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.
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:
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:
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.