I've been into technology since I was a small boy. My first computer was a Texas Instruments TI-99 4A, followed quickly by a ZX Spectrum+. I remember my first experience of browsing the world wide web back in 1995 at University and being amazed at what the future could hold. I made my first web site on the GeoCities-like site, Fortune City around 1996, and bought my first domains and hosting space in 2000.
So why did I only start this blog just a year ago? Why did it take me so long to get round to blogging? Well, in my experience it was down to two issues- procrastination and perfectionism. I had made previous attempts in blogging over the years, but unfortunately they never lasted very long as I never seemed to have the time to maintain them, but more importantly I had too high standards. I looked around at everyone else's blog, and they seemed so much better than mine.
I don't think I am alone in this, and I still know quite a few people who would like to blog, but just haven't got round to it. The problem is, there are just too many other more important things to do, and if you are going to do blogging, there is this overwhelming feeling that you have to do it well.
The problem is, perfectionism and procrastination were huge barriers for me. They stopped me from even making a start, or from trying it out for longer than a couple of weeks. The past year in blogging has taught me quite a few new things which I'd like to share with you.
1. Having too high goals
I hate to mention this to you, but you're not perfect, and neither am I. It sucks, I know, but that is life. The thing is, making mistakes is part of life, and you may as well accept you are going make them in blogging too. The great thing is (unlike the printing world) that you can correct and update your text, and collaborate with your commenters. I've had some great comments on articles on my blog, and I have learnt a lot.
One of my big issues was that I wanted my blog to look ultra professional. That isn't a bad thing, and I still have that aim. The problem is that my standards were raised unrealistically high.
My recommendation is to start simply, and grow over time. Although I am a web developer, I decided to use an "off the shelf" HTML5 WordPress theme, just so that I could get on with writing my blog. I do plan is to upgrade to a custom built one in the future.
My other recommendation is to offload part of the thoughts for the design to someone else. Share the load! Being too close to a project isn't always a good thing- it can cause over-perfectionism to creep in and make the project never ending. Do yourself a favour- keep it simple and offload the design!
2. Not having an idea of what you're going to blog about
Another problem experienced was that I didn't have a plan on what I wanted to blog about. In the past, my blogs ended up having such a varied collection of subjects that it ended up being a bit of a mess! I have so many interests including food, faith, tech, music, politics and travel, but it was a mistake to write a blog as diverse as this. It's important to understand what your blog is going to be about and who it is targeted at.
Of course, it really depends on your reason for blogging. There are people who blog purely for themselves, just as a way to write their ideas down. I think that's a great idea, and it is something I kind of do myself on another blog (when I get the time). You could also have a personal blog where you connect with your friends, again having a clear focus might not be a high priority for you.
Despite this, I feel for the majority of people, working out the strapline for your blog, the subject matter and the type of audience you are gearing it at is of paramount importance. Early on I decided I was writing this blog for business owners and marketers as well as occasionally gearing towards web developers and more tech-savvy people.
3. You're Not an Expert
The term "expert" is bounded around a lot at the moment. I've lost count of how many social media, SEO and marketing experts there are around. I'll admit, I dislike the word, and refrain from using it myself.
An expert almost implies you know all there is to know about a particular subject. I feel passionately that it is important to realise that we are always learning, and there will be new things in your area of expertise that you will learn right up to your dying day. We are all learning.
If not being an expert is stopping you from blogging- stop trying to be an expert and just get on with blogging. You will know a lot more about your subject than a lot of people, and you'll end up learning more by getting on with blogging. Don't worry about the people who know more than you- your blog won't be targeting them!
4. My Grammar is a bit more Worse than my Spellung
If you struggle with your spelling and grammar, then you are not alone. This should not be a barrier to blogging. Remember your trusty spell checker and remember to double and triple check your copy. I think it is a good idea to get a couple of other pair of eyes to check things too.
So you are a perfectionist? Well, just for a moment, put that to one side and GET ON WITH IT! In the early days, Google would release a product that wasn't quite ready and then fix it later. Things haven't changed much, a lot of apps are released in beta and fixed later based on user feedback. It's important to get your ideas out there. Stop procrastinating and build your blog- you won't regret it!
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Have you started your blog? How hard was it? Are you still procrastinating?