Blogging has become very popular over the years. The number of people starting a blog is growing every day. Many bloggers earn a living from their blogs and some even quit their jobs to focus on blogging full-time.
Starting a Blog: 11 Important Lessons I Learned
Getting started as a new blogger can be overwhelming, to say the least. That is why I decided to share with you the lessons I learned from my own personal journey so I can make your journey a little easier.
Managing your personal finances can be stressful. I should know. I have dealt with some difficult financial situations in my life.
Growing up, I lived in a 2-bedroom apartment with my mom, brother, and sister. We didn’t have a car and barely survived on government assistance. I knew from a very early age that I wasn’t going to live this way as an adult.
I was tired of wearing my brother’s hand-me-downs and not having any money to go out with my friends. As soon as I was able, I took every babysitting job that was offered, had a newspaper route, and did other various jobs.
I worked hard, always had good grades, and went to college. But then I did something that wasn’t very smart. I got married at the age of 19. Two kids and 14 years later, we divorced. This was my first financial setback as an adult.
A few years later I married my soulmate and we have been together for 18 years now. The first couple of years were a little strenuous on our finances because he did not have the best track record when it came to managing his money. He was paying child support for 2 children and had some high-interest debt. Needless to say, we were able to get a handle on it, and we are in a much better position today.
Even though I faced a few financial challenges in my adult life, I was never faced with living in poverty as I did as a child. Sure, money was tight a few times, but I was always prepared to weather the financial storm.
There are a few financial habits I have stuck to ever since I was a teenager. They are as follows:
- I always put some of my earnings in a savings account
- I always shopped around for the best deals
- I keep unnecessary spending within reason
- I diversify my investments
- I monitor my credit
- I pay my credit cards in full every month
- I take an occasional side-hustle to either build up my savings or put towards something that is not in my budget
More recently though, I decided to start my own blog. I’ve heard so much about people making money blogging that I decided to give it some serious thought.
The idea of blogging became more and more appealing. I have been an accountant for over 20 years, but I felt it was time for a change. I was stuck in a rut. I was tired of the 9-5 and the office politics. I took a serious look in the mirror and realized that I really enjoy being creative, but I couldn’t just quit my job.
Blogging allows me to put my creative talents to work and earn some money at the same time. I am an introvert so starting a blog was a little scary. But I enjoy writing. It is an outlet for me, and it is very therapeutic. So, I decided to take the plunge and began my blog Sensibly Shelley.
I will not sugarcoat it or lie to you. Blogging takes dedication, tenacity, and patience. And you shouldn’t expect to quit your job right away. Regardless of what you may have heard, you are not going to be making thousands of dollars right from the start.
Lessons I Have Learned
Prior to my first publication, I did a lot of research. I watched videos and read articles about choosing a platform, writing articles, and building an audience. And even though I had a few posts written ahead of time, I still wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be.
1. Know Your Strengths
One of the things I have learned since I started my blog is that it takes a certain type of person. You should be dedicated, organized, and willing to learn. Lucky for me, these are traits that I already possessed. I just didn’t realize what an asset my traits would be with respect to blogging.
2. What Are Your Interests
Before starting a blog there are a few things you should seriously consider, the first of which is deciding on a niche. Think about the subjects that interest you. It helps if you have some knowledge in those areas. Make a list of your interests and narrow it down from there.
Then do a little research. Read articles that are similar to your niche. You probably have subscribed to a few blogs already. What are they writing about?
Once you decide on a niche, try writing a few posts. Aim for 5-10 articles, this way you will have some content when you are ready to move forward.
3. Decide on A Name
Then you should decide on a name. This can be tough. You want it to be something easy to remember but helps you stand out. Some people use part of their name, like me while others decide on a name that is related to their content. The point is to make your blog name original and distinctive.
4. Choose A Host Provider and A Platform
After you have done some research, written a few posts, and decided on a name, you will need to choose a web hosting provider and a platform. I use Host Gator for my provider and the platform I use is WordPress. I have nothing but good things to say about both companies.
Host Gator has reasonable prices, and they offer 24/7 support. I have run into some technical issues twice and really appreciated getting some assistance on a weekend.
WordPress is great too. The platform is easy to use, and they offer several different options for support plans. I was able to do much of the set-up and design myself, but there were still things I needed to learn.
I paid for one month of service and focused on learning everything I could in that month. A few months later when I needed a little more advanced assistance, I paid for another month and did the same thing.
5. Protect Yourself
At this point, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. It is understandable. But there is no need to fret. Just take it one step at a time. If you made it this far, you have a great start and you will gain more knowledge as you go. The best way to learn is to just start.
6. Write Quality Posts
Now that you have started, it is important that you write quality posts, and write often. Having more posts on your site will attract more visitors and the likelihood that they will stay on your website for more than a few seconds.
If you are unfamiliar with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, it is important that you learn. SEO helps drive organic traffic to your blog. You will need to learn best practices for post titles, using keywords, and more. As important as SEO is to driving traffic to your blog, writing quality posts should be the main focus.
Here are a few terrific resources to learn more about SEO:
7. Get Social
Social media is a must for any business today. It is an important tool that businesses use to share information about their products and services. Many engage with their potential customers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
Your blog is a business too, and you want to reach as many potential customers as possible. After you set up your social media platforms for your blog, it is important that you engage your audience. This is something that will take a little practice.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Create a post on Facebook, or tweet something then pay attention to the responses. After some time, you will learn what works best.
One thing that really helped me tremendously was joining some Facebook blogging groups. These groups are a great source of advice and support. I belong to several but the two I have found to have the greatest benefit are Blogging for New Bloggers and Bad Ass Bloggers.
8. Create Pins
Equally as important, and maybe even more so, as Facebook, Instagram, etc. is Pinterest. People search Pinterest for ideas every day. It is another great way to drive traffic to your blog. If you are new to Pinterest or are interested in learning more, you can sign up for Pinterest for New Bloggers. For even greater exposure, you will want to join a few Pinterest board groups related to your niche. After you sign up for a free account, you can search board groups. The search display includes the group name, number of collaborators, number of followers, and number of pins.
To create beautiful pins, you will want to use Canva. You will need to set up an account, but it is free to use. There are many different templates to choose from and you can even upload your own images. Below is an example of one I recently created.
Designing pins once I’ve finished a post is one of my favorite things to do. I love to be creative, and I probably spend more time than I should be creating pins.
Canva also has templates for Instagram, Facebook, and so much more.
9. Affiliate Marketing
Another lesson that I have learned is that you don’t need to wait until your blog has a lot of traffic and subscribers before beginning affiliate marketing. If you are unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, it is simply a source of revenue from product sales for ads that you place on your blog. You are the marketer and companies will pay you a commission for any sales stemming from your blog. Affiliate marketers increase product exposure and thus increase the potential for sales.
I have an account with CJ Affiliates. There are many advertisers to choose from and the website is easy to use. I recommend you choose one or two related to your niche to start and add more once you become familiar with the process.
10. Your Competitors are Your Friends
Embrace your competitors. After all, you will be writing about many of the same topics. Read their blogs to see what your competitors are publishing as a source of inspiration. While visiting their website, take note of the layout and design of their blog. I strongly believe that no matter how good the work may be, there is always room for improvement.
11. Guest Posts
And last, but not least, writing a post for publication on a blog other than your own is a fantastic way to reach a wider audience. This is known as a guest post. Many times, bloggers will reciprocate articles while other times you can find other blogs that will pay you for submissions.
Wrapping It Up
Your blog is a business, and you should treat it as such. To ensure financial stability, it is not only important to monitor your budget, but you should also have more than one source of revenue. Many business owners will tell you the same thing.
Starting a blog can be a great source of additional revenue, which is one of the reasons I started my blog. You just never know when life will throw you a financial curveball.
If you decide that you would like to start your own blog, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Blogging takes patience and dedication.
- Revenue from blogging will not start pouring in right away. It will take a little time.
- Starting a blog is not for everyone. It can be intimidating and overwhelming at times.
- Some technical ability and marketing skills will come in handy. Don’t worry, if you have little to no experience with either, you will learn.
Remember these key points:
-Know your strengths
-Determine your interests
-Choose the right name
-Choose the right host provider and web platform
-Make sure to protect yourself legally
-Write quality posts
-Use social media
-Create pins for all your posts
-Start doing affiliate marketing right away
-Embrace the competition
-Swap guest posts
It is my hope that I have provided you with a good overview of starting a blog. I always enjoy sharing my knowledge with others which is why the focus of my blog is to provide practical tips that people can really use. It makes me feel good to know that I have helped someone else even if it may be only in a small way.
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