If you are reading this, there is no doubt you are thinking about opening a blog. Before you do that there are a few things you really need to know about blogging.
With the rise of the blogger income report phenomenon it is easy to get duped into thinking that blogging for a living is as simple as writing about your life and raking in the dough.
The reality is quite the contrary. Most blogs fail within their first year (I am sure you have heard that one too!) because it hard to get a blog off the ground quickly.
Is it possible to make a great income from blogging? Sure, but it takes WORK.
Below are the things that I wish I had known BEFORE starting a blog.
Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme
Personally, I knew it wasn’t exactly a “get rich quick” sort of thing, but I did really underestimate the amount of work it takes to make a decent living from a blog. Before you can even think about monetizing you have to build a bit of a readership.
Without an audience, placing ads and affiliate links will be a worthless venture (ask me how I know 😉 ). It takes time to create content that people will want to read and to keep people coming back. If you keep at it you will find your people, but it takes T-I-M-E.
You must be willing to invest in your blog
If you want to make a living blogging you have to treat it like a business. That means investing in it the same way you would invest in a traditional business. The perk of running an online business is that you have much less overhead expense, especially in the beginning.
Gone are the days of making it big with a free blog. In fact, some free platforms prohibit monetizing all together and many of the better ad placement programs won’t even consider your blog if it isn’t self-hosted.
I started Expedition Motherhood with 12 dollars for the year. My cost has gone up considerably since then but you can’t beat starting your own business for less than 20 bucks!
People in your life won’t be supportive
I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked why I don’t just get a “real” job. The truth is I don’t want to live my life working for someone else’s dream! I want the work I do to be meaningful and directly benefit my family.
Many people in your life will not understand why you would want to pour so much of yourself into blogging with no guarantee of success. That’s fine, as long as you believe in yourself that is all that matters.
On the flip side, there will be those who try to imitate you. They may open a free blog and then pick your brain about how to “make money.” It’s incredibly annoying but take it as the highest form of flattery and let. it. GO!
Blogging is incredibly time consuming
The amount of time it takes to write an awesome post that people will want to share is pretty incredible. Here is a glimpse of what it takes to publish a blog post:
You have to come up with an idea. Then you must figure out what is missing in the “conversation” because we all know that EVERYTHING has been done before to some degree. Finding what is missing in the general conversation around the web regarding your topic is how you stand out in the crowd. This is what we call background research in the academic world.
Then there is the actual writing process, finding stock photos (or taking your own), creating pins, promotional and marketing stuff that you must do so your hard work doesn’t die in the archives of your blog!
Whew! Just writing that was exhausting! See what I mean by time consuming though?
Blogging is a continuous learning process
You would be baffled at the number of courses I have purchased and books I have read to unlock the “secret sauce” to blogging.
While I have come to realize there is no such thing as a “secret sauce” there are many, many things you must know to be successful. As time goes on you will learn more and more and you will hear new things and want to check them out for yourself.
Algorithms are always changing. When this happens you must also change your strategy. Learning this business is tough and it seems like it is never-ending. You have to really enjoy learning new things and have good research skills.
Eventually, all this learning pays off and you will develop a strategy that works for you and your blog. Until then, keep reading and trying new things!
You need to enjoy writing
Forgive me for stating the obvious but you will be writing A LOT if you decide to blog.
No, you don’t have to be the next Erma Bombeck but you do have to at least enjoy writing a little and have the ability to string together coherent sentences. Otherwise blogging is going to become a chore that you don’t want to do.
Side note: If you enjoy humor about the domestic life hit up your library and check out some of Erma’s work.
Blogging is way harder than you think
I know I mentioned this in my intro but it is worth repeating again. Blogging is hard. It’s frustrating. It’s time consuming. It can be costly when you start growing.
Not everyone is going to like you. People are going to say mean things. You will question your resolve forever wanting to blog in the first place.
You may even throw in the towel a time or two. If you really want to make this work you have to overlook all those things and keep trucking along.
One thing I remind myself is that to build a business from the ground up you have to be willing to work a thousand times harder for yourself than you are willing to work for anyone else.
If you have a dream you are passionate about you can find the strength to carry on.
You must be able to play nice with others
I can’t stress this enough! Making friends with other bloggers is essential to getting your blog off the ground quickly!
Another thing you need to do is find networking groups to participate in. My absolute favorite networking group is the Mom Bloggers Tribe and Grow Your Blog is a close second. These groups have daily share threads and are very well managed by the admins.
I am in many, many other groups where bloggers ask and answer questions, gather links for roundup posts and other things. Start doing some research and find your groups.
Just remember to ALWAYS play by the rules. Each group has their own rules so check them out when you join!
People will try to take advantage of you
This is what I consider the “ugly” side of blogging. I cannot tell you how many times I have opened an email asking me to “drop this link in such and such post.” To a very new blogger this is exciting, but don’t get too happy just yet.
What these people are asking is to advertise for free using your blog. They are trying to build backlinks which is one of the things that gives a website more clout with search engines.
When approached for new business relationships always ask yourself “what’s in it for ME.” As bloggers, we focus A LOT on being valuable to our readers. However, at some point, there has to be some value in it for us too.
It can be as simple as receiving a free product to review and recommend to your readers and asking for social shares to make it a MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL business relationship.
You must be dedicated to helping others
What I mean by this is that people that read blogs these days are looking for a way to solve a problem. These are also referred to as “pain points.” The only time people want to hear about your personal issues is if it relates to solving a problem of theirs.
Using personal anecdotes is a great way to add value to what you are sharing. This is not simply writing a journal entry about your day and dropping a random tip in there.
If you need an example of what I mean check out this post. It is something I came up with after struggling to balance work at home life and mom life all summer. It is heavy with my personal story but it also is extremely valuable as it has a rather unique tip in it. It is a personal anecdote to show the value of what I am suggesting.
To date, it is one of my top posts.
Ladies, if you have read this far THANK YOU! This post turned into a doozy! To recap, I think blogging is an awesome adventure so long as you know what you are getting into!
If you found this helpful let me know in the comments below, I love getting the feedback. Also, do you have a blog already? If so did you experience a lot of these things when you got started?