I’m coming up on 4 years of having this blog. In some ways, it’s crazy how the time has flown but in other ways, I can’t imagine my life before this blog.
For about the first 2 years of my blog, I was in complete newbie phase. While I was growing and improving, I had so much to learn about blogging, online media, social networks, and so on. I always say there are two types of new bloggers. The first kind is the person who understands the internet. They know a lot about blogs, SEO, and the like. They launch a blog that already looks and runs professionally. The second kind is someone who doesn’t know anything about it. They jump in with very little knowledge of anything about how blogging works and wings it as they go. The first year their blog looks like a 9th grade web design project.
I am the latter.
When my blog first started…it looked like this.
I mean, the bokeh background is pretty neat (mostly sarcasm), but looking at it now I could tear it apart. At the time I didn’t understand all the aspects of a good blog.
I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve taken countless courses, read tons of books, and even quit my career in education to pursue working in internet marketing full time so I could learn and grow even more. Nowadays I consider myself pretty well-versed on the subject. I spend 40 hours of my week working for a company where all I do it help build optimized websites and help my clients market themselves online. I’ve grown my own blog and even launched Caffeinate and Conquer, where I write about the subject of blogging and growing an online presence in the Caffeinate and Conquer blog.
Since launching Caffeinate and Conquer, I’ve realized I get A LOT more new and upcoming bloggers contacting me with questions or asking for advice. So, I thought it made sense to write post with some suggestions I’d give to new bloggers based on the questions I get asked over and over.
Don’t do this for fame
If you’re getting into blogging because you want to be “online famous” then you might as well close your computer down now. Not only is the path to “internet stardom” usually a very slow one, most never really make it there. On top of that, if you’re just in it for the fame, then you’re in it for the wrong reasons and your readers will catch on pretty quickly. Your content and passion will lack. Blogging is not about being recognized and there are many successful, full-time bloggers that no one would consider “internet famous. They create amazing content, get loads of people reading their blog because of it, and lead amazingly productive and successful lives doing so.You need to be in blogging for the right reasons if you want to see your blog's 1st anniversary Click To Tweet
You need to be in blogging for the right reasons if you ever want to see your blog’s first anniversary, let alone find any real success. Do this because you have a passion for sharing quality content or educating or entertaining, etc.
Be Prepared to Hustle
Blogging is a full-time investment. Even if you’re blogging as a side hustle after work, it consumes loads of time and energy. Blogging is not nearly as easy as it looks. To someone who hasn’t done it I can see how it might look like a walk in the park, but trust me when I say it is not. New bloggers usually quickly see that blogging is a big time investment of your time. In my four years blogging I’ve seen more people quit blogging than continue as they realize that they just don’t have the time or energy to sustain a blog.
A blog os a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. It takes a lot of time if you want to curate a meaningful, successful blog. And while there are a lot of people out there who say “forget the hustle,” I kindly disagree and say if you want something enough, you’re gunna have to work for it. Certainly, you should never do this at the expense of your real life (always make time for real life over internet life), but be prepared to work your tail off if you want to make it in the blogging world long-term.If you want something enough you're going to have to work for it. Click To Tweet
Numbers aren’t everything
Eek, as a blogger you have so many numbers to worry about. How many page views, how many Instagram followers, what’s your Pinterest reach, your twitter followers?! It can make you sick. I’ve watch bloggers literally make themselves crazy over these numbers which almost always results in them giving up on it all together.
Are numbers important? Sure. Some brands want certain unique page views or a certain social media reach. You watch similar blogs around you skyrocket while you’re “left behind,” which leaves you clamoring for more. But, if you want to keep going at this game we call blogging without losing your marbles….you need to stop obsessing over numbers. Instead, I suggest you obsess over your analytics. Even if your page views are less than 1,000 a month, look at what those 1,000 pageviews are doing. What posts are they reading? Where are they coming from? What are they sharing? What do they interact with? Obsess over creating content your current audience enjoys consuming to see natural growth instead of frantically obsessing over numbers with no plan for real, authentic growth. If you want to learn more about gaining authentic traffic, check out my ebook “Explode Your Traffic,” about how to get organic viewers to your blog.Bloggers, you need to stop obsessing about numbers and start obsessing about analytics. Click To Tweet
Oh, and don’t buy your followers. For the love of all that’s good in this world, just stop that madness right now.
Invest in yourself
It’s so important to invest in yourself as a new and growing blogger. Right out of the bat it might not be do-able because you lack the funds or any profits to put into it. But, I believe in the saying “if you want to make money you need to spend money,” in many cases. While there are a lot of aspects of blogging you can totally DIY and not spend any money on, not to mention a lot of free classes and resources…usually you find that eventually, you’ll need to make an investment to get to the next level.
This can mean taking classes, hiring a website developer, getting a business coach, doing a blog audit, and so on. Every time I’ve spent money to invest in my blog or on a project, I always end up making the money back. Whether I took a course that allowed me to sell a product or I hired a professional to give me feedback that turned into new campaigns or I purchased a tool that allowed me to monetize an aspect of my work. When it all comes down to it, no one can do it 100% on their own – you need guidance, education, and tools and resources to help you reach the next level.Click To Tweet
Network and make friends
You need a group of individuals to be your blogging tribe. You need other bloggers who you can talk to, collaborate with, work with, and so on. Helene from Helene in Between talks about this in a webinar she hosts called “Monetize your Blog.” She explains how she spent time researching successful blogs and she realized they all had one thing in common: a network of others. Because of this, she launched Blog Boss Babe, which you can learn more about here. It’s a community of other bloggers and the resources you need to succeed online and a great place to connect and network with others.
Think about your name
When you’re launching a new blog, think good and hard about what you’re naming it. I so often see people rebranding their sites because they choose a name that’s too restricting. Say, for example, you’re starting a blog to document the process of planning your wedding. You might call it “Miss to Mrs.,” but after you’re married and you want to keep blogging, the name will no longer suit what you’re doing. So, if you’re choosing a name that is specific to something ask yourself if you think you’ll be happy blogging about this topic 5 years from now.
Also, while on this subject, don’t stray away from using your own name. Not that we need every blog in the world to be someone’s first and last name, I don’t think it’s bad to incorporate your name in some way. It helps the blog grow with you through anything. And, since as a blogger you essentially are the brand, it makes sense.
Lastly, make sure you can acquire the media handles (twitter, Instagram, domain) before you’re too far along in the process.
Try new things
You’re not always going to be the same person you were when you started your blog. Even if you’ve found yourself falling into a niche, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever break free of it. Don’t feel tethered to the subject currently you write forever. Your blog needs to be able to grow with you and your interests. Don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t be afraid to break out of a niche.
Don’t confuse competition for improvement with competition from jealousy
You’ve probably heard “community over competition” but, like The Confused Millenial talks about on her blog, “people say ‘community over competition’ as if those are the only two choices.” I believe the big reason the “community over competition” has become such a mantra was because as a blogger we consume a lot of other blogs. This often leads to feelings of jealousy because there is always someone doing it better than you are…it’s just a fact. This feeling of jealousy may lead to feeling like you need to “beat” those above you, fostering a feeling of competition based on jealousy. In turn, competition becomes something that is hand and hand with jealousy and that’s a bad thing.
However, there is also competition for improvement, and this is not a bad thing. It’s seeing what others are doing and being inspired by their success. To want to strive harder and further because you want to reach a certain level, attain a certain goal, etc. Don’t shun away from this type of competition because it will help you grow and, well, improve.Don't confuse competition for improvement with competition from jealousy. Click To Tweet
Learn about brands
Pretty soon into blogging, you’ll get hit with emails from brands. They want you to write posts for them, send you products for review, talk about their services, etc. Working with brands is always a back and forth with bloggers. We all have brands we’ve worked with that we love. We usually develop great brand relationships and work with them in a collaborative way that is beneficial for both sides.
That being said, we have all worked with a brand that was impossible to work with. They weren’t flexible or easy to collaborate with. As you go through blogging you’ll learn about this from experience, but the more you can educate yourself on the onset is even better. I have a helpful post about How to Work with Brands you can check out to get started.
When you’re ready to make more money from working with brands, and pitch your ideas to brands – I highly HIGHLY suggest you check out the course BossPitch by Erica of Coming up Roses. This course is a game-changer and will transform the way you work with brands to make money and create content you can rock. Check it out here to learn more, and definitely consider signing up if you want to really monetize your blog and your work and make a switch to being a full-time blogger.
This post contains affiliate links.