One of the things I decided I wanted to do with this blog is journal monthly about my experiences and feelings toward blogging. I am a little behind on this, our family was ravaged by illness last month. It is almost time to journal about my second month of blogging, so I thought I better get the first month published.
If I had actually done some research before diving in head first, I would have found this helpful. Shortly after starting this blog, I stumbled upon Building a Framework written by Abby at Just a Girl and her blog about her first year of blogging and what she learned . I enjoyed and found hope in reading about her experiences starting out with her own blog. The information in her book helped me move forward with my blog. Here is my personal experiences in starting the blogging journey.
I decided one day that I wanted to blog and two days later I was at Blue Host & World Press. I had been following a handful of primarily fashion blogs for about a year, so I knew a few things, right! From what little I had read, I deducted that it only takes at the most 15 minutes to sign up and cost as little as $3.95 a month. Ha!
That $3.95 is for a 36 month contract with none of the recommended extras (I had no clue what they were/my husband had a little knowledge). If I had done my research and had a lot more experience maybe I could have done it in 15 minutes, but in reality it took much longer.
Luckily my husband has some knowledge of hosting, coding, and website design or I would still be at step one. Widget…what is that? Jetpack, huh? Categories/subcategories how do I create those? Oh and the list goes on an on. The learning curve is steep. My knees are very scraped from falling down so much.
Once I was signed up and had my domain name, it was time for a template. I initially chose a free one but it was not at all what I envisioned, so I spent a few days on Esty looking for a template. I did not find anything I loved, but found one I thought would work. I have already changed it, but more on that next month.
My husband also had some knowledge and experience with Adware like Googlesense and got that installed right away. After being approved, I excitedly went to my blog to see the progress we were making only to have my stomach turn by the horrific ad on my blog. I called my husband and luckily he was working close by and came right away (because I had masses of people visiting my site every hour that might see it!). Before he made it, I had logged into Google and had all the sensitive ads blocked. Next we signed up for affiliates. Amazon has been the only one to approve. Another learning moment: most affiliates require traffic to your blog for approval.
In order to get traffic to the blog, I needed to start with some well written posts. One tip I had read before starting was to have a list of topics and few posts drafted. Done, I had numerous ideas and a few drafts. My writing was a little rusty. Graduate school was many years ago and I had not worked outside the home in six years. My current writing was limited to our annual Christmas letter. In this age of abbreviations and acronyms, my writing skills had become a little rusty. I am actually very excited to be writing in a format in which I will not be using acronyms.
Polishing up my writing skills, I can manage. What really caught me off guard with blogging is pictures and graphics. I did not realize that these are such a huge part. Luckily we have a really good camera. My use of the camera is very limited: I can turn it on/off, push the button to take a picture, review the pictures, and hook the camera to the computer to download the pictures. I downloaded a trial version of Photoshop, but had no clue on how to use it. I stopped by the bookstore to purchase a book on Photoshop only to find that there are many versions of Photoshop. Luckily I found a couple of free programs online that are not so intimidating that I am learning to use.
My pictures were a work in progress, but I finally had couple weeks worth of posts and decided it was time to start marketing. Guess what, my post pictures were not all “Pinterest ready”. I failed to save and label them properly. I looked into connecting on other blogs by joining link up blog parties. Here came more challenges & disappointments. I came across a few blogs that appeared to be in the beginning stages like mine, but most looked fabulous. I left those link up parties feeling discouraged.
There were many up and down moments over the month. I was excited about my ideas and writing. Just when I would begin to feel comfortable, I would find something else I did not know or I would see a well established blog and that excitement would dissipate. At those times, I found myself doubting whether I should continue on with this blogging thing.
There seems to be two different thoughts towards starting a blog. One is to look at it as a hobby and if you make money at some point, then great. While I am enjoying some parts of blogging, I am not sure I need another hobby (especially one so time-consuming). The other is yes you can make money and it will take lots of time and hard work. I don’t know about money, but hard work-yes time consuming-yes! About halfway through the first month after a day in my pjs and doing little else but working on the blog and meeting the basic needs of my kids, I announced that I was done. The house was disaster, laundry was piling up and meals were happening but barely. I was stressed and snappy. My husband was very encouraging and reminded me that I did not have anyone following me yet. He encouraged me to take my time learning and do it at my pace.
IF I HAD A TIME MACHINE
- I would have gotten a few more weeks past Christmas and got the house back in order before starting.
- I would have put some meals in the freezer.
- I would have gotten myself organized.
- I would have done a lot more research. Some things are hard to understand unless you are in the trenches, but I could have gained a much better understanding of blogging.
THINGS I AM DOING RIGHT
- I have a list of 40 blog ideas.
- I have the support of my husband.
- I have technology…internet, PC, laptop.
- I love Pinterest and have a basic understanding.
- I have a good camera.
GOALS FOR NEXT MONTH
- Pinterest-I have a personal account and one for the blog. Decide if I really need two separate accounts.
- Look into other social media. Facebook is the only one I have used, so another learning curve.
- Gain a better knowledge of how my camera works.
- Improve my pictures and graphics on blog.
- Look at other templates and assess whether I should change.
- Organize passwords, logins, and other pertinent information.