Since I’ve rebranded, this blog has taken on a mind of its own and I’m so happy that I can officially say that I’ve been blogging for four months. It’s certainly been a learning curve and I still have a lot to learn. Hindsight is 20/20 and lord there are things I wish I knew when I first started blogging. It would’ve made things so much easier and saved me from a lot of headache and long nights.
RELATED: If you want to learn how to start a blog, this post will help you out!
So to try and save you all from going through what I went through, here are some things I wish I knew when I first started blogging. This post is 100% my opinion.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that I would earn a small commission if you purchase through my link. This is at no extra cost to you and simply helps offset some of the costs in running this blog. Thank you for your support.
BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER
Blogging is a lonely and thankless job. It’s slow and if you don’t already have prior knowledge of coding, marketing, and business, blogging will force you to essentially learn this skills on the fly. Google will become your best friend and don’t be surprised if you find yourself screaming at the computer more than a few times. You have to wholeheartedly believe that the frustration and late nights are worth it and you have to cheer yourself on every day. Because unfortunately, no one else is going to do it for you. In fact, people will try to discourage you. They will try to rationalize with you. And all you can do is politely smile and shrug them off. It’s a lot like embracing your inner fangirl in that sense.
GET FOCUSED AND MAKE A PLAN
In order to truly be successful at blogging, no matter what your definition of success is, you have to have a focus. You can’t be sharing your five favorite mascaras one day and then offer tips on financing and budgeting. It will not only confuse your readers but leave them feeling a bit wary of who you are. And establishing trust with your readers is one of the most important things a blogger can do.
RELATED: Why I Decided to Rebrand
While it’s not entirely necessary to have a niche, you need to quickly figure out what’s your reason for blogging and run with it. Figuring out your theme and marketing strategy before you actually start blogging will help you immensely. I didn’t have one and I wound up having to rebrand. Not a bad thing, but it took up a lot of my energy and time that I could’ve been using instead to grow my blog and earn income.
*If you’re looking for some tips on how to rebrand, In Search of Sheila’s got your back
INVEST IN SELF HOSTING
It took me a while to realize that self hosting was the best route to go. I hate investing in things in case they wind up falling through or not working out. This is one investment that I wish I had started doing from the moment I decided to start a blog. Not only has it helped build up my credibility but it’s also increased my traffic. People trust you more when you don’t have .wordpress.com at the end of your site as it shows that you’re taking yourself seriously enough to spend money.
Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want, I guess. Yeah?
Before I started self hosting I always figured it would be expensive and complicated but I guess I must have chosen the right host service because it is anything but. I use Siteground and I absolutely love them!
They have 24/7 customer support and are so knowledgeable and helpful that they’ve helped me save my website so many times. In the short time I’ve been blogging, I’ve had a lot of near heart attacks when I meddled a bit too much with the site’s code and saw my site poof into thin air. Siteground’s managed to knock on wood help bring back my site and saving me from long nights of recoding.
They’re only $3.95/month when you sign up here and if you want to know the exact steps I took in self-hosting, you can visit this blog post. I explain everything in there.
*DID I MENTION THEY’RE ONLY $3.95/MONTH?!!
YOU CAN’T BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE
I will forever be working on this one but I wish someone told me that it’s ok if I have to disappoint sometimes. At the beginning of my blogging journey, before I rebranded, I tried to write about everything. One week I published a travel post featuring a mall or a specific tourist destination and the following week I’d be sharing a story about meeting someone famous. While this can be really entertaining, that’s it. I was stressing myself out trying to churn out three/four blog posts a week and I slowly started to hate it.
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It wasn’t until I completely stopped blogging did I realize that blogging was no longer fun. I thought I was just lazy and pathetic, with no work ethic whatsoever. I started feeling worse about myself and knew I needed to step back and reevaluate my blogging journey. It was then that I decided to rebrand and stop trying to be a travel, lifestyle, and entertainment blogger.
Since my rebranding, my writer’s block’s knock on wood been gone and I find myself smiling like a fool just thinking about sitting down behind my computer to type up a post.You can't be everything to everyone, so don't you dare try to be. You'll only succeed in stressing yourself out and making yourself miserable. Click To Tweet
PATIENCE WILL KEEP YOU SANE
Rome wasn’t built in one day. If you’re like me, you get discouraged easily. This is a mantra that’s worth repeating every day, multiple times a day. Because you will go insane if you expect to start earning $1,000s within your first two months. I remember when I first started blogging, I would check my stats obsessively and feel utterly crushed at how few views I was getting. I had daily breakdowns. Until I accepted that blogging was a marathon and not a sprint, I was miserable.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF
This doesn’t just relate to blogging and you can apply it to any facet of your life. But for blogging specifically, it’s especially important because you are unique. Be yourself and know that as long as you’re working towards your goals and learning every day, everything else is inconsequential. Remember, you started blogging because you wanted to. You’re doing this for yourself and know that you’re never going to be like ‘that famous blogger’ because you’re not her!!
Comparison is the thief of joy.
MAKING MONEY IS TOUGH
Don’t quit your day job just yet. Making money from blogging is really tough. It takes a lot to gain traction and even more to make a full income from it. It’s doable but you have to be undeniably devoted to this goal. It’s a constant trial and error because even though there are sure sound strategies that will help making money easier, what may work well for one blogger may not work as well for you.
AFFILIATE MARKETING IS A CRAZY UNPREDICTABLE BEAST
Affiliate marketing isn’t just adding random affiliate links into your posts and hoping that you’ll make money from it. There is a lot more to affiliate marketing and you have to be careful that it doesn’t appear spammy to your readers. You want your readers to genuinely use your affiliate links and be feel pressured into it. Yep, the truth hurts.
Here are my favorite affiliate programs to use though. They’re quick and simple to figure out.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW IT ALL
Don’t feel like you have to know everything right from the get-go. If you have to google how to change the color of your links then, by all means, do it. Even the most successful bloggers are learning something new every day. Why do you think there are so many courses and coaches out there? You are never too old to learn and you shouldn’t feel stressed or upset if you don’t know something. There is a lot to know about blogging and it’s absolutely impossible – repeat after me – impossible to know everything about blogging. It’s ok.
PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE
On this list of things I wish I knew when I first started blogging is just how much Pinterest helps with growing traffic. I don’t think I believed people when they said how useful Pinterest was. I was never one to self-promote because I never felt like I was worth paying attention to. Yet I pushed those self-doubts aside and started promoting. I started tagging people in my tweets and sharing my posts in Facebook groups. And it helps. Social media really helps in growing your traffic.
I am always afraid that I’ll appear spammy and it’s a hard balancing act between promoting enough and being spammy.
But you can’t expect to hit ‘post’ once and then expect people to find it.
Blogging is a lot of work and it’s often lonely work. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. A lot of people make their living through blogging. You just have to be willing to work hard at it. Know that it’s not an easy road and know that you will want to give up numerous times. But it’s also extremely rewarding and there’s no better feeling than knowing that you created something out of nothing. These are just a few things I wish I knew when I first started blogging. Let me know if you have any to add to this list and I’ll see you in my next post!! Happy blogging! <3
Don’t question my love for all things Supernatural and Simple Plan!! I’m proud to be a fangirl. I hope to inspire discovery and passion through these fandoms and to showcase the magical power that comes with being a fangirl.