My friend and I are exercise-mad and any excuse for a bike ride or trip to the gym is taken advantage of. It was this that motivated my friend to undertake a long cycle ride in aid of her favourite charity and, considering our competitive spirits, she wants to make as much money as she can for them. She has set up a ‘Just Giving’ page but wasn’t sure about how to get more attention to her cause, outside of the usual Facebook mention.
While I was scanning the internet I found a lot of good ideas, and approached my friend about starting a blog. If we have our own website, we can not only educate people about the charity and what it does, but also follow my friend’s adventure when the time comes.
I looked at web builders such as Wix.com or GoDaddy but they will charge a fee. There are actually so many options that it left my head spinning, but I decided to branch out for the basic searches of ‘blogging’ and luckily, having searched for ‘How to Start a Blog’, I found a site called NeilPatel.com who, rather than forcing his sales pitches on me, shared his advice on how to start a blog/website.
*Sandra and I went about planning our strategy (with the help of Neil’s advice, of course)!
First, we needed a domain name and a host company so that our blog could become viewable on the internet. A domain name needs to be relevant to the pages we are going to create and reflect the cause *Sandra is supporting. We can use a free hosting company which will only cost us money if we want to pay for plugins or themes to make the site more attractive. We have to consider though, that we would be more restricted with content and the host company would ‘own’ our website. Also, our domain name would have the host name included in it (e.g. charitysupport.hostname.com).
If we want a more professional looking website, with a greater choice of ‘free’ options available to us, then we will have to pay a monthly fee to a self-hosting provider. This amount is very low (like the cost of a couple of Starbucks coffees per month) so definitely worth thinking about. Our domain name would then be simplified (e.g. ‘charitysupport.com’) and we would own the site instead of ‘renting it’ from the host company.
We will also need to speak to the charity concerned about what content they will permit us to put into our blog (photos etc.) in case anything has copyright or other restrictions, and we can talk to them about including a permalink from our blog direct to their website, for our readers to learn even more about the charity. A ‘permalink’ is a link we would include on our blog for which the company concerned would pay us a one-off commission. It would stay on our blog for the duration. We can also include a link to the Just Giving page so that our readers can donate to the cause.
Once we have the name and host organised, we can start with the fun part of designing the website. Choosing themes and plugins to make the site more attractive, and posting pictures and information which will tell our readers exactly why *Sandra is tackling the challenge and what the money raised will go towards. If we need help with our project at any time, Neil has offered to give us a hand and JustGiving have been brilliant as well and even sent a small how to guide as well.
*Sandra is a name created to protect identity.