The best advice I received as a new blogger
When thinking about starting a blog, you have so many questions. I remember when I wanted to start a blog I had so much to learn. I researched questions like, How do I get started? What is a blog? Do I have the skills to start a blog? I’m not tech-savvy, can I still blog? What niche will I explore? There are so many questions and topics to explore when starting your blogging journey. Now five years into my own journey blogging I find myself still learning something new every day. Considering recent events with a major social media platform going down, it made me remember the best advice I received as a new blogger.
Can you guess the best piece of advice I received? You may be surprised by the answer.
If you are like me and are a blogger or a person with a social media account, you are familiar with social platforms Instagram, Facebook, or WhatsApp. I know there are several other platforms including Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and the list goes on and on.
Honestly, I can barely keep up with all the names of the latest platforms. As a Generation X kid, I grew up with Myspace. Do you remember that one? Anyway, as I grew up and entered adulthood working multiple jobs and going to school, I did not have the interest or extra time to dedicate a lot of time to social media. I had my head buried in homework and if I did have extra time to play, I would attempt to battle my sister playing Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo. Remember that one?!
Nowadays, the idea of spending time on social media can be fun for some and a chore for others. Quite frankly many people depend on social media for different things including everything from connecting with family to promoting their brand and their livelihood.
However, this begs the question, “What if something happens to that platform? Well, if you have not already heard the news, this past week billions of monthly users of the platform Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp got a glimpse of what an outage or shutdown looks like. According to Google.com, there are billions of active users monthly on these platforms.
I did not see this coming…
On Monday, October 4th, 2021, I was minding my own business and scrolling through my smartphone during a brief break on my day job to check for messages and notifications. When attempting to log into my Facebook and Instagram accounts I was unable to access my home screen. I tried once more and the page did not fully load, so I backed out and signed out. “Oh well. It must be maintenance or something.” I thought. So, I went on about my day as usual.
It was not until the end of the day when I saw a headline on the news that social media giant Facebook was down for about 6-7 hours before being restored. This outage also included its sub-companies Instagram and WhatsApp. All these platforms are major avenues of communication, connection, and business marketing for billions of people.
Apparently, this outage coincided with the airing of an interview with a whistleblower from Facebook exposing questionable and unethical practices just 24 hours prior. If you want to see that expose, you can view the article from Time magazine here or the video clip here.
The problem with other platforms
This brings me to my main point. What this past week’s outage showed me was the gravity of which many, if not all of us, rely on social media. Even if your social media usage is modest and minimal, over 2.85 billion of us are reliant on this platform in some way or another.
Personally, this also brings to light the old saying “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” Have you heard that saying before? I have. Hence, this is why as a blogger, I share my content on multiple platforms. However, considering recent events, I am already planning on adjusting accordingly so stay tuned.
The best piece of advice
With all that said, the greatest piece of advice I ever received as a new blogger getting started was to buy your own domain/website.
Whew!! I am so glad I did this for the reasons I just laid out above. When researching about blogging dos, don’ts, and regrets, I repeatedly heard many say, “Buy your own domain.”
There are several reasons to own your own domain and website. And when I talk about the domain, I mean your URL or website name with .com, .net, .org. Excluding costs like hosting, fancy upgraded themes, and backend tech support, you can own your own website domain for a very affordable price. Websites like GoDaddy.com, Wix.com, etc. are just a few.
Reasons to own your own domain
So, aside from an outage, I’m sure you may be asking, “Why should I bother owning my own domain? Outages do not happen all the time.
This is true, however, here are a few reasons owning your own website is a good idea:
- You have the freedom to express your views in your content the way you want. Whereas, with a social media platform or other space, you may be restricted by their terms and conditions or rejected and censored unfairly.
- You have a piece of the world wide web you can call your own. It’s yours! As long as you pay your renewal bill on time every year, that little slice of heaven is yours.
- To piggyback on the first point, you have control over what ads go on your website. With a free blogger site, you do not have control of which ads may be placed on your blog. Also, the free platform you are using can shut down for whatever reason at any time.
It would be a shame to lose all your content and must start anew.
- Additionally, with your own domain and website you can control what images are featured and the overall design, look, and layout of your site.
- Having your own website is an opportunity for you to build a name or brand, establish credibility and community.
Just think about this. If all the social media platforms were wiped away tomorrow, how will your audience find you?
If you have your own website domain and mailing list to communicate with your readers and community, you don’t have to miss a beat. You can compile a newsletter and sent it out to your community to stay in touch and maintain that connection and/or retain your customer base.
With the uncertainty of daily life, it is important to take steps to prepare as best you can and help give you the best advantage as a creator, blogger or entrepreneur.
Owning your own website ensures you have a dedicated space you can call your own for you and your community in the event of a platform outage or all social media platforms disappear.
You can continue to grow your brand and evolve your business and content sharing without the hassle of having to start from scratch from nothing. Owning your own website domain gives you more freedom to focus on what you love versus living in fear of the next social media outage.
Share your thoughts
Do you have your website or blog? Did you experience problems when Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp shutdown? What was your reaction to the outage? How did you cope? What did you learn from that experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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