Yes, there are a lot of things I wish I knew before I started blogging.
When I started blogging years ago, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. I had no expectations– realistic or unrealistic. All I wanted to do was have a space on the Internet for myself where I could record the recipes I tried in my almost burnt down the kitchen. Ah, well! I was a newlywed who wanted to polish her cooking skills.
But a month into blogging, I received comments on my blog posts and I was elated! A few months later, I discovered Write Tribe and then there was no looking back. I dove straight in and took part in various campaigns. I also explored various niches, switched gears and pedaled as fast as I could. I have struggled, wasted time and money but I was learning all along.
Looking back, I realize that if I had known about blogging half as much as I do today, it would have been a different story altogether. However, like all successful bloggers, I kept at it, even through hard times.
Here are the things I wish I knew before I started blogging.
Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging
1. Setting up the Blog
Think two steps ahead before you start a blog. Answer the basic questions first–Why are you starting a blog? Are you planning on monetizing? Or is it just a hobby? Where do you see yourself as a blogger in the next three years? Answering these would help you get started on your blogging journey. It will help you figure out if you want to go Self-hosted from the beginning itself or choose a free blogging platform.
2. Define your Purpose
Think about your blogging goal and audience. Who are you writing for? And on what are you going to write about? Defining a niche prior to starting your blog will help clear much confusion.
Having a niche isn’t compulsory. But having a clear idea of which topics you can connect with will help you come up with blog post ideas easily. Do you love reading books? Or is travel your thing? Love to talk about makeup and hairstyles? Or pets? How about fiction or poetry?
3. Choose the Best Blog Name
Now you know why I mentioned about defining your purpose before starting your blog. Make sure you choose a name that’s unique.
Read Fabida’s suggestions on How to Choose the Best Name for your Blog .
4. Search Engine Optimization
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move onto a serious blogging term – Search Engine Optimization. Learn about Keywords, Interlinking and Meta tags. Start using SEO on your posts from day one. The Yoast Plugin is a good plugin that will help you boost your SEO. It not only attracts traffic but also helps you rank on a Google search.
5. It is okay to Invest
“But I am only a beginner! I don’t earn a penny from my blog!” is what most of us bloggers say when we think about buying a domain or go self-hosted or invest in a blogging course. I get it, because I have been there and done that.
You needn’t splurge by enrolling on every ‘Learn Pinterest In A Day’ or ‘Grow Your Email List’ course out there. But it is okay to invest in the very basic things if you want to be taken seriously or are thinking about monetizing your blog. And for that, on top of my list is buying a domain. That is the least you can do to steer your blog in the right path.
6. Quality over Quantity
Posting daily isn’t necessary. In my initial days of blogging, I used to write almost every day. While that comes with good page views, those daily posts were short and I admit, of lesser quality–meaning, it didn’t bring value to anything or anyone.
Blogging on fixed days, helps in consistency. You have a schedule and so do your readers. They would know when to expect a post from you. For example, on Mondays I will do a book review, or do a Meatless Monday sharing only vegetarian recipes. Or Corinne does a #MondayMusings post every week and together we do a weekly #FridayReflections post.
Yet it’s always fun to join monthly blogging challenges like the April A to Z Challenge/Ultimate Blogging Challenge or weekly blogging challenges like the Write Tribe Festival of Words to boost your blogging traffic. Ah, we are going to have one real soon. Be on the lookout for it.
7. Rome wasn’t built in a day
Don’t have unrealistic expectations of your blog right from the beginning. Oh, I have had ‘aspiring’ bloggers (I say aspiring because they hadn’t even started a blog) ask me about earning money through blogging. The thing is, there is no quick fix. It’s all about being consistent. You need to have a reader base first. And that comes only by posting quality content.
8. The power of Community
As I mentioned before, when I began blogging, I didn’t know about blogging communities. I didn’t know even a single blogger from our country. But when I discovered Write Tribe, it opened doors to discovering some wonderful like-minded blogs and bloggers. Six years down the line, I still read their blogs and they read mine.
I haven’t met most of these bloggers in real life, but I know that if I am stuck with a problem, say with the blog design or writer’s block has hit me hard, I know I can fall back on them. So, share other blogger’s content, comment on their posts, follow them on social media and join groups. With the right network, anything is possible.
9. Promote! Promote! Promote!
Gone are the days when you thought blogging was only about writing and hitting that publish button. Today you need to be present across various social media channels and be promoting your content.
Be active on at least two social media platforms. Take a look at the ‘Insights’ and statistics to figure out which platform works best for you. While you can ‘automate’ your posts by using tools like Tailwind or Buffer, note that engagement is the key.
10. Create High-Quality Images
Studies have shown that a blog post with images attracts more traffic than the one which does not. Take a look at the Tribe’s Favorite Image Editing Tools and create powerful graphics that help grow your blog. Canva is loved by all bloggers alike for creating Social media as well as blog post graphics. Picmonkey is another popular web-based tool. If you aren’t a good photographer, you can always find free stock photos for your blog.
11. Be Authentic
Regardless of what others say, blogging takes time. It isn’t an easy job. But don’t be obsessed over page views and numbers, be your true self and write consistently. Let your favorite bloggers be your inspiration or healthy competition. But do not get hung up on their success. Strive daily to learn new things, and work towards what you want to achieve. Focus on your blogging journey.
You do you!
Additional tip: Backup your blog every week. You never know when something unfortunate will happen to your blog, be it because of the hosting provider or the plugins which you’ve installed.
Blogging is fun, even if you think of it as work or a business. As long as you find it enjoyable and aren’t stressing over it, you are doing just fine.