Building a blog is a bigger pain in the ass than I imagined it would be. Some years ago, a friend and I put together a BlogSpot blog for our book group. It was a bit finicky to customize but it was manageable. WordPress claims their “five-step checklist will get you set up and ready to publish” and “the process is easy to follow whether you are 20 years old or 60 years old.” Maybe that’s the problem! I’m not exactly 60 anymore, just a little past that inconceivable life milestone.
The above assertions on ease of use are basically true, but what do they mean exactly? When I was working as a researcher, I was a considered a power user, someone who knows PowerPoint, Excel, Visio, and InDesign well enough to make those applications do what I wanted them to do. It helped that my husband is a computer guru and got paid for being a geek. But blog building requires a whole new skill set. Although the five-step lesson does what it’s supposed to do, which is create a blog, you’ll be very disappointed with the result. It’s an almost blank page formatted from the particular theme you chose, which will include the title of your blog and some random but empty page links. It ain’t pretty! It’s quite disappointing to see how unremarkable that new blog looks knowing that it’s entirely your responsibility to make it outstanding.
In fairness to WordPress, the darker secret is that no blog hosting site is as “easy” as advertised. Getting it up and running in a few days is not the hard part; it’s a labor of tears, determination, and lots of swearing to create it, customize it to look the way you want, and get posting. I can only assume that if I was 20 or 30 years younger, this would be a breeze. And to think I criticized all those Gen X, Y, and Z’s. However, I’m sure I can make a much better martini than they can, which I will enjoy after each successful step in creating my personal blog!
Once you have your blog looking spiffy, there’s another issue that needs to be dealt with. You have to figure out what the hell to write about so people will want to read your posts. Funny, witty, helpful, bitchy, annoyed, cranky (of course) – which way do you go? I think you know which way I’m leaning. You also have to come up with interesting and timely topics and make the posts long enough, but not too long, to keep the reader’s attention. No pressure, just have a sip of that extra dry, straight up, martini and continue composing!
NB: I have to give kudos to WordPress Support. As much as I fuss about following the convoluted instructions for blog building, their online support is excellent, very quick to reply to questions and generally very effective, even for a cranky old lady like me.