Lately I’ve had more than a few people ask me about starting up blogs. I consider myself a newbie, still under the one-year mark, but I feel qualified enough to say…Yes! Do it! Start a blog.
In less than a year, my life has changed in so many ways:
1. I’ve learned some new skills. I had to educate myself on everything. From purchasing a domain and hosting, to learning a platform. I’m talking about hours and hours of my life and maybe some crying. I am biased towards WordPress because it’s the most sophisticated tool and you can pretty much do anything. But there are tools that are super easy to use like Blogger, Tumblr and TypePad. There are options for people all levels, so if a fear of tech is holding you back from blogging, don’t be afraid!
2. A chronic procrastinator, blogging has forced me to become more disciplined. I have to write every day. In less than a year I’ve accumulated more than 200 posts. Not all bloggers are so prolific. It’s not necessary to post every day. As long as updates are regular enough to maintain readership, posting frequency is up to you. Personally, I need to keep the momentum going, so I post a minimum of six days a week. There are bloggers out there that post six times a day.
3. I’ve met a lot of new people from blogging. Other Austin bloggers, writers of all types, foodies, and WordPress geniuses. Each time I attend a blogging event or networking function I meet interesting people. We stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter, read each other’s blogs. It’s nice to have people to bounce ideas off and I love the diversity in these groups. Plus, I’m pretty social and love to have new friends.
4. I have a long way to go, but I’m learning photography. I bought my first DSLR camera and can’t wait for this adventure to unfold. As my photos get better, so will my blog. Maybe my priorities will change and the words will take a backseat to the images. Scary prospect, but I’ll end up a more well-rounded person.
5. I look at my life differently now. In addition to bringing a camera everywhere, I really try to pay attention to detail in a way I never had before. If I go to a movie or concert, chances are I’ll blog about it. So I focus and try to engage on a new level. For instance, I had to take notes during Mad Men all season so I could write about it. Rather than just watch the show, I had to analyze it. Sometimes I had to watch it twice. Blogging about a movie is difficult because I can’t take notes in the theater. I need to just remember. It’s harder than it sounds. And if I want people to read it, I have to leave out any spoilers. Do you know how hard it is to recap a movie and not give anything away?
6. I’ve become more of a planner, setting goals and timelines for myself all the time. There are always new things to learn. I’ve barely scratched the surface of SEO, Google Analytics, marketing, and basic WordPress improvements. At some point I will have to learn some coding. I paid a designer for a custom theme and really had little input, other than the “feel” that I wanted. Eventually when I go for a redesign, I’ll be able to give better instruction. Not to mention that I should always be trying to improve my writing and engaging new readers. Maybe making a few bucks. My list is lengthy.
The reward of putting your thoughts in writing is pretty awesome. When people read it, it’s even more fulfilling. I love to hear people comment on what they read or suggest post ideas. And this month Mad Betty is Austin Woman Magazine’s choice for Best of the Blogs. Pretty cool, right?
So do you want to start a blog? Do you have access to a computer? Do you have something to share with the world? Because, really, that’s all it takes. Everything else is just icing.