Blogging: Six Months Into Our Journey

Blogging: Six Months Into Our Journey

Many of our friends and family have asked us, “How come you have started a blog?” At some point we always knew we would eventually write about blogging, mostly to help others who want to dive into it too. However, as we kept having to explain to others this unexpected path we had embarked on, we decided that the best way was to write a blog post on blogging and how it’s going six months into our journey. Truth be told it’s not something we had discussed as kids or as young adults. We both always enjoyed writing, however, it was never part of any given conversation.  During one of our many walks together, around two years ago, the topic came up. It was actually Colleene who brought up the idea of starting a blog. I remember at the time agreeing with her, but thinking to myself, ‘erm not something I am capable of doing’. I could give you a million and one excuses as to why I felt that way, but the truth is, I genuinely didn’t think I had it in me. Who would want to read anything I wrote anyway? COURAGE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN Then six months ago something shifted. We were both at a crossroads. We found ourselves having very deep conversations about life, where we were at, regrets of things not done, of chances not taken. And so we finally found the courage to try something which was totally out of our comfort zone. “Let’s do it, let us start a blog. We won’t know if we can do it unless we try” Surprisingly enough those words came from me. I remember we were walking past Macdonalds. For some reason, that moment has stayed with me.  I had somehow in the last six months grown comfortable in my own skin, and I was willing to try something new. It didn’t take much encouragement for Colleene to jump at the opportunity.  It was a pivotal moment in our adult lives. Deciding to do something for ourselves, something we could create from scratch filled us with excitement for the future.  LET’S LAUNCH A BLOG  Deciding to launch a blog and actually going through the process of getting started are two very different things. We were understandably nervous about the whole procedure. Whilst the idea of being able to write about the things we love, and share our ideas, experiences and expertise with our readers, was at the forefront of our plans, blogging requires much much more. Boy were we in for a surprise. Don’t get us wrong, yes, it was exciting, however, when you have no IT knowledge (and I mean zero, zilch) and you are working demanding jobs as well as taking care of your family and home, it can also seem like a daunting and at times an impossible task.  THE FIRST STEPS TOWARDS STARTING A BLOG The journey towards our blog launch has been full of challenges, from designing our website whilst learning it all from scratch to struggling with SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing and learning graphic design.  We also spent hours upon hours researching the best software, the best hosting company, and the do’s and don’ts in the blogging world. On paper it all looked quite straightforward, alas it was not so! Buying A Domain Our first step was deciding on a name. After a week or so of going back and forth on names, it was Colleene who came up with The Opinionated Magpies. Not the full name though. We were at my house brainstorming and eating a takeaway (you will somehow always find us eating). Colleene was looking at a photograph of my late father which I keep on my desk. She looked up at me and said “Whatever name we decide on has to have the initials T.O.M. Like your Dad”. Obviously, that made me emotional, and I didn’t quite understand the reasoning behind it. In all honesty neither did Colleene as her answer to my ‘why?’ was, “I don’t know why, it’s a feeling”. So, after that was settled, and a lot of brainstorming, The Opinionated Magpies were born. Symbolically Magpies in pairs bring joy, positivity and success. The opinionated was simple enough, we are both just that, full of opinions. And so that same night we bought our domain name. (more on this in a future blog post where we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to open your own blog). We were so happy and proud of ourselves. We had taken the first step and felt as though we were well on our way to successful blogging.  FINDING AN ADEQUATE HOSTING PROVIDER This step was both frustrating and hilarious. Let me explain. The first company we decided to go with, based on other bloggers’ recommendations, (again we will cover this in a future post and save others the trouble we went through) was a total flop. Funny anecdote for you. On one occasion Colleene told one poor IT help desk assistant “Vishna, (assistant’s name) I am losing the will to live” This lady insisted that the solution to one particular IT problem was that we were not using the Euro section on the website as we are based in Gibraltar. Now, this particular section has nothing to do with the area but the currency for payment, yet this lady could not see the difference. We were on a call with this lady for around 1.5 hours and in the end, we gave up with that particular provider and started afresh with another, super-efficient hosting provider.  INSTALLING AND CREATING A WEBSITE There’s an ad on Youtube that goes something like this, “Building a website is sort of like painting a masterpiece, except it’s nothing like painting a masterpiece”  This ad couldn’t be more accurate. Building a website with zero IT knowledge was an absolute nightmare. I am not going to sugarcoat this.  Firstly we had to install the software needed to create

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