How To Start An Architecture Blog
Since I am often asked how I started my website I thought I would share a step-by-step guide on how to setup an architecture blog. I have made a lot of mistakes over the years and have learned the hard way on how to start and operate a blog.
I would like you to avoid the same mistakes. If I could do it all over again this is exactly how I would go about it. That being said, this site opened doors for me that I never knew existed.
So if you are looking to get your name out there, rant about or compliment your local architecture or would like to potentially make some extra income then read on...
HOW TO SETUP AN ARCHITECTURE BLOG
I will be covering some very basic setup steps to begin with and I will also cover more advanced principles such as landing pages email lists. Depending on where you are at in the process you may want to skip sections.
Here is a quick summary of the tools I will be discussing for each part of building an architecture blog and ultimately a large audience.
Web Hosting and Domain Name
Product Landing Pages
1) Sign Up For A Web Host
A web host is simply a site server that has the ability to power your site and troubleshoot it whenever necessary. Without a web host, you cannot have a running website. There are free web hosting options out there, but these free options have a lot of reliability issues. It’s best to pay for a reliable web host company.
You can just start with the cheapest package possible and then add more server power as your traffic grows. Start with the basic Bluehost.com package at only $2.95 a month, ignore all the add-ons, and go from there.
Start with the basic Bluehost.com package at only $2.95 a month, ignore all the add-ons, and go from there.
2) Find a Domain Name
Bluehost provides a free domain name for one year to everybody who signs up. When selecting your domain name, here are some tips:
1. Choose a domain that is unique, fun, and easy to remember
2. Choose a name with a phrase or key word that is often searched for
Something like "New York Architecture" or "cool buildings"
3. Choose a domain name
Pick a domain that is completely unique or combines two words into one (fun fact: this is called a portmanteau) like Archinect, Architizer, ArchDaily, etc.
4. Choose a domain name that ends in .com for more credibility, followed by .org and .net. There are also unlimited options such as .blog or .arch.
Spend some time brainstorming a list of possible domain names and then go on Bluehost to see what is available.
Once you get on the site, click the basic hosting plan for only $2.95/month to get you to the next page where you can input your New FREE Domain name when you sign up with Bluehost.
Search to see what is available. If your domain name is not available, Bluehost will give you suggestions.
3) Hosting Options Package
After you’ve selected the basic package and found a free domain name that works, you’ll come across this portion of the sign up page with a whole bunch of different options. If you don’t want anybody knowing who owns your site, click "Domain Privacy Protection".
The Site Backup Pro for $1.99 a month may be a good idea because you never want to lose your work. But once you get your site up and running, there are free WordPress.org plug-ins that will backup your data for free.
Congratulations! You now own your very own website!
4) Install WordPress
WordPress is by far the most popular publishing platform on the web. WordPress is easy to set up, easy to use, and extremely customizable with endless amounts of free widgets and themes to choose from.
After you sign up with your web host, go back to Bluehost and click on “login” located at the top right of the screen to login to the control panel and check your email for the credential that you created.
Choose where you want to install WordPress, in most cases with a new website. It will just be the domain name you originally picked.
Choose your WordPress login credential.
Keep the box checked for “Automatically create a new database for this installation".
5) Choose A Professional Looking Theme
The Genesis Theme is one of the most popular WordPress themes out there. For a one time fee of $59.95 through StudioPress, Genesis will provide you a simple, sleek layout that is fully customizable.
The theme is also Search Engine Optimization friendly and loads faster than other designs due to its framework. Load speed and design are critical for all websites. Studies show that if a webpage doesn’t load within three seconds, the majority of users will click elsewhere.
Go Generic Themes
If you don’t want to pay money for a Genesis Theme, you can always go generic. There are thousands of great free themes to choose.
For more advanced architecture blogs here are a couple of my favorite tools:
If you are serious about making an income off of your architecture blog these are must-have resources.
1) Product Landing Pages
What is a landing page?
A landing page is simply a web page that contains usually a single product or service for sale. While you can build these yourself or pay someone else to do it, this can be very time consuming and/or expensive. A way around this is to use templates that are already tested and proven to be effective.
I use the LeadPages templates for all of my product and services.
I recommend everyone has at least one product or service to sell. This is a great way to increase your side income and help others. You can come up with a simple physical product to sell or a service such as rendering or some kind of consulting work.
You can see a couple of my products and services here:
You can start your LeadPages FREE trial here.
2) Email Lists
What is an email list?
By far the best way to interact with your audience is through email. While new social media and sharing platforms come and go we all still use email.
The most common way to get the email of someone who wants to hear from you is in the form of a newsletter. I am sure you have seen them on every website (including mine) that you can sign up for. This is called an opt-in.
Once someone opts-in to your email newsletter they are added to a list. This list needs to be managed by software that can easily keep track of the names and emails.
The best provider I have found for email list building is ConvertKit. It is not only simple to setup and use but extremely powerful.
As you become more sophisticated with your emails you can segment subscribers by likes, dislikes, clicks, and opens. By knowing what your audience wants gives you the best opportunity to help them, which can then translate into income.
How Do You Build An Audience?
Now that you have your website all setup how do actually get people to visit?
1. Create great content
The best tip I can give you is to simply produce great content on your architecture blog. Whether you are critiquing architecture, sharing your designs or whatever, it should be worth sharing. Over time, by producing helpful or entertaining content (hopefully both!) you will build a following.
2. Social media
Depending on whether you want to keep your site anonymous you can setup a social media accounts either using your real name or your site name.
Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn are good places to start. Also if you want to produce video content YouTube is obviously the place to go.
One note, be sure not to just spam your followers with your content. Share the work of others, helpful information, and interesting articles relevant to your particular site.
3. Guest post
Guest posting is the act of writing articles or news for other websites. I do this for ArchDaily, you can see some of my articles here:
This is a great way to get your name out there and leverage another site's existing audience.
That's it! So what are you waiting for?
I hope this has been helpful for setting up your new architecture blog!
If you have any questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org