I have been running this blog a whole year now, and wow what a rollercoaster ride it has been! There have been good times and bad times, and whilst I would have loved to have got further along the road by now, I wouldn’t change my experience for anything. I have grown as a person and a blogger during this, and I thought I would share my most important lessons with you today.
Do your research
Before I started building the blog, I spent a lot of time researching. Thinking I had learnt everything I could, I began building my blog convinced I was going to be an overnight success. Wrong! Whilst I had done enough research to build the physical website, I didn’t realise just how much other work goes into maintaining and promoting a blog. Some of these lessons I am only just learning now, but as I am sure a lot of other bloggers will tell you, this is not something you learn and that’s it. It is a constantly evolving creature which needs to be frequently tweaked and improved accordingly.
Learn WordPress and Self Host
One thing I am glad I did from the start is learn how to build my own website using WordPress. Yes you can have some very good free websites on other platforms, but they are limited on what you can do and how it will look. I always had a set idea of the style of my website in my head and I just wasn’t getting this from other platforms. Often I have noticed people start on these other platforms and then when things progress and they want more independence, a lot of hard work and ‘faff’ then goes into transferring over. I am so glad I don’t have to do this.
When starting a blog, it can be easy to set one up without spending any money whatsoever. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have any success. This is fine if you are just doing it for the hobby, but if you want to make any money out of blogging you need may be to splash some cash. As above, I treated myself to self hosting and also paid for my own domain. on top of this I invested in a subscription to a social media manager on my phone, which makes life so much more easy in the long run. It can be scary spending up to £100 when you don’t even know if it going to be a success or not, but think about it before rejecting it. if you want to be taken seriously then it may well be worth the money.
Remember social media
When I first started, I didn’t really think through how I expected people to find my blog. I guess I just assumed that people would put some search terms into Google and my website would be the first thing they would find! Naive, I know! It took me a while to realise that more time is spent plugging away at promoting the blog than actually writing the posts! Ideally I would have set these up first and got these running before building the blog. I think in hindsight it would have brought readers to my blog sooner.
Network with other bloggers
Bloggers really are lovely people! I have met so many supportive people since starting this, both online and in person. It is so important to network with people. Not only to spread the word about your website but to take advantage of the experience that is out there. No doubt they will have gone through exactly what you are going through. Take the opportunity to learn from other bloggers.
If you are thinking about starting a blog, it won’t happen unless you take the plunge! I spend 6 months procrastinating about starting and I wish I hadn’t. Blogging has been one of the best hobbies/passions I have taken up and I wouldn’t have it any other way.