Starting a blog for beginners - my experience

Starting a Blog – My First 3 Months Experience

In BLOGGING by Jurga9 Comments

It’s been three months now since I launched my website and started to blog. It feels like I stepped into a rollercoaster which just keeps on going faster and faster, making turns I never expected, and often I wonder why in the world I ever started this adventure… But most of the time I do enjoy the ride.

We have been traveling for a long time and have visited many more destinations than I will ever find the time to write about, but it never occurred to me to share our experiences with anyone else but friends or acquaintances…

Don’t ask me how I decided to start a travel blog as I don’t even remember it anymore. One day I just started. Maybe I read something that pushed me in this direction, or maybe I didn’t find some information I was looking for when preparing one or the other trip?! It’s not something I thought through, I just did it. Had I thought this through, I would have never dared to begin!

Anyway, now I’m here. Blogging about traveling. Traveling is my passion and I could go on and on about it for hours. But I realise now that blogging is so much more than just sharing your experiences with the world.

UPDATE after one year of blogging: If you want to learn how to start a blog or a website in general, check my step-by-step guide How To Start a Blog: Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Website.

Starting a blog with no experience

The learning curve has been extremely steep!

Four months ago I had no idea of how to start a website, how to acquire a domain name or where and how to host it (I didn’t even know you what all those things mean). It turns out that was the easy part! But then it started… It never occurred to me that you actually have to build a website from scratch; somehow I thought I could just buy a copy paste solution, and would be ready to go… I kind of did that when I bought the X-theme and although my site doesn’t look anything like the demo version I first installed, I would have never been able to pull this through without seeing how that was built and working from there…

I did not have a clue on where to start and I spent days and days at my computer reading and learning until I couldn’t process any more information… Next morning I brought the kids to school and started again… and again… and again… And so slowly my website started to get some shape, I posted a couple of blog posts, and I thought I was set.

Euphoria was quickly over when I googled my website just to find out that it was nowhere to be found. That’s when I started reading about Google optimization, structured data, crawling, sitemaps, robots, backlinking, redirecting, SEO, meta, site speed, loading times, caching, plugins, and all other impossible words I didn’t even know existed. I still don’t know half of what these terms mean or how exactly it all works, but at least now you can find me when you google fullsuitcase (but not full suitcase yet…).

This is just a tiny part of running a website! I know nothing about programming, CSS, PHP, HTML, and many other words regular humans never heard of, yet thanks to the great support of the guys from the X-theme I now use some CSS to customise my site.

I’ve learned the importance of having a backup of your site and hundreds of malicious login attempts to my account in just one week have forced me to look for ways to tighten security. I never even thought about this before – after all, why would anyone want to hack a family travel blog?!

Four months ago I didn’t have a Facebook account and had only vaguely heard about Pinterest or Instagram… So I started from scratch there too. A whole new world opened to me through social media… It took me days to just figure out the basics of how Facebook works – something the rest of the world did fifteen years ago… I didn’t know anything about how important tagging is on Instagram (and maybe on FB and Pinterest too – still have to find out). To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know what tagging was…

In the meantime I still try to be a good mom and wife, run the household, and find some time for my other passion – photography. We went on three trips (Iceland, Dubai, and Switzerland) in these last three months too (which is a lot, even for us). I don’t blog during vacation, which means I only blogged two months out of three… So when I look back, I don’t understand how I ever got this far. It’s just insane…

It will not come as a surprise – traveling is much more fun than blogging about it!

I never thought that this blog would take so much of my time, yet every spare minute is spent at my desk now.

The most challenging part is actually finding the time to blog and not spend too much time on the technical side of the website. The reality is such that up to now the technical part takes 90% of my blogging time… If I’m not tweaking the SEO or the plugins, I’m designing and redesigning my website, reading blog posts about blogging, or looking for the best affiliate programmes in the hope that all this will pay off one day…

And while I was writing this, my website ran into another technical issue and I spent more than an hour trying to solve it… To no avail… It will be something for tomorrow… again…

I feel like I’m running in all directions, yet how do I prioritise?! Do I focus on writing more content, getting more followers on Facebook or Instagram, or getting more Pins? Do I work on designing my website or optimising the technical side? Oh, and don’t forget trying to build a good subscription list which – like all the rest – appears to be of the utmost importance. And just when I plan my day, some technical glitch makes me spend all my time solving problems and making sure the site runs smoothly… That’s the beauty and the challenge of doing everything myself…

Well, almost all… I’m not doing this completely on my own… I have all of you to support me when it gets tough…

I want to thank my husband for proof-reading all my posts and for being so supportive! Even though he says he feels like a blogger-widower, he is the one who keeps me going when I feel like giving up … Thanks to my mom for being my most faithful fan! Hi, mom! Oh, and thanks to my kids for only asking to play board games 10 times a day, so that I can also find a minute or two for my blog during weekends…

And thanks to all my family and friends in Lithuania, Belgium, Sweden, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands who encourage me and take the time to read what I write and give me feedback. I appreciate every like, every comment, and most of all I appreciate when you tell me what I could improve, because that makes me grow…

Thanks also to a couple of great people I met along the way: Alexei from WPSpeedGuru for helping to increase my site’s speed from 8-9 seconds to less than a second (if it gets slower, it’s totally me screwing up again!) and for giving me some general tips, advice, and inspiration. And to Evelien from DhalléDesign for a good talk, some tips, a little help with my logo, and for telling me that the little square box is called favicon… So now I’ve got one too…

What keeps me going is seeing the daily stats of my page and knowing that somebody is reading what I write. That, and the feedback I get from all of you, an occasional like, a share, or a comment. Once in a while I even get comments or likes from people I don’t know and who don’t seem to be friends of friends! That makes my day!

So go ahead and say hello – you can leave a reply below,

Like my Facebook page and let me into your feed,

Or subscribe to my newsletter (which is another new project I have to start working on – so give me a good incentive to start)… I promise you, I won’t spam your mailbox. Ever.

Now that you are at it, why not do all of the above… and help me reach some of my goals for this year: 500 FB page likes, 50 subscribers, more Instagram followers and more PinsThe list of goals is endless…

In the meantime, I’m determined to make this into a success story and I continue to work hard and try not to forget to have fun along the way. Here is to the next three months!

Cheers, Jurga

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and pin this image!

Starting a blog for beginners - my experience

You May Also Like
Starting a Blog – My First 3 Months Experience was last modified: February 9th, 2017 by Jurga

Like what you've read? There is more...

Comments

  1. Amazing what you did in barely 3 months… With a clear goal and strong motivation everything is possible. I’m proud of you and you should be very proud of yourself! Continue the great work!

  2. Wishing you fun in whatever you do, and may all of your dreams come true! Very proud of you! Mama

  3. Hi 🙂 I was just looking for information about starting a blog and now I am not sure anymore… I realize it’s a lot of work, but I thought it was because of having to write a lot, do research and so. What about starting a blog on wordpress.com? They make it sound so easy.

    1. Author

      Hi, Jamie, thanks for sharing your concerns. Don’t get discouraged just know what to expect – blogging means a lot more work than you’d think. But it is very rewarding to learn how it all works and to see the results. As for wordpress.com, they do indeed make it sound easy and it is a good solution for people blogging as a hobby or for someone who wants to have a simple website. But if you want to have full control over your site you should consider other options. Most bloggers (myself included) are on wordpress.org. You can google the difference between the two – there is a lot of information out there. And if you decide to give it a try, I can really recommend the X-theme for building your site. It’s perfect for beginners, but it’s powerful enough and many professionals use it as well. So you can start with a simple website and enhance it later on as possibilities are endless. They also have great support. Good luck!

  4. Wow – I can so relate to this article. I have been working full time on our blog for over a mo th now (site is older) and everyday I feel like I get nothing accomplished. I am pulled in so many directions about what to focus on first. I have been trying to increase DA so writing guest posts, collabs and combine that with starting up my Pinterest, dealing with the tech issues, I am not writing new content as much as I should. So thank you for this article. You have clearly come a long way since and it gives me inspiration to continue on when I feel like giving up.

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comment, Dawn. I know exactly how you feel! We’ve all been there and – you’re probably not going to like hearing this – but I still feel like that every day: being pulled in all directions and having a feeling that I get nothing done. The biggest game changer for me was starting to work with goals. It really helps to prioritise and also to see some progress. Once a month I write down a few things I want to accomplish and somehow I always manage to get them done. You cannot work on everything at the same time, so pick one or two goals every once in a while and you’ll see that you are actually making more progress than you think. All the best!

      1. Thanks Jurga, it was nice to read an article with the same struggles, especially since you have come so far! Hopefully in a year, I will be seeing similar success:)

Leave a Comment