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!
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?