Are you ready to share your experience of taking care of someone? Have you been thinking about starting your own caregiving blog? Here’s how to do it!
The right way to start a blog
Most people who want to start a blog are thinking of more than just sharing their words — they have a vision for what their site is going to look like. For full control over your blog, you’ll want to create your own website.
Pick a name and get a URL
The first step is to choose a name for your blog and purchase the domain. You’ll probably need to come up with a few ideas before you can find one that hasn’t already been taken.
You want something unique so when people search for the name of your blog it’ll come up. That’s one of the problems with being “The Caregiver Space.” Sure, it’s descriptive — we’re a space for caregivers — but the terms are so generic it’s hard for search engines to understand if people are looking for us or something related. Plus, there are lots of other things that use the term “caregiving.”
Don’t buy your domain yet! Many hosting providers will include a free domain name when you sign up for hosting.
Sign up for website hosting
Choosing a good host is really important if you’re a huge blog with lots of traffic, but when you’re just starting out it doesn’t make a huge difference. I’ve used a couple different hosting platforms over the past few years and they all have their pros and cons.
Right now I have The Caregiver Space and all of my other sites (and the ones I build for freelance clients) on Siteground. They have flexible hosting plans, good support, and a reasonably user-friendly interface. And it all comes at a good price.
Plans with Bluehost start out really inexpensively, but their support is awful. GoDaddy lures you with cheap prices and discounts, but prices skyrocket when you renew and everything auto-renews by default.
Choose a blogging platform
There are a ton of blogging platforms out there, but the most popular one — by far — is WordPress. It’s incredibly flexible. You can use a theme right out of the box or you can build something completely custom. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, which also makes it a great way to learn how to build and maintain your own websites one baby step at a time.
Popular sites powered by WordPress include the New York Times. Nearly 1 in 3 websites are built using WordPress, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Because WordPress is so popular, there are themes and plugins for just about every look and functionality you could want. When you don’t have a full-time tech staff to custom code things and maintain it all, that’s really important.
If your site is hosted with Siteground, you can install WordPress with one click and they’ll walk you through the setup.
Pick a theme
A theme is what controls the look of your WordPress site. You can use the default WordPress theme, use one of the thousands of themes available, or build your own. Themes are easy to install and you can switch between them, too. If you have a simple blog, switching themes is pretty seamless.
Here at The Caregiver Space we use a WordPress theme called Divi. We love it because it has a fantastic drag-and-drop builder, which saves me a ton of time. The less time I spend coding, the more time I can spend on…everything else. The more I have to customize the code, the more there is for me to maintain.
One of the things I love about Divi is that it doesn’t just come with one template, it comes with hundreds. There’s a huge user community that swaps other custom layouts and we help each other trouble shoot bugs or come up with new ways to customize our sites. It’s easy to take a template or layout from another Divi site and customize it to your needs.
Before Divi, we used another theme by the same developer team: Extra. Extra has a fantastic magazine layout that looks great the moment you install it, without any customization. We wanted to customize the look more and at the time were using a bunch of plugins to add in our own private social network for people providing support to friends and family, so we switched to Divi because it was more robust.
If you aren’t creating something really complicated, Extra is a great option. I miss some of the features it had, like beautiful pages for every author and category and a timeline of all posts.
Once you’ve picked a domain name, a host, and a theme, you’re all set. All you need to do is add your own content to the site, so start writing!
Introduce yourself, write your first posts, and add pictures.
The easy way to start a blog
If you want to blog, but don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up your own website, you have other options. These won’t give you your own domain, but they make it really simple to start. You just sign up for an account and start writing!
I know Tumblr isn’t a hip choice for blogging, but it’s the easiest! You can sign up and set up a blog on your phone. The interface is intuitive, the website is fast, and it’s all free. You can even buy your own domain and set it up so your posts show up at yoursite.com instead of yoursite.tumblr.com.
If Tumblr is too 2007 for you, Medium is the way to go. It’s not as simple as Tumblr (ie. you can’t set up your blog and write your first post while in line at the pharmacy) but they make it easy to create a really beautiful blog. You can also purchase your own domain and use Medium as your blogging platform.
Medium has a huge audience that you can theoretically tap into. However, their audience tends to not identify as caregivers (or they’re talking about parenting, growing weed, co-dependence, or fetishes) so it can be tricky to find the community you’re looking for.
If you want to use WordPress, you can sign up for a hosted blog on WordPress.com. This makes it super simple to get started, but there are limits on what you can do without moving to a self-hosted version of WordPress.
The easiest way to blog about caregiving
What’s your motivation for starting a blog about your experience supporting a loved one?
Is it to share your experiences to save other people from having to learn the hard way? To find other people who really get it? To let it out in a place where you can be really open and honest?
The easiest way to accomplish those goals is to blog on The Caregiver Space.
We have the infrastructure, we have the community, and we make it easy for you. Starting your own blog means setting it up and finding an audience, otherwise you’re just shouting into the void. Caregiving is lonely enough, you don’t need something to make you feel more isolated.
Reach out and connect with other caregivers today. Our contact form walks you through submitting your post.
As Director, Cori develops our comprehensive global communications and development strategy. She’s constantly tweaking our services based on data-driven marketing metrics and feedback from caregivers. She works to grow our community and build the reputation of The Caregiver Space by amplifying the message on social media, cultivating relationships with experts, creating organizational partnerships, and earning media coverage. She’s an active member of the community and regularly creates resources for Caregivers.
Cori joined The Caregiver Space after a decade of serving as a communications consultant for a number of nonprofit organizations and corporations furthering sustainable energy and urban planning solutions.
Cori has an MA in Corporate Communications from Baruch College at CUNY and a BA in Media Studies from Eugene Lang College at the New School University. She divides her time between Brooklyn and Toronto.