Today has been interesting. I think I’ve turned a corner and finally conquered a major task that has eluded completion since I first realized it needed to be done.
For the past few months, I’ve been working myself into a frenzy of concern and trepidation at the thought of upgrading my “starter” blog to a beautiful and modern new format.
After weeks of searching hundreds of WordPress sites, analyzing them, envisioning my own version, deciding to move forward with an idea, then scrapping that idea, I’ve finally done it. I’ve selected a new structure for my blog. I chose a WordPress theme, one already designed and ready for installation and customization.
This new blog of mine will change the way I both communicate with and support the community of writers, authors, and publishing vendors that populate the online world I inhabit on most days. I’ve purchased the template from a company that, for a fee, will also install it and then load my old blog posts into the format.
Of course, the categories on my existing blog don’t match the categories I’ve created for the new one. I see self-publishing differently than I did when I started this journey, and I understand so much better now how the pieces fit together.
I also better understand the impact of social media and Internet marketing. (So much so, in fact, that I’m having a hard time stopping myself from spinning off new ideas into start-up businesses. We all have go-to people in our lives, and a man I like to call The Godfather is always the voice of reason, the one I turn to when I’m ready to leap before looking, thinking, planning, and strategizing.)
My decision to expand the ways I will use my new blog means that every minute of free time this weekend will need to be dedicated to relabeling 18 months of blog posts. But it’s worth it.
After all, what’s the point of working so hard to gain new knowledge, if not to use it?
If my two previous and wholly unsuccessful attempts at designing my own WordPress site taught me anything – and it’s a lesson I keep needing to learn, apparently – it is this: know your limits, accept your limits, invest your time in your strengths, and plan your budget accordingly.
The value of the time I spent trying to convince myself that I could learn enough WordPress (with no prior experience to my name) and design something as beautiful as the one I’ve bought, is time that would have been better spent elsewhere. And it has delayed the arrival of the new site by nearly six months.
The new blog will have room for ads, something I’m very excited to test out. Marketing is fun, and it invites creative thinking in a way that few other areas of a company’s structure allow for, in my opinion.
Here’s the thing; I’m not sure how I will use the ad space. This afternoon, I signed up for Google’s Adsense and for Amazon’s Affiliate Program. If, as, or when earnings begin to show from any of these new ads I’ll be layering into place over the next few weeks, I’ll be certain to blog about it. I’m guessing there are many other self-published authors, writers, and newbie bloggers in the community who would interested in learning about the pitfalls and benefits of incorporating ads on a blog.
Specific information on the value of adding ads, in terms of income-generation, is harder to find than I had first believed, but this may be because I don’t know how to ask the right questions, or where to look for the information.
I’ll also be incorporating banner ads, both my own and, ultimately, those belonging to members of my social media community. To get things started, the graphic designer who made my short story covers is working with me to figure out what ads to create, and how best to position them on the site.
Last summer, I tried to create a way to share specifics on what was happening, work-wise, with my fellow self-published authors. The purpose was to create a weekly blog post that would provide links for new releases, new awards, free books, etc. Though the purpose had merit, the marketing logistics and information-gathering processes were flawed, and it was an idea that was destined to fail.
At least, in that incarnation.
Spending my days (and many nights) here on the front lines of self-publishing, marketing, and small business development, has brought to light gaps in the main structure of this emerging industry. I’ve observed many other writers and authors step forward and find solutions that strengthen the shared platform upon which we are all building our dreams.
I’ve benefited from their solutions. Now it’s my turn to contribute.
The new format, one which may finally make an appearance on the Internet in the next seven days, will launch in what I would label as the “Beta” version. New features will be added in during this phase, and mistakes will certainly be made as I work to establish a useful, viable marketing tool, and, through it, make my own my contribution to our shared purpose of connecting with readers.
Still, life shouldn’t be all work and no play. Yes, no matter how long my list of tasks this weekend, I’ll be taking a break in order to observe the time-honored and fun-filled tradition that is Super Bowl Sunday.
Now if only I knew which teams were playing in it.