ADVICE FROM A SIX MONTH BLOGGER
Firstly, thank you to all the readers and visitors who have supported The Otherside of 25. When the blog launched I was overly-excited to have a concept that I felt enthused to share. Like most new blogger’s, I didn’t fully understand the energy and depth that goes into running a website. I had a vision of launching and immediately getting thousands and thousands of page views. Although I quickly fell from that cloud, blogging has changed my life and I’d like to share a few lessons for beginners that will help make your expectations more realistic and efficient.
CREATE A BUDGET
You’re bound to come across articles that detail “how to blog for free” but eventually you’re going to spend money and it might get expensive. Sure you can use sites like Google’s free Blogger Platform but all your hard-work and material will be owned by another company. If you’re a hobby blogger then free platforms are the way to go but if you want control and complete ownership of your website then be prepared to shell out some money. Believe it or not, blogging can be a business and depending on your outlook expenses become investments.
BLOGGING IS COMPLICATED
It’s tough to run your own blog, much more a self-hosted website. It takes a level of dedication and commitment that is not for the faint-hearted. Several times it’s become overwhelming so I understand why a lot of bloggers quit. When I decided to launch, I spent the previous two months “preparing” by learning the basics. There’s tons of knowledge to absorb like the difference between hosted vs. self-hosted, what’s the best website platform or even what the hell is SEO? If like me, you chose a self-hosted WordPress site then there’s even more to learn. The dashboard is a complex system and you’ll need time to understand how to do the simplest things, like write a post.
THE BURNOUT IS REAL
When I began on social media I connected with another new blogger. We were starting off together and it was fun to have someone who was learning the same things and dealing with the same problems. We became blogger buddies, motivating and supporting one another but like most new bloggers we didn’t have a full understanding of what it meant to run a website. Blogger burnout hit me hard and fast. Keeping up with the goals and continued learning was exhausting so I decided to take a break. Nearly 2 months passed and I hadn’t even looked at the website, I almost didn’t come back but I’m glad I did. It felt like returning to your job after a Caribbean vacation, the workload was backed up but my mind was refreshed and clear. Unfortunately, when I returned my blogger buddy was not in the same mindset and decided to quit permanently.
It’s a story that happens to 95% of bloggers because the burnout is real. Billions of websites are abandoned yearly mainly due to a lack of realistic expectations and organization. One of the best ways to combat blogger burnout is to have an editorial calendar. There are countless tutorials on how to create a free one but personally, I use CoSchedule because it allows me to have an “All-In-One” blog management system. It’s pricey but I can’t imagine running this site without it.
It’s funny, you’ll research and compose a list of articles that all describe “how to write the perfect post” or “writing tips for the beginner blogger” but what works for them won’t necessarily work for you. Every successful blogger has built a system through trial and error. And although it’s wise to welcome the advice, you have to find your own brand, writing style, and authenticity.
If you’re not interested in getting sued than knowing how to blog legally is extremely important. Fortunately, I work professionally for a law firm so I am familiar with copyright laws. However, if you have no idea what you’re doing then this needs to be a HIGH priority. All website owners must know the laws to abide by in order to not only protect their content but to also limit the possibility of a lawsuit.
If you’re just starting out then Jade & Oak is a great resource for introducing bloggers to the legal side. The website has a free email course called Legalize Your Blog which will explain everything you need to know.
FIND YOUR TRIBE
One of the best things about blogging is the people. There’s a large community out there and you’ll connect with bloggers across the globe. Some are mean-spirited but the majority will be supportive and encouraging. They’ll be there to answer your questions and will even help promote your content. Finding your tribe can be a little daunting at first but you just have to put yourself out there and start networking.
The best place to begin is social media of course. There are hundreds of facebook groups, Instagram pods and Twitter chats that will connect you with likewise bloggers. It’ll be slowing starting at first but engagement is key. Become a willing participant in groups that you join and before you know it, you’ll have tons of blogger buddies too.
My Favorite Communities
DON’T MONETIZE (JUST YET)
What?! Why would I not monetize?!
Well, monetizing ain’t easy. It’ll lead you down a rabbit hole into a parallel dimension. If you’re a beginner with absolutely no experience then it’s probably best for you to steer clear until you’ve got everything else under control. The biggest mistake I made was jumping into monetization while I was still learning the blogging basics. I’m sure you’ve come across income reports of people making incomes upwards of a $200k a month. I know it’s a crazy concept to not at least get try to get a piece of the pie but you have to understand that the people who make insane incomes have been running websites and blogging for years. They’ve mastered the art of monetization by engaging in sponsorships, affiliate marketing and selling multiple products.
However, if you are adamant, I do recommend utilizing Google Adsense, you’ll have to learn how to input HTML codes but it’s a great introduction for learning how to monetize your site.
DON’T OVEREXTEND YOURSELF
Lastly, don’t overextend yourself by trying to do everything all at once. Decide how much energy and time you want to exert by implementing a schedule that encourages productively. Set a writing schedule, social media strategy and website maintenance times. Remember to keep your goals and expectations realistic because as if it was your job, you’ll need to create a blog-life balance.
Are you a beginner too? Comment below to share some of the “blogger” lessons you’ve learned!
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