FREE ADVICE AFTER 3 MONTHS INTO BLOGGING AND LEARNING WORDPRESS
It was back in late August of 2018 that I first learned about blogging, via WordPress and just how big it has become in the last decade or so.
I have been using Pinterest for several years now, as a go-to source for recipes, DIY and many house and beauty hacks.
And because I was clueless about what a huge part blogging had to do with many of the pins that were pinned in Pinterest, blogging to me was simply a hobby people took up to express themselves, their life experiences and share quality information about their passions and interests.
That was until I was browsing Pinterest one evening and stumbled upon a pin that read “10 creative ways to earn a passive income blogging on Pinterest.”
It piqued my curiosity enough to read the article, (which was actually someone’s blog post, but I had no idea) and by the end of the article, I curiously wanted to know more.
Three months later, probably at least 50 articles, and 30 or so YouTube tutorials, I was confident that I definitely wanted to give it a shot and see if blogging and eventually monetizing it was for me.
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After countless nights of reading and re-reading about the WordPress platform and self-hosting (versus a free hosting site) it seemed that self-hosting was most recommended, even if you weren’t going to plan on monetizing your blog right away.
Self-hosting means you own your website (whereas free hosting your website can vanish in the blink of an eye!) You have unlimited capabilities of what you do with it.
I chose Siteground for my hosting company, and I can honestly say so far, that they have definitely held up to their impeccable reviews with support and customer service!!
Not only do they resolve any issues you have quickly, but they also take the time to explain to you WHY the issue arose, to begin with, avoiding repeat mistakes down the road.
CHOOSING A THEME:
Once I had my WordPress set up, I had the daunting task of choosing a theme! Your theme is the layout design of your website. This was something I was looking forward to, because of all that I had read prior it was supposed to be the “fun part” of owning your own domain.
Don’t get me wrong, its exciting stuff watching your blank canvas turn into a visual board for all your hobbies and passions.
However when you have only just begun to learn and understand the WordPress forum, setting up your theme can be overwhelming, confusing and completely foreign with all step by step detail entailed in pulling it all together!
I literally went through 5-7 free themes provided by WordPress before taking the plunge and researching paid themes. And even then, I didn’t pay much for my first paid theme. $19.95 to be exact.
That theme ended up having a coding error, making my website completely inaccessible and depending on Siteground’s customer tech support team to fix the mess.
So then I chose a second theme that was a bit more money ($49.95) but this time I decided I didn’t want to chance losing tremendous time, patience and energy making the theme work with my website.
I had been reading quite a bit in a New Bloggers facebook group and remembered seeing a few offer their virtual assistance services with website set up, WordPress, and theme design. This is where Adrian from Help for New Bloggers became my new hero!!
She has 2 blogging sites. Her second site is adrianscrazylife.com which covers great content on everything from travel to weight loss, organization tips as well as money saving tips.
She graciously spent hours revamping my site and trying to work on the theme I had just purchased. After so many limitations within the theme, upon her advice, I scrapped it once again and went with the same theme creator she was using for her adrianscrazylife website. It’s a BluChic theme and I chose the Rachel theme layout.
I’m happy to say I can FINALLY make sense of my site now!! It’s clean, easy to navigate, and is fully functional without having to use the Elementor plugin for anything. Nothing against Elementor, just for me it was slowing me down and causing unnecessary confusion.
Again, I had read a lot about simplifying your branding choices of fonts and colors, but this task seemed to bring me more frustration than the whole theme disaster!!
I had simple fonts I wanted and 3 colors that I had in mind for my color theme. I tried out several different font plugins with no luck in getting them to set as my default font.
And again Adrian told me to simplify things and let my theme dictate the colors and just use the simple WordPress classic editor. This has simplified SO MUCH for me!!
MY ADVICE THUS FAR? :
When you finally decide to take on the blogging journey learn from my mistakes that have consumed 3 months of my time unnecessarily.
There’s such a thing as taking in TOO MUCH information! Educate and familiarize yourself with the blogging info, but remind yourself that learning the ropes simply comes by doing the basics first, and the details come with time and experience.
If monetizing your blog is definitely a future goal, then invest in your site and purchase a good quality premium theme. Trust me when I say it will save you time, frustration and easier functionality early on. There are lots of premium themes to choose from, but I have really found BluChic themes pretty amazing and simple for beginners.
Avoid the temptation of going plugin happy looking for a mistake fix.
More plugins, more bandwidth used and also slows down the navigation of the traffic on your site.
You want a nice clean professional site, but don’t get so caught up on having a full FLASHY page that your readers end up confused as to what your site is all about, to begin with. Less can definitely be more.
If you need help, there are a TON of blogging communities throughout social media. The help is out there, and what I have been most impressed with so far on this journey is the willingness of fellow bloggers to help solve your problems and see you succeed.
Lastly, go easy on yourself when you are feeling defeated, confused, overwhelmed and want to start second guessing yourself about even giving blogging a go.
This is a BIG one because the subtle little voice that tells you “you will never understand all this… it’s too much to learn… it’s not worth all the time and effort to end up upset and annoyed.” will creep in!! IGNORE IT!!
If you need to walk away for a bit. If you need to regroup, re-read articles, watch YouTube’s to make something click, do so. Do what you must, but DO NOT QUIT! YOU GOT THIS… AND I DO TOO!!!