Blogging Tips for Beginners
I’ve been blogging on and off for a few years now, but I’ve only really gotten into it properly in the last six months. I now have my own self-hosted site and try to post at least once a week, if not twice, but the biggest thing that’s changed recently is that people have actually started reading my blog. When I first started out, blogging was more like a convenient way to write a diary for me, and I actually didn’t like it when people read my posts (I never expected anyone to, because I never advertised it anywhere). This all changed at the beginning of this year when I decided to get Twitter, and holy hell it has changed my blogging life. Twitter is the best thing for bloggers, ever. I can’t tell you how many other bloggers I have met and blogs I have started reading that I never would have found were it not for Twitter, and the same goes for my blog, now, too. I actually have traffic, and I quite like it! Thanks to the helpful advice of tonnes of other bloggers on Twitter I feel as though I’m finally growing into my blogging boots, so I thought it was only right that I gave back to the community. Blogging isn’t all gorgeous flatlays and reaching goals, it’s also about gritty, hard work, online drama, missing deadlines, low engagement, slow traffic and days where it just doesn’t feel worth it. If you’re reading this and you’re not a blogger, you might think I sound insane. Just trust me on this one: it’s consuming. With that in mind, here are my five top tips to ease the load on newcomers to the community!
1) It’s not all about followers
Don’t get me wrong, followers are great. Followers and supportive comments/DMs are half the reason I keep blogging. I love knowing that what I write is having an impact on somebody (even if it is just that one person), but that’s the thing. Even if you’re just affecting one person, that’s amazing. Something you did helped somebody else in the world and that is such a beautiful thing! You don’t need thousands of followers to make a difference, and if you feel like you do then you’ll end up quitting long before you get there. I made a youtube video on this recently, actually, but I used to have a fair few subscribers over there when I was younger. Basically, I gave up because I didn’t become Zoella overnight and thought that made me a failure… Yeah. I was sixteen, okay!? (And we don’t judge here.) Followers/readers/subscribers will be few and far between in the early days, and that’s okay.
2) Don’t let it take over your life
I love being a part of the blogging world, striving to take better Instagram pictures and doing Twitter giveaways, but there are other things that are important to me. I still have a full-time job (which I have a love-hate relationship with, not gonna lie), I’m still studying for my degree and I still go out with my friends. In order for any hobby to be healthy there must be balance, but I think it’s particularly difficult to achieve with blogging because it is all around you. You can literally pick it up just about anywhere and it’s easy to get obsessed with. Blogging is great, but it’s not everything. You must make sure you leave time for other important things in your life! (That’s another mistake I made when I was sixteen, if you hadn’t guessed already.)
3) You don’t need to spend money
After years of blogging, I’ve only just switched over to a self-hosted site (which I pay for). It’s great and I love the flexibility of it, but that’s because I work full-time and had the means to treat myself with something new. There is nothing wrong with using a free blog and theme, and you don’t have to spend loads of money on props or camera equipment or products to review. If you see anyone say “you’re not a real blogger until you have your own domain” they’re a pretentious asshat who isn’t worth listening to. How much or how little money you put into your blog does not define it’s quality! Some of my favourite blogs are on free sites and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
4) Don’t expect to make money from it
Bloggers who get sent free stuff or make money from reviews have either a) gotten really lucky or b) been blogging for a really long time. I think for a lot of bloggers, it just doesn’t happen (and that doesn’t mean to say those bloggers are bad at what they do), although I couldn’t tell you a whole lot about this side of blogging as my following is too small for that sort of thing. For the most part, blogging is a hobby, not a job, and you have to be really good to make a living from it. Besides, if you’re only doing it ‘cause you think it’s gonna make you a quick buck you won’t be invested in the content you make which is a disaster blog in the making! If your writing is stagnant then those followers you so desire probably aren’t gonna be so interested. Write about what you’re into and it will happen naturally, don’t force it, whatever you do!
5) Don’t hide it from people you know
I generally don’t let people I know in real life read my blog because I don’t want the knowledge that they’re reading to interfere with what I write or the way I write it, but it’s no secret to them that I blog. Most of my friends are fine with knowing that it’s something that I do, and respect my privacy by not reading (at least, they say they don’t!). I know a lot of people who hide the fact that they blog completely from their friends and family, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. Each to their own, of course, but if you’re comfortable with the people around you knowing then it may come as less of a shock if somebody stumbles upon it and mentions it to you! You don’t want to spend your whole blogging life worrying that somebody might find you.
Starting a blog came with many surprises and challenges that I didn’t expect, but it’s been great so far. Running a blog gives me another sense of purpose outside of my day-to-day work and life, and I’m SO glad I did it. If you’re thinking about it, just do it. What’s the worst that can happen?