Building a website is hard. The level of brain strain can feel more like brain warping as you try not to think too hard about how these little codes go all the way to space and go all over the world the second you post something. It's a truly amazing world and time that we live in. Building my blogsite was, and continues to be, an adventure. I was genuinely surprised by how much I learned in the process. Here are 10 of my favorites.
1. People are astronomically generous with their hard-earned wisdom.
If you are ever in one of those "people are selfish and they suck" slumps, google anything you want to learn more about doing with "tutorial" on the end of it. People are spending countless, unimaginable amounts of hours and years of talent to make a video, or a site, or a page that helps you learn how to do whatever you want to do.
Did I know there were tutorials on the Internet already? Yeah, duh, how do you think I learned how to play guitar and make travel earring cases out of shotgun shells? But, this was on another level. This was flailing helplessness in the most confusing arena I've entered since I became a parent. And, there they were. Person after person, male and female, young and old, hipster and church pastor alike, just showin' me how to do it. It's beautiful, and amazing, and I find it romantic. But, moving on....
2. If you are a newbie who has no plans to go into mastermind global hacking, just use wordpress.
It's just so darn easy and it's free. And it's kinda cute. I think it's cute.
3. If you are just starting out, stop trying to understand everything. Cause you can't. Find someone who already does instead.
Internet is hard. It's super complicated and if you get hung up on trying to understand the why of everything at every step along the way you will overwhelm yourself and die. Ok, you won't die. You will overwhelm yourself, and your website will die. Dead in the water because couldn't just do what the nice person in the tutorial told you to do. Find a good complete site building tutorial with high ratings and start watching it. Have two screens, or tabs, open. One screen with the youtube video and one on your site editor, or wordpress. Follow the instructions step by step, pausing the video as you go. You won't have to remember anything that way, and if you're a mom like me, you can't remember anything anyway. You can mess around, customize, and change up your theme later.
This is the tutorial I used and really liked it, right here.
4. Build up content before you start telling everyone you've ever met about your site.
It only takes checking out something once and having it be lackluster to make someone never check it out again. And they won't care when you relaunch. I mean, they may, but probably they won't. It's so little effort to click on someone's page but the reality is they just won't care. That's not great but it's also true. Try to get it least kinda right where you want it, where you're proud of it, and be patient with it before you start adding the link to every social network you utilize.
5. Your friends and family will be really happy and totally impressed and supportive.
Or, at least, act like they are. At least, mine did. It seems only natural to be thrilled for someone when they dedicate hundreds (feels like infinite millions) of hours building something to spread the word about something they are passionate about. Maybe it's a site to sell your amazing cute little handmade and designed brilliant things or maybe you have a lot of information about fish hatcheries and you want all your knowledge available to untold millions who may be a little curious. My friends and family got that, I hope yours will too. If they don't, just let me know what your site is and I'll be so excited for you. It's a big thing. I'm proud of you!
6. Quitting is an option and no one has to know.
There are a million easy excuses to just quit. You can even taper off and let your site die off, fade off into the un-updated website afterlife where it can hang out with all the other abandoned playgrounds in the virtual ether. No one even has to know either. Starting a website is extremely affordable on even modest budgets. Somewhere between $100 and $200 will get you a very decent setup so you won't need loans or financial support. It's not like opening your own downtown consignment boutique. You could just give it a shot and when it gets a little hard and a little too confusing you can just call it an A for effort and never log on again. Besides ignoring the occasional WordPress updates email, it could be like it never happened.
7. Quitting isn't an option.
I mean, it is. It's an option as in a choice that you have but just don't do it. If you get stuck, use all those glorious tutorials available free of charge from all of those people who have been there and done that. You can overcome any hurdle. I know you can. I have never done anything like this, the closest I've gotten is a shelved facebook fan page that I keep meaning to focus more on. But, this. I built this. I update it. I'm proud of it. It's not perfect and it's going to change a lot a million times but I am so happy because of this accomplishment. If I can do it I know you can too.
8. Other bloggers are extremely supportive and encouraging.
We want you to succeed. The more blogs the better! That can seem kinda topsy turvy because of how we assume business works, but you will get it once you're in it. The more sharing, and ad using, and product reviewing, and blogger on other blogger viewing, the better. It's a very supportive, encouraging community. There are even conferences! There are awards and all sorts of interoffice drama, but really it's a lot of passionate, independent, creative, motivated people that have something to share. That's why there are so many tutorials. They want you to know how to do exactly what they do!
9. Use Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.
All the time. Pin to group boards when you're invited to them, tweet @ people, and share pictures of your Starbucks cup in the foreground of your city street shot. Utilize it. Be a good neighbor and you'll find good neighbors. Like, retweet, share, favorite. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be supportive and kind. Leave comments. It's a great way to get to know people, increase traffic, and pick up priceless tips and lessons that can save you countless hours of digging yourself out of a coding hole.
10. Be Yourself.
Don't pick out a character to play, unless that's your whole thing. Be genuine, and pick a topic, or cause, or craft you're passionate about. We've all read a lifetime of news articles and factual reporting, we want personality and perspective. In Almost Famous, one of my favorite movies, my favorite line in the whole thing is "the truth just sounds different". Sure you could start a business site that functions perfectly and has robo names for everything if that's the kind of site you're building, but if you're blogging people really like to see your true colors. Look at the popularity of reality tv and lifestyle vlogs. We're all curious and excited to see how people really are. It's scary to just be yourself, but you can do it. Whether you are a teen boy into My LIttle Ponies or a retired woman who loves wearing purple hats, just be you. Really, when it comes down to it, when you do anything new you learn more about you. This process is especially beneficial in this department. It's a wonderful thing.
If you would like to share your blog link in the comments and maybe a short backstory or some tid-bit or something you learned in the process, I think that would be really fun.
Follow Angela Jamene on Twitter: www.twitter.com/prayfartherFTF