…Starting a Blog

hello! i’m revamping an oldie but goodie today. things i learned from starting a blog {0r3}! way back when i first started blogging, i wrote this post about all the crazy things i learned about starting a blog and things i experienced being a new blogger. i still chuckle when i read it, but every word of it still holds true…only now, after starting not one, but two other blogs, i have more things to add to the list!

Things I learned from starting a blog {or 3}.

(if you’re not a blogger and this all sounds like crazy talk, just bare with me while i get it all out – i’ll return to my regularly scheduled programming tomorrow, haha)

here we go!

1. Deciding on a blog name and url is inherently more important than naming your firstborn child. People will forever associate you and your blog content with this word (or group of words) and you can’t change it, not without starting completely over and losing everything. It’s serious stuff. serious!

2. there are a gazillion readable fonts. it takes 2+ hours and 300 page previews to find the right one.  You know, the one that almost anyone can read clearly, but still matches your theme, which of course, is uber important to me. Wait, you think is there really a right one? I should probably check mine again…

3. as soon as you open up the “new post” box, every idea you’ve had in the past 2 weeks is gone. it doesn’t matter if it woke you up from sleep because it was such a great idea, as soon as you open the window to type, poof it’s gone! i now (try to) write everything down – lesson learned.

4. you’ll become a semi-professional photographer (you have to!) and you’ll understand DSLR, lighting, staging, and props.  anything less just won’t cut it – thank you so much Pinterest and tumblr.

5. blogging is ridiculously time-consuming. you think it will be all rainbows and butterflies; I’ll just sit down and write my perfectly crafted, typo-free posts and articles and they’ll be witty and cute and everyone will love them, right?  Um, no.  It takes hours, (assuming you even have an idea and didn’t get stuck in #2 above) as well as countless proofreading sessions, and many drafts to complete even one 4 paragraph post with NO photo or tutorial (for a photo multiply the above time period by 5 and for a tutorial multiply by 10).  Does it read right, am I clear and concise, does my personality show through?  Days. Will. Be. Lost.

6. two words. editorial calendar. yep, scheduling blog posts and keeping track of what you need to write and when is now more important than scheduling your appointment at the doctor or keeping lunch dates with friends. besides, you’re too busy blogging (or picking out fonts, or redesigning your logo, or researching blog post ideas because your mind is blank…again) to have time for that anyway. see #5 above.

7. keeping track of blog traffic (especially after what you think is a great post) will literally take over your life. checking Facebook every 5 seconds, nope that’s for non-bloggers, us bloggers we check stats. and not just page views either, SEO, referrals, re-pins, and links too. we want to know who’s coming, where they’re coming from, what they’re looking at while they’re here, and how long they stay. it’s borderline obsessive. okay fine, it’s obsessive.

8. your closest friends are now in your blogging community…and you’ve never met any of them! you all met online (probably in a support forum for something you totally screwed up on your blog before it crashed). and yes, you will crash your blog (over and over again).

9. the word webmaster will no longer sound like an imaginary spider chucking wizard from a video game. you will become said webmaster and you will have tools. you will spend hours reading up on what to do with these tools and how to make them and google work for you, but you will become a full-blown webmaster!

10. you will learn html. enough said.

11. you will find your own voice (eventually, if you’re like me). you will be shocked at how difficult this can be.  how much should i share, how often, what topics should i talk about? sometimes it takes 3 blogs…for reals. but finding your own voice, being original (even if it’s awkward, or raw, or sappy) is the single most important thing you can do for your blog. whatever you are, be that!

and yes, i’m well aware there are oddly 11 numbers on this list – i just went with it! 🙂

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