Bramble Business Series: How to set up a WordPress Blog

This is the last installment of our basic Bramble Business Series.  If you’d like me to blog about other business subjects (anything!), post a comment. Now that Lily is at home most days, I’m going to have even more time to write those meaty business blogs =)

We’re ending this basic series by explaining something that has become an integral part of a successful online presence: a blog. Blogging is one of the most important parts of creating and maintaining your business presence online. This tutorial will help you create a platform where you can develop your brand, interact with customers and hopefully sell more products. In case you missed it, the other posts in this series include how to set up Twitter, Facebook and Etsy business accounts.

You guessed it — we host Soap Queen on WordPress!

A blog is a an informational website that typically focuses on a particular niche (such as soaping, crafting, fashion, gardening or just about anything else). Blogs are a solid way to reach others in your community to interact, share experiences, learn from each other and even meet. We chose WordPress in particular because it allowed us to customize everything, from the look and feel of the blog to specific features in the commenting system. WordPress also has superior SEO prowess (search engine optimization), which means your blog will show up in more search results.  Another popular blog-hosting platform is Blogger, but for the purpose of this tutorial we’re going to walk you through creating a WordPress. If you are torn between the two, this blog post goes into more detail about the differences of the two blogging platforms.

ONE: To set up your WordPress blog, click here. Once you’ve started this set-up, it will walk you through the process of creating your blog and you can even host your URL on WordPress. (For advanced users: If you are interested in hosting your very own website, I would suggest checking hosting services like Network Solutions or DreamHost. The advantage to this is that you can code your own website from the ground up, which allows for maximum customization.)

TWO:  Just like signing up for any other social media service, follow the site’s guided directions to create a basic blog. You will be able to change the .wordpress.com address and substitute it with your URL at a later point if you choose. Once you’ve filled out the form, you will need to click on the activation e-mail that is sent to your inbox. Be sure to check your junk and spam mail folders for the email if it hasn’t arrived within 24 hours.

 FOUR: Once you have activated your account, WordPress will take you step-by-step to help you customize your overall layout and color scheme.

FIVE: Once you’ve completed the setup, you are ready to start posting. To access your blog and the dashboard at any time, type out the URL: yourblognamehere.wordpress.com/wp-admin. This will get you into the back-end of your blog so you can make changes to the text of your blog, customize the skin (look and theme) and respond to comments.

SIX: If you have already purchased a domain name (URL), you can actually combine your WordPress blog and that URL together. To learn more about mapping (syncing) an existing domain name,  click here. If you choose to go with a free thisisyourblogname.wordpress.com, you are done! You are ready to share your tutorials, products, and ideas with the whole world.

 What Should I Blog About?

  • A blog is a website or web page where people share their opinions, link to other sites, give tutorials, etc… on a regular basis. It is up to you what you blog about, but in order to make your blog successful and readable, I suggest sticking to the focus of your business. When I created Soap Queen, I knew I was going to talk about soap, but I also knew I’d be focusing on personal (family), cooking, other hobbies (sewing), business advice and of course, tutorials on lip balms, fizzies and more toiletries. Clearly, the main focus of Soap Queen is to feature projects and tutorials using Bramble Berry’s products but since a blog is a way to connect with your potential customers and make new friends, including behind-the-scenes, and personal posts is a fantastic way to connect with others.
  • There are several different types of posts you can publish. They can be on any topic related to your business such as tutorials, recipes, business posts, interviews, contests, and more. For example posts, check out the Soap Queen Blog archive here. Lucky Break Consulting has a fantastic (fantastic!!) post on 50 blogging ideas if you’re having trouble figuring out what to blog about.

The sidebar to the left of the Soap Queen blog guides readers to different categories of posts. We cover a wide range of topics that fall under the general umbrella of creating bath & body products. 

  • Just like Twitter, consider the following rule when posting on your blog: no religion, no politics, no sex. This will help you appeal to the widest range of recipients and not alienate potential customers
  • Blog about what you do best — whatever your passion is! Share your success stories, your projects, whatever you love to make and more. Engage other bloggers by commenting on their blog posts. One great way to organize all the soapy blogs you read is through BlogLovin’ — an RSS reader. This website helps aggregate a ‘feed’ from all your favorite blogs so you can quickly see new posts from your favorite blog all in one place.

You’re ready to start blogging! If you have your own blog, what tips do you have for new bloggers? And, if you know what you’d like for an Advanced Business series on this blog, let me know! I’m all ears… (or eyes).

33 Responses to “Bramble Business Series: How to set up a WordPress Blog”

  1. Lauren says:

    This is EXACTLY what I have been doing allllll day! lol

  2. Coral says:

    I love this series you are doing. As I have a fairly new Word Press blog and fairly new soaping business it is simply wonderful to see that you are using the same platform so beautifully. I also realy approximate the list of post types, I felt rather scattered in this regard when I started and think something clicked when I read that list that will help me tidy it up. As always your an inspiration. Thank you!

    • Good morning, Coral!

      We are excited to hear that you’ve already started your blog and can’t wait to read it. It can be kind of intimidating at first, but we are totally here to help you out with any questions that you may have! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  3. Nikki says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. Creating a blog has been on my mind for some time. However, I have zero blogging skills and had no clue where to begin. This is incredibly helpful!

    As always, you rock!

  4. JulieC says:

    I love blogging its another creative outlet for me. If I can do it anyone can Im almost an idiot when it comes to computer stuff and even at my basic skills I can figure it out

  5. Michele says:

    What have you found to be the easiest way to keep up with supplies,their usage and inventory on hand, as well as inventory sold? I feel overwhelmed by all of this sometimes and I’m thinking there has to be an easier way.I’ve tried several ways. I also need a cohesive way to track and combine Etsy,Paypal and market sales etc. Currently I just combine the sales from all three sources when I need to-is there a better way?

    I am really working hard to get organized here.

    • There is a lot of helpful computer software out there to help with all of those things! You might want to start by looking into QuickBooks and see if that sounds like what you’re looking for, and go from there. You can also consult with a local accountant to see if you can solicit any advice from them to figure out a routine that is comfortable for you!

      -Kristen with Bramble Berry

  6. Karen says:

    Michele,
    I have been very happy with Soapmaker (Pro), software that helps me organize and manage many of the business aspects of soapmaking. There is, of course, a learning curve involved but I have found it to be very intuitive and easy to use and am so glad I took the time to figure it out because now it does many tasks for me that would otherwise confound me. :)

    Anne-Marie, I am so grateful for your business posts, as you are a help and inspiration to so many of us! I’ve been looking into registering a domain but am utterly confused by whom to choose or even what criteria to look for… who do you work with? Do you think a WP blog (with links to FB, Twitter, Etsy shop, etc.) is sufficient for a small business or should register a domain?

    Like many of us, I know about crafting but less so about business.

    Thanks very much.

    • Thanks for the advice RE: Soapmaker Pro! And regarding domain names, deciding whether to purchase one is up to you and where you see your company going. A domain name has a few benefits, not the least of which is length – getting rid of the additional tag that most free websites attach to your website (ex: http://www.yourblog.wordpress.com vs. http://www.yourblog.com) frees up that much more space on promotional material like business cards. Additionally, registered domain names convey a bit more of a professional edge. And typically you can register an email account with your domain name as well, which can also contribute to an overall more professional appearance. Typically, domain names aren’t a terribly expensive investment, so it might be worth it to purchase even if you haven’t decided whether or not to use it yet. I hope this helps! =)

      Kristen with Bramble Berry

  7. Leanna H says:

    What is the WordPress theme this blog uses? I was browsing styles for my own blog but they don’t look pretty or easy to navigate. Thanks :)

    • Hi Leanna!

      The theme for the Soap Queen blog was one that we actually had commissioned just for us. You can find lots of different paid (and free) themes on WordPress as well as commissioning others to make ones for you! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  8. Heather says:

    Thank you for this and the other BB’s Business series post. I used all great post for kicking off my Word press blog, Etsy store, and Facebook page. I already had a website and domaine name purchased for several years, but I used your info to get the rest up and running. I’ve mentioned BB a couple of times in my blog. http://evelynrosesoaps.wordpress.com/

    I have been unsuccessful in adding any pics to your FB page(in the post by other’s section where you can “show and tell” products you make using BB’s ingredients), but I am thankful for these Business series post showing how easy it is to increase your online presence.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Heather!
      This truly made me smile. We are so happy to give small business owners resources and knowledge for success. So glad these posts were helpful for you! When you get a chance, definitely share some of your soapy creations with us! We would love to see them :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

      • Heather says:

        Hi Amanda,
        I’ve tried on several occasions to add my pics on your facebook page, but they never show up. I would love to share them too, but it looks like anyone with a facebook page set up after 4/2013 has to be “allowed” to comment on your page. Accounts set up before then are grandfathered in and are able to make comments without being “allowed”. I did some research on why I could not make a comment and post pics, and here is a link to the article I found about this problem. http://www.newincite.com/facebook/your-facebook-company-page-how-to-show-posts-by-others/

        I’ve tried messaging facebook directly about this, but I’ve never heard back from them.

        I’m really proud of the soapy creations I made using your products(and want to show them to you guys), and I sold out of all of them in less than a month. :)

        Thanks!
        Heather
        Evelyn Rose Soaps

        • Amanda says:

          Hi Heather!

          Thanks for the link. We want you to be able to post your photos on your page. I want to see them. =) I read the page you sent me but it didn’t seem to address the issue you’re having. Is it possibly another link? You’re the first person to mention this to us and I was unable to find any additional documentation on the issue so I’m curious about what you’ve found to help illuminate the mystery. You can always email me your soaps and I can post them for you. We’ve done that in the past. I also found this tutorial on how to post photos to pages while I was Googling.

          https://www.facebook.com/help/130952846982255

          Is it possible you’re trying to post from your business account? That sometimes gives people trouble instead of posting from their persona account? Just some ideas because we want to see your stuff =)

          Thanks for alerting us of this issue, it was something I was unaware of! I have begun to research why this might be happening to you. Currently, we are allowing all users who have “liked” our page to post. I will continue to look into this, and hopefully reach a resolution soon.

          So happy to hear that your soaps are selling, that’s always such a good feeling! Congrats! :)

          -Amanda with Bramble Berry

          • Heather says:

            Hi Amanda!

            Sorry it took me so long to respond…it’s crazy around here filling Christmas orders, but that’s the kind of crazy I like ’cause it means I’m busy. :)

            I am trying to post from my business facebook account, and I do have BB as one of the companies I “liked” with my business facebook page. I don’t have a personal Facebook page, but my hubby does, so maybe I will try posting from his facebook page and see what happens. I’ll let you know.

            Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

            Heather

  9. Apex says:

    You have given very clear instruction with image for setup WordPress blog. I will try to setup.

  10. Thank you for sharing these blogs and information they are very helpful for us as we continue to find new ways to grow our business.

  11. it’s really nice and meanful. it’s really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information.

  12. Karly says:

    Hello, I have a couple questions, please:) 1) Can you add paypal and a store to a wordpress blog? 2) Do you know if (in Canada) the same tax rules and regulations apply if you sell soap and give all the profits to a charity as if you were a small business? Would you need to register as a business? Do you have any advice/direction for a charity soap store? Thank you!

  13. Hey,
    Brilliant Article Anne-Marie Faiola
    Detailed and interesting, thank you so much for posting this!
    I appreciate how you’ve taken the time to break down each step, and even add in screengrabs, to really illustrate your point. Sometimes things can be all text and I, for one, get a bit lost! I’ll definitely refer to this when I write blog.
    Thanks Again…

  14. Lark says:

    Great Post! Very useful tips that I will implement ASAP

  15. Jerri says:

    Hello,
    I’ve started a blog but I feel like I say the same thing about each of my posts. Any tips to help a non-writer become successful with a blog? I also was wondering how do you get people to visit your blog? I’ve found a lot of your post on your various sites helpful but I still feel lost.

    Thank you in advance.
    Jerri

    • Kelsey says:

      Hi Jerri!

      There are a lot of great tips out there to get more traffic on your blog. Consistency is important. Having frequent posts with the same writing style helps a lot.

      Having pictures and links in your blog posts helps as well. That way, people can find out more information through your site.

      Also, a variety of posts help! We have several different categories of posts on this blog, including tutorials, business tips and behind the scenes.

      For more tips, you may try searching online. Talking to other bloggers is a great way to get information!

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

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