The Basic Building Blocks

This content is for Fizzle members only.

OK, a quick recap of what we covered so far:

We’re excited to build a blog because we know it’s going to be a powerful tool for us to build an audience and communicate directly with them over time. We picked our topic. We found the compelling reason why a visitor should read and subscribe. We then defined the goal of our blog (does the blog support a product, or do products support the blog?).

Before we move on let’s make sure we’ve got the basic building blocks in place.

There are lots of little things a blog needs to have put together. Things like the name of the blog, social media handles, your email list.

So, below I lay out all the necessities for your blog, and if you’ve been following the Fizzle Roadmap, you’ve already accomplished most if not all of this stuff. If you haven’t been following the roadmap, or if you’re missing some of these steps, it’s time to cover these bases.

So follow the instructions below and when you’re done I’ll see you in the next lesson where we’ll put this to work in our first piece of writing.

Choose a Name for Your Blog

Your blog needs a name. If you haven’t settled on a name yet, now is the time.

There are three common choices for naming your blog. You could use:

  1. The name of your business (Example: HubSpot Blog)
  2. Your personal name (Example: Danielle Laporte)
  3. A unique name just for your blog (Example: The Sparkline)

The first two are easy, since you already have them. If you want to keep things simple, there’s nothing wrong with just using your name or your business name.

If you’re feeling like you want your blog to have it’s own identity, and if you want a name that really pops, you have some work to do. Finding a great name is always a challenge.

We created a name evaluation guide and worksheet for you. This will help you find a name that checks all the boxes. This is the process we used ourselves to find the name Fizzle.

Please note: you’ll want to consider the availability of domains when picking a name for your blog or business. The two really go hand-in-hand, and the difficulty of finding a domain makes finding a name much harder.

If you haven’t chosen a name yet, use the Fizzle Guide to Naming Your Business »


Secure a Domain (URL) for Your Blog

You also need a URL or domain name for your blog. Note, the terms URL and domain name are used interchangeably here, as they are across the web.

If you have a URL for your business, you can easily use that by letting your blog live in a subdomain or folder. For example, we use fizzle.co/sparkline for our blog. HubSpot who we mentioned above uses blog.hubspot.com.

If you don’t have a URL, you’ll need to register one. While it is possible to use a free subdomain like foo.wordpress.com, we do not recommend this because you cannot easily migrate domains from a free subdomain and will lose all links and search benefits if you decide to move. You will also be locked into a platform that may limit your abilities later.

So, register your own domain name. It costs less than $20 a year and is essentially your blog’s equivalent of real estate on the web.

Registering a domain name is simple. Finding a good one is not.

There’s no secret to this. Finding a good available domain name is an exercise in patience and creativity. However, there are several tools you can use to speed up the search process.

To find a great domain name, please check out our article and associated podcast episode: How to Pick the Right Domain Name (+ 11 Domain Name Tools) »


Sign up for an Email Provider

OK, next up is your email marketing provider. You’ll need to use a service to build an email list.

This one is easy. There are lots of providers out there, but we use and recommend MailChimp for getting started. They have a free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers.

You should start with MailChimp for now, so you can start collecting email addresses from your site. You can always migrate to another provider later if you decide there is some special feature you want.

If you don’t have a MailChimp account, sign up now »


Register Social Media Handles

And finally, you’ll want to register available social media handles if you haven’t already.

The best tool for this is Namechk. Enter your desired name there and it will check for availability across all the major social media platforms.

You may have to get creative here, if the name you chose for your blog or business isn’t available on the major social networks. You may have to use something related. When we started for example, @fizzle wasn’t available on Twitter, so we went with @fizzleco. Eventually we were able to get the @fizzle handle because we secured a trademark and the account wasn’t being used.

If you have to get creative on one network, you might want to use that same creative version on others.

Register handles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and anywhere else you think you might want a social media presence eventually. It’s better to be safe than sorry later.

Use Namechk to find available social media handles here »

Please make sure you have completed all the actions above before moving on to the next lesson. When you’re done, we’ll see you there.

Bonus: Recorded Coaching Session #3

When this course first launched, we led a cohort of students through the material and assignments over the course of 10 weeks. These coaching sessions are very in-depth (each session was 90 minutes to 2 hours). We spent most of the time answering student questions and reviewing assignments.

These sessions are recorded if you would like to follow along. They will appear here, at the end of lessons throughout this course. Keep in mind that each session covers more than one lesson, so only 10 of the 17 lessons will include recorded coaching videos like this.

Enjoy! Here is session #3, which covers lesson 5: