Have you ever set up a blog?
I did over the past several months. Let me tell you, there are a lot of decisions to make. When I make decisions about a beloved project (like my first blog), my perfectionism starts tweaking. I want to make every decision perfectly. I want to choose the best of all available options. If I hit a road block I start questioning every previous step..
Make the first decision
Here's an example. One of the first decisions you have to make about your blog, after deciding on your niche and choosing a domain, is, where you will host the site for the blog.
Initially I chose to host my blog on 10Web using WordPress as a platform. I did this because I found a deal on AppSumo to host three web sites and get all their building tools and a dashboard where I could check on the health of and traffic to those sites. The cost was about the same as typical hosting with a lot more features. Sign me up!
It took me only a few minutes to create the site and install WordPress. I messed around with the native themes 10Web offers and decided against using them. Then I found a theme I liked (after much searching and narrowing down). There are a gazillion themes out there. If you're a devoted optimizer (read: perfectionist) then you could get lost for months just choosing a theme. But I narrowed it down and chose a theme that had the built-in features I wanted and also a snazzy design (I didn't want to have to do too much customizing ... I wanted it as turn-key as possible so I could start writing content).
Wrong decision? Beat yourself up
I was working down my checklist of steps, and after hosting I found that I also needed to set up an email address with my domain name in it (@mydomain.com rather than @gmail.com). I Googled and read the first results and found that most web hosting providers also provide an email for your domain. Unlike most other hosting providers, 10Web does not provide an email. When I discovered this, I immediately began questioning my decision. Should I get hosting from somewhere else? Did I choose the wrong web hosting service? Darn you ... you didn't do your due diligence. You should have thought through this more. Now you're stuck!
I like to beat myself up at every opportunity.
But then I realized what I was doing. I was beating myself up for not optimizing perfectly. I didn't choose the perfect right option. And then I realized, there is NO perfect right option.
If I spend all my time optimizing I will never get my blog built.
Take the next step forward, not backward
The most important thing is to take the next step, and not go backwards (second-guess the decisions I already made). And the next thing I needed to do was to set up an email address. I was just where I should be. I was on my path. I had discovered new and valuable information, which is, 10Web will not provide a domain-specific email. Now I can move on and figure out how to get that done.
Moving on, I found MailGun which provides a free domain-specific account. Done.
How much time do I spend trying to optimize. How often do I beat myself up for not optimizing perfectly? This is a losing proposition, searching for the perfect right option. There is no option that's perfectly right. The time wasted on that search is much better spent on doing the actual writing and editing work of blogging.
My new motto: Get going fast, however imperfectly. After you get going, then find ways to get better and faster in action. Banish perfectionism whenever it rears its ugly head.
There is no perfect right option
There is no perfect right option. Choose a path. Take the first step from where you stand. Wherever you end up, take the first step from there. Remember where you're headed and keep taking steps until you find your own way there. You're the only one who can make your journey. No one can make it for you. There is no perfect path ... whatever path gets you there is the right one.
Keep going. I'm backing you up and cheering you on!
Part 2: I drafted this article and had not yet posted it when my blog building adventure took another unexpected turn. Hackers gained access to my WordPress site and installed phishing software targeting Microsoft. I got a take-down notice from Microsoft's vendor telling me I must remove the malicious files. When I ran my WordPress security plug-in I found hundreds of bad files! And there was no easy way to remove them all.
I decided to scrap that site. I also decided to abandon WordPress altogether. WordPress is built with a language called PHP which I don't understand well. The code-base is huge and complex. It's easy to hide small malicious scripts among the good code where novice bloggers like me will not detect them.
A quick Google search for WordPress alternatives brought up Ghost, an open-source platform dedicated to making publishing content much easier than WordPress does. I worked through some tutorials. Then I followed instructions and installed Ghost on a DigitalOcean droplet. It was much easier than setting up a WordPress site. So far so good.