It's 4:30 am ... again...

It was exactly 2 weeks ago today that I purchased the domain for $7.28 from

I had no idea the amount of work I would throw at this thing for the next 2 weeks, or how little sleep I would get. It has been a fast-paced cram session of reading, learning, frustration, and the occasional micro-victory here and there.

My biggest fear for the last two weeks was, what to write? I started really stressing about it this past week.  As it turns out,  all I have been thinking about day and night for the last 14 days was how to build this blog. That didn’t leave me much bandwidth for creative writing, let alone, “intense research and editing”.

As I stared blankly at my blank notepad, (blankety blank) I realized the answer was right in front of me. This 2-week sprint has probably happened many times before. I’d be willing to bet… someone out there is on day 2, right now.

One thing I’ve learned in my crazy adventure of life (more on that later… much later) is that our problems are NEVER unique. My guess is there are a bunch of people out there that are in the exact spot I was 2 weeks ago (and the 20 years before that). This post is for you.

Getting the ball rolling

I have always been interested in SEO and domain names, not sure if that is a blessing or a twisted sense of providential humor. I have purchased around 50 domains or so in the last 20 years, most of which have never done much. Like the time I bought because I got a Big Gulp and noticed they misprinted the URL on the cup. Spoiler alert, it didn’t work out.

That morning I was looking for keyword phrases and ideas for blog posts for my yet to be discovered blog. I was following “the expert’s” SEO advice, “look for long-tail keywords with good traffic and low competition.” Benefits of Stretching looked like a good candidate for a keyword, not a domain.

Ubersuggest Search

I hopped over to my favorite tool to start my search for domain names lean domain search (seriously it’s free, check it out) and started looking for domains that use the word stretching;,,… (definitely not). It occurred to me that I might get lucky with

I punched up namecheap and thew it in the search expecting my usual response that someone had parked it 8 years ago and was now slinging Geico ads, but low and behold, there it was.

The Logo

I’ve always loved logos. I started my career as a designer, so it was a big part of my web journey so to speak. I am not a world-class artist, but I enjoy designing. I know lots of people will tell you to outsource this. 99 Designs seems to be a common favorite.  To me, this is one of the fun and dare I say personal parts.  My opinion, you want to do it yourself.

You can always re-design it later, hire someone, create an auction, or get your kid neice to do it. She’s probably amazing at it.  But just to  get your creative juices flowing, and put some skin in the game, try it yourself. 

This leads me to the first paid tool I used, and I’ve used it for years. Envato Elements it is a fantastic resource filled with tons of royalty-free images and pieces of graphics that can be used for logos. You can get stuck there for hours looking for ideas and elements of design.

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I had a picture in my head of what I was looking for, as a matter of fact, I had a particular picture in my head.

Meghan and me at our first Acro Yoga Session

I ended up finding a short video sequence that I was able to pause, trace, and stylize to create a silhouette that I would use to make the main image of the logo. After that, it was just a matter of finding the right font, and Benefits Of Stretching had a face.

Inspiration Time

I spend a lot of time looking online for ideas. Probably waaaay too much actually, but I enjoy it damnit, so that is my process. *tip, check out

The first blog that really stood out was Wit and Delight it’s a beautiful blog. I liked the simplicity, the colors, and layout. W&D was a huge inspiration for me on this project.

Wit and Delight

I had found an idea for colors and a style that I liked, but I needed to go deeper.  I decided to curate a list of successful, and stylish blogs that I really liked for one reason or another.  It is safe to say, I might have gone a little overboard on this, it’s not the first time, certainly won’t be the last.

out of control bookmarks

The Rabbit Hole

Google: How to start a blog … and go… see you back here in 3 months.

The internet is filled with step by step how-to instructions, on everything, marketing to the techy stuff. What I am not going to do here is detail how to set up and install WordPress, themes, or plugins. There are plenty of articles around the web for that, but … if you’re wondering, here’s one of my favorites, how to start a blog on WordPress by Syed Balkhi.

Basically, every “how-to-blog” article will tell you to start a WordPress blog and they will all have an affiliate link to Blue Host <—like this one.   They are not wrong, WordPress is fantastic for most things. It is pretty much the go-to place for starting almost any type of site. Bluehost is in fact, a great place to host, (when you’re getting started). I’ve been with them for over a decade now.

Building The Damn Thing

For me, it really came down to, “how am I going to build this site (that will probably fail) and have fun doing it.” Fun, was the important part for me.

I’ve been playing around with this great WordPress site builder Elementor. So far, I can’t say enough about this software, so I won’t, besides, that’s rabbit hole #2, and I wouldn’t want to deprive you of the journey.

I knew I needed to put up a landing page while I worked on the site. Or maybe I just wanted to show off my logo. I grabbed a cool image from Envato, set up a prebuilt timer in Elementor, customized it a bit, and my landing page was ready. *quick tip, the next section from Rino has a better method for this.

coming soon page

Elementor, as easy as it may be, still takes quite a bit of getting used to. I know everyone learns differently, but my method has always been online videos, usually at 1.75X speed, that is my ADHD kicking in.

I have signed up for a bunch of great online training schools over the years, my go-to is LinkedIn Learning highly recommend it, but, LinkedIn learning did not have what I needed to learn Elementor. That is when I found Rino DeBoer at

Rino is a delight to watch. I can’t thank him enough for his course on “building a blog in Elementor.”  If you find his lessons as helpful as I did, you can thank him here: livingwithpixels

Much of the design that you see on is directly from his course on skillshare.

What Was Still Missing? The Home Page

I recalled that Neil Patel has this amazing blog of ideas and tools but his home page did not have the traditional cornucopia of content I was used to seeing on news sites, and specifically “really cool” blog templates.

Que the mini-rant (there will be more).  Working on other people’s websites, I’ve become pretty jaded with sites that have giant, pointless, images, or videos on their home pages that serve no purpose.

A ton of sites have, what I like to call, “Your Mom likes it” home pages. I do not care how cool your home page is, if people want entertainment, they are going to Netflix, not your home page.

Time after time I come across people who want a website that “looks cool” first, and “performs” second. Horrible idea, your site needs to do its job first, then look as cool as possible doing it.

Unfortunately, this negative attitude left me forgetting something I learned as a designer years ago. It is very common that people will copy be inspired by you. But they will usually do it wrong.

Neil Patel is doing it right. That big giant image and “Call to Action” on his home page serves a purpose, a very specific, targeted, and tested purpose, to build trust, and convert visitors into followers.

I had to figure out what I wanted my readers to actually do here. The answer came from‘s page layout and design, he’s got an awesome site, he want’s people to explore it.

My first goal with this site is simple, … pump up my ego so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time here. Or put another way, I want people to show up, search, enjoy, and signup for my “someday soon” newsletter.

I changed up my homepage to focus on search, tried to convince people they might want to sign up for my newsletter, and added a sitewide search bar. Then, I moved the former home page, over to my new main blog page. After doing some more tidying up… the site was ready for the next step…


Oh Yeah... The Blogging Part

I was perfectly content to just continue to create my site with fake content. Dreaming about having a blog while creating the structure seemed to be a lot more exciting than the hard part, actually writing.

I had already been crafting my titles, I created a spreadsheet of ideas for headlines, searched keyword phrases, and combed my memory for all the crazy shenanigans of my past.

Eventually, I decided this would be a good opportunity to grab a little help, call it a running start, … I sold out. My next stop…. Fiverr.

I decided to try 5 different writers on 5 different articles, spending just over $20 on each. I assumed knowing me, I would end up re-writing them all anyway, but this would give me a head start. I have to say Fiverr is a great service, and what I got back was wonderful, but it wasn’t me, or my voice.

I think the writers would have done a much better job had I told them to write what they want, “here’s my site, go for it”.  I could post their work as a guest author. Maybe it will even help them in their writing career. Sounds like a win win, or as my girlfriend would say, follows Buddhist principals of “Right Livelihood”.

Side note: As I’m editing this I’ve already emailed all of the writers and asked if they would mind if I added their content in here as guest writers, and if they would be interested in trying it again, this time with their own ideas, that experiment will have to go in another post.

I wish I could give you the whole story of how I built a wildly successful blog, but that journey lies ahead. For now, I’ve been busy reading, going through all my years of sports, training, and of course, my litany of injuries.

I have hit up my physical therapist, a recent Acro Yoga instructor, and my good friend, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor for opportunities to interview them all for future articles, maybe podcasts?

I’ve committed to going back to Acro Yoga (not hard, it’s crazy fun), upping my frequency of actual Yoga, re-committed myself to daily meditation, and if all goes well, maybe even an Ayahuasca retreat in the not too distant future.

I have dusted off my copy of Becoming a Supple Leopard  by Kelly Starrett, that’s a guy you can trust on fitness. I purchased the hardcopy of Can’t Hurt Me  by David Goggins . I have listened to the audio book twice already, and listened to, and recommended his podcast with Joe Rogan JRE 1080  more times than I can count. I highly recommend that episode, just not while the kiddos are listening.

Let the writing begin… or maybe I’ll look at a few hundred more “how to write your first blog post” posts first?


If you asked me today what my suggestions are for starting a blog, this is what I would tell ya.

1. Have fun, and enjoy THE PROCESS of creating it.  Use the act of building it as a learning and growth experience, in and of itself, regardless of the final outcome.  This is a pretty cool thing to accomplish.

2. Choose something that you are really interested in, even if you’re not an expert today.  It should be something that you want to be an expert in. This is your opportunity to design your own job, design the one you love.

3. Get great cheap tools – get a domain at namecheap ($7-$12), get a monthly subscription for adobe photoshop ($10), a monthly subscription to envato elements ($16.50), the annual hosting package at bluehost ($59.40), grab the annual subscription to Elementor Pro ($49).

4. Use awesome free tools – read everything at (as needed, not all at once), use his tool ubersuggest. Read I wanna be a blogger by Michael Pozdnev.  Get ideas for domains at, find unique domain names at Biz Name Creator. Sign up for two free months at and watch Rino DeBoer’s course.

5. Have a clear goal in mind for this venture, you can always change it later, but set your sites on a goal; 100 posts, 1000 subscribers, 5000 visitors a month, challenge yourself, make it happen. My goal? I’m going to sit down with David Goggins and ask some deep and thoughtful questions… that I haven’t quite narrowed down just yet.

I am sure there are a million things I have missed.

If you’ve already started a blog, what did I miss that everyone reading this should know?

If you haven’t started one yet, what is the biggest thing holding you back?

Or, if you have any other questions about this blog so far….

Let me know in the comments!