I had no intention to write about blogging when I first started this website. However, after making just about every mistake I can think of, I decided that there’s no reason to keep my mistakes to myself if someone else can learn from them. Keep in mind that these tips are coming from a newbie who is still learning.
Things about blogging that no one tells you
- Those television commercials that tell you that you can start a blog in about 15 minutes – they lie. I suppose it’s possible to get signed up with a hosting service and pick out your domain name in that length of time (IF you’ve already decided on and researched name availability), but everything else is going to take you a bit longer.
- You need to put some thought into the name of your blog and look around to see if any other blogs have similar names – or (gasp!) already have the name you want to use. If they do, then it’s time to put your thinking cap back on. You really don’t want a name that’s too close to something that’s already out there.
- You need to learn about photography and photo editing BEFORE you start putting photos on your blog! Trust me, if you don’t, you’ll spend hours (and hours) redoing your photos to keep them from looking grainy and from having files so large that they take forever to load. No sense slowing down your site simply because you didn’t know any better.
- Speaking of photo editing: There are several free photo editors you can earn. I’ve used PicMonkey, Canva, and Gimp. Gimp isn’t as well known as some of the others, but it’s a free, open-source photo editor that has lots of capabilities (comparable to Photo Shop). In fact, it has more bells and whistles than I am even competent in at the moment. But it’s nice to know that it has whatever I need when my competency level increases.
- When you are editing your photos for you blog, go ahead and make the photos that you want to use for your other social media platforms. You’ll save time by doing this all at the same time instead of having to return to it later. You’ve already got the original photo loaded so why not just get it done?
- When you’ve finished your photos, be sure to save them with the pertinent information that you would need to refer to later. For example, I name my photos like this: PINTEREST 500 wide with logo (and then the original name of the picture) or TWITTER 500×500 without logo (and original photo name). ALWAYS keep a copy of the original photo! If you don’t, then you end up having to do a lot of backtracking and “undoing” if you want to do something else with the photo or size it for another platform. Nobody has time for that!
- You need to set up a file system on your computer to keep up with posts and pictures. Otherwise, before you turn around twice you’re going to find that it’s impossible to find anything you’re looking for. I make a folder for each post and label it with the date and name of the post – I put all photos relating to this post in this folder (the ones for Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) I also have my posts (and ideas for future posts) in document folders that have the name for each of my blog categories. Once I’ve used an idea, I rename the document to start with “BLOG” and the rest of the name of the post (i.e. BLOG 5 Easy Breakfast Ideas). I rename the documents for two reasons: 1. Naming them this way automatically groups all of the posts together at the top of the list, and 2. This allows me to know what ideas I’ve used and which are still in development.
This is not an exhaustive list of the mistakes I’ve already made or the things I’ve learned. I’m positive there will be MANY more mistakes and I’ll share those as I figure out what they are. And sometimes when your learning curve is a line going straight up, you have to take a breath and figure out just what it is that you’re doing – and doing wrong. That’s where I am.
One of my favorite sayings has always been, “If you can’t be a good example, at least you can serve as a horrible warning!”
So you’ve been warned – and perhaps your road will be a little smoother because of it.