Blogging is hard work. That’s the simple truth. I don’t care how many stories I read about get-rich-quick bloggers, I’ve never met a single one. I’ve met people who are making 6 figures…but it took them a few years to get there. Just starting out blogging is overwhelming. There is SO MUCH to learn. Blogging tips and tricks, SEO, images, backlinks. I could go on and on about the things that you need to learn. But don’t get overwhelmed!
By keeping some simple blogging tips for beginners in mind you can keep on track. You can build content. And start making money.
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#1: Start on a self-hosted WordPress site
I know it’s tempting to sign up for a free site. But if you’re serious about blogging, you need to be self-hosted. Many brands won’t work with people who aren’t self-hosted. And there are limits on monetizing.
If you’re just getting started, you should check out my post “How to Start a Blog: The Ultimate Guide.” It goes through EVERYTHING from picking a niche to picking a theme to design colors. And more. It’s everything I wish someone had told me before I started my first site six years ago. It includes vital stuff you need- especially social media share buttons, mobile responsive theme, and Google Analytics. Even if you already have a blog up and running, go through the post and see if you missed anything.
#2: Learn the basics of WordPress
Luckily, I know of some FREE training that you should find useful. Check out: Grayson Bell’s Free WordPress Course at https://courses.imarkinteractive.com/p/understanding-wordpress.
#3: Go live as soon as possible
Don’t wait until everything is perfect. It’s never going to be perfect. You’re constantly going to be making minor tweeks in the future to make your website better. If you have a post done, hit publish and go live. Then keep creating new content.
#4: Content is king
Before you can have raving fans and tons of traffic, you have to have a decent amount of traffic. Just having 10 posts isn’t going to cut it. You need to constantly keep in mind that your CONTENT is the reason people are visiting. Check out this post: The Ultimate Guide on How to Write an Awesome Blog Post that includes everything you need in your blog posts.
#5: Don't get overwhelmed thinking you need to post everyday
A lot of new bloggers think they need something new every single day. Not true! For a new blogger, I suggest sticking to a 2 or 3 posts a week schedule. Now that I have over 350 posts brining in consistent traffic and am working on creating products, I only post once a week. But notice that even though I’m creating products and on to a whole new level of blogging, content is still important.
#6: Create an editorial calendar
I have a Facebook group for bloggers: Blogging by Design (<<<click there to see group). In there is a free copy of the spreadsheet I use for my editorial calendar. I always try to work at least 2-3 posts ahead so if something comes up, I still have new content to publish.
#7: Be willing to experiment with content
Try out “how-to’s”, list-type, shopping guides, stories, etc. Find out what resonates with your audience and go with it.
For example, I did a printable once because I thought it went with the post. It was the first printable I did. I had NO IDEA that there was such a market for printables. Right now, my top 10 posts are consistently printables. I love doing them and it was experimenting that opened me up to a whole new field of readers.
#8: If content is king, than images are queen
It’s your images on social media- especially Pinterest- that are going to get people to click over to your site. I suggest learning some basic photography. If not, I have a post on Where to Find Free Images: 75+ Best Places for Free Photos. Read the information on licensing! People have been sued for using images they didn’t have permission to use.
#9: Don't get overwhelmed by SEO
It’s important to learn the basic SEO terms. And understand how to use keywords (check out this post: How Do I Find the Best Keywords for a Blog Post?).
But don’t spend months on end getting sucked into endless SEO stuff. You don’t need to be an expert. There is ONE course- out of the many I’ve taken- that I recommend for SEO: Sticky Blogging SEO Course (<<<click there for free workshop). It’s an amazing course that includes everything you need to know. And has helped me rank #1 for multiple search terms on Google.
#10: Learn how to drive traffic to your site
Pinterest is your friend. Multiple pin images (that are fabulously designed) are a must. Check out this FREE course: Graphic Design Mini-Course.
SEO is a long-game. Social media is your short game. Pin your pins to at least 3 different boards (preferably 5). If you’re really passionate and want to succeed, invest in Tailwind (especially the tribes feature). I have a post on how amazing Tailwind is and all the features that you want to use: How to Use Tailwind. My traffic has skyrocketed since I started pinning intentionally and using Tailwind.
#11: Invest your money wisely. But be willing to invest.
There are only a few things you need to start a blog.
- Hosting. I recommend BlueHost for those who are just starting out. After you’re over 50,000 page views, it’s time to switch (I use BigScoots now since my page views are so high).
- E-mail service. You can start with MailerLite if you want (it’s free up to 1,000 subscribers), but I really recommend ConvertKit. The investment is MORE than worth it. I have a post on Why I Invested in ConvertKit (Even When I Wasn’t Making Money).
- Tailwind. You’re going to be scheduling a lot of posts. Doing it manually will drive you crazy. Tailwind has a 30-day free trial so you can try it out. I also have a post about all of the features that you should be using.
- I also pay for Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom since I’m a food blogger and design printables. But you might not need that in your niche.
- Future training (see next tip).
#12: Only pay for fabulous courses
Don’t get sucked down the rabbit hole of paying for tons of courses. I never stop learning…but I make sure it comes after creating content and the other stuff that needs to be done. When I do make the decision to invest in learning, I make sure that it’s recommended by plenty of other bloggers. For example, I’m taking Pinning Perfect right now! I made the investment, but only after it being touted by people I trust.
There are only a few courses I really recommend- and I’ve taken over a 100-
#13: Pick two social media platforms and focus on them
Don’t try to be on every social media platform there is. I made this mistake in the beginning. I spent so much time on Twitter…then looked at analytics. My hours and hours of effort had resulted in. Wait for it. A total of 7 clicks that MONTH. I currently focus on Pinterest and Facebook.
#14: Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle
In other words, stop comparing yourself to bloggers who have been around for years. Of course you’re not making what they are. And of course they have fabulous photographs, excellent content, Google ranks, thousands of repins. You will too. Just not today! Remember they started at absolute zero at one point.
#15: Don't focus on the money at first
The vast majority of bloggers quit within 6 months without seeing a cent of income. If you’ve started blogging just to make money, you’re in for a disappointment.
While blogging is great that you don’t need to invest a ton of money up front to build a business, it has a downside. Instead of investing money, you have to invest time and hard work before the money starts rolling in. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
#16: Keep your reader first
Your first question with every post should be “What is the reader getting out of this?” When you send e-mail, make sure you’re providing valuable content to the reader. People don’t browse blogs to hear about YOUR life, they browse blogs to find out how to improve THEIR lives.
#17: Be passionate about your topic
Even though you’re providing value to the readers, make sure you LOVE what you’re talking about. You should be able to ramble on for days on various topics related to your niche. Because a successful blog takes years to build. You’ll get burned out and disinterested if you’re not passionate.
#18: Write like you speak
Use a natural tone as if you were talking to a friend. Embrace short sentences. Don’t sound like a tech manual, even if you’re explaining something technical.
#19: Edit, edit, edit
Write your post. Then wait a day. Edit. Then post. Don’t hit publish right out of the gate. Make sure you take a break from the writing. Then go back and edit. Then you’re ready to publish.
#20: Work hard. Then work harder
The most successful bloggers I know admit to late nights, early mornings, and missing sleep sometimes to work. Blogging is a business. It’s YOUR business. Invest your time and energy into it.
There you have it! All the blogging tips I wish someone had told me when I first started blogging. If you can think of something to add to the list, let me know. Just comment on the form below.