How Come No One Ever Told Me This? Blogging Edition
I don't personally know any bloggers - professional or recreational. I had wanted to start a blog for years before I made my first post over 3 1/2 years ago. So basically everything I've learned has been through observation of my favorite blogs, reading and researching my face off, and then good old trial and (painstaking) error.
I really wish I had done more research in person and reached out to locally to a blogger. I would have interrogated... I mean kindly asked (after bottomless lattes) the ins and outs of this modern media. Now that Im getting back into the blogosphere, here some things I wish someone would have told me when I was starting out my blog and to be honest - things I'm still working on. Now just pretend we're chatting over some lattes (or bourbon)here in Brooklyn .
1. Just. Do. It.
The above quote by Arthur Ashe is apropos for any creative endeavor. You don't have to know everything there possibly is about blogging in order to start. Be like Nike and Just Do It. Here's the reasoning: All those "reasons" for not starting are actually excuses. "I don't have the perfect layout" or "I look too fat in my About Me pic" are just lame excuses and sneaky procrastination. Here's what I've learned so far: People probably aren't going to notice these little things as much as you. Don't let trivial aspects of the blog prevent you from just starting it! You'll eventually learn all those layout tricks etc. just by the process of doing the work.
2. Figure Out What Matters & Works for You
Speaking of "the process", here's a good horror story: once my husband came home to me sobbing at the desk because I had completely erased my all my website's content on accident. Here's what happened in a nutshell: I had done all my research before starting the blog, decided on using the paid version of Wordpress, paid for a theme, didn't keep up with all the updates, and then tried to patch something on my own and somehow erased EVERYTHING. Luckily, once I calmed down, I realized I had a backup stored the whole time. Phew. Here's my takeaway from that experience: I thought I wanted control over every aspect of my website, which the paid Wordpress is great for, however I had no coding experience at all and I really didn't care to learn. This became my biggest excuse for not blogging - the backend was a pain in the ass for me and stressed me out. I just wanted to blog and share ideas, not study coding. After some more research, I finally decided after months of hiatus to switch everything over to Squarespace. I'm not saying Wordpress is the devil and that Squarespace is the Jesus of websites. I'm just saying that I found what works for me - but first I had to get clear on what I really wanted. So far, the experience has been a breeze and here I am just blogging.
3. Consistency is Key
Every time I've felt good about the blog in the past and have gotten the most joy out of it, was when I was posting regularly, at least twice a week. The first outcome I've noticed is that once I start writing, it's easier to "stay on the bike" so to speak - meaning new ideas come more easily. The more easily ideas come me, the more easily the words flow and the more posts go up. Also, all this blogging = more practice and refinement (hopefully) of the skill. Again, it's the process. Also, the more work I have, the more I can share.
4. You Do YOu.
The last thing the world needs is another insecure fashion blogger in skinny jeans and Uggs holding a Starbucks just because that's what's popular on Pinterest. Just be authentic. You do you. I know a lot of blogging advice includes "finding your niche" but going back to #1, I've found that the grand search for that elusive niche can easily become an excuse too. I say if you want to share your thoughts on the Ancient Aliens one day and then share you paleo brownie recipe the next day, I think you should go for it! This is where the process comes in again. You will probably find your niche through the very process of writing.
5. Start on Seo Early & Don't Be Afraid to Call the Pros
Guys, I'm still kicking myself for this one - I had no idea how important SEO (search engine optimization) is. You can have a great blog in which you share tons of ideas, but unless you're marketing yourself in the digital world, you'll be lost in the vast sea of the interwebs. Learning from past mistakes, I highly recommend hiring a professional if you're like me and really don't want to get into the weeds of all the SEO research. This goes back to #2 and finding what works for you!
In my case, I like to support local business and be able to reach out to real humans. NJ is like a second home to me, so I love that NJ SEO Services is right across the river and is a family run business. Check out the pic below of Matt Anton, one of the founders, with his daughter. Not only are they local, but they really know all the ins and outs of SEO. Digital marketing is an area where there is so much information that is constantly being updated that it's beyond helpful to have a team behind you that is extremely knowledgeable. They are the #1 marketing company in NJ and work with clients large and small. I recommend checking them out if SEO is something you want to leave to a pro!
Those are my best tips for now! I hope this little (virtual) coffee chat has given you some ideas! What's your best advice and/or worst horror story from your trials and errors?
*This is a sponsored post, but all my opinions are my own.