Over the past several months I’ve been surprised to see how many of you are interested in the topic of blogging. Well I shouldn’t say I’m surprised because blogging is seriously awesome, but it’s still so fun to see how many of you want to talk about it. High five friends! Today I have a post just for you blog lovin’ peeps–I’m sharing 10 things you should know before starting a blog. Now I know this isn’t why most of you are here, so let me apologize in advance if today’s post isn’t interesting to you. Pinky promise I’ll be back to the usual home decor and DIY fun soon!
There are many of you here in this awesome little LVN community that have emailed me with questions and tips for getting started as a new blogger. I LOVE these kind of emails and I’m always so happy to offer my advice and input, even though I still consider myself to be a new blogger in many ways. After all, I’ve only been doing this since December 2015, so I’m still just a baby in the blogging world. But I have managed to turn this blog into my full-time job and I do feel like I’ve learned a thing or two in the process. The 10 points I’m going to share today are things I wish I had known before I got started. This is super honest and real, so I really hope this post helps any of you that are thinking about starting your own blog.
1. You have to love what you write about.
This seems obvious, right? But I think it has to be said. Creating a blog about what you love is the foundation of success. There are so many different blogs out there, and sometimes the market can seem a bit saturated. But instead of figuring out what will be a hit with readers, I think the first step is figuring out what YOU want to write about. For example, don’t start a blog about home decor if you don’t get excited writing about it. Or food. Or fashion. Or anything else for that matter. Personally, I think this simple concept is the foundation for success. Sure, your blog can evolve over time, just like people evolve, but at the end of the day it needs to be about what YOU love.
2. It isn’t easy. Be prepared to hustle.
I think there’s a misconception that blogging is easy. But let me tell you it definitely is not. There is so much that goes into a successful blog and it’s a continual learning process. And if you’re going to blog with the hopes of one day turning it into your job, which is 1000% within reach, you have to be ready to hustle and work hard. It takes a lot of time and energy, but it’s also so much fun. And the sky is the limit on what you can achieve.
3. You can’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Blogging is a vulnerable thing. Every time you hit publish on a post you’re sending your ideas and personal viewpoints out into the world, unsure of what the response will be. It can definitely be a bit scary, but if you’re willing to put yourself out there, be honest and genuine, I believe amazing things can happen. The more real you are with your readers, the better off you’ll be.
4. There are 4 ways to make money blogging.
Yes, your blog can definitely grow into more than just a blog–it can become your job. Which is AWESOME because working from home is the best gig ever folks. Most bloggers earn income in 4 main ways:
- Ad networks. The ads you see on each blog are generally coming from some kind of ad network, like GoogleAds or AdThrive. Bloggers get paid for ads based on how many pageviews they have each month and certain types of ads pay higher rates, like pop-ups or videos, but it’s up to each blogger to decide want kind of ads they’ll allow on their website. Anyone can get started with GoogleAds, so you can be making money right out of the gate.
- Affiliates sales. Bloggers earn a small commission on any products that are purchased from a link on their website. This is awesome because it doesn’t change the price of a product you’re recommending, but it gives you a small kickback if that product is purchased. There are tons of way to earn money through affiliates. RewardStyle is one of the biggest affiliate networks, but it generally takes time to get accepted into that one. On the other hand Amazon has a really great program that I believe most people can join right away.
- Sponsored posts. This is a great way to team up with a brand you already love in order to share something amazing with your readers. Most bloggers charge a fee for sponsored posts, although sometimes free product will be offered in exchange for that post. Again, this is generally based on your monthly pageviews and overall audience reach, which includes social media numbers.
- Selling your own products: Many bloggers are absolutely killing it by selling their own products like e-books, e-courses, or other online services. I personally haven’t gone that route yet, but I know many that do awesome with it.
5. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself time.
Growing a blog is like planting a seed. Every day you have to tend to that seed, water it, take care of it, and help it grow. It takes time and patience. The same is true for blogging. My first month I had less than 4,000 page views for the entire month. I could have thrown in the towel then and called the whole thing a failure, but I knew it would take time to grow. Each month since then there has been a steady increase, with numbers growing more and more. The key to growth is consistently creating content that will continually bring in new readers and increase pageviews over time. But I should also add that success doesn’t depend only on pageviews. There are soooooo many different things that will factor into your success and defining what that looks like is totally up to you.
6. You’ll need a good camera. Period.
I use a Nikon D5100 for all the photos on my blog. Believe it or not I bought it off Craigslist for $300 when I was just getting started. And it was the best $300 I’ve ever spent. I’ve since upgraded my kit lens to something a bit nicer, but the basic body of the camera came from Craigslist. Quality photos are SO important, so you’ll definitely need a great camera if you’re serious about blogging. And better yet, you’ll want to spend some time actually learning how to use said camera, which is still a challenge for me at times.
7. Content is king.
You’ll hear a lot of bloggers say this, but it’s true: content is king. Consistently creating great content is the challenge of every blogger. It’s a combination of writing about what you love (which is so important) and writing about what your readers want to see. It’s a tough challenge at times, but you have to create great content in order to keep your readers coming back on a regular basis.
8. Pinterest will be your best friend.
Really, Pinterest is a huge tool for growing your blog. It’s by far the most important social networking site I use because it brings the most readers to my blog. You’ll want to start pinning your content right away when you start blogging. Publish great photos on your blog, complete with detailed descriptions, and pin, pin, pin. (I use Tailwind to schedule most of my pins each day.) Get your content out there and be sure to also pin other people’s work. But I recommend ONLY pinning things that line up with your brand and focus. You want your Pinterest feed to be beautiful and consistent with what you blog about–that way people know what to expect when they follow you. Anything else should go on a private board. And the best way to gain Pinterest followers? Pin great photos. Really, it’s that easy. Pin GREAT content and people will start following you.
9. Blogging is awesome.
Blogging is truly an awesome opportunity to share what you love with the world and do it from the comfort of your own home. As a mom of little ones, I love the fact that I now work for myself and this blog has become my job. It still feels surreal to type those words because this is seriously the coolest job ever. Every day I feel so grateful to God that I get to do this AND be home with my people. It’s truly a dream come true. And you can definitely do it too.
10. Don’t let fear hold you back.
You might be reading some of these tips and feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Please don’t feel that way. Sure there is a lot that goes into blogging, but I’m living proof that anyone can do it. If you’re determined enough and willing to hustle, the sky is the limit my friend. I’m not particularly tech savvy, I don’t have any special photography skills, and I’m not a professional interior designer. But I love sharing my home and projects with my readers and I simply figure out the rest along the way. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from going after your dreams.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all. I really do love helping and answering your questions, so don’t be shy. This blog has truly changed my life in amazing ways and I would love to help you in any way I can! Feel free to shoot me an email or just leave a comment below.
And for those of you that are ready to take a leap into the awesome world of blogging, be sure to check out my easy peasy step-by-step guide to getting started. This shows you exactly what to do to get a blog setup and running: