Last Updated on May 4, 2020 by ellduclos
When I first started my blog I didn’t know everything, and I STILL don’t know everything. In fact there is not one single person out there who does know everything about blogging. They may try to tell you that they do, but they don’t. As I continued through my blogging journey there were a lot of things I wish I knew before I started my blog. I’d get a glass of wine, it’s about to get REAL.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used. Read my disclosure policy here.
What I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Blog
NOT EVERYONE HAS A HEART LIKE YOURS
Before I started my blog I expected everyone to support me. You will quickly find that not everyone is going to be as supportive as you are. This is one thing I wish I knew before I started my blog. There will be a fair share of people who will bash you, especially via social media. Too many will try and find a way to stop you from wanting to continue your blogging journey. Don’t let the haters, the bullies, the “know it alls” stop you from wanting to continue your journey ever. Even family and friends. Surround yourself with those who support you.
YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED AN E-COURSE
Funny i’d say this since I sell a course of my own. Here’s the thing, I wish I knew how much free blogging information there was online before I started my blog. Before you spend money on ANY e-course make sure to do your research. There are so many free articles out there that will give you the SAME EXACT information that any expensive e-course can provide you.
However, don’t get me wrong. There are genuine bloggers out there who have amazing e-courses with exclusive content. Courses are a great way to get the information you need quick without having to do intense research. Make sure you truly trust the blogger you are purchasing your e-courses from. So many will get you with the “This e-course will help you get rich quick!” scheme for only an easy payment of $400+ when to be honest, there is no get rich quick tricks. You have to apply what you learn and stay consistent if you want results.
YOU WON’T GET RICH QUICK
Before you start a blog, set reasonable goals. Don’t get me wrong, you can make great money as a successful blogger, but it doesn’t happen over night! Success takes time. Don’t go into blogging thinking you are going to make money right away because that usually is not the case! I was super impatient when I started my blog. If you want to learn how I finally turned my blog into a career, check this post out.
PATIENCE IS NOT OPTIONAL
Before I started my blog I wish I knew how much patience I was going to need. Making your blog successful takes a lot of patience. I saw other bloggers killing it and wanted it to be me too. Once I started really pursuing my blog whole heartedly I noticed how hard it is to grow an engaged audience. You don’t just hit publish and see the readers fly in. It takes some serious time to grow your audience. Therefore, patience is key when it comes to blogging. If you don’t have patience you WILL give up. I share my top content marketing strategies here to help get you started. I was able to grow my second blog quicker because I knew about content marketing.
THERE IS NO COFFEE LARGE ENOUGH
Oh the amount of coffee I need to make it through the day is real. I find myself staying up late working and thinking about my blog. By the time morning comes around the XL coffee doesn’t even cut it. The amount of time spent working on my blog is exhausting but worth every second that I don’t sleep. I toss and turn some nights until 6am because I have too much on my damn mind.
YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND
This is something I still have struggle with because not everyone understands the point behind blogging. You could tell your friends and family that you want it as your career and they might look at you funny. Of course you will have those who support you but that doesn’t mean they actually understand what you are doing. There’s nothing wrong with that! But just know that it’s normal for people to not understand why you blog and how much work it actually takes.
YOU SHOULD SELF-HOST YOUR BLOG FROM THE START
It took me a while before I finally realized that self-hosting was the way to go when it comes to blogging. THIS is definitely something I wish I knew before I started my blog. I know you are all probably rolling your eyes because I ALWAYS say this, but I seriously mean it! If you don’t know what self hosting is I have a post all about why you should self host your blog.
When I first started blogging I was on wordpress.com and what a waste of my time and money. I started off on the free version and quickly realized if I wanted to do anything cool and customized, I needed to upgrade! Mind you, these upgraded plans are super pricey compared to self-host plans. I wasted money on the premium wordpress.com plan because I thought it would allow me to use plugins (and it didn’t). I spent money upgrading just to find out I STILL couldn’t do what I wanted to do.
That’s when I heard about self-hosting and how for only $3.95 a month I could use wordpress.org that came with plugins and all that jazz. PLUS I could MONETIZE and start making money from my blog!
I use siteground as my self-host company and I absolutely love them. They helped transfer my blog from wordpress.com over to their servers and now here I am loving my blog and working as a full time blogger. Note the longer you wait to transfer, the harder it becomes to transfer. Which is why I wish I started my blog on a self hosted server to begin with.
YOU NEED TO GET ORGANIZED
If you want to keep your sanity, you need to GET organized. I wish I knew that organization saves so many blogger headaches. Blogging is a lot of work and if you aren’t organized you are going to only make it that much more difficult on yourself. Invest in a planner and USE it. We are all guilty of buying a cute planner and forgetting to ever write a single word in it. SERIOUSLY, it’s money wasted. Open that planner up and USE IT. I have a whole post on what I do to keep me motivated and organized if you are ever in need of some inspiration.
YOU SHOULDN’T AIM FOR PERFECTION
There is no such thing as perfect and if you try to make your blog posts “perfect” they will never get published. The most important thing when it comes to blogging is making sure you are writing with passion. If you are passionate about your writing, then your post is PERFECT so just publish it! Don’t be picky when it comes to launching your blog because I promise you it’s never going to seem “good enough” unless you let it be.
YOU NEED TO INVEST IN YOUR BLOG
I wish I knew what to invest in when I started my blog. When you are trying to pursue a dream, you might have to invest. I don’t just mean money either, I mean time as well. Put your all into your dream and you will see great results. Don’t be afraid to buy a good theme, invest in a good email list builder, buy self-hosting for your blog, and spend time creating beautiful content. People will only care about your blog if you do. Here is a list of blog investments I am glad I made.
YOU NEED TO LEARN PINTEREST MARKETING
When it comes to growing your blog traffic you should absolutely be using Pinterest! Think of Pinterest as a visual search engine. There are ways to get your blog posts to go viral on Pinterest and it can help your daily views immensely. My lifestyle blog can receive over 100,000 monthly blog views from Pinterest. The blog you are currently reading can get up to 70,000 monthly blog views from Pinterest. When I first started my blog I wish I knew to invest in Pinterest strategies from the beginning. I was able to grow my second blog to 70,000 monthly blog views in 6 months because I knew how to use Pinterest marketing. If you’d like to learn how to grow your Pinterest and utilize it for your blog, check this affordable course out.
YOU NEED TO BE 100% YOU
Your audience wants to trust you and you want them to be able to value your opinion. When it comes to marketing or advertising for brands, you better be 100% truthful. Don’t ever risk your blog reputation for a free product or payment. When it comes to working with a brand always tell the truth. If you don’t like a product either, let your audience know or don’t share the product with your audience. Your audience will know if you are being real or not. If you don’t keep it real they won’t ever trust you enough to purchase something you recommend.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS
Let’s face it, growing our social media and blog can be quite the challenge. People are following just to unfollow the same day. The competition between bloggers to grow a following is huge and bloggers are doing whatever it takes to grow. Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t do the follow/unfollow game, know that paying for followers is a waste of money, and don’t use bots! Brands are catching onto the accounts out there who have a “fake” following and they won’t want to work with you if you do.
I’d rather have 1 good friend than 100 fake friends. This is the same for followers. I’d rather have 100 engaged followers who are interested in my content than 10,000 who aren’t going to ever like or interact with my content. Focus on your followers that are following you because they care. Don’t use bots, there’s nothing more annoying and FAKE. Not to mention, can’t we all just support each other and stop with the competing bull crap? Only follow someone if you are genuinely interested. Don’t just follow them to increase your numbers. It’s tacky.
AFFILIATE MARKETING ISN’T AS EASY AS IT SEEMS
When it comes to affiliate marketing you can’t just add an affiliate link and hope that you make money from it. There’s a lot to know about affiliate marketing and how to make it effectively work! If you need help with your affiliate marketing strategy check out this post.
YOU NEED TO ATTEND EVENTS
This is something I want to start doing more of. I wish I knew how awesome it is to attend blogging events! It’s a great way to network and meet other bloggers. Not only will you have the chance to make friends who have similar interests, but you may even get the chance to work with a brand you love! Attend any events you can.
HAVE AT LEAST ONE PERSON KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE
Whether it be a blogging friend, blog coach, or significant other, find that one person who will be there to help push and motivate you. Share with them specific deadlines that you hope to have a post up by and tell them to make sure you have it up by then. It’s hard as a blogger, especially working from home. It’s so easy to get distracted. If you have one person who is not only supporting your journey but making sure that you keep up with your journey you will be more likely to stick to your goals.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BOSS A** ABOUT ME
An about me section is the place where those who want to work with you are going to look first. Your about me should include who you are, what your blog is all about, what you are all about, how to contact you, an email to contact, etc. You want to make sure your email is easily noticeable because not all brands are going to have the time or patience to go searching for your email. This is how they will be able to contact you with details on partnerships etc.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
Before I started my blog I wish I knew that it’s more effective to reach out to brands rather than wait for opportunities to come to you. What I mean by this is, if you have a specific brand you would like to work (collaborate) with REACH OUT TO THEM. Don’t expect all the brands to come to you first. There are tons of bloggers out there. They can’t possibly find them all and they definitely don’t have the time for that either. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. It’s worth a shot. You’d be surprised how many actually do say YES!
Remember to never sell yourself short, especially if a brand does approach you first. Don’t work for free. There are many scams out there and they will come for you. If you are advertising a brand or anyone else’s products/content you should be receiving something in return. Be confident and know your worth. I share tips on working with brands here.
YOU WILL FEEL AWKWARD AND THAT’S OKAY
Who else has felt completely awkward recording their first youtube video or instagram story? I know I sure have! Who else has felt awkward taking a perfect photo of their beautiful lunch in the middle of a busy lunch rush, or their outfit while in public? That’s me too! It’s normal to feel awkward and out of your comfort zone in the beginning. Eventually it becomes your new norm and you won’t care what others’ think. Think of it this way, you aren’t the only one who does it and who cares what a stranger thinks.
SOME OF THE BEST PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE BLOGGERS
I’m so serious, I have met AMAZING ladies through blogging. Some I wish I knew in real life. I talk to some bloggers and immediately think, WOW we would get along so well! WHY DON’T YOU LIVE NEAR ME! Blogging friends are so great to have because we are all going after the same thing so it makes the journey not as lonely. BTW YES it will get a little lonely. Make sure you are taking the time to get out of the house and adventure when you can.
YOU DON’T KNOW IT ALL AND YOU NEVER WILL
There is so much to blogging NO ONE knows all the answers. Even the most successful bloggers are learning something new everyday. Don’t ever stress yourself out or feel down on yourself if you don’t have all the answers. Blogging is a learning work in progress and that’s the beauty of it!
PROMOTING IS KEY
If you really want to drive your traffic you have to promote constantly. You can’t post it once or hit publish and hope the views come in. You need to truly give it your all and promote everywhere you can without being spammy. Facebook groups, pinterest, your facebook, twitter, instagram ALL OF IT. Check out my content marketing strategy here.
THERE’S SO MUCH CONTENT OUT THERE – IDEAS ARE SIMILAR BUT DO NOT COPY
Blogging has been around for many years and the chances of your post being similar to someone else’s is pretty high. However, stealing content is wrong and can become a legal issue if it has to be. Don’t copy and paste. Find your own voice.
PASSION IS YOUR MOTIVATION
If you didn’t start blogging because you are passionate about it, then you might be doing it for the wrong reasons. If you truly want to succeed in blogging you have to be extremely passionate and dedicated. I don’t mean this lightly. I spend a lot of my free time working on my blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read! Would love to hear from you in the comments!
If you aren’t a part of my FREE – BOSS GIRL BLOGGERS group, it’s not too late to join! It’s a community I created where like minded women come together to connect and inspire one another through their blogging journey!
Emma Stevens says
Really enjoyed this post. I’m going to check out the Pinterest post too!
Maya Maceka says
Great post as always Lauren. I read your first point “Not everyone has a heart like yours” a couple of times. Really needed to hear that today! Thanks for the motivation babe! 🙂
Great read and so many great points. I’m still learning so much on this journey! Thank you for sharing!
Your blogs are always insightful! Thanks for sharing xx
What amazing advice! Definitely going to be using it to help my blogging passion grow. I was nervous about self hosting but now I think I’ll look more into it. Thanks for the blogging advice!
Wow such good tips! I need to start sharing throughout all of my social channels.
I loathe those e-courses and most of the time the promotional pictures are clickbaity so you don’t even realize you’re wasting your time clicking until you have already clicked. There is a lot of great advice in here. Thanks for sharing with us.
Ah! Love this. So true (even though I haven’t been blogging for long.) I needed this motivation, and an excuse to drink another cup of coffee tomorrow!
Leanne Brookes says
I’m finding my feet more and more every day, there’s always stuff to learn. Passion definitely has to be the motivation rather than money. Without passion, blogging is not fun!
Such a great article and really relatible. Passion is definitely one of my motivations for sure! I wake up thinking about my blog and what I can do next to keep improving it.
I had a Killing Me Softly moment when reading this post. I was one of the few that thought I would just blog for the fun of it, but once I started researching, I put money behind it and push it as much as I can. Blogging is most definitely not for the faint of heart.
Alisa elaine says
This is fantastic! I have been casual blogging for over a year but just moved to self hosting about a month ago and am really focused on building it. I love reading posts like this for inspiration ❤️
I’m glad that my friends and parents are very supportive of me blogging. My parents would even post a comment once in a while lol. #myparentsarecute
And my housemate would find me weird when I try to take pictures for my blog posts.
Loved reading this! Thanks for the advice, Ell!
Karen R McKoy says
Thank you for pretty much all my answers to questions about blogging. Thanks a bunch.
Loved this blog!! Sooo much useful information — thank you!!
Maddie | tigerlilydiary.com
So glad you liked it! Thank you!! (:
Some very good points! It’s refreshing that you’re so real and honest. Blogging is a lot of work but also amazing. ❤️
Thank you so much! (: I try my best!! & you are so right, it is a lot of hard work but hard work and patience ALWAYS pays off!