Blog On, Babe: If You’re Struggling To Start…
For the last ten weeks, I’ve been writing about blogging, giving my tips on how to make the most of your little corner of the blogosphere. I headed over to Facebook to ask my babes what I hadn’t yet addressed. This question stood out to me…
What about someone who’s struggling to start and getting caught up on things like the name of the blog, etc.?
My answer? Just begin. Perfectionism is procrastination.
Way back in 2006, I started my blog on a terrible platform, with a banner I’d handwritten, and a name — iCiNG — that didn’t mean much. I didn’t know what it would become or where it would take me, I just knew that I wanted to do it, and I wanted to enjoy myself as I did it.
I didn’t even read blogs when I started mine… And I think that has been an advantage. The more you compare yourself to others, the more you seem to come up short. The more you take in from everyone else, the more their influence starts to creep in. And the more you read, the more your work starts to look and feel like everyone else’s.
That’s the thing with the start of any story: you can never possibly know where you’ll end up. When you open a door, you don’t know what effect that will have on your life a year from now. That’s the fantastic and terrifying thing about life — no guarantees.
So, my sweet procrastinator: pluck a name out of thin air. Choose a couple of colours that don’t make you want to puke. Buy a domain, install WordPress, and just get going!
You can spend hours “gathering inspiration” (also known as pinning recipes and DIYs that you’ll never get around to). You can agonise over the perfect colour-scheme, or the snappiest slogan.
But you know what? Some of the best websites have silly names or hideous colour schemes. When it comes down to it, what matters is your content. If you’re writing drivel, the fanciest template won’t encourage people to stick around. But if you’re writing rich, smart, compelling, unusual stuff, then even a flashing gif won’t keep people away.
Of course, once your writing is up to scratch, you can start fluffing around with templates, creating more of a brand for yourself, networking and doing the other million things that will take your blog from zero to superhero. But you can’t do any of those things until you START.
I know how easy it is to get tied up in the planning stages. You um and ah over every small decision, wondering what the longterm effects will be if your URL has a hyphen in it. You dither around with colours, fonts and business cards — never-mind the fact that you don’t even have a business yet! This whole process is so common, in fact, that it has a name: analysis paralysis.
The best branding in the world means nothing if you don’t have anything for your audience to read once they find you.
It doesn’t matter what decision you make, all that matters is that you make one. In fact, any decision is the right one, as long as you start working towards it today.
There’s a fantastic Chinese proverb which goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Get it, girl!