I’ve had this blog and have been blogging consistently for the last six months, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot in that time, mostly through trial and error. I’m not an expert by any means, but I have a little wisdom to impart.
If you want to blog, DO IT.
Anyone who knows me in real life is going to laugh about this piece of advice since I didn’t follow it for the longest time. I always thought about writing and blogging, like you do when you’re a writer, but I never took action. I always had some kind of excuse: not enough time, nothing to write about, no money to pay for hosting, on and on, blah blah blah. Really it was because I was riddled with self-doubt and had somehow convinced myself that I couldn’t do it, and if I tried I’d inevitably fail. Better to not even start than fail spectacularly, right? No, wrong.
Don’t spend money on fancy equipment.
I started my blog with my phone, the laptop I’ve had forever and my existing makeup and skincare collection. To be fair, I have a large makeup and skincare collection, but I spent very little to get started. I host my blog on WordPress, and until someone generously invested in my site, I used the free themes with the most basic features. If you want to be self-hosted you’ll have to spend some money, but it’s not necessary. If you can find a free theme you like and you’re not interested in adding widgets and Google Analytics and junk, the free versions of blogging sites are totally fine for you.
Get out into the world.
I work from home so the scenery is always the same. I find that this isn’t always conducive to coming up with fresh, interesting ideas for blog posts, and even if I manage to come up with a topic the words get stuck. When this happens, I get out into the world. I take my laptop and some headphones to a coffee shop (preferably not a Starbucks) or the library and just revel in the change. I get coffee, I people watch, sometimes I look at books and magazines that might inspire me or at least distract me for a minute. It always helps.
Be realistic about the amount of time you have to commit to a blog.
This was one of the biggest mistakes I made when I started. I was so excited to be writing for the first time in years that I jumped in with both feet; I didn’t plan, I didn’t consider other time commitments, I didn’t think about any of it. I just started cranking out posts. In hindsight, I think I should have approached things in a more organized manner and remembered that I have a full-time job, a large family, a social life, etc. Posting every day can be grueling, especially when you’re kind of a perfectionist like I am. This is something I’m still struggling with, and I think that sometimes my posts suffer due to a lack of adequate planning. This is why there are so many days when my post goes up at 11 pm. I also suck at time management, which is another issue altogether.
Engage with your audience.
This is something I’m still working on, but if you want to build a community for your blog, seek out other bloggers. Comment on their posts. Answer comments on your posts. Set up social media accounts for your blog and reach out to anyone in your existing social circle who might be interested in reading your blog. If you want to keep your writing to yourself this isn’t something you need to worry about, but I like talking to other people.
Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.
We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. We all have different areas of expertise. We have different writing and aesthetic styles. Your blog will be unique to you, and you should write about things you know about or are passionate about. The biggest similarity from one blog to another should only be correct spelling and passable grammar.
So these are the things I’ve had to learn the hard way. My blogger friends, what are some other pieces of advice you can offer to new bloggers?