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For the past few years, I have been following bloggers in the personal finance niche and some lifestyle bloggers as well. They always seemed to be living the dream life while barely working. At least that’s how their Instagram life was portrayed. Could you really make a six-figure income while only working a few hours a week? I thought it was a dream come true. So, I finally decided to bite the bullet and start this blog. Today, I want to share a few lessons I learned as a new blogger.
10 Lessons I Learned As a New Blogger
Blogging is Hard Work
I will say I thought it was as easy as writing a post, putting an image in the text, and posting it to the internet. It is rather laughable now to think that. I honestly had no idea how much work went into this and for not making any money, in the beginning, it can be discouraging. A lot of new bloggers quit before they get to the point of having enough traffic to truly make money. Staying the course is necessary and learning how to monetize is key.
Blogging Takes More Time Than You Think
As I mentioned before it seemed like a lot of bloggers were living the dream life on the beaches and not really working. Blogging takes a lot of time. It takes time to write a blog post, edit a post, create images, promote your post, to work with brands etc. Blogging is truly a full-time job, especially in the beginning. You want to get as much content out as possible to build up your content library and that all takes time. You will need to commit to 10+ hours per week of work to get your blog off the ground.
As a new blogger, I am currently spending 2-3 hours each day writing and creating images as I build up my content. I am also spending a few hours per week on networking. I will need to add in time for promoting my blog as well. Then I also need to create opt-ins for the e-mail list I want to create. You can see – I am doing the bare minimum and spending 10-20 hours per week on the blog. There is so much more I can be doing and need to be doing especially in the beginning when I am not making money.
Writing Blog Posts
Since graduating from college and entering the workforce I have barely written more than a Facebook or Instagram post. These posts are kept to a few short sentences at most. Writing over 1,000 words on one particular subject has been difficult for me as a new blogger. As I am starting to write more it is coming more naturally but it is still a struggle each day to get my words in a way that is easy to read and understand.
You’ll want to write a catchy headline as well. Your content could be amazing but you need people to click on it. I love using the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer tool to help me write better headlines. While the headlines aren’t clickbait they do help me have better structure and use words that are enticing to click on.
Finding Royalty Free Images
As a new blogger, I thought finding images would be as easy as searching on Google for Royalty Free images and adding them to my blog post. While there are many free stock photo sites available I don’t necessarily recommend them. I would much rather pay for an image that I know is Royal Free and that will not be an issue down the road. While I love the images I have been using I am going to branch out a bit and try to find stock images that are a bit more unique.
Also, optimizing your images for social media sharing is a pain. Canva is definitely a lifesaver with their free templates but I didn’t realize I would need the same image in multiple sizes to be optimized for different social media platforms. I need an image for my Featured Image, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Guess what – they are all different sizes!
Optimizing Blog Posts
Now, my blog post is written and I have the perfect images. What’s next? Adding the blog post to WordPress and optimizing it. I use the Yoast SEO plugin to help me optimize my post. While I know the plugin isn’t perfect for SEO it is definitely a step up from me just writing a post and uploading it without a second thought.
Yoast SEO will let me add a keyword and it even tells me if I am using it enough. As a new blogger, this is super helpful because I am not exactly sure what Google wants. I am not necessarily trying to rank my posts right now but just hitting a few Yoast milestones is helping my writing so much.
Yoast SEO also tells you how your writing is. Apparently, I write in a passive voice quite a bit. Yoast SEO will tell me this and show me the sentences that need to be updated. My writing has improved dramatically because of the Yoast SEO Readability.
There is so much more that can go into optimizing my blog posts for search but as a new blogger, I am just trying to build up my content library. I can always go back in the future and update the posts if I want to rank for them.
Pinterest is in a league of its own. It is a visual search engine and has its own set of standards. There are best practices for Pinterest and ways get noticed. Bloggers are competing against each other to get their images in front of more people just to drive traffic to their blogs. I get it. We all want to be seen. There are numerous Pinterest marketing classes available but here’s the thing with Pinterest – they keep changing things. Pinterest is continually making changes and you need to stay on top of it.
I haven’t started implementing a Pinterest strategy. It is on my to-do list but I also don’t plan to put all of my traffic eggs into the Pinterest basket. I feel a lot of bloggers that have been around for a while relying on Pinterest as their main source of traffic and I just don’t want to do that as a new blogger. Platforms continually change and I know I need to diversify. I will be tackling Pinterest here in the short future but it won’t be my sole focus for traffic.
Find A Small Group to Join
Blogging is a lot of work. Finding blogging friends is the best thing you can do for yourself. I recently joined a mentored membership community for bloggers and it was one of the best decisions I have made. The group is still small (less than 200 members) and I recently found two other bloggers to chat with outside of the group. Knowing I have these two women to bounce ideas off of is a life saver. We are all in different niches so we are not competing against each other and I feel like I can ask questions, share my struggles, and share my wins with them. We all rally around each other.
Blogging can be isolating and having a small core group you can turn to is definitely a must as a new blogger.
Join blogging communities on Facebook (there are many free groups) and ask questions. So many bloggers are willing to share their expertise with you if you are willing to ask the questions. We all learn from one another.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Bloggers
It is so easy to get sucked into the comparison trap. As a new blogger, you need to put your head down and do the work. Don’t compare yourself to someone else that has been blogging much longer. Don’t compare yourself to someone else in your niche that has just started either. We are all on a different journey. You don’t know if a new blogger is a stay at home parent who can write during nap time or a working mom who blogs on her lunch break. We all have different circumstances and we can’t compare our journey to someone else’s.
You’ll Need to Spend Money to Make Money
Blogging can be started on a budget. You can get started with just hosting which will cost you under $100 for a year. It is an inexpensive industry to get into. However, if you want to make money from blogging you need to be willing to invest in your new business.
Blogging is a business. There are classes you can take to learn new skills faster, mastermind groups to join to stay accountable, stock photos, advertising, premium plugins, website themes, and so much more. Of course, you don’t need all of these things but they do make your blogging journey so much easier.
Branding and Messaging
Figuring out exactly what you want your brand to be and the messaging you share can be difficult as well. I knew I wanted to be in personal finance because I love talking about money. However, I didn’t know exactly what my brand was going to look like. Really diving deep into what you want to share before you start blogging is important. It will help get your message across right from the beginning and will help you become an authority in your niche.
Being A New Blogger is Challenging
I hope you learned something valuable in this post. Blogging is so much more work than I thought it would be. It’s hard to keep going each day when I am not making any money but I know my hard work will pay off down the road. I am only 45 days into this blogging thing and I have learned so much already. I am looking for the next 45 days and see where this blogging journey takes me.
What lessons did you learn as a new blogger? Let me know in the comments below.