I started blogging a few years ago. At the time, it was solely a creative outlet, a way for me to practice writing, and a way to document my thoughts and things I learned during my entrepreneurial journey. Looking back, there were a few things I wished I did differently right from the start. So, in this blog post, let me share with you the 5 things I wish I knew when I started blogging.
Are you a blogger? A passionate creative? Or are you planning to start a blog and share your message and thoughts with the World? Blogging has been a fun and rewarding experience for me and I have learned so much. If you have been thinking about starting your own blog, I highly recommend it!
You may also like:
– FREE course: How To Start a Purpose-Driven Online Business
– 8 solid reasons why you should have a website for your business
– How to start your website easily in 15 minutes
– 7 ways to make money from your website
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my referral links, at no cost to you. These are products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used. Please read my disclosure for more info.
OK, let us dive in! I cannot wait to share with you the 5 things I wish I knew when I started blogging.
5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging
(1) Choosing The Right Web Hosting Service
If you are new to starting a blog, you may not know what web hosting is.
What Is Web Hosting?
Web Hosting is a service that provides you with space on servers of the web host. This space is where your blog points to, and from where all the files of your site are loaded and displayed on request whenever your blog is accessed by a reader. Simply put, it is like the space where you blog “lives”. We all need a place to live, right?
How Does Your Web Hosting Affect Your Blog?
In most cases, choosing your web hosting company is the first step in setting up your self-hosted website. One of the things I wish I knew when I started blogging was that your web hosting company is the # 1 factor that determines your website loading speed ~ a key factor that affects how many people would visit your website/blog.
This is no joke! Imagine you have your blog beautifully done… BUT, each time your reader clicks on your link, it takes a long time for the page to come up. You will lose your readers! People are impatient these days and in many cases, they will simply click back and visit some other blogs out there if you make them wait too long!
This happened to my blog before. Previously I was using a big name web hosting company. It was good for the first few years, but in recent years I noticed that my blog started to load very slowly. In most cases, it took 8 to 15 seconds for my pages to show up. Trust me, 8 to 15 seconds is a LONG time to ask your readers to wait each time they click on something on your blog!
I was super frustrated and I ended up hiring a technician to help me troubleshoot. My technician reviewed my blog and told me that she believed the slow loading speed was due to the web hosting company I was using at the time.
Honestly, I was skeptical at first because the web hosting company I was using at the time was a popular big name company that has been around for years (and the plan I was paying for was not cheap!).
However, after going through a checklist of 24 items that relates to the speed of a website and optimizing 23 out of the 24 items, my blog was still loading slowly. And the only remaining item on the checklist was my web hosting company. So I finally took the plunge and switched my web hosting service over to SiteGround, the company my technician recommended.
SiteGround Works Like Magic!
I couldn’t believe what happened next! Once I switched over my web hosting to SiteGround, my blog loading speed improved drastically from 8 seconds to less than 2 seconds! It was totally amazing! I seriously could not believe what a difference choosing the right web hosting company could make! This is why I wholeheartedly recommend SiteGround now for anyone who is looking for a web hosting company!
So, if you are just starting out and wanting to start an online business or a blog, don’t make the same mistake I did! Choose SiteGround as your web hosting company right from the beginning! That will seriously save you a lot of headaches later on.
If you need help to setup your website/blog, follow this step-by-step tutorial where you can easily setup your blog with SiteGround in just 15 minutes.
(2) Determining Your Niche
This is a common problem the majority of bloggers make when they first started out. They tend to blog about everything without setting a defined niche for themselves.
Of course, may be you are a lifestyle blogger and you just want to talk about anything that happens in your life… Yes, of course you can do that, BUT chances are that you will have a hard time building up a loyal following unless you are a celebrity of some sort. In the long run, this will also limit your opportunities to monetize your blog.
I used to blog about many different things on my website. But with time, I realized that my passion is in teaching creatives on how to start purposeful and profitable blogs. By determining my niche, I now know who my exact audience is and what contents would relate and help them the most. Moreover, determining my niche also helped me to come up with content ideas so much more easily and effectively!
So, the next time someone asks you, “What is your blog about?” You should be able to give them a clear answer in 1 sentence.
Now, if you are just starting out, think of who you want to serve and provide the BEST content you could to help them. Serve and give abundantly from a place of heart and compassion. With time and practice, you will find success with your blog.
(3) Learning SEO
For the first few years, I was just blogging occasionally for fun so I never paid attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). But looking back, this is something I wished I knew when I started blogging.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting organic (free) traffic from search engines such as google. And of course if you want to dive deep, there are many things you can do to optimize your blog for SEO. I know this probably sound intimidating at first especially if you are a beginner (I know because I have put off learning SEO for years… eww…).
Best SEO Tool for Beginners
However, what I have found is that for any beginners using WordPress, simply using a free plugin called Yoast SEO can make a world of difference.
Download and activate the Yoast SEO plugin in your WordPress, and simply follow its alerts and instructions each time you write a piece of content. It is that simple!
Yoast SEO will guide you through on what you need to do exactly to get your content optimized for SEO. For things you are doing well, the plugin will show you a green light. For things you need to improve on, it will show you an orange light and specific instructions on what you need to do to improve them. And for things that are critical and you must correct immediately, it will show you a red light and instructions on what you need to do exactly. So just work through each of the corrections one by one and you will have an amazing piece of content that is optimized for SEO!
SEO Resource To Dive Deeper
Now of course, if you want to dive deeper into the topic of SEO, there are many things you can learn and apply. If you are interested in the topic, I recommend you to follow Neil Patel. Neil Patel is an SEO specialist and he shares many useful tips that are highly actionable (even for beginners!) on his YouTube channel for free.
(4) Installing Google Analytics
Another thing I wish I knew when I started blogging was to install Google Analytics from day one.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web analytics offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic on your blog.
For my blog, I am currently using a plugin called Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights. If you are a beginner using WordPress, the free version of this plugin is a great start.
From MonsterInsights, you can see your pageviews, your readers’ average session duration and the bounce rate of your blog. (Geeky Alert: Bounce rate is the percentage of readers who visit your blog and then leaves/bounces after reading just one post, rather than continuing to browse your other posts).
MonsterInsights also shows you the top 10 countries your readers are from, if they are referred to your blog by other websites or social media posts, and also the top posts and pages on your blog/website.
As you can imagine, this information is gold! It gives you a wealth of information about your readers ~ who they are, what they like and how they behave! It helps you to take the guessing game out and know exactly what type of blog posts resonate with your readers the most.
Of course, if you upgrade to MonsterInsight’s paid version, you will get even more insights on your blog!
So, if you are new to blogging or if you are planning to start a blog, be sure to install Google Analytics on your blog.
(5) Starting an Email List
One of the things I wish I knew when I started blogging was to start an email list (and to take it more seriously) earlier.
Why Start An Email List?
Do you realize that most people who visit your website will never come back again? That’s right. In fact, some statistics say that 95% of your site visitors do not return.
So the best way to have people keep coming back? First, start with providing amazing and useful content on your website consistently. If you put up with crap content, no magic wands can make your visitors stay! Second, turn your visitors into SUBSCRIBERS so that you can keep in touch with them through emails! Many online marketers say that “the gold is in your email list” and I couldn’t agree more.
Building an email list is an amazing way to stay in touch with your audience, to provide relevant and useful content, to build trust AND to drive sales.
Social Media Marketing vs Email Marketing
Although some people may argue that social media is gaining more importance from a marketing perspective. But, here is the thing: Nearly everyone who has a social media account has an active email account. Moreover, social media tends to be great for reach and engagement but email marketing tends to drive sales better. Drive more sales, equals to more money in your pocket.
The verdict? Email marketing is an effective way to build relationship with your subscribers and to grow your business. This is something I wish I knew when I started blogging.
Recommended Email Marketing Platform
I have been using Aweber for my email list for a few years now. It is a great email marketing platform and I recommend it! Recently, I am testing out another email marketing provider and I will share my honest review with you after I have more time to play with it.
So there you have it! 5 things I wish I knew when I started blogging. If you are just starting out, which of my above sharing is your biggest takeaway? Check out my step-by-step tutorial to get your website started today in just 15 minutes! If you have been blogging for a while, is there anything you wish you did differently when you first started? I would love to hear from you! Please comment below!
If you are just starting out, I have put together a useful resource for you. Subscribe to my FREE email course “How to start a purpose-driven online business”. In this free course, I walk you through step by step on how to start your purpose-driven online business: from getting clarity on your business idea, selecting your business name, creating your website, making your first income and attracting loyal followers.
Meanwhile, if you find this post useful, please LIKE and SHARE it with your friends. Sharing is caring!
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