Starting a blog is easy. It’s everything else that follows that can be challenging. But, it doesn’t need to be. With a good plan and reasonable expectations, you can build a solid blog with a bright future. Check out these 19 new blogger lessons that I learned in 2019.
I started my blog in July, 2018. And, I really thought that I had it all together before I went live. I did my research and “homework”, and was ready to take the blogging world by storm. (Or, at least carve out a little section of the internet for my blog.)
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Well, I’m still working on that blog world by storm thing. But, I’ve learned a few blogger lessons that’s helping me establish my own little corner of the internet. This posts shares those lessons with you. Ready? Here we go!
1. Blogging Is Fluid
Especially when you’re just starting out as a new blogger, keep this point in mind. Don’t get too attached to your original plan for your blog. Be willing to be a little flexible as you get to know your audience and they get to know you.
This doesn’t mean that you should completely change course with your blog. But, it does mean that you should be open to slightly adjusting if it looks like you should.
For example, when I launched this blog, I planned to focus on freelancing. That’s where I started. I’ll admit that it wasn’t totally resonating with me, but I couldn’t narrow down my focus to a place that felt in sync with my blog’s goals.
However, after a short while, I realized that what I really intended to focus on was side hustles and things related to them. (Like productivity, entrepreneurship and personal finance.) Once I got to this point, everything has flowed smoothly since. If I hadn’t been open to change, this wouldn’t have happened. Keep it fluid to find your blog’s unique groove.
2. Just Get Started
Seriously, if you want to start a blog, just get started. It’s scary to put yourself out there, no doubt about that. But, the best part of being a new blogger is that a lot of people probably aren’t seeing your site in the beginning.
While you (and I) dream of big traffic in the future, getting started and going live allows you to begin fine-tuning your blog in real-time. You’re no longer creating in a vacuum, and you can start solidifying your blog plan and path.
3. SEO Should Not Be An Afterthought
SEO was on my mind in the early months of my blog. But, beyond the nebulous thoughts about SEO, I really didn’t pay much attention to it. Fast forward a few months, and I realized that SEO needs to be a part of your blog launch strategy. From the very beginning.
Fortunately, I found a course that breaks down the complexities of SEO and makes it easy to implement on your site. Stupid Simple SEO has been worth the investment. It’s a straightforward course that shows you how to set up your site and content for maximum SEO.
SEO and organic traffic is important to your site. Give this the attention it deserves early on.
4. Start Tracking Your Traffic
I’ve been tracking my site’s traffic from the launch of my site. Even when I had no traffic to track. Why? You can start to identify traffic patterns, when people visit your site and from where, what content is most popular, etc. These are all important data points that can help you build a better blog.
The best way to do this is to set up Google Analytics on your site. Once it’s set up, it’s easy to go in and check your traffic any time you’d like.
5. Choose A Good Blogging Platform
There are lots of different platforms out there that you can start a blog on. This site runs on WordPress.org, as do many other blogs.
I chose WordPress.org because it gives me the freedom and options to expand my site as it grows. That’s an important consideration when looking toward the future of your blog.
Whichever platform you choose, take some time to think about your long and short-term goals for your blog. Then, choose the platform that best suits your needs.
6. Blogging Is A Long Game
There is a wealth of information out there about making money with blogging. Some of that information is from people who started blogging years ago, when the blogging landscape looked very different than today.
Do I think that it’s still possible to make a living, or at least a very nice side income, with blogging? You bet! That’s one of my goals with this blog, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I thought otherwise.
Do I think that it’s way more difficulty to achieve this today than 5 or 10 years ago? Absolutely. Just based on numbers alone, the blogging world is more crowded than it was years ago. Therefore, there is more competition. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful.
It does mean that setting reasonable expectations are important, and one of those is that earning money by blogging is a long game. You could very well be one of those mythical leprechaun-riding-a-unicorn that makes it “big” in 3 months.
But, it’s more likely that you’ll work on your blog 2 to 3 years before seeing notable success. I’m okay with this, as I treat my blog as a business that I’m building. I want it to be excellent, helpful and meaningful for my readers.
7. Write Quality Content
I have faith in people, in general, and think that most people know crap when they see it. Don’t write crap. Write quality content.
It’s worth it to take a little extra time and write a few great posts, than lots of mediocre ones. If you have to pick quality over quantity, pick quality.
8. Post Consistently
Google and other search engines love consistency. Your audience will love consistency. So, post consistently.
This does not mean that you have to post daily or several times a week, unless you can write lots of great posts that frequently. In that case, post away my friend!
For this site, I try to post every Monday. I haven’t been entirely consistent since launching my blog, but am continuing to work on this. And, it’s getting better.
Find a consistency schedule that works for you and follow it.
9. Start An Email List
I have a small, but growing, email list. When people started signing up for my list, I had an odd reaction. I was excited, but nervous. What was I going to say to them? How often should I email my list? Do they really want to hear from me?
Well, I still don’t have firm answers to the first two questions, but the last one is a resounding “yes”. My list members want to hear from me. That’s why they graciously shared their email.
I email my list once a week when I publish a new post. I may also email them, occasionally, with points of interest that may help them with their side hustle or blog journeys. (What I don’t do is inundate my list with a bunch of sales emails. There may be times that I mention courses or products that I’ve used and recommend, but I won’t just sell for selling’s sake. Ugh!) For me, providing value to my readers is the focus of my email.
If you haven’t started your email list yet, I’d recommend checking out the different email providers and find one that you like. I use ConvertKit for this site, and have since it launched. It’s been a great platform with easy-to-use features and excellent support.
10. Start With One Social Media Platform
When you start blogging, you will likely often feel like you need three of you to get everything done. Since that’s not happening, you need to focus on a few key things. Managing your blog’s social media can be a job in itself.
Start with one social media platform and build that up. Find your rhythm with it before starting with another platform.
Pinterest is a great place for new bloggers to start. Most of my traffic currently comes from Pinterest. (Although I’m starting to see an uptick in organic traffic as I fine tune my SEO.)
Using Pinterest for your blog is a little different than using it personally for recipes, fashion or home decor. With your blog, consider setting up a Pinterest for Business account just for your blog. Then, set up your profile to feature your blog, and boards that compliment what your blog is about. Take a look at my Pinterest profile for more.
Once your Pinterest account is set up, you want to be sure to pin regularly. Consider using a scheduler tool like Tailwind. Tailwind lets you schedule multiple pins over multiple days. It’s a HUGE time saver!
Also, check out the Tribes feature. I recently powered up to add more Tribes, and now have over 1,000 followers on Pinterest and nearly 35 thousand monthly views.
11. Set Up All Of Your Social Media Profiles
Even though you should focus on one at a time while you build your blog’s social media presence, you should consider securing other social media accounts for your blog.
In addition to Pinterest, this site also has an Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook presence. I’ve recently started posting on Instagram and Twitter, and added those to the site. (Although, I don’t focus on them like Pinterest, I do post weekly on those.)
I’m building out my blog’s Facebook page, and will eventually add YouTube videos. When I get ready to go live with those, they’ll be ready to add to my site.
12. Write Down Every Post Idea
I literally write down every idea that I have for a post. Some of them will never become actual posts, some of them will. Others will be inspirations for similar posts.
“What am I going to write about?” is a common new blogger concern. Once you start cultivating ideas, you may be surprised how easy it becomes to think of new ones. Writing down your ideas really helps this process.
13. Reach Out To Other New Bloggers
When I first started blogging, I focused on the established, big bloggers. They were making it big and I wanted to do that, so why wouldn’t I focus on what they were doing?
It’s not a bad idea to keep your eye on established bloggers, but don’t forget your fellow new bloggers in the “trenches”. I’ve found great support from other new bloggers. Some of them are a little further along than I am, and some aren’t. I’ve also been able to provide support to other new bloggers.
Find your people and start building those relationships with them. It’s not as scary as it seems, and I find it really rewarding and encouraging.
14. Do One Thing For Your Blog Every Day
I try to do one thing for my blog every day. That may be writing a post, commenting on another blog or emailing my list. It doesn’t have to be a big project. It can be something small.
The purpose is that I do something everyday to nurture my blog and move it forward.
15. Create A Schedule
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll likely never get there. Create a schedule for your blog and blog-related activities.
Start with making a list of everything you need to do with your blog on a daily, weekly, monthly and other basis. Then, schedule those activities so that you have a clear plan that you’re working toward.
This will make things much less frantic-feeling when it comes to what you should be doing for your blog, and when.
16. Set Clear Goals
A schedule and goals go hand-in-hand. Set goals for your site. Some of your goals may be related to monthly traffic, revenue, content, email sign ups, etc. The key is to write down your goals, so that you can see them and track them.
If you’re struggling with creating clear goals, check out my FREE SMART Goals course.
17. Drive Traffic To Your Site Now
You can have the most beautiful site with the best content, but if no one is seeing it, it’s like it doesn’t exist. Don’t get caught up in other things, and fail to focus on driving traffic to your site.
There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your site. I currently focus on Pinterest and SEO, but plan to add other channels in the next year. While I get most of my traffic from Pinterest, I also think that you need to have your site in multiple places to increase traffic. Don’t rely on just one or two traffic sources.
That said, it’s important to establish one or two traffic sources, then start adding others. Build gradually and organically. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
18. Monetize Later
I’ve never liked the term “monetize your site”. It implies that if you do A it will equal B. And, that’s not entirely true when it comes to monetizing your site.
In order to truly monetize your site, you need traffic. Moreover, you need targeted traffic that’s interested in what you’re promoting.
Focus on finding and building your audience, creating quality and consistent content, and driving traffic. Then, monetization will flow naturally.
19. Take Time To Rest
Blogging can become all-consuming. And, you are likely a one-person show as a new blogger. So, be sure to take time to rest, relax and just care for yourself. Blogger burnout is real, so stay tuned into when you need a break and take it. Your blog will be there when you return.
How to Start Your Blog Today
How to Write Your First Blog Post
What You Should Be Doing As A New Blogger