Something dawned on me when I was talking to my neighbor, Darin the other day. With all of the information available to new bloggers today, the goal has gone from ‘cool, I’m pursuing something I love’ to ‘how do I make a lot of money as quickly as possible?’ Or my personal favorite ‘How do I go viral?’
I thought about building off of what I wrote in Part 1, going into personal branding, marketing, all that fun stuff but that’s not what you need to hear right now. You need to hear what life is going to look and feel like over the next few months.
So here’s what happens in the beginning…
You get super excited. There is so much to learn, so much to share…you can’t comment quick enough, you can’t get content out quick enough. ‘I can’t believe people can make a living at this!!! OMG…” You research everything. Pin everything. You get it. You’ve got it. You know everything there is to know (thank you Pinterest!) Your blog is destined for success. So long crappy cubicle job, you’ve got other plans. The distraction is wonderful. You have the most detailed exit interview IMAGINABLE. Your mind is racing. New ideas come at you a mile a minute in the middle of the night. Life is incredible. You’re a blogger. A BLOGGER. What?!
Then BAM!! The excitement fades. A week, 2 weeks, a month into it, your family and maybe a few good friends (thanks Ashley Hinton and Amber McDermott) are the only people subscribed to your blog. You post new stuff, 10 people see it. You post more new stuff, 8 people see it. Then you have a great day…100 pageviews!! But you don’t know why. Then 10 views. ‘But I worked hard on that!! My pictures were great!!’ The roller coaster ride becomes as frustrating as it is exciting.
Starting a Professional Blog is Like Starting a Brick and Mortar Business.
It’s a job. You have to invest blood sweat and tears into it. It takes time. Readership is unpredictable at first (for most people). So if you are thinking about going into it with the intention of making money, please, please, PLEASE give it time. Success does not happen overnight.
So what should I focus on in the first 3 months?
- Content. Just do you. Do what you love. Write in your own voice. Talk about what you care about. That’s why you wanted to start in the first place. Do that. Don’t worry about all the technical stuff that you don’t understand yet (beyond the absolute essentials you need to get up and running), the social media automation, the SEO. That will all come later. Just blog. And most importantly, try to stop comparing your blog to blogs who have been around for a while. You’re beginning!One of the advantages all of us who have been doing this for a while have is that when we started, we didn’t know anything. We didn’t have the information you have now. Which meant we had the freedom to make mistakes. To NOT KNOW what we were doing wrong. With so much information available to new bloggers, authenticity goes out the window and is replaced with the ‘right way’ to post something. Forget that. Just start. Don’t overthink it. Focus on putting your best work out there. If it sucks, you can fix it later.
- Be social. Comment on other blogs, on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter. To get friends, you have to be a friend. If your niche does link parties, hook up to those everyday and comment on other peoples’ projects. That’s how people get to know you. It can’t happen just once either.
- Get on a schedule. I recommend posting at least once a week, on the same day, at the same time to start. What’s the best day and time? At this point, it doesn’t matter. It’s building the habit that is the most important part now. You can adjust times later. Don’t do too much right now. The last thing you want to do is burn out. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself. Craft your posts thoughtfully. If you have more content to share, great! But be consistent, be consistent, be consistent.
- At 3 months, evaluate. Starting now, keep track of your pageviews, your subscribers, your social media following, what days were most popular and what topics were most popular. That tells you when your readers are on your blog the most and what they enjoy hearing from you. Don’t ignore that info. You can still do you, but pay attention to what they are telling you that they like hearing from you.
That’s it. That’s your homework. The rest of it can and should wait and can be fixed later if need be.
What other advice would you give me?
Don’t forget why you wanted to start! There was something you were excited to share with the world! Remember that when blogging seems overwhelming and frustrating.
Are you a seasoned blogger? What else would you add?