Oh boy, let me just start by saying blogging is not easy.
And honestly, to the girls out there who say they blogged every day for 2 years when they got started...BLESS. Because yo girl can BARELY stick to a twice a week posting schedule LOLZ. DESPITE my inability to stick to some of my own deadlines, launching this blog has been one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences.
I gotta say, teaching myself an entirely new skill / career/ business has been interesting. I’ve learned about things like SEO, email lists, SSL, Pinterest strategy, RSL and so many damn acronyms my head is spinning. And while I am in NO WAY an expert, I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned while growing this blog.
HERE ARE THE 10 THINGS I LEARNED IN MY FIRST YEAR BLOGGING + 10 OF MY BEST TIPS
1. CONSISTENCY IS KEY
This has to be my number one tip and truly it’s the thing I struggle with the most. But I believe that if you want to start a blog + eventually turn it into a full time gig, you need to be consistently showing up for your community.
Here’s a good example and something that makes sense to me because I used to be in this industry. Every morning Monday-Friday you wake up, make your coffee and turn on the morning news (I’m a TODAY show kind of gal but that’s just me). You do this for YEARS. Same routine every morning.
Then one day you turn on your favorite morning news program and the screen is just black. Nothing there. You think it’s a fluke but the next morning, the same thing. At that point, you’re like WTF and you start channel surfing. Then you come across another morning show. Similar concept, different people but essentially THE SAME. So you start watching them and after a while, you’re now a die-hard Good Morning America fan and no longer watch the TODAY show.
SAME CONCEPT FOR BLOGGING.
If you’re not showing up for your audience, SOMEONE ELSE WILL.
My advice, stick to a posting schedule you can maintain. If that’s once a week at the beginning, THAT’S OKAY! Better to increase your posts than not be able to handle posting 5 days a week after your audience is already used to that.
2. OUTSOURCE OUTSOURCE OUTSOURCE
THIS WAS HUGE FOR ME. Omg. I’ll be honest, I can design a website on Squarespace but it ain’t gonna look as good as what I’ve got now. So, if you can afford it, seek professional help where you can. That can be anything from a complete website design, to a little help on a custom logo. My opinion, find the best and spend your money on things you’ll only have to do once.
These are more of recommendations but here’s all the people / companies I used to build this site.
Chloe Leonard - This angel is the woman behind my beautiful blog. She can do everything from website design, logo creation, ebooks, Instagram templates, media kits, the list goes on! She’s a dream to work with and SUPER talented. I can’t say enough about her
Go Live HQ - If you aren’t in the market for a fully custom website, a template might be good for you! You can find tons of customizable Squarespace templets on their site + they do offer template customization services and full-on custom design.
Style Collective - I LOVE this community. To be honest I’d love to be more active than I am but that’s beside the point. SC is a membership program that guides female bloggers with education, tools and support to thousands of women. The membership is $120 a year if billed annually and I can 100% say it’s worth it.
Goal Digger Podcast - Jenna Kutcher is the QUEEN at all things entrepreneurship and I LOVE learning from her. She has a podcast called “Goal Digger Podcast” and honestly I binge listened to ALL the episodes when I launched my blog. You’ll find her explaining complicated things like SEO, email marketing, how to drive sales and making all the topics easy to understand and digest. I also HIGHLY recommend her courses on email marketing and Pinterest.
3. DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
This was a major hangup for me and kind of still is. I think so many of us are perfectionists and get caught up in the idea that what we put out needs to be perfect when we’re starting. The truth is, sometimes you just need to start.
Now, I’m not saying you should put out sloppy content (spell check people! DO IT!). But I also don’t think that when we start we know exactly what we’re doing or even what our audience wants. So we always need to test. And then once you’ve done that you know what you need to perfect and what direction you’re headed.
Write 10 blog posts before you launch your blog. That way you have content already on your site that creates a good starting point for what your audience can expect.
4. DIVERSIFY YOUR REACH
DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT JUST COUNT ON A PLATFORM YOU DO NOT OWN TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS. Guys, it seems inevitable with all the weird and crazy things going on with Instagram lately that a major shift is coming. Now, I’m not saying Instagram is going away, but I am saying you have no control over that platform.
So, because of that, you need to have a backup plan, or two… I firmly believe that if you want to have a successful business or blog you need to have a newsletter. More than half of the world’s population uses email in 2019. Instagram has 1 billion users. Now that’s still a lot, but it shows that you can reach more people with email. AND you can go directly to their inbox rather than hoping that someone sees your post.
I suggest having at least 3 different platforms you use when you start your blog. Maybe that’s email, your blog and Instagram. And then you grow to use Facebook. Whatever combo you choose, make sure it’s diverse.
5. SET BOUNDARIES
You are your own boss when it comes to your blog. So you need to be able to set deadlines, boundaries and rules for yourself AND STICK TO THEM. I’ll be honest this has been a hard thing for me to learn. Because I thrive under short and tight deadlines. But when they’re self-imposed, I find a way to push them back.
TIP #5 + SOME
Start your day by writing down the 3 most important things you need to do that day. Start at #1 and don’t start #2 until you’ve finished #1
Turn off push notifications and set timers for yourself while you’re working on certain tasks.
AKA if you give yourself 2 hours to write 3 blog posts, set a timer on your phone, turn off notifications and GET TO WORK!
Stay out of your inbox! Set 2-3 times in the day that are your designated email times. And then, wait for it, DON’T CHECK IT AGAIN!
Create a clean and distraction-free workspace. This needs to be your happy place. But if it’s overflowing with clutter, you might not be able to totally focus on what you need to get done.
6. INVEST IN EDUCATION
When you first get started one of the best things you can do is learn from the experts. I’ll admit it, I kind of went on an online course shopping spree when I first got started blogging. I felt like I knew nothing and I wanted to know EVERYTHING fast. I bought I believe 10 different courses. And want to know how many I’ve completed? TWO.
So, don’t get me wrong, online courses are AMAZING. But maybe select one at a time and only buy a new one when you’ve finished the other one. And make sure to properly vet who you’re buying a course from because there’s a lot of imposters selling snake oil out there and I don’t want you to get burned.
Here’s some of my favorite courses that have helped me!
I also HIGHLY recommend signing up for a Skillshare membership. This is a place where you can pretty much learn ANYTHING you want to. From how to edit videos to graphic design. This is a perfect place to continue your education.
7. DON’T DO THIS FOR THE MONEY HONEY
I hear this time and time again, don’t get into blogging for the money. And honestly, it’s true. In the year since I’ve started this blog, I have made ZERO dollars from it ALONE. Now I’ve made an income from other sources like Reward Style, freelance projects, Instagram sponsored posts, etc.
The blog will not make you money right off the bat. Unless you’re already famous from something else and you’ve got THOUSANDS of people automatically viewing your site. I can’t really speak from experience on this yet, since I’ve only been doing this for a year, BUT I’ve heard other successful bloggers say it took about 3 years before they were making a full-time income from the blog alone.
I think it’s different for everyone, but I would suggest having something else that can sustain you until you can fully count on income from the blog.
8. CREATE RELATIONSHIPS & DON’T BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT
This has been HUGE for me! I’ve really never been afraid to reach out to people to connect, for advice, to meet up, WHATEVER. What’s the worst that can happen? They ghost you? OH WELL!
Truly, some of the most incredible opportunities, advice and relationships I’ve created since launching this blog have come from a simple DM or email. This business, and frankly any business, is all about relationships. And the more effort you put in on the front end, the more successful you’ll be in the long run.
Write a list of all the people you admire & brands you love. Then shoot them a DM. Don’t ask for ANYTHING (this is key). Just tell them why you admire them or love their product and offer to help them in any way. Maybe that’s sharing a review, a testimonial, etc. NEVER start the convo asking for something. Always offer first.
9. IT’S A MARATHON NOT A SPRINT
Beware of quick fixes. Anything that offers you quick and instant gratification is most likely too good to be true. I know buying followers or joining a pod can be tempting. BUT DON’T DO IT!!!
Think about it. Sure the number next to your name grows. But if you’re really trying to grow a business do you think those accounts you bought or girls in your pod are your ideal customers? Chances are unless you’re selling toilet paper (something everyone needs) they aren’t. So remember slow and steady growth is what we’re after.
Be intentional with your growth. Maybe make a goal that each day you’ll find 5 new accounts to follow on Instagram and GENUINELY comment, like and even DM them to say why you like their account. ANDDDDD FOLLOW THEM. I don’t subscribe to this whole idea that you only should be following X number of accounts. No, if you genuinely like someone’s stuff FOLLOW THEM!
10. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE YOU
The comparison monster is real my friend. I won’t even lie. There are MANY times I catch myself wondering why this girl has X and I don’t. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s not something that will in ANY WAY benefit you.
I think the only way to get love in this online word is to spread it. So focus your energy on building others up and really celebrating other people’s wins. Not everyone will celebrate and raise each other up the way you do. But know that you are doing your part to make this space a happy, healthy and friendly one. And that should be your number one mission.
Treat other people the way you want to be treated. IT’S THAT SIMPLE.
I hope these tips and advice have been helpful for you. I truly know that this is just the beginning of the road for me and I can’t wait to look back at this 1st year of blogging 10 years from now and see how far I’ve come.
So no matter what stage of the game you’re currently in, my number one piece of advice is: If this makes you happy, KEEP DOING IT. But if it doesn’t light your fire, TIME TO GO! That’s honestly how I approach MOST things in my life and it’s served me well.
Leave a comment with one of your blogging tips for success! I always love hearing what other people are doing!