If you are here, you are probably interested in starting a blog of your own. And I think that is wonderful! If you like writing and have a topic in mind, I encourage you to do it.
My intention in writing my blogging experience is to provide insight into what blogging really is like and to try to guide you so you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made.
There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to start a blog. If you search Pinterest or Google, you will find a great step-by-step guide on how to start your self-hosted blog. Now, there are blogging platforms that are free, but I can’t speak much about them since I’ve never used one. But if you are interested in making some side income, or even a full time income, with your blog, you will need a self-hosted one. So I won’t write a tutorial on how to get your blog up and running because others have already done that. I will write a summary though and here it is:
- Purchase your domain (the address for your blog)
- Find your hosting site (this will be the foundation for your blog)
- Install wordpress (and this will be the house for your blog)
- Install your theme (this is sort of the furniture for your blog, at first it can be free but it seems recommended to purchase a theme if you are really into blogging)
- Install plugins (these are the windows and doors, and decorations of your blog)
- Start writing and posting
In a nutshell, that’s all there is to a blog. But it’s easier said (or written) than done. If you want to make money with your blog, there are actually more steps afterwards that I can’t list (yet) because I’m not there (yet).
Steps 1 through 3 are fairly straight-forward. But when it comes to the theme and plugins, that’s another story. Or maybe it’s just me. I don’t have any programming experience and I’m vaguely familiar with all the coding and terminology of a site. But yet, here I am. I’ve spent lots of hours reading tutorials, reviewing themes, trying different “decorations” for my blog, that I really haven’t kept track. I actually stopped writing after a while because I lost my vision somewhere along with all the mumble jumble about blogging.
But I’ve decided this is something I want to do and follow-through. I love to help others and I graduated with a Sociology degree because I thought it would be a fulfilling career. A few years later, and I’m not close to a career in the social works. But I thought that blogging could be a way to get the word out and help others. And at the same time, I see it as an opportunity to stay at home with my family.
So today, my goal is to finalize the setup of my blog, update the layout, and finally start writing.
These last few days have been very frustrating because I finally decided to purchase a theme for my blog. I tried different free themes but I didn’t really like them; I didn’t feel they were me because they are very limited on what you can do. So I purchased the theme you are seeing now. The frustrating part started on the installation process. I didn’t realized the theme file was so big that it would not upload like a free theme (something I’ve used before). So I had to go through my hosting company and used something called FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to upload the theme document so I could finally use it.
I literally spent hours trying to install the theme until I figured out the issue and follow some tutorials online. So I finally got it installed and started using. The next frustrating part of my journey were the theme options. There are so many “decorations” you can do on your site, that it really is overwhelming. And again, with no experience on these type of set-ups, I had limited knowledge on what to do or how to start.
After another set of many hours trying to figure out the layout of the blog, I decided to use one of the theme’s pre-made demos. But the one I really liked was a set-up for a store, rather than a blog. So I’ve been playing around with the different options to update it and make it something I really like.
So far, it’s looking good (at least to me, compared to what I had before). But it’s still not the way I want it to be. So I’m spending even more time trying to figure out what works best for each section of the blog. And this is very frustrating because I would like to start focusing on writing and creating awesome content for you but I really can’t do much until my little house is all set-up.
The other challenging part for me is understanding the plugins and what they are used for. So again, I’ve spent lots of hours trying to understand what they are and which ones I should use on my blog. Currently, I’m using one called “Wordfence” to block people trying to access my blog (I don’t know why anyone would want to do that). I’m also using Google Analytics to start measuring the traffic on the blog, Yoast SEO for better optimization, and Ultimate Social Media Icons to connect the blog to the different social networks. It doesn’t seem like much, but it has taken me a lot of trial and error to be able to use them. And I still have a lot to learn.
And the latest of my adventures in blogging is that I have purchase the course Elite Blogging Academy (EBA) for close to $800 (ouch). But it has the best reviews and results from bloggers that have taken the course before. I’m still on the first section so I can’t say much about what I’ve learned, but I’m hoping that it really works. I will write about this later as I become more involved in the course.
All in all, I have spent close to $1,000 on my blog, with no profit whatsoever. It seems crazy, but I’m very determined to make all this back. Most of the money I’ve spent is for the EBA course. And honestly, the initial set-up of the blog costs me about $15 for the first whole year. The rest of the money I’ve spent come from purchasing the theme, and renewing my domain and paying for my hosting on the second year. I officially started the blog on January 2016. But I didn’t do much that first year, until now.
I’m not writing this to discourage you from starting your own blog. On the contrary, I would like you to start one but with these takeaways:
- Start when you feel you are ready for the commitment that it will take to run your blog (from personal experience, you need at least 5-10 hours per week, but if you have less time available, it will take you longer to set-up)
- Don’t procrastinate. I pretty much lost a whole year and don’t feel like a did much of anything on the blog.
- Find a complete course that can take you from the beginning to the complete set-up of your blog (including monetization). There are a lot of free tutorials out there, but I have not found one that would show me everything, that’s why I signed up for EBA
- Don’t stress if things don’t work out the first time. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to get to the place you want to be with your blog.
- You can do it!
This is all I have for now. I will continue learning and updating this section so you can benefit from my trial and error on this adventure.
Until next time.