Hi ASA fam
Greetings and I hope are enjoying your week-end. As I have decided to be more committed to my blogging journey this year, I thought I would reflect on some of the mistakes I have made thus far. Hopefully this might help some of you thinking about embarking on this scary journey of sharing your views on the big wild and scary world of internet.
Social Media Presence (or lack thereof)
It took me 2 years to get an #Instagram account and despite creating it last year [Do check it out @africanstudentssbroad(ASA)], it is not linked to my blog just yet. This is a BIG no no. Many of the views and readers are in fact gained through social media be it Pinterest, Instagram and/or Facebook. I am working on fixing this before the end of this month.
This changed at least twice, while the account was already created: eek! While it is perfectly understandable to change your mind, watch out for your contact details and email addresses as these might no longer be accessible. I am currently experiencing this issue and plan to resolve it shortly
First of all, I would like to apologize to all my followers/readers for the inconvenience caused on this one as I know a few people tried to reach me unsuccessfully. For some reason, the registered email addresss stopped working as my contact page is currently linked to the old email address which was deactivated.
Blog Theme (i.e. Look & Feel)
This will probably take you SO much time and end up being a timewaster as well. An
article I read suggested selecting a theme in the beginning knowing it will change and improve in future. Do not get paralised with going through the 100s of WordPress themes without selecting a theme that works. I also decided to updrade my suscription as I have access to more themes. I am in the process of changing my theme based on the blogs I admire i.e. A little bit of Lacquer, Hayet Rida, Opportunities for Africans
Not being tech savvy (or committing to becoming)
When I started ASA, the goal was only “to start” and I unfortunately did not put much more thought into what would be required and how to run a blog successfully. I focused on creating content (i.e. writing) and not so much on becoming WordPress savvy (e.g. what pluggins would be requires, how to improve the traffic to my blog, what plans would work better based on my goals,etc.). I have now decided to upgrade my blog from the WordPress Personal to Premium Plan. Last year, I also decided to do a Blogging Course offered by WordPressTraining Johannesburg which really helped me increase my knowledge about WordPress. Do watch out for all the upcoming plans and changes:)
Not writing directly into WordPress
At the beginning, I would write in MS Word and then copy/paste the content onto WordPress: what a nightmare and absolute waste of time! The format would change, and I would have to spend an extra 1 hr editing the content on WordPress. I then read an article suggesting writing directly onto WordPress as one can save drafts which has now simplified the editing process.
This is probably still my biggest downfall. I mean 2 things here: (i) a schedule of blogging time required (i.e. a paricular day of the week and time either before and/or after work) and (ii) a blog post schedule for your readers (e.g. Sunday evening). Furthermore, you
need you plan your content as well. Based on the articles I have read , you need to have at least 2-4 content posts already lined up. This allows you to keep a strict posting schedule during these very busy period, especially if you are working full time. Although I still need a strict both blogging & posting schedule, I believe I have improved from my early days. I now save all my blog ideas/drafts on WordPress and get to edit/finalise them when planning to post. I have committed to uploaded at least 1 blog post per week this year.
Not being focused (audience & content)
Those who know me well are used to me sometimes jumping very quickly from one idea to the next-blame the Luminary in me. I have many opinions & I like many things :D. My original mistake was to want to write/post about anything that went through my mind. This did not work for 2 main reasons (i) it was not necessarily serving the purpose of why I started the blog (i.e. empower African students abroad) and (ii) not every idea is a blog post-here is why…Trying to force an idea into a blog post is a COLOSSAL waste of time because it would take me much longer to create a story line out of what should have just been a brief status update on my personal social media account. I still struggle with this at times, but I am now better. I am only committed to sharing content relevant for my intended audience i.e. African students abroad/students abroad.
This is probably my biggest struggle as fear has held me back. I started ASA with many doubts about whether or not (i) I could be a successful blogger and (ii) the content would actually be valuable for my readers. That fear is still there but thanks to your comments and a good support system I have decided to forge on. Plus most of the bloggers I look up to have been at it for 4-5 years before their big break, so if my content can help 1 person at a time… that would still be worth it.
Underestimating the time it requires for a post
I see all sorts of “how to write a blog post under 1 hour”. Not sure about who these amazing bloggers are, but it takes me a anytime between 3-6 hours per post depending on the content (sometimes more for post that require some research). I believe I will get better at this with time, but it still takes time before posting something just like writing an essay in school. Knowing how much time is required per post has also helped schedule better.
I hope you enjoyed this post and it helps anyone who is going through this and/or thinking of starting their own blog. I am sure I will keep making a few mistakes, but am excited about the journey to correct the ones I have learnt from.
P.S: All Gifs were taken from giphy.com