Today, just a short while later after launching my blog, I am reminiscing over the journey that got me here.My website is finally live for the world to see and all my cards (or my articles) are out on the table.
While I still consider myself a newbie blogger, I now find myself acquainted with the process of starting your own self-hosted blog, and I just wanted to share my one week wisdom with those of you who are considering starting your own blog.
1. You CAN’T build a website in 10 minutes
Well, you probably can, but not a very good one. After watching all those Youtube tutorials, I was convinced that setting up my actual blog is only going to take an hour. Tops! Incorrect. It took me days before my blog was worthy enough to face the public. Maybe I’m just a perfectionist, but I had to test and try out so many themes before I could decide. And the hardest part comes once you try to customize your theme and add some actual content to it.
Some bloggers suggest that you should just not focus much on aspect in the begging, but I disagree. You want to be proud of what you’re putting out there, and you want to make sure it makes a powerful first impression on people. So dedicate some time and effort into making sure that you create a website that you like!
2. You CAN build a website on your own
After I registered my domain I got bombarded with emails and phone calls from web design companies that were offering to build a website for amounts of money I didn’t even have. I got a bit discouraged because I thought if people are willing to pay so much money for it, then it’s not only going to take forever with my limited technological skills, but it’s probably going to take a lot more effort that I initially thought it would and might not even end up very good.
💎 READ MY POST ON WHY YOU NEED SELF-HOSTING FOR YOUR BLOG
I had to put all of these fears aside and I got inspired by other bloggers that made their own blogs from scratch. Because it is possible. It takes a bit of research (because all the information you need is already out there), some patience and willingness to learn.
If that is the case, I have the perfect resource for you that will help you design your self-hosted WordPress website, brand it and connect with your dream audience.
My friend, Sarah, is a web designer and online marketing consultant that understands the struggle of new bloggers and online entrepreneurs when it comes to building their own website (because hiring a web designer isn’t always a possibility) and that is why she created the DIY WordPress Web Design & Branding with Canva Bundle that you can now get for 20% off when using the code “THESHEAPPROACH”.
This course has helped me set up my WordPress website when I hade no tech knowledge whatsoever and has went over and beyond to provide step-by-step tutorials that have helped me create a stunning website and beautiful graphics for my social media.
I cannot recommend it enough and it will be the best investment you can make in your website!
3. You need to invest some money up-front
Me and blogging have had a few passing affairs before, but it never lasted. I was never motivated enough to be constant in what I was doing, so I would be passionate a month and indifferent another.
But the funny thing about spending money is that it makes you accountable for what you do with it after.
So I decided to go pro, self-host my website on Bluehost (which came for a free domain for my first year), and even buy a theme.
Will I ever make that money back? I don’t know. But the fact that I invested something up-front made me so much more responsible, excited and aware of the fact that I had to see this through.
💎 Update: I made all my money back and them some. Turns out that having a professional website is the source of making money online.
4. It’s going to take time
I am not a full-time blogger just yet. but it sure feels that on some days. Blogging takes time. And I mean time besides the actual construction of the blog. Because if you are not writing a post then you are putting up content on your social media, or you are researching for the article and trying to connect with other bloggers.
The point is, there is always something to do. And if you want to put up quality content, then you have to put in the time. Are you ready for that commitment?
Your blog is not going to take off overnight. Some things take time and building a strong foundation is the best thing that you can focus on. That is why I wrote an ebook that teaches new and more seasoned bloggers how to put the right strategies into motion so that they can build an enagaged and loyal audience and take their blog to the next level.
5. You shouldn’t launch your blog with less than 5 posts
I spent so much time working on the aspect of the blog, that I forgot about the actual articles and had to resort to reusing some from my old blog. Such a rookie mistake. My launch date was coming up, and I wanted to stick with it so badly that I launched my blog with only four posts.
So there I was, driving all this traffic to my new blog and creating all this excitement around it that only followed by a high bounce rate (people who simply left the website quickly because there was nothing there for them) and confusion since the posts don’t actually narrate what my blog is about.
So my advice to you is this: If you’re going to put all that effort into making a memorable first impression, don’t overlook the first articles, and have 5 to 10 prewritten content once you bring your blog in front of an audience.
6. You don’t have to have a great camera in order to have a visually stunning website
I wanted my blog to be authentic and have unique content and my own photographs. But not all of us can start with a great camera and photographic skills.
You also don’t want to steal photos from just anywhere, since that is a bit immoral and can get you in copyright problems. But what you can do is use the tens of websites out there that specialize in not only selling photos for commercial use, but even giving them out for free.
So all the photos you see on my website right now, except the one of me obviously, come from such a website.I do not recommend doing this forever, since you do want to create unique photos and keep your visitors engaged with unique content, but it’s of great help when you are starting out.
7. No one is going to be more excited about your blog than you (and it’s ok!)
That sounds like a cruel thing to say, but here is what I mean. It’s ok if you are jumping up and down of happiness that you are finally launching your own blog and you’re friends are like “Oh, how great…!”. I know it can be discouraging, but you should always be the biggest fan of your work, because that is the way to get people interested in what you’re doing.
Your friends and family, even if they are your biggest supporters, cannot be more excited about your blog than you are, because there are not the ones creating it. I guess what I’m trying to say is: Believe in yourself! People will recognize that and they will follow suit.
There is obviously much more to blogging and I have a lot to learn myself, but I am excited to test the limits of what I think I can do and share my experiences with you.
If you are a blogger, I would love to know what piece of information you wish you knew when you before you started your blog. If you are planning to start a blog, and have any questions, please do feel free to ask them in the comment section, as I will be personally reading and replying to all of them.