I’m a blogger.
I’ve run websites and blogs for more than 3 years in fact, but I’ve only really seriously ‘owned a blog’ for about 2-3 years.
When I say I owned I mean I bought the domain name and actually shelled out for the web hosting every month.
That’s a big step, and for a lot of people one that never happens. It’s a big decision when you first sign up to a web host and actually have to start paying your own money to write on your own blog.
It’s certainly not something I regret doing by any means however, and I’m going to try and share my experiences with blogging with you in this post. It might end up being a long post, because I’ve drunk a LOT of coffee and I’m very awake right now.
That being said, it’s also going to be a little bit different to my normal posts. I’ve decided to make this blog a bit more personal and to try and connect to people more through it. My other posts are great, don’t get me wrong but they feel somehow impersonal. (Some of them at least).
Alright, enough waffle let’s get onto the main event.
Blogging is something that’s always been a part of my life since I was at college. I started a blog partly out of boredom, and partly because I was reading lots of other blogs at the time and back then everyone was saying ‘start a blog!’.
So I did.
But over the years it’s grown into so much more than just blogging. When you say you’re a blogger, people aren’t as impressed as they might have been 10 years ago when it was almost all brand new. If you say you’re a blogger in 2016 it’s less shocking.
Lots of people have blogs these days. So what separates them from eachother? Well, not a lot. Almost ALL blogs fail after 6 months and by fail I mean they either get given up on, make no money, don’t get any sort of audience or they just get forgotten about by their owners.
Blogs need to be constantly updated and maintained in order to succeed, and if you’re not able to do that, then there’s not much point starting one. I’m going to share what I’ve learned after 3 years of being a blogger.
1 – It’s really difficult at the start
People tell you it’s hard, but they don’t tell you just how hard it is.
Starting a blog from SCRATCH knowing nothing about technology, websites, hosting, coding, marketing, writing or ANY of that stuff is really, really difficult. It is so overwhelming that you can spend the first year just learning how to get started, and what you SHOULD be doing.
Wanna know a secret?
At the start, the ONLY thing in my opinion that matters, is that you WRITE every single day.
Write a blog post every single day no matter what. It doesn’t matter what it’s about, and it doesn’t need to really align with some long term marketing approach.
As long as you write SOMETHING every day, you’ll learn more than you can imagine after a few months. You’ll be able to learn the other stuff as you go, but for now just build a basic wordpress blog, get it hosted and GET STARTED. Don’t worry about things like SEO, marketing, making money, building an audience or any of that at the start.
Sure, it’s important, and eventually you’ll learn all that stuff but it’s hard if you just jump into it and expect to know everything. Just write!
2 – At some point, you become more than a blogger
At a given point, you become something more.
You will at some point become something like a business owner, an ‘expert’, a ‘celebrity’, an authority, or anything else you can imagine.
Blogging can take you wherever you want to go, depending on what you write about, and how you write it. If you want to become an expert in your subject, write lots of articles about it and share everything you learn. After a while, people on the internet all around the world will consider you an expert in that topic. You don’t need to go to uni to become an expert.
Depending on the direction you WANT it to take you, you can also become a business owner! Blogging can be a BUSINESS that makes you money. (Read my post on making money if you’re interested in blogging for this reason).
3 – Blogging opens more doors than you know
The best job I’ve ever had I got mainly because I’d started a blog, and run my own online venture.
If I hadn’t started my own blog, there’s a very good chance I would have never got that job, and I wouldn’t be where I am now. It’s really important to think about this, because blogging in 2016 is like a new type of CV.
If you go into a job interview and say ‘I’ve got a blog about this stuff, I know what I’m talking about’, it’s FAR more impressive than if you just have a CV. Your interviewer will be impressed because you’ve been proactive and started a blog about the thing.
Imagine you were interviewing some people for a job in marketing.
One person has been to uni and got a diploma in marketing.
He’s fairly good.
The other person LOVES marketing, and has run a marketing BLOG for a couple years and is considered an authority on marketing on the internet. Now, me PERSONALLY, I’d hire the blogger. Sure the uni qualification proves that that person has studied marketing, but it doesn’t prove they love it.
It doesn’t prove they’re good at it, it just (when you really think about it) proves they crammed enough information into their heads to be able to regurgitate it in an exam. I know this is a generalization but I’d always prefer the guy who’s been proactive and shared his knowledge of the thing in question to the guy that’s been to uni for a couple of years.
4 – It makes you think more
Blogging causes you to solve problems in a way that you might not otherwise.
If your website goes down, or your WordPress crashes because of a plugin error, you’ve got to work out why. You’ve got to figure out how to fix it, (with the help of web support of course). But over time you learn how to fix these little problems. It makes you think about things in a different and more analytical way.
5 – You learn other skills in the process
Blogging isn’t a skill on its own.
What I mean by that is to be a blogger you also have to know a little bit about marketing. You need to know how to write things people want to read. How to promote the blog posts to those people, and actually get your blog read.
After a while you’ll figure out that it’s a good idea to build an email list and collect peoples email addresses. Then you need to learn how to write emails, so you’re learning email marketing. Then at some stage you’ll think ‘why is no one reading my blog’ and Google something like ‘how to get more blog traffic’.
You’ll fall into the wonderful world of search engine optimization and the art of getting more people to view your blog by optimising the posts for search engines. This is a skill in itself, and you can make money with this skill as well. Blogging can open so many doors for you!
6 – You become a technical expert
After a year or two you’ll no doubt have some sort of problem with your site.
You’ll need to learn how to fix it, and how to get the site working as best as it can be. How to make it as FAST as it can be, and all sorts of other things. You’ll slowly become a technical expert and the person that people will come to for help if they ever want to start a blog.
This happens faster than you know. If you just focus on blogging once a day, after a fairly short time people will start to look to you as their ‘blogger friend’. Your name will come up when people talk about starting a blog or owning a website. It’s a good thing as well! You can help your friends when they need it.
7 – You think about the value you’re providing
After a couple of years, you start to really focus on providing value on your blog.
The first couple of years can easily be spent just learning how to get started, what you should be doing on your blog, and finding your voice and style. After that, you should focus on thinking about the type of blog you want to actually run, and WHY you’re running it in the first place.
Actually, ideally you should think about that earlier, but I know it took me a few years. For a few years I just blogged for the fun of it but now I have a purpose for this blog.
For example, the purpose of this blog is to be a go-to resource that people read when they want to become the best version of themselves. I want it to be the blog that inspires millions of people to be the best they can. That’s why I write on this blog, because I LOVE the feeling of being able to help someone get where they wanna get in life.
8 – You can EVENTUALLY make money fairly easily
Once you’ve learned how to get started, making money from your blog isn’t as hard as you might think. The BIGGEST challenge you’ll face if you’re trying to make money from your blog, is getting TRAFFIC. Getting lots of people onto your site is a big challenge, because the internet is so crowded.
You can get almost EVERYTHING ELSE wrong, but if you get lots of people to your website or blog, you’ll make money. It’s a game of numbers. If you’ve got 10,000 people coming to your site every day, if you stick an advert on your sidebar for web hosting or something, some of those 10,000 people will click it.
Focus on getting the content out there, THEN you’ll find that making money just sort of ‘happens’.
9 – Starting your second blog is A LOT easier
Once you’ve run one blog for more than a year, you’ll learn so many skills that actually make setting up another blog MUCH easier. You can probably get your second blog started twice as fast as your first. The more times you set up a blog, write posts and work on it, the easier it all becomes.
Is it worth it?
Some of you may be reading this and thinking that a few years is a LONG time to be running a blog.
It’s a long time, but if it’s something you really love doing, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like you’re making the world a better place, and you ARE! If you write stuff that helps people improve their lives, you’re making the world a better place. It might take you a long time to be able to call yourself a professional full time blogger but the journey is AWESOME!
I would 100% suggest that anyone who wants to start a blog, DOES.
Don’t think about it or even spend much time thinking about how you’d make it work, just get something started. As I’ve said before, you really don’t need to be an expert to start a blog.