I have officially been blogging for 1 1/2 years now (yay!), but honestly I still feel like a beginner!
One of my most asked question on instagram is “How do you start a blog?” This question always surprises me. Probably because I’m still so far from being a “pro blogger.” I’m just little ol Melanie, doing my best to navigate this blogging world day by day.
The question always gets me thinking about those first few blog posts I made. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into! But, I kept pushing publish and kept studying and my blog has evolved and grown because of it.
So today, I want to give some advice to anyone exploring the idea of starting their own blog. Here are my 10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known When I Started Blogging!
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1. Blogging is Hard.
There is just no way around this cold hard fact. Sure, it’s fun to share your heart through writing. Yes, it’s exciting to connect with others around the world.
But, there is so.much.more.to.blogging.than.blogging. For reals.
There is the “techy” part, the marketing, picture editing, legalities, and so on and so on. This can all get a little confusing at times, and it is very very time consuming.
I think the hardest part though is the moments you fail. You spend hours and hours, pouring your heart into this world and then nothing happens. Nobody visits your blog, your words seem to not matter and it feels like no matter how hard you try….you will never succeed. It’s hard!
I’m not trying to be a downer, but I am trying to be honest. Blogging is so much more than writing cute articles, and it’s not easy! It’s a lot of work!
2. Start With Self Hosted.
When I first started researching blogging info I kept hearing the advice that I need a “self hosted” site. But, being the somewhat prideful (did I really just admit that?!?) person that I am; I decided not to listen to the advice of all of the experts! (seriously rolling my eyes at my pride right now)
Instead, I decided I would save a few bucks (it’s always about money with me) and take the “easy route”. I went ahead and set up a blog on wordpress.com. It felt legit, it looked fairly straightforward, so I went for it.
And of course I was wrong! This platform limited me and my site in so many ways. I finally swallowed my pride and switched to a self hosted platform, I am currently using site ground, and it’s made all of the difference!
I have so much more control over my blog! The change has been night and day. Site ground has amazing customer service, the price is affordable and I haven’t had a problem since switching.
Do yourself a favor and start your blog on a self hosted platform! I wish I would have listened to all of the experts to begin with! .
3. Blogs Cost Money.
You will read countless blog articles telling you that blogs are really cheap to start. Which, technically is true. It really doesn’t cost a ton of money to purchase your site ground subscription and get the blog started.
As you keep trying to find ways to grow your blog business, you will keep noticing the investment gets bigger and bigger. You will probably want to buy a blog design, a email list subscription, stock photos, etc.
It still is significantly less to start a blogging business than an alternative business, but it does cost more money than I had initially thought.
4. Not all Email Servers are Created Equal.
When I started blogging I knew I needed an email list, so I signed up for the cheapest server I could find. Which, in all honesty is a smoking deal. It was free to use, as long as my email subscribers were under 2,000 (I really like free!).
But, this email server drove me crazy. It was not user friendly and I struggled figuring out how to use it. I spent countless hours of my precious time trying to learn the system.
I eventually had more than 2,000 subscribers and couldn’t be on the free plan anymore. I knew this was the time to switch servers. I had heard so many great things about Convertkit, so I made the big move. This was fairly painless to do, and only took about an hour to get it all set up.
It was one of the best decisions ever! Convertkit is amazing! It’s user friendly and easy to understand and it has saved me so much time. Yes, I’m paying more now, but for me, it has been worth it!
5. Be Patient.
Sure, you will hear a few blog instant success story, but this is not the norm. For most bloggers it takes time (lots of time!) to see your blog get traffic. In some cases it might even take years!
I have been blogging for a year and half and I still haven’t learned how to get people coming to my blog. At times this frustrates me and I wonder if I should just give up.
However, I keep plugging away at it though, and I keep trying to be patient. I recently had a blogging friend share that she has been blogging for over 2 years and finally reached a huge blogging milestone. Stories like this give me hope that if I keep being patient and keep improving I might also see some success (cross my fingers!).
6. Blogging Friends are Great Resources.
Two years ago I had no idea just how wonderful blogging friends are! They have honestly been the best resources and help mates as I have tried to navigate this world.
Every single person I have reached out to (seriously, everyone) has been more than happy to answer my questions, point me in the right direction and give me support.
If you want to start a blog, don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers to ask questions and get advice. My door, or inbox ;), is always open! Another great place to look is facebook. Join a few blogger facebook groups. These have loads of information! We all understand what it’s like to begin and truly want to see others succeed.
7. SEO is Important.
I had no idea what SEO was until I started blogging. And to be completely honest with you…..I didn’t really understand it until just a few months ago (I’m a slow learner).
I kept hearing bloggers use the term SEO, and I knew it was important. But it was really confusing and I just didn’t want to take the time to understand it.
This was a mistake! I should have made SEO one of my first priorities when I started blogging.
If you’re as clueless as I usually am, here’s a quick run down for you! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is how you get traffic from search engines to find your website. You want your site to come up when someone googles a question or topic. This is done by using certain keywords in your articles.
8. Tailwind is a Lifesaver.
Instead of having to spend hours each day on pinterest, Tailwind will do all of the work for you! I spend about one hour each week scheduling my pins on Tailwind, and then I can just forget about pinterest for the rest of the week! Best invention ever!
9. Don’t Overthink It.
If you are feeling the urge to start a blog, just do it! I spent a lot of time worrying about every step of the blogging process. Hours upon hours were spent editing pictures, making pins and researching blogging tips. I worried so much about making a mistake, but in the end I hurt myself by holding back.
I wish I would have jumped in feet first rather than dabbling here and there. Starting a blog can be scary, but don’t let that fear hold you back!
10. Do Not Use Free Photos
A big part of blogging is good photography. Unfortunately, I am not a great photographer. Fortunately, there are many wonderful photographers out there!
When I first started my blog I insisted on only using free photos. Well, the more I learned about blogging the more I realized just what a huge mistake that was. You see, many of the “free” photo sites are actually stolen images uploaded without permission. Because of this there have been many bloggers sued for using photos without the copyright.
Once I learned this important fact I had to go through the tedious task of changing out all of my free photos to paid photos. It was time consuming and I wish I had paid for the photos in the first place!
I personally use Deposit Photos and am so pleased with them. There are thousands of pictures to choose from and they are beautiful!
11. It’s The Best Adventure Yet!
When I began blogging I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know if I would like it, or hate it. I just knew that I wanted to try.
It turns out I absolutely love blogging. It has been an outlet for me to express myself and to meet new people. I love having this project to work on while my kids sleep. It has brought a lot of joy and confidence into my life, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!
Are you wanting to start blogging but don’t know where to begin? Ask your questions in the comments and I will try to answer them all!