So You Want To Start Your Own Blog…

So you want to start your own blog so that can let the world know how you really feel about whatever it is that you feel the world needs to hear?  Cool.  This is how you do it.

1.  What is your blog going to be about?  You need to figure out exactly what in the world will be the purpose of your blog.  That’s crucial in most instances.  Are you going to talk about social justice topics, arts/crafts/hobbies, fitness, money, celebrity gossip, music, ratchedness.  What exactly will be the purpose of your blog?  Take the Onyx Truth for instance, I created this site specifically for people to vent about whatever.  Granted most of the material on this site has been venting about systemic racism & the bullshit that comes from that, but still in it’s essence, it’s a place for me & others to vent about whatever.  That’s the purpose and I think I’ve succeeded in doing that for the most part.

2.  Pick a name for your site.  After you have decided upon what type of content you want to blog about, you then need to sit down and pick a name for your site.  There is no magic formula for coming up with a name although I do recommend that the name you pick for your blog be something rather simple & catchy.  Take the Onyx Truth, how did I come with this name?  No clue.  It just came to me as I playing with words trying to find something other than the word Black to put into the name.  So I was thinking of how can I say the word black without actually saying the word black and out of nowhere white Jesus told me call the site the Onyx Truth.  Being that the Onyx Truth is a site about people venting their feels on what they perceive to be truthful to a degree, the name Onyx Truth also sort of sounds like a play on the words Honest Truth.  So I liked it and ran with it.

3.  Buy the URL for your site.  Once you have picked a name for your blog, the very next thing you need to do immediately is to run over to a site like GoDaddy and see if the name for your site is available.  If it is, buy the name immediately even if you have no plans of turning the website name into an actual website anytime soon.  There are a variety of reasons for why you would want to do this.  First, you can immediately lock down the URL (uniform resource locator) to your site so that nobody else in the world can buy that specific domain name, although they could potentially buy a similar domain name that looks like yours (ie:  www.MyWebsite.com & www.MyWebsite.org…2 different sites but they domain names look identical).  Second, there are people in countries like China who are known for purchasing domain names with the explicit intent of selling you the domain name for hundreds if not thousands of dollars, especially if you are celebrity.  Imagine if you were Kim Kardashian before she became super famous and you quickly realized that you were on the verge of becoming super famous so you decide to buy the domain name www.KimKardashian.com only to discover some dude out in China somewhere also peeped game to how popular you were becoming years ago and decided to purchase the www.KimKardashian.com name for the price of like $20/yr with the intent of just holding on to it.  Now you (Kim Kardashian) have become this international superstar raking in millions of dollars a year and you decide that you need to own your own real estate on the internet via your domain name.  You attempt to buy www.KimKardashian.com to discover that this dude in China is offering that domain name for super low price of $10,000.  What you gonna do?  More than likely you are going to pay that Chinese dude that money.  Granted, this example is an extreme that will probably never happen to you but the principles can still be applied even at your level of “fame”.  For instance, you may come up with a bomb ass name for a website, tell a few of your raggedy friends the name, one of them might decide to purchase that domain name either to start the site before you or try to force you pay a higher price for the name.  Depending upon how bad you want that name, you might ending up paying that “ransom” fee.  So in the end, once you come up with a name, immediately go to a site like GoDaddy to see if that name is available and if it is, purchase the name immediately.

4.  Are you going to self-host or host?  When you are ready to begin the process of putting your blog site together, the next thing you need to figure out is are you going to self-host your website or use somebody else’s platform to host your website.  There are pros & cons to both, which I will discuss.

Self-host:  Self-host means you are paying for your own server space with a company such as Bluehost (whom I personally use).  What this means is, after you pay for your domain name (think of your domain name as mobile trailer you live in), you are now going to need a place to park your trailer so that you can get to living (server space).  Depending upon how long you want to park your trailer will depend upon the costs.  Bluehost charges as low as about $4/month to host your website on their servers (which isn’t bad, plus they offer a bunch online tools to help you with potential issues you may come across).  Basically, when you self-host a website, you own that website and you are free to do with it whatever the hell you want.  You just have to pay a company to host it on their servers so that the site can exist within the internet (unless you got enough money & expertise to setup your own servers, which I highly do not advise you doing).  Also, if you go the self-hosting route, you often times have to build your own website from scratch.  Seems scary, but not really.  The platform that the Onyx Truth is built on is called WordPress.org not .com.  Don’t get the two confused.  Wordpress.org is an open source software platform that you can use to build a website from scratch whether you know how to code or not.  I’m sure there are other platforms out there, I’m just most familiar with WordPress.org.  Plus since I use Bluehost to host my website, Bluehost actually makes it rather easy for me to setup a WordPress.org site so I can literally be up and running in about 20 minutes if I wanted to.  Another reason I recommend WordPress.org is if you plan to go the self-hosted route, WordPress.org presents virtually no limits (other than your imagination & ability to code) for how you may want your website to function & look.  If you do go the WordPress.org route, you can visit a site called ThemeForest where a world of thousands of options will come to life for you where you can make your website as beautiful or as ugly as you envision.

Pros: you own your site 100% & can do with it what you please at anytime, you are not restricted in terms of advertising on your site.

Cons:  you have to pay monthly or yearly fees (most charge yearly) to host your website on somebody’s servers, you may have to get somewhat computer/code savvy (just a little bit) depending upon exactly what you are trying to accomplish with your website.

Hosted:  The other method if you want to avoid all of that & possibly save some time & money is to go the hosted route.  Basically this means that some company out there has taken care of all of the hard work for you and all you have to do is pick a name, pick a basic template design they have for you and boom…your site can literally be up & running in like 5 minutes.  WordPress.com is a place you can go, which is very popular.  Blogger, owned by Google, is another popular blogging spot that does that just.   My very first blog some years ago was with them.  They allow for you to pick a name free of charge (but you don’t actually own the name), you pick from their range of themes and then 5 minutes later get to blogging.  Another platform is Tumblr which pretty much functions in the same way as Blogger except that Tumblr is like a combination of a blog & a social media site all wrapped into one where you can reshare stuff etc.  Another option is Facebook…yes Facebook.  You can either treat your personal profile like a blog or setup a fan page and treat it like a blog.  Essentially blogging is nothing more than you writing about a topic of your choosing…that’s it.  This isn’t rocket science.

Pros:  fast, free, you get a free domain name, doesn’t require any knowledge of coding at all.

Cons:  Your domain name isn’t actually a domain name you own.  The domain name is a subdomain name up under the free blog site’s domain name.  Ex:  Look at my Tumblr page.  You’ll notice in the URL that the name of my Tumblr page is www.OnyxTruth.Tumblr.com.  Tumblr.com is the actual domain name while the OnyxTruth portion is the subdomain.  Think of it as an apartment inside of an apartment complex.  Tumblr is the name of the apartment complex and OnyxTruth is my residence within the Tumblr apartment complex.  Another con is advertising.  Being that you are not paying the bills to host your free blog website on these companies servers, a lot of these companies often restrict how you can monetize your site via sidebar, top header ads etc.  Now there are ways around that, like for instance you post content somebody paid you to create, but if you want to put up traditional ads on the site either in content portion of the blog post or on the sidebar area, you might not be able to.  Another con to hosted is, you don’t own or control the site that your blog is setup on.  So if Facebook, Wordpres.com, Tumblr, Blogger etc decide that they want to delete your blog…well, there is nothing you can do about.  Your stuff will be gone.  They don’t even have to give you a reason for why they deleted it because when you signed up to use their free service, you agreed to play by their rules and somewhere in their official rules states that they can delete your shit if they feel like it.

So that’s basically all it takes for you to become a blogger.  It’s really not complicated.  The hardest thing about blogging is actually creating content on a consistent level.  Most people go into blogging thinking they’ll just drop a blog post or two and their site will be on & popping.  Nope, that’s not how any of this works.  You need to have the ability to create content at a rather consistent pace.  You don’t have to be the best writer in the world but you do need to be able to take your thoughts and put them on the screen in a meaningful way that can connect with somebody whom you will hope becomes a fan of your work that supports you as you grow, but if you rarely ever write shit, don’t expect people to check for your shit.  One way to combat this is to come up with a list of like 6 months worth of topics (1 topic a week) that you MIGHT want to discuss…key word being might because depending upon what your blog is about, what you think might be worth talking about in 6 months, people might not give a damn about in 6 months.  Me, I blog about shit in near-real time.  Basically, whatever the hell I see on social media that makes me look at people side eye is what I blog & podcast about for the most part.  That’s kind of my thing and it’s been working for me fine.

Will you become rich off blogging?  Probably not.  If you are going into blogging thinking you are going to be some type of blogger raking in thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year blogging…keep dreaming.  Chances are you won’t.  But chances are, you could possibly monetize your efforts to the point where your blog can pay for itself, especially if you go the self-hosted route.  Will you become famous?  Probably not.  Well, that depends on what your content is about, how good you present the content, whether people actually want to read your content and share it, do celebrities or other big name people know about your site/content, etc.  It’s a whole bunch of shit that goes into whether or not your blog will be popping to the point of you making a real name off of your content along with the possibility of making some money.  I wouldn’t get caught up in all of that.  I’d just stick to blogging about whatever the hell it is you want to talk about and keep it strictly on that.  If people fuck with you, they fuck with you.  If they don’t, they don’t.  It is what it is.  All you can do is put your content out there and let the people decide for themselves if they want to rock with you to help make you rich & famous.

Lastly and this is probably the most important component to blogging:  don’t blog to please your audience.  Blog to speak your mind as you see it whether people agree or not.  A lot of bloggers who start developing a following for their blogs tend to fall into the trap of blogging to please their audience so that they can get more shine to their site.  In a way that’s good, but in a way (more often that usual) it’s bad because you run the risk of not being true to yourself.  Take the Onyx Truth for instance, for the LONGEST people thought this was a site about being pro-black and discussing mostly nothing but issues surrounding black society society.  WRONG.  The content on this site just happened to be more pro-black in tone due to all of the bullshit that was constantly on the news & on social media as far as police brutality and racism are concerned, but the site was never pro-black for the sake of being pro-black.  Now it’s my fault for not properly conveying that, but whatever.  The point is, a lot of pro-black people started following my site & fan page under the belief that I would be supplying them with another perspective addressing the issues in society strictly from a pro-black slant.  When they discovered that I started talking about mulatto issues or how I would write about bullshit black men & women were doing, oh…my fan numbers & website subscribers would start to dip.  For a blogger looking to appease everyone reading their site, that would be enough to cause a person to freak out because they live for gaining followers.  Me, I don’t give a fuck if people read this site.  I never promoted the site, Google just found me and told you all I existed.  My purpose with this blog is talk to about shit that irritates me on occasion whether the irritation comes from white people, the cops, gay people, black people, whomever.  All y’all can get the business as far as I’m concerned.  And this is the way I prefer for it to be.  I could probably have a hundreds of thousands of followers by now if I strictly catered to the feels of black society by talking about racism, white supremacy & black economic empowerment all day, but the reality is…a lot of you niggas get on my damn nerves too just as much as these racist white people do.  So why should I neglect calling out black people’s bullshit?  I don’t.  But anyways, I say all of this to say, if you are starting a blog, be true to yourself regardless of how many followers you rack up.

Your favorite mulatto who isn’t interested in your feels.
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