Yeegan, who says, Is it true that you should host your website and your blog on the same place so the SEO you're gaining from your blog is also helping the Google rankings of the site which hosts your products that are for sale? Is it good to always keep them together?
Yes, if you can, it does make sense. So that is my understanding, Corey, as well. And now I want to say, hi Corey. So that's my understanding as well, that it's better if it can be all in the same platform. For me it just didn't make sense because of the amount of content that I had, but if you're starting new, keep it altogether. And actually, Corey, if you're watching, you're gonna see your blog later as an example because you're actually already doing a good job. Any other questions from online?
This question came from Jake. I really just want to get your take on this. He says that he's heard horror stories of cost and losses of data in the difficulty of changing your blog from, this example is from Squarespace to WordPress. You said that it is pretty easy to typically change, is there anything that people should be hesitant to do?
So okay, I will say that I cannot really speak to the Squarespace move because I've never used it. Anything if you're moving from say WordPress, that you can actually download. You can export all your blog data and save it, so you could save that, make the move, or you could back it up on your server, so a lot of times your web host will also let you do a backup. So that if things go wonky, you should have a backup. So that's my advice, is whatever move you're making, do that, make sure you have a backup, and certainly do not shut anything down until you know that the migration has happened properly. So I would say that it's better to actually move to say, a test domain, on the new platform first, instead of just moving to a whole new domain that wipes out the existence of your other domain. Do you have experience with this Tonny?
One thing that does happen is that internal links break.
Yes, but I will say that Shopify has an app in the app store that redirects internal links. Because when I moved my site, so this isn't blog specific, but when I moved my shop from BigCartel to Shopify, all my links were gonna break, and so I put this app in, and it actually found all the broken links for me, and I was able to redirect them to the right places. So if that happened to you, haven't seen you on Shopify, you can look for that. So that is a good point. That will happen, and you're probably just gonna have to do a little bit of work. And really, honestly, the thing that I will say to be safest is if you're making any kind of big migration like this, don't rely on my tech advice. Hire someone who actually knows what they're doing. And also don't be afraid to call tech support of the companies that you're giving your money to. When I wanted to move a blog from one domain to another, everything I have is on Bluehost, and I called Bluehost, and I said, Hey, this is what I want to do. Can you help me? And the tech guys were like, you're gonna do X Y Z. You're gonna call us. We're gonna do this. And then we're gonna tell you that's good, and you're gonna do this one more thing, and it's gonna be fine, and it could be down for 24 hours, and I think within 45 minutes it was all back up and working perfectly. So there are tech people for every site, every platform that you give your money to. Do not be afraid to use them. I've used Shopify's tech people, I've used blue Host's tech people. They're there for a reason. They want your site to work, so call them, message them, email them. They're actually really, really helpful people. So that's the other thing I'll say about that. Michelle, do you have a question?
Just a question about changing your blog theme. Do you notice that it confuses your customers, or is it just?
I tend to make subtle changes rather than drastic changes. But I think people are used to the fact that the internet changes now, so it's not so confusing, as long as links still work, which obviously, just changing a theme they will. So you're okay to make changes. And if you're really doing something big, write a blog post that says, Hey guys, welcome to the new site! I did a little rebrand. Send an email to your list and let them know. It's a good opportunity to use a big change to let your customers that you did a little rebrand refresh, and it drives traffic to your site. Good question. Anything else from our online audience?
Just a quick clarification here, we don't have to get too deep into the legality of this, but when you post content on these different platforms, you are the owner of the content, right? Not them, being the server, because Jake was just asking, as you transfer content from one to the other, you own that content, and you can move it to wherever without having to worry about it.
Absolutely, yeah, so it's your content. You own it. That's the way all these platforms are set up. Now, if you dive really deep into the Terms of Service of any platform, they will tell you that they also have certain rights to your content. They have to put that in there, because it's the only way that they can legally resize your images. People freaked out I think both about Etsy and Pinterest a couple years back, because it was like, This says they have the right to my images. Well, it says they have the right to modify your images, and they have to say that because otherwise, they can't resize them, and if they can't resize them, they don't work on the platform. So you'll see that in Terms of Service, but all of these platforms at the end of the day, you own the content and you get to move it, which is not true about your social media platforms. But any of these web platforms, it's your content, you can take it with you.