How do I Spend Alone Time or “Date Myself”

Hello Readers, I am here today to talk about how I spend some alone time with myself. I wanted to give you a little peek inside my little bubble. So here we go.

When I take time to be myself it is usually because I want to take care of myself first. How can I be there for everyone else without being there for me. You have to live for yourself first because if you aren’t taking care of you everything else you touch won’t be the best version that it can be.

When I take time to be by myself I usually am reading a book that I have been trying to finish for a while, work on a project that I am crocheting, research my ancestry, research something that I want to learn about, or just watching something.

Taking care of yourself is vital for the rest of everything in your life.

Thank you for reading,

Irish Queen

Brain Dump

Hey, Readers, I apologize that I have not done one of these in quite sometime I have been really busy… that will be for another post on a different day.

Why Are Chakras So Important

What Are Chakras?

Too often, we start feeling overwhelmed with worry or stymied by a relationship conflict, or just life in general or in need of an energy boost. But the right class can leave us feeling clearer, lighter, and refreshed. Credit the stress-busting powers of a good workout? Sure. But the ancient yogis, and many teachers today, would also chalk this up to the unique way that yoga poses and breath work move blocked energy through the subtle body. According to yoga tradition, the subtle body is a part of you that you can’t see or touch—it’s where your energy flows, which is why it’s also referred to as the energy body. There are seven key points in the subtle body that are thought to be vortexes of energy, known as chakras. When energy becomes blocked in a chakra, it triggers physical, mental, or emotional imbalances that manifest in symptoms such as anxiety, lethargy, or poor digestion. With just a little bit of coaching, you can tap into the chakras as a potent way of harnessing and shifting your energy in the direction you want it to go.

Start by thinking of chakras as a blueprint for your own self-care, and your yoga practice as the architect that makes that blueprint a reality. The most direct way to use the chakras is to learn how each one is associated with an element in nature. As Alan Finger, founder of ISHTA Yoga, explains, the first five chakras are associated with the physical elements earth, water, fire, air, and ether (or space). The last two chakras are thought to connect us beyond the earthly realm, so they are associated with the elements of light and cosmic energy.

Once you learn the element that each chakra is associated with, you can start to suss out how that element feels in your body. And thinking about your body in these symbolic terms can help you access new stores of energy with the practices detailed in these pages. For example, the root chakra is associated with earth. When it’s in balance, we feel strong and grounded; when it’s out of balance, we may feel unrooted and insecure. Or take the pelvic chakra, which is associated with water. When it’s in balance, we feel fluid and like our creative juices are flowing. When it’s not, we might feel rigid, dry, or emotionally brittle, like a plant that hasn’t been watered enough.

In order to restore balance in your chakras, you must first tune in to how you’re feeling, then figure out which chakra to stimulate to counteract the imbalance. For example, if you’re feeling low in energy, you can do poses that target the navel chakra to rekindle your inner fire. If you’re feeling anxious and long to feel more grounded, choose poses for the earthy root chakra. Or if you seek more courage to speak your truth, the right poses can open and stimulate the throat chakra.

The effects of a chakra-based practice can have a tangible, empowering ripple effect on your life. Jasmine Tarkeshi, vinyasa teacher and cofounder of Laughing Lotus Yoga Center, says she’s been doing more root-chakra practices since becoming a new mom, and the effect is palpable. “If I’m feeling frenzied, I hold the poses longer to feel more grounded and present,” she says. “It informs the rest of my day to the point where maybe I’m not losing my keys so much or I’m not so busy or forgetful that I skip lunch. If I specifically use the poses medicinally rather than just haphazardly, I can really change my day.”

Each of the poses Tarkeshi recommends here is designed to address a corresponding chakra and its associated life issues. You can do the entire sequence, or focus on the pose or poses that speak to areas in your life that need attention. For a more restorative, meditative approach, first close your eyes while seated and envision the color associated with the chakra radiating from the chakra’s location, as you repeat the sound associated with it. And to help you focus and go deeper into each asana, try repeating the associated chakra sound while practicing.

Remember, the changes to the subtle body can’t be touched or measured as you would your heart rate or height. You have to trust your inner experience to feel them and to recognize their benefits. Claire Missingham, a London-based vinyasa flow yoga teacher, advises trying chakra-based poses for four weeks and keeping a journal of how you feel after each practice. Keep your notes simple, and write down any changes you feel in your energy, such as, “calmed me down” or “helped me communicate more clearly.” Keeping track this way just might help you see how tuning in to the chakras can help you shift more than just your physical state.

Muladhara (Root Chakra)

Element: Earth
Color: Red
Sound: Lam
Life theme: The Muladhara governs your family ties and feelings of survival, belonging, and guardedness. Your earliest memories are stored here, including whether or not your basic needs were met. When it is blocked or out of balance, you can become needy, have low self-esteem, or have self-destructive behaviors. When Muladhara is in balance, you feel strong and confident; you can stand up on your own two feet and take care of yourself.

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Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, creating a stable base. On an exhale, soften your knees, and release your tailbone as you engage your thighs. Draw the sole of your right foot to the inside of your left inner thigh or calf; continue dropping your tailbone and engaging the standing leg’s thigh to keep the stable alignment you had standing on both feet. Press through your left foot as you lift through the crown of your head. Hold for 5 breaths, and switch sides. Allow gravity to root you down, while noticing how the energy moves up your spine.

Svadhisthana (Sacral or Pelvic Chakra)

Element: Water
Color: Orange
Sound: Yam
Life theme: This chakra corresponds with your reproductive and sexual organs, and represents fluidity, creativity, and fertility. You can take a literal interpretation of this, or associate this chakra with whether or not you feel deserving of a pleasurable, abundant, creative life. When it’s out of balance, you can feel emotionally unstable, guilty, or hard on yourself. When Svadhisthana in balance, you feel creative, positive, and receptive to change—like the ocean and its tides, you’re in the flow.

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Deviasana (Goddess Pose)

Deviasana (Goddess Pose)

Step your feet wide, turn your toes out, and sink your hips far enough to bring each knee over its corresponding ankle. Place your hands on your thighs and draw your tailbone down as the pubis lifts. Breathe deeply and move side to side, rocking your pelvis back and forth. You can fold down and move your arms side to side between your feet. The point is to enjoy the movement. Feel free to sigh or make sounds. Hold for 8-10 breaths. By opening the hips, you draw focus to the reproductive organs; in swaying, you recognize life’s ebb and flow.

Manipura (Navel Chakra)

Element: Fire
Color: Yellow
Sound: Ram
Life theme: You’ve heard the expression “firing on all cylinders.” When the Manipura is in balance, you feel alive and have the self-esteem and confidence to take action and be productive. When it’s blocked, you lack courage, have low self-esteem, and feel stagnant and inert. By working on this chakra, you can awaken your true personal inner power and work through your fear of taking risks.

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Navasana (Boat Pose)

Navasana (Boat Pose)

Begin seated with your legs ahead of you. Hug your knees into your chest, and then grab behind your knees to help lift your feet off the floor and balance on your sitting bones. Lift your chest, and draw your shoulders down. Shift your weight forward to the front of your sitting bones as you draw in your navel, engaging your abdominals, and extend your arms forward and your legs up into Navasana. As you exhale, cross your arms at your chest, and lower your legs until they’re a few inches off the ground; inhale to rise back to Navasana. Repeat 5 times, and then lower to your back. Boat is an energizing pose that ignites your core muscles, creating power for transformation.

Anahata (Heart Chakra)

Element: Air
Color: Green
Sound: Yam
Life Theme: Awaken to the power of unconditional love within you through compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance. When the heart chakra is blocked, you become possessive and codependent, and may form dysfunctional relationships. You may also stay isolated for fear of rejection. When you stimulate the Anahata chakra, you can heal past wounds by reopening your heart, learn to love unconditionally, and form healthy relationships.

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Ustrasana (Camel Pose)


Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Come to your knees, and sit back on your heels. Join your hands at your heart center. Tuck your toes and rise to bring your hips over your knees, making sure knees and toes are hip-width apart. Place your palms on your lower back with the fingers pointing up and gently draw your sacrum down, as your front hip bones lift. Keep your chin in toward your chest, and lean back. Hug the shoulder blades toward each other. Stay here and breathe, or reach for your heels with your hands. The head is the last thing to release, if it’s comfortable. After a few breaths, bring your hands back to your sacrum and sit on your heels, returning your hands to prayer and bowing your head. Camel opens the heart center. Before you arch back, consider dedicating the posture to someone for whom you feel compassion.

Vishuddha (Throat Chakra)

Element: Ether
Color: Blue
Sound: Ham
Lift theme: When Vishuddha is blocked, you may feel like you can’t find your voice or your truth. You may also be overly talkative and not listen to others. When this chakra is open and stimulated, your voice moves through space to help you communicate your emotions in healthy ways. You also become better at listening to others and honoring their personal truths without judgment.

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Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand)

Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand)

Lie down with your shoulders supported on a folded blanket, head on the floor. Bend your knees, rock your hips up, lift your legs overhead, and then release your toes toward the floor beyond the crown of your head. Place your hands midback, and lift one leg at a time skyward. Allow your gaze to drop toward your heart, and hear the sound of your breath. Feel free to express yourself by joining the soles of the feet, or by lowering one leg at a time toward the floor. Hold for up to 2 minutes. To release, lower both feet to the floor above your head, release your hands to the floor, and lower yourself vertebra by vertebra. Freeing the neck and spine, and then turning the senses in toward your breath, allows you to connect with your own rhythm.

Anja (Third-Eye Chakra)

Element: Light
Color: Indigo
Sound: OM
Life theme: This chakra is associated with your intuition, or sixth sense, and governs how the rest of the chakras function. When Ajna is functioning well, you have insight, and you trust your inner wisdom to face life’s challenges and choices. When it’s blocked, you feel close-minded, too attached to logic, untrusting, and cynical.

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Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Working on the sixth chakra opens your mind to the bigger picture and different perspectives, and it helps you receive the wisdom that cannot be seen or heard by ordinary senses.

Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Come to a seat. Fold one heel in toward your groin, and then the other. If your knees aren’t lower than your hips, sit on a folded blanket. Cup your palms toward each other, touching opposite fingertips in Hakini Mudra. For 10 breaths, close your eyes, pose a question to yourself, and focus on the sound of your breath, placing the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you inhale, and relaxing it as you exhale. Release the backs of your hands to your knees, and see if you sense an answer. Stay here for up to 5 minutes. Hakini Mudra is known to increase the power of concentration, and in this pose you can easily access calm focus.

Sahasrara (Crown Chakra)

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Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Element: Cosmic Energy
Color: Violet or White
Sound: OM
Life theme: The crown chakra connects to beauty itself and the spiritual realm. It helps you to understand who you are beyond your physical self—that you are a spiritual being having a human experience. It is not located in the body but actually hovers above the crown of the head. When it’s closed, you think happiness can only come from the outside, and you suffer. Working on this chakra helps you to feel free in any situation.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Make sure you’re warm and comfortable, and lie down on your back. You can cover yourself with a blanket, cover your eyes with an eye pillow, or place a rolled-up blanket under your knees or head. Open your legs hip-width apart, and release your arms to your sides with your palms facing up. Take a deep breath and squeeze every part of your body tight, lifting your head, arms, and legs off the floor. Hold for a moment, and let everything go with a big exhale out of the mouth. Do this several times. Imagine a lotus flower at the crown of your head. With every inhale, imagine Divine light pouring in through the flower, and with every exhale, let go of anything that binds you to the past. Stay for 5–20 minutes, then slowly bring your awareness back to your breath, and move your fingers and toes to reconnect to your physical body without losing your connection to your infinite self.

Why Meditation Is Key…

I find that meditation is key because I find that helps me with my ADHD and my focus in addition to my medications. Even though my meditations still work quite well for me I find that meditation helps me center myself even more so than just taking my medication on its own.

Ways To Control Your Anger

As I said above this is why I use meditation and other methods to help control my anger and when I do get upset I tend to just go for a walk and try to come down before I do or say anything that would later regret. You just have to figure out what your triggers are and try not to let yourself get triggered by those things that usually do trigger you.

Responsibility

Early in my life my father taught me one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned and that lesson was not just on responsibility but on accountability as well and it goes further into accepting who you are. When you do something whether it’s good or bad own it. You need to be who you are don’t pretend to be somebody you are not. On who you are good things and bad things because that makes you who you are and be proud of yourself be proud of everything you do good or bad.

In Closing…

Thank you for being a continued reader and for those who have just joined in welcome to my blog and I hope that any questions you may have do not hesitate to let me know and I will make sure that I can answer them if not I will make sure I can find that answer for you.

Thank you,

Irish Queen

Moments

The moment that I would love to live over is my college graduation day because that day was really special for me.

All my life people around me have said that she can’t do this she can’t do that and graduating college was one of those things. So I love when I can go and do whatever people said that I couldn’t do.

Sorry this post is so short.

Thank you for reading,

Irish Queen

2019: A Year & A Decade In Review

Wow! I cannot believe that in a few short hours that this year and this decade will be coming to a close. I know that I have been neglecting on posting and updating on this blog in the results of that is because my computer was seven years old and running extremely slow and sometimes completely unresponsive so I got myself a new computer so I will be back on my game with posting on this blog.

This blog post is going to be discussing pretty much all of my memories over the past decade to the best of my recollection and just my highs and lows over the past year and over the past decade. So I apologize in advance if this blog post is on the longer side.

2010

I turned 20 years old and that year I really started studying because I knew that I was graduating the following June 2011 and I was planning on going for my GED. I went on a tour of the College Experience Program through the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.

2011

I turned 21 and I Took my GED and I passed including the math part which I am not strong at all whatsoever. Also in June of this year are you graduated from Wildwood programs and that August I went to college.

2012

This year was a rough year because I had major surgery in December and then 10 days after my surgery while I was still recovering I received news that my great grandmother who was 99 years old passed away. My favorite memory of her Will always be that even though she did have dementia she always managed to remember me… Why because of my red hair.

2013

This year was a great year because I had graduated from college and moved into my very first apartment. And then on December 10 of this year my boyfriend and I became a couple.

A family friend and I on my graduation day.

2014

I was able to see my cousin marry the love of her life.

Me and my cousin

2016

I went to another cousins wedding.

2017

My cousin welcomed a beautiful baby boy.

My cousin who was born in 2017

Attended yet another cousins wedding. And admittedly I started getting wedding fever.

My cousin and her husband

2018

I crocheted a giant blanket for one of my aunts for Christmas.

The giant blanket

2019

This past Fourth of July I was honored to be asked by my father to work for him on the Fourth of July down at the fireworks.

My father and I.

This year I started to get into cooking and being healthier. And really wanted to focus on strengthening my relationship with my parents by going apple picking and the balloon fest.

Well that is my decade in review. Happy New Year, 2020!

Until next time,

Irish Queen

Feeling Fed Up

Hello there readers,

Please let me speak up about something that has been really seriously angering me. Mind you I am not having a pity party. 

Of ALL the issues from all those who are running for president I have yet to hear anything about what they are going to do for the people who live with a disability & have to rely on service coordinators & services to live a decent life.

Services that people with disabilities‬ ‪like myself rely are benefits like SNAP, HEAP, SSI, and benefit health system (which in my opinion makes it really difficult for me a lot of the time). I just have a hard time getting my meds because the pharmacy CANNOT fill it until I am completely out of my meds which causes me to be anxious and stressed out.

And something that ties into this is 30 years ago next year a bill was signed into law— the bill I am talking about is the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)‬ I have yet to hear anything from the candidates about helping people with disabilities. And no mention of this historic nature of this bill, either.

I want to work but applying for jobs has almost ‬‪become a waste of my time (I feel) and now hearing what DT (he deserves no respect from me) is doing to those who rely on SNAP (like myself) to live is taking money away from children who need it because he decided to balloon the deficit with his trips to Mar-A- Largo and reckless disregard for the law.

DT’s change to SNAP requirements makes it difficult because I have been trying to get a job however I cannot seem to get either a job interview, or hired for that matter and the 20 hours a week is unfair because I have been trying but it is easier said than done.

I don’t know what I have to do to live a decent life because I have tried to get a job and so far I have had no luck.

Reader Input

Dear Readers,

I know that I have not been the best at posting here but I would like your input on how I am doing and I want to learn about what your thoughts are on my blog so I have added a survey (that I made myself) for you to take so I can learn a little about you (the reader) and deliver a better experience for all because I feel as though I have been neglecting my blog and I want to post more… but it is the dreaded writer’s block. so below I have added the link to the survey.

Thank you soo much for being a reader. This is your opportunity to have your voice and opinion heard. https://forms.gle/5LYTut19inCjyZML9 I look forward to seeing your input, and it is truly valued. Thank you again.

Irish Queen

My Blog: One Year Later

Dear Readers,

It has been quite a while since I have posted here and that is my fault. I have been working on a schedule for my posts… yet forgetting to actually post something. Laughs at myself.

Well, one week ago today was the first anniversary of my blog, and I want to talk about how I have grown, review my posts over the past year and talk about what is next for my blog.

The Beginning…

One year ago, March 26, 2018 I had been thinking about starting a blog for some time… about my gift, my disability, Williams Syndrome I had done some serious research about all of the different hlog sites… Tumblr, Blogger, etc., Read a bunch of stuff on blogging, and looked for ideas on how and where to begin… I had no idea what I was about to do.

I finally settled on WordPress, why?

The reason why I settled nicely into WordPress is because of the super user-friendly format and all of the customization options that were available and the pricing is super reasonable… compared to other sites and whar they had to offer.

Starting Out

So I created my account and started out on my blogging journey then after I have everything ready to go. Then I set it aside because I was taking care of my aunt who had just had double knee replacement surgery. Then a little over a month later I sat down and hopped on to WordPress, now it is time to begin.

What do I write about?

Sitting there staring at the blinking cursor my mind starts to race what do I write about? I freeze then it hits me just talking about the blog and about you.

So I started writing my Welcome post just offering some general education on what Williams Syndrome is, a little about me and a little about the blog.

I originally thought that maybe post once a week, but then I thought no one is going to read this but I fought the negative thoughts down and said to myself just post whenever you want about what you want to don’t worry what people think this is your blog so have fun with it.

I have been trying to write things that get people talking or at least write a comment to my posts.

So then I got busy living life and then come a couple days after Thanksgiving, I decided to write My Thoughts just a rambling off of my thoughts and pictures.

Then about a month later on December 10,2018 I follow it up with Happy Anniversary: An Open Letter To My Love to my boyfriend of 5 years.

Then 10 days later I write My Goals For The New Year because I wasn’t going to post anything until after Christmas.

My next post 2018- Year In Review took a look back at the year that had been and honestly it could have been better.

The first post of the new year How I Set Up My Blog came from a comment in response to a prior blog post.

I came up with some ideas for blog posts Exciting News For the Blog and I have been meaning to start posting those ideas and posting to the blog more often.

And then there is my Birthday Post where I reflect on my 29th year of my life… and that was in January, since then I have been seriously slacking on posting.

How I Have Grown

Since starting this blog I have noticed that my writing has improved, I am more perspective, I think about what I am writing, I notice that I am starting to feel better after I post an update.

What’s Next?

I plan on recommitting myself to my blog and continuing to improve my blog. I will continue posting and I will post more often also.

Thanks for reading,

Irish Queen

Birthday Post

Today is my 29th birthday and I have been feeling really sentimental and a little emotional the last couple of days and I can’t really explain why… it has been a little frustrating. I usually get sentimental around my birthday especially the last couple of years. I guess that I don’t really have an explanation except that I am getting older.

Today in 1990 my mother was 29 when I was born so I have known my mother for half of her life, as I am the same age that she was when she gave birth to me. The last couple of years my mother and I have grown closer to each other and that is something that I truly treasure. I have also grown closer with my father, my little sister (22 years old) and my brother (25 years old) over the last couple of years as well.

I don’t want to keep rambling and bore you but I shall post again really soon.

Exciting News For the Blog

I have been thinking about doing some new monthly/weekly blog posts and below I will tell you what they are and a little bit about what I will talk about in the posts. Feel free to weigh in and share your thoughts and opinions about your favorites and not so favorites. So let’s get started…

(insert month or this week) I’m Obsessed With…

For those of you who watch Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, I am taking a twist on a segment of his show called I’m Obsessed With I have not decided yet how often I will do this if it will be a weekly, bi-weekly, or a monthly post yet. So I will decide that and see the reaction after I start it next month.

What Made You Happy/Grateful This Month

I have yet to decide how exactly I am going to execute this, feel-good post so we shall see if this one comes to fruition.

(insert month)- Quotes That Inspired Me This Month

I think that this one will be fun to do and through this will help inspire others as well.

Monthly Music Playlist

What music am I listening to this month and why I chose that specific song and my interpretation of it.

Brain Dump

This one will be fun and random… might wind up being a little on the long side from time to time but that is okay because you can understand how I think. This one will be most likely be a weekly post.

By The Numbers

Fun Facts, About me, some fun numbers thing, haven’t decided whether this will be a weekly or a monthly post…

Top 10

This could go any direction and could be fun to do.

So let me know what you think…

How I Set Up My Blog

Happy New Year 2019, reader, For my first blog of the year I thought about giving you a little bit of info about how my blog essentially came to be, and some tips to help you with yours. I am not quite sure how this will work itself out. So, let’s just wing it for now and see what happens.

I am going to start by giving you a layout of what I will be talking about here.

  • What is a blog?
  • Why do people blog?
  • Why do I blog?
  • What topics do people blog about?
  • How to start a blog
  • What features are important for blog hosting?

What Is A Blog?

Blogs are in many ways, the Swiss Army knives of the internet.

Beginning in the ’90s as online diaries, have now grown into a massive, endlessly varied form of communication.

Blogs can be short story collections, recipe hubs, role-playing games, records of UFO sightings, or a source for information. They can help businesses advertise, educate customers, inform shareholders, or inspire community interactions.

Chances are if you can imagine it, there is a blog about it somewhere. Probably hundreds of them!

Blogs are one of the last level playing fields on the web. What’s stopping you?

How Is It Different From Blogging?

Blogging is simply the act of starting and writing a blog!

Blogs are so ubiquitous because anyone who’s able to type can become a blogger.

You don’t need to know how to type fast; you don’t need to be able to see or hear. You are never too young or old to blog. You don’t need to know anything about computers or the internet!

Irish Queen- on rule of blogging

Why Do People Blog?

People blog for many reasons. Blogging has been proven to make you a better writer, make you money on the side, or give you a platform for sharing your ideas.

Some of the most common reasons people start a blog include:

  • As a way to network with people sharing a common interest.
  • To market or advertise a business.
  • To make a difference by sharing political and social issues.
  • As a resume for highlighting expertise.
  • As a way to express creative ideas.
  • To share knowledge with others that want to learn.
  • To make money as a side hustle– or even as a career.

Why Do I Blog?

I use my blog as an outlet to educate others on my disability and share the way my mind works and how I think and just a place that I can escape to where I have some semblance of control.

What Topics Do People Blog About?

Sometimes figuring out what to blog about is the hardest part. Luckily, I have some ideas to help get you started.

  • Fashion– makeup, clothing, hair, and beauty products.
  • Travel– vacations, best places to visit, your own travels, restaurants, and entertainment.
  • Technology– software, programming, web development, web design, and startups.
  • Business– industry updates, real estate, expert tips, and best tips
  • Content Marketing– how to market your business, SEO best practices, and email campaign.
  • Food– recipe sharing, restaurants, and kitchen equipment.
  • Finance– industry happenings, ways to make and save money, budgeting.
  • Health and Fitness– sports equipment, nutrition, exercise, dieting, and fashion.
  • Lifestyle– gardening, home improvement, organization, travel, survival.
  • Personal Development– Time management, health awareness, mindfulness.
  • Parenting– child development, product review, tips for age stages.
  • Professional & Academic– colleagues and peers discuss their fields of expertise, like CPAs.
  • Instructional– tutoring, how-to’s, guides.
  • Entertainment– humor, memes, video, music, podcasts.

How To Start A Blog

Step 1- Find Web Hosting

Web hosting is the service that puts your blog on the internet. That means good web hosting can make or break your blog.

You need to think about four things when it comes to web hosting:

  1. Cost– What does it cost per month?
  2. Speed– Your blog needs to load fast. Speed is important as users move to mobile.
  3. Uptime– Every website goes offline sometimes. But a good web host will help minimize problems with downtime.
  4. Technical Support– Boring. but super-important!

What Type of Web Hosting Do I Need?

Shared hosting is the cheapest and the most basic form of hosting available. You store your website on a server shared with other customers of the hosting company. You also share the resources– such as bandwidth and disk space– of the server as well.

You’ll also notice that some hosting companies have WordPress hosting, These plans typically run on shared servers but can also be offered as cloud and VPS-based hosting, WordPress hosting is optimized for running the platform and will give you the most seamless WordPress experience. (There are many other types of hosting– like cloud, VPS, or dedicated– but you can ignore them starting out).

But if you are looking for the cheapest hosting possible, go with a basic shared hosting plan. Just make sure you can get a one-click WordPress install to make your life easier.

What Features Are Important for Blog Hosting?

Here are some of the most important features to look for when you are choosing which hosting provider to go with:

  • Disk Space and Bandwidth depending on the amount of traffic your website gets.
  • Security Features like malware scanning, daily backups, and 24/7 site monitoring.
  • One–click installations.
  • Uptime guarantees against server crashes and maintenance issues.
  • Speed and Performance so you know your site is always giving the best user experience.
  • Support types such as email, support ticket, and live chat.
  • Affordability– quality web hosting doesn’t come for free.

Why Technical Support Matters Most

The final point– technical support– is boring, but it’s also really, really important. When its 1am and you don’t know why your blog is offline, you need somebody you can speak to! Specifically, you need somebody you can call by phone– not send an email and wait a week for a reply.

How To Start a 100% Free Blog

In my opinion, WordPress.com is the only show in town (I have tried others, in the past) for a free blog. Sure there are plenty of other services, like Google’s Blogger.com or Yahoo’s Tumblr. But they’re severely limited next to WordPress for a free blog service.

You’re not going to get the fancy features of full-blown WordPress, but it beats the alternatives hands down.

Step 2- Choose a Domain Name

Your domain name is your blog’s identity on the web. This is the URL that people type into their web browser when they want to visit your blog.

Mine is https://livinglifeasasocialbutterflyelf.blog for example.

Before you register your domain name, here are some guidelines to follow. Your domain name should:

  1. Be memorable
  2. Be easy to spell (aka “pass the radio test”)
  3. Be descriptive (describe your blog’s topic or establish a brand name)
  4. Be short and sweet, if possible

For example, if you are a passionate collector of vintage guitars, “VintageGuitars.com” would it be better then “MyMostFavoriteGuitars.info” it fills all of the criteria I mentioned. However, VintageGuitars.com it is likely to be a very expensive domain indeed. (More on that in a moment.)

Keywords are words or phrases that describe your niche. Think about the that people might use to search for your content, and bear them in mind when choosing a domain name to register.

Finally remember, you can’t use spaces or punctuation (except hyphens) in a domain name.

How To Choose A Great Domain Name

To get a better idea of what makes up a good domain name, I’ve come up with some examples:

For a blog on caring for pet budgies, “friendly-birds.com” is a bad domain name:

  • This domain uses a hyphen. Many users forget hyphens when typing domain name.
  • The name doesn’t explain that the blog is about budgies!

A domain name for a Spanish language learning blog of IteachPeopleLanguages.com may be specific, but it’s long, wordy, and easy to misspell. Whereas DynamoSpanish.com is shorter and more descriptive.

Instead, “healthybudgie.com” could be a much better choice. The domain name is specified, contains keywords, is short, memorable, and easy to spell.

Step 3- Choose A Blogging Platform

To start your blog, you need a blogging platform for your site. While there are many platforms to choose from, we think there’s only one serious choice.

It’s called WordPress.

WordPress: The World’s Most Popular Blog Platform

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging and and CMS (content management system). It powers 27%+ of all websites online today, and an even larger percentage of blogs.

WodPress is used by everyone from digital natives to tech-illiterate seniors.

Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud

Andrew Sullivan

10 Reasons Why I Love WordPress

WordPress lets you customize your layout, create content, and expand your blog’s functionality over time.

We love WordPress for lots of reasons, including:

  1. It’s 100% free
  2. It’s super-easy to install
  3. There are lots of awesome WordPress themes & plugins available (and most are free)
  4. There is tons of free help online
  5. WordPress is simple enough for beginners but powerful enough for experts
  6. It has infinite customizability with plug-ins and themes
  7. It’s mobile Friendly
  8. It’s great for SEO
  9. WordPress is constantly being updated. As long as you update promptly and be careful with themes and plug-ins, you shouldn’t run into many issues
  10. WordPress boasts a huge free, online support community

WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org: What’s the Difference?

There are two WordPress platforms to choose from: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Here are the key differences:-

WordPress.org
  • Software is 100% free…
  • …but you need to pay for WordPress hosting
  • Thousands of WordPress plugins (free and paid) to add features
  • Thousands of WordPress themes (free and paid) are available
WordPress.com
  • Annual fee (Starting at $48/year)
  • Your site is hosted by Automattic,WordPress’ parent company
    (ie, No web hosting needed)
  • No software to download, install or maintain
  • Themes & plugin selection much, much more limited.

Website Builders: The Most Popular WordPress Alternative

You may have heard of website builders, like Weebly or Wix. 

If you only a very simple website, website builders may be a good solution. They’re web apps that offer drag-and-drop functionality and a WYSIWYG editor to build a blog or website.

However, the vast majority of bloggers choose the flexibility of WordPress.

WordPress is much more powerful, scalable, and flexible than other website builder. WordPress the ability to do almost anything you want: total freedom to create the blog you want.

If you are terrified by the idea of WordPress, website builders may be worth a look. But our advice is to stick with WordPress, if possible.

Learn more in our rundown of the top options for website builders for bloggers.

Step #4 – Set Up Your WordPress Blog

Luckily, installing WordPress is very simple once you have a web hosting service.

How To Install WordPress

Lucky for you, WordPress is famous for their “5-minute install”.

Better yet, many hosting companies will even install the blogging platforms for you (look for “one-click installs”). Just follow the step-by-step instructions – you can’t make a mistake!

The only decision you need to make at this stage is to give your blog a name. Don’t worry, you can change it later easily enough (unlike the domain name, which is much more hassle to change).

How to Login To WordPress

Once WordPress is installed, you’ll receive an email with your…

  • Username (“admin” by default)
  • Password (whatever password you entered)
  • WordPress Login URL
    (This will look something like like http://blogging.com/wp-admin/)

If you can’t find the email, check your spam folder. The WordPress login page looks like this:

How To Use WordPress Dashboard

After login, you’ll see the WordPress dashboard, the control panel for your blog. This let’s you handle everything from the design to publishing blog posts.

n a few short moments, you’ll be ready to create your first blog posts or pages, like your contact page or other “must have” pages.

How To Set Up WordPress

Good news: WordPress works great right out of the box – even if you do nothing else!

But there are three simple housekeeping tasks you ought to take care of before you publish your first post:

a) Check Your Blog’s Name
You chose this when you installed WordPress – now’s your chance to make any changes. In Settings > General, customize your:

  • Site Title (eg, Living With Williams Syndrome)
  • Tagline (a strapline displayed below the logo in many WordPress themes)

b) Double Check Your Email Address
Check that your email address is correct, for when you need to reset your password in future.
If there’s a typo, you’ll be locked out of your blog!

How To Choose A WordPress Theme

Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.

Brian Clark

WordPress has countless free themes to choose from to get your blog live ASAP.

Your choice of WordPress theme allows you to get creative, and make your blog look and feel just like home.

The good news is WordPress makes it super-easy to chop and change your WordPress theme. You can change it every day of the year if you want to!

So: should you use a free theme or pay for a premium WordPress theme?

New Blogger? Use A Free WordPress Theme

For new bloggers, free themes offer total freedom to experiment. If you’re not used to using WordPress, we recommend using a free theme until you know which features matter to you most. WordPress has its own repository of free themes.

You can install them right from your dashboard; just click on “Appearance” and then “Themes.”

Some of the most popular free WordPress Themes include…

  • Twenty Seventeen
  • Twenty Sixteen
  • Twenty Fifteen

…and usually, arrive by default when you install WordPress. You’ll probably recognize them all because these blog themes are so widely used.

For example, Twenty Seventeen looks like this:

Free WordPress Themes: The Pro’s & Con’s

  1. Freedom To Be Fickle. You can switch between free themes as frequently as you like, without having to pay.
  2. Experiment. Try out lots of different color schemes and layouts
  3. 100% Free with all the basic functionality you need to start blogging
  4. Generic. You may find that thousands of other blogs use the same WordPress theme as you
  5. Less Professional. The sad truth is it’s harder to make your blog look professional with a free theme
  6. Less Customizable. Free themes usually offer less sophisticated customization. This will be more important as your blog builds an audience and gains traction.

Experienced Blogger? Upgrade To Premium Themes

Premium themes often offer a more stylishlook out of the box. Our favorite sites to buy premium WordPress themes include:

How Much Do Premium WordPress Themes Cost?

Expect to pay from $29 to $99 for a typical premium theme..

Some super-deluxe options will cost $150+ if you buy a developer license, but you only need that if you plan to use the theme across many blogs.

How to Install A New WordPress Theme

WordPress makes it simple to alter the theme of your website:-

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New
  2. Now you’ll see all of WordPress’s featured themes. You can choose one of these or search for the names of themes you’ve heard about.
  3. To narrow your search, use the Feature Filter to select the layout, your desired features, and your blog subject.
  4. Once you find a theme you like, you can preview it with your content. If you don’t have any website content or the plugins necessary for the theme, this preview might not look like anything like the final product.
  5. Once you’ve picked a winning theme, just click Install and Activate, and you’re done!

All of your blog content will appear in the new theme, and you shouldn’t need to do anything else to get the new theme up and running.

Step #5 – Publish Great Blog Content

Even personal bloggers should have a good idea of what they want to write about before they dive in. Don’t fret! Content planning isn’t rocket science. We’ll walk you through it every Step of the way.

Who Is Your Blog’s Target Audience?

You need to be clear about what you want to say, and it helps to imagine who your audience will be. Pick a topic that you are truly passionate about, and think about the needs of your blog’s readers.

Blogs exist on more or less any subject you can think of under the sun, from trading cryptocurrency to rearing chickens.

One quick and easy way to figure out your target audience is to imagine that you’re writing letters to a particular type of person.

Ask yourself questions like these:

  1. Are you talking to men or women?
  2. Children or adults?
  3. Where do they live?
  4. What activities do your audience members participate in?
  5. What type of work and hobbies do they do?
  6. What does a typical day in their lives look like?

Example: Say I’m creating a blog for “pet parents.”

  • They can be of any gender or age.
  • They love to do things with their pets, like walking dogs or playing with cats.
  • They can live anywhere in the world.
  • Significant chunks of their daily lives involve interacting with their pets (walking, feeding, playing, snuggling).
  • They consider their pets to be part of the family, more so than those who merely call themselves “pet owners.”
Choose a Niche For Your Blog

Niches are pretty important for your blog.

Some big websites, magazines, and newspapers can target huge audiences because they have massive amounts of content and a stable full of writers to create it. Huffington PostSports Illustrated, and the Wall Street Journal fall into this category.

However, you’re not going to get far competing with those heavyweights, so you need to drill down into your target audience and focus on a subset of your audience. By narrowing your focus to a niche, you stand a chance of building the best blog on that topic.

Possible niches for our example audience include:

  • Dog park reviews
  • Pet hotels or pet travel guides
  • Handmade pet toys

I’m going to go with “handmade pet toys.”

We can write about where to find them, how to make them, toy safety, toys based on your pet’s personality, etc. I can also tell stories about my own pets, start an Instagram or Twitter to feature pet photos, and review toys. Once you choose a niche, it should be a bit easier to come up with a good name for your blog.

Let’s call my new blog, Fuzzy Family Fun

Step #6 – How to Write A Blog Post

High-quality content is critical to gaining traffic for your new blog. But if your content is merely average, you may not attract much traffic – or even none at all! There are a million blogs on the internet. You need to make yours stand out from the competition.

We’re going to show you exactly which buttons to push to get your first blog post online in a flash. Here is a preview of the process, which we’ll explain in-depth below:

  1. Create a new blog post
  2. Write your blog post
  3. Add images
  4. Add categories & tags
  5. Press “Publish!”

1. Create A New Blog Post

In the WordPress dashboard, you’ll see a sidebar with menu items that will take you to various parts of your website. To start a new blog post, click Posts > Add New.

This will take you to the WordPress editor screen, which is where you will do your writing.

2. Draft Your Blog Post

In the WordPress editor, your first task is write a headline for your post in the title section.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

The length of content on the internet is a hotly debated topic. Word-count is a key contributor to your search ranking results. Longer content typically ranks higher on Google. In fact, the longer the better when it comes to search ranking. This is because longer articles will contain more keywords, more topics, headings, links, and pictures.

At the very least, your blog posts should be more than 300 words for Google to rank it. The ideal length of a post for general reading is 1,000+ words.

And that’s just fine too. Just make sure that your long posts are extremely easy to read and to skim. Avoid walls of text at all costs!

If you’re aiming for a solid number, then between 1000 and 1500 word posts should be a perfect starting point. But feel free to experiment and find what works best for you and your audience.

3. Add an Image

If you want to add an image, click on the Add Media button. This will bring you to the Media Library where any images you have downloaded onto your site are saved for use in blog posts.

After you click on Add Media, select the image you want to insert into your blog post.

Don’t forget to fill out things such as the title, alt text, and description so when your website is indexed by search engines, your site is ranked properly in search engine results and potential visitors find you.

You can also add a caption if you want a short description to appear on your blog explaining the image to readers.

Click Insert into post.

Your blog post will now look like this after adding an image:

4. Add Categories and Tags

Categories and tags help organize your blog so readers can find what they are looking for Look to the right-hand side of your editor and notice the two boxes, Categories, and Tags.

Categories describe the topics that can be found on your blog. For example, if you have a personal blog, you may choose categories such as Music, Travel, and Food.

Tags are more specific descriptions of your posts that help readers drill down to smaller topics. When you write a blog post, you first choose a category.

In this example, we’ll choose Food. Then, for your post’s tags, you might enter something like pizza, breadsticks, chocolate cake.

Simply click the category you would like to use for your blog post, input tags you want to assign and click on Add.

After you have created your blog post, you can preview how it will look when you publish it by clicking on the Preview button in the Publish box. This will open the public face of your blog, and show you what site visitors will see when they visit your website.

5. How To Publish Your Blog Post

If you are happy with your blog post, head back to the WordPress editor and locate the Publish section.

Here you can either click on the Publish button and post your blog immediately, or schedule to publish it at a later date. If you choose to publish it at a later date, simply choose the date and time and save your changes.

And there you have it! You’ve published your first blog post.

What Blog Topics Should You Cover?

Here are some ideas for coming up with blog topics to write about:-

  • Google Trends – Do a search on your niche, but also look at news headlines and see if there’s a place where they intersect your niche
  • Mind-mapping – Draw out branches from your main topics to see how many more ideas you can split off from them.
  • Social media – What’s happening on Twitter or Facebook that you could use to create new topics?

Example: My brainstorming helped me come up with these post ideas around handmade pet toys:

  • The history of dog toys in the White House
  • Knitting or felt patterns for toys
  • Pet toys around the world
  • Toys that might be harmful to your pet’s health

How To Find Your Blog’s Voice

Blogging is usually less formal than other media. It’s easiest to just be yourself!

But one way to “niche” yourself is with a unique style of writing. You can probably think of lots of examples where humor, style, or oddness make a particular blog memorable.

Example: For my Fuzzy Family Fun blog, I’m just going to write like I talk, since I’m also a pet owner. Readers will connect better with my personal stories if they come from my authentic voice.

How To Write Awesome Blog Content

The currency of blogging is authenticity and trust.

Jason Calacanis

There’s no magic formula to determine what your content should look like. It depends on your niche, and what your passion is. And it depends on what your readers are looking for.

Some blogs focus on breaking news or viral stories from the web. These blogs can gain a lot of traffic very soon after publication. The articles tend to have a short lifespan.

Other blogs contain in-depth articles that are written with longevity in mind (what we call “evergreen content”).

These articles tend to be longer, more detailed, and aim to attract traffic for many years – or even decades!

Look at other blogs in your niche and look at the things they do well. Try to find gaps in their strategy, and capitalize on those opportunities.

How To Create a Blog Schedule

Setting a schedule for your blog will help you build traffic – and keep it up over the medium and long-term.

Scheduling is important for two reasons:

  1. Building Readership. You’ll encourage your readers to visit your blog regularly.
  2. The Power Of Habit. You’ll get into the habit of regular writing – and stick with it. Just like going to the gym!

How Often Should I Publish Blog Posts?

There’s no right or wrong frequency for publishing new posts. It depends on…

  • Your blog’s topic (eg, breaking news vs history)
  • Your audience (eg, young vs old)
  • Your goals (eg, a hobby vs a job as a professional blogger)

One of the best blogs we know publishes a new post just once a month.

No matter how often you update your blog, it’s a good idea to space out your posts, instead of publishing lots of new blog posts all at the same time.

You don’t have to sit down and write every blog post just before you intend to publish. WordPress lets you schedule blog posts in advance.

This gives you the freedom to plan a complete blogging schedule, write the blog posts ahead of time, and then publish them at regular intervals.

That might be once a day, once a week or once a month – the choice is yours.

What Makes A Successful Blog?

There are many routes to blogging success. However, you can’t go wrong in implementing these suggestions.

  1. Provide content that your audience values.
  2. Make sure you understand SEO. (And keep up to date with it.)
  3. Post on a consistent schedule.
  4. Use social media to promote your blog.
  5. Interact with your hardcore readers – they’re your best promoters!
  6. Don’t be afraid to fail.

That last one is probably the most important one. Experiment to see what both you and your readers like. If something falls flat, don’t give up – just try something new.

What Do Your Favorite Bloggers Do?

It can help to take a look at your favorite blogs with a critical eye to figure out why they succeed. What do other blogs do that stops you coming back?

Are they sending out regular emails to their readers? Do they offer merchandise? Do they have ads? Is there a pop-up newsletter box every time you click? Do they update frequently? How do they interact with commenters? What are they doing on social media?

Beyond The Basics Of Blogging

Already mastered the basics of blogging? Here’s what to think about next.

How To Build Traffic to Your Blog

Once you’ve got your first blog posts live, the next step is to get visitors to read your blog. This isn’t as hard as you might think. Most bloggers rely on four key sources of traffic:

Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.

Seth Godin
  1. Search engines, like:
    • Google
    • Bing
    • Yahoo
  2. Social media, including:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Google Plus
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
  3. RSS (You can read more about RSS subscriptions here).
  4. Email newsletters
  5. Direct traffic, or people typing your domain name. You’ll not have any when you launch your blog!

How To Get Your Blog Ranking In Google

Search engines like Google add new blogs to their index when they discover them mentioned (in the form of links) on other websites. Effectively, the more links your blog has (from high-quality, popular sites), the higher Google rank you.

Want to know how to get your first link to your new blog? Read on below!

There are some basic SEO skills you can apply to any blog post you publish that will help improve your search engine rankings.

  • Have a Good Title. The closer your title relates to keywords people are searching for, the higher your content will rank.
  • Internal Linking. Internally link to other content on your blog to organize it better for web crawlers. In addition, aim to have other websites link back to your website (through guest posting, blog comments, or just by publishing quality content others want to mention on their own site) so Google and other search engines can reward you for being authoritative and rank your blog posts higher.
  • Keyword Research. Take the time to find out what keywords relate to your content so that when people search for them, your website appears as one of the most relevant results. Add keywords to the title of your blog post, in the content body, and in metadata such as image alt text.
  • Publish Consistently. Teach web crawlers to come back to your site on a regular basis and improve your rankings over time by publishing regular contentfor site visitors to enjoy. Ranking higher in search results will help, and becoming a source to rely on for consistent content helps as well

Email Newsletter For Bloggers

I recommend capturing your readers’ email addresses and sending regular newsletters helps keep them up to date. This builds loyalty and brings readers back for more.

You’ll need a service to do that. We recommend Constant Contact, which we review here.

Checkout our guide to email marketing for bloggers.

Social Media For Bloggers

You cannot underestimate the power of social media.

Give your readers a way to share their favorite content with those they know and watch your blog’s traffic boom. In addition, provide links to your social media accounts so loyal readers can follow you and either interact with you on social media or again, share their favorite stuff with everyone else.

Two of the most popular social media platforms in use are Facebook and Twitter. You can add native videos to Facebook and cater to those that love to watch videos, you can Tweet instant updates on Twitter and invite followers to check out your new blog post. And most importantly, no matter which network you use, you can expand your reach to an audience base you never even knew about.

You’ll want a matching name to your domain name on Facebook and Twitter.

Social networks can drastically expand your blog’s audience. If you have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you have a better chance of getting found, so you should be thinking about them as part of your blogging strategy.

Happy Blogging!!