Why I Started a Blog – A History of stephwelch.co.uk
3 October 2019
I have always enjoyed starting a new project. It’s the Aires girl in me. I love to be creative and to make new things. My website has been one of those creative outlets. But as someone who suffers from shiny object syndrome and a severe inability to make decisions my website’s journey has not been a straight forward one.
As I embark on blogtober, 31 days of blogging, I thought I would reflect on why I started my blog. As well as how the purpose of my website has changed over the last few years. If you are thinking of starting a blog, let this be a reassuring reminder to take action before you are ready.
Start the blog, don’t worry about the exact format, how it will look, the content etc. Just start creating! It’s easy and it’s OK to change your mind along the way. Each time you do you learn more skills and more about what you really want.
Where my blog began
In 2013 I started at Bournemouth University. I was doing a Digital Media Design course. The first few months were about testing the water with lots of digital design tools. We were encouraged to document our progress throughout the course. This would later become a portfolio of our work that we could take with us into the big wide world.
The first domain I bought was the .com version of my current domain. As we were learning HTML and CSS I created my first website from scratch coding each stage. This was when I got into hacking. I used bits of code from free HTML templates online to create something that resembled what I wanted.
I used the website to display my key projects as a portfolio of my achievements so far.
For my 4-week placement, I worked for a small digital agency in Horsham. I started documenting what I was doing on each day of the placement. I knew I would have to write about it when I was back at University. To add a blog section to my website, I converted it to WordPress.
This meant I could easily access it from work. So I could upload a quick post at the end of my day when everything was still fresh in my mind.
As you can see I also changed up my logo. There were many iterations of my logo design. I continue to play around with the aesthetics of my brand today.
Making it more Professional
As I was doing a few projects at home for my dad and a friends dad I added more to my portfolio section.
During university, I also got my first taste of network marketing. A friend introduced me to NU Skin a skincare and cosmetic MLM company. I loved the idea of being able to make a bit of money on the side so I started a section on my blog to record my journey with this. As University got busier my interest in this project dwindled and it never really got off the ground.
On the weekends of my second year at Uni, I would often head home. In my first year, I had become quite homesick and I missed the beautiful Sussex countryside. I started to take more pictures and create videos to document my beautiful home. I created a project on my portfolio called Life in Motion, I can’t quite remember the exact premise behind it now. But this is the early stages of an idea for my graduate project.
Documenting the Journey
I loved the process of documenting my journey, through my blog. And I took on the role of documenting project work in our group App design project. I kept a group blog up to date with our progress.
For the graduate project, I used my love of documentation and of the Sussex countryside to create an interactive media piece. Again I documented the process of creating this project. I also had to create a lot of collateral to be marked alongside the finished piece which I loved doing.
When I finished Uni, my Grad project went up and the NU Skin and Life in Motion projects came down. My website was now ready to get me employed.
This did not work out as expected.
Insert 3 months of anxiety hell as I did a job in banking that was not for me.
Influenced by my Job
In 2017 I started working for a Marketing Agency. Although I had not really updated my blog for a while I freshened it up in the short period I was unemployed. It was the fact that I had a blog that drew my new employer to me. They actually were not that bothered about my degree but they thought I would be trainable in SEO.
I spent 8 months in SEO learning the ropes and getting inspired to revamp my own website. The guys I was working alongside preferred HTML over WordPress for many reasons and it rubbed off on me. So I turned my WordPress portfolio site into a HTML portfolio site.
I recreated all my blog posts, ensuring that the titles, URL’s and everything was correct. Adding alt text to images and I worked hard to get as much content on the site as possible. This was a massive job and a massive overhaul. But I did it and the results were pretty damn good if I do say so myself.
This is where I had a bit of a cull and a rethink of the kind of content I wanted on my site. So not all my original blog posts made it through this process.
The more I learnt about SEO and from being in a marketing agency I realised having the .co.uk domain was important. So I bought this and moved my site onto this domain. My boss had told me some stories about how Americans have legal rights over the .com. I thought one day I might like to create a business and I don’t want an American claiming my domain.
2018 I needed a creative outlet
In 2018 I decided I wanted a hobby. I thought writing would be it. I wanted to start journaling so I bought a little notepad. But I found it impractical and slow so I turned back to blogging. I started to add more posts to my website, all still in HTML so it was a bit of a slow process.
I converted my website back into a WordPress site to overcome the impracticality. Another massive overhaul. But now I could write and upload posts on the go on my phone. I didn’t have easy access to the internet so being able to edit on my phone was important.
2019 Another Rollercoaster Year for My Blog
In January 2019 I moved to Spain. I significantly upped my blogging game. Every week I would write a blog post documenting what I got up to. I was going through a ‘wtf am I doing with my life and career’ phase. I was trying to figure everything out and documenting how it was going.
I started to move more towards the idea of creating a business online. I love being abroad and want to continue the remote working lifestyle.
Towards the end of my trip, I discovered the term ‘virtual assistant’. I thought this would be right up my street. A flexible online career option that can adapt to my constant change of interests and skills.
So my website became a fully fledge WordPress website with a blog section. It was advertising my services as a Virtual Assistant in the hope of gaining some work.
I continued to tweak and amend this website over a few months.
In June 2019 started my Aussie adventure.
Since I have been on my travels I have doubted my abilities and the direction I was taking my business before it had even started. I put my offers up when I was in Brisbane but while I was on the Gold Coast I completely changed it up again.
I converted my website into just a blog. I wanted to focus on content writing as a service and I wanted to use my blog as a showcase of my work.
Where is it going?
I am still not 100% sure what direction my website will go in next but I am sure that the blog will remain an important part of it. I would also like to build up my list of subscribers and start doing monthly (at least) news updates. This will be a summary of all the content I have put out over the various platforms and an update from my travels.
I would love to be able to grow my blog to the point where I am able to make an income from it. More importantly, I would like to get it to a stage where the content I am putting out is not only consistent but valuable for the readers. I would like to grow my community of solo female travellers and aspiring bloggers so that we can inspire each other to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and live a life of adventure.
Has this been helpful?
I hope this has been helpful to you. Writing this post has certainly been helpful to me. When trying to decide on my career direction I have tried to look back at what interested me at school. But my interest in studying natural disasters in Geography or having fun in art and photography didn’t help me make up my mind.
Looking back over the most recent years in education and beyond I can see that I have a love of documentation and content creation. This is something that I have always gone back to and enjoyed spending time on.
When people say having a blog is a great personal development tool they are not wrong. If you are using it to document your life as I have been it can be a powerful personal tool. Now to make it a useful resource for others as well.
If you have any questions about how I set up my blog or anything travel or blogging related please get in touch. I would love to help and maybe I can create a post around your question to help others out too.