5 Things to focus on as a new blogger and 5 things to completely ignore
The brutal truth that every new blogger faces is that the blogging world is so huge, that it’s hard to narrow the focus on the most important things.
But hey, I’ve been blogging consistently for three years, my other blog was The Best Relationship Blog of 2019, my monthly page views for December 2019 were over 200K and my fiance and I live on the income from that blog.
Being through both Hell and Heaven in the blogging universe, I know a few things about blogging and what’s important to focus on when you start a blog.
The blog you’re on right now is my new addition to the business and therefore, I decided to share with you 5 things I will focus on and 5 things I will totally ignore.
So you could also say that I walk the talk.
Anyway, let’s dive into this.
5 Things you want to ignore if you’re just starting a new blog
As a beginner blogger, you might feel overwhelmed by the tons of articles, courses and tips on how to start a successful blog and make money with it ASAP.
If you decide to spend a day in research on the topic the only thing that will happen is that you’ll end the day realising you are more confused than you were in the morning. You read tons of ideas on how to blog the right way and every time you land on a new post you’re equally excited and frustrated by the lack of simplicity.
But here are 5 things I will totally ignore on my new blog.
1. Making money
“But Rachel, that’s like 50% of the reasons I start a blog? Of course, I want to make money! Why should I ignore it?”
I hear you!
I know many people start a blog just with the idea of expressing their thoughts and spreading their word. I am one of these people. However, making a nice income that allows you to stay home and be focused on spreading your message is something you should want.
So yes, making money is a great reason to start a blog, but don’t worry about it straight away. I started making money after two years of blogging and chances are, it will take you roughly the same time to do it too.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write your blog posts with the idea of making money with them. You should.
You want to be aware of the ways you want to make money blogging. You also want to have a list of products you’d ideally offer to your readers, maybe creating your own product and so on.
But don’t focus too much on making money and don’t stress yourself if money is running away from you.
Let me tell you the most important lesson I’ve learnt after my three years of blogging: If you stick long enough and do your best, hard work will eventually pay off.
“Eventually” meant two years for me, but it could mean half a year for you. Just don’t make it a priority at the beginning because it’s not!
2. Getting tons of traffic
No, I’m not having fun of you and your decision to start a blog. I simply lay out my current strategy for this blog and share a lesson I learnt over the years.
There are many other things you should focus on before you start chasing the traffic numbers.
On my other blog, which is in one of the less populated niches, I had over 200K page views in December. And it wasn’t seasonal traffic at all as I’ve got only 2 Christmas posts on it.
If you read this post with the 7 most popular niches to start a blog on, you’ll notice that Relationships isn’t one of them. Yet, I made it to 200K page views and I believe that’s just the beginning of the growth.
But it wasn’t until last July (2019) when my blog finally took off seriously and I hit 100K and then 200K in August.
Getting tons of traffic doesn’t guarantee you getting tons of money and it shouldn’t be your priority at the beginning of your journey. We’ll get to the right priorities in a bit.
3. Managing too many Social Media Accounts
I know that when you read the posts on how to start a successful blog, most of them will advise you to also create your social media accounts.
Do you know how many social accounts I have opened for this blog? Just one – Pinterest.
You will have so many things to deal with at the beginning of your blogging journey that managing five or six social media accounts will be impossible.
The best thing you could do is choose one or two social media you’d like to start your growth and focus on them only. Once you master them and feel confident enough in managing them, then you could focus on other social media.
4. The design of your blog
It’s important that your blog’s design is clean and beautiful, inspiring and attractive.
But 80% of your traffic will come from mobile devices. Guess how much of your cool design is visible on the smartphones’ screens? A very small portion of it.
What’s important is that you make your blog load fast, your font text is easy to read and has as less clutter as possible so it doesn’t distract your readers.
5. Being perfect
There’s no such thing as a perfect blog or a perfect blogger. We all have huge to-do lists that are waiting for that day when everything else will be done and all the of the tasks crossed off.
It won’t happen unless you’re big enough to hire a team to help you.
There will always be something that could be done and something else that could be improved.
But this shouldn’t stop you from going out there and speaking your words.
Never forget that “Done is better than perfect.”
So, my last point on this list is to don’t chase perfection as it doesn’t exist.
What should you chase then?
Top 5 things you want to focus on as a beginner blogger.
1. Writing content that matter on topics people care about
Your words are what will get to the people’s mind and might change their lives.
If you want to spend some time working on a blogging skill, let that skill be writing. I am far away from being the perfect writer, but I’ve improved drastically (on top of that English isn’t my mother’s tongue) and I keep working on that skill daily.
I use Grammarly to help me edit my blog posts and I try to go through each post multiple times. I also try to never edit a post on the day I’ve written it. I let it sit and go back to it when I don’t remember every sentence I wrote. In this way, it’s easier to spot mistakes and misunderstanding.
2. Learning keywords and using their power
It’s way more important to focus on learning SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) before you start fighting for traffic on social media. Pinterest is my number one traffic source, but if I had to go back and start it all again, I would choose learning SEO before learning Pinterest.
Google traffic is more consistent, it’s passive, converts better for affiliate sales and if you start working with an ad company – it’s paid better than Pinterest traffic.
On top of that, once you start using Pinterest you will have to work smart with your keywords if you want to attract any traffic fast.
So yeah, if you want to spend your first few months as a beginner blogger wisely, SEO is your way to go.
3. Finding the manager inside you
One of the hardest things about blogging is that it depends on you. Your blog will go as far as you could push it to go. It’s up to you to work hard (and smart) and stay focused on the goals you set for yourself.
Being your own boss sounds cool, but it also sounds like late evenings or early mornings in front of the computer. It means you might have to skip a coffee meetup with friends. It means reducing the alcohol on Friday evening because you plan on spending the Saturday in writing awesome content. It means organising your personal life in a way that allows you to include yet another hour of creating pins.
And most of the time it will be hard. People will call you to ask you out, to invite you to places and so on. More importantly, you might be the only one believing that your tiny blog is important and has a future.
And that’s when managing your time and yourself becomes so crucial.
You want to have the guts to say No to people, places and events. You want to be able to switch off the TV and stay late after the kids go to sleep to do some extra work.
You want to believe strongly enough in what you do to make it grow.
4. Being consistent
In case you didn’t know, the average time a blog becomes truly profitable is around or after two-three years. Some lucky blog gurus do it earlier, but if you’re not seeing success in the first 12 months – that’s ok.
I’ve said it here that one of the biggest secrets of the blogging success is to stick long enough to make it happen.
Create your content calendar and consistently publish useful content.
Open your Pinterest account and consistently pin new pins and repin others’ pins.
Open your Twitter and tweet daily what people might enjoy reading.
Whatever you do – do it consistently.
Stick around and see what the future has to offer to you.
5. Keep learning
It’s a never-ending process.
The blogging world keeps expanding and the techniques to drive traffic, to keep readers on the blog, to sell products and redirect to affiliate sites are flooding the market.
Keep learning because that’s what will push you forward. I learn new things daily and even though I know a lot, I am far away from knowing everything.
Take courses, sign up for seminars or read other bloggers’ tips. Do it daily. Forget using your free time to scroll on Facebook, you have a better thing to do – learning how to be better every day.
It’s not a secret that blogging is a journey and just as every journey, it has its risks.
But it also has its rewards.
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