Every Thursday for the next couple of months, I’m featuring a 1st year blogger to write about his/her experience in the first year of blogging. Today it’s time to hear from Emily Cappo, author of Oh Boy Mom. I invite you to check her out and follow her.
The first time I met Emily, it was in our Bloppy Bloggers group. I loved her blog look and branding, not to mention her writing was excellent. She is a great blog friend and I’m excited for her to write here today.
I’m honored to be a guest blogger on Fabulous Blogging today. Thank you Julie for giving me this opportunity! I’ve been blogging consistently now for approximately five months at OhBoyMom.com where I write about my adventures while raising three boys. When I look back, I can’t believe what I’ve learned in such a short amount of time. Conversely, I also can’t believe how much I still don’t know.When someone even mentions the words “code” or “HTML” or “SEO,” I start to sweat.
I’ll admit, I hired someone to help me set up my blog initially. It’s not that I was being lazy, but I was impatient. I knew what I wanted to blog about, how I wanted it to look, and that I wanted it up and running as soon as possible. I simply wanted to write and not become bogged down with formatting and management. After all, I’m a writer, not a designer or WordPress expert. As I’ve quickly discovered, that was the wrong attitude.
The downside to hiring someone is you won’t learn how to navigate the technical aspects of keeping a blog, which may not seem important at first, but it was and is. At first, all I knew how to do was write a post. I didn’t even know how to add a photo or image, which is pretty pathetic. I still have never embedded a video in one of my posts, mainly because I haven’t had a reason to, but still, I should know how to do that!
Before I began my blogging journey, I took a class called “Blogging 101” through Writer’s Digest. I had tried to start a blog a few years ago and failed miserably, so I wanted to try again and do it right. The class was helpful as we learned about finding a niche, generating topics, keeping editorial calendars, and promoting our posts via social media. The class got me going, but I quickly realized that a truly successful blogger has to maintain that momentum and treat it like a job, even if you’re not earning any money from it.
My reason for starting a blog was not to make money, although that would certainly be a nice side benefit. You see, I have a memoir that I’ve been working on for a few years. It’s now complete, though in the revision stage. I want to publish it and try to go the traditional route first by securing a literary agent. However, my writing credits are a bit, um, thin. I’ve had essays and articles published over the years, but my writing platform is rather light.
A blog is a great way to build your platform and an audience for a book that one hopes to be published in the near future. Since I am so passionate about my memoir, I decided to put the majority of my writing efforts into blogging. What I didn’t expect to happen is that I really enjoy this blogging gig. I love it! I still want to get my book published, but if that never happens, I’m more than happy to continue as a blogger to see where it takes me and my writing career.
My final piece of learning is this: You have to love blogging to stick with it. If you’re doing it just to make money or to promote a product or service, I don’t think you’ll last. You have to really be enamored with the process – both the writing and promotion. If the love is still there no matter what your number of page views or revenue is, your journey will be joyous, with endless potential.
Editor’s note: I appreciate Emily talking about the problems with having a site designed by someone else and then not having the ability to manage and change it yourself. I have dealt with several bloggers who had to redo everything because the initial design was all coded and customized and the designer wasn’t up for weekly or monthly teaching sessions.
If you know nothing about WordPress, what are you supposed to do when you’re starting out? Hire someone who will help you get it set up but then teach you the steps along the way. Opt for a simple theme without crazy customizations so you can learn to manage it yourself with a few tutorials. Don’t find the latest tech nerd whose motto is to set it and forget it.
My goal as a blog consultant is to work myself out of a job- I design, implement, and then teach…the most important part of the whole process.
Thanks again Emily for sharing your experiences with us!