This is my very first official post and I am terrified.
I'd like to have a successful blog. I'd like to have a blog that people enjoy reading. I'd like to have a blog that I enjoy writing. I'd even like to make a little bit of money in the end.
But, I've never had a blog before, and I knew nothing of starting one. So of course I read countless "How to Start a Blog" blog posts as I was trying to get going. They usually began with a numbered list of what to do, which often went something like this.....
- Decide what you have to talk about. Make it something you love/are good at/can talk about a lot without getting burned out. (helpful link)
Okaaaay, hmm, I do lots of projects that I like and other people seem to like and I'd do them even if I had no blog. One DIY blog for me!
- Decide on a name. Make it unique. Make sure you grab the domain name as soon as possible so no one else gets it. (another helpful link)
Um.....a name? I don't know. Do I want a cutesy name? Do I want it to say DIY blog? There are so many out there already, I wonder if I'm crazy to add another. I could be a little snarky and just call it Yet Another DIY Blog. Is it available? Yes! My husband likes it? Great! Ok, how do I do this? How........? I'll Google for help. Five or ten hours later, I have a domain name, an account with WordPress installed, and need a break.
- Choose a theme, and make a child theme to modify so you don't change the parent theme and screw up everything when it wants to update. (Helpful post here.)
I'll Google for help.
Many, many, many
hoursdays later, I have learned a bit of html, a bit of css, and have greatly compromised on what I wanted to start with. But, I have a decent looking blog! Yay!
- Ok! Now, just start writing posts. Be yourself and find your own voice and be approachable. Provide valuable content. Offer some sort of freebie that makes people want to subscribe. Oh, and use this (or this or this) plugin to manage the email subscriptions. Use this (or this or this) amazing plugin to monetize your blog. Make sure you pay attention to your SEO. It's very important! You must make it a top priority to optimize your SEO from the very beginning or you will go nowhere because no one can find you. Promote your blog on Twitter. Promote your blog on Facebook. Promote your blog on Pinterest and Instagram and every other possible social media site. Have amazing photography and a cohesive design and Pinterest-worthy pictures and don't start blogging to make money but you can make SO much money and make sure you post three times a week but if you feel burned out there are reasons twice a week is better and actually some research shows that once a week is great too but make sure you post regularly and do ALL this as soon as you can but don't wait until everything is perfect before starting and.......
I AM SO OVERWHELMED! COFFEE! NOW!
To any successful bloggers out there who might be reading this and smiling gently at my ignorance from your lofty heights of knowledge....
I don't begrudge you a single smug feeling. Someday maybe I can be like you and look back on other poor souls who are still just trying to figure out the next step.
Last night my husband and I had a conversation that went something like this:
Me: "I'm so scared of this blog thing. It's overwhelming. I don't know if I can do this."
Husband: "People want to hear what you have to say."
Me: "What if they don't? What if the only ones who read my blog are just doing so because they know me and like me? What if I think my projects are fun but they're actually lame?"
Husband: "Everyone likes your stuff. You're just making excuses because you're afraid to put yourself out there and be vulnerable."
Me: "But what if it's a complete failure?"
Husband: "Then you make it a success."
So here's my numbered list for brand new bloggers:
- Find something to blog about that you like to talk about.
- Move forward one step at a time.
- When you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and remember why you wanted to start your own blog.
- Open your eyes, look for help online, and move forward one step at a time.
- Don't give up because you think you have nothing of value to share, you do.
- Don't give up because you're overwhelmed; every little thing you learn is one step forward.
- You can find help for almost anything online.
- You can make it a success.
...according to my husband.