Just Press Publish

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It took me 1143 days to start a blog that took 5 minutes to build. Publishing anxiety is common among beginners. The funny thing is, your vulnerability and authenticity are valuable to readers. Configuring WordPress can also be a black hole of unnecessary procrastination. Very few things *need* to happen before you post (ie. basic security and a promo plan). Your first goal = publish. Everything else can wait!

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Just Press Publish

  1. 1. Just Press Publish! It sounds so easy
  2. 2. Who are you? • Do you have WordPress installed? • Want to blog more often? • Are you a perfectionist? • Do you procrastinate? • Know anything about SEO? • How about website security?
  3. 3. My story Just the beginning
  4. 4. Who am I? • Hi, my name is Alycia Mitchell - @artdecotech • Marketing Analytics & SEO Specialist at Sucuri • I work with the Sucuri blog every day • I’m super passionate about web technology • 7 years in communications for cybersecurity • I struggle with my personal blog
  5. 5. My blogging experience • I blogged and journaled regularly from age 15-20 • Stopped writing completely during my college years • Installed WordPress for the first time to make a band website (2010) • Started career in SEO and content marketing (2012) • Bought a domain a few years ago… installed WordPress… • ... Nuked and paved the site a couple of times... • Was frustrated that I couldn’t motivate myself to blog • 1143 days before I finally asked myself an important question…
  6. 6. What’s stopping you? Anxiety, hesitation, procrastination, depression, avoidance
  7. 7. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) External • Insecurity • Risk • Regret • Unknowns • Success Internal • Perfectionism • Clarity • Self worth • Desire • Priorities
  8. 8. #1 – Insecurity • Readers will judge my writing • What will they think and say? • Strangers? • Friends? • Family? • Coworkers?
  9. 9. #2 – Risk • Identity and brand • Writing about controversial topics • Website security and hackers • Negative feedback
  10. 10. #3 – Regret • I’m not happy enough with my blog right now • What if I want to change the post after I publish it? • Would I do a better job if I put it off? • What if I miss an opportunity by posting too soon?
  11. 11. #4 – Unknowns • This is new • This is scary • I like my comfort zone • What is going to happen when I click publish • How much work will I need to succeed?
  12. 12. #5 – Success • What if I make a mistake? • What if readers want more than I can give? • What if I get publicity? • What happens if I decide to stop blogging? • What if I have haters?
  13. 13. #6 – Perfectionism • It’s evil • Endless planning and proofing • Configuring every WordPress feature and integrations • Diminishing returns – Do not pass GO; do not collect $200 • Done is better that perfect
  14. 14. #7 – Clarity • Why is blogging important to me? • Who am I trying to please…? • What do I know? • What do I want to share? • What do I want to accomplish?
  15. 15. #8 – Self worth • I have nothing new to say • Who would want to read my blog? • Shame and guilt • Imposter syndrome
  16. 16. #9 – Desire • Is the thought of writing stressful? • Do I get into a flow, or is it forced? • What am I doing if not blogging? • Do I actually want to blog? • What compels me to write?
  17. 17. In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. Look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, and ask yourself, “Must I write?” Rainer Maria Rilke Letters to a Young Poet
  18. 18. #10 – Priorities • Excuses and distractions • Procrastination and resistance • Trying different themes, plugins, email signup, social media accounts, pages, menus, CSS… • Busy life and responsibilities
  19. 19. Before you publish Do these two things
  20. 20. #1 – Secure your site • WordPress runs 25% of the internet = Big target for hackers • Every WordPress site gets hit with bots and scanners • Get plugins and themes from trusted sources and apply security updates • Balance risk vs. paranoia for your comfort level • Bare minimum (free): • Install a backup plugin - do not store backups on your server! • Install a security plugin (Sucuri) for auditing, hardening, and scanning • Use unique, complex, long passwords to prevent brute force • Best options (paid): • Use a professional website firewall for protection • Install a server-side scanner for monitoring and detection • Research to plan for security incident response
  21. 21. #2 – Prepare for promotion • Participate in one (1) relevant online community to: • Ask and answer questions on a relevant hashtag, group, forum, Q&A site • Research your audience and get inspiration from them. • Find one (1) influencer in your niche who: • Posts regularly and has time to respond to a direct message • Might find offer feedback or find value and share your posts • Repeat as needed. • Set up Google Analytics (use a plugin or manually add to header.php) • Sign up for Google Search Console • Install an SEO plugin (Yoast) and learn a bit about using it
  22. 22. Strategies to click publish Train your inner ninja
  23. 23. #1 – LIMBO • Let go of other’s opinions • Imagine everyone will love it no matter what • Make it smaller – your goals, your posts, your expectations • Be yourself • Offer something to readers – what is the point of your post? How low can you go?...
  24. 24. I set the bar really, really low… • No theme • No plugins • No menus • No widgets • No pages • No categories • No tags • No integrations • No plan • No excuses • No choice but to publish content
  25. 25. #2 – Get better at writing • Maybe it has been written before – but not in your words • First use your own imagination • Next do some research to improve your content • 10x content = 10 times better than other blog posts you find • Avoid comparing yourself with others • Everyone you admire started at the bottom of the mountain
  26. 26. #3 – Hug the slog • The grind and legwork • The vomit on the page • Use brainstorming and outlines to organize ideas • Know that you will eventually clean up the mess • Progress is, in fact, being made • It’s about the journey!
  27. 27. #4 – Write what you know • Be true to yourself, authenticity is hard to come by • Embrace your flaws and imperfections • Don’t pretend to be someone you admire • The curse of knowledge – you have more to offer than you think • Don’t let anyone tell you who you are or how to write
  28. 28. #5 – Become accountable • Get support for feedback and criticism (friends, family, meetups) • Digital Hang nights with friends to work on projects • Schedule time to blog in a calendar app • Use apps to reinforce writing habits: • Habitica - if you like RPGs, DIY, and to-do-lists (join my Bloggers guild) • Fabulous – if you prefer guideance, a nice UI, and timers • Network with people who share the same goals
  29. 29. #6 – Vulnerability is attractive • Vulnerability is courage • We love watching people embrace their flaws • By pressing publish, you win • By putting yourself out there, you win • Challenges and failure = growth • Troll kryptonite • If someone doesn’t like your work, tell them to get on stage.
  30. 30. Arcade Rage • Using default WordPress theme • 10 posts to date • Posts on Reddit • Twitter account But I wanted to subscribe by email… … so I tweeted him:
  31. 31. #7 – Make time • What time of day is best to write? • Piggyback on existing routines. • What current habits are you going to trade for blogging? • Do you need to get up earlier? • Alarmly – take a photo to turn alarm off (ie, bathroom sink) • Structure your day and schedule blog time – big rocks vs. sand • Reward yourself when you stick to it • Aim to write something every day, even just a post title
  32. 32. #8 – Make SMART goals • Specific • Measureable • Attainable • Realistic • Time-based
  33. 33. #9 – Record all your inspiration • Trello, Google Keep, etc. • Paper and pens everywhere • Especially next to bed • Because you’ll never remember that amazing idea you had while falling asleep • Shower thoughts are “billable hours” for your blog • Don’t be shy about recording ideas in front of people • In your community, ask questions and note questions they ask
  34. 34. #10 – Combat distraction • Make a list of your distractions so you can identify them • Set a clock to time periods of focused work • Install a distraction-blocking app like StayFocusd • Use the pomodoro method • 25 min focused work (1 pomodoro) • 5 min break • 30 min break after 4 pomodoros
  35. 35. #11 – Escape the rut • First, you have to get mad!: • You know you are capable of more! • You know you deserve better! • Your silly brain hormones are totally not helping you right now! • Get passionately angry – it’s better than being depressed • Show up for yourself • Convert your passionate energy into enthusiasm... • Choose FIGHT (not flight) with irrational FUD
  36. 36. #12 – Sing Happy Birthday • When we’re children, we don’t have the same fear • Singing lesson: • Trick to hit high notes • Sing “Happy Birthday” one octave below the high note • On the final “Happy BIRTH-day” you hit the note • As a child you sang the song often • Have fun and don’t worry so much
  37. 37. #13 – Relieve anxiety • Make a list of accomplishments • Take a gratitude break for 1 minute and be thankful for something • Practice breathing, meditation, and affirmations • Aim for imperfection (take that, you perfectionist!) • Focus on baby steps, not the top of the mountain • Do something to boost your confidence or reset your mindset
  38. 38. #13 – Create urgency • Promote your blog when you regularly posting • Set a consistent posting schedule that readers can expect • Pay for creative coaching or counselling • Commit to a campaign: host a webinar, buy some ads • No turning back when you have a deadline! • Example: I signed up to speak at this WordCamp!
  39. 39. Questions & Comments @artdecotech Sucuri Swag blog.sucuri.net artdecotech.com

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