Post-It Notes – 25th November 2011: What to do When it all Goes Wrong…

Credit: Whale & Pine via Luke’s Beard

Last week I had this question on the Rock n Roll Bride facebook page from Angel. Luckily for her I happen to have some experience in this area!

Did you know that after blogging for just over a year I somehow managed to delete my whole blog? Yeah seriously…Poof! and it was gone.

To cut a long story short, I had been secretly blogging using the free Blogger platform since just before our wedding. I used the blog to post my own wedding ideas and after the wedding to share other alternative wedding ideas and real weddings that I’d found and liked around the internet. The reason for the blog certainly wasn’t to make it into a business, I’d simply fallen in love with wedding blogs during my wedding planning and started my own for fun.

Sometime around December 2008 I learnt about Google Analytics and thought “Oh cool, I can see how many people are actually reading this thing” (seriously, when I say I knew nothing about blogging I ain’t exaggerating!) Well somehow in my total-incompetence-to-do-anything-remotely-technical, by attempting to install it myself I deleted my whole freaking website…and no, we still don’t know how I managed to do it!

I went crying to Gareth (who by the way had no idea I was a secret blogger, what a nerd I must have looked like) and I asked him to bring it back. Which, despite being a IT genius, he said was impossible (and nope even he still doesn’t know how I managed to delete it either, I think maybe it’s a secret skill I have that no one else possesses…)

ANYWAY I was at a crossroads.

After I finally stopped crying, Gareth told me he was able to recover some of my past posts from Google’s cache of the site, but we’d have to set up a whole new blog and re-upload everything. He also suggested I moved from Blogger to WordPress for it’s superior functionality and general better-ness, and also that I purchased the .com (beforehand I was just using a free .blogspot URL).

And so the laborious task of relaunching a blog began.

Now I use the term ‘relaunch’ in a very loose way. There was no grand unveiling of the new site or street parade in my honour. I had no readers. I had a .com but no one knew it existed! It sounds kinda fancy in interviews when I say the blog was ‘relaunched in January 2009’ but in reality, I just bought a .com and started all over again.

I was totally gutted about (what seemed like) the mountainous task in front of me and yes, of course I wondered whether I should even bother. However after some soul searching and realising that this obsession for alternative weddings wasn’t going anywhere, I used my colossal balls-up as an opportunity to make the blog a million percent better.

So, what changes did I make?

♥ I moved the blog to a better platform.

♥ I paid for the .com (best £20 I ever spent. As a side note, if you’re able to get the .com as opposed to the .co.uk/.net/.org of your chosen website name DO IT. It’s only pennies more expensive and many people are of the opinion that it gives a more professional first impression).

♥ I finally told Gareth what I was up to. Gareth is a computer/internet genius so having him know that I had a blog was obviously a good thing. He helped me make my blog so much better with his technical wizardry.

♥ I spent time thinking about how I really wanted to blog to look. I stopped just using free and default layouts and spent some time actually thinking about branding… which of course was initially terrible. Look at my first attempts at blog headers if you don’t believe me. Yes, I made them all myself…Aren’t I brilliant? What do you mean you can’t tell?! Ha ha…

♥ I started thinking about what I really wanted for the blog. I stopped blogging about my wedding and only sharing weddings I’d seen on other blogs. I starting thinking about what I could do to be different and started to search out unique content and real weddings that hadn’t already been shared on other wedding blogs to feature.

♥ I trimmed the fat. I didn’t re-post all my old articles. I decided to only re-blog the ones which I thought were worth saving. I permanently got rid of the others. No one needs to see half the crap I blogged about in 2007!

♥ I did a promotional photo shoot with my friend David McNeil to showcase on the new site. The Bognor beach shoot was my first ever shoot. I wore my own wedding dress and did my own hair and make up in the toilet of a local B&B.

♥ David & I hosted a contest to give away free wedding photography to promote both our brands. We stood outside the National Wedding Show ALL FREAKIN’ WEEKEND handing out fliers to advertise it. It was boring and cold and soul destroying but we got some great entries and exposed Rock n Roll Bride to a whole new audience (remember in 2008/2009 blogging was pretty much an unknown entity to non-internet-geeks).

And you know what, after a lot of work, the new blog was bigger and better than the old one…and I wasn’t crying anymore. The old readers found me again and I was able to refocus my energy into creating a much better Rock n Roll Bride – the blog I really wanted it to be. Of course nothing happened overnight, but by being forced to re-do everything it made me reevaluate my little space in the blogosphere. I’d got bogged down with my way of doing things, and although it was utterly rubbish at the time, by having to start all over again I was jolted into thinking long and hard about what I really wanted.

So what would my advice be to someone that feels everything is going wrong? Firstly, remember that everything happens for a reason. Sounds idealistic but I 100% agree with it. Use crappy situations to STOP and really evaluate what you want. Think long and hard about making positive changes to your business that maybe you’ve been putting off.

If I hadn’t deleted the old site would Rock n Roll Bride be where it is today? Maybe…but it might have taken me much longer to get here. I would have undoubtedly stayed using the Blogger platform for much longer, I wouldn’t have faced my embarrassment of telling Gareth that I was a secret blogger (seems crazy to me now!) and I wouldn’t have pushed myself to rethink my whole reason for the site.

Take every knock back as an opportunity. However tough it may seem at the time, I guarantee there is one hiding there. It’s just about recognising these little bumps in the road and turning things around for the better.

…And if you’re interested (cringe) you can see the first blog posts that I deemed worthy of re-blogging here. See how sparse the real wedding posts are? I seriously sucked back then huh?!

26 comments

  1. It amazes me to think that without that happening your blog wouldn’t be where it is today – you definitely turned that negative around 🙂

    I think my heart would be broken if I lost my blog now though – do you back yours up somehow? I’ve read about doing it in places but never actually done it…

  2. Some fab advice there Kat. I think it’s true of every small business venture – whether it’s a blog or something else – that you’re going to go through a whole journey of pain to get it to where you’re happy with the way it’s presented to clients. I, too, cringe at how my website and branding looked at the start, but every mistake made is a step nearer getting it right.

    I’m sure you’re not content to sit on your laurels and are constantly thinking of new ideas to keep the blog (and business) fresh, relevant and moving forward – and that’s a lesson for us all. All of us in business should never think ‘yep, it’s there now, I’m happy with it.’ Be happy with where you are on this particular step of your journey, and be constantly looking to the future.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing Kat! I’m just starting out in the wedding blogging world and sometimes wonder am I crazy considering I know so very little about the technical side of things! Definitely encouraging to know that we all have to start somewhere and can overcome those ‘worst case scenario’ if they do end up happening!

  4. Post author

    Rhianne – yeah definitely we back it up now.something techy to do with servers…you’ll have to ask Gareth about that! ( @_glytch on twitter)

  5. Your business post-its are always spot on, Kat, thank you for sharing this. I’ve been following your blog since the beginning of 2009, so having watched you take over the world I TOTALLY trust your advice!

    p.s. I wish I had an IT wizard for a husband, mine can’t even text on his phone. I’m not even joking.

  6. What a great post, and I’m not even a professional blogger! You write so well Kat, when I read your posts I feel like we’re in the same room chatting over a cup of coffee. It’s lovely 🙂

  7. Post author

    Aww thank you so much Grace! That means a lot.
    And Frau aww yes I am very lucky and thanks for your support for all this time!!

  8. Jess

    Well done Kat for relaunching yourself and finding the angle you wanted to take with your blog, its been a massive help to me during my own wedding planning. The fact that you’ve turned it into a successful business too is very inspirational, I wish I could find a niche in the market to launch my own!

  9. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Sometimes it feels like ‘is anyone actually really my blog’ ‘is it worth it/am I going anywhere???’ But you’ve definatly proven that things can turn out the way you want them to with determination and abit of rock+roll xxx

  10. Bran

    Thanks for this honey, very honest and very helpful. I’m going through a really quiet patch at the moment and although I’ve only got as far as doing something a bit more creative with my office space so it will inspire me, I do agree with you that you have to use the crappy opportunities that life throws at you to rethink your purpose. Watch this space ! xx

  11. I love your post it notes Kat! You have a way of writing that leaves me inspired and motivated to do things differently. I completely agree with you, everything does happen for a reason and most bad experiences come along only to make us stronger so we can tackle the next one head on! It’s really hard to turn a negative into a positive but once you do, something great comes out of it like your kick ass blog! Thank you so much for such an inspirational blog – you’re one of the reasons I started mine! xx

  12. Hi Kat! I just wanted to say how much I love reading all of your posts. I periodically comment here and there, but truly do love them. They are so helpful and entertaining. I admire what you have done and not giving up.

    I can kind of relate a bit to what you’re saying… my blog wasn’t deleted, but things have been tough here recently, and I am thrilled to be working on developing my business, even if it is a little slow at the moment with me having to work and run around like a crazy person. We all gotta to do what we gotta do though!

    I am very hopeful and thank you again for the encouraging words! I know I’m not alone. 🙂

  13. This makes me want to go back everything up. I’m so glad you relaunched… I remember one day going to the blog and it being gone and thinking “oh no!!” And I’m glad you re-blogged us. ;D

  14. Post author

    Aww Danielle! I love how you were probably my only loyal reader back then and you refound me! I was talking about how much I loved your wedding at my blogging workshop today!

  15. Wow, I did not know this! I’ve followed you for quite a while and never realised that you were originally a secret blogger! I blog secretly because I’m so scared of people I know reading it – feels daft reading this but one day I might be brave like you and tell my friends and family! I’m new to WordPress but feel its going well – I do wonder about saving my little blog posts on my computer too though in case all goes wrong and this blog has inspired me to do so! Thanks Kat and really well done on turning this around! Where would we have been if you’d have given up at that point?! x

  16. Thanks for posting this Kat, its really interesting to read about your growth into where you are now.
    Our photography business has had many knocks along the way, with many more to come im sure, but reading about other peoples success stories gives me such a boost. 🙂 It just goes to show that if your passionate enough about what you do then anything is possible. 🙂 x

  17. Love this post and its def given me a bit of thought and inspiration. Since i read it on fri i’ve contacted lots of suppliers, got some lovely orginal posts lined up and contacted a graphic designer friend to get my own little blog header set up. Thank you 😀

  18. Hi Kat

    I am just launching my blog and business and this has been really helpful! You have given me some very helpful hints when I am trying to find my way in this big wide world!

    X Cass

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