I have spent the last few weeks reviewing all the content that I have imported from sweetgirlsjournal, and in many cases deleting content that either does not fit or is (well there is no other way to describe it) crap. You learn alot in the first 12 months after starting a blog and some of it you can’t learn any other way than by doing it. The mistakes you make are an important part of that creative process, learning who you are as a writer, what genre you fit into, and what you are most comfortable with, but there are things that I wish I had known a little more about before I began. As a disclaimer I have to say Mr H did tell me most of this at the time and I (ahem) didn’t listen. Of course I wish I had now, but perhaps this might save you from making the same mistakes.
Before starting a blog.
Before you even start, ask yourself why you want to start a blog. Do you want to write fiction or real life. Will they be informative, entertaining or a mix? Are you going to use your real name or a pseudonym? All these things will influence the mood and tone of your site and as such sit down with a notebook and make some notes. When I started writing it was very journalistic and I thought I needed to post something each day. As a result I would post two or three lines that were better suited to facebook or twitter. Eventually, I settled down and my writing became more personal. I found my voice and the things I wanted to write about. When you have decided on these things you are ready to start your website.
Free v’s Self Hosting.
WordPress* offer free websites, and they are perfectly usable BUT they are subject to content restrictions. In March 2019 wordpress suspended my site for ‘content’. All my posts were inaccessible and all the photos linked were gone. My only option was to export a copy of the database and go self hosted. If you do not intend to write about adult content you will probably be fine with a free site. On the other hand if you want more freedom, being self hosted is a good idea.
Whether you choose to use the wordpress hosted site or self hosted with wordpress installation, you will start by choosing a Theme. This is what will determine how your website looks. The free wordpress has fewer customisable options when compared to the self hosted wordpress platforms, but I still suggest you try different ones. Play about with colours if this is supported by the theme, and background images. In all honestly my advice would be to have a self hosted site; ultimately you will have more freedom and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Setrahost for example, provide a domain name free with their hosting plans. There are loads of hosting companies to choose from, just do some research and make sure that they are adult content friendly. After that you will need a domain name.
Take you time selecting a domain name, it is your online identity. Ask yourself does it represent your blog adequately? When I started out Sweetgirl was the name Mr H and I had decided on using as my online handle, and so sweetgirlsjournal seemed appropriate as I wanted the blog to be my online journal. Very quickly it became more than this. I began to write for meme’s and my content branched out to cover mental health topics too. By the time the blog was 2 years old I wished I had selected a different domain name, and as I am want to do, during one afternoon of searching for domain name availability, I happened upon ‘asubmissivewife‘ which I immediately wanted! Asubmissivewife, was more reflective of what the blog was about, the life experiences of a submissive wife, however, I had a domain name and couldn’t justify getting another one.
After wordpress suspended my site, I moved to Siteground. They had a special offer on so it was cheap. It took a while to rebuild the site, trying to remember which images went to which post and so on. Furthermore, old posts that had been linked to a meme were not accessible anymore. I could not tell people where the blog had gone. Just when I thought things were going well, the hosting service I had chosen came around for renewal, and my database was so large I needed to move packages. I went with a recommendation, a really cheap host, unfortunately the site was slow, access unstable, and after only a few weeks I transferred to a new host. This one, SetraHost, did everything for me. Migrated the site for free and I have had stable service ever since. I have been so impressed with them I have recommended to other bloggers too. I wish I had known how easy going self hosted could be, and that I had done it sooner! Protecting your work is important to, and it is essential to have backups that you can use to restore your site.
When the critical error occurred (a conflict between two plug ins) Setrahost helped me get the site back up and running. They restored from a backup, and this is when we found that my back ups were not working properly and I lost 3 months of data I knew it was the universe telling me that it was time to start fresh.
There are a few backup solutions out there, I use updraft. It is worth making sure your site is backing up correctly and so using a subdomain I created for testing purposes, every now and then I restore from a backup. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and if I practiced what I suggest I would not have lost 3 months worth of work! So, test your backups, pain in the bum? Yes. Better than losing months of work? Definitely.
Starting a blog – again.
When this error occured I seriously considered giving up. Instead, some wonderful fellow writers encouraged me to keep going and I decided to use this as an opportunity to start again. I started by thinking about the things I want to write about, and where I would have said my old site was a sex blog, I do not see asubmissivewife as a sex blog, any more than I see myself as a sex blogger. I am a writer, and I write about life, real life, in all its glory, and so I decided that the new blog would have a fresh feel. I designed it again using elementor and I’m really pleased with the result. It is going to take a few months to finish reviewing each post, update links and corrected the numerous errors, but once that is done, I will be even happier!
Yoest offer a free SEO and if you use this correctly your posts will be more easily found by websites. I have their pro version because it suggests words that work for your content, and I am inherently lazy. It isn’t necessary really, if you decide what your post is about for example ‘scrambled eggs’ then enter that as your focus keyphrase, try to put that word/phrase into your title (again it isn’t necessary but it helps) and then follow the SEO advice. Make sure your subject is made clear in your first paragraph, and repeat the chosen word or phrase regularly. You will know you have cracked it when the SEO face turns green.
This is one area I really do wish I had known more about. In the beginning I would take a picture, add a couple of filters, a bit of text and upload. By the end of Jan 2020 my media files were in excess of 6GB, taking up a huge amount of space on the server. I now download these images onto my laptop and resize them using paint. You can set your images to any size you like but the smaller they are the smaller the file. Some recomend 1280 x 720 pexels, but I decided to move to a smaller image size. The images on my new blog, are 600 pexels maximum (6.25″) on the largest side, keeping the file size small and ensuring that all the images are of a similar size. I also make sure the images are renamed to contain key words so I can find them using a search. These names are simple bra’s, boobs, bum, hands, well I’m sure you get the idea.
Time to write.
I started writing in a very journalistic way and I thought I needed to post something each day. As a result I would post two or three lines that were better suited to facebook or twitter. I settled down and my writing became more personal. There are some amazing meme’s** out there. You can look in the inlinkz directory for different ideas, but the ones I find most supportive and inspiring are the ones listed on my recommended reading page. I urge new writers to look at these topics and – here is the really really important bit – ONLY WRITE IF YOU WANT TO! Do not feel pressured into producing content that you are not inspired to do.
Ask for advice and help.
My last bit of advice? Ask other bloggers for help and advice. If someone has a site that you really like the look of, reach out to them and ask how they did it, chances are they will be able to help you achieve something similar yourself. If you are not sure if you can join in with a meme, message the organizer, using the contact me pages, and they will be able to tell you if you are on the right track. Most of the people in the blogging communities*** are very helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask.
* WordPress isn’t the only site offering free websites but I like the wordpress platform, it is user friendly and there are hundreds of templates.
** Writing memes are hosted by a blogger and run weekly, bi monthly or monthly. There is a list of memes on my recommended reading page.
*** There are a number of sub communities within the wider world of blogging. I class my blog as a lifestyle blog because I write about all aspects of life, including D/s and sex but not limited to it. There are sex blogs, devoted to erotic stories fact or fiction, pet blogs too talking about the things that their pet has done. What kind of blog you start it entirely up to you.