Are you brand new to the idea of blogging? Today marks the three-month anniversary of my entrance into this wide new world. To say I have come a long way is probably the understatement of the century. Here are some of my confessions of a beginning blogger: learned the hard way!
Prior to starting my blog I had never followed a blog regularly. Although I do not blog about blogging, I would have never survived the first month without the expert advice of blogging websites. When I first started out, my life consisted of a stack of to-do lists. Just about the time I finished one task for my site I would discover a whole new host of things that yet needed to be done.
Looking back, I realize that there were number of lessons that I had to learn the hard way. Although the experts are an invaluable resource, it is also helpful to hear from someone who has been there and been there recently. I am not here to dispense any expert advice, but I have pinpointed 6 important things I wish I had known when I first started blogging 3 months ago.
Here are some confessions of a beginning blogger: learned the hard way.
I changed my theme, header, widgets and styling of my blog multiple times until I got it right. Also, it took me several weeks to write enough blog posts to give viewers something to see. If I could do it again, I would have waited one month before allowing my blog to go public. This amount of time would have given me time to make necessary tweaks and changes before anyone saw it. I also believe my blog debut would have packed more of a punch if I had initially launched with more blog content.
Of course, I have that core of people who will follow anything I write just because I wrote it. However, in those initial weeks you can be really discouraged by an unexpected lack of interest. Actually, this should not have surprised me as I myself had never really been a blog reader before I started.
Instead, I would heed the advice of those who say that blog growth takes time. I am seeing that slow and steady growth really does work.
Quite frankly, I was shocked by the sheer number of resources I stumbled upon that did not cost a thing. The more research you can do in the beginning, the less time you will waste duplicating your efforts. In the initial month
If I could do it again, I would have spent a few weeks researching and reading blogs before I ever started blogging. They do an excellent job of suggesting, ranking and categorizing different important aspects of setting up a well-functioning blog.
The typical blogger starts out with no budget. While there are a lot of free resources, they are a few factors that are just worth the money. For one, I highly recommend starting with your own domain name. I actually started with a free WordPress.com account. I quickly realized that this type of site really limited my creativity options and does not support plug-ins.
Secondly, you get what you pay for when it comes to finding a subscription form for your site. I literally tried out 15 different form providers before I found one that worked for me. Believe me, I really worked to find a free one, but I ultimately went with a paid service because I needed a form that was always accessible; actually sent post notifications to my subscribers; and had customer support.
If I could do it all again, I would go straight to a self-hosted WordPress.org site and I would look for a paid, static subscription form with good customer support.
When I first started, I was barraged by articles about the essentiality of social media for promoting your website. In my zeal to do things right, I signed up for every single one of them. However, it didn’t take long to realize that I was burying myself under a load of different platforms and angles. Every social media tool approaches information in its own special way.
For instance, Tumblr is a social media site that appeals to a younger age group. After spending a considerable amount of time to set up my Tumblr site and filling it with some content, I found out that only one person from all my other social media groups was even on Tumblr…one.
If I could do it all again,
before I invested any time to set up a new account.
When I initially started out, I launched into writing drafts for future posts. I wrote down lists and jotted down my thoughts whenever they came to me. Eventually I ended up with an overwhelming pile of information in various locations. Although
An editorial calendar automatically keeps track of all your drafts and then allows you to drag and drop them into a calendar and move them around at will. This tool makes it possible to tentatively schedule your drafts for months into the future. If I could do it all again, I would install an editorial plugin as my very first plugin.
Well, there you have it. I hope my bumps along the blogging road can help you make a smoother go of your beginning blogger experience.
I am very, vey new at this (two weeks ago new). In the past two weeks I have written two blog entries. I’ve shared both entries on Facebook and Twitter, and am feeling discouraged about the lack of interest others have in what I’ve written. I am stuck on #3 – any recommendations for plug-ins? I really appreciate your insight! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Hey Keturah…it is tough in the beginning. Make sure you have SEO with Yoast, Jetpack Subscriptions (tried another and came back to it), Better Follow Button for Jetpack, Floating Social bar, and W3 Total Cache
These are great ideas. Tried and true. I posted in the same linky party and got quite a few hits. Blogging can be very complicated and it’s great when we can share our war stories.
It helps so much to share!
Hi Shellie, I am excited to tell you that this post on Fridays Blog Booster Party was the clear winner as the most clicked. You will be given a special feature this Friday. Well done.
Wow, how about that?! Nice to know someone else could benefit from some of my experiences.
I am right there with you on so many of these — and still pretty far behind you, too! Will we ever get these new blogs where we want them?? Perhaps you can set your mind at ease a little with the “not having enough content prepared” regret. I went that route and worked to have at least 15 posts already published before going live with my blog. I think my mother and 2 friends I specifically asked for feedback are the only ones who read them! So don’t beat yourself up about that one!
That’s what is so nice about developing friendships with other bloggers. We all get it! Thanks for stopping by.
I do love Tumblr, but you have to like it for it to work for you. At least that’s what I’ve found. I’m definitely not in the younger age group, but if you’re not comfortable exploring it is a tough place to see results.
Yes, different mediums definitely click with different folks. It really helps to find things that gel with your personality, then you are more likely to keep up with them. Thanks for commenting!
I didn’t know anything about editorial calendars until I read your post….I learned something new!
I am so glad I posted something you needed! Mine has made all the difference. You will love it!
I can relate to so many of these confessions. I’m so grateful for people who have gone before us, paved the road and then shared their experience. There are so many great blogging blogs that have saved me from lots of mistakes!
Kelsey, I literally lived on Google search for the first month. Unfortunately, I kept coming up on new helpful information, which required me to change something I had already done.
Shellie it is good to put those thoughts and experiences into words. Yes, we have all traveled that road and I am sure this post will be a great help to new bloggers. Fridays Blog Booster Party enjoyed you sharing this.
Thanks Kathleen! The experts are an invaluable source of wisdom and I couldn’t have done it without them, but it also helps to have a newbie’s perspective.
Isn’t hindsight 20/20? I wish I would have known how much time I would spend on my blog. It seems like it’s taken on a life of it’s own.
Haha, so true Heidi!!!
Hello Shellie so nice to meet you and your blog. I could not agree more about “if only I knew” . I think we would all do things differently if we had to start again. Visiting from #blogboosterfriday
I guess it works that way for blogs and seam ripping! 😉
Thank you so much for sharing this blog on Tip Tuesday Link Party! Really useful tips for all bloggers. We learn a lot from our mistakes and it is great when we can use them to help others.
Yes, I have made a lot of them, but I have also learned a lot. You just have to keep learning and growing! Thanks for commenting.
These are great tips. There is so much information on the web about what to do to grow your blog and be successful, finding the one that matches you and your personality is so helpful. I am thankful for my editorial calendar and think of it as my virtual assistant.
The calendar just took a huge organizational weight off of my shoulders. I guess I am the type of person who likes to visualize things in black and white. It also helps put my mind at ease by seeing how things can fit together in the future.
For each person this is such a different journey.
My worst mistake (among many!) was to use TypePad. Sure it was easy, and cheap for starting out, but for almost 10 years I used them and the way they format their blogs they aren’t really searchable in Google. I found out last year that “friends don’t let friends use TypePad.” HUGE mistake.
Ugh, and then you spend so much time fixing your mistakes! That’s where the real time is consumed initially.