Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a blogger? Or maybe you’re looking to start your own blog and want some more info? This Blogging Tips for Beginners post is for you!
When I tell people that I am a DIY/crafting blogger I typically get two responses: 1) A look of confusion and “Is that a thing?” or 2) A smile and comment “Oh that sounds like a fun hobby!” What most people don’t realize is that being a blogger can actually be a real job with a real income. I am continuously trying to find ways to increase my income while still bringing you, my audience, free content to help you learn new skills and make your life more beautiful. Running a website is far from free so the income is necessary to keep it going.
If you’re looking to start a blog, already have one, or are just curious about what I do, keep reading to find out what I do and some tips that I would like to share…
I write regular blog posts using WordPress.org. I have tried other platforms for blogging but WordPress.org (not .com!) is by far the most versatile and will help you customize your site as much as you want with no limitations. You will also need a host for your site. I highly recommend SiteGround. While they may not be perfect (which company is?) their customer service has been top notch for me over the last few years and my site has never, to my knowledge, gone down. I was with another company for a short time where my site went down regularly and their customer service was awful. Siteground has made a night and day difference for me.
If you know coding and have other web design skills then you can probably design your own site. When I started I knew nothing about any of that, so I installed a free wordpress theme and made that work. Since then I have upgraded to pay for a theme that is made exclusively for bloggers like me in my niche. I use and highly recommend Restored 316! Their team is awesome. There are endless options for style, colors and functionality. Need an online store? There are themes for that. The design is up to you, but there are a vast number of options out there.
My site is fully tutorials or helpful articles on how to do things. So while the reader may not want to make that specific project, I hope to have articles that will be more informative for them as well and help them learn new skills. If you’re sharing content with the world you want it to be useful to readers and something they can remember and utilize so they’ll keep coming back to your site. I tend to write with a hope that I can solve someone’s problem or help them to see they can do that project too! Content is king.
There are a plethora of ways to make money blogging. Simple ways like ad networks who place ads on your site and pay you per click. Working with brands and writing sponsored content (this is my biggest source of income; see my sponsored content posts. DO NOT WORK FOR FREE!) Affiliate links for products or services that you use and love. Creating products to sell on your site, whether they be physical products you ship or digital products that you email. Ghostwriting for other bloggers. Writing for other websites as a guest blogger. Appearances on news shows. Teaching local classes in the niche you write about. And so on. Your blog or site gives you authority to do things in many arenas outside of sitting at your computer and writing, so think big and think outside the box!
Do not forget how valuable it is to meet and learn from other people who do what you do. I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few conferences that are specific to my blogging niche and it changed my world! Specifically, Haven Conference. I had only been blogging for about six months the first time that I attended Haven Conference and it literally changed everything for me and my business. I had no idea how to work with brands, the best way to implement SEO, even good photography. The photography class that year was immensely helpful to me. But most of all, meeting amazing people who understood my passion for creativity and wanting to share it with the world, who had already been doing so for many years, and who were so kind and loving and helpful; that’s what really changed my world. I attended Haven again in Charleston, SC in 2018 and am absolutely thrilled and honored to be chosen as a mentor this year for Haven Conference 2019 in Atlanta! I cannot wait for this year’s conference where I can see my blogging besties again and learn even more information to help me grow my business! I’ve attended other conferences as well and have found all of them to be so helpful in different ways. Conferences are something I highly recommend for whatever niche you are blogging in. They are fantastic experiences and will help you learn and grow.
(Some photos from my Haven conference experiences…)
Truth be told, this one is getting harder and harder. The algorithms change frequently and there is always a new trick to learn how to get your content seen by people. This has been a weak spot for me because it takes a lot of time and daily commitment. With four kids and all their activities, a part-time job, and just daily life I have struggled to keep up with social media. All that being said, it can be a huge asset to your business and be a great way to get the word out about all your posts, get people to click to your site to read, and also a place to network. Also, do not miss out on the power of Pinterest!
Proper SEO is crucial for a blog or website and I highly recommend if you are starting out that you learn as much as you can about SEO to get started on the right foot with your content showing up in google searches. I knew nothing about SEO when I started and have had to go back and change so many things that I did incorrectly over the years. If you have been blogging for awhile and haven’t been doing right, I recommend getting an SEO audit. I did that this year and it gave me an awesome step-by-step prioritized plan for fixing and updating my content in regards to best SEO practices. Again, this is something that changes and you need to keep up with. (Another good reason to attend conferences and learn current practices!)
So there isn’t one all-encompassing answer on how to build traffic. It will depend on your niche and your social media following. It will depend on if you write helpful and influential content, it will depend on how rigorous you are with promoting your content and even sometimes placing ads or other marketing funnels. There’s one thing that will help you though, and that is your email list. Start building your email list from day one. They are your only captive audience that won’t be taken away from you by an algorithm change.
I look back at some of my firsts posts and I’m so embarrassed by the photos. Take some good photography classes! It will make your site look more professional, trustworthy and beautiful. I’m still learning but my photography is vastly improved from my beginner blogging days. That being said, don’t let this stop you from starting your blog or website. Just know that the better the photos the more people will follow.
I get asked a lot about how much time it takes to run a blog. The short answer is: a lot! Blogging is time consuming, so don’t expect to turn it into a job if you’re not willing to put time into it. You really have to work on so many skills to be successful. Writing, photography, editing, web design, coding, email and social media marketing, networking, and if you’re like me it’s all of that on top of the skills and time required to make the projects (or food, products, whatever your niche requires.) All that being said, it is an absolutely fulfilling job if you love it. So don’t be scared off, just be realistic in your expectations of yourself!
I hope that this article helped you! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions! You can also contact me using the box at the bottom of this post.
Go make something!
Eileen Curinga says
Great post Sheri. I love all your suggestions!
Looking forward to meeting you at Haven!