Inside: why starting your blogging journey with the homepage leads to delays and failure, and what to do instead
The vast majority of new blogs fail. Some bloggers fail because they don’t have anything to sell, others because they don't have time, but many more because they’re going about it the wrong way.
Take my friend A. (not her real name, obviously) She spent all night working on her homepage, then tried to change one small thing, and couldn’t. She tried a different template and ran into the same problem.
You see, A. was starting a new business. She was super excited about it and couldn’t wait to get all her ideas into the world. She bought a blogging course to follow, with step-by-step instructions. But here we are, weeks later, and nothing. She’s still “working on things”.
And that’s because she started from the wrong end.
How new bloggers are taught to start
Most new blogger programs go: pick a niche, get domain and hosting, install WordPress, find a theme, and start customizing your website. (If they’re decent, they won’t recommend Bluehost for hosting.)
Some even have you install a page builder, meaning you are now learning not one, but two new technologies at the same time.
Why this is not the best way to go about it
It gets you started, sure. But also frustrated, overwhelmed, and feeling like maybe this whole blogging thing was a really bad idea. Never mind the amount of money this is taking, between the expensive blogging course, domain name, hosting…
Oh, and now you’re reading in your Facebook group about paid themes, email service providers, and OMG your head is spinning.
And on top of all this, you’re supposed to be figuring out your avatar and writing pillar posts. But you can’t even make your blog posts look decent. And that homepage nightmare is still playing in your head.
Many people give up right then and there. Some temporarily, others for good. And who can blame them? It’s freaking overwhelming.
If you persist, you’ll eventually get your blog going and start getting a decent idea how you want your website to look.
Of course, by then you’ll have forgotten what you did to make your homepage look the way it does, so you’ll have the fun task of figuring out how to undo all of it first.
Fabulous. Not! Let me show you a better way.
How new bloggers really should start
You’re full of excitement. You have a bazillion ideas for your new blog, you got your domain and hosting, and a fresh WordPress install.
You’re ready to get all your ideas out there and pour out all your thoughts on your favorite subject.
Awesome! Run with that.
Start with the default theme. No page builders, no new themes, nothing. You don’t need to let the world know your blog exists yet.
Learn the basic built-in blocks. That’s all you need for beautiful blog posts. And you don’t even need all of them.
By the time you’ve written five or so posts, you’ll be pretty familiar with the WordPress interface. When you have ten, usually you will have seen and studied other people’s blogs long enough to have a good idea what you like and what you don’t.
Then, and only then, is the right time to start shopping for a new theme.
Because you’re familiar with the block editor, you can take advantage of the new gorgeous themes that use it for all pages. Like Splendor from Restored 316, for example. (Psst, widgetized homepages are outdated and limiting so don’t fall for that.)
Back to A.
Remember A. from the beginning of this story? Had she started with blog posts, she would have the first ten written by now. She’d also be comfortable with the editor interface and ready to tackle her homepage without stress.
And she’d be ahead because with blog posts, she could attract readers. The blog page could serve as her homepage until she built the one she envisions. Instead, she has neither blog posts, nor a homepage.
Seriously, don’t worry about your homepage. Learn to write high quality blog posts. Ride your wave of excitement as you learn to work with the basic blocks you need to make your blog posts beautiful.
Then once you’re comfortable with them, tackle your homepage. And the page that says it’s about you but really isn’t (aka the About Me page). And any other page you want because it will be sooo easy.
And you won’t even need a page builder.