There’s a group writing project over at Problogger asking what people would do if they had to start their blog all over again. And recently, there’s been a lot of activity and the usual frustration in trying to figure out how to work with a new blogging platform in the personal finance blogging world, thanks to a very generous offer from an established author to move blogs over from Blogspot to WordPress.
I’m here to give a little perspective. Like my previous post about not having goals per se on this site, I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done with my blog. Here’s why:
Before I started blogging, I perused, read, and re-read a lot of information on Problogger and other sites, so I was probably better prepared for what blogging involved more than some others out there. I still read these sites regularly. But here’s the reason I did it originally: for me, writing stuff publicly available on the internet isn’t something you do on a whim because of concerns over privacy and security. I’ve worked enough in the past in IT departments (and been around hacker-ish friends) to know that there are a bevy of ways in which you can be unexpectedly impacted by what’s out there on the internet. So I use a strange moniker, and I was probably a little slow to embrace RSS feeds and adding any publicity to my site. I’d do the same thing again if I had to. On the other hand, I learned to use WordPress and get my own domain, too. Also things I’d do again.
Even the “mistakes” I made were useful. I’ve mentioned in the past that this blog didn’t start out as a finance site. It started out as an experiment in polyglot blogging (hence the domain name) and was discontinued once I realized I couldn’t do a good job at it. That’s alright too, since nearly all the time at the beginning of any blog is spent putting the darn thing together and figuring out what goes where. Once that was all done and I refocused my topic in April, everything has progressed at a rate way beyond my expectations.
Blogging’s still a very new thing. Sure, it’s been around a few years, but it’s like a startup, ever-evolving. Have you seen the array of new plugins that are developed each week? Or changes in layout trends? Or all the peripheral services springing up each month to service blogs? There’s no manual for setting up or starting a blog…that’s the nature of it. Don’t like something you did? It’s easy to change — low switching costs! It’s a different beast to each person, be it in the purpose for running one, the writing voice that’s presented, its look. For once, there’s really no right answer, and no right way to measure a blog’s success. There’s no such thing as a perfect blog, even to its owners.
Wabisabi: (??) An aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.
My purpose in writing this is to encourage anyone who’s new to just take the first step and not worry about setting up a “perfect” thing, and anyone who’s redoing their blog not to be frustrated. We’ve already got too many other things in life that already exert this type of pressure: “Don’t forget to do this. Watch out for that. If you do X, you might lose Y.” Investing and the very real prospect of losing money comes to mind.
And we’re already being measured in a ridiculous number of ways, like at work via productivity metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators). Let’s not get lost in the numbers for once. Why not take advantage of a rare, low-risk opportunity like blogging and approach it with a creative eagerness rather than cautious fear about all the mistakes you might make? As long as it’s true to you, you probably can’t go wrong. It’s worked for me.