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Blogging. For some quite interesting, and for others the most frustrating thing ever. Truth is, when you learn how to do it properly it becomes much more enjoyable. Well, like everything in life, blogging is also a learning in progress kind of thing. You can’t master it until you actually start doing it for quite some time.
I want to make your life easier so I made a list of the most important things you should know before starting your own blog. I learned these from my own experience and it will really help you when first starting out.
Without further ado let’s take a look at the things that will help you have a much smoother experience when first starting out.
1) It’s a big-time commitment
Let’s clear up something now so that you know exactly what you are dealing with. And I am telling you from experience.
Blogging is not a “get-rich-quick-scheme”. And I am being 100% honest with you. If you are serious about starting a blog you should first and foremost know this. It is going to take time and serious commitment if you want to start seeing results.
In my opinion though, it is totally worth it in the end. For example, the average period of time that a committed blogger will start seeing results varies from 8 months to 1 year.
Don’t let that discourage you though. If you want to start a blog and you love the idea of working and earning a living online go ahead.
2) You need to blog legally from day 1
One factor that many bloggers often overlook when starting out is the legality of their blogs. If you take your blog seriously and you want to eventually make money from it, then you need to spend some time working on your legal pages before you even launch your blog.
You may think that it is unnecessary or that the chance that you will run into some legal trouble is slim but I am telling you this. Don’t try your luck with an important matter like this.
Imagine that your blog finally makes enough money after 1 year of hard work and suddenly someone sues you because you don’t have the proper legal disclaimers and policies or because you are failing to comply with the GDPR.
You can actually go to court and lose a lot of money if you haven’t taken the right measures. So, if you haven’t thought much about legal pages, think again.
3) Build an email list from day 1
One of the most common mistakes bloggers do is not starting an email list right away. This is a huge mistake.
Many bloggers that haven’t done that from day 1 regret it. I was reading everywhere about that so I started one right away. And that was the right thing to do.
Having an email list is absolutely crucial if you want to have a successful blog. Think of it like that. You will have your own list of people who are genuinely interested in your content.
You can literally send them anything you want. From blog posts you publish to products you sell, share your affiliate links and literally anything you want.
Owning an email list can honestly make you lots of extra money and will help you take your blog monetization to a whole new level.
4) Self-hosting is the only way
Free-hosting? WOW! I want this. Oh, wait a second… what’s the catch? You may know some popular free-hosting platforms like Blogger and wordpress.com.
It sure sounds pretty appealing, but no. You may think that free-hosting is actually better but I assure you It’s not. It may be “free” but it comes with many limitations that actually hurt you and your blog from day one.
If you want to make money blogging and also want to own everything without having to worry about losing all of your work, then a self-hosted blog is your only choice.
5) Hosting matters more than you think
Hosting is very important as it affects many aspects of your blogging journey. If you choose a good one you will have many benefits that can actually determine your blog’s success.
Some of the benefits of choosing a good hosting company include:
- Your blog will load really fast
- You will rank higher in Google because one of Google’s ranking factors is speed
- You will have double or even more traffic due to the fast loading times
- You will have really good support when unexpected problems occur
- You will have peace of mind because you will know that you are in good hands
You have to choose a trustworthy hosting company that will be there for everything you need. And no, I don’t mean Bluehost.
One of the best affordable hosting companies out there, and also my personal choice, is SiteGround.
They have really fast loading times, lots of premium features, free daily backups, free SSL and CDN, and one of the best customer support ever.
You may have noticed that almost every blogger out there recommends Bluehost but in my opinion, it’s not worth the hype. If you want to see why SiteGround is such an amazing host then feel free to check this post where I talk about them in more detail.
6) Choose a future proof domain name
This is really important. You have to choose a domain name wisely. You have to give a lot of thought when choosing a domain name because you want it to fit your blog’s whole purpose.
For example, if you start a blog about food, a domain name like bestguitars.com would not befitting. Makes sense, right?
Just make sure that you are satisfied with your blog’s domain name because changing it in the future will be really painful and will actually hurt your blog in more than one aspect.
7) Choose your niche wisely
Before you start building your blog you have to choose a niche. I hate saying that but if you actually want to have a successful and profitable blog, you’ll have to go with a niche that is profitable.
Do you think that you could make decent money with a niche about collecting stamps? I don’t think so.
So, if you actually want to start a blog and make it your full-time job, then I advise you to simply choose a profitable one.
I have always loved the idea of blogging and having a successful blog but I had absolutely no idea what to blog about. Then I thought, why not blog about blogging?
I really wanted to get into that and I know that there are a lot of people out there that are interested too. Whatever your niche, you actually have to learn how to blog smart and strategic if you want to be successful one day.
My goal was to achieve that for myself and also help others during the process. So, it was a win-win situation.
8) Focus on one niche only
You may have noticed that a lot of people say that blogging has died. That’s not true at all. Blogging has just changed in many ways. One of the ways it has changed is the fact that multi-niche blogs have died.
Many pieces of research show that Google prefers blogs that focus on a single niche because it knows exactly what that site is about.
If you own a multi-niche blog then your follower base will be much harder to gather and even harder to monetize. Let’s say you have a multi-niche blog that talks about many different niches like Health, Money, Lifestyle, Food, Fashion, etc.
It will be much harder for your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter because they just don’t want to be informed about all this stuff.
On the other hand, if you have a blog that focuses on one niche only, then you will build a much stronger follower base that actually subscribed to you because they care about your single-niche content.
It will also be easier for you to convert those visitors to customers if you sell your own products in the future. It will be much easier for them to trust you since they will know that you being focused and working on a single-niche for a long time would result in you being an expert on it.
9) Choose a great theme and stick to it
You should choose a simple, decluttered, and beautiful theme right from the start. And that’s because you don’t want to be changing it many times in the future.
The ideal scenario would be to stick with one theme and that’s because changing your theme can actually hurt your blog’s SEO.
In more depth, when you change your theme with another one you actually replace the core structure of your whole blog, and that is definitely going to affect SEO.
A new theme may make your SEO better or worse. It’s hard to know though. That’s why it’s best to stick with a great theme that is SEO friendly and also simple enough for the user.
10) You don’t need to invest in expensive courses
I actually started out without buying any course or eBook at all. As a matter of fact, I still haven’t bought anything to this day.
Buying online courses or eBooks is something that can definitely help but it’s not necessary. Especially if you don’t have the money for it. Don’t beat yourself up because you can’t buy that expensive course that everyone recommends. You can learn almost anything online and for FREE.
When I started out, I didn’t have the extra money to buy courses so I researched everything on platforms like Google and Pinterest. It can take you a longer period of time to find what you are looking for but it’s surely worth it if you are low on budget.
11) Go for quality over quantity
You may have heard many bloggers saying that publishing as many posts as you can, is a good technique that will help you increase your traffic fast. In reality, this will hurt your blog and your reputation.
Think of that this way. You may get more traffic at first but if your posts do not provide value to the viewers then they will leave and never come back. This will really hurt your blog and rapidly increase your bounce rate.
You should definitely focus on quality over quantity. You may not have as much traffic in the beginning but as your posts get discovered more, they will get better feedback and more shares due to the fact that they provide value.
12) Images matter
Writing great content is important but you have to make it as engaging as possible to your audience if you don’t want to bore them to death.
That’s when images come to play. Using high-quality images provides extra value to your readers and helps them understand your point better.
You may think that paid images are the only way if you want to maintain some level of quality on your blog, but that’s not entirely true. I know people who run very successful blogs and haven’t spent a penny for images.
They just use free stock images from various sites. In fact, I only use free stock images too. You just have to be really selective when it comes to choosing images for your blog posts.
Furthermore, try to pick images that correlate the most with the purpose/matter of your post.
13) Using social media will help your blog succeed faster
Almost every blogger out there uses social media in order to increase his blog reach. Sharing your posts on various social networks can really help promote your blog’s content, and all that for free!
Thousands of articles are being shared every day on social media and it would be really unwise of you not to use them.
I personally use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and I have seen a great traffic increase from those platforms (especially Pinterest).
Without the help of social media, your blog will grow much slower and you will lose the extra recognition you would have acquired if you were using them.
14) Create a content strategy that works for you
You need to discover what type of content works in your niche and then create a content strategy around it. You will have to create content that your audience is genuinely interested in so that you have more chances for your articles to be found.
When you are first starting out, your content strategy will be as simple as creating 1 or 2 posts per week. As months pass, you will begin to understand more about how things work and your strategy will be more complex and also more effective.
Have in mind that your content strategy will be changing quite often the longer you blog. It’s not something that can stay static for a long period of time. And that’s not a bad thing.
15) You will have to learn basic SEO
Truth be told, if you want to have a successful blog you will have to learn the basics of SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is just the procedure of optimizing your whole blog and your blog posts in order to appear as high as possible in search results.
Some people may find SEO a hard thing to learn but I am here to assure you that it isn’t that hard at all.
Moreover, it doesn’t take time to learn the basics of SEO. You could learn and optimize your blog for search engine optimization for as little as a week.
16) Blogging is an ongoing process
Don’t expect to know everything from the start. Blogging is an ongoing process and as months pass you will become better at it. Don’t be surprised or discouraged if you have to change your blogging strategy a couple of times.
Blogging is a dynamic journey, not a static one. Things will change and you will have to adapt to it. The better you learn to adapt, the more successful you will be. If I had to describe blogging with one word that word would definitely be “adaption”.
Blogging is definitely not something that can make you money quickly. It needs time and serious dedication. It is definitely worth it though.
The hardest part is the first 2-3 months. After that period, you actually get the hang of it and your blogging journey gets easier and easier as you get used to things like writing blog posts, optimizing your content for search engines, and building a content strategy that works.
So, if you want to start your own blog, be my guest. Just make sure to take the above tips into consideration. And last but not least, enjoy the journey!