What sort of skills will I find in the skill tree for blogging?
Blogging is hard for a number of reasons. It’s one of those things that is very daunting for beginners because the terminology used sounds so technical.
And it is to be fair.
Skills such as learning about web hosting, the uninviting backend of WordPress, learning about cache, email campaigns, SEO and more! They’re all in there, and they all require at least a basic understanding.
Content creation is becoming more and more about things like SEO than it is about great content, that is just part of the reality of living in a world where search engines determine your visibility.
Creating a blog requires a basic knowledge of computers which can also lead to malware, poor coding, security attacks and all the other downsides to computer centric pursuits.
Not only that, but if you want to do it on the road, whilst travelling, you might need to carry around a lot of gear!
See the other skill trees here!
This was originally all going to be covered in one post but it became a tediously long post that sucked up resources and struggled to load, so for everyone’s sake I’ve decided to split it all up.
The benefit of course being better load times for you, and a chance for me to briefly explain each tree.
See the other posts here;
See the Skill Tree for Blogging here
A quick explanation of the skill tree for blogging
Let’s start with the obvious, if you blog you will use a computer or a laptop. Therefore you need to touch type.
I had always been a decent typist but I relied heavily on a few fingers and it was a bad habit. I decided to try break it at 30 years old. It’s actually been a reasonable process, with websites that will teach you for free.
I personally used this website to get me started, especially to get full keyboard coverage, then the tricky part. When you’re wanting to do a quick bit of research you must not quickly revert to your old typing style out of frustration. That is the key, never going back.
The next step is to get your head around your laptop. If you use MacOS then you should know all the basic shortcuts, where your files go, how the system operates and how to fault find if something goes wrong.
Once you know these two things you can take a dive into the endlessly complicated word of blogging. You can get as far into this as you desire, me personally though, I have no desire to learn something such as CSS for example.
I only recently started to learn about blogging, I first looked into it about 4 months before the time of writing. It’s not easy at all to get your head around WordPress but stick to it and it will start to make sense. I found the backend overly complicated and not very intuitive but over time you will know it like the back of your hand.
The amount of plugins, themes, settings and customisability is both a blessing and a curse. My recommendation for themes is to make a decision early and stick with it.
Will I need to spend money on…
Short answer, yes.
Long answer, you get what you pay for and don’t be afraid to actually invest in yourself. I started with and at the time of writing am still with Bluehost. I would not recommend them to anyone who isn’t a very low level blogger. The reason is that they are treacle slow. They have given me a cheap entry point into the market though, but if you’re starting a website for a business that can assume decent traffic flow then you’ll want a dedicated server or managed server type set up.
Even as a cheap way to get my foot in the door though I’d change things up. If I could have my time again I would go with Siteground as an entry level shared hosting provider. They have a much better speed record than Bluehost, but beware that the costs rise significantly after your initial purchase period. So these budget hosts serve a purpose for sure, but come in with low expectations and use them as a testing ground for a year or so to see if blogging is for you.
If after a while you find some success or want proper room to grow I’d get a dedicated managed hosting set up with a company like WPX. By the time you’re getting this sort of traffic though you’ll be more aware of what’s out there for you and how much bandwidth you’ll need for example.
There’s a lot to learn with your hosting providers, going in to your Cpanel and upgradinng your PHP version, increasing your memory limits, sorting out your cache etc. You’ll pick it up as you go, if you get stuck reach out to the customer support for help.
This is one area that I actually did spend more for a premium product. I was a complete beginner and knew nothing about website design.
So I bought a lifetime membership to the Divi Theme.
It was a massive outlay, but I hate subscription plans with a passion and their lifetime deal pays for itself in 3 years. Not only that but it comes with an email opt-in plugin (which you will see on this site) as well as a social media share widget (located on the left of this page as it scrolls).
Back to the website design though, even with Divi theme it won’t be an easy learning curve. You’ll need to learn another interface, complete with keyboard shortcuts and little secret shortcuts that utilise so many features you’ll never know it all.
There are downsides to the divi theme
- Divi is not a fast theme. If you want the fastest theme for quick load times, this won’t be the best option.
- Extra theme, which is also a theme that uses the building process, seems to be less polished. I prefer Extra theme and was using it until I ran into so many faults and bugs I had to switch back to Divi for my own productivity.
- If you ever decide to abandon Divi/Extra as your theme of choice then your website will be riddled with short code and it will probably require you to spend weeks of your own time learning how to clean it all up, plus the time of then cleaning it. Alternatively it will mean you need to pay someone to do it for you and help you migrate your content to the new theme while keeping it looking as you intended.
These are endless and you’ll see so much variety depending on what your website is about. If you’re not using plugins though be sure to deactivate them and delete them. Try to only use reputable plugins that are updated regularly. This insures the best security for your site.
I do have some paid for plugins, but they came with the Divi theme. I will add more as I see fit. The trick is not to be a kid in a candy store, there’s so many awesome features but you don’t need them all.
Keep in mind also that each new plugin means a new set of settings to trawl through as well as new skills to learn, so try limit it to what you really need. Have some focus in your skills, you’ll figure out soon enough what’s worth learning and what isn’t.
So you can get by without paying for plugins at the very start which is good. I eventually will get some premium plugins for security and functionality. Only you can decide how much they’re worth to you based on you website and how much you feel they will be used.
This is why I found the Divi Theme lifetime membership to be such good value for me, because it included so much and I never have to pay another cent, I get all the updates and all the lifetime online support. I enjoy both the Bloom and Monarch plugins that are packaged in with the theme.
Where do I learn these skills?
Fortunately for you, with blogging being such a massive industry that is computer centric, there’s oodles of great info about blogs, on blogs, by bloggers and professionals alike!
I personally enjoy following along with Youtube videos, you can see my favourite Youtube channels for blogging by clicking that link and see a few channels in particular that are super informative and why I recommend them.
It’s probably important to follow along with these guys from the get go, including the setting up of your hosting and installation of WordPress. There’s so many helpful hints that will save you literal hours of fumbling your own way through it and googling answers to every tiny stumbling block.
Which one channel do you recommend?
If you don’t have time to read the post then my number one recommendation for beginners is WPBeginner.
Don’t like Youtube and prefer to read? They have an enormously thorough website as well!
Now when I say for beginners, don’t mistake that to mean there’s nothing they can teach you if you’ve been around for a few years, their website and Youtube channel has something for everyone in my opinion, except for the pros who wouldn’t be reading this post anyway.
They keep updating the posts to make it relevant to the current year which helps massively. When WordPress or your hosting company make design changes it can be very confusing to follow along with these videos. Because as a beginner you want what you see on screen to match what you see in the video/post, otherwise you begin to feel out of your depth.
If you do decide to use the Divi theme then check out the post to see channels like Darrel Wilson and how they can seriously help you with 2 hour video walkthroughs and the like.
I really do enjoy these channels and themes, not a single link in this post is an affiliate link, it’s just to help you find these resources.
Have a process!
Your website should be offline at the very beginning so use this time to learn these skills before going public.
Sort out your permalink structure before you create any pages or posts so that you can link to them without ever needing to change your permalinks ever again!
Don’t stress the little things like fonts, pick a good combo and stick to it.