Have you ever thought about starting a blog? Or maybe you have a personal blog, but are wondering about making the switch to business blogging? If that sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place! Today we’re going to be chatting about 5 things you need to know before starting a blog.
Starting a blog. It’s something I get asked about on a daily basis; often several times a day. I receive emails, comments, direct messages, letters….. Okay, never mind. I’ve received everything but letters. Anybody want to send me a letter asking how to start a blog so I can truthfully add that to my list? Thanks, you’re the best. Anyways, instead of writing a book for every. single. one. of you curious people, I thought I would simply start a “beginning blogging” series. Basically, we will be covering everything from choosing a domain name, to hosting services, to beginning affiliate marketing, to getting traffic to your site, to being successful on Pinterest, to advertising, and a whole bunch of other things!
Before we go any further, if you haven’t read my post, 5 Things No One Ever Told You About Blogging, you should definitely go check that out!
1. Free-Hosted or self-hosted?
This is going to be one of your very first decisions to make. This decision is going to be extremely important and ultimately, is going to decide the future of your blog. Do you want to start a blog to keep your family and close friends up-to-date with life updates and family pictures? Well than free-hosted is definitely the way to go. Are you planning on viewing blogging as a full time job? Is it going to pay your bills? Self-hosted is the route for you! I will have a much more in-depth post about the differences and pros and cons of self-hosted and free-hosted.
I personally started out with a free-hosted WordPress blog, and I’m so glad that I did! I never thought that I would a business blogger. Never. It sounds strange, but honestly, I kind of “fell into” business blogging. My personal blogging was just a hobby for about a year and a half. When that started doing really, REALLY well, I saw the opportunity for something greater, and decided to take the leap to serious blogging!
I’m going to continue this post with the impression that you are a business blogger, self-hosted, or are interested in becoming one. This post won’t be as applicable to hobby bloggers.
2. You need to have a purpose
If you don’t have a clear vision and drive behind your blog, it’s most likely not going to go very far. I’m not saying that you have to have all of your fluffy little ducks in a perfect row, but you should have a basic reason, purpose and plan. WHY do you want to start a blog? WHAT are you going to be writing about? There are millions and millions of writers and bloggers in this world, what is going to set you apart from the rest? What is going to make people come back to your site to read over and over again? Maybe it’s a unique, friendly, humorous writing style. Maybe you have some totally amazing photography skills. Maybe you are super skilled in a certain area and can share your experiences and advice. Don’t worry, it really doesn’t have to be anything super amazing! Just try to figure out a few purposes and reasons for blogging. If you don’t have those, you’re not going to have much motivation.
3. Don’t expect fast money.
Yes, it is possible to make money as a blogger. Yes, it is possible to make a LOT of money as a blogger. But are you going to be making thousands and thousands in your first or second month of business blogging? Ha. Absolutely not. When you see the headlines about “How I Made 10,000 In My 3rd Month Blogging, & How You Can Too!” that seems pretty awesome, right? Well, hate to break it to you, but that’s somewhat of a click-bait title. Yes, maybe they did make that much, but when you read the article…. they’re going to explain how that wasn’t quite *exactly* 3 months from the day that everything started. Maybe they already had thousands and thousands of social media followers, maybe they had a product that was selling really well, maybe they were already a part of affiliate marketing. THEN, they got their followers super excited about a blog launch that was going to be happening in a few months.
For the rest of us, that probably wasn’t the case when we first began blogging. If you started out like me, you started at rock bottom. Anything you’ve built, has been 100% from the ground up. And just like anything else, that’s going to take a lot of time, hard work and determination.
How long does it REALLY take to make a good income from blogging? Most bloggers that I have chatted with, say that for most bloggers who are starting at the very bottom, it usually takes between 6-18 months of good, consistent business blogging, to get to where you could quit your day job. Keep in mind, that’s 6-18 months of consistently posting high-quality content, putting in 30+ hours a week, and working with affiliate marketing & sponsors. At a minimum. Which brings us to our next point…..
4. Blogging is time consuming
I’m not going to sugar coat this….. Blogging is time consuming. EXTREMELY time consuming. It never ends. If you do take an entire day off, it’s NOT because there’s nothing else that needs to be done, it’s because you choose to just ignore the things that need done, in order to keep your sanity. Yes, seriously. Especially if you are working towards a full-time income from blogging, don’t expect to just work an hour or two a day. Ha. No way. I easily work a minimum of 30-40 hours a week on this blog. Easily. Minimum. It’s currently 11:54 pm…. And I’m so tired my eyes hurt. And I’m supposed to be up in 6 hours. . Ha. Not happening. Become a blogger, it’s a super glamorous life 😉
Writing posts will only take up about 5-10% of your work time. Most of your work time will be spent on the never ending list of other things. You’ll be creating images, keeping up with social media accounts, writing disclaimers and privacy policies, replying to comments, answering hundreds of emails, interviewing prospective guest bloggers, constantly working on upgrades, working with affiliate marketers, and keeping track of account information & passwords for a million and one different things, all while posting 2 or 3 high quality posts a week.
5. Building & Running A Successful blog requires sacrifice
I’m not sure about you, but if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s laziness, excuses, and not doing things to the best of your ability. If you are going to be taking the leap into business blogging, I would highly recommend that you take it seriously! When I first started serious blogging, January 1st of this year, I had already decided that this wasn’t going to be something that I worked at for just a few weeks, and then moved on. Quitting wasn’t an option. Getting tired of it wasn’t an option. Just stopping wasn’t’ an option. If I was doing it, I was doing it. I wasn’t just going to write when I felt like it. There was no opt-out if I had writers block. (AKA, write random garbage until you finally get a decent post at 2 in the morning.) There was no dropping everything for sick days, unless I was actually dying. I knew that there were going to be long, hard, frustrating days. Days where I wanted to scream, delete the website, throw my laptop out the window, and move to the mountains to live out the rest of my days as a secluded hermit. But what do you have to do? Take a deep breath, step back, look at your goals, and realize that everything’s going to be okay! In the words of Dory, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
Let’s put it this way. If you want your blog to pay like a real job, you’re going to have to work at it like a real job. Except….. a little harder. There’s no easy out, cutting corners, or slacking. If you have a job to do, do it to the absolute best of your abilities! And oh my goodness, YES blogging is work. (More on that in a future post.)
Before you start a blog, you need to clearly decide how serious you are going to take it. No, you don’t have to spend 40 hours a week blogging, you don’t even have to spend 2 hours a week! Just figure out what works for you. What do you want to accomplish with your blogging? Whatever it is, get it done! If you want it to go far, YOU are going to have to go far. Yes, hobby blogging is totally fine if that’s what you want to do, but if you want the results of a successful business blog, you’re going to have to put in the WORK of a successful business blog. Don’t expect to get business blog results, with a hobby blog amount of work. Sorry, it’s just not going to happen.
Where do you want to be a year from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? In blogging? In life? Does successful blogging play a part in your life goals? 5 years from now, is blogging going to be paying your bills? Ask yourself questions, make goals, figure out what you need to do in order to achieve those goals, and then get to work!
Really, there’s not much that isn’t possible if you are determined and work hard. Yes, this might mean getting up hours earlier, staying up hours later, saying no to social activities, choosing work over fun, etc. But in the long run, isn’t it going to be worth it? Don’t make amazing goals and then sit back, just waiting for them to accomplish themselves. Spoiler alert: It’s not going to happen!
I like to think of it this way, nothing amazing happens when you’re sitting in your comfort zone. It’s going to take stepping out of your comfort zone. You have to be willing to step out on limbs, to fall, to fail; but then to stand back up again, brush off the dirt, learn from your mistakes, take the next step, and move on.You have to be willing to step out on limbs, to fall, to fail. But then stand back up again, brush off the dirt, learn from your mistakes, take the next step, and move on!Click To Tweet
Just a few last notes:
If you have a knack for writing, and truly want to become a blogger, go for it! Just be sure that you have weighed the many pros and cons BEFORE you go investing in self-hosting, a domain, and everything else that goes along with that. Hopefully this post has encouraged you to continue on, wherever you are in your blogging journey. You don’t have to be a business blogger, you don’t have to be a hobby blogger, you don’t have to be a blogger at all! Blogging definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you think that blogging is right for you, than what are you waiting for!?! (Well, maybe you should wait a few more days for my post on how to choose a hosting service, and THEN go for it 😉 )
I can’t wait to share more with you an in upcoming post, the many, many reasons that blogging has been one of the best decisions of my life! Wow, there are just so many different things…. That’s definitely going to be a fun post to write!
Well now I want to hear from YOU! Are you a blogger? Hobby blogger or business blogger? If not, are you thinking of starting a blog? If you have already been blogging for awhile, what are some things that you wish you had known before you started out? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below!