Phew… 5 things I wish I knew when I started blogging.
Glitter was literally shooting out of my eye socket when I finally launched my first blog. Then reality stuck.
My name is Millie, and I’m an unfunded entrepreneur. I’ve started my business since Year 2011 and along the way I’ve found blogging. Or should I say blogging has found me.
I was an eager learner, with a newly-found divine core purpose. And I believed with every fiber of my glittery, go-getting heart and unwavering work ethic, I could make everything work.
But apparently God has his own timing.
Despite my determination, talents, and personal magic, things didn’t happen at the rate I wished they did.
Here are 5 things I wish I knew when I started blogging. I hope they will save you some money, some time and loads of frustrations.
Because although experience is a good teacher, learning from other people’s mistakes is a lot less painful.
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(1) Define Your Blog Niche Clearly Right from the Start
AND SAVE TONS OF TIME RE-WORKING LATER
My blog was born a few years ago as a hobby and a creative outlet. But I was excited and proud to finally have “a home on the internet” that belonged solely to me.
I had no clue what I was doing and I certainly didn’t have a clearly defined blog niche (what the heck is a blog niche anyway?)
Sometimes, I blogged about travel, then I blogged a bit about personal finance, then I blogged a little about starting a business.
It was more of an impromptu collection of my daily random thoughts.
To be honest, it didn’t feel right because when people asked me, “What is your blog about?” I simply couldn’t give them a straight answer.
Then, a few months ago, I started sharing more and more about how to start a blog that fulfils a purpose.
I am talking about the kind of blog that not only fills your wallet, but also fuels your passion, fills your heart and make a difference in the World.
And guess what, the more I wrote about the topic, the more excited and passionate I got.
Many days and nights I would spend hours in front of my laptop, just pouring out my heart and working hard to make my blog better and more helpful for my readers.
THEN, IT DAWNED ON ME…
I have found my perfect blog niche. A niche that fulfills my purpose!
I want to use my blog to inspire and empower more people to share their passion and make a difference in the World, through purposeful (and profitable) blogging.
WHY SHOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR BLOG NICHE?
You know what, I also discovered this: By clearly defining my niche, I now know who my exact audience is, what contents would relate and help them the most and what tone of voice I should use in my writing.
So, yes, START with a clearly defined niche for your blog so you don’t have to go back later and spend hours and hours and hours re-working all your pages and posts (yikes!).
(2) START YOUR BLOG THE RIGHT WAY
AND SAVE TONS OF MONEY, TIME & FRUSTRATIONS LATER
There is a right way of starting a blog?
Well, I would say that there is no ONE right way, but there are definitely several wrong ways that can cost you money and time to correct down the road.
I have personally made some bad mistakes during my blogging journey that cost me not only money and time, but also a ton of frustrations.
One of them was choosing the wrong 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 the space on the internet where your website/blog is stored.
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 blog.
This is no joke!
Imagine you have your blog beautifully done… BUT, each time your reader clicks on a 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. But I noticed that my blog was loading 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 many 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!
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 your blog the right way, don’t make the same mistake I did and choose SiteGround as your web hosting company right from the beginning! That will seriously save you a lot of headaches later on.
(3) QUALITY CONTENT IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
FOCUS ON QUALITY. NOT QUANTITY.
When I started to work on my blog more seriously, I have spent hours on webinar watching and many more hours researching, wanting to know the best advice there is to build a successful and profitable blog.
Some “gurus” suggest new bloggers to crank out content on their blogs every day for the first few months.
And for a while I did that (yes, my unwavering determination wouldn’t allow me to do anything less), but looking back on my work, I have to admit that my content quality suffered.
I ended up having to go back and re-work most of them… phew…
I simply couldn’t devote enough time to create the kind of quality content I wanted with such a tight timeline, especially while trying to juggle parenting (yes, real-life stuff) at the same time.
So here are what I’ve learned:
- Don’t post daily. Unless you can spit out new content like a machine or you are Seth Godin, don’t attempt to publish a new blog post everyday.
- Instead, focus on quality. Create valuable and interesting content that your readers would love to come back to over and over again. If you do it right, publishing once a week or even once a month is enough. Always choose quality over quantity.
- Publish In-Depth Posts. Take your readers on a journey, inspire them or teach them something. Ideally you want your blog posts to be at least 1,500 words. And your pillar posts more than 3,000 words.
- Publish consistently. Pick a publishing frequency that works for you and stick with it. Publishing regularly is better than you cranking out posts every day for 10 days and then disappearing off the edge of the universe. Pre-writing content and pre-scheduling them for later publishing dates also help to lessen your stress.
- Get over your guilt. Missed a publishing deadline? I know, sometimes it can happen. Especially if you have a job to attend to and have kids to take care of. Sometimes you can only do so much. Take a deep breath and keep moving forward. Aim for progression and not perfection. If you need to, adjust your publishing schedule to something that is actually doable for the amount of time you have. Again, quality over quantity.
- Promote your content. You have spent the time creating your kick-butt content. Why not tell the whole world about it? Pick up some marketing and traffic strategies so that you can get more eyes on the content you have created. Which leads to my next point…
(4) TRAFFIC DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN
LERAN STRATEGIES AND GO AFTER IT
For the first few years, I was just blogging 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 deeper, there are so many things you can learn and apply to optimize your blog for SEO.
I know, I know, SEO sounds scary and super intimidating (and that’s why I have put that off for years honestly… ew…), but looking back there are easier ways to learn SEO that is a lot less intimidating.
Best SEO Tool for Beginners
OK, this is Godsent.
When I discovered this tool, it was like light parted from the sky and angels started to sing.
This plugin can make a world of difference to get organic traffic to your blog. The best part? It is FREE (amen!).
Simply download and activate the Yoast SEO plugin in your WordPress. And follow the alerts and instructions each time you write a piece of content. It is that simple!
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 plus what you need to do too.
So just work through each of the corrections one by one and you will be well on your way to attracting more readers to your blog organically.
SEO Resource To Dive Deeper
Now of course, I don’t want to oversimplify things. Because there are a lot you can learn on SEO to help you drive more traffic.
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.
Related Read: 7 Stupid Simple SEO Tips for Bloggers: Beginner’s Guide
(5) ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY AND NEITHER WOULD YOUR BLOG
RACE YOUR OWN RACE
Blogging is NOT a get rich quick scheme.
It does take time, determination and a ton of love, tears and sweats to build up to a full-time income.
At the beginning things will be the hardest (like every new business). And likely, you won’t see any significant ROI in the first few months.
Having said that, if you can lay the right foundation for your blog AND your mind, you will have a much better chance of succeeding and building a purposeful and profitable blog over the long run.
Here are some resources that has helped my blog tremendously.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT BLOGGING RESOURCES
- SiteGround: I said this before but I can’t stress enough how important your web hosting is. I highly recommend SiteGround. And here is my step-by-step tutorial.
- Creative Market: Creative Market is where I got my beautiful WordPress theme. It also has many graphics, images and fonts. Also, their newsletter is super helpful – with 6 FREE goodies sent to you every week and a 10% off coupon. I recommend you signing up for their FREE newsletter now.
- Ivory Mix: If you want beautiful feminine stock images for your blog, check out this page and grab 550+ beautifully designed stock images completely FREE.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: If you are interested to learn how to earn from your blog through affiliate marketing, this course could be your best investment. The course creator, Michelle, earns more than US$100,000+ per month from her blog and she shares with you step-by-step on how you can earn affiliate commissions too, even if you are a beginner.
AMAZING BOOKS TO TRAIN YOUR MIND
You can have the best blog set up in the World, but if you don’t get your mind right, your growth will be limited.
For me, I love reading and I believe life-long learning is a non-negotiable mental habit if you want to build an extraordinary blog, business and life.
So, if you are interested to up your game too, check out the 13 Inspiring Books for (and by) Women Entrepreneurs – which I think you will love.
Happy learning! I hope you have enjoyed my sharing on the 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging.
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Now it’s your turn. What are your biggest takeaways from this post? Have you started your blog yet? And what are some things you wish you knew when you started blogging? Please comment below! I read all my comments and will get back to you.
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