WHY WORDPRESS IS THE RIGHT PLATFORM FOR YOUR BLOG

WHY WORDPRESS IS THE RIGHT PLATFORM FOR YOUR BLOG

This month I received several emails asking me about why I have chosen WordPress as my go-to platform for blogging and digital shop.

I emailed back saying how I wanted to choose Squarespace in the first place but found it to be too expensive at that time for me and so the next best thing was WordPress.

why wordpress is the right platform for your blog

I have worked on many websites, many different blogs, many shops and online stores, and I will tell you why I remained faithful to this platform:

WordPress is the most Affordable.

I had to start with this one as this is the most asked question I get over email and twitter DMs.

You can easily setup your WordPress website with a budget of $100 or less. My personal recommendation is purchasing your domain through SiteGround (around $12-$15 depending on the domain name), hosting through the same company SiteGround (around $3.45 a month for shared WordPress hosting + you will get a FREE domain name renewal every year if you renew your hosting plan with them), and blog theme ($29 – $79 from the Shop).

With less than $100, you have a beautiful, responsive website for your blog or business.

Each year, you will have to renew your domain and hosting – $50-60, but your blog theme is a one-time purchase (and there are also free options).

Search Engine Friendly.

I cannot stress this enough: WordPress is great for SEO. You have the option (it is kind of mandatory too) to install the YOAST plugin who helps you with everything you need to setup the SEO for every blog post/product you are putting live on your website.

You don’t have to be a SEO expert, Yoast will guide through everything.

One click Install, Easy to Manage and Easy to Update.

This one was one of the most important things for me when I first started designing. I had no idea what CMSs were, I had no plans on ever learning to code (oh how life changes sometimes) – all I wanted was a one click install platform that allowed me to create and play around with options.

WordPress did just that for me.

Most hosting companies offer their clients one-click installs. Nothing is being downloaded to your computer. You get to setup a username and password and you have a very customizable dashboard right at your fingertips.

Open-source anyone?

When I first googled “wordpress vs. [insert any other platform here]” I read a lot of comments about this platform being an open-source CMS. I had no idea what that was. And I’m sure most of us didn’t knew about this term when we first started building our first websites.

Open-source means that there are thousands of WordPress developers all around the world working day and night to improve the system. And none of what they do costs you a penny. Free security and feature updates, every quarter? You bet. Can you say that about your CMS provider? (text credit goes to mooveagency.com)

My favorite: Highly Customizable.

WordPress is popular because it meets the demand of many users with its flexible framework to allow designers and developers to create and modify layouts and applications.

Remember no. 3 in the list? How I said I did not plan on ever learning to code? 🙂

The WordPress community is so great and filled with infinite information ready to be absorbed by anyone wanting to know and apply more to their own website.

This community has thought me so much! I remember bookmarking and saving every single piece of information I could find so I would never lose anything if the internet suddenly went armageddon on us (I lived under a rock for quite awhile so don’t judge) and started applying different customizations to my then lifestyle blog.

Even today, I create affordable and highly customizable WordPress templates for my clients because WordPress created this space for me to learn, grow and develop something that I now call my business.

Talk soon!

Hi! I’m Natalie, web designer, developer, and founder of Natalie’s Box.

This blog is a mix of business and fun – full of helpful tutorials and inspiration.

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Natalie

Owner of Natalie's Box, NataliesBox.com

HOW TO START A WORDPRESS BLOG

HOW TO START A WORDPRESS BLOG

+ FREE BLOGGING RESOURCES

(THREE PDF FILES)

So, you are thinking about getting serious? Are you ready to switch from .org to .com?

When starting a WordPress blog, you might be very confused with how to set it up. And I am talking about Hosting + Domain registrar – these might seem like confusing words to you! But have no fear! I am going to show you how to start your WordPress blog in 20 easy minutes, using SITEGROUND.

Why SITEGROUND? There are several different hosting companies out there, but from my experience working with tens of clients and customers, SITEGROUND hosting is far superior to their competitors. SITEGROUND offers customer support and server security that far outweighs the competition. 

how to start a wordpress blog | step by step tutorial for beginners | nataliesbox.com

So here it is –  few simple steps to get you started!

1. DOMAIN NAME + HOSTING SETUP

Now, please select the blue “LEARN MORE” button under BEST SELLER. The plan is only $3.95 / month and you get extra discounts with domain purchases so keep this in mind!

 

 

 

In the next screen, you will have the option to choose between 3 different plans. I suggest you choose the STARTUP plan if you own just one website. If you want to add multiple sites to one account, please choose the GROWBIG plan. 

 

siteground screenshot | how to install wordpress blog using siteground | nataliesbox.com

Moving forward, you will be redirected to a CHECKOUT page where you will need to enter your details – such as: Name / Email / Payment Information and Plan Information. In the Plan Information you will have to choose how many years of hosting would you like to pay for. I suggest going with 1 year at first. You will also benefit from a FREE SETUP after you pay!

One reminder for you: even though the regular price is $9.95 after the first year, you will always have a discounted price with them so don’t worry about it 🙂

When you are selecting your package information, I recommend that you buy the following – Domain Privacy Protection, Site Backup Pro, and SiteLock Security. These additional add-ons protect your website from hackers and also demonstrate that you are a verified Brand.

Once you’ve selected a plan and checked out, you will follow SITEGROUND’S instructions.

2. INSTALL WORDPRESS

All right, so far so good. Now, for this next step, you will want to go to the top of your SITEGROUND’S account where it says SUPPORT. You will see the next image in your SUPPORT TAB. 

Go to WORDPRESS ASSISTANCE – You will be asked to talk to a support team. Click CHAT and you will be redirected to an actual person who will gladly install WordPress to your new domain and hosting account. The support will also ask you about your preferred email address, passwords, etc. He/she will go that extra mile and will email you your new credentials to your desired email address so you will always have those in hand whenever you will need them. EASY, right? No need for advanced technical knowledge.

3. CUSTOMIZE YOUR WORDPRESS BLOG ACCORDING TO YOUR BRAND

Now that WordPress is setup, it is time to make it beautiful! To do this, you will need to select a BLOG THEME that best showcases your blog content. There are both free and premium themes, but I recommend PREMIUM THEMES. The biggest advantage of premium themes is support. I aim to help provide my customers with tools and resources needed to have a successful blog.

Go to your WordPress dashboard, From there go to APPEARANCE → THEMES. Select the blue ADD NEW button at the top.

If you are uploading a PREMIUM THEME, select UPLOAD THEME button. Upload your ZIP File. If WordPress Twenty Twelve is not installed, you will be prompted to download it. Once the theme is installed, select ACTIVATE. Your theme is now live.

ENJOY! YOUR WORDPRESS BLOG IS READY TO SHOWCASE YOUR CONTENT!

 

If you are just starting off, I would like to offer you three different PDF files that aim to help you plan and organize your blog!

Just add your info below and check your email. You will receive a link to these FREE resources.

  1. HOW TO START A WORDPRESS BLOG
  2. WEBSITE CHECKLIST
  3. BLOG CONTENT PLANNER

 

Disclaimer: Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links. I earn commission only if you purchase through these links. I only use affiliate links for products that I use and would recommend to others. There is no additional cost to you for using these links!

Hi! I’m Natalie, web designer, developer, and founder of Natalie’s Box.

This blog is a mix of business and fun – full of helpful tutorials and inspiration.

flower-icon-2

Natalie

Owner of Natalie's Box, NataliesBox.com

WEEKLY LINKS

WEEKLY LINKS

tools for creatives | useful weekly link from nataliesbox.com

Hello everyone! Can you believe it’s already Friday?

I looked through my blog posts last week and was surprised to see that I haven’t posted anything since Thursday. Thursday, September 16! Last month! When did time fly?

Anyway, I’m currently working on some interesting web design projects and I have to do some creative research and organizational tasks for these particular projects and I wanted to share with you some of these links with you mainly because they are not only meant to be used by designers but also by entrepreneurs and different business owners.

I hope you find them useful:

  1. MOZ Blog has always been fundamental source for all things SEO and marketing – so I know that this one is going to be very useful to you if you are interested in making your website visible in the search engines. I specifically like the updates notifications that we get when Google changes its algorithms so take a look and tell me what you think of it.
  2.  This one is amazing – The Book Cover Archive – an impressive collection of book cover designs (easily sortable by photographer, art director, designer, title, author, and genre), the site will not only inspire you, it will also educate you. Check out Book Cover Archive’s blog for insightful commentary on designs and styles.
  3. Formally known as Kuler, Color is the go-to source for all things color related. Just by moving the dots around the color wheel you are able to select a wide range of complimentary, analogous, triad, shades, or custom colors, and in an instant, Color will give you the RGB and HEX codes so you can go back to creating your masterpiece.
  4. Another useful website that I recently started using when dealing with clients and finance in general is the Wave accounting software. Wave Accounting is designed for independent contractors and companies with nine employees or less. The most important thing to know is that it’s pretty intuitive, simple, clean and most of all – it’s free. Would like to know if you have any other alternatives as I am open to try new things in this department 🙂

 

Thank you and keep in touch!

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OTHER WEEKLY LINKS:

Hi! I’m Natalie, web designer, developer, and founder of Natalie’s Box.

This blog is a mix of business and fun – full of helpful tutorials and inspiration.

flower-icon-2

Natalie

Owner of Natalie's Box, NataliesBox.com

WEEKLY LINKS

WEEKLY LINKS

tools for creatives | useful weekly link from nataliesbox.com

Hello again, beautiful friends!

It’s another end of the week for us all and I think it’s time to take a break from all the hustle and bustle of life.

This week even though crazy busy, I still managed to read and get inspired by some wonderful online resources and I would like to share them with you today. Enjoy!

  1. I absolutely love the LATER app that let’s me schedule not only my instagram photos but also allows me to write my captions then and there.
  2. For those of you who often struggle to find a catchy headline for each of your blog posts, this Headline Analyzer website has helped me a lot with my own blog but also my client’s SEO projects.
  3. I’m really into learning ALL the ins and outs of Adobe Illustrator and this has been my goal since January so if you are a newbie trying to brake into the design industry, I found 100 Adobe Illustrator tutorials for you (… and me hihi)
  4. And just to brag a little: I am in awe every time I look at my friend’s photography work. She posts most of her work on her personal photo blog and I’m not only jealous of her talent, but I recently found myself playing with my old Nikon camera trying to imitate her work. Silly, isn’t it? :)))

Have a blessed weekend everyone, talk soon!

3 UGLY TRUTHS ABOUT BECOMING A FREELANCE DESIGNER

3 UGLY TRUTHS ABOUT BECOMING A FREELANCE DESIGNER

When I first decided to become a freelancer, I had big dreams about what it would be like, how I would work on my projects, how I would organize my time and work flow. At the time, I worked a 9-5 job that didn’t fulfill me creatively in the slightest, so the thought of being paid to design and do what I love filled me with SO much joy.

I followed lots of design bloggers for at least 2 years and I was always in awe of the pretty moodboards they had created, the beautiful Instagram profiles they had curated, and the wonderful testimonials from wonderful clients about how wonderful the design experience was.

I know there are lot of people in my community who want to quit their jobs and become freelance designers (or start other kinds of businesses), so I wanted to take the opportunity today to share a few truths with you.

Before we start, I want you to know:

I absolutely LOVE what I do and most importantly the path I chose for myself – professionally speaking. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Starting my brand & web design business has been one of the biggest adventures of my life. My business allows me to live the life I want: a life of financial freedom, travel freedom, it also allows me to spend quality time with my daughter, and all-round independence, and for that I view my business as a real BLESSING. I truly feel thankful and appreciative of everything I do right now.

But, even though there are hundreds of great things about being a freelancer, and even running your online business, there are just a few ugly truths that no one ever really talks about – so I am going to try my best to break them down for you.

1. FIRST YEAR OF BUSINESS? 

You’re going to get a few nightmare clients.

 

As a newbie, your first year of business will be highly experimental. You probably won’t understand how to legally protect your business, how to onboard clients, how to handle tricky client situations, or how your design process should go from start to finish.

Spotting a bad client early on is key to keeping both your sanity and a sustainable business. But how do you know what they will be like as a client before you start working with them?

Because of your lack of experience, you’re going to make mistakes that will make some clients mad. Or, you’re going to take on clients you shouldn’t have because you weren’t aware of the warning signs.

Trust your instincts. In my experience, a client who is difficult or frustrating to deal with during the initial discussions and pre-contract phase, is not suddenly going to turn into the perfect client once you start working with them.

The reason I’m bringing this up today is make sure you’re as prepared as you can be for nightmare clients. If you’re aware and you prepare beforehand for bad client situations, you’ll reduce the chance of them happening when you start freelancing full-time, and you’ll be able to handle these situations well if they do happen!

2. WEB DESIGN SKILLS? NOT SO MUCH.

You’ll spend most of your time doing business maintenance.

 

Your days will most likely look like this: 3 hours designing, 5 hours business maintenance.

For your business to grow and run smoothly, you can’t just design for your clients. You need to manage your inbox on a daily basis (YES – daily!), follow up with clients, be active on social media, do your bookkeeping, and so much more. To a new designer it can seem overwhelming, but trust me it’s not. If you can get yourself motivated enough to keep a daily and a weekly task management system, you will soon realize, you can do this!

3. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?

Running your own business isn’t for everyone.

 

A lot of people dream of starting their own business but many fail because they didn’t realize how much self-motivation and self-discipline you need to make a success of it.

You are out on your own when you start your home/online business. That means you don’t get to work with a team of employees who are all vested in making the company successful. You’re the one who’s responsible for making your business successful. You don’t get to work together with a large team of people to take the company to the next level. It’s all on you. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to get up in the morning, to build your portfolio, to work on your own instead of meeting your friend for coffee then try and harness these qualities more before quitting your day job.

If you have a flexible schedule, it’s easy to slip into a lazy schedule and slack off sometimes. Family and friends who deeply understand the importance of your work (despite your apparent flexible schedule) are absolutely vital as well.

If you’re in the business planning phase, you’re probably feeling pretty happy, dreamy and determined right now. And that’s a great thing! In fact, if you don’t feel that way then starting a business probably isn’t the right thing for you.

I’m not telling you these ugly truths to discourage you from becoming a freelance designer, and I’m certainly not doing it to burst the dreamy bubble you’re in.

THERE IS MORE!

There are two things I want you to go away with and also do after reading this article:

1. Take another look at the 3 ugly truths I listed above and ask yourself if you’re prepared for them. Preparation is the key to a successful start.

2. Take out a pen and paper and write down three reasons why you want to become a freelance designer, and three things a freelance lifestyle will you allow you to do that a 9-5 job wouldn’t.

Once you’ve written those things out, I want you to stick them up somewhere you can see them as you work on your business each day.

As time goes by and you encounter bad clients that make you want to quit freelancing, slow stages that make you doubt yourself, and times when you just don’t feel cut out to be your own boss, I want you to look at those notes and remember why you’re doing this.

There will be tough times. But as long as you remember why you chose this life and how it blesses you, you’ll be able to work through anything.

Natalie xo

PS. If you can think of one ugly truth + one beautiful truth about freelancing that you think newbies should know, leave a comment and tell me! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

WEEKLY LINKS

WEEKLY LINKS

tools for creatives | useful weekly link from nataliesbox.com

I cannot believe it’s already Thursday!

You know that feeling when you’ve got too many things to handle and so you try to do it all at once but you don’t actually get anything done? Yea, that’s me. One thing at a time. But hey! I’m back at it and feeling pretty good about everything I checked off my list this week. This week has been crazy but after finishing up some projects the craziness is slowly dying down and now it’s almost weekend time!

In the meantime I thought I’d leave you with some links to check out. →

  1. I love Gilger’s new studio space that they just completed.
  2. Cory posted some great videos on learning mobile photography.
  3. Jen wrote a great post on how to write a successful project proposal.
  4. The IKEA catalog for 2016 has me wanting to turn my wallet upside down and say, “take all my money!”

 

I hope you don’t mind, I’ll be sharing a few weekend photo posts here and there. 🙂