Here’s the thing or what you need to know before you start blogging
I have been blogging for a couple of months. So far, I have helped my hubby with his blog but also created my website and blog, all using wordpress templates. These online spaces support our freelance, working from home, lifestyle. I have also mastered lots of tools including how to use facebook, linkedin and twitter to help share my content. Below are my advice to blogging newbies or things I wish someone had told me:
Niche or no niche
Now there seems to be a real marmite affect with this one (you either love it or you hate it). Personally, I lean on the don’t worry if you haven’t got a niche yet. My advice is to create your website/blog as soon as you can. Choose a template, change it if you like, use your name or nickname. You can start easily with com (the free version) and then upgrade later when you are ready to add your content, affiliate links and adverts. This way you are learning the basics of blogging, how your platform works (I use wordpress with bluehost) and getting an understanding of some of the functionality and jargon. It also means you will get into the routine of blogging, writing your content. Taking this approach will also help you understand your interests and niche, it will come naturally. Just do it and start today. If you feel a niche is vital then do some quick research and pick an interest that you feel animated about, something that you know you can write about a lot! For me my niche is looking to be more about social media and remote working lifestyle.
Do your research
I don’t see this listed as a key point for potential bloggers, affiliate marketers. For me this is essential. Look at blogs you like, start to follow or sign up for some internet marketers that relate to you. Before you start this is such a useful exercise as it helps you find your voice, can tell you what you don’t like and what engages you. This is a simple way to learn what works, what your interests are and the style you should creating. Don’t ignore this bit as it might take time, take it seriously as an exercise to understand how to blog and stick at it. Use research for inspiration as well, if I am not sure what to do I will ask the question on pinterest this is a great way to see good (and bad) examples how to do something, a certain phrase, a specific design or look. It’s a great way to find bloggers and remote workers doing their thing.
It takes time, lots of time
When I think about the last few months I can’t believe how much time I have used up. I used to view this as an awful waste but Jim, my hubby, convinced me this isn’t the case. This time is spent learning. Often its mastering the technical aspects of blogging, how to work out wordpress, navigating SEO, designing your personal images on canva, designing your leadpages, understanding aWeber. All these various technical tools, some of which you need to pay for. Remembering all the different logins, the different ways they work and more importantly how they work together. It’s exhausting. And then there is the social media for promoting your activity and building your audience – where does the time go? For every blog or product, you need to create a variety of images, content and resources to support this. It can take you weeks at first but as you practice and perfect your expertise you get quicker and better. So just do it, practice and find the tools that work for you but be aware you will need to spend a lot of time to make it work, especially in the beginning. Same goes for making money and conversions, this will take time, you might see lots of stories about how easy it is to make thousands of bucks overnight but the reality is very different, it takes time, effort and patience but its definitely worth it.
Learn as you go
Blogging, internet marketing and affiliate marketing are fairly new fields. It may look like loads of people are doing it but relatively few are doing it well. And they are all learning as they go, and what’s more they are happy to share their learning with you. You may have to invest in yourself, and pay for courses (be very selective!) but generally one of the great aspects of this sector is the spirit of collaboration and sharing. If you are feeling overwhelmed keep it simple. You don’t need to master every platform just focus on the ones you have already used or you understand. You can run effective internet campaigns with lead pages and Twitter, similarly mixing your blog with just Facebook or Pinterest to share content can work. Remember, you need to be you when you blog, your audience needs to hear your voice so focus on your interests, your skills and strengths and use these when you start. One of the key principles with blogging is to be authentic, genuine so that people trust you, its a bit like starting a friendship or relationship so consider how you might behave. Be prepared to learn as you go and share your knowledge. Join blogging groups and connect with other newbies, ask questions there will always be someone ready to help.
There always something more to do
My to do list is long, there is always task outstanding, a blog idea I need to explore, a new platform to learn (Instagram, youtube I know your there), a product I need to refine. I recommend that you focus on your priorities first, stay focused and keep it realistic. What are the basics you need to master, how can you learn (youtube is a great resource). Focus on these priorities first and learn the other stuff later. As you progress make sure you review your plan and revisit the ideas you identified initially. Do you still need them? You find that priorities change as your experience improves?
Don’t do it alone
I have been blogging for about 4 months, focusing on my business blog and hubbies blog. I have been doing this quietly but now I am feeling more confident and sharing my experience on online groups (Facebook is great for this). It’s so rewarding to see how others are succeeding, and be there to help others who maybe are having a bad day. These online platforms allow you to gain knowledge quickly so be open about your struggles and success. If you can’t work something out technically just leave it, go to one of your groups and ask a question, don’t spend hours trying to work it out on your own.
Don’t stress the tech
This might seem a weird bit of advice but seriously try not to worry about the technical side. There are so many options, lots of it costs money (monthly fees etc) there are plugins, widgets, apps and goodness knows what available to help you with your blogging journey. Ignore most of it and stick to the very basics. Don’t pay for anything you don’t really need, unsure of or don’t understand – remember you can always add it later. I use Bluehost for my wordpress websites as its easier to install and they are always trying to sell me extra resources. Ignore it for now, try to use free tools initially and sign up for free trials plus USE them. This way the technical bits will come in time if you blog regularly.
I hope you find this useful and feel free to share, adopt and adapt to help you on your own blogging journey. It’s a glimpse in my early days as a blogger and full-time freelance Virtual Assistant. I am having a great time, gaining clients and knowledge in a collaborative environment and wondering why I took so long to create this dream career.