Starting a blog has had been a long process for me. I originally bought and registered philliphughes.co.uk on the 10th January 2008. I also registered philh.co.uk and phillh.co.uk on the 1st July 2009. What was my intention when buying the domains? It’s so long ago I can’t really remember. Looking back I think I wanted to use the domain to play with a bit of new technology. With the end goal to have 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. Intending to create a fully functioning website, with a database driven Content Management System, which I would build from scratch. Starting a blog was the last thing on my mind.
What happened to that site? 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 as the page.
Crap I know. What was I thinking? Embarrassingly the website stayed like this until January 2016.
In early January 2016 I actually did 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. My freelance work was mainly helping friends out with their websites, 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 under a business name and create a one page website promoting my freelance work (You can view the current website here). I then pointed all my personal domains to this one page website as a temporary measure.
This worked as a bit of a stop gap. As 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 play thing for me, using it to hone my development skills and improve my knowledge.
A few months after I had finished my freelance work and my side hustles had calmed down (check out this great site about side hustles). I decided to setup a website using a CMS to manage both the new site for my freelance business and to finally do something with my personal domains. I had stumbled across Umbraco a few years early, also had 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, that was up and running. I had also managed to get the basic structure for my personal site sorted. Tinkering round 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 repeated itself. I became busy again with other things. The plan to finish my site kept getting pushed to the bottom of my list. So, yet again the three domain names I had purchased and at this point had renewed on countless occasions were still not being utilised. What should I do? Just suck it up and finish it? Pay someone to finish it for me? Neither option, I just left it sat there. Why should starting a blog be so hard?
So, it was the start of 2018 and 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 it terms of building it. In terms of 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 just 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?”. Me ploughing my spare time into building it wasn’t the quickest or cheapest (I value my time) way. After listening to Crush It! I just had to get shit done.
As part of 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 setup 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 had deleted my old website (saving me money on hosting). I had setup a new website, created all the content and optimised a site which was used to host my business website. Moving it from a one page static website, to a fully 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 setup a new WordPress site, install a theme and the plugins for me to manage my website. Sadly, 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.
Well, to be brutally 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 gives 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 helps one person with something that they are working on. Then “my work here is done”.
Also I’m into health, fitness and diet. Experimenting with different workouts and training plans that I hope people will find useful. I follow a Primal way of living, trying to be a modern day caveman (Although I’m sure that’s an oxymoron?)
Playing the Guitar and Fishing are also hobbies of mine (Great combination eh? Although I have never tried both at the same time). So I will probably 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 starting a blog? What has your experience been like?