You might think I’m absolutely off my rocker for thinking about giving advice to a blogger who is just starting out; surely I haven’t been doing it for long enough to qualify for this role?
Truth is, I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always stuff you can pick up along the way.
Whether you’ve been actively putting time and effort into your blog for 10 weeks or 10 years, one of the most valuable pieces of advice would be to have an open mind.
So there you have it, one small piece of advice for free there. Put your money away.
Now it’s time for me to lay out for you six more things I’ve learnt in my time as a blogger so far.
(these are all free too)
Take your time
This is one that his really hit home fairly recently so I would say it probably took me about 8/9 months to really have this one down.
At the start of my blogging journey, I thought that in order to be noticed you had to write, write and then write some more. Now, whilst it’s important to keep yourself active in that sense, it’s not the end of the world if you take some time out to focus on other areas too.
For example, if you want to spend time learning about SEO, or experimenting with images on Canva or just looking into different ideas to write about for the future, that’s absolutely OK. You don’t always need to be churning out content to keep your blog relatable. In fact sometimes you might find that you get more pleasure and benefit from doing all the stuff behind the scenes as opposed to writing something your heart really isn’t in just because you feel as though you need to.
Don’t pigeon-hole yourself
Sounds ruder than it is, but if you’re not sure what the term “pigeon-holing” means it’s basically where you restrict yourself to doing something unnecessarily.
I’ll give you an example of this. The last blog I wrote before I stuck with this one was specifically set up to focus on Dyspraxia and the effects of hidden disabilities. What I realised a few months down the line was that all I had done is given myself a topic that I didn’t really know too much about at the time and therefore I didn’t have enough content to make it different and keep it engaging. I had effectively pigeon-holed myself without realising it.
Most new bloggers will enter the fray with an idea or two in mind as to what direction they wish to travel in with their blog. This is absolutely great as it allows you to start working on the content you are passionate about from the off; however if you don’t feel as though you’ll have enough on this subject to last you, you might find it interesting to research or find your feet with some others along the way.
For example, I started blogging about my experiences as a parent and, for a number of months, that was what I generally wrote about. However again I found I didn’t have enough content so I kind of just became someone who writes about whatever they want to at that given time.
Try not to beat yourself up too much
Now this one might seem a bit hypocritical of me as I still do this on occasion, but it’s very easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other bloggers.
I’m a competitive person when it comes to some things and extremely passive when it comes to others. When it comes to blogging, I enjoy what I do but I know I’m somewhat limited; I enjoy writing and creating content but I also know I have no ambitions to go much further than that so I’m pretty happy where I am now.
I guarantee that, somewhere along the way, if you spend more time focusing on other blogs in a negative way then it’ll eat you up. I look at other blogs for inspiration but more often than not I get held back by both my lack of technical expertise and my laziness.
What is key to remember as a new blogger is that you are just starting out and you will get out of it what you put into it.
Schedule if you can
I always looked and wondered just how other bloggers managed to get such good engagement and how they were so organised; I only recently found out that was due to scheduling!
Depending on what type of blogger you want to be, scheduling your content can be a really good way to go. Instead of wondering when to post and having to go onto each of your social media accounts and write posts, using a scheduling tool can help you organise your posts in advance and take advantage of peak times.
For example, I wasn’t always getting around to updating any of my socials to share my blog until later on in the day, however now I can sort out my life in advance it makes it a lot easier and takes some of the pressure off.
I personally have just started to use “Hootsuite” to schedule my posts, but I know there are a lot more out there that offer a similar service!
Sort out your theme
One of the top bits of advice I would personally give is to take your time and sort out how you want your blog to look.
Now, I’m still not in the self-hosted world and therefore I have a relatively limited selection of themes available via WordPress, however I have found one I quite like and that has served me well for a few months now.
However, I know there’s always the temptation to have a complete overhaul and change things up in fear of things becoming a little stale.
I must admit, I have days where I fancy doing this, but I also know I don’t want this to compromise the work I have done so far in getting to a layout that I quite like the look of. I’ve sorted out my home page and been able to categorise some of my posts and ensure it looks quite user friendly (well I think so anyway). One of my fears is that I try to change too much and not knowing how to get it back to the way it was.
When I go self-hosted I will hopefully have a lot more room for manoeuvre but, in the meantime, I would suggest settling on a theme and layout that you really love, working on the functionality of your pages and then cracking on making the content from there!
Last but not least….
There is absolutely no point in entering the blogging world if you’re not going to enjoy it.
I know a few bloggers who do this as a full-time career or are looking to do so and honestly, if I had a hat on, I would take it off to you. I’ve always said that being a content creator, whether it’s being a blogger or vlogger or whatever, takes amazing resillience, creativity and endeavour and for anyone who does this successfully deserves the plaudits they get.
However some people, like myself, merely want to write as a hobby. So again, there is no way you should be taking on a hobby that you’re not enjoying!
Blogging can be stressful and if you’re anything like me, you’re potentially going to have days where you might not necessarily feel like you’re getting anywhere.
However, what I’ve learnt is those days where you are on it? Phwoarrrr, they’re good days.
So there, those are just 6 of the things I’ve picked up so far and I’m sure to learn plenty more in 2021 as the journey continues!
Thank you all for taking the time to read; please feel free to share some of your tips for someone new to blogging. There may be people thinking of starting a new one in the new year and the support we can give them might prove invaluable!
Let me know in the comments!