This morning when I woke up I had the sudden realization that my blogger life was more and more looking like Disney Movies.
So let me explain why I suddenly feel a kinship with these fictional characters now that I’ve begun the blogging adventure and had to thwart some of its traps.
My first analogy will be Sir Hiss in the movie Robin Hood.
I was an ordinary girl perfectly content with my reader and reviewer’s life when two friends went all whispering tantalizing blog promises in my ears. Imagine Sir Hiss whispering in the King’s ear: “You should really have a blog” “It would be so much fun and it would be yours!” “I’m sure you’re made for it”… Enthralled by their alluring promises (insert the snake Ka’s rolling eyes if you want) they convinced me that I COULD DO IT! I WILL BE A BLOGGER! You know these super heroes sharing words, fun and wisdom on the net, that would be me!
Now here comes the Tangled analogy because I left my reading tower and like Rapunzel jumped out of my comfort zone.
Just like her I also had to find many creative ways to make it all work and put mountainous amounts of hours to create something more or less closely looking like what I had in mind. Just like Rapunzel, it’s been a big and sometimes risky (see the siren call of shiny plugin here below) adventure so far. Never boring that’s for sure! I also had to adapt and develop astute strategies not with frying pans but with magic keyboards.
I soon realized many issues awaited the wannabe blogger.What should you know before jumping in the blogging pot?
- First issue: choosing a website creation tool. After a quick study on Goodreads, my wonderful reader homeland I decided to choose WordPress. It was said easy to use so perfect for a newbie like me. Who wants complicated right?
- Second choice: do you self-host your site or do you host it on WordPress and take the full packaging?
Self- hosting means total freedom. You can’t be kicked out and see your site shut down except if its content would be extremely inappropriate or violent. You own your database. You have tons of very helpful plugins to make it all gorgeous (but beware of the plugin siren call and follow the link here When a shiny plugin’s siren call made me sell my soul to the Devil…I was screwed!”). You can modify your themes and not just their style. The downside? You have to update and back-up yourself.
Hosting on WordPress means you can’t add plugin aside from the basic ones already on WP. You also get ads if you opt for free website (you can get rid of them if you pay for hosting) and no total freedom. But it comes with an incredible net of bloggers and is really helpful to build your connections. You can also reblog easily and WP cares for backups.
As I’m a “control freak and freedom first” kind of girl I chose self-hosting.
- Third: how do you choose a theme? You have a picture of your dream blog in your head but what’s the right theme to make it come alive?
Of course you can pay a web designer and all will be well. But I did not want to pay big bucks to begin with and more importantly I wanted to do it MYSELF (proud girl here).
Blogger advice: learn some of the basic jargon also known as the techie gibberish.
I had absolutely no clue about RSS feed, widgets, plugins, difference between pages and categories, tag (except on Facebook I’ve never used one before), slides etc. I had faith in my fast learning abilities and went semi blind (that would make a cyclops no?).
As a true girl I just chose what looked good and began right away. BIG, BIG MISTAKE! I know I should have read everything related to WordPress before choosing. Even the dots on the “I”. And that would be my other advice: take the time to read nearly everything before taking the plunge. But I’m an action girl. The “learning in doing” kind of chick. So of course I made mistakes upon mistakes. How so my theme can’t display a logo and a title? But I want my shiny logo and kickass title!!!
Well I had to change theme three times! So if you don’t want to lose time you know now the “don’t do it”…
Here comes the Cinderella analogy.
I had a fairy godmother plus mice and birds helping me.
The blogging community is full of techies and geeks ready to help you.
When I was desperate because I wanted my posts inside white frames and not displayed on the same background color, I sent a help message on my theme’s forum.
Here’s what my desperate cry looked like: cry for help on forum
These incredible guys Vinod Dalvi @vinod-dalvi and Wofneo @noaneo helped in a heartbeat and TADAAA, problem solved!
My husband also played fairy godmother and helped me countless times installing a virtual test server where I could make mistakes without affecting my original theme.
I’m really, really grateful for the help I got and that I will hopefully get from this community.
And the best is yet to come! I met incredible friends in this blogging world.
Because bloggers are HELPFUL and a TIGHT KNIT community.
They are like big kids who love to play with Meme (I had to learn what a Meme was). They love to chat and comment your posts, they all have helpful tips to share because most have had dysfunctional plugin/theme at one time.
I met incredible chicks from different continents and we’ve now decided to unite forces and share our experience on a common FB Page: Best reading Blogs Ever. Meet Danielle @ Pretty Mess reading; Tijuana @ TJ Loves Books Blog; Ramona @ Ramona’s Read With Love Blog and Corina (my sister in blogging drama) @Happily Ever After Book Reviews.
We’re five different and very motivated ladies determined to share our love of reading.
Here comes my parting movie and that won’t be a Disney movie but one of Steven Spielberg’s series
The blogging community is a wonderful community. You’ll fight wars stumble and fall but your blogger comrades won’t let you despair because someone will always give you a hand. We are a Band Of Brothers.
Oh my god, yes, there’s just so much to go through when you start out blogging, and you have no idea when you just start out! But yes, it’s totally worth it <3 awww, the ending of that post! So sweet 🙂
Hahaha thank you Evelina 😉
I love this post Sophie! I think every new blogger experiences these when they first start out. I never could have imagined how much this community supports each other. Especially since we all could be considered “competitors”.
Oh yes Anna that’s something that I came to realize: the support. It’s so much better to help each other.
I love this post! All the analogies are perfect! I had a Sir Hiss telling me I should start a blog and how perfect it would be too. I chose WordPress dot com instead of self-hosting though. I don’t know if I’m responsible enough to backup and update regularly. I want to make the decision soon, though. Lovely and VERY helpful post, Sophie!
Thank you Shruti! I’m happy to help and I’m also delighted when I can read your listicles 🙂
This post is hilarious! I love it! And can totally relate