The 5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Launching My First Blog
Photo courtesy of nic519.

The 5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Launching My First Blog

Written by Bev Webb

Topics: Blog-Based Business, Confidence

We’ve been talking a lot recently about making progress, whether it’s fear you’ll never fulfill your potential, tracking your small wins, or the importance of regularly reviewing your work.

I decided the time was ripe for me to heed the advice and while I was updating my list of milestones passed, I took the opportunity to cast an eye back over my achievements from the past few years.

Time flies when you’re busy, and I was surprised to discover that it’s already been two and a half years since I launched my very first blog. At the time this was an enormous milestone: my very first formal web presence! I had arrived, so to speak, on the internet.

It took a lot to get me to that point, and as hindsight is a wonderful thing, there’s so much I wish I’d known before I launched.

I’d love to be able to spare you some of the stress, emotional turmoil and downright fear I went through, so I’ve decided to share 5 of the things I wish I’d known before I started.

1) It’s normal to feel vulnerable

I’m still shocked I ever managed to launch that first site. It was nerve wracking on so many levels. It had been easy and comfortable to just lurk on other people’s blogs, rarely even sticking my head up above the parapet to post a comment.

But my own blog, that was different. It would be my first properly public online presence and that felt way beyond my current comfort zone.

“Is my writing good enough?” I worried. “Do I really want to lay myself bare like this? I feel so vulnerable.”

Looking back now, I can see I’ve never really had to contend with any of these fears. They were for the most part a figment of my lizard brain’s protection system, rather than a real threat.

We all have the right to decide how ‘personal’ we make our writing. It’s entirely up to you how much, or how little, personal information you wish to share.

Whilst stretching beyond your comfort zone can be valuable, if you feel publishing something will make you feel overly vulnerable, you don’t have to do it. It’s your blog and you have the control over what goes on it.

2) Your fear of ‘going public’ won’t last

Something very interesting occurred straight after the blog launched, and this is an experience I’ve found many bloggers have shared. My main focus of concern changed rapidly from worrying about “going public,” to worrying about why the public weren’t visiting my site!

Only a couple of weeks earlier, I was freaking out about putting myself out there and feeling vulnerable. Now that I’d launched, I found I was freaking out about how to get more visitors and traffic to my site.

It seems crazy, but it really is easy to go from one end of that spectrum to the other very, very quickly. Had I known this a few weeks earlier, I sure as hell wouldn’t have expended all that energy worrying over whether or not to press that launch button.

3) Your blog design is not that important

OK, I need to hold my hands up and confess I spent way too long choosing, and subsequently tweaking the design of my first site.

Partly it was due to my multipotentialite yearning to learn about all things to do with the techy side of blogs, but another part was definitely a masterclass in procrastination. “It’s not ready yet” I would tell myself to buy a little more time before I needed to decide on a launch date.

Truth is, unless you’re specifically launching yourself as a website designer, no-one’s going to pay all that much attention to the minutiae of your layout and colour scheme.

By all means make sure it’s easy to navigate and add a few personal touches, it is your site after all, but don’t worry about getting it perfected. (More about this in point 5.)

4) You don’t have to know where it’s going before you start

As a multipotentialite, it can be a tricky business trying to decide which interests to focus on. Should it be mainly this with a little bit of that, or more of an even spread of all your interests? Maybe you haven’t finished honing down your overarching theme yet, and are waiting until you’ve decided on that before entering the blog-o-sphere.

To be honest, you don’t need to have it all planned out or decided to make a start. Pick a few areas of interest, pull them together into a loosely cohesive theme (and I mean loose), and give it a go.

Blog about stuff for a few weeks and see what you enjoy. Some of your themes and interests will fall by the wayside, while others you’ll really get your teeth into and want to develop more.

It can be really hard to predict which subjects are the goers, and which are the no-hopers, until you’ve had a chance to play about with them for a while. Which brings me to the final point…

5) Launch fast and have some fun

If it’s your first site, then you can pretty much rest assured it will evolve massively, sometimes beyond all recognition of the that original site you launched. Blogging is a journey and it’s not until you make a start on your travels that you’ll discover which directions you want to take.

That’s why it’s not worth spending too much time designing your first site, cause you’ll undoubtedly end up casting it aside in a few months as you develop and need to refine your online presence.

To sum up what I’ve learned, it would definitely be to worry less and get your blog launched quickly. Oh yeah, and remember to have some fun with it. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in the scary stuff, and forget why you decided to do this in the first place!

Over to you!

Have you been putting off launching your first blog? What’s been holding you back? Or if you’re already a seasoned blogger, what advice would you give to someone just starting out?

bevBev is an artist, creativity coach and founder of Kickass Creatives, a website offering practical support to frustrated creatives. She’s over 20 years of working in the arts: experimenting with everything from performing in a fire circus and managing a hiphop dance company, through to web consultancy and jewellery design. Bev is passionate about using her experience to enable others to fully develop (rather than hide) their multitude of talents too. Connect with her on Twitter @creativekickass.

18 Comments

  1. Ian says:

    But it’s so easy to obsess over the exact shade of orange you want for your logo for two weeks because then that’s two whole weeks you don’t have to worry about writing something spectacular :-)

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hey Ian! Yep … the exact shade of orange, then moving that logo another 2 pixels to the left (and then back again, and then back to the left) … all procrastination techniques I’ve laboriously tested!!! :)

  2. Jordan Queior says:

    Bev, these are all timely reminders. I’m working on launching a blog and am surprised at how time-consuming it is! I’m not a graphic designer, so putting together a theme and plug-ins probably takes me longer than most, and I’m guilty of #4…trying to have it all planned out. I’m a private person, so I’ve been wrestling with what type of content is “too personal” to share (at least in the beginning, until I get over “putting myself out there!) At any rate, it’s a relief to know I’m not alone with these concerns when launching a new blog :D

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hi Jordan!

      Thanks for your feedback – if I was going to include a sixth point on my list it would probably be ‘it takes longer than you think’. Setting up a blog (or a website), especially for the first time, is time consuming, even before you start with all the ‘tweaks’!

      As for the putting yourself out there, go with what feels comfortable for the moment. You can always push those boundaries as your confidence increases. :)

  3. Jon says:

    I think what’s held me back is getting swayed too often by the “how to blog” online “experts”, their noise and reading their noise too.

    Not only is it overwhelming, you also end up doubting your idea, especially because the “experts” are all about the “gotta have one niche” stuff. Up until reading Renaissance Business (and that was only recently), I felt discouraged from blogging, because I just couldn’t find anything one-niche-like. I’ve ditched so many blogs. Thanks to RB, a light has now gone on; but I wish I’d known earlier.

    Thanks for writing this, Bev.

    • Emilie says:

      Glad I could help, Jon! Can’t wait to see what you create.

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hey Jon! So many “experts” are single subject specialists, which means their advice doesn’t always translate to multipotentialites, with our plurality of interests.

      Like most things, there isn’t a one-size fits all approach that will work for everyone. Take the parts that resonate with you and ditch the rest. Fantastic to hear that you’ve had a light bulb moment – I’m crossing my fingers that this time things will be different for you. :)

  4. Jan Koch says:

    Hey Bev,

    I’ll somewhat use your list in a slightly different fashion :-)

    It’s not only perfect those who want to start a blog, but it’s a very good fit for me as I’m about to quit my job next week and need every bit of confirmation that others feel scared and don’t quite know where there going with their businesses.

    Though I think one needs a general idea of his topic and more importantly about his target audience. If you know that you can solve a need for a reasonable amount of people, your blog is going to become successful – as long as your working hard for that success. It’s a constant hustle, but I think that’s what most entrepreneurs love about this journey.

    Best regards,
    Jan

    • Emilie says:

      Congrats on quitting your job, Jan! Sounds like you’ve got a great mindset going into this.

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hi Jan!

      Am glad we can help reassure you that everyone finds it scary. Come to think of it, I’m beginning to wonder if everything important feels scary!!

      I agree that if you’re launching an online business, you do need more of an insight into who your potential customers are. However, if it’s very early days in your blogging journey and you’re just looking to dip your toe in the water, it’s not so crucial.

      Good luck with new business :) Keep us updated on progress.

      • Jan Koch says:

        Hey Bev and Emilie,
        thanks for your kind words!

        My online business is definitely more than just dipping my toe in the water. I’m working on my second book, which will be a guide for employees to build a business on the side (as that’s what I’ve been doing the last 1.5 years), I’m learning to code my first iOS app (I like the feeling of doing things myself) and if the book performs well, I’ll record videos and extend the content for a membership website :-)

        Since I already did interviews with guys like Andrew Warner, Chase Reeves, Jeremy Frandsen or Pat Flynn, I’ve got a pretty good network which hopefully will help me to get track once my products launch.

        But I’m confident ;-)

        All the best,
        Jan

  5. Thank you for this great post full of encouragement. It’s nice to know that others can relate to the fears that come with this new experience.

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hey Faith!
      Many thanks for your feedback – there are loads of us who relate! I’m glad to have been able to offer some words of encouragement – please let us know how you get on. :)

  6. Rob Farquhar says:

    I’ve been blogging for almost (over?) a decade and I STILL feel like I’m starting out!

    I’m down with the blog design bit – I recently ditched my Suffusion theme for the basic Twenty Thirteen one in WordPress and I’m a lot happier with the way it looks!

    Point for is still worrying at me, though – I’ve been hammering away at getting the blog some sort of cohesive theme for a good little while and I only now feel like it’s coming together!

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hi Rob!
      Great to hear about your experience as a seasoned blogger. I can totally understand your desire to ditch more complex themes for something simple. I find I normally spend a lot of my time tweaking themes to make them more minimalist!!!

      It can take seemingly forever to feel like your blog is becoming cohesive. I think of blogging as being a bit like therapy in that it’s a way of working through lots of thoughts and ideas. It’s only by having worked through them that you can start to gain a sense of clarity. Thanks for your feedback. :)

  7. Liz says:

    Thanks for this, Bev. I just launched my blog last week and was TERRIFIED. I didn’t even want to tell my husband I was doing it! But I just did it. Got great feedback. And of course did that swing of terror from being afraid to start to being idignant I didn’t have more traffic. And I know my starting point (my current job focus – nonprofits and social justice) won’t be my end point, and I still have to give myself my “its okay to be a multipotentialite” peptalks, so its great to see all my issues aren’t just mine! Phew. Thanks.

    • Bev Webb says:

      Hey Liz!
      Congrats! Excellent to hear you went ahead and launched despite having ‘the fear’. Rest assured that it seems to be the norm for almost all first time bloggers to go through this fear of launching followed by lack of traffic indignation. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, eh? :)

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