Building a Blog From Scratch
I had mental designs of a blog for quite some time. Thanks to the global shifts, with the time and dare I say, the bravery to do start and follow-through, I built my blog from the virtual ground up, and I’m learning and incorporating lessons along the way.
Let me preface by stating, I’m not a graphic designer, coder, or anyone equipped to build a website singlehandedly. However, over the years, I have been involved in different professional scenarios where I had to do a little bit of everything, and I have taken the time to learn more about the different facets involved in putting together a blog beyond words. I thrive when I am learning on my terms and there is a passion and drive toward something greater. And when I believe in my humble invincibility. I understand and value facing challenges, but I have also learned that sometimes things just don’t compute for me, which is why it is great that there plenty of resources available for blog building.
You have to do the work for something to become easy.
When I got my groove back, much like Stella, I already had the machination to do the blog. I had the concept, initial aesthetic, and as always, I researched along the way. The truth is when I stopped waiting on someone or something else to collaborate on the project with (or anything really,) and I went for it, I found my definition of success. That also means, in my maturation, that I worked to remove the self-improved stressors of having everything all set and ready to go right off the bat, and also accepting where my brain simply doesn’t function optimally. We are always learning and evolving and I emphasize the term progress over perfection. So, with that in mind, I elected to take that gentle approach to this process. However, at times, it did not stop my fixation on having things executed on a particular schedule.
I have always worked well in my independence but was hesitant in my capabilities. I am often a few steps ahead, but I had to stop looking back, waiting for others to catch up or try to fit myself into a setting that my intuition warned me against. With all the trials and tribulations, I now know to stay focused on what is right for me, and to source help as necessary. With that being said, my constant guide has been all my internet friends with their articles, how-tos, and online courses to teach and support me along the way.
Here are some of the lessons I have learned along my journey of starting my blog, EGOxLESS.
Define Your Aesthetic as Your North Star
I’m a visual design nerd, I love color in any capacity. The background to my website comes from a shot from my photographer friend Cody’s portfolio. It holds special meaning being from him, and also because it was taken during the trip he took that were his first big steps toward pursuing his dreams.
When I first saw the image, it enhanced my original color palette idea. The pink was reminiscent of Southwestern tones, which is very much my preference in everyday life. I wanted to pair pink with blue to represent the duality of masculine and feminine, and the green and grey supporting shades rounded out the site for balance. Even with the fonts, I also pondered extensively over. I specifically went for impactful, sweet, and approachable. The site is representative of me in its aesthetic, as it should be.
Get excited about the visuals! Make the atmosphere signature to you. Especially if you will be spending time editing something, you want it to appeal to your taste.
Determine Your Level of Patience for Building
I love the design aspect, and initially, I wanted to build everything entirely on my own. Having dabbled in coding with very basal knowledge, I took some online courses and looked up some how-tos going as far as starting the process. However, because of where I would prefer to prioritize my energy, ultimately, I went with Wix. I built my site nearly from scratch but did not have to rely on my coding skills. With Wix, I had built sites on the platform before, along with being decently versed in WordPress. I also tried out Squarespace, Shopify, Weebly, and Yola.
They all hold merit, but for what my goals were, Wix has worked out best, and investing in the premium plan at a discount has been valuable. I would recommend checking out the list and see what would suit your needs. From here as well, it’s worth getting a few trusted friends to take a look for feedback on both aesthetic and functionality.
Here’s circling back to the original purpose of a blog. I have bits and pieces of content in notebooks, in Grammarly, and Google Keep is probably my most used app. I have a swirl of ideas most of the day, and instead of belittling my endless thoughts, I started to deem them as purposeful. Trying not to create additional stress in my work, I have found my flow, and play into my process. I created a basic schedule for myself, releasing eight posts a month between the blog (Tuesdays and Fridays) and posting here on Medium. This schedule keeps me on track and accountable. I load up content in the backend on the days where I am feeling particularly expressive.
The Social Experiment
I have an account on almost every platform. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Spotify. Why? I read in my research early on, that successful bloggers claimed it was good to brand across the platforms but ultimately find what works best for you and your desired audience. I only use Instagram frequently and find the most relatable content there. Luckily, my posts are connected to feed out to some of the others, and when I remember, such as right now, I can go and update those not covered. I also use the linking app Milkshake on Instagram, which I enjoy. It can be quite daunting, but it is necessary. I am still finding my footing here, and it has been purely experimental.
I think the stress of getting content done, then having to market on top of that in various places is where building a team is of value, but alas, sometimes we have to do what we can with what we have. Likely I will stop with some of the platforms at some point, but it’s still a feeling through what creates the most engagement toward the blog itself.
Let Your Niche Evolve
EGOxLESS translates to less ego, find balance, and lead from the heart. That’s that X aspect I chose for the logo. With navigating my way through creating my corner of the internet, I have been experimenting with keywords. It is still a learning curve for me in regards to their consistency of use. Certain words like balance (seen above,) consciousness, and self-awareness, for example, often creep into my writing, so I am learning how to make use of what I am gravitating toward naturally in my dialogue at present. #selfloveadvocate is a hashtag I am incorporating as well, and with consistent and repetitive use, things tend to stick.
I am not limiting myself to writing, specifically geared toward the human condition, but I do hold that underlying tone throughout all that I write. Here on Medium, I experiment with more diversity, and I am experimenting with pieces on my blog relating to things I love, musical choices, and more. I am not adhering to a singular tactic but rather keeping my authentic voice as my brand. I am also now able to define a niche for clients as I freelance, and that has been a great opportunity to learn, especially about different industries.
There are so Many Rules, but also No Rules
With endless resources out there, it’s about defining your purpose. Through your authentic voice and your audience, and all of the other details will follow. It also is a tedious process if you try to complete the brunt of work upfront and do not consider variables. However, if you are like me in that you have bits and pieces of experience and you do the research, you will already be ahead of the game, equipped with the knowledge you can turn into action.
Blogging is a business, its branding. When it is personalized, it holds a different sentimentality and intention. But it also becomes a calling card for your written voice. It is the merging of personal and professional worlds, and that has been the most interesting aspect of this journey for me thus far. As I have personally grown, I have also self-titled myself as an expert on blogging tactics. I have obtained skills since starting my blog that I previously wouldn’t have believed I could do. Aside from design and a little coding, I have learned more about the ever-elusive SEO and the basics of better formatting and my writing (for the most part) has become more succinct. I have been able to transcend my voice beyond EGOxLESS, but also as an extension of it.
Building a Blog from Scratch has been my launchpad to become a more adept writer and marketer, along with committing to being true to myself.