This blog is pretty new, and as you can see, there have been a few tweaks and changes to the layout/design. This is mostly because I want to find a great landing page that will catch someone’s attention for that brief moment before they close out and move on to another website/window.
Don’t worry if you’ve done it before. We all have. Nothing screams ‘GTFO’ like a website with a misleading identity crisis that’s filled with ads, popups, floating content, and worst of all, videos that auto-play at full volume. *shudders*
While, this is something that a normal person would probably preconceive prior to doing any layout changes, or even begin writing content, I opted for a more gung-ho attitude and just went wild. I spent an absurd amount of time trying out new WordPress themes, random plugins, and many different widget setups. During this barrage of website changes, I thought to myself: Hey, this might be a good opportunity to talk about some of the headaches that I, and perhaps some of you, went through while setting up my
online diary blog.
Blog Name – Is it witty enough for the Internet?
“Hey! I’m going to start writing a blog!”
“That’s great! What’s it going to be called?”
When you’re new at User Generated Content (blogs, videos, reviews, etc), I firmly believe that creating a name for your website or blog is one of the most difficult tasks to complete when starting out. Should you use your name? What about a nickname? Or an acronym of a description about your blog? Or even better, some random made up word that’s at least somewhat pronounceable?
Well, whatever titles and names you come up with, you will pretty much always second-guess it’s worth when you compare it to other blogs that have the wittiest blog names. And don’t be surprised when you find that perfect Internet-approved blog title and realize someone else has it already or something similar. Go ahead and scream in vain, as all that raw brainpower has gone to waste and you’re left with the fear of ‘copying’ someone.
But here’s a dirty little secret about the Internet for you: Almost 90% of the things on the internet is a repost, or at least heavily inspired by someone else.
So don’t stress about blog titles. Find something that fits you and what you’re going to be writing about. The important thing is to own it, and make it your own. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one that brings Internet-fame to the name first, leaving all the copycats and reposters under the mountains of spam, reposts, and downvotes.
So, have you got yourself a blog name, yet? That’s great! Hopefully it’s at least somewhat tangible to what you’re actually going to write in your blog posts.
What? It isn’t?! It’s something completely random and obscure?! It’s your gaming username that you also use for your social media platforms? WHAT THE….oh wait, that’s what I did. Nevermind.
Like I said, don’t worry about it. Just make it your own. 🙂
Content – What am I writing about, again?
Coming up with unique content is difficult when you’re starting from scratch. For me, I’m not looking to get a huge amount of views on this platform, but rather have more experience with blogging and writing. Since I’m not tied to one specific type of content, this allows me to write more freely about various themes and genres.
One of the worst feelings in the world is running into Writer’s Block.
But honestly, if you’re looking for a high viewer/subscriber count and earn some money from ads and affiliates, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stick to one focused theme for your blog. This essentially targets all of your future content towards a specific genre that people are going to be looking for actively, which in turn will help with your reach via SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By repeating strong relevant keywords in your posts and doing a little self-advertising, your ranking in search engines will climb quickly and you’ll soon find your blog/webpage on the first couple of pages of Google Search pages!
But a high search ranking is not the only reason to stick to one topic.
Say Internet Lurker Jimmy is looking for a more information on the new iNexus 15 (patent pending) that just came out, and it just so happened you just posted your in-depth review on the new handheld device detailing it’s pros and cons
on a yellow legal pad. Lucky for you, Internet Lurker Jimmy comes across your page and enjoys your writing style and the insightful perspective you bring to the iNexus 15.
But as Internet Lurker
Jimmy Jaimee (yes, Internet Lurker Jimmy has turned into a girl because this is the Internet we’re talking about) heads over to view your other posts, she finds that heavily opinionated post you wrote two months ago entitled ’99 Reasons Cats and Dogs Shouldn’t Exist on the Internet.’
Disgusted, Internet Lurker Jaimee quickly closes out of your website, vows to never visit again, and even starts rallying others in her large network to do the same. And soon enough, you find yourself with an inbox full of hate mail and not-sure-if-real death threats.
Good job, you sick bastard.
Just kidding, nobody in their right mind would want to get rid of all of the cats and dogs on the Internet. But you understand what I’m getting at, right? Stick to one topic, and you’ll find yourself pleasing WAY more people than you’ll offend. Plus, it’ll give Internet Lurker Jimmy/Jaimee a reason to come back when you post new content.
Layout – Is this pretty enough?
The Internet has become a highly visual environment. Think about it, the amount of pictures and videos shared on a daily basis is insane. A recent article showed that the majority of millennials spend, on average, 18 hours a day on social media browsing through pictures, status updates/tweets, videos, and sharing all of that. (Source: Entrepreneur.com)
So of course, we want to make sure our landing page and our blog posts are neatly arranged and beautifully presented to please our viewers. And if you’re having trouble with that, you could always have a friend visit your page and ask, or even observe, how they interact with your site. Or if you have no friends at all (cue sad music), then you could either a) turn to the Internet and ask complete strangers for their opinion, or b) leave the site alone for a couple days and come back with fresh eyes.
Or a visit to popular blogs and websites for inspiration. Or perhaps a quick Google search for ‘Effective Web Design’ and badda bing badda boom, there you go.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide what kind of layout you want to use and what is going to work well with your content’s theme. You don’t always have to fit the meta, but be sure to NEVER place auto-playing videos with volume on by default. You’re gonna have a bad time.
Plugins – Plugins, Plugins Everywhere!
This ties in very closely with layout, since plugins can make or break your website. Too many, and you’ll find your blog site breaking due to compatibility issues, or rather lack of. Too little, and you start to provide a disservice to your viewers.
You see, plugins help make your site become rich and feature-filled, helping your visitors read and share your content more easily. But unless you’re coding them yourselves, you’re going to have a lot of different developers with their own coding style that may or may not be friendly with others.
For me, I like going through other popular blogs, not just for their ‘Recommended Lists of Plugins,’ but also for the plugins they use on their website. Like I said before, 90% of the things on the Internet are a repost; or in other words, someone’s copying someone else. Use that to your advantage as you scavenge the perfect plugins that will really bring utility to your site, not just shiny buttons.
Writing – I’M SO LAZY!
I’m not gonna lie. I am VERY lazy. Especially when it comes to writing. Doubly so when it comes to reading.
I typically have to find myself in ‘the zone’ before I get to writing something as long as, say, this post. This ultimately comes down to having good coffee, a nice pair of headphones, and listening to a good mix of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) while I write.
So I highly recommend finding your own ideal environment to write, whatever it might be, and just go straight at it.
And if you just can’t get into that zone right away, try to pick up a couple topics you want to write about and start brainstorming about them instead. Outlining key points you want to include in each topic, and maybe researching a couple links to relevant articles and images goes a long way to save a lot of time when you’re finally ready to write. Don’t get into a position where you finally get in ‘the zone,’ but can’t remember what you wanted to write about.
I suggest reading this post from Buffer: How I Cut My Writing Time From 2 Days to 4 Hours. In it, Belle Beth Cooper explains how she used to struggle with writing 1500-word blog pieces and what steps she took to make it less tedious and more of a continuous workflow with great flexibility.
Just get it done
Blogging isn’t hard (at least that’s what I tell myself). So if you really want to start blogging, just do it. What’s it really going to cost you? A bit of your time and maybe some eye strain from staring at a computer screen for too long (which I highly recommend installing f.lux, especially for late night computing)?
And let’s be honest. You’re not blogging for your friends, your family, or even the awkward introverted people on the Internet. You’re blogging for yourself. So if keeping up with a daily (or weekly) post is too much, then post less frequently! (Have you SEEN my post frequency since I started?)
The important thing is that you have to enjoy what you’re writing about and and show your enthusiasm through your keyboard. 10/10 times, it’ll make for a better read for not only your readers, but also yourself.