If you’re at the start of your blogging journey and want to get started so you set yourself up for success, then this is the post for you!. Here is my ultimate collection of blogging tips for beginners so you hit the ground running from day one. Avoid blogging mistakes with these tips that I’ve learned over the years so you can get there sooner!
BLOGGING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS THAT YOU NEED TO READ…
When I started blogging, it was a STEEP learning curve, to say the least!
Back in 2011 there wasn’t as much information out there, and I had to spend hours googling and researching stuff for myself, not really knowing if I was doing things right or not.
It was very much trial and error.
Don’t get me wrong – I actually enjoyed the steep learning curve. It felt great to find solutions and answers, but boy was it frustrating at times!
I’ve learned a lot over the years, and in this post I wanted to pass on a few things to you to hopefully help you avoid the common mistakes new bloggers could make if not careful.
Ready? Let’s go!
#1 – BE REAL, BE YOU
Whether you’re writing, doing video, doing audio or anything else – always be as real as you can possibly be.
People like to see real people online – they don’t want a perfectly presented person who hasn’t got character.
This is harder to do than to say, believe me.
I am just starting to look at video and audio, and when I look/listen to what I produce at the moment it sounds less ‘normal’ than I really am.
I also naturally want to look and sound professional – that’s the perfectionist in me coming out…
With writing though, I’ve learnt over the years that writing for this blog is most definitely NOT how I was taught in my English class!
The paragraphs are small – usually only one or two sentences, I start with AND sometimes, I add in far too many punctuation marks – but basically, I write as I talk.
As I’m writing this, for instance, I’m simply talking to myself and putting it all down on paper. I’m not trying to be clever, and I’m not overthinking it – and usually…. I get it right.
It SOUNDS like me – and that’s my aim.
….now I’ve just got to practise the video and audio and I’m set – but that’s for another day!
#2 – DON’T TRY AND DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE
When you start this blogging journey, you’ll want to read as much as possible about it – and there’s a LOT out there to choose from!
You will start to read from someone who has had loads of success in social media – so you add that to your TO DO list, then you’ll read about someone else who loves making products – that goes on the list as well….
Before you know it – you’re trying to get all these things done at the same time and overwhelm sets in.
The trick is to plan out where you want to get to eventually, and plot the route to get there. You can then work out what’s the most important thing to do right here right now, and concentrate on just that thing until you’ve mastered it.
A good example of this is social media. You have seen how many different places you can be – Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon etc… – the list grows each and every week. But you can’t be everywhere at once. Pick ONE and really deep dive into that, then, when that’s up and running you can look at another one.
Honestly this is the best way to go. I’ve tried doing it all at once and it’s a recipe for disaster…
#3 – TRAINING WILL SAVE YOU TIME – BUT CHOOSE WISELY
There’s a lot of training out there, on every part of blogging you can imagine.
Lots of bloggers spend a LOT of money training all the time – trying to find that secret sauce that will transform their blog. But the truth is they have to actually DO THE WORK as well – and although training is totally vital – you need to choose well, and then implement what that training says before you move on to the next one.
I have done a LOT of training over the years, and some has been better than others.
I will write a post all about the path I would take now if I were to take only the training that truly made a difference to me, but for now – here’s a quick list for you to take a look at and get started: –
SETTING UP A BLOG –
Building a Framework**, by Abby Lawson. The perfect manual to get started as it goes through all the technical parts of blogging, and key areas to look at when you’ve got it set up.
BLOGGING AS A BUSINESS –
Elite Blog Academy (EBA).** – This opens up just once a year but you can get on the waitlist HERE** and they have a blog with loads of free help on. I love EBA and credit a lot of the success of my site to this course.
ADVANCED IDEAS –
Sticky Blogging – Fantastic course on writing better.
Strategies Worth Sharing** – great for social media growth
Adventures in S.E.O. **– my most recent purchase and I’ve learned LOADS from this – even though I’ve blogged for years. I’m going through my previous posts and updating them with what I’ve learned as well!
#4 – STATS AREN’T EVERYTHING
I have lost count of the number of TV shows I’ve part watched because I’ve had a post doing well and I’m avidly watching my real time analytics – or had my heart sink when someone has unsubscribed from my newsletter list – or rejoiced when a Facebook post gets shared loads and I get a raft of new followers.
Whether the stats are going up or down – it can be a full time job if you try and keep track and watch everything – and my advice to you is DON’T.
However tempted you are.
There are MUCH better ways to be spending your time – and it’s an emotional rollercoaster.
Stats will always go up and down, algorithms on social media and Google will keep changing, and you may be lucky enough to get a viral post every so often – but overall, it really doesn’t matter that much.
Yes, of course you need people viewing your blog, and if you want brands to sponsor posts etc… then they will need proof that you can reach a fair amount of people – but once you get to a level where you’re happy with what you’re getting, then you really only need to monitor stats a little.
I check my analytics each morning just to check whether there’s been anything out of the ordinary (I’ve woken up to zero stats before and found an error on my site which luckily I was able to fix quickly, and I’ve seen huge stats when a post went viral and so I was able to go in and update the post to make it as good as it could possibly be) – so in that respect monitoring is good, but if you find yourself checking every time you pick up your phone (#guiltyascharged) then it’s time to stop.
The longer I blog for, the longer I realise that it’s not stats that matter – they are purely a vanity metric. It’s relationships that matter – which brings me nicely on to the next point….
#5 – BE THERE FOR YOUR READERS FIRST
You are writing, creating content, talking on social media, emailing your readers – and probably much more each and every week.
It’s important to realise as quickly as possible that IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
It’s your voice, it’s your blog – yes – but it’s your readers that you want to reach, and whom you want to come back for more because they relate to you and trust you.
If you can truly get to know your readers and be there for them, then you are much more likely to succeed.
Ask them questions, see what they are asking you, check comments on your posts, and check out other similar blogs/social media accounts etc… to see what people are talking about – and you’ll get loads of ideas and inspiration for content that your readers can relate to properly.
#6 – DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU
I’ve honestly lost count of the number of emails I get each day/week/month from companies wanting me to talk about product x or brand y – offering decent amounts of money for me to add a link in a post etc…. – and 99.9999% of the time I say NO.
Why not earn as much as I can?
Well, my friend, then you lose what your readers come for. You lose their trust, and that is the very last thing you want to lose.
I only EVER promote products and brands that I have used, or that I have been introduced to and genuinely love.
I think of my readers as my friends, and if I wouldn’t recommend something to my best friend, that’s the litmus test as to whether it belongs on my blog.
After all – it takes a long time to gain readers trust. If you aren’t genuine, then they will soon lose faith in you, and you will lose them.
Don’t sell out! The longer I have my blog the more I am thankful that I stay true to what I believe in.
#7 – BE AWARE OF BURNOUT
It’s not uncommon for me to be tapping away at my laptop until 2 or 3am in the week – and I have easily worked 50-60 hour weeks in the past.
I love what I do, it’s slightly addictive – and because I work for myself and from home – then I always have access to work and it’s always on my mind.
Those books/magazines I used to read for pleasure? – well, now they can be inspiration for a blog post or two.
That music I listened to in the car? – now I happily listen to podcasts (even my daughter’s picked up a few Facebook tips along the way….!)
Any project I do in my house – my camera is ready to take pics of every stage as it may make it onto the blog at some point.
Get the idea?
You see, there’s always so much to do.
That in itself is great for me. I love being busy. I love learning new things, and I LOVE to push myself. But I have phases where I have to take a break from things because I can’t see clearly for a while.
Overwhelm sets in, things become blurry, and I lose sight of what I love for a while.
This is very short lived usually – luckily.
And I’m becoming so much better at spotting it, better at giving myself time off, and better at that all elusive work/life balance – and I want to stress that this will be crucial to you as well if you are in this for the long haul.
#8 – SET BOUNDARIES
If you work at home, and for yourself, then you need to be able to switch off from work mode.
For the sake of you, AND your family.
Some ideas to consider would be: –
- Try and turn your phone off (your mobile office!) or have it out of the room when with family.
- Have a tech free day where you can’t have phones or computers on.
- Set office hours for yourself, and stick to them (whether you work in the evening, early morning, or a standard 9-5 – whatever you prefer and works for you – that’s fine!)
- Monitor how many hours you do a week – is this reasonable? Are you doing too much?
- Have one to one time with each member of your family and switch off anything to do with work
This most definitely is a work in progress for me, but I will get there!
#9 – SELF HOST YOUR BLOG
The number one blogging tip I can give you or the tech side of things is that when it comes to setting up your blog, you should go for self hosted on wordpress.org right at the start.
Self hosted means that you own your blog. You pay for a domain name and hosting, and therefore you can do whatever you want with it.
Yes, there are free options for starting a blog, including using wordpress.com or blogger – but if you are serious (or even not sure) about blogging as a career or to earn money one day – then you will need to go the self hosted route – and it’s a HUGE PAIN to change once you’ve started.
I was lucky and my research at the start lead me in the right direction, but I’ve heard countless bloggers wish they hadn’t gone the free route at all, because of the headache they had changing over later.
Yes, self hosting costs a little – but it doesn’t have to cost a lot at all (just a few pounds a month for the basics), and I always felt that once I’d started to pay for my blog I wanted to earn that money back and make it viable as quickly as possible. I had something to lose, so to speak – which made me more motivated as well.
#10 – INVEST IN YOUR BLOG
Along the same lines as spending a little on self hosting – you should never feel bad about investing in your blog either.
For a long time, anything my blog made I put back into it – spending on things such as training, tech help, software to make life easier etc….
Some of these things have honestly saved me so much more money in time than I would have spent/wasted if I’d had to do it all myself – so it really is worth it.
In fact – I still to this day have quite a hefty sum for training and conferences put aside each year, because this blogging world changes so frequently and you HAVE to keep up!
#11 – PERFECTION ISN’T POSSIBLE!
Oh so true – and Oh so hard for me to hear!
I am a perfectionist through and through. I talk about being a recovering perfectionist because I truly am trying to stop aiming for 100% all the time.
It’s far too exhausting – and (spoiler alert…) it’s impossible to get to most of the time…
When you have a massive TO DO list (which you will have as soon as you start blogging), then you have to start prioritising getting things done over getting things perfect.
This applies to everything – blog posts, pictures, products etc… – yes, of course you will create amazing things that your readers will love and that will truly help them, but will anyone REALLY notice the extra tweaking at the end?
For example – spending an extra 10 hours on an eBook may make no difference at all to the content, it may just be a few things that you can’t leave alone, or that you are overthinking that make you feel better if you keep looking at them. Surely those 10 hours would be better spent promoting the eBook and getting the word out there?
You will always be learning, improving etc… – so you will always be looking over your past work and wanting to revamp anyway – it’s natural (I’m currently looking at all 600 of my posts and having a site audit to check all is OK..), so don’t let where you are today stop you making progress.
So – there you have it – a pretty comprehensive list of blogging tips for beginners that I truly wish I’d known when I got started on this rollercoaster of a journey!
If you take note of them all, then you really will start your blog on the right footing, and I wish you every success! I can’t wait to see what you do…
…. P.S – If you’re ready to start your own blog, then my mini series of posts is a great place to start – you can check out the first of the series by starting HERE.