Back in November, I decided to take the leap and start my own blog. I learned SO much about how to successfully start a blog in that first month. However, I was and still am in a giant period of trial and error.
Figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for your blog is one of the key things you will have to endure on your blogging journey! Not every tip works for each blog! Each blogger’s journey is an individualized experience, and no two journeys will look the same!
Some of the MAJOR Things I Learned
- Experience really is the best teacher. When I started my blog, I realized there was a vast amount of information to sift through. Like most things in life, starting a blog does not come with instructions. Thankfully, the internet is full of information on almost every aspect of starting a blog! I’m SO thankful for communities on Twitter and Pinterest that had several how-to articles for starting your first blog!
- Consistency is also key when it comes to blogging. Your audience may not notice too much if you take a day or two off, but they will notice if you take off larger chunks of time. It’s also important to remember consistency is what will drive you towards accomplishing goals you set for yourself! You will not reach your blogging goals if you are not working consistently towards them. Even when motivation is lacking, it’s important to still create content and be present on your social media accounts!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions/do some research! I spent hours scouring the internet looking for answers, and when I couldn’t find them, I reached out! Twitter communities and Facebook groups are particularly helpful because there are a wide range of participants! And chances are, someone will have an answer to your question!
5 Things I did that Worked in my First Month of Blogging
There are way more than 5 things I did that helped get my blog up and running, my blog posts seen, and my social media engagement up. I’m going to narrow it down to 5 simple things for you! If you’re new to blogging this may just be the list you need to figure out how to get started!
Be Honest with Yourself:
This is the easiest thing to do before you sit down and actually create your blog. Ask yourself a few questions! Is this going to be a hobby, or will you eventually create an income off of this? Can you commit to posting several times a week? Do you have the time to promote your blog posts, read other’s blog posts, and engage in the community? The biggest thing when blogging is providing consistency in content and activity to your readers.
When you’re just starting out, it’s important for your name and to face pop up fairly regularly on their social media streams. It’s important to be able to commit to consistently creating content and engaging on social media or you may not receive the traffic your blog needs for it to take off.
Figure Out the Specifics
What is your blog going to be about? Is your niche going to be focused on one thing (ex. mom blog) or is it going to have several different ideas going on (ex. cynspo). A lot of the research suggests blogs do better when you choose one niche. Other research suggests that it’s totally fine to branch out into more niches, as long as it’s organized clearly on your blog. It all depends on what you plan on writing about! If you’re going to be writing quality content on several topics, don’t hesitate to have more than one niche. I’m super passionate about self-care, budgeting, and many other things, so I included all of those in my blog (separated by categories and sub-categories)!
Once you’ve figured out your niche(s), come up with a name that can be used on all social media platforms! My Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter all have the same name, so it’s easier for people to find me on all social media platforms!
Create a Plan to Make it Happen
To remain consistent in posting and engaging, you have to plan out how and when you’re going to do that. Decide when you’re going to post on your blog (how many times per week?) and what content you’re going to be posting. I started with a brainstorm page and wrote down all the different things I wanted to write about, and then split them into categories. I then went to my calendar and filled in which blog post I was going to do on what day (my schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Friday).
A lot of seasoned bloggers recommend creating content for one month in advance. Check out Pinterest for content planning schedules and blog post ideas if you’re stuck! There’s an abundance of blogging information there.
In addition to your blog posting plan, you also should create an engagement plan. You should aim to post on Instagram at least once a day, or every two days. It’s key to be active in your story as well. I started out by posting polls and blog posts when I was too shy to show my face, but as I got more comfortable I was able to get on my story and talk to my followers! For Pinterest, I took a few tips from EllDuclos’s blog and her Pinterest Tips! She also has a killer Blog Traffic Challenge available on her blog!
It’s also important to plan to fit these activities into your day! I use an agenda to schedule daily goals into my day to be able to reach my social media and blog targets. This includes writing down things such as ‘Instagram post’, ‘work on tomorrow’s blog post’ etc. to keep me organized and goal oriented for the day.
Start Your Blog
Whether you decide to start self-hosting from the get go (recommended) or plan to start on a free platform such as WordPress (I used this), Blogspot, Wix, Bloglovin, or any other platform, you need to jump in and start your blog!
Self-hosting is recommended from the start if you plan on turning your blog into a money making blog as it offers you complete control and more customization. But for the sake of starting, it’s not wrong of you to start on a free platform. I started on WordPress.com as a free blog for one month to see if I could remain consistent in posting, and whether I would still want to make the leap to go self-hosted (surprise, I’m self hosted now!).
Regardless of which route you take, just get your blog going! Set up a theme and begin with your first post! Share your link with friends! Send it around! there really is no time like the present. Check out my favourite post to date for that little extra motivation to get you going.
Be Engaging on Social Media
Using various social media platforms can be an excellent way to get your blog post out there. I created an Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter account to engage and interact with other bloggers. I also use these accounts to get my blog noticed by people who aren’t bloggers as well. When dealing with social media, think of quality over quantity. You want to be engaging with your followers! This includes liking and commenting genuine comments on their pictures, responding to all comments on your posts and reading content they may post!
By genuinely engaging your followers, you interact with people on a more human level. This way, they will be able to relate to you more, and look forward to you releasing content! I try my best to create friends on all platforms to be able to share each others content, and genuinely engage with my followers! Remember, your followers are following you because they want to hear what you have to say! By not engaging with them, you run the chance of losing them!
Some commons social media mistakes people make are:
- playing the follow-unfollow game (don’t do this to get more followers, a lot of people are outwardly frustrated with people who do this)
- not posting often enough (I post once a day on Instagram, and tweet several times a day)
- leaving generic comments on peoples pots (beautiful! or cute! is a not well thought out comment, it’s better if you respond to a question people ask in their caption or comment about something specific to the picture)
- not properly engaging your audience (ask questions in each caption or tell your followers a specific course of action you want them to take – comment this, check out the link in my bio. When you tell your followers exactly what you want them to do, it takes the guess work out!)
Starting a blog is an individualized journey! No two bloggers journeys are going to look the same, and what may work for one won’t work as well for the other! It’s important to remember why you wanted to start blogging. Passion shines through what you’re writing about. People can sense genuine excitement, passion and interest in what you do. Never try to be someone or something your not, it will take away from the amazing gifts you have to offer.
Get out and engage and make new friends! And most importantly, give credit where credit is due. If you take a course or learn something from someone’s blog post, share it! Don’t try and copy content, you will lose your credibility and you may be involved in legal issues. Have fun with starting a blog. I’m still learning every day and look forward to getting up and writing!
I hope this helped if you’re new to blogging! If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!