Are you thinking of starting a blog? I started this blog in September 2018 so I have been blogging for almost two and a half years at the time of writing. In some ways that feels like a long time, but in other ways I still consider myself to be quite a new blogger because I am still constantly learning new things about blogging!
I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a blogging expert yet. However, I have learned a lot of things that I had no idea about before I started blogging. I want to share them with you in this post so that if you are thinking of starting a blog, you will be more prepared and aware of what is involved!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through my link, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item.
10 Essential Things To Know Before Starting A Blog
1. It is time consuming
There is so much more to blogging than meets the eye! It’s not just a matter of writing posts and pressing publish. You have to take photos, optimise posts for SEO, promote your blog on social media, manage technical aspects, reply to comments… the list goes on! Blogging is definitely a lot more work than I first expected.
Related post: My 15-Step Blog Post Checklist – 15 things to do before publishing a blog post.
2. Making money from blogging takes time and hard work
Similarly to my last point, if you want to make money from blogging, it is going to take time, effort and patience. Blogging is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme! It’s definitely possible to make money from blogging, but it will likely start off as a tiny trickle that will grow over time if you keep working on it. I have only recently started making more than pennies on my blog, and even now my earnings are still in the ‘pocket money’ range. My blog would not sustain me full-time.
3. You get out what you put in
This point applies to all areas including social media, blog comments and affiliate marketing. The more you promote your blog, the more views you will get. Likewise, the more you optimise your SEO, the more traffic you will get from search engines. The more you comment on other blogs and take part in Twitter threads, the more comments you’ll get on your blog. And the more you promote affiliate links, the more sales you’ll get. If you do nothing, you probably won’t get a lot of views or sales!
It is possible to build up passive income streams where you will basically earn money in your sleep. For example, having ads on your blog is a passive income stream (I use Ezoic). However, even passive income streams take time and effort to build up in the first place. In the example of ads, you need to create good content and get enough monthly traffic to qualify for the ad networks in the first place.
4. Sometimes, things happen that are outside of your control
You tend to get a lot of curveballs thrown at you as a blogger. This time last year, Pinterest was my best source of traffic, and my Pinterest traffic was gradually increasing. Then, the algorithm changed and I have had barely any traffic from Pinterest ever since. I have been working to sort this out but I haven’t yet had any success.
The traffic drop has been discouraging, but it has made me realise that my blog can be affected by things that are totally out of my control. This is a fact of life for any blogger and it doesn’t mean that it is a personal failure. I have just had to be resilient, keep going, try to sort the problem and find other ways to get more traffic to my blog.
5. It’s important to be your unique self
There are a lot of blogs out there, so the competition is high. Therefore, it is important to put a unique spin on all of your posts. Even if you are writing about a popular topic, you can make it unique by writing from your own experience and including plenty of personal anecdotes. This will set your post apart from the millions of other posts on the same topic.
6. You will need to become familiar with a lot of different platforms
Whether you are using WordPress, Blogger, Wix or any other platform for your blog, it will be a learning curve to familiarise yourself with the platform and how to use it. You will also need to familiarise yourself with social media platforms. The main ones that bloggers use for promoting their blog are Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Additionally, you might need to learn how to use graphic design sites such as Canva, as well as analytics sites, affiliate marketing platforms, mailing sites and more. I probably have around 20 different sites bookmarked in my browser that I use regularly for my blog, and I have had to learn how to use them all. The upside is that you will become a lot more ‘web-savvy’ by becoming a blogger!
7. Blog stats fluctuate a lot
You will probably imagine that your blog traffic will start off very low, and gradually increase over time as you publish more content and promote your blog. This is true, but the increase is not always steady! There are so many factors in play, many of which are outside of our control. Therefore, blog stats tend to fluctuate a lot. The same goes for earnings, once you start making money from your blog. You will have good weeks and bad weeks.
It’s important not to get discouraged if you have a bad week or month for traffic or earnings, because it’s just what happens. Focus on the general trend over a longer period, rather than expecting a steady increase each day. For example, compare how your blog is doing now compared to 6 months or a year ago. Chances are it will be doing better, even if your stats have been erratic!
8. Motivation comes and goes
A pattern that I have seen among other bloggers, as well as in myself, is that they go through phases of being very active on their blog and social media, and being more distant. Motivation naturally comes and goes, and the circumstances in our personal lives are constantly changing. Sometimes we will be too busy to work on our blog much, or we just won’t feel like it. Other times we will be super motivated and have a burst of activity. I think this is normal and okay.
For advice on how to get out of a blogging slump and boost your motivation, the e-book Overcoming The Blogging Slump by Sophia Patel is a really useful guide.
Related post: How To Get Inspiration For New Blog Posts
9. Setting a timer is a helpful strategy when working on blog posts
Lately, I have begun setting a timer for 1 hour when I work on blog posts. This helps me to stop procrastinating and get on with writing because I know I only have to do an hour and then I’m done for the day. This is a great way to keep the momentum up on your blog, especially if you are going through an unmotivated phase. I have found that spending just 1 hour a day on blog posts is enough to keep me ahead of my schedule (even if I miss a few days).
10. There is a fantastic blogging community
I will end this post with one of the highlights of blogging. There is an amazing community of bloggers out there, and they are so supportive. Blogging may seem like a solitary activity, but it certainly doesn’t have to be! If you are promoting your blog on social media, you will inevitably meet other bloggers as they will be the ones who share and support your work.
I have met and chatted with so many lovely bloggers on social media and it’s great how they all support each other and collaborate. If you are thinking of starting a blog, I definitely recommend getting involved with the blogging community on Twitter and Instagram.
Are you up for the challenge of starting a blog?
I hope this post will encourage and motivate you to start a blog, rather than putting you off. It’s important to be aware that starting a blog takes a big investment of time and effort, especially if you are hoping to make money from it. Blogging is harder than it first appears, but overall I’d say that it is a really rewarding experience and the positives outweigh the negatives.
If you are planning to start a blog, do let me know in the comments – I would love to connect with you! If you already have a blog, can you relate to the points in this post? What do you wish you had known before starting a blog?