So you want to start a blog. Plenty of people have blogs now-a-days, and with all the platforms available creating your very own should be a walk in the park, right? Well I hate to break it to you, but there is far more that goes into a blog than you would image. Sure, WordPress and Squarespace can take most of the guess work out out but what about all those tiny details like mapping your domain name or purchasing a hosting site?
Since starting Hi, I’m Kelly I have learned that there is far more than meets the eye when it comes to starting and running your own blog, and looking back there are plenty of things I wish I knew before starting my own. So before you dive head first into blogging, these are the basics that I feel everyone should know.
It isn’t free
Contrary to popular belief blogging does cost money, and more than you’d probably expect to get it up and running. Initial costs include purchasing a domain name, a hosting site, and signing up for an account on your blogging platform. Tack on yearly fees, camera supplies and I easily shelled out almost $1000.00 to get this website up and running. Initially that can be a bit financial hit before you start bringing some of that money back in, so do plan to spend more than you make initially.
There are “free” options on WordPress or Squarespace platforms, but if you are looking to turn your blog into a source of additional income, I’d advise you to pass those up. Often times those free subscriptions come with limited plugins, memory space, and can leave your personal information like you’re address and phone number open to the public. Purchasing a business account or even a Premium account not only saves you from any threats to your private information, but will legitimize your blog. If you are serious about blogging, spend the money! It is worth it.
It takes time
Now that you’ve got your site up and running it’s time to focus your energy on building up your blog posts and customizing the look and feel of your page. This takes time, and you will find that it takes longer than you would think to fine tune everything to the way you like. There are multiple templates, fonts, plugins and headers to choose from, each one giving your blog a different look at feel. You want your visitors to remember your page and come back to it, so this is an important step when first starting out.
Once you’ve settled on the layout you are going to want to build up a few blog posts before launching the site. This will make your blog look more polished and professional when visitors start to find your page. The first few months of having my blog I only had about 20 monthly visitors, most of which were my family members! It will take time to get the site up and running and bring foot traffic to your site, which leads me to my next point:
Followers don’t come free
I started my blog to serve as an extension of my Instagram account, and I learned very quickly that a large majority of those followers do not read my blog or even visit my site! There is nothing wrong with this of course, but it was a valuable lesson to learn that your followers don’t come free.
In turn I have built up a following on WordPress itself, through my Pinterest page, and even from Google searches. Just because I had a platform over on Instagram didn’t mean that my blog would have thousands of monthly page views and visitors right away, and it still doesn’t! Take advantage of more than one social media platform instead of relying on just one. To do that takes lots of effort and monetizing your blog, which snowballs right into my next point:
Organization is key
Along with monetizing, organizing your content and related social media accounts is not only extremely important but can also very time consuming. In a world where content is being created and shared constantly it can prove very difficult to get your work out there and in front of your targeted audience without putting in the proper work and taking the time to get organized. Invest in a desk calendar, buy yourself a planner, whatever you need to get set yourself up for greater success. I spend one day every month mapping out my weekly and monthly goals. It will help to keep you on track, post more frequently, and get you into a groove of writing and sharing your content both on your blog and across your social media platforms.
For me, Pinterest has been a huge asset in sharing my content. Each time I publish a blog post, I go through and pin any related images onto my Pinterest account with a link to the article. I also promote my posts on Instagram, Twitter, and my Facebook page to help reach a broader audience. Most of these accounts are linked so that they are automatically shared when I hit “Publish,” but Pinterest does require you to pin individual images. Before and after sharing my content I spend about 20+ minutes making sure that everything gets shared across all of my social media platforms. Being organized can cut down on that time significantly!
There are lots of rules
I know the internet seems like a free for all at times, but there are quite a few rules when it comes to owning and writing on a blog! Just like you could get an F on your paper for not citing other people’s work, you have to properly cite any and all images, ideas, quotes and websites you may have borrowed work from.
These rules are important when it comes time to sign up for Google Adsense, or any other form of advertising on your blog. You cannot download Adsense if your website does not meet their numerous and somewhat strict requirements. This is important because if used correctly Adsense can serve as a large portion of your income, not to mention your credibility can be damaged when it comes time to work with other bloggers, companies, and advertisers.
Just like with anything, don’t cut corners or try to squeeze content that isn’t your own onto your blog. It will only hurt you in the long run, plus it is always more interesting to your readers if you share original content of your own.
At the end of the day, blogging is meant to be fun. Sure, it can be stressful at times but if you are only starting your own page to try and earn some extra money then you will quickly find that you lose inspiration and motivation necessary for building success. For me this blog is a creative outlet that I look forward to working on. It never feels like work to me! It takes a lot of patience and planning but this website has been worth it all to me! For any additional information regarding starting a blog of your own, choosing a hosting site, or even a step by step guide of building your own website, be sure to email me at the address in my About Me section of the blog.