Are you new to blogging? Or have you considered starting a blog? Maybe you wonder what it is actually like to run a blog. This month marks my second year of blogging and I’ve learned a ton. It’s been different than I anticipated, in a good way.
Why I Started A Blog
I became interested in blogging after doing research on “passive income.” As an independent contractor, I didn’t have a company-provided 401k and I was looking for a way to help plan for our retirement.
I read several articles that mentioned blogging as a good source of passive income. I decided “why not?” And I committed to a minimum of one year of figuring it out.
What I Thought Blogging Would Be Like
I thought blogging would be about product reviews, affiliate sales on sites like Amazon, and advertisement for all of the traffic I would have from Pinterest. I anticipated making lots of printables and not selling any products that I personally created. I thought it would happen fast. Or at least I hoped it would.
What My First Year Was Like
Blogging that first year was hard. I spent lots of time spinning my wheels. I thought I had to sound like a millennial influencer (someone I’m not.) I thought I had to personally generate traffic by participating in various groups where we shared each other’s content. Also, I looked at sources like Amazon and Google Ads as the primary way to make an income.
The things I did in the first year weren’t necessarily bad, they just weren’t the best use of my time.
The biggest issue though was that I didn’t know who to trust or where to seek guidance. There are a ton of so-called “Experts” out there that have an opinion on blogging, the best Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook Ad strategy. And everyone is willing to take your money.
Game Changer #1 – Blogging Experts I Trusted
I did find a few resources during that first year that provided solid information and helpful direction.
Abby Lawson, from Just a Girl and Her Blog and Abby Organizes
Abby’s Building a Framework training was the first course that I purchased. I found her to be authentic, well-researched, and full of practical experience. The course I took is no longer available, but she does have several incredible resources on her blog including this one on blogging tips, tools and resources to grow your business.
Ruth Soukup, of Living Well Spending Less and the Elite Blog Academy
This was the second course that I purchased, the Elite Blog Academy (EBA). It felt like a big investment, but I had done my research and Ruth was and is the real deal! In addition to purchasing EBA, I also benefited from her highly active Facebook group and the Activate Conference she held in September 2018.
The blogging conference was a major game changer for me. Not just because of the incredible content and amazing speakers, but because of the attendees. I connected with a group of 5 like-minded women. We continued to meet after the conference and are planning on seeing each other again this year at a different conference.
Activate is where I also learned about Ruth’s EBA VIP Mastermind group. Ruth held an application process and selected 13 members for this group. This is a paid group where you get invaluable business coaching and the opportunity to build a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. It’s been a pretty amazing experience and has definitely elevated my business.
More Game Changing Tips For New Bloggers
Two years in and these are the things I would tell my younger inexperienced self. If you’re a new blogger, hopefully, these tips will help you.
1. Focus on content
One of Ruth’s first assignments for me in the mastermind group was to write 3 posts a week. The goal was to put a lot of content out there to see what my readers responded to. The more posts I wrote, the more feedback I received. I could see what readers gravitated to and what resonated. It helped me to find my people!
Also, the more posts you write, the more chance you have of having a viral post. Which is a fun experience and can be a defining moment for your business…it definitely was for mine.
2. Invest in your business
Notice I said “BUSINESS” and not “BLOG.” I meet a lot of bloggers that want to do everything for free or with as little investment as possible. I get it. It can take some time to make money from your blog. But, if you’re wanting to grow it into a business, be willing to make some investments.
A blog as a business requires a lot less money upfront than brick and mortar or a college education for that matter. In comparison, you don’t have to spend a ton.
If you know that paying someone a hundred dollars to install/set up your WordPress theme will help you get started and you won’t be stalled by your fear of the technical side, then pay someone a hundred dollars.
Use your money wisely. Only buy quality courses or pay for proven instruction. Invest in ways to help you get a breakthrough and to get your business up and running.
3. Be patient
There are some bloggers out there that made money…a lot of money relatively quickly. But, for the vast majority, it takes time. I heard the average time to make a decent amount of money is two years. It took me about 18 months to make more money than it cost me to run the blog.
Everyone is different so it’s hard to predict how fast your blog will grow and how quickly you’ll turn a profit. Regardless of it, it takes 2 months or 2 years, be patient. It will come with hard work and diligence.
4. Build a network
I can emphasize how important this tip is to new bloggers. Relationships are key to what can be a very isolating business. I’ve learned from so many other bloggers. When I’ve felt discouraged, I’ve been cheered on by others. If I was lost, they helped point the way. When I had successes, they championed me…and I them.
The blogging community is such a great community. For the most part, there’s an abundance mentality. Even if you blog in the same niche, you can help each other out. I have found such generosity and willingness to help each other with the people I’ve connected with. It truly is a beautiful thing!
5. Be consistent
The next game changing tip for new bloggers, be consistent. Look at your blog like a commitment or as a job. Determine the number of hours you can dedicate and then show up! Don’t take an entire month off, or think I’ll do this when I can get to it. Consistency will help your readers to know what to expect and will help you reach your end goal sooner.
6. Seek out reputable sources
I’ve already touched on this tip earlier when I shared my personal experience. More than likely you’ll face a learning curve if you’re new to blogging. Learn as much as you can, and consider the source.
Before you invest in a course, do your research. How long has the author/teacher been blogging? What are their personal results? Are there any testimonies of other people achieving the same results? Do you know anyone personally that has purchased the course or materials, what was their experience?
7. Allow yourself to make mistakes
Last but not least, allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. I’m preaching to myself with this one. It’s healthy to make mistakes. It allows you to take risks and to learn. Perfectionism often leads to procrastination. Recognize that you’re in new territory and it’s better to step out than to stall out.
Blogging is not what I expected
When I started blogging, I was looking for something that was “passive.” E.g. wouldn’t require much of my time, especially in the long run. It’s been anything but passive! Yet it’s been so much more!
I’ve loved becoming an entrepreneur. I originally had no desire to create products, but now, I’m loving them and see products as the best way to serve my subscribers and grow my business.
I thought you had to have millions of page views and was chasing them at first, but have learned that it is quality over quantity. One post can be a total game changer for your traffic and it’s better to have subscribers you connect with then a big list, but no connection.
Year one of blogging was about learning the ropes and figuring out the direction of my blog. Year two has been about building relationships. Relationships with other bloggers, a mentor group, and most importantly, my subscribers. I’ve loved connecting with you, hearing your stories and challenges, and figuring out together how we can each have a sweeter life!
Follow your dream, take a risk, and start that blog that you’ve been thinking about!