I’ve been blogging for over three years now, but I gotta tell ya, I’m learning new things every single day.
There is absolutely no way that I already know everything I need to know about blogging.
But what I DO know is that it’s awesome, and it’s something that brings a tremendous amount of purpose to my life.
Could I say that three years ago?? Heck, no!
I didn’t even know what a blog was. I had ZERO clue what I was doing.
So here’s some advice for any newbie blogger or for anyone who’s even flirting with the idea of creating a blog.
I hope it helps, and I hope it empowers you to take your ideas to the next level!
1. Just freaking do it.
I can’t tell you exactly how I started this blog. That’s because it wasn’t something pre-meditated. I didn’t sit in my room analyzing the pros and cons of blogging on some wonderfully designed excel spreadsheet. No, I didn’t do that. I had ideas in my brain, I must have come across a post about how to create a blog, and I just got started. You don’t need all the facts and all the answers to start your blog. You just need the desire. Everything else is at your fingertips.
2. Find your host.
When it comes to hosting your blog, you want a host that’s gunna make your life easier. Because, let’s face it, we’re not all the most tech-savvy humans on the planet. I mean, if you’re reading this post, you’re probably more tech savvy than A LOT of people, but still, we didn’t all study computer-science.
So for that very reason, you may want to check out Host Gator.
HostGator’s a solid hosting company that so many bloggers use, and here’s some of the stuff they provide:
- 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and e-mail (because when something crashes or you get lost, you NEED to have someone available even at 3am to help walk you through whatever problem you may be having)
- Domains- HostGator’s your one-stop-shop for domains
- Design services for all of us who want professionals to build our sites for us
- Super easy to use website builders if you’re brave enough to build it on your own
- In-house experts to help you with your marketing
- One-click WordPress installs
So yes, you can sign up with HostGator, and within the hour be looking at this…
BAM! Welcome to WordPress. You’re ready to start blogging.
You see, when you choose the right host, you’re able to focus on what you love doing the most…writing, creating, collaborating, connecting. That’s what you get to spend your time doing. The tech-y stuff? A good host takes care of all that stuff for you.
And if you’re looking to make things REALLY easy for you, check out HostGator Optimized WordPress. It’s specifically built for an optimized and managed WordPress environment, where HostGator handles all of the core, theme, and plugin updates without any action on your part. In other words, you won’t have to worry about logging into your WP-Admin panel to handle common updates. An even more hands-off approach for all bloggers like me, who just really wanna write.
3. Buy yourself a journal to write down all the millions of thoughts and ideas you have.
When you first start a blog, it’s like your brain just vomits out ideas. So you definitely want to have a journal where you can write them all down until you’re ready to do something with them. That journal’s gunna come in handy later down the road on those days when you’re just not feeling all that inspired and need to figure out what you’re gunna post next.
4. Pay attention to the details. Make things look pretty.
You want to focus on creating great content. But at the same time, you also need to focus on the aesthetics. Because let’s face it, no one wants to look at an ugly blog. So try finding pretty high-quality pictures to include in your posts. Take pretty high-quality pictures yourself, even. Make sure that your fonts and your formatting for posts are consistent. And when you stick stuff on your sidebar, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE center things! I learned this maybe just a few months ago, but if you’re adding images to your sidebar, above the html for the image, add <center> (just like that) and then at the end of the html code, add </center>. It’s amazing what something that simple can do for making your blog look clean.
5. Create some draft posts ahead of time.
You’re not always going to have the desire to write. You’re gunna wake up some days, look at your computer, and just walk away. You’ll fight a mental battle because you DON’T WANT TO WRITE ANYTHING. Nothing. Nada. Just the thought of writing stresses you out. So for days like this, it’s always good if you have draft posts that you’ve written ahead of time so you can grab those and post those so your readers don’t miss you. You know those days when you have so much energy and you CAN’T WAIT TO WRITE??!! Take advantage of that motivation and write tons that day.
6. Read other blogs.
I could spend hours and hours and hours at a time reading other blogs. And some people may think that’s not the best use of your time, since it takes time away from writing your own content, but I completely disagree. Discovering other blogs and reading through their posts totally inspire me and I’ve learned so much through that process.
7. Join Facebook mastermind groups.
I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many bloggers through several Facebook groups that I’m a part of. Not only do we share our posts amongst each other, but the groups really serve as a support system. They’re groups where we can ask blogging questions and receive responses from people who really know about this stuff. So here are a few you may want to check out: The Blogging Elite, The Blog Loft, and The Blog Love Project.
8. Do your research.
The past few months I’ve spent so much time reading articles online and reading books on blogging. Blogging is no different from any other hobby or sport or skill that you’d like to master. If you want to be successful, you need to do some research, read up on the industry, and learn from the best of the best. There’s nothing better to invest in than knowledge.
9. Listen to podcasts.
If you don’t have time to sit down and read books, there’s tons you can learn from podcasts. I’ve been listening to Patt Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast on my drive to work, and I absolutely love it. When you listen to successful bloggers being interviewed and you hear their stories of how they got started, it really motivates you to keep on going and ideas start flowing through your head. So yea, every once in a while, instead of jamming in your car listening to music, turn on a podcast and you’ll be amazed at what you can learn in 30 minutes.
10. Keep track of your stats.
The only way you should be comparing yourself throughout your blogging journey is to look at where you are today, and compare it to where you were a week ago. Yes, there are tons of bloggers with 100k+ page views a month. So yes, if you compare yourself and compare your blog stats to theirs, you’re gunna cry. So don’t do that, because you have no idea how long they’ve been blogging or how much time they devote to their blog and at the end of the day, their story is not YOUR story. Don’t let anyone else’s success kill your motivation. Instead, let it drive you. So track your stats- your page views and your social media followers, and as long as you’re seeing continued progress on a weekly or monthly basis, that’s a pretty clear indicator that you’re doing something right. But you have to keep track of those things, or otherwise, you have no benchmark to gauge your progress.
11. Enjoy the process.
HAVE SO MUCH FUN!! Blogging is SUPPOSED TO BE fun! If you’re dreading every second of blogging, then maybe it just isn’t for you. At this point in our lives I fully believe that we should be focusing our time and our energy on things that bring us joy and make us happy. So although blogging may be stressful at times-with deadlines and consistent posting to keep up with- make sure you enjoy the process. Write about topics that interest you. Go to new places that excite you and blog about your experience. Make blogger friends, and build your community. Because if you’re sitting on your couch on the computer hating life, you’re totally doing it wrong.
So that’s it! Any other advice for newbie bloggers?
And again- be sure to check out HostGator Optimized WordPress if you’re looking for more info about site hosting!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
New to blogging? This might be a good place to start.
Oh, and I’m now offering 1-on-1 coaching sessions via phone to help answer any blogging questions you may have. $25 for a one hour session. Would love to share any advice I can give you, and make a new friend along the way! Contact me here for additional info 🙂
Books on blogging to help you take your blog to the next level:
- Building A Framework
- Blog, Inc.
- Creative, Inc.
- How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul
- 365 Blog Topic Ideas: For The Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing To Write About
- Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job, Kill It In Your Career, Rock Social Media
- Crush It
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
Books to help you deal with your twenties:
- 101 Secrets For Your Twenties
- Life After College
- The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter & How To Make The Most of Them
- Adulting: How To Become A Grown Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps
- All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and A Freaking Job!
Other stuff you might like:
- Generation Y Redefines Success
- How To Be Rich in Your Twenties
- The 5 Most Valuable Lessons Grad School Taught Me
- Pursue a Lifestyle, Not a Job
- Why It’s Okay to Be Excited About the Awesome Stuff You’re Doing
- Why We Need to Get Over Our Fear of Rejection
- Don’t Wait, Be Happy Now
- The 5 Best Investments You Can Make in College
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*Affiliate links are included in this post.