What I Wish I Had Known About Blogging Before I Started
How much time do you have? Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I read something about blogging and thought, “That can’t possibly be true…” I could pay off my house.
1. It is not going to be easy.
Sure, I’ll just set up a website, try some products, and write some stuff, right? Easy peasy. Then maybe I’ll throw some ads up on it and make money! Voila!
Not so fast. First of all, I tweak my site about 100 times a day. There’s always something about the layout I want to fix, always something about the font. Then there’s the trying of products. Trying things is time consuming, and in order to really get a feel for skin and hair products you have to use them for a while.
I had two other websites that I designed, curated content for, ran, and then shut down before this one.
2. It is going to be time consuming.
When I first started out, I would read about fellow bloggers who stayed up until 4 am finishing posts. I thought, what are they doing? Their time management must be terrible.
Wrong. There is always something to do. There’s not just maintaining and writing for the blog, there’s social media, photography, research, networking, emailing, marketing, SEO…the list goes on and on. I need so much time just to get two articles up a week, photograph for them, then promote them. So if I’m on set for five days in a week, guess what? No posts. It’s really a huge juggling act.
3. It will not be lucrative.
At least, not initially, for most. Throwing ads up on your site in no way guarantees income. When I first started, I thought surely after about six months, I’ll be able to quit my day job. Bahahahahahaahha!
But seriously, it doesn’t work that way. Hours and hours of hard work go into blogging, and there’s no guarantee that you will ever make money off of it. So only do what you love.
4. Other people might not get it.
“Oh, you have a blog? Oh, that’s so cute!” I hear this a lot. People who don’t run a blog have absolutely no idea how much time, effort, thought, money, passion, and life it takes to maintain one. They also may not understand why you would do something that occupies so much of your time without being paid or making any money from it. Especially your parents.
5. It will likely cost you money at first.
Or, you know, for a good while. There’s a lot of elements that go into blogging, as I’ve said above, from hosting fees to Pinterest programs to consultants to just buying the products that you’d like to try, if that’s your niche.
People will not just give you stuff for free because you say you’re a blogger, so if you really want to try something, you’ll likely have to buy it yourself. Be sure to plan out your finances carefully, otherwise $5 here and $20 there can add up quickly.
6. Pictures matter.
I heard this before I started blogging and I thought, ‘Yeah, but I’ll just deal with that later. I just need to get something up now.’ And while this is a valid thought and nothing ever comes from procrastination, I look back on a lot of my early photos and I cringe.
There’s nothing wrong with simply diving in and getting something up immediately. Just make sure that you’re prepared to go back and edit, edit, edit.
7. Social media will become a huge part of your life.
Like, huge. Before I started blogging I had no interest in Instagram. I would post maybe once a month, usually photos of my cats or something funny.
Once I launched, however, I realized to really be successful and attract attention to what I was doing, I had to engage. That meant spending hours on social media interacting with other bloggers, putting photos on Instagram, thinking about hashtags, making Pins. I never dreamed Pinterest would be central to my universe, but now I spend a significant portion of my day thinking about it. P.S. If you need Pinterest help, sign up for my e-course here!
And Instagram? Forget about it. I’m on Instagram so much I’ve become one of the people I used to judge for being on their phones too much. But it’s important for a blog, or any business, really, to engage on social media. And since we’re very visual creatures, Instagram is hugely important to this engagement. So plan on spending significant quality time with your phone.
8. SEO is a beast I will probably never fully understand.
And that’s okay. I have done hours and hours and hours of research and I still don’t think I get SEO. Yes, I understand certain elements, but my brain just doesn’t work this way. Plus, it’s an ever-changing animal, so once I think I understand it, Google changes things up on me and I’m back in the dark.
One of the smartest things I’ve spent money on since starting this blog was an SEO expert. She pointed out what I had done wrong, what I had done right, and told me what to fix. This saved me money in the long run, since I didn’t have to spend hours poring over books trying to figure out what exactly to fix.
I went to school for English Literature. She went to school for web design and marketing. I definitely made the right choice in deferring to the expert.
9. For every opinion, there is an equal and opposite opinion.
Get really niche-y. Don’t be too niche-y. Be narrow. Be broad. Be personal. Be private. Honestly, it’s exhausting trying to parse through all the opinions out there.
The great thing is that these are just opinions. Yes, blogging experts have knowledge from years of experience that you may not have starting out. But some blogging experts may not be experts at all, and they may not be experts for your niche.
What I’ve found is that I’m happiest if I stay true to myself. I write what I like, what I know, and let the rest fall into place.
10. At the end of the day, it’s about you.
And that’s the gist of it. Although I do believe blogging should be treated as a business, a lot of bloggers started up because they wanted to leave the 9 to 5 grind and work for themselves. So it has to be something you enjoy and is your passion, or else it will become just another thing you have to do each day.
And yes, it is each day. There is not one day I spend away from my blog, or my blog’s Instagram, or my other forms of social media. But that’s okay, because I genuinely enjoy it. And that’s what it’s all about.
Are you a blogger with some kernels of wisdom? Leave me a comment or message me here!