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In this post, I’m going to share some of the things I wish I knew before starting my blog, in hopes that you can avoid my mistakes, save both time and money, and will definitely help you when you decide to start your first one!
When I started this blog, I didn’t have the faintest idea of what I was doing. I did tons of research, but there are so many resources out there that it can get overwhelming. Despite that, somehow it took off and it’s been a great experience for me.
- Guide to Starting Your Blog the Right Way
- 15 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Blog
- 1. It’s Going To Be Harder Than You Think
- 2. Avoid Getting Bogged Down in the Planning Phase
- 3. Let Go of the Idea That You Have To Be Perfect the First Time Around
- 4. Are You Passionate Enough To Start Blogging?
- 5. Choosing a Niche and Domain Name Should Not Take Too Much Time
- 6. Keep Your Niche in Mind While Blogging
- 7. Learn SEO From Day 1
- 8. Start Building Your Email List
- 9. Improve Social Shares, Backlinks, and Email Subscribers With Stunning Images
- 10. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
- 11. You’re Not Going To Get Paid for Your Work Immediately
- 12. You Will Fail. Repeatedly.
- 13. Watch Out for Your Blog Security!
- 14. Install Security Plugin
- 15. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Bloggers
- Final Words – Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Blog
Guide to Starting Your Blog the Right Way
Starting a blog may seem like a daunting task. But with the right information and some guidance, you can start your blog the right way and be successful. I hope that this guide has been helpful in starting your own blog!
Here’s how you can start a blog in 7 steps:
- Find your niche
- Decide on a blog name and register it
- Find a hosting provider. You can start from as low as $2.95/month through this special Bluehost link.
- Install WordPress on your blog host
- Choose a WordPress theme that you like
- Install plugins to enhance your blog.
- Start writing and publish your first blog post
Note: You can unlock a discounted price of $2.95 if you use the Bluehost link above (affiliate link) in lieu of $3.95. To sweeten the deal, you will also get a free domain name for a year.
15 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Blog
A blogger’s life is not always easy. You need to deal with a lot of technicalities, like how to make your blog look good and how to keep it running smoothly.
You also need to learn about SEO and social media marketing. It can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some things I wish I knew before starting my blog.
1. It’s Going To Be Harder Than You Think
You might be thinking that you have found your opportunity to tell the world what you think and live your life on your own terms. However, starting a blog is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to maintain a blog and make it successful.
You need to work hard in order to build a successful blog due to the competition out there.
There are many things that you need to know before starting your blog. You need to know what kind of content you will be publishing on your blog, who your audience is and how you will be monetizing your blog.
You also need to know the technical aspects of blogging such as how to use WordPress or other blogging platforms.
That’s why I’ve created an in-depth step-by-step guide on the best practices for starting your own blog. It’s made specifically for people just like you who want to get started with their own blog.
2. Avoid Getting Bogged Down in the Planning Phase
Be careful not to get too entangled in the planning phase. Get started right away.
A lot of people think they have to get their blogging idea exactly right before they start it. In reality, even if you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing, getting started with something is better than nothing.
When trying to figure out whether or not you should create your own blog, just get started and try things out; that way you can be flexible as you go and avoid getting bogged down in details or judgment (which tend to be obstacles that prevent most people from ever getting started).
You’ll never know what will work until you try it!
3. Let Go of the Idea That You Have To Be Perfect the First Time Around
It’s a myth that you have to be perfect the first time around. Our society is so focused on being perfect that it can lead to creative frustration and burnout.
This is why doing things in series, or “stopping to smell the roses” is so important for creativity.
Whatever your blog idea is, you, as the blogger and content creator, are not competing with anyone. You are creating for yourself and for anyone who wants to come along for the ride.
You have the chance to be so completely authentic and unapologetic in your writing. We don’t need to be perfect from day one. This is why it’s good to give ourselves a little leeway as we start off blogging, both in terms of our writing skills and our business skills.
4. Are You Passionate Enough To Start Blogging?
If you’re not passionate enough to keep blogging, then it’s going to be really difficult for you to keep up with your writing. And if you’re not able to keep up with your writing, then people aren’t going to want to stick around for long.
You can’t fake passion; it needs to come from within or else no one will believe that you are truly interested in sharing your thoughts and ideas with others.
Having a passion for what you do will also help build momentum and give you something else on which you can focus as you continue building your audience base. (And if nothing else, having an outlet that allows you such freedom is certainly worth feeling passionate about.)
5. Choosing a Niche and Domain Name Should Not Take Too Much Time
A blog is a great way to grow your business and with the right strategy, you can create a sustainable income. However, picking the wrong niche or domain name can put you in a tight spot.
When I was starting my blog, I made mistakes because I didn’t have enough knowledge on how to pick the right niche.
As a result, my first month of blogging was really awful. It made me ask myself if it’s worth it to spend so much time and money to continue this blog?
This is why choosing a niche and domain name is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. Choosing the right niche will help you connect with your target audience while deciding on the right domain name will help you in terms of branding.
That will definitely make you stand out from other bloggers.
6. Keep Your Niche in Mind While Blogging
Now that you’ve figured out what kind of topics your customers want to read about, it’s time to actually write.
The first thing you should do is write down every niche-related keyword phrase that fits into your niche and then grabs your newly created spreadsheet and starts making an inventory of each page title.
This will take some time, but writing 1-2 words in front of each page title makes it easier to evaluate later. You can even add little notes next to each one if there are any differences between them.
7. Learn SEO From Day 1
One of your biggest hurdles is going to be getting people to visit your site. If you don’t know much about SEO, then start learning. If your competition has been in business for years and has hundreds of posts on their site, you have no chance.
Start learning about SEO now so that when you do launch your blog, it will have search engine optimization built-in from day one.
Trust me, it’s worth it!
There are tons of articles and video tutorials out there about how to optimize for search engines as well as dozens of programs designed specifically for beginner bloggers owners. Figure out what works best for you and take advantage of day one.
For instance, learn how to do proper keyword research. It is a process of finding out what people are searching for on Google and other search engines to find content related to your topic.
Keywords are important because they help you rank higher on search engines and drive more traffic to your site. They also help you with conversion rates because the right keywords will lead people to the right content.
If you have no idea where to start, then start by looking at what your competitors are doing. Check their sites for keywords that they rank for, then do some research about those keywords and see if there’s an opportunity for you as well.
8. Start Building Your Email List
Email marketing is far and away one of the most effective methods for generating revenue online. In fact, it’s one of my most recommended strategies for new bloggers.
That’s because email marketing cuts through all of your competition in terms of ROI; you can send out an email to your list once and make money in sales—but if you try to sell those same people on Facebook or Twitter, they may not convert at all.
There are a few reasons to start building your email list from day one. For one, it’s valuable for you: as a blogger, email is your lifeline to interacting with your audience and sharing content.
Email should be a priority! So start collecting emails early on; people are much more likely to add their emails when you give them an incentive, like an exclusive post or freebie.
When someone wants to leave your site, they see a pop-up that asks if they want to subscribe to your newsletter. If they choose yes, then they get subscribed and you’ve just found another way to build your email list.
Start writing now: In fact, even if you don’t have any subscribers yet, go ahead and write something up today.
9. Improve Social Shares, Backlinks, and Email Subscribers With Stunning Images
You may feel underwhelmed with the number of social shares you get on your posts. You feel as if people don’t care about your content even though you have been posting for days.
Here’s the thing. We often forget that by adding a simple image to our blog post, we can increase traffic and engagement. They add visual interest, emotional connection, and dimension to your story.
People are visual beings, so they are more likely to read blogs with images. Images work as a catalyst for both social shares, backlinks, and email subscribers. Plus photos can help improve the content of the posts.
Luckily, there are many free resources available to help you find great pictures that will increase the chances of more social shares and backlinks.
One such resource is Canva, a free online graphic design tool that allows anyone with minimal design skills to make share-worthy photos in minutes. With tons of templates and fonts already built into it, all it takes is a few clicks to generate an image for your post or even social media banner.
One thing that is worthwhile to include here is leveraging the existence of stock photo websites. Here are some of the stock photo websites that you can use:
- Burst (by Shopify)
You must now be asking me, how can you be different from the other photographers if everyone is using the same stock photo resources?
The best thing I can suggest to you is to edit the photo that you found with whatever photo editor you feel most comfortable with.
For instance, I prefer using Canva over other editing tools. Make use of the built-in filters, elements, texts, and many other things that is available in Canva and make your photo stands out.
10. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
The first time I started this blog, I made the mistake of not using social media to promote my posts. I thought that blogging was enough. But it wasn’t.
It took me a long time to figure out that blogging is only half the battle – without promoting your content on social media, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity!
This is why social media and blogging go hand-in-hand. Using social media to its full potential is what we as bloggers should do to maximize its impact.
These days, social media is an extremely important tool for bloggers. It can help you reach out to more people and spark conversations with other influencers too. It is a great way to connect with your audience and get more followers. But it takes time and effort to build up a following.
Once you have built up a following, you can use social media to promote your blog posts, website, or other content that you have created. You can also use it to find new followers who might be interested in your niche or content.
Social media, especially Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to your blog posts.
What you need to do is create a board on Pinterest with all your recent blog posts and pin images, paragraphs, or quotes from the blog post. This will help you in getting a higher organic search ranking and this will also increase the conversion rates.
A quick tip: You can create a separate board for each category of content (e.g., DIY, recipes, etc.) for a more targeted audience.
I will give you an example by taking Ling from Finsavvy Panda. By leveraging Pinterest, Ling was able to drive huge amounts of traffic to her second blog. This traffic resulted in her being able to monetize her blog with display ads alone and she was raking in 5 figures a month.
Rather than rehashing what Ling has already said and done, I will point you to her blog post, “How To Get Traffic From Pinterest And Monetize Your Blog in 2022”.
11. You’re Not Going To Get Paid for Your Work Immediately
One of the most obvious reasons why blogging can be a good idea is because you get paid for it. However, you may not get paid for it immediately.
Blogging is a long-term strategy and often takes years before the author sees any significant return on their investment.
The reason why you might not be paid immediately is that this type of content marketing requires an investment upfront in order to see any return later on down the line.
Since blogging is a long-term strategy, you should be able to see some return within a few years. This means that the time and money invested in the blog need to be worth it.
The best way to know if your blog is worth it or not is by looking at what your traffic looks like in comparison with costs. If your blog is making more money than you’re spending on it, then it’s worth it. If not, you should probably change your blogging strategy.
12. You Will Fail. Repeatedly.
Blogging is an art form. It takes time to learn and grow as a blogger. And you will make mistakes. As a new blogger, it’s a given that most of your early posts will be less than stellar.
You’ll make mistakes with formatting, you’ll write something that doesn’t resonate with readers and you’ll get negative feedback from readers.
Whatever it is, be prepared to fail. Repeatedly. But that’s okay because you will learn from them and grow from them. The sooner you accept this, the better off you’ll be.
Just because you’re a new blogger, doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the same rules as your more experienced counterparts.
Here are some tips that will help you get started:
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with different topics and styles
- Write about what you know and what interests you
- Try to be consistent
- Be creative with your content
- Take care of yourself and your mental health
- Be respectful of others’ opinions and keep the conversation civil
- Make sure you are not posting anything illegal
- Don’t post personal information about others
- Prohibit things that are extreme, racist, homophobic, and otherwise offensive
13. Watch Out for Your Blog Security!
Without the right security features, your blog is susceptible to cyberattacks. The goal of any good blog owner is to put their security practices at the forefront so that they don’t get hacked.
Take steps to keep your blog safe from cyberattacks by following these security tips.
I. Secure Your WordPress Login
As you’re aware, the “Admin” username is your WordPress blog’s default. This is the first thing you should take care of—change it so that it cannot be guessed by potential hackers. In my “How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost” post, I’ve laid out a step-by-step guide on how you can change your WordPress username.
II. Change Your Password Occasionally
Passwords are the key to your online security. If you have not changed your password in a while, it is time to do so. A password should be at least 8 characters long and contain at least one number, one letter, and one symbol.
As you add variety to your password by changing it from time to time, make sure not to forget to use a password manager or write it down somewhere in an encrypted location.
III. Protect your blog by turning on 2FA
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a layer of protection that I highly recommend adding to your blog and other important accounts.
It’s a simple way to keep your account secure, and often the only thing standing between you and an attacker who has somehow gained access to your password.
To put it another way, it’s like having two passwords for logging in. The first is the password you use to log into your dashboard.
Another one (secure unique code) is generated by any 2FA app on your smart device, which changes every 30 seconds. You can use this Google Authenticator as your 2FA login.
14. Install Security Plugin
The most important thing is to install a plugin called “Wordfence”. It is extremely important that you activate this plugin, as it will be able to detect any malicious activities on your blog.
Why WordFence? Simply because it helps you find out if someone tries to hack in and do something on your site without you knowing.
Take a look at the screenshot below.
The report shows that there are 74 failed login attempts on a blog. Isn’t that scary?
You can also use other plugins – please note that there are many, and choosing the wrong one might have disastrous consequences. I advise you to install “Wordfence” and leave the rest for later.
15. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Bloggers
One of the most common mistakes bloggers make is comparing their own blogs to other more successful blogs. While it’s okay to look up to your idols, you should compare yourself only to the person you were yesterday.
You can’t compare a blogger who started blogging at six months to someone who started at a month.
I originally started this blog by comparing myself to other bloggers who were earning 6 figures on monthly basis. But after a while, I realized that this strategy wasn’t serving me at all – because my comparisons lowered my confidence and motivation.
So what led to my shift in mindset? Stop comparing yourself with other bloggers. Simple as that.
Final Words – Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Blog
I have covered some of the most important things that I wish I knew before starting my blog.
This post is intended to be an introduction to the world of blogging. I’ve written it with the hope that it will help you get started and avoid some of the mistakes I made.
I wish I knew that what you put out into the universe is what you will get back. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. You want to make sure that what you put out there is something you are proud of and something that aligns with your values and goals as a blogger.
Hopefully, these tips will help you start your blog on the right foot!
Signing off now, cheers!~