“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” Chinese Proverb
Sometimes, it is better to teach someone how to do something instead of doing it for them.
The Analogy of Blogging to Fishing
The Internet = the ocean
Both are free for everyone’s use. The ocean is full of fish and other treasures. The Internet is full of opportunities for fun, friendship, fame and fortune.
The ocean is perilous for those who haven’t learnt how to swim, don’t have a life jacket or at least an Electronic Positioning Emergency Radio Beacon (EPERB).
The Internet has its own perils. Newcomers and old-hands alike may stumble and fall, taken out by malicious code, deceptive business practices, legalities and other hanging points.
Your blogging platform (WordPress) = your boat
You need a boat to get out into the ocean. Without a boat, you are stranded on the shore, waiting for the fishermen to return and share their catch with you (if you are lucky and willing to pay). Take your boat out whenever the tide comes in. Your boating skills improve with practice.
The WordPress blogging platform is free for the taking. Set up your own website as soon as you have a few dollars to pay for your domain name and hosting. In time, your proficiency with WordPress will go from novice to intermediate and beyond.
Your domain/website = your fishing trip
You need to go on a fishing trip to catch fish. Do you go fishing regularly or only occasionally? Perhaps you plan to spend most of your time out on the water?
Your domain name states the reason for your site. It indicates to others what kind of fish you are looking to catch. Like a fishing trip, a successful website will keep you well fed. As you develop your blogging expertise you may decide to expand your blogging empire and develop additional websites.
Your website design = your fishing rod
The kind and quality of your fishing rod depends on fishing conditions, your experience and the type of fish you aim to catch. You can’t catch a Marlin with a hand-line. The better the quality of your rod and reel, the easier the fishing will be.
Your blog design – what WordPress theme you use – will help or hinder your blogging efforts. Your theme will attract (or scare away) your target audience. Understand what your readers expect and choose your theme accordingly. Do your readers expect loud and cluttered, plain and conservative or somewhere in between?
Your blog’s functions and features = your tackle and equipment
You need tackle and equipment such as tracers, hooks, lures, sinkers, knives, a bucket, and powders, oils and rags for your rod and reel. You need a thermos for hot coffee on cold nights, a raincoat and warm clothes for inclement weather and sunscreen for blistering days. Are you ready to sit it out until the fish come in?
The functionality and features of your blog will determine how long visitors stay, whether they return and if they recommend your site to others. Your design elements direct the reader’s attention to calls to action such as subscribing to your updates, completing a survey and leaving comments. Does your blog provide visitors with the functions and features that they want, in the places they expect to find them?
If your chosen WordPress theme does not offer the functionality and features you need to attract your desired readers, you may need to install a different theme or make changes to your existing theme. For example:
- Is your blog Search Engine Optimised or do you need to install a plugin?
- Do you need to add code to your theme files using hooks to insert an author profile at the end of your posts or social bookmarking icons beside your header? Some themes have this built in already, others need tweaking.
- Is the width of your content column too wide or too narrow? Is the contrast between your text and background high enough to read easily?
- Does your site look good in mobile browsers, e.g. on a mobile phone or tablet?
All of these things are pretty easy to fix. You can pay somebody to do it, or you can learn how to do it yourself.
If you learn how to do it yourself, you can make many more changes – easily and whenever necessary.
- When WordPress introduces exciting new features to the blogosphere or market trends raise reader expectations – you will be able to keep your blog up to date – without spending extra money or losing precious time trying to find somebody to do it for you.
Learn how to handle your tackle and you can feed yourself for a lifetime.
Your blogging tactics and strategies = your bait
You need bait and the right kind of bait – to catch those fish. It needs to be fresh and presented in a way that the fish will appreciate it and take the hook!
Learn about and put into action, blogging strategies for your voice, your content, your community and making money online. The competition is tougher than ever. Simply putting up your online shingle is not enough.
If you have a boat, a rod, a plan for a fishing trip, good tackle, equipment and bait – what are you waiting for? Get out there and catch some fish!
Are you ready to start handling your tackle?
Using a beautiful WordPress blog theme is good in the short term, but it is better to learn how to make your own changes to create an absolutely unique blog – in design and function.
In the long term, you will be able take care of yourself and become a self-sufficient blogger…perhaps leading the pack and teaching others how to do it themselves.
What are your thoughts?