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Take it from one who knows: it’s super overwhelming starting a blog. There’s a lot more to blogging than tapping away at your keyboard and hitting ‘publish.’ Blogging is multi-faceted and any single aspect can be considered a full-time job. If your palms are growing sweaty at the mere thought of how much effort is involved in growing a successful blog… relax. Knowledge is power, and every great empire starts with a solid foundation, so here are eight important things for new bloggers to know.
This is undoubtedly one of the most important things for new bloggers to know. There is no such thing as overnight success and building a blog takes time. A lot of time.
In order to make money from blogging, you first have to create a lot of content. Then you have to gain enough traffic to join affiliate sites and advertizing programs. It takes even longer to actually start earning any commission. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
This is not to say that you can’t do it: you can. But you really have to LOVE what you’re blogging about in order to be able to stick at it long enough to earn a full-time income.
Yes, you do hear stories about those bloggers who have one article that goes viral and catapults them to fame… but behind that one article, there’s years of hard work and grafting for very little reward.
Lesson: many people can and do make money from blogging, but it’s not a quick buck.
So many people promote blogging as a cheap way to start a business, but it’s not. You might be able to do it yourself if you don’t need to work and can treat your blog like a 9-5, but that’s just not possible for many people.
There are many different aspects to blogging and it’s very difficult to handle them all yourself. Here are just some of the tasks involved:
If you want your blog to be successful, you’re going to need to hire some help. It really does take a village.
Start by working out which tasks you enjoy the most and which ones really require your specific expertise. Then, outsource your other tasks. One of the key things for new bloggers to know is that your time is an important resource. Focus on what you do best.
For example, you might want to hire an SEO specialist to ensure you get great Google rankings. You could hire a virtual assistant to schedule your social media posts and reply to comments, or to scour Facebook groups for guest blogging opportunities. In addition to this, you might need help editing your photos or creating attractive Pinterest pins.
You don’t have to spend millions on social media experts and you can find reasonably priced services on social media and sites like UpWork and Fiverr.
Great content creation doesn’t just happen. You need to invest in quality tools to help you grow your blog, such as photography equipment, software programs and social media tools. Whilst blogging is a fairly capital light line of work, you need more than just a laptop and an idea to be successful.
For more on the best tools for content creators, check out this article.
Lesson: it takes money to make money.
When I first started blogging, I just published my articles and social media posts as I created them. I thought that bloggers and influencers posted in real-time. I quickly learned that this is not the case. Even Instagram stories, which are known for being ‘raw’, aren’t posted on the fly.
You need to map your content out and create it well ahead of time. I often create my content months in advance, as this also ensures I can continue publishing my work even when I might need to take a break from actually creating anything for a few weeks.
This allows you to create a content calendar and strategy, and also means you can prepare supporting social media content to promote your blogs ahead of time to ensure you get maximum page views.
Lesson: Scrabbling to put last-minute content together won’t cut it. You need to create content ahead of time and publish it purposefully as part of a strategy.
Technically it is possible to grow a great blog without social media… but it’s slower and more difficult. Think of your blog as a business. Nowadays, most businesses use social media to direct attention towards their products and services, and you need to be doing the same.
However, it can be really difficult to strike a good balance between blogging and social media since both of them are full time occupations in themselves. This is definitely something I struggled with at first, and it really felt as though I was going around in circles.
One way to balance this is to create a spreadsheet and schedule all of your blog and social media posts ahead of time. It also really helps to create a schedule and time targets to ensure that you’re giving both your blog and your social media optimum amounts of attention. Eventually, you’ll have to outsource certain aspects of either one or the other.
Lesson: blogging and social media go hand-in-hand, but you need to strike the right balance.
Content repurposing will save you an insane amount of time when it comes to growing your blog. For this reason, it’s one of the most important things for new bloggers to know about. Otherwise, you’ll never have time to post across different platforms.
Content repurposing means taking one long form piece of content and using it as the basis of a whole series of other posts. For example, one blog post could be used to create several tweets, Instagram captions and tiles. Alternatively, if you do a live Q+A on your Instagram story, you could then turn this into a blog article and series of social media posts.
Whilst it’s true that WordPress remains the gold standard of blogging platforms, there are plenty of great choices out there that might be better suited to your particular needs. If you want to place a heavy focus on selling products, Shopify might work well for you, or if you want to be able to easily design and customize your site, look into SquareSpace. For a more in-depth explanation, read this guide.
Lesson: set yourself up for success by choosing the right platform.
Basic SEO is one of the most important things for new bloggers to know. You don’t have to be a total SEO whiz but you do need to understand the basic principles, such as keywords, backlinks and image optimization. It’s worth investing in a basic SEO course just so you know what you’re doing and can employ the best practices right from the start.
Lesson: it pays to get to grips with SEO.
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