I have been blogging consistently for just over a month now and it has been a learning curve, let me tell you! There are so many things I didn’t consider and as usual I dived head first into it without really researching anything.
Luckily for me, the blogging community on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are incredibly helpful and supportive and don’t mind all my newbie questions being thrown at them on a regular basis!
Here are just a few things I wish I had known when I first started:
Blogging is a Full-Time Job
Since I started, I have posted 3 times a week and I know how important it is to be consistent so your regular readers know when to expect a new post. What I didn’t realise is how much time everything takes up!
It doesn’t take me too long to write a post if I have a plan but there’s everything else that goes along with it – taking photos, promotion on social media, research, product testing, creating graphics!
By and large it is the promotion that takes the most time and I feel like I constantly have my phone in my hand. I know there are apps you can use to schedule posts but I’ve not gotten the hang of these quite yet so I’m doing it all myself.
This means I’m posting on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook as well as my blog itself. Not to mention trying to create good looking Pins and photos to go along with it.
I know there are definitely people that will scoff at this comment but until you do it, you have no idea! So much so, I am thinking of cutting my posts down to 2 days a week but I don’t want to upset any of my regular readers!
Self Hosted is the Way to Go
I kinda knew about this one from the get go but was very worried about starting off as self-hosted. For anyone that doesn’t know what this means, it essentially having your own website. So just now all the pages you see are held on WordPress.com. This limits what I can do and how my blog can look, it also means at any time I could be shut down and lose everything.
Being self-hosted means I would have control over every aspect of my blog and can install plug-ins to make it look all fancy like. It also is one of the first steps in monetising your blog and having the commitment to go self-hosted means that brands will more likely want to work with you if that is something you want to do.
I was worried that no one would be interested in what I had to say so I wanted to test the waters before fully committing but I honestly wish I just went for it. I now have the fear of losing everything when I transfer over! Look out for my website URL changing over the coming months!
The Blogging Community is So Supportive
I joined a few Facebook groups not really expecting much but the wealth of knowledge is amazing. I initially thought it would be every blogger for themselves but everyone is so happy to help and it’s like they want to see you succeed!
I think this is because there are so many different styles and topics to write about it doesn’t ever feel like it is a competition.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few groups where it doesn’t feel great, people drop their links and run or the people who play the Follow/Unfollow game on Twitter and Instagram not realising this actually makes people less willing to help in the future and is just infuriating to try and measure your growth.
Using a Laptop Changes Everything
When I initially started, I was just using my phone to make posts and upload pictures. I decided to get something which would be a little easier to type up posts and increase my functionality as I prepare to go self-hosted. I picked up a Chromebook – an Acer Chromebook 14 to be precise (which is now £50 cheaper than when I originally bought it, doh!).
I love it, it’s so speedy but storage is limited as everything is done through Chrome. It also brought up another issue I’d never even though of, I assumed everyone was like me – using their phone to view web pages. I realised that for those who still use desktop or laptop PCs they are viewing my site differently than those who are just using the mobile phone view.
This means I need to check my posts to make sure they translate well in desktop and mobile format as I don’t want it to be a terrible experience for anyone!
Pinterest is a Great Tool
When I first jointed Pinterest years ago, I didn’t really understand how to use it properly. I just saved everything I liked the look of for inspiration of whatever project I was working on and then never looked at it again.
I’m still working out how to use this correctly but joining group boards has increased my blog traffic by a fair amount. I’m also reaching about 16K unique people every month which I don’t think would be possible on any other platform due to the algorithms in place to limit traffic unless you pay to boost your post reach.
While the figure doesn’t necessarily translate into direct blog views, it does increase the number of people who are likely to engage! It’s also quite fun to create graphics and see them get re-pinned!
There is so much more I could include here, I feel like this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what I’ve learned so far. These are the most basic things I’ve noticed – I’ve still to get a handle on what DA, PA and SEO (so many abbreviations!) really are and why they matter so I didn’t want to include that here!
I am really considering reducing the amount of days I post to just 2 per week. I feel like I may need to do this to ensure I can produce quality content and make sure I’m not letting myself or my readers down.
What are your thoughts on this? What days would you like to see new posts go up? Please let me know in the comments what you would prefer and what you would like to see going forward!