A Bucket List Life

#1. Set Up a Web Blog

Mar
13

Well, here it goes. I am letting the world in on my life. Easy now, as I have no intentions of sharing every personal detail of my daily activities. I cringe at the notion that there may be some people out there who will refresh this page every hour to get the latest scoop on what I am having for lunch followed by my dinner plans.

I am sharing my bucket list with the world and how I am able, hopefully, to achieve this list one by one. Life is short. One of the few certainties that each individual has is limited time to live life to its fullest. So, this will be my way of sharing how each of us can have some fun with our limited time.

I have always wanted to do this, start a blog that is. The creative freedom that each of us has with the internet at our disposal has intrigued me since my first stroke of a keyboard at a desktop computer. So, welcome to my little portion of the world! How is it that I was able to accomplish this first bucket list item?

What is a Blog?

The first point that needs to be discussed is a general definition of what a blog is. Believe me when I say this, not many people understand the overall scope of blogging! Truth is, I did not have a true appreciation for it either. A blog is a personal web page or website that is regularly updated by an individual or a small group of people. Blogs are usually written in an informal manner. The “freshest” updates are always at the front, or top if you will, of the page.

What are my blog options?

There is a wide assortment of free options available for bloggers to choose from to post their material. Here are a few of the ones that I considered:

Owned by Google, Blogger was the first choice I considered. While I loved it’s simplicity and how quick I could get my blog started and online, I decided against using it for a couple reasons. Most importantly for me was that I would not have a custom domain name. The lack of theme options, coupled with the creative constraints that I would have steered me in another direction.

I also considered Weebly, which advertises and is reviewed as being a free service with some premium options available for a cost. While I knew going in that the chances of my achieving this first bucket list item for free from the start were small, I was open minded to paying a fee. Once I dug in a little deeper, I steered away from Weebly due to some of the costs, lack of themes, and limited plugins.

These are just a couple of the options I considered. Truth be told, I spent untold hours researching all the available options I could lay my eyes on. I looked at Tumblr, and decided against it quickly seeing how it did not offer a domain name and posts are typically much less than 1,000 words and geared more towards meme’s and gifs. Ultimately, I was ok with paying for a service that would offer me a domain name and hosting service. It’s my life I am putting out there after all!

And the Winner is WordPress!

WordPress takes the cake when it comes to personalization. Close to 77 million blogs are on the web currently using the WordPress platform. For me, the key to WordPress is it’s plugins and themes. These two features combined have given me the creative license to personalize my blog as I see fit.

I should break it down a little simpler. The themes allow the user to have a layout that is structured. The plugins offer functions which enhance my website experience, and they are practical. So, I decided on WordPress.

If all I wanted was a blog, I could have gone many numerous other paths, as I hinted at in previous paragraphs. I wanted my own domain name, my little piece of the web. Additionally, I wanted as much freedom as possible to design my site and personalize it to my liking. This is where I will take you on a little tour of sorts through the WordPress plugins world followed by an overview of choosing a theme from themeforest.net. First, however, comes the important decision of choosing a host.

Yes, hosting requires some money. I was delighted with how inexpensive this looked to be once I started investigating the available options. My needs are not the same as Amazon (no kidding!) yet I wanted to have some level of peace of mind knowing my site would be hosted safely and not prone to excessive downtime.

Type into Google search “cheap wordpress hosting companies” and you will see for yourself how many options are available! Where do I begin? This wasn’t so difficult after all. My needs are simple, I am not taking on Target or Wal Mart, so I narrowed down my choices based on my simple needs. Once I found an inexpensive host which also provided a domain name service and solid uptime percentages, I took the plunge. The time was drawing near!

This plugin business had me confused and scared at the beginning. Just the word plugin is scary in and of itself! I was overreacting, which is one of my character flaws. Plugins are my friend as they help me with the functionality of my site as well as provide me with a way to add a host of new features. The best part about these is that they are free!

I will not bore any of my readers with all the technical jargon that I have come to understand as it relates to plugins. You will notice that I have steered away from it to the best of my ability to this point, like when I was reviewing options for blogs and hosting services. I will share this, once I got my WordPress downloaded (which was a snap since my hosting service had a 1-click installation!) I was amazed at how many tutorials are available online to assist with the plugins. Trust me, if I can navigate them, so can you!

Make My Blog Look Good

When it came time for me to decide on a theme for my site, I looked through the WordPress offerings. I have a close friend who suggested themeforest.net, so I gave it a look. Oh my gosh! There was over 8,800 themes to choose from! Now, bear in mind that these are not free. I was ok with this, and still am. I wanted a unique layout to my site, something that was different from all the free theme options that I saw. For people like me, who are only interested in personal blogging, themeforest.net has numerous themes specifically for this purpose.

I should summarize how this blog came to life, as I have a tendency to get excited and go off on tangents. I am passionate about writing, as I am fulfilling my bucket list! This all started with an idea, to create my own blog. I then needed to decide on which platform to use, and came to love WordPress. Next up was a hosting service, and I found one that allowed me to install WordPress in 1-click (most hosting service providers offer this easy installation with WordPress nowadays). The hosting service also provided me with a domain name service, and my domain name was available, www.abucketlistlife.com, where you are now! I played around with the plugins I wanted and needed, and found a theme at themeforest.net.

I can’t express in words just how much fun setting up my site has been. What I originally thought was going to be a grind has turned out to be one of the funnest exercises of my life. I have been challenged intellectually, been fearful, and walked through it to what you see today! I spent countless hours on Google search trying to decide if this blog idea was worth the time and stress. What happened? It has not required near the amount of time I expected and there has been very little stress! That’s the essence of my bucket list blog, don’t let fear hold you back from living life to its fullest!

Onto the next one

I am so happy you have spent the time you have with me on my site! Hopefully you are intrigued as to what is next. My bucket list includes a trip to Japan, taking dance lessons with friends (yes I have two left feet!), and engaging in a day of paintball. There is more, as I don’t want to let all my ideas out of the bag just yet. Hopefully you will bookmark my site and take on this bucket list with me! Better yet, may I inspire you to stop dreaming and start living!