Starting A Blog – It Has Only Taken Me 10 Years
Starting a blog has been a long process for me.
I bought and registered philliphughes.co.uk on the 10th of January 2008.
I also registered philh.co.uk and phillh.co.uk on the 1st of July 2009. What was my intention when buying the domains? It’s so long ago I can’t remember. Looking back I wanted to use the domain to play with a bit of new technology. With the end goal of having a website to do a bit of self-promotion.
The first iteration of my website was me playing around with ASP.Net 3.5.
Using the website to improve my development skills.
I wanted to build a working website, with a database underneath. And a Content Management System, which I would build from scratch.
Starting a blog was the last thing on my mind.
Well not much. I got a few pages together, with the homepage showing a picture of me on holiday over Christmas 2008.
I then decided to put this “under construction” message on the page.
Crap I know.
What was I thinking?
Embarrassingly the website stayed like this until January 2016.
Finally Finished A Website (Kind of)
In early January 2016, I started doing something with the domain.
Well, sort of.
I had been doing “freelance work” on and off as well as working on my own projects for a few years. Helping friends out with their websites, if you can call that freelancing. Nothing proper like proposals and invoices, stuff like that.
At the beginning of 2016, I finally landed a “proper” freelance job.
To make me look more professional I decided to register yet another domain. Using a “business name”, I created a one-page website.
The goal was to promote my freelance work (You can view the current website here). I then pointed all my websites to this new website.
This worked as a bit of a stop-gap.
I was getting less and less spare time to myself. I scrapped the idea of building my own CMS and decided to use an off-the-shelf CMS.
It was still going to be a bit of a plaything for me.
I wanted to hone my development skills and improve my knowledge.
Enter – Umbraco
The freelance work dropped after a month or two.
My side hustle work had also started to calm down.
My new plan was to set up a website using a CMS. Managing both the new site for my freelance business. And to finally do something with my personal domains.
I stumbled across a CMS called Umbraco years earlier.
I’d also done a bit of work with it in my day job.
Ideal time to give it a whirl and I went about setting up an Umbraco website.
After a day or two of playing around. I had moved over the one-page website for my freelance business. I also managed to get the basic structure for my personal site sorted. Tinkering around with Umbraco was fun. I liked how you could customise everything. and began using a template to design and build my new personal site.
As always, history repeats itself.
I became busy again with other things.
The plan to finish my site kept getting pushed to the bottom of my list. Yet again the three domain names I had purchased. And at this point had renewed on countless occasions and was still going to waste.
What should I do?
Do I suck it up and finish it?
Pay someone to finish it for me?
I ended up doing nothing, I left it sat there. Why should starting a blog be so hard?
Enter – WordPress
It was now the start of 2018
And I was still no further on with sorting out my website.
Luckily I found a bit of inspiration. I had listened to Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion on Audible, TWICE! Right, I need to sort my site out and do it. NOW.
Not in terms of building it.
But getting my content out to the world.
I had already compiled a list of things I wanted to talk about, with no way of producing blog posts.
As a programmer, I have always been of the mindset “Oh, I will build it”. Or “I will build a plugin/theme/extension to do what I want”. This is the main reason my personal website never got off the ground.
A few of my side hustles had started gaining traction.
I was trying to get into the mindset of a business owner by thinking “How can I get to X in the shortest, most cost-effective way?”. Ploughing my spare time into building it wasn’t the quickest or cheapest (I value my time) way.
After listening to Crush It!
I had to get shit done.
Getting It Done!
For some of my project work. I had signed up for a hosting account with TSOHOST. And was paying for their WordPress hosting package. I could set up 3 different WordPress websites with the package I was paying for.
As I was currently only using one slot for a side hustle.
I thought the time was right to start afresh.
Within a few days, I’d deleted my old website (saving me money on hosting). I had set up a new website. Created all the content and optimised the site I used to host my business website. Moving it from a one-page static website to a functioning freelancer website.
First part, DONE!
Right, my main goal.
Start a Blog, get it done, put it live for the world to see.
This time it took me an evening to set up a new WordPress site and install a theme and the plugins for me to manage my website. I started to fall into the trap of “The home page needs to look slick, the about me needs to make me look cool”.
“FFS, just sort it out”. I told myself.
It took another two weeks or so to finish a few pages and write this blog post.
On Sunday 25th February 2018, I put this website live and published this blog post. FINALLY, an actual functioning website I could call my own.
It only took me ten years.
So, What’s The Plan?
Well, to be honest, I’m not sure what the goal is for my blog.
I have a backlog of stuff I want to chat about.
Whether anyone will give a shit, who knows?
Being a software developer by trade. And having used my skills and experience when working on my side hustles. I have a lot of technology and programming stuff I want to blog about.
If the things I have learned and picked up over the years help one person with something that they are working on. Then “My work here is done“.
Also, I’m into health, fitness and diet.
I’m always experimenting with different workouts and training plans. I’ve recorded a lot of my results and findings. Hopefully, people will find the data and insights useful.
I follow a Primal way of living, trying to be a modern-day caveman (Although I’m sure that’s an oxymoron?)
Playing Guitar and Fishing are also hobbies of mine (Great combination eh?
Although I have never tried both at the same time).
So I will be boring people by chatting about “The one that got away” more often than not. Oh and complaining about how bad I am at playing the guitar, still enjoy it though.
How was it for you to start a blog?
What has your experience been like?