Why would you start a nature blog?
Keith and I have always loved to share our love of nature. Before dirty botany, we subjected our Facebook friends to hundreds of pictures of native orchids and other rare plants, mushrooms, slime molds, and insects, all including the scientific names, of course.
A few people may have thought we were weird, but that’s ok. As Einstein once said, “If you want to be number one, you have to be odd!” Ok, maybe Einstein did not say that. But I saw it in a meme, so it has to be true!
But people were looking at our pictures. People were reading about our adventures. People were realizing how much there is to see just outside your front door, and realizing that Saturdays can mean more than mowing the lawn, hitting up Walmart, and going out for dinner!
People started sending ID requests of mushrooms, of moths, of flowers to our walls and, even more often, in private messages.
There were even a few who, on their evening walk in the park, started taking pictures of plants and animals they saw and posting them!
We were making a difference!
Now, with the dirty botany blog, we are hoping to make a BIGGER difference.
Everyone on the block knows what the score of the game was yesterday, but nobody knows what kind of tree has stood guard at the end of the street for the past one hundred years.
Everyone in your neighborhood knows who got booted off The Bachelor last week, but nobody knows what that weird little dark mass is on the branch of a bush in the backyard. Even worse, they think it’s “OHHHHMYGOOODD SPIDER EGGS!!!!” and have hubby cut it out and put it in the dumpster. Little do they know it was a gorgeous cecropia moth that would have graced their yard in just a few short months.
Enter the backyard biologist! YOU can be THAT GUY or THAT GAL who has the answer.
I LOOOOOOVE being that gal.
Keith LOOOOOOOVES being that guy.
Better yet (and I know you think I’m crazy here, but trust me, it’s fun)… start your own blog! Maybe start with a neighborhood nature facebook page. Get all your neighbors on board, and when you start sharing what you’ve found, you will all be AMAZED at how many cool things will be found! From native plants poking up through the pavement to a brightly colored moth gracing a screen door in the morning….even in the most suburbian suburbia, there will be natural goodies to wonder at.
And once you start pointing out beauty, others will begin to see it, too.
So that’s the why. How about the how?
Step 1: Pick a domain name
There may be some who say you don’t need to do this right away, but really, the people who are willing to go to www.139boulevard.wordpress.9255.com are few and far between. Check to see if your domain name is available below!
Remember that you might need to get creative if your first pick of name is not available. If “Elmstreetbotany” is not available, try “natureonelmstreet,” “elmstreetnaturalists,” or “elm-street-nature.” Just keep it as simple and as easy to remember as possible!
STEP 2: host your site
Here at dirty botany we are currently using Bluehost for our hosting, but in the past we have used GoDaddy. To be completely honest, there is not much difference between the two, but we’re currently with Bluehost and there has been no real reason to switch.
Both are inexpensive, both offer good support, both will work until you start getting six figure visit days, and neither one has downtime very often.
Clicking HERE will give you a discounted rate of $3.95 per month for hosting, which includes a domain name! Now THAT is a good deal.
Bluehost makes it very easy to set up, as well. You’ll click “get started now” when you get to Bluehost through the link, click the basic (or the plus or the pro) plan, enter your domain name, and then enter your contact and payment information!
I would suggest UNCHECKING all of the extras that they offer on that final page (constant contact, site backup, search engine jumpstart and sitelock security)…..except domain privacy. Including domain privacy will keep folks from seeing your personal info attached to the domain name. I’d keep that checked. The rest are options that you can always add at a later date if you decide you need them.
STEP 3: install wordpress
Once you’ve entered your contact and billing info, wait for a confirmation email from Bluehost. Once you receive that, log into Bluehost with your new username and password.
When I enter a new website, I usually like to take a few minutes to look around. Get used to the setup. Check out a few links in the menu. Eventually make your way to the Website Builders section, and click on WordPress.
Choose the free “install it yourself” option, click “install,” and enter in the domain you will be using.
And that’s it. Bluehost will give you your username, password, and a direct login link for the admin section of your blog (that’s the ‘backend’…where all the magic happens!).
STEP 4: choose a theme
There are LOTS of free WordPress themes. Eventually, you will want to pay for a premium theme (as will I), but to begin, pick a freebie!
When we DO upgrade to a premium here at dirty botany, it will be one of the following two premium themes:
X, The Theme from themeforest at envatomarket – I love this theme! It looks fresh and new and very 2016… (if there is one thing you DON’T want, it’s a website that looks dated!). There are four very unique versions to choose from, as well. I foresee this theme in dirtybotany future!
The Genesis framework from Studiopress is used by a LOT of the big blogs out there. You purchase the basic framework and then purchase a ‘child theme’ that goes along with it. There are a huge number of child themes available, both from Studiopress and from third parties. Tried and true, Genesis will provide your site with stability and lots of bells and whistles!
STEP 5: start blogging!
Start writing, and start playing with WordPress. You’ll get used to the interface very quickly!
Start spreading the botany love, and encourage others to start a nature blog!
Next time we’ll go over the plug-ins and widgets we can’t live without with here at dirty botany!