Last updated on January 3rd, 2019 at 10:08 am
There are 9 things to know when starting a blog that every new blogger should know. Some things are more important than others and it’s time that you discovered what those things are.
Starting a blog is so exciting, especially if you hope to earn money from it in the near future. I still remember when I started my first blog, it was so exciting and frightening.
I really had no clue what I was doing and it took me over 8 hours to install my very first WordPress site. However, I didn’t let that stop me, I had dreams of achieving the lifestyle that I dreamt of.
Plus, so many people made it sound so easy. Fast forward several years later and it’s not as easy as everyone says it is. Yes, there are some niches that are more popular than others.
Maybe you’re a first-time blogger who has read an income report online and now your dream is to become a full-time blogger. Well, it is possible but it’s NOT going to be as easy as everyone makes it out to be. (hopefully, it won’t be too hard either)
Today, we are going to discuss some things that every new blogger should know. These things are important and can be the difference between sticking with your blog or calling it quits in your first year.
9 Things to Know When Starting a Blog
I’m sure that there are more than 9 things you should know before starting a blog. But these are the ones that I wish someone would’ve told me about when I first started working towards building a successful blog.
#1 Start With A Self Hosted WordPress Blog
So many people get WordPress.com confused with WordPress.org. They are different and it’s important to know which one you want to start with.
Most newbie bloggers refuse to spend any money on their online venture. Maybe it’s because they don’t know if they have what it takes to become a professional blogger?
It’s definitely possible to start on a free blogging platform. However, it’s important to realize that you don’t have full control. This means that you won’t be able to use the Plugins or WordPress themes of your choice.
Plus your hands are tied on certain things like monetizing your blog. So before learning how to launch a new blog for free, make sure you understand the difference between the two WordPress versions.
#2 Get Affordable Web Hosting
One of the main reasons that so many people choose to start their blog for free is because they think that running a blog is expensive. Yes, there are some costs involved in blogging.
But the truth is that it’s extremely affordable. You might have to give up drinking Starbucks coffee every morning for a little while if you’re stretching to make ends meet.
But if you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about and hopefully, in 6 months you’ll start to see a little bit of income that will keep you motivated to keep pushing forward.
Whatever you do, avoid starting for free so you won’t have to worry about migrating to a self-hosted platform later on down the road.
I have no clue why someone would want to start on a free blogging platform if their intention is to become a full-time blogger. There are plenty of hosting companies that extremely affordable for new bloggers.
If you’re just testing the waters to see if this is the right things for you, then a free blog is okay. However, once you know that you’re ready to pursue this long-term, you’ll definitely want to make the jump to a paid platform.
I recommend using any of these hosting companies:
- SiteGround (this is who I use)
- WP Engine (I use this for clients)
- Bluehost (very popular among bloggers although I don’t recommend them)
#3 Your Blog Design Is Not Important
We all want a pretty blog that looks amazing, I mean who wants to blog on an ugly blog? Yes, your blog design does matter, but you don’t need to spend too much time on it.
It still surprises me when I see people spending so much time on their logo designs before they decide to launch their blog. When you start a new WordPress blog, the best thing to do is use an SEO friendly and mobile responsive theme right out of the gate.
I highly recommend and use the Genesis Framework for this blog. Once you buy the Framework, you NEVER have to worry about spending any more money on upgrades.
You will, however, need to purchase a child theme that will be the look of your blog. Think of the Framework as the engine of the car and the child theme as the child theme.
The engine runs the car while the body is the outer layer than everyone sees and admires. You get the best of both worlds and they look amazing without you having to touch a line of code.
I recommend using the child themes from:
#4 Blogging Takes a Lot of Time
The thought of earning money from home and calling all the shots is exciting, especially, if you are not happy with your 9-5 job. I know when I started my first blog, I could see the dollar signs before I made my first dollar online.
My first blog was a complete failure because I had no clue what I was doing. I had started a blog purely for profit and I had plastered it with a bunch of Adsense ads and affiliate banners.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make money with your blog or start monetizing from day one. I just want you to set some realistic expectations that you might not make any money from it in the first 6 months or more.
There is a huge learning curve that comes with blogging, especially, if you’ve never done anything like this. You’re going to have to learn how to write great content, understand search engines, blog promotion, social media and so much more.
You’d be at what it takes to be a blogger. Most people have no clue until they decide to start their own blog and work towards changing their own financial situation.
#5 Learn About Keyword Research ASAP
One of the biggest mistakes that I made with this blog is NOT taking the time to do keyword research at the very beginning. I made the mistake of just sitting down and writing content on whatever I chose.
Yes, I wrote content that I know will help people, like all my WordPress tutorials. But the truth is that those keywords are either extremely competitive or they hardly get any searches.
We are bloggers and the one thing that we need to do is focus on great content that helps our audience. However, you don’t want to make the mistake of writing content that doesn’t get any searches.
Otherwise 6 months down the road you’ll look back and wonder “is my blog working?” Because everyone around you is having success and you’re still barely getting a trickle of traffic.
The best things you can invest in to do your keyword research are:
Your goal is to find keywords with a decent amount of monthly searches per month that have a low keyword difficulty score.
#6 Get On Pinterest
If you started a lifestyle blog or picked a niche that does extremely well on Pinterest, then make sure you’re using that platform. I’ve seen people in certain niches go from zero to 25,000 page views in a matter of months just by learning how to use the platform.
I recommend reading everything that you can on the Pinterest business site. Make sure that you’re using a business account and not a personal account to start promoting your blog.
Don’t worry there are a lot of YouTube videos that will show you how to do this. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to confirm your blog on Pinterest. Learn as much as you can about using Pinterest to promote your blog.
Don’t be scared to invest in a Pinterest Course if you’ve never used it before. There’s a huge learning curve that comes with it and if you can cut down on your learning curve, you’ll see success faster.
Just remember, not all niches do extremely well on Pinterest. This guide will show you exactly what to do to get on Pinterest’s good side and will show you some of the signals Pinterest wants to see on your pins.
#7 Learn The Blogging Terms
As a new blogger, you’re going to hear a lot of different jargon that you’re unfamiliar with. For example, maybe you just read an income report online about a blogger who is making six figures from their blog.
You have no clue what a blog is but you know that you want to earn money online. However, with all the different online scams, you’re skeptical about it and want to know what a blog is.
If you’re new to the blogosphere (another blogging term) then you’re going to hear a bunch of different vocabulary being used that you have probably never heard of.
It’s okay, none of us knew what any of these terms meant until we were knee deep into our first blog. The one thing that you’re going to learn is that blogging is a journey. You’re going to have to learn how to enjoy the process because it’s something that you’re going to do for a very long time.
Here’s a list of 39 blogging terms to help you get familiar with some of the jargon that bloggers use. If you run into a term that you’re not sure of then don’t be afraid to ask in some of the Facebook Groups for bloggers.
#8 You Can’t Do It Alone
One of the great things about blogging is that anyone with a computer and Internet can start a blog. Even if you’re an introvert you have the opportunity to make money without a bunch of attention.
This can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s so easy for new bloggers to think that all they have to do is write great content and hide behind their computers all day long.
You probably can build a successful blog without the help of others. However, networking with other blogger’s is going to help you grow a lot faster.
You’ve probably heard the saying
No Man is An Island – John Donne
There’s absolutely no reason to feel like you have to be a lone blogger. There are so many places that you can turn to when you need guidance, moral support or just want to reach out to see if you can guest post.
You don’t have to network every day, but you should make it a point to start reaching out and meeting other blogger’s who are chasing their financial goals as well.
You’ll be much better off if you have a support system that you can turn to when things get tough.
# 8 Learn About Search Engine Optimization
Every blogger newbie needs to start learning about SEO (search engine optimization) from day one. It’s so easy to avoid it because you can get fast traffic from social media sites.
Who really wants to deal with the pressure and headaches of optimizing their blog posts? I truly think that with every blog setup guide there should be a blogging basics 101 checklist that involves SEO tips.
I’ve seen bloggers write several blog posts that are NOT optimized for any specific keywords. Heck, I’ve done it myself because I was too lazy do keyword research before writing my first blog post.
Before writing your first blog post, you need to start learning as much as you can about SEO and how it’s important to you as a blogger. Here are two sites to start to help you out.
- The Definitive Guide to SEO in 2018
- The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank In Google’s Top 10
Make it a point to read everything that you can about SEO because this one of the most important things you’ll need to know as a blogger. Here’s a great guide that will show you how to optimize your blog posts for both Google and Pinterest.
Without having a full understanding of it, you’ll never be able to see your passive organic traffic to your blog.
# 9 Keep Learning and Writing
One of the things that we’re told as bloggers are you need to write a great post that helps your readers. If you’re just starting your blog from scratch, you’re probably thinking what does a great post look like?
Who are my readers and how can I help them? It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out, especially, if you don’t have all the answers yet.
It’s okay, just breathe. You don’t have to know everything and your blog post doesn’t have to cure hunger.
Your main goal as a blogger is to focus on one specific problem with every blog post you write and provide helpful tips that will help your readers.
For instance: Let’s say that your readers love crafting and you wanted to teach them how to start a craft blog.
You would write one blog post that walks them through step by step with the blog setup and everything they would need to know about learning how to start their own craft blog.
You’d want to make sure that you answered all the possible questions and concerns about getting started.
If you can do that then you’re golden.
Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time, you can always go back and update the post later on if you see that it’s driving a lot of traffic or making you some affiliate sales.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure that you have Google Analytics installed on your blog to see which posts are driving the most traffic.
It’s so easy to get frustrated when you’re not seeing results as quickly as you had hoped. We’ve all been there and anyone who tells you they haven’t is just lying.
The thing you need to remember is that blogging is a long-term strategy and it takes time to learn how to blog effectively. Don’t take your eye off your goals and keep putting one step in front of the other.
There are great tips for new bloggers everywhere. I recommend following a few successful bloggers who share what they did to create a blog from zero and turn it into a profitable blog.
It’s okay to take a break from blogging if you need to, but whatever you do, don’t quit.
You might even be tempted to start a second blog because your first one isn’t working. Take it from me, starting a second blog while trying to grow your first one is a lot harder than you think.
Focus on one blog and get it to a point where it’s making money then you can start the second one if you want.
Final Take Away
Before starting a blog, ask yourself if you have the drive and persistence to keep trudging along even when you’re not seeing the results as fast as you’d like?
Are you willing to treat your blog like a business and do something every day that is going to help you grow?
If you answered yes to both those questions, you might just have what it takes to become a blogger. Learning how to start a blog for beginners is tough.
Do everything that you can to create a successful blog but make sure that you set some realistic expectations.
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Are you a new blogger? Have you started your blog or not? Please let me know where you’re at in your blogging journey, I’d love to hear about it.
Recommended Blogging Resources:
- Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp
- Article about using Yoast SEO for optimizing your blog posts and how to do it.
- SEMRush Free Trial to Gather Low Competitive Keywords
- Quiz: Which theme is best for your blog?
- If you want to build an email list and send newsletters, I recommend ConvertKit (starts at $29)