Some people have asked me whether running a blog similar to this requires a great deal of work and technical skills, and whether I have some good tips and recommendations for people, who are planning to start own blog. I have written this blog for five years until now and over the years I have learned this and that about blogging.
I share my experiences and thoughts that help other people with everyday challenges and spiritual growth, but I feel that I myself get the greatest benefit from this blog. The past five years have been a journey into my inner self. It has been very intensive time of spiritual growth. And what would we not be willing to do for our own spiritual growth?
Blogging and the Goals I Have Set for Me
When I started anonymously writing this blog I had very little idea about its technical foundation. I knew hardly anything about coding. I could read html code and could distinguish, which part of the code affected what element on the site. I knew that by changing the parameters I could modify different elements, but my knowledge was very limited.
So I gave the technical design and maintenance of the blog to a person, who was familiar with websites running on WordPress. I wanted to focus on writing. Content production has taken all my time. However, I have no pressure on it, as this is a personal project I want to bring forward. Blogging does not cause me any financial pressure either. Every now and then I have stumbled on my way, but it is part of the growing process. Regardless of how your goals are set, running a blog never has to be stressful.
Content production has taken all my time partly because this site is multilingual. I write articles first in my native language and then in English. I get some help with translations, but I go through each translation to make sure that they convey my message as I have originally intended to. In addition, all structural elements of the site require translation. If I would only write in my mother tongue or in English, it would be much less work, but I would spend as much time as I am now and would write a new article each week. However, translating is part of this spiritual-growth-project that I have set for myself. My goal is to write easily readable text that the automatic translation plugin (AutoTranslate) understands. Grammar and style are secondary, as most (?) readers read the languages I use as a foreign language.
Early stages of the blog
My blog started with a low-cost hosting service and we chose a simple free WordPress theme (which largely defines the site’s appearance and its customizability) that supports multilingual WPML websites.
Despite the fact that I had to pay very little for the creation of the site’s foundation, I noticed after two and a half years that the maintenance costs of the site exceeded 5000 euros. In the beginning I thought the maintenance costs will be at most 500 euros per year. I paid over 5,000 Euros maintenance costs, but the site structure began to break down after 2.5 years like a rotten fishing net, and no one seemed to know why.
I felt myself deceived and I thought that the only way to save the situation was to build the website from scratch by myself. I did not know how to do it, but it had to happen. So, I started looking for a hosting service that would provide me the tools to build and maintain my site with very limited technical knowledge by myself.
I had already so much experience that I had a picture in mind, what kind of service would meet my needs. Most importantly, the hosting service should have automatic backups and a test site running alongside the site visible to the public, on which I could safely test the compatibility of updates and try different things without affecting the site that is visible to the public.
After pondering between a couple of hosting services I signed up to WP Engine hosting service, which in addition to other things that make things easier, has the elements that are most important for me. I made a timetable of how I should proceed to build the website. I did not want to copy anything from the old site directly, so that I did not transfer its bugs to the new site. This was also, because I saw the creation of the site from scratch as an opportunity to learn to use the new theme. I just copied text from the old site and found in the new theme the functionalities that created a site that looked like the old site. Because the new theme, Striking MultiFlex is much more versatile than the old theme, I added some elements and changed the appearance a bit.
New Beginning of the Blog
I had found a person, Joe Chapuis, whom I originally wanted to make basic installations for me, but when he contacted me, installations should have been done already (according to my schedule). Weekend was coming, and I could not expect him to make installations for me during the weekend. In the coming week I wanted to start studying the new theme. So I had to do the basic installations myself.
When the actual work was to begin, I noticed very clearly that there were two persons quarreling inside me. One was convinced that I was able to do the job, and the other, my ego was completely helpless whining that I could not even ask the right questions, not to mention to find answers to them. I found myself in two occasions writing an email to Joe Chapuis for the purpose of asking him to do the installations for me in the coming week.
When I found myself writing the email I was upset: “What are you doing!” The email vanished into the ether at once. “This is too much for me!” my ego was complaining. “I cannot do this.” “You cannot learn anything unless you try!”
This battle of spirits lasted some time, but eventually a myriad of questions were crossing my mind and I was looking for answers to them on the web: What means …? Where to find….? How to install …? I noticed that I found a detailed answer also to detailed questions. By Sunday all basic installations were made and I had an incredible feeling.
Blogging and its Risks
One of the reasons why the maintenance costs rose so high in the beginning may be that the blog was on a cheap hosting service. I have heard that they do not generally give individual users enough resources so that updates and downloads would run smoothly, and as a consequence there is a number of technical issues. That is why I recommend cheap hosting services only to those, who see technical problems as a challenge and want to resolve them. They understand server environment and know how to fix the problems by themselves. Or, for some reason, want to pay maintenance costs to webmasters. For the rest of us there are hosting services such as WP Engine, where the technical side runs as painlessly as possible.
As I opened this blog, I asked myself, how can I expect anyone to do encoding for me. During the last two and a half years I have not touched the code at all, and I do not intend to do so in the future. WordPress websites have so many moving parts that I think it is better for users to add as little own code as possible, unless you really understand what you are doing. There is always the possibility that there is some kind of conflict in coding, which can lead to low loading speed of the website, which will affect how the search engines value the site. If there should be any problems, it’s better to wait for the theme and plugin developers to fix them. In that way one can be (almost) sure that the systems are working and play together, as their developers have designed. And we, who understand less about this technology, can focus on content production.
Blogging – New Profession of the Internet Era
When I think about the start of my blog and its maintenance costs of 5000 euros, it does not feel so unreasonable anymore. During the two and a half years I learned a lot of website construction, image and text editing, plugins and their functionalities and so on. If I had gone through courses and in that way obtained the same knowledge, it would not have been much cheaper.
I wrote in my article Internet – Mirror of Our Collective Mind, which I published after the construction of my site, that the entire Internet is social media. I had in my mind the functionality of social media platforms that each user sees the profile of another user and can have direct contact to him/her and in that way expand own network. Social media platforms, as we know them, are closed networks, which make their own rules and in the past years have also begun to censor publications of their users. In regard of free communication, free speech and democracy this is problematic.
I decided to start my own blog partly because my messages were often stopped by moderators, when I wrote on public discussion forums. Single blogs can also form a network in the same way as social media users are networking through their profiles. This is made possible by Gravatar (Globally Recognized avatar), which all WorPress blogs and discussions forums throughout the world recognize, when settings are right.
Social media is still in its infancy and people have not understood the full potential of Internet. Until now the main focus has been commercial benefits of the Internet. But I wish that world leaders see all the possibilities that Internet provides for people to employ themselves and earn their living. Non-commercial websites that present different kind of world views, information and diverse methods for well-being bring great, if not the greatest value for societies. They cultivate people’s minds and promote their mental and spiritual growth. The significance of these websites will be enormous in the future, which also means unlimited working opportunities.
World leaders should set international regulations for this global labor market, so that also the maintenance of non-commercial sites can be economically rewarding. It would make competition fairer too.
I would like to find in Web stories written by indigenous people living in developing countries, in which they describe their everyday life and tell about their wishes and needs. If we in the West could give direct financial support to people in developing countries there would be less need to pay development aid to corrupted governments or to aid organisations, which need much money to cover their own basic costs.
A few months ago, a woman who has been in developing countries as aid worker raised a vociferous protest, when a Finnish university started its tour in Africa to make computer technology more familiar among the local population. She thought that the idea was completely absurd, because in her mind the people in developing countries lacked all the resources needed, so that they could benefit from the technology project.
But the documentary Solar Mamas – Why Poverty?, in which women from developing countries are studying in India the installation of solar energy lamps, gives us an idea, how enormous the potential of humans also from primitive conditions is. Development co-operation at its best is that we equip people in need with tools and know-how, so that they can help themselves and are able to speak for themselves.
Internet – Mirror of Our Collective Mind
Rafea Um Gomar: A ray of light for many
Gravatar – Globally Recognized Avatar
Create and Go: Blogging Mistakes: 10 Things Not To Do When Starting a Blog
] Create and Go: How to Find Your Blogging Niche: 3 Steps to Choosing a Blog Topic
Christina Hills: How to Get Your Profile Picture (Gravatar) to Show up in WordPress
Solar Mamas – Why Poverty? (How Rafea became a solar engineer)
Wayne Dyer: 10 Principles to Manifestation (of your true self), How to Attract With Your Mind
[toggle title=”10 Principles to Manifestation”]1. Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing
2. You cannot give away what you don’t have
3. There are no justified resentments
4. Don’t die with your music in you.
5. Embracing silence
6. Give up your personal history
7. You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it
8. Treat yourself as if you already were what you would like to become
9. Treasure your divinity
10. Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts which weaken you[/toggle]