This month marks one month of blogging for me. Hooray! It has only been one month, but it’s still been quite a journey. There is so much to learn when you first start a blog. After thinking about it a bit, there are 7 things I’ve learned this month that stand out the most.
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- Just start. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll figure out what blogging is all about, how it works, and what kind of blogger you want to be! Definitely give your blog some thought first, but at some point all the research and brainstorming in the world can’t beat your own experience setting one up and actually writing!
- It’s very, very worth it to purchase a self-hosted website and a professional, well-configured theme. It really makes all the difference. Self-hosting is important because it means that you are the owner of your site and can make all the changes you want to it. I chose to use Bluehost for my hosting because I read good things about them, and they are very affordable for bloggers just starting out. As far as themes go, be careful when choosing so you get exactly what you want. If picking custom colors is important to you, make sure you have that option. If flexibility is important, find a theme with great flexibility. I chose to go with the Genesis framework since everything I read said it’s hands-down the best theme out there, and I went with the Brunch Pro childtheme by Shay Bocks because flexibility was important to me. I’m totally new to this, so I wanted a theme with endless options to customize and personalize it , rather than paying for one that is beautiful but maybe not what I wanted after all.
- Don’t edit the code unless you really know what you’re doing! I tried it and got the white screen of death before I’d even opened shop. Not being very tech savvy (or at least not that savvy), I had to basically start over with a fresh WordPress install. Just don’t. Or at least have a backup of your blog and ask a techy or a blog friend about the edits first.
- Invest in books to help you learn, and to help you start out on the right foot. I bought Building a Framework and read it in an evening. I love that Abby writes in a very easy to understand style and breaks everything down into manageable steps. I highly recommend it if you’re just starting out! I’m still working on applying it, but when you have the opportunity to learn from those who’ve been where you’re at and who’ve made it through, take advantage of that. Even if it means spending a little money. (P.S. I bought the cheapest option, but plan on upgrading soon!)
- The sooner you get organized, the better. You won’t know everything you should do on a daily basis when you first start on day one, but give yourself some time and learn as you go. As you start figuring things out though, make yourself a system. Having a routine will keep you organized and help you grow as a blogger.
- Post regularly, but start with a very doable post schedule. It’s no easy task to publish high quality articles on a consistent weekly basis. Definitely post regularly, but when you’re starting out don’t go overboard- you could wear yourself out, or publish poor quality articles for your readers. When I finally got around to actually starting this blog, I wanted to publish an article a day for a month. Yeah… it’s a good thing I didn’t go through with that. That’s a recipe for major burn out, especially since there is so much other stuff to learn in addition to writing posts.
- Give yourself time to learn. When I first started this little blog a month ago, I wanted to have it completely set up within days. Everything I read made it sound so easy that I underestimated how much there was to learn! I just dove in head first and started trying to customize my theme, set up an email form, create social media accounts, write posts, the list goes on and on. And it was taking much longer than just a day… I wasn’t getting things set up as quickly as I liked. That led to several weeks of very late nights and very early mornings, with a neglected household as I tried to power through and get everything set up. I was having a lot of fun, so it didn’t feel bad at first. But after a week or so, the late nights and neglected home caught up with me and it wasn’t fun anymore. Yeah… don’t try to do it all and learn it all in a couple weeks! Give yourself time to learn everything, especially if it’s your first blog. It will be much more fun if you take it one step at a time and don’t try to cram it all in on the first week!
Well, that’s it for now. Hope it helps! Let me know which tip you find most helpful in the comments below. 🙂