So you’ve decided to start blogging. Congratulations. It’s a crazy ride. There is so much to learn and you can easily become overwhelmed. I know I did. It was hard to know what to focus on, what to learn. One of my mandates for this site was to share what I learn, so here are a few things I wish I’d worked out as a new blogger. Maybe they will help you and maybe it will save you some of the angst I experienced.
1. Consistency is King
The best way to grow your blog is to be consistent. Set a posting schedule and stick to it. I can tell you from experience it works. When I don’t do it, I can see the difference. Being consistent will also help you to improve. It will help you learn to craft your message and as you engage more with your audience you’ll understand better what they are looking for.
This applies to social media and other ways to promote your blog.
Consistency = growth
2. Don’t sign up for everything
There is so much information out there to learn about blogging and online business. Trust that you will learn it. When you are first starting out you will sign up for every cool looking freebie that you think will help you fit another puzzle piece together. And some of it will. Some of it is great.
Then again from many people, you will get one decent thing and then the rest will be a series of emails designed to make you buy something. That’s what email marketing is for.
Personally, I do a regular unsubscribe from things I’ve signed up for. I give people a chance – you’ll get a lot of sales directed emails for example when someone is launching a product, that is to be expected. But if I realise that’s the ONLY thing I get, I’ll unsubscribe.
I have a couple of reasons:
- My time (like yours) is both limited and valuable and I don’t like spending all my time reading ads (or watching them).
- For most online marketers their mailing list is their pipeline, their way to make money and I don’t want people wasting their time either if I am not really interested in them.
You’ll work out the people you connect with, who give you consistent value and therefore earn your trust into taking the next step and purchasing a product from you.
Pro Tip: Set up a separate email address dedicated to signing up to other people’s stuff. It makes it much easier to keep track of and unsubscribe.
3. Webinars are really useful and they are also designed to sell you something
This leads me to Webinars. They can either be incredibly useful or a huge waste of time so you need to pick them carefully.
The purpose is a Webinar is to get you to sign up for something – a special pack, a course, a product. There is a timed incentive so you will sign up on the spot. Trust me, I know.
Of course, I’m not saying that Webinars are evil or anything, I’m saying pick them carefully. Despite what they say, that webinar – or something very much like it – WILL run again. If not those incentives there will be other, just a cool and useful, incentives in the future. They are designed to leverage our Fear of Missing Out to the marketer’s advantage.
There are two key things to get the most out of a webinar:
Firstly, make sure the webinar is covering something you need to know NOW. You need to make sure it is going to add value to your journey where you are. For example, if you are struggling to get your first post out, maybe that webinar on how to speak to stadium sized audiences is not what you need right now. Make a note of it to sign up for later if that’s your goal.
Secondly, make sure it will actually teach you something not just sell you something. Many webinars give you about 10 mins of ok content and then have you sit around for an hour while they pitch their product. If you go in aware of this you are empowered. Of course, if it is a product you are interested in any way, then yay! you’ll likely get a good deal and some incentives or add ons. Nothing wrong with that. Or you can watch the webinar and then switch off once the pitching begins.
Keep an eye out and see what people say. What you want to hear is that the webinar is packed with solid, actionable information. In other words, they have earned the right to pitch a product to you because they gave you value.
Someone I think does this really well is Kate from Secret Bloggers Business. She gives actual steps to take even if you never sign up to do her courses or join one of her masterminds. I’ve signed up for practically everything with her but I still get a lot out of her webinars.
Go in with your eyes open. If you have no will power, maybe Webinars are not for you.
4. It’s ok if you choose the wrong Theme
One thing I have noticed with new bloggers, myself included – we spent a LOT of time agonising over our themes. We are afraid to buy one in case it’s wrong or that we might mess it up. Too much time is spent fiddling around getting the fonts just right instead of working on content.
Sound like you?
Let me save you some angst. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake. No really. Here, let me say it again. It does not matter if you choose the wrong theme. Why?
Because you can change it.
That’s right. If you find it’s not working for you, you are allowed to change it. And it’s much, much easier to change it while you are starting out than when you have hundreds of pages and a pile of followers.
I have changed themes several times until I got to one I was happy with. Some people get it right first time. Good for them. If you aren’t one of those people, don’t despair. You’ll get it worked out. Trust me.
5. Facebook groups are a huge time suck
Let’s face it. Facebook is the place to be at the moment. If you want to promote your blog, it’s the place to go.
You can also learn a LOT especially from groups.
However, it can also be a total time suck. If you have limited time to work on your blog, you need to schedule your time carefully so you don’t use it all up browsing Facebook. So choose your groups wisely.
I’ve found groups have two purposes and usually it’s different groups.
- Knowledge exchange – where you can ask questions, where people share info. Such as Secret Bloggers Society or Problogger
- Promotion – groups that have large memberships and regular posts designed to have the group share and promote each other’s social media. Like Lovely Bloggers or Bloggers Supporting Bloggers.
Pick your groups wisely and limit the time you spend in them. Remember that the time you spend there is time you aren’t spending on your blog.
6. Blogging takes much more time than you think it will
I recently surveyed a group of bloggers and one of the main things they wished they’d realised before they started was how much time it takes. Most of us think all we need to do is sit down and bash out a few paragraphs. Except that’s the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve bashed out those paragraphs you need to:
- Edit the post
- SEO the Post
- Add links
- Add pictures
- SEO the pictures
- work out what social media you’ll use to promote the blog
- create pictures for FB, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter
- Create the text for the FB, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter posts
- Choose the hashtags
- and so on…..
And that is just related to your post. That doesn’t include creating opt-ins, products and courses.
Did I freak you out?
Don’t let it get to you. Take your time. One step at a time. Get some good posts going. Learn how to craft good posts. Work on your social media.
Just don’t try to work it out all at once.
7. Don’t be a lonely new blogger
Blogging means a lot of time sitting in front of a computer by yourself. There is no getting around it. However, you don’t have to undertake this journey alone.
Connect with fellow bloggers. Join a Mastermind or a Facebook group (though heed my advice above).
Above all don’t lose your connections with the real people in your life. Talk to them about your blog. If you can connect with other bloggers or online business people in person, that’s even better.
Everyone needs a support structure.
8. Your email list is EVERYTHING
You know all the time and energy you are spending getting followers on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest? That could go away at any time.
Remember Social Media is rented space. Trends that run hot, can just as easily die out. Do you know anyone chasing followers on MySpace anymore?
Your email list is yours. Regardless of what social media you are using, whether that platform lives or dies, you can still do business with just an email list.
What if your website is hit with a virus and your backup fails? What if Facebook close all your accounts – both FB and IG? You still have your list. You can still reach your customers. Collecting those email addresses is your number 1 priority.
Pro Tip: Create a great Opt-in bribe to get people to sign up.
9. Don’t be afraid to suck
Everyone sucks to start with. There are things you will look back on and groan about even if you think it’s fine now. Don’t worry about it. Unless you are one of those really annoying people who do everything well, you will have a learning curve.
That is ok. Just keep moving forward.
10. Make sure you back up everything
Ths one is so important I’ll say it again.
BACK EVERYTHING UP. REGULARLY.
I use UpdraftPlus and back up both to the cloud and a copy to a portable hard drive. I like to keep all my bases covered.
So there you have them. 10 of the Things I wish I’d worked out when I was a New Blogger. I hope you find them helpful. If you have any other tips for New Bloggers or anything you learned that others should know, share them in the comments below.