13 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging
I started my first blog about ten years ago… and quit it after my second post. Since that time I’ve started a half-dozen blogs, including two that became quite successful.
There were SO many things that I didn’t know when I started blogging. What I would give to be able to go back and teach myself everything I’ve learned!
I’m 100% certain that I’ll continue to learn new things in the future, and that my blog will continue to greatly improve, but I’ve definitely come a long way from when I started. Accordingly, here are thirteen things that I really wish I had known when I started blogging.
1 // Blogging takes so much time.
When I started blogging, my blog posts were a bit shorter than they are now — perhaps about 800 words, as opposed to my current norm of 1,200+. I’d write those short little posts inside WordPress, hit publish, and in less than 40 minutes I’d have my blog up.
Well, sister, I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to get a lot more serious about this, and a whole lot pickier…
These days I take 90 minutes to write a post, another half hour to edit, and then as much as another 90 minutes to design graphics and get everything formatted. All told, blogging takes a *minimum* of three hours each week, and sometimes as much as five to six.
2 // Google Adwords isn’t worth it.
Even though every guide on “how to make money blogging” seems to focus on Google Adwords as the main way to do so, plastering your site with ads really isn’t worth it.
Why? Because blogging is so competitive that in order to stand out you must give your readers a GREAT experience — and nobody enjoys looking at tons of ads. What’s more, those ads don’t even pay that much. You have to have hundreds of thousands of views per month to make a living from them.
Ultimately, there are better, nicer ways to make MORE money a whole lot faster with your blog. So don’t just settle for what’s “easy.”
Read this >> Seven Reasons Your Blog ISN'T Making Money
3 // Your traffic WON’T come from posting on social media 10 times per day.
When you’re small and nobody’s listening to you reading your blog, then you hold on to anything that seems like maybe it could help. One of those things is definitely posting on social media daily — even if it’s not really helping.
Everyone will tell you “just be consistent” “post every day and eventually your following will grow!”
“Eventually” is a good way to describe it!
The fact is, social media is an addictive lottery. We see some people make it big, so we keep on playing the game… even though those few “stars” are the extreme exception.
There are better, more impactful ways that you can spend your time. Doing what everyone else is doing will only get you the results that everyone else is getting. (Which, by definition, are mediocre.)
Read this >> How to Achieve Success FASTER
4 // You won’t like social media you don’t like.
Girl, you know you don’t love social media. You don’t love putting together Instagram posts (because it takes sooooo long to do a good job, and hardly anybody even cares), tweeting (I don’t WANT to talk to people every 27 minutes — I’m an introvert!), or posting on Facebook (because I really only have 10 friends I want to talk to, not 2,587).
So why are you doing it??
I know you want your blog to be successful, I know everyone says this is what you should be doing, and I know the allure of being rich AND famous is real.
But really. You’re an introvert and you’ve never liked social media. Turning into a JOB isn’t going to make you like it more.
So quit while you’re ahead, and hire someone to help you.
Read this >> I QUIT Social Media and My Income TRIPLED
5 // Sticking to a niche is tough.
…especially when your interests change every five minutes.
Seriously, though, there are so many things I love! And I’m always finding new things that I love “the most” and really want to share with the world. #thestruggleisreal
There are only two ways you’ll ever possibly stick to a blogging niche, oh younger self.
- Choose a blog topic about something that interests you, but accept *from the get-go* that you aren’t obsessive about it and never will be. But ONLY do this if it’s a profitable niche and your blog is part of a much bigger monetization plan.
- Blog about an underlying theme in your life that’s been there for a long time. For me, those things are “success,” “entrepreneurship,” “personal development,” and “how to make money.”
Alternatively, if you aren’t hoping to earn money with your blog, then write about whatever the heck you like. Or have ten different blogs on different topics, and post on each of them only when you feel like it. This won’t make you rich or famous, but it can provide an enjoyable creative outlet.
6 // Youtube is an amazing source of blog traffic.
Regardless, it’s true. Youtube is an AMAZING source of blog traffic. In fact, my Youtube channel is where I get about 70% of my own traffic.
Basically, Youtube is free advertising… except it’s better than free, because Youtube actually pays their video creators. (I’m currently making about $1,800/month from Youtube… and it’s driving most of my blog traffic. Pretty good deal, if you ask me!)
So, younger blogging self, jump on that Youtube train! You did NOT “miss your opportunity.”
7 // There’s only one way to stand out in the blogging world.
And that is to present good quality content that people WANT to read, and to do so very consistently.
“Good quality” might just mean that your posts include more detailed instructions, have beautiful pictures, or that you share unique ideas.
But, ultimately, your readers are the judges. If they share your posts with their friends, comment, and come back for more, then you’re doing a good job. If they aren’t engaged and interested, then your posts probably aren’t engaging or interesting.
So, baby-blogger-me, step it up! You can research MORE, you can try HARDER, and you can do BETTER.
8 // Different niches are competitive on very different levels.
From the outside, as a newbie, it seemed to me like every blogging niche was just “very competitive.” So, I chose my own niche simply based on what I wanted to write about, since it didn’t really seem like any of the options were particularly “easier” than any of the others.
Now that I’m deep in the industry, I’ve learned a few things. Specifically, the most competitive blogging niches are:
- Blogging about blogging
- How to make money online
And pretty much anything else is WAY easier to break into. Topics like:
- Home organization
I’m not saying that these topics *aren’t* competitive, but they are WAY less competitive than the first list, because there aren’t nearly as many truly high-quality blogs in these niches.
9 // Your blog posts will get WAY better.
You will get pickier, you will learn new tricks, and you will become more invested in your results. You will write longer posts, actually edit, and take the time to design coordinating graphics.
Your posts will become prettier, better quality, and more helpful. People will appreciate them more, and you will be justly rewarded.
Blogging will take a lot more time and energy, but it will also be much more worth it.
10 // Real relationships are the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
“Networking” is lame if it means introducing yourself to dozens of people, only looking for potential customers, and then promptly forgetting all their names.
Take it from an introvert. This is lame.
But what’s totally NOT lame is developing real relationships with peers, mentors, and mentees. People who you can learn from and teach. People who understand what you’re going through, and who can mutually support you.
In my experience, the two best ways to develop these relationships are:
- Have coffee. (Or virtual coffee.) Chat face to face. Share about your business, personal life, and anything else that’s in the mix. Be open, and LISTEN to what they have to say as well. Discover what you have in common and how you might be able to support yourself.
- Hire them. Have someone in your industry you’ve got a biz crush on? Someone who seems just a bit unreachable? Hire them to help you out. Even if it’s just for an hour of their time, or a minimal service.
Having even one successful transaction (they give you help, you give them money) establishes trust faster than anything else can. And trust is the basis of all relationships.
11 // The only way to stay consistent is to have an absolute schedule.
No matter how much you love blogging, as soon as it becomes an obligation, a job, or something you want to be your job, you will find yourself procrastinating. It happens to us all.
After all, blogging can be a lot of work! And, not always very rewarding, either. And even aside from that, anything we perceive as “work” tends to become avoided.
We fall into a trap of “I should really do that,” then feeling guilty about not, then feeling negative about it all together… It’s a bad, spirally trap.
I’ve found only one cure: Stick to an absolute schedule.
Blog posts get published every Monday. Period.
This saves me from the paralysis of decision making, “Should I blog today? I don’t feel like blogging today. Maybe I don’t need to blog today?” that quickly turns into procrastinating — and not blogging for weeks.
12 // Dreaming small will keep you small.
If your goal is to eventually earn a modest $2,500 from your blog, then you’ll do everything yourself.
You’ll design your website yourself (because hiring a pro to do it for $3000 would be totally irresponsible when you aren’t currently making *anything* …and might never).
You’ll manage your own social media — even though you’re not very good at it and it takes SO much time. (Because spending $1,000/month on a dedicated SM manager doesn’t make any sense if you’re only ever planning to make $2,500.)
Basically, if you’re only ever planning to create modest success, then you’ll build systems to support that level of success — and you’ll (correctly) determine that it doesn’t make sense to invest much into your blog or business.
Read this >> Three Ways to INVEST In Your Business
13 // Eventually, you will find some things that really work. But only if you keep going.
“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
It’s true, and so is this: If you set your mind on a goal and pursue it endlessly, then you will grow towards it. You will probably reach it! But, even if you don’t, you will become better and better in the process. Your projects (be they blogs, business, physical fitness, or anything else) will gradually become more and more successful.
Keep going, and you will grow. Fix your eyes on positive goals, and you’ll be headed in the right direction.