8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Blog

If you are a blogger, do you have things you wish you would have known before you started your blog? Or if you haven’t started a blog yet, do you ever wonder what seasoned bloggers wish they would’ve known before starting their blog? Sometimes I look back and laugh at what I didn’t know and wish I had more insight when I first started out. Here’s my list of the 8 things I wish I knew before starting a blog. 

8 Things I Wish I knew Before Starting A Blog

Like a lot of bloggers, I didn’t start out blogging with my goals to have a hundred page views or to have my blog post go viral on Pinterest, or even to make blog friends. When I first started blogging, it was just a way to post about my DIY projects. I started my blog to just document my crafts I would create.  I never in a million years would ever think it would have become what it is today. 

Gradually, the blog became a way to document not only crafts but also our travels, recipes, and about our every day life.  Now it has transformed into a way to educate bloggers on starting a blog and monetizing it.  When I created Uniquely Women, I had no idea it would lead me down an entrepreneurial path. 

Here are the 8 things I wish I knew before starting a blog:

Have A Plan

This is probably the biggest regret I have when it comes to blogging. I didn’t realize how big a blog CAN get and didn’t focus on my blog until a couple years in.  I wrote blog posts here and there, not really having a clear plan or goal in mind.  I figured it out along the way, which was okay except that I feel like it’s taken me the entirety of my blogging career to figure things out. I can only wonder what the success of my blog could’ve been had I sat down and planned things out ahead of time. 

When starting your blog, take some time to write down a list of short-term and long-term goals for your blog. Perhaps you want to reach a certain number of page views or Instagram followers. Maybe it’s getting your first sponsored post or guest posting on the blog you’ve been recently admiring. Take time to think about why you want to blog and what you want to accomplish from it.

Find a way to keep yourself organized as a blogger.  This organization printable I created and has helped me stay accountable and on track! WIN!

Why It’s Important To Use Self Hosted WordPress

After planning out my goals for my blog and realizing its potential, it was way worth the time and effort to make that investment of using self hosted wordpress.  I am grateful that I made that small investment up front to build up my blog. 

Even if you’re not sure you’ll ever try to make money with your blog, starting on WordPress is still worth it. Think of it as investing into a hobby. 

I also wish I would have started off with Ipage hosting from the beginning.  Way too many headaches and sleepless nights dealing with my first hosting company was exhausting when it didn’t need to be. Their customer service is awesome and I’m so glad I made the switch.  I’ve detailed out how to set up your blog with Ipage HERE.

If you’re looking to start a blog, here is my step by step guide to getting started on WordPress and the advantages of having a self hosted website!

Realize It Will Take Time

Every month will be completely different for your blog. Sometimes you might have 500 page views for the month, sometimes it might be 15,000. There will be some consistency to traffic or comments and engagement, but there are also periods of inconsistency. My blog is totally different than it was a year ago.  It has grown tremendously and was patient in the process.  So, I’m telling you.  Be patient.  It will come if you work hard toward producing great, authentic, consistent content. Take each season in stride and learn what you can from it!

Do Your Research

Blogging is hard work and a lot of it is playing trial and error to see what works.  Before starting a blog, start by researching the ‘how – to’ blog posts.  Here are some to get you started:

Ultimate Guide To Starting A Blog

Blog Tools & Resources

How To Stay Organized As A Blogger

Staying Productive Working From Home

Tips To Staying Positive As An Entrepreneur

Top WordPress Plugins To Improve Your Blog

How To Make Money Blogging

Google Analytics Overview

How To Use Hashtags To Your Advantage

Build A Community

It’s crazy to me to believe that so many of my friends that I talk to on a daily basis are friends I’ve met through blogging.  It takes a village to build a blog. You need people in your court, it’s as simple as that. Put yourself out there, get to know other bloggers, support other bloggers and make friends in the process.  

I recommend joining blogging communities in a number of ways:

  • Commenting on all the blogs in your niche
  • Reaching out to bloggers you like and introducing yourself and your blog. Later down the road maybe you could collaborate on different ideas you might have.
  • Joining Facebook groups in your niche (I have one called Blogging 101)

Basically, make yourself known in that space. You’ll have to make blogging friends to have a successful blog (this is a good thing but it’s something I had no idea about before blogging).

If you are looking to join a community – Join hundreds of other bloggers in our Facebook Community – Blogging 101

Just Be You

There are so many bloggers out there and it’s so easy to get caught up in their success. I know it can be tempting to feel threatened or defensive and compare yourself to other bloggers. Fight it. There is nothing to be gained from that. Reach out to bloggers you like, ask them questions and make friends. Let them inspire you. There’s definitely something to be said about being inspired by another blogger, but if it’s not something that fits into your personality or your brand, please don’t do it. Be yourself no matter the cost. 

Grow Your Email List

You need to focus on growing your email list from the very beginning. Your email list is the key to monetizing later. This means that you should have your blog covered with ways for people to opt into your email list.  I didn’t start my email list until a couple of years in and definitely wish now I would have started from the very beginning.

I use Active Campaign and love using it to help grow my email list. 

In exchange for their email, it’s a good idea to give something away for free. Instead of asking people to sign up to join your email list, offer to give them a free guide or worksheet by entering their email address. This will incentive them to sign up.  Here are some of my examples:

Blog Planning Printable

Top Hashtag List 

Google Analytics Dashboard

Treat Your Blog Like A Business

If you want to have a successful blog, then you will have to treat it like a business. You will have to put in the work.  This is a hard pill to swallow because you may want to “test the waters out” and “see where it goes”, but you will increase your success and the time it takes exponentially if you start with the mindset that you are starting a business.

Bloggers, what would you tell yourself before you got started on your blogging journey? If you’re not a blogger yet, but aspire to be, what questions would you ask a seasoned blogger?

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56 Comments

  • Reply From the Penny Jar October 28, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Great post, I really need to implement some of these tips. I am fairly new to the world of blogging and I have a ton of things to learn!

  • Reply Dana October 28, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Thank you for insight. I am starting a blog and would like to see it grow. I am having so much fun with it now, but I have a lot to learn.

  • Reply Bruce Schinkel October 28, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Such a great post, Nicole! I’ll be sharing this with my own community as it contains some vital points we all need to be aware of, whether starting brand new or launching into a new phase

  • Reply Alex October 28, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I didn’t think I would have to interact with other bloggers and most bloggers are women. That is a good thing, most of them are pretty, and second, not having a pink blog I stand out 🙂

  • Reply Melinda Naber October 28, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you so much for the useful information. I have to remind myself to be patient everyday. I try to just do this as a hobby but still be good at it. I’ll just see where it might take me and go from there!

  • Reply Autumn Leopold October 28, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Great post Nicole! You really speak for all bloggers! It took me two years before I really kicked it into gear and started treating my blog like a business!

  • Reply Shelby Hart October 28, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Great tips! I’m only a month in and every day I have to tell myself “it takes time”. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Raquel Serrano October 28, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I’m loving the link in the research section! I also just started using Facebook groups, and I’m loving them!

  • Reply Becky Daly October 28, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks so much for the tips! Great reminders for a new blogger like me. Cheers!

  • Reply Aisha Sylvester October 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Such great tips and all relevant resources! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Marie Leslie October 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Every one of these is absolutely spot on. Perfect checklist for new bloggers and a great reminder for established ones.

  • Reply bostongirlbakes October 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    You nailed it with this post. I wish I knew all these things..but then again it’s been a fun journey! Never ending learning fun journey 🙂

  • Reply Lauren Norton October 31, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    This is great! I love all of your points. I am still fairly new to blogging – started on Easter 2016. The one thing that I am constantly reminding myself of (and wish I knew from the start) is to stay patient. A blog is not going to skyrocket overnight. Sometimes a person gets lucky and their blog takes off immediately but, for most of us, it takes time and commitment. I have one pin with 2.2K re-pins and multiple with less than 30. I just have to take my time and learn from what works and what doesn’t.

    xoxo Lauren @ Glitter & Grandeur

  • Reply citygirlrell October 31, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Definitely all amazing tips, especially making sure you focus on yourself and realising that growing a blog can take time. Blogging is such a huge learning curve!

  • Reply Karley at The Blossoming Blog October 31, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Love your tips, Nicole. I’m still early in the process of getting my blog out there and it’s great to hear your perspective! Definitely learning along the way!

  • Reply Megan Noonan November 2, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Great post, I’ll definitely be following your links. Thank you!

  • Reply Sarah November 2, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Great tips!

  • Reply Sam November 2, 2016 at 9:18 am

    This is a wonderful resource! Thanks so much for posting this!!

  • Reply Katie November 2, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Very helpful! I’ve kind of put my email list at the bottom of my own list, so it’s definitely something I can work on now that I’ve officially launched my blog. Thanks!

  • Reply Tabitha (@tl_tinywishes) November 2, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I really wish I would have gone with WordPress from the start… after 3 years, I am still on Blogger and even though I know that I NEED to make the jump, I just don’t want the headache. The same with an email list- I just started one a few months ago and it’s so hard to grow it.

  • Reply Shearly Reyes November 2, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I think my biggest thing was really treating my blog like a business… I so didn’t at first and now I am making sure to take everything I do A LOT more seriously!

  • Reply Samantha Hatcher November 2, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I have really been struggling with the email list. I know I need to work on it, but I’m not really sure how to do it.Thanks for the tips.

  • Reply Ashley J. November 2, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Great post, saving it to look forward to the next time I’m a little discouraged about the blog journey!

  • Reply Emily November 2, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing all this information! I am really trying to up my blogging game so this was super helpful!

  • Reply harropaj November 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    I so wish I had gone with wordpress from the start – I also wish I knew my niche 10 years ago !

  • Reply My Daily She November 3, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Perfect timing! We just started our blog in September, and I’ve been trying to learn everything at once. This post and all the tips are exactly what I’ve been looking for (especially re: the email list and hashtags).

  • Reply Mother, May I? November 3, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    This is great. I just started blogging and this is definitely pointing me in the right direction!

  • Reply Nele van Hout November 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    These are super helpful, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Backyard Photographer Blog November 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    These are all wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing this

  • Reply helenvella November 7, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Great post and so true. I blogged for years the wrong way and nothing ever happened, once I started learning how to do it properly it made such a difference. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply BrittanyAnneF November 7, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Ugh. Why did I not go self hosted right away? Duh! Right now I am working on my email list. I will definitely check out Active Campaign. Thank you so much for the tips!

  • Reply BritneyDearest November 7, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Although I use Blogger, I can definitely relate to majority of these tips, especially have a plan. Blogging is not what it used to be years ago, and nowadays, a plan is mandatory. Also, treating my blog like a business. I just learned that this year and am finally getting it!

  • Reply shetriedwhat17 November 7, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Great post! I am a member of your FB group too, so thanks for hosting! Do you think link parties are a smart way to drive traffic? If so, are there any you recommend?

  • Reply Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer November 8, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Some great tips here. I started my blog in May and can already identify with a lot of there. I am trying to stay focused and I write post whenever I can but life gets in the way sometimes. Thanks for a great post.

  • Reply madisonlynn35 November 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I totally agree with all of this! I have a similar post I’ve written that hits all of these points. Also joining your FB group! 🙂

  • Reply Courtney November 9, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    I feel like I’ve trying to start my blog for years, and I know I need to get more serious and grounded if I ever want to see the fruits of my effort. Thanks for the great ideas and tips!

  • Reply heatherinheelsblog November 10, 2016 at 9:41 am

    such a great reminder post of some items I need to re-focus on:)!

  • Reply Lesley Metcalfe (@lesleymetcalfe_) November 10, 2016 at 10:47 am

    This is really great advice! Thank you 🙂

  • Reply becki peckham November 10, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Great post, I wish I had started taking our blog more serious a few years ago. I think “just be you” is SO important! A quote from one of my favourite vloggers/film makers “If you’re doing what everyone else does, you’re doing it wrong”, words to live by.

  • Reply Shaina November 10, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Great post! I too wish I did more research on this vast world of blogging before I propelled myself into it; nonetheless, I am learning as I go and its going well! Taking the time to learn from others and build a community is so important! I think one of the important things I have realized is to not compare myself to other bloggers or other new bloggers because it can be discouraging if you don’t feel like you are before you should be.

  • Reply The Southern Thing November 30, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Oh how I wish I would’ve just started with self hosted WordPress from the beginning!

  • Reply Ryan | A Polished Palate November 30, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Great post! I agree, I wish I had done more research before starting my blog. There is so much I would like to do to grow it, but the trouble is finding the time.

  • Reply lisa November 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Great post, I remember I started the same way, a diy blog.
    Quickly it became more lifestyle/ but I need to focus more on my blog and I want to do more DIY!

  • Reply Emily Bendler November 30, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    This is great advice. I did some research before starting my blog and now I am learning more and more as I go. The journey is long but rewarding!

  • Reply Patricia @ Grab a Plate November 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Great info, especially for people getting started! I should say, these are also good tips for those of us who have been blogging a bit to look back on and implement, too! Thanks for some great reminders!

  • Reply isitmondayyetblog January 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I am just starting my blog and I am so very thankful for women like you who give ideas and tips on starting blogs and making them successful!

  • Reply Abbey Phipps January 24, 2017 at 8:55 am

    It’s so important to realize it will take time! I keep seeing posts like “how I reach 200K page views my first month” and while I’m sure that has happened for someone, it’s not normal and that’s okay! 🙂

  • Reply Lauren January 24, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Great information…I really want to get more involved in the blogging community!

  • Reply Kathryn January 24, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Great ideas- very helpful! I’m still in my first few months of blogging and I will be going through your list of how-to posts, thanks so much!!

  • Reply twoboysonepup January 24, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    So helpful! I’m newer, so I really appreciate this, as well as the helpful links you provided!

  • Reply Clearissa Coward January 24, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Great information. Wish I had read this before starting my blog. I think I’ve made every mistake there is to make along the way. Happy to connect from the blog promo community.

  • Reply Stefani Harris January 24, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    These are fantastic tips! Especially the parts about “just being you” and “self hosted WordPress”. I am a web designer and developer and only work in WP, so I fully agree and support you on that one! And it’s so easy to get stuck trying to do what everyone else is doing. It is so important to just be you!! 🙂

  • Reply JazzyB. January 31, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for sharing this! Im learning so much.

  • Reply Virtuous Mama January 31, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Very nice! Where was this when I first started blogging? LOL

  • Reply Sandra M. February 1, 2017 at 1:50 am

    It is a very interesting blogpost ! Starting a blog seems easy at first but in real it’s not and I really think it’s important to make some researches and prepare before starting 😉

  • Reply David Nevue March 8, 2017 at 10:31 am

    What a great post! You touched on everything. I am going to share this with my audience to help motivate them.

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