WordPress reliably informed me that this is post number 100 on Sewrendipity!
As a relatively novice blogger, it was a steep learning curve for me, with so many things to figure out in areas that were completely unfamiliar. Probably more experienced bloggers (sewing or otherwise) will have more words of wisdom and tried and tested methods, but sometimes, if you’re a newbie, it might be easier to talk to other newbies, or at least to those who went through these things not so long ago. So here are my two pennies’ worth and a few of the tips and tools I picked up writing my 100 posts!
Where to host your blog?
When I first started looking at blogging, there were pretty much two options: Blogger or WordPress. I knew nothing about either, other than the fact that a lot of sewing bloggers were on Blogger (it’s been around for longer). So that was my first option, but it turned out my desired domain name was not available, so it ended up being WordPress.com.
WordPress has two options for hosting: wordpress.com, which is pretty much plug and play, and wordpress.org, where you have more autonomy, but you also need a bit more knowledge for coding, and plug ins and such. I have nil experience in that area, so it was a bit of a no brainer.
WordPress offers several price plans. I am using the free one, and I have found that the 3GB storage space is more than enough at the moment. The one thing I would probably like to have from the next plan up, Personal (£30/year) is the no-ad option, but I haven’t heard too many readers complain, so maybe it doesn’t really matter in the end.
You have an option to use a free domain, like abc.wordpress.com, but I chose to buy my own domain. It was £12.99/year in 2014 (getting a bit more expensive lately), but I felt it was worth it, to secure my domain name.
There is so much support available from WordPress themselves, but also from forums and other resources available via Google. WordPress University offer a ‘Blogging 101′ learning programme, I very much recommend for absolute beginners. You get daily lessons and home work that will help you establish your blogging setup and routine. You can also pick up a few followers and friends in the process. All I know about using WordPress I learned by looking things up on Google or the resources above. I did buy a book at some point (WordPress for dummies), but it only made me realise that things move on so fast that no book can keep up.
Look & feel
Crazy enough, one of the hardest things when I started my blog was choosing the theme, colour scheme and logo. This took ages to hone in! It probably sounds vain, but it was really important to have a professional looking blog, that it all hung together nicely.
WordPress has tens of free themes, and I really am not the best person at making decisions. It took me more than a month to sort that bit out. It obviously helps if you have a web designer buddy or even better, if you are one, but for the lay-people, probably best to choose a theme and keep it simple. I am using a free theme called ‘Suits’, btw. You can of course buy theme, but my main objective was to keep things as cheap (read free) as possible.
Logos & design
I also wanted a logo, obviously sewing related, and again, looking for the cheapest option. I used Fiverr, a service marketplace where you can hire a professional designer (and loads of other skills as well) starting with $5. It usually ends up being a bit more, as you can only get the Billy basic for that, but still it ends up being much cheaper than say, getting a London based designer to do it. You will give a brief, they will come up with options, and you get a few amends, depending on the type of gig. I used a company called Updraft, they are based in Canada and I was very happy with their services. They also helped me design my business cards, which I then just uploaded into Vista print. Very easy.
Serious bloggers really plan their posts. That is definitely not me! As a rule of thumb, I try to post at least once a week, but that is more a guideline than a rule. I have taken prolonged breaks when life got too busy and I do feel guilty about it. But then again, this is a blog for fun, it’s not monetised, it’s not a job, so hoping you guys stick with me through the hiatus(es) of past and of course of the future. However, I have heard people talking about content planning apps, but I don’t use any myself. CoSchedule I’ve seen recommended, but it’s not free, so I didn’t think my meagre activity was worth it.
I just realised I’ve been ranting for over 850 words, and I also wanted to talk to you about photography and imagery in general, but let’s leave that for another time, before you all switch off. Maybe we’ll even turn this into a mini series.
For now, happy 100 posts to Sewredipity and here’s to hopefully many more!
Thank you for sticking with me and reading as many of them as you did!